I’m 51 years old. Too old to be doing what I’m doing right now, which is peddling into what feels like a gale force 9 wind in what my weather app described as a torrential shower. Torrential certainly, but to describe this as a shower is a masterful piece of understatement.

When I was younger I imagined I would be enjoying a life of luxury by now. I pictured myself driving, possibly even chauffeured, to work in a Jaguar XJ6. Instead I cut a pathetic figure, a piece of flotsam buffeted by the elements on the Wandsworth Road.

Why? Why am doing this? Why am I here?

And why am I writing about it?

I’m writing about it because I’ve always enjoyed writing. At much the same time as I imagined I would one day be chauffeured to work in a Jaguar XJ6, I decided that my mission in life was to write a book that made people laugh. I was an idealistic and ambitious young man who, with the benefit of hindsight, might be described as delusional. Nevertheless, I did manage to write a monthly ‘blog from America’ for three years that some were kind enough to say raised the occasional smile. Remembering how much I enjoyed writing these and needing to do something more with my life than simply work and watch football on Sky, I have decided to resurrect my monthly blog.

I was miserable over Christmas. I’m pretty miserable at the best of times and the winter months are, by no stretch of the imagination, the best of times. The only good thing about the winter is skiing, but this year there was no fucking snow. So my usual Seasonal Affected Disorder ballooned into borderline depression. I decided, among other things, that I needed to start writing again and that I needed to cycle into work whenever possible. Whatever the weather.

Little did I know that my resolve was going to be tested by the wettest January since 1767. Not simply an unusually wet January, but the wettest for two hundred and forty six years. There is some dispute about when the first bicycle came into being, but, as nothing close to what could be described as one existed until 1817, it is safe to conclude no cyclist has cycled in a wetter January. Ever.

It was while submerged by a wall of water thrown up by a passing lorry on January 2 during one of the worst storms in the last twenty years, I had an idea. I would conflate my cycling and my blogging to create a blog from a bike. I was going to call it The Bicycle Diaries until I found out that David Byrne from Talking Heads had already had that idea.

A few years ago the Japanese writer Haruki Murakam wrote a book entitled, ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’, philosophical ruminations about and around his marathon running. I decided my blog will take a similar premise. It will be a little less elegant, a lot less well-written and not nearly as philosophical or profound. Let alone as Zen.

What I hope it will be is an insight into the sometimes troubled mind of a middle-aged man on a bicycle. Presented as such I realise it is unlikely to gain any audience whatsoever, but if nothing else it might save me the cost of a therapist.

And, if I’m really lucky, I might once in a while get to write a funny sentence.


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