I write frequently of cycling yet know very little about it. I do not and cannot cycle very fast. My longest trip was three weeks and I’ve not really ridden much outside of Europe.
My bike draws laughter from enthusiasts and bystanders. It is nicknamed the Beast of Burden because of its “heavy bones” and cost less than other people’s wheels. The lights stopped working (yes, it has dynamos!) over six months ago, the front forks are loose ever since I reassembled it outside Stansted Airport and its currently stuck in third gear.
I don’t know what constitutes a good frame, how many spokes my wheels have or even what size they are (I have to check every time I get a new inner tube). I get how the gears are supposed to work but it’s not helped me fix mine and I still don’t know what causes the breaks to screech like they do or how to stop them doing so.
But I don’t write about cycling for its mechanics or its techniques, or on the topic of my performances or preferred cadence. I don’t claim to know anything about the technicalities of bicycles.
I like the bicycle for what it represents, for what it allows. It is a ticket to ride and a passport to freedom. It is, even now, a little deviant.
Cycling to London from my home town still raises eyebrows (though it takes less than ninety minutes even at an effortless pace on my bike). Coming in from the rain wearing dripping lycra and a broad grin frequently baffles. Weaving through the capitals congestion I feel like an outsider .
I write frequently of cycling yet know very little about it.
I write frequently of cycling because I love it.