Cycling is sanity… part 1

So… it’s been a while. I’ve struggled a bit over the last few months. Work as been constantly anxiety-provoking and I’ve found myself drained by the evening and without the cognitive alacrity to compose prose. I’ve also been intermittently and increasing preoccupied with the current political bonfire and it’s been a psychological block, a procrastination, between me and my plans. Anxiety is all about fear of the future, fear of the unknown, and when the future is in doubt… well… many of you will know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s exhausting, and depressing. I’ve spent much of this year rolling from despair, to anger, to indifference, to sadness and back again. I seriously considered going back on medication earlier in the year. I have, as always, taken solace in the bike, and social gatherings with all those friends I have made through riding. I have, at times, filled my evenings and weekends almost desperately with activity, as if to keep my attention diverted from the distasteful backdrop of reality.

 

It hasn’t been 100% gloom. I received a lovely email a few days ago from Steve Rooney up in Glasgow, who doles out coffee to cyclists passing The Broomielaw. Steve is on hand to give free coffee and to lend an ear to commuters heading along the Clyde. Alas, when I was up that way last summer I didn’t spot him – I suspect I was in town way too late in the day! It’s a genuine chance to connect and share stories – of advocacy, of wellbeing, of many other things. Steve says that many riders share their experiences of anxiety and depression. Sometimes these things are way easier to broach over a brew. It’s such a lovely thing to do and next time I find myself Glasgow way I’ll definitely drop by. Have a read about Steve here .

I’ll be adding to this update in stages – it seems wiser than trying to cover all that has happened in one sitting. Since February I’ve been out to visit Anna Glowinski in Spain, taken part in the panel on cycling and depression for Casquette Live at the Cycle Show, marshalled the Tweed Run (which clashed with the 400k London-Wales-London audax and, to be honest, I was a little relieved not having done much training), done Dunwich Dynamo for the first time in 8 years, did Ride London to raise a bit of cash for my work group, rode the Velocino a lot, and (after saying I would for AGES) finally got back down to Herne Hill Velodrome and got on my track bike after a two year break.

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Back at Herne Hill Velodrome

Last Saturday I met up with some of the women I met through the London Fixed Gear and Singlespeed Forum. We had got together offline for our first ride in 2009 so this was a 10th Anniversary event. We were a proper Miscellany of Bikes and it was awesome – Brompton, tourer, penny, Velocino, fixed, road, commuters. We rode out from Buckingham Palace to Richmond Park, even picnicking in the same spot as a decade ago. It’s the longest I’ve ever spent on the Velocino and the Brooks saddle hasn’t been broken in yet. I slightly borked my bum and after nearly 30 miles to Richmond and back and home I did succumb to the train, going the last two stops and avoiding going over a large hill. I think I would have been walking it anyway!

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Not all bikes have matching wheels… Penny and Meep-Meep.

 

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Mid-morning by Buckingham Palace

Anyway, more soon – in stages!

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