Firstly, an apology for not having written in a while. Unfortunately, Real Life (™) kind of took over, and well, riding bikes doesn’t pay the bills (sadly). That’s not to say I haven’t been riding, just not as far, as fast, or as gnarly as I might have liked. That said, I’ve ridden differently, including a really laid back social ride with G (and his kids) and Lew that I met through Twitter. This was a different experience, as I’m not used to riding with kids. It was a bit of an eye-opener to be honest, watching the young uns getting such simple joy from being out on bikes. I think I’ve kind of been missing that recently.
My mental health issues have been well documented elsewhere, so I’m not going to rehash that here, but suffice it to say I use my bikes as a form of therapy to help me cope with what my brain is trying to do to me. My brain (helpful chap that it is) throws all kinds of crap at me on a daily basis: it tells me I’m useless at what I do, it tells me to give up, it wonders why I bother trying to do anything. It’s a bit like having a chimp sitting in the back of my skull throwing faeces around, not caring where it goes, and sooner or later it’s going to get me in the eye.
Just recently though, I’ve been beginning to shut the chimp up. My work have been brilliant, and give me support and space when I need it – I just have to mention “chimp issues” and they understand. I’m beginning to realise that I am actually alright at what I do, I’m too stubborn to give up, and that I do make a difference to quite a few people’s lives.
Bikes help me with this. They allow me to completely clear my mind of all the static that builds up throughout the working week. They allow me to focus on nothing but the trail ahead to the exclusion of everything else. There’s a poster floating around on the interwebs that reads: “My bicycle: When I ride my bikeI feel free and happy and strong. Liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent. My bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill, and thereafter the world”. Yes, it’s a bit twee, but it’s true (all apart from the silent bit – where does that creak come from?) , and that’s what counts.
I’m not okay, but I will be, with my friends, partner and bike at my side.