A year ago I left a drawing in the Bike Boss’ garage when I was picking up Lucy (my bike) who lives there whilst I am in Somerset. The title of the drawing was Bike Life and it featured a wibbly wobbly drawing of a bike in the centre surrounded by a list of things I wanted to accomplish in my bike life and an invite to join in. I think It’s still there somewhere under some spare parts and oily cloths! Let me explain why this is not quite as bat shit crazy as it might sound. I do drawings I have drawn interview presentations, performance reviews, and all the projects I have worked on with the Bike Boss have started off as a drawings. I draw the dream! he works out the business case and exciting stuff like the NPV and Return on investment. So he is used to drawings and quite likes them as there are often way too many words and emotions that come out of me for him to process. So drawing works as a method of communication between us.
Bike life came about through a number of factors, meeting a great group of women (and chaps) through the Rapha cycling club, having some moderate success on the bike and finding out about a load of exciting things that I wanted to do. I like a plan whether it is a project or in life! (Bike Boss: she does drawings to cover up the fact she is royally shit at normal business communication methods such as PowerPoint ….people think she is quirky ….it just creates work for me sorting out her randomness and IT incompetence)
I left the drawing and a note asking if he wanted to take part in any of the listed activities. The Bike Boss will always take the do nothing option if there is one. He thinks being awake is an achievement. He is awake or asleep, he is at work or on his bike.
I thought by offering options it might encourage him to participate! In the 12 months we have achieved a lot given his contemplation can take some months! Manchester to London will be our biggest challenge by far and has required the biggest investment and biggest cost
I have ticked off the following from the list, do some Crit training, learn to ride rollers (nailed it) do hills (slowly) ride in a time trial (I actually was brave enough to pin a number on!) ride track, ride a closed road event, help and support the Rapha Women’s ride, and enter M2L
The Bike Boss has done well also! He has made a list ……and completed some of them, Fondo each month, ride a sportive (with other people! he has now done 2 and nothing bad has happened as a result of speaking to strangers) and thankfully he added enter M2L to his list. (Bike Boss: Bob clearly did not take any notice of the stranger danger warnings about talking to strangers and is often late as a result of talking to strangers and which causes the need for me to have to hide in the back of the garage whilst she talks to people who live in my road. I have lived here happily without ever doing this)
Manchester to London in 47 days time (gulp) will be our biggest project and biggest tick on bike life plan. There is a great sense of achievement and progress gained from ticking off the challenges and training for M2L, however it has required a lot of investment and the return on it has so far been, larger quads (not a winner at home……Mum you could pop melons with them…..apparently quads bigger than your husband is a no!) and a hatred of the Peak District and hills.
There are also costs.
There is the actual cost! I am not allowed out of the car park if I don’t look suitably dressed and the Bike Boss has high standards. I dare not add it up but probably the cost of a family holiday. Then there are the food costs – this boy can eat and we have got through a serious number of iced buns and pasties to fuel the training (I fear for sales in Burns the Bread our local bakery post September!)
Then there is the cost in time. For me trying finding 12 hours in a week that is already full of work and family life is a challenge. Something has to give and it’s often family time or sleep.
There is also the questions!….he is a boy. I am not ….. “what do you do on 112 mile bike rides???? the “do you have to spend so much time together?? And the jokes about my bike husband and our Howard and Hilda style matching outfits.
Errrr ride 112 miles …..
If I was quicker it would be less time!
Have you seen me blowing snot rockets whilst sweaty and having a strop! There is nothing even lady like about it! ….May also be worth mentioning he has a bikini model at home at this stage too! (Bike Boss: I have danced with Bob once after drinking quite a lot and I was wearing a spider man mask and it was a Tango. It was one of the most upsetting experiences of my life! I have not really recovered and now have a phobia of social clubs and dancing)
So the cost is not just to us, it is to our nearest and dearest too. I have definitely been tired for about 4 months and a tad grumpy at times…..(sorry everyone) My children complain about the amount of time I spend in cycling kit and my husband bemoans my long absences at the weekend and then my snoring on the sofa and refers to M2L as the stupid F’ing cycle
So is it worth it?
We will see in 47 days time whether the drawing has again turned into a viable project! Whether the Return on Investment comes in and whether there is going to be a second chapter to Bike Life.