You see, as the years advance and the waistline inevitably expands, it’s become more apparent that eating and drinking like I did 20 years ago, and relying on my metabolism to keep the pounds off, isn’t working, I need to move my arse more. Sitting behind a desk doesn’t shift as many calories as I’d like to imagine it does.
I’ve always exercised over the years, football in my youth to the early ’30s, then a bit of jogging, till the bones started to ache, then swimming, less impact. And I was fine with the swimming, yes, it’s a bit boring, and the lanes swimmers aren’t too keen on the rubber ring I was wearing, but. And then COVID! The gyms close, I can’t go back jogging, the knees, oh, the knees, what to do?? The answer came wrapped in figure-hugging lycra, cycling, I’ll buy a bike I thought. And, there just like that, overnight I became a full-blown, lycra sporting, car baiting, MAMIL.
First off, I needed a bike. The last time I paid any attention to cycling there were 3 kinds of bikes, Choppers, Grifters, and Racers. Not now, there are Road bikes (technically, still a racer), Gravel bikes (racers on gravel paths), Cyclo-cross (racers on grass) Hybrid’s (Road & Mountain bike’s lovechild) Mountain bikes (MTB) Sand bikes (WFT). Within those categories, there is a myriad of choices. Firstly, what type of riding did I want to do? There was no way I was gonna through myself down a mountain on two wheels. Gravel / Cyclo, could see the appeal of going slightly off-piste? Hybrid, gentle ambling family rides down canal towpaths? Sand, no.
Road? I liked the appeal and apparel of road, envisaging myself as a Sir Brad-like, lycra-clad bullet, melting tarmac, and chewing up hills. Make no mistake, the road cycling gear is far more aesthetically pleasing to those of modernist persuasion. So that swung it, never mind that I’m built for rugby and suit Lycra like I would a tutu. The combination of modernist stripes and retro looks prevailed and willingly, I enlisted amongst the ranks of the road MAMIL.
That’s the type of bike sorted (I still needed to buy one at this point) what about the clothing? Do I go full-on merino-hipster retro, Oakley sporting, polyester-Day-Glo-clad, speed-freak or full tribal brand Rapha geek? Inspired by the ever-changing moods of The Style Council, I parked myself just to left of retro and purchased a replica Raleigh jersey worn by Mick Talbot in said video and a stylish Belgian team one. Just needed a bike now!
In between not knowing exactly what I wanted, a limited budget, and availability, what with cycling websites sites currently have the stock of a ransacked village, I took the advice of a friend, went to a local bike shop, and came out with an entry-level road bike, feeling the best part of a grand lighter, pedals not included. Now all I had to master were the shoes. I’m in the garden leaning against the shed practicing freeing my feet from the pedals, clip in, clip out, clip in, clip out.
Undeterred, and despite not having all the gear, my retro Style Council jersey had a delivery date of 3 weeks, when it did arrive left me no room to grow; me and my clippy-cloppy cycling shoes unleashed ourselves on to the Giro d’Preston. The unsuspecting, unimpressed public, will probably sigh, shrug their shoulders and blame COVID, at the sight of another new FDCC (Fat Dad Cycling Club) member.