Last Saturday afternoon, I was about as grumpy as I’ve ever been.
Despite the physical ease of surfing a desk at work, weeks (months, years!) of early morning starts had taken their toll. The afternoon was looking like a write off.
The midday power nap (with a pre-nap coffee chaser) hadn’t helped. In fact I felt worse for it.
I could barely get off the sofa. Grey thoughts clouded through my mind.
Our chatty 8 year old (let’s call him “Elmo”) chewed by ear off about the next naff Kindle Fire app he needed and our belligerent 15 month old (“Semo”) voiced her displeasure at the passing heatwave with a siren-like wail.
Something had to give.
And that was my wife.
She gave me some divorce papers…
Of course I jest. She wouldn’t do that.
I hope she wouldn’t do that.
[ohmygawd, Mont scrabbles around to do something thoughtful and relationship restoring for spouse]
Whether through wisdom, compassion or frustration with her moping husband, Mrs Mont (actually Dr Mont, natch) forced me to take the 8 year old out for a bike ride, with Miss 15-Months-of-Fury in the bike seat on the back.
Initially there were excuses.
Whilst I’d fixed my son’s flat tyre last week, I’d failed to get the wheel back in place without the brakes rubbing. Apparently he’d ridden the bike mid week and there was still ‘an issue’ with them.
We’d also have to broach the Herculean task of applying suncream to a toddler.
But my wife pushed me out of the house to look at Elmo’s bike. It turned out the brakes issue was not with the rear wheel, which now seemed to rotate without rub. Instead it was the front brakes. The cable holding them in tension had come unclipped – it was a simple job to rehook it in place.
A double team approach got the suncream on the squirming infant. We were good to go.
And I’m glad we did.
We only rode a few kilometres down a country lane to a friend’s house. Elmo has only recently started riding on the road, so I had the opportunity to deliver plenty of road safety advice to him in my most patronising pater voice. Semo and me pootled along on my lumbering Scott hybrid.
But it was enough.
The turn of a few pedals. The breeze offsetting the beating June sun. The restorative mini milk ice lolly from our friends that Semo refused to put anywhere near her mouth so Daddy had to consume instead.
I wouldn’t say that I returned a changed man. It got me out of 21 Grump Street though.
The restorative effect of even the lightest of bike rides.
It’s fair to say that cycling has taken a back seat to other priorities this past year. Semo has entered our life (and proceeded to significantly disrupt it).
I wasn’t working when I started this blog. Now I am. The hours are quite long and there’s a fair amount of commuting (sadly none of which can realistically be undertaken on a bike).
Trying to get our house and gardens into shape (we bought a ‘project’…) seems to take up a lot of each weekend (or those bits of weekend when we’re not shuttling the other kids to birthday parties and sports activities…).
The combination of low activity levels, too much time staring at screens (in both my professional and personal lives) and a deterioration in my diet has caused me to get a little ‘soft around the edges’.
Been here a week now, waiting for a mission, getting softer. Every minute I spend in this room, I get weaker…
But this is not to complain nor make excuses. Fug that.
Instead, I stand here with a flag (probably with the Yorkshire rose on it) and I’m planting it in the
It’s time to prioritise my health. My cycling. My happiness (bit strong?). Probably not over my family (I’d like to do more cycling with my family), but definitely over work (or excess work) and unnecessary time spent on the activities of the liberal elite (browsing Twitter).
I’ve not been doing too bad so far on my ‘Choose Bike’ lifestyle plan.
My Strava account tells me I’ve done 8 rides in the past fortnight. None of them have been long, but that’s 152km I wouldn’t otherwise have ridden, and 5 hours and 7 minutes of exercise targeting my softer edges.
Add to that the two leisure rides with kids tagging along and/or sitting on and you could be forgiven for thinking I’ve got the beginnings of a habit going on.
Of course, June (and a warm and dry June at that) is the easiest month to combine outside exercise with a busy life. Longer evenings allow rides to take place after work is done and kids are in bed. The challenge is carrying it through into the colder, darker months.
No need to think about that now though. The summer stretches ahead. The Tour starts next week. A bike ride beckons (a lunchtime one today methinks).
How is your cycling going? Have you been taking advantage of the warmer weather (if you’re in the northern hemisphere)? Any big rides or cycling trips coming up?
Let me know in the comments below.