Wafting through the weekend….

specialized ariel elite

The Surrey Hills Gravel Cross event took place this weekend….without me. Damn it! No gravel bike this weekend, a broken Kinesis Tripster thwarted my plans and had me wondering ¬†what to do with myself.

As it happens an enforced rest was, perhaps, no bad thing. Work has been a relentless sweat fest recently. Long neglected tasks at home have been beckoning too.

That’s not to say I didn’t have any fun. I went out with the dogs and got more acquainted with my new camera.

Canon G7x in action
Fun with dog and new camera!

And, in order to make an onerous shopping task bearable I decided to make it a special occasion by borrowing Anita’s bike, a Specialized Ariel elite.

specialized ariel elite

A trip to the local supermarket on a hot afternoon, on a ladies bike, requires one to enter into the spirit by dressing casually I feel. So, I did.

casual cyling clothing
Dressed to chill with a ladies Specialized Ariel

Whilst I gently wafted along, for wafting is what it was and very pleasantly too, I started to consider how a change of bike and clothing style can result in a complete alteration of mindset.

Normally I ride a sporty gravel bike. I wear sporty gear and I sport a sporty attitude. I feel competitive. I want to challenge myself. I hate being passed by other cyclists and if one appears ahead of me I can’t help but chase after them. Pathetic….but fun! It’s a beast that gets into you. Wafting on my Tripster in casual clothing would just feel weird.

Tripster ATR speeding through water
Dressed to thrill.
photo courtesy of PaulLigasPhotography

So, this afternoon was different and all the more enjoyable for that. I realised I’d forgotten about gentle cycling and the care-free joys it can bring. I pledged to myself that I must do more of it. And, that is how I came to be wandering along the local lanes this evening in my flip-flops and shades. I was taking time to look around, enjoying the self-generated breeze, taking care not to break into a sweat and thinking about what style of shopping basket would look nice out front.

I nodded or waved to the occasional teeth gritted roadie going the other way and felt…well…strangely superior.

Considering how slowly I was progressing it was a surprise when I made a right turn and spotted two roadies about half a mile ahead.

It is amazing how quickly a state of mind can flip. I was instantly transformed into the whippet that just spotted a rabbit. Honestly, I tried to stop myself but I was like Gollum drooling over the ring.

These guys looked young. A glorious plan was forming. An old git, inappropriately dressed, wearing flip-flops, on a ladies bike was going to sail past. A turn of the head, a nod and off into the sunset. It would be like winning the Tour de France on a shopping bike!

My jaw set, legs pumping I was within about a hundred yards of my goal when they turned right. Now, I may be a tit but only partially so I didn’t follow them, I would ¬†actually be turning back onto the start of the loop I’d almost completed. Catching them would have somehow been a conceited victory. To literally go out of your way to overtake someone would be un-gentlemanly and just one step too far on the path to being a sociopath.

It’s given me an idea for future rides though.

Watch out for the wolf in sheep’s clothing.