Monday, 8 January 2007


SPAM. Sounds as much fun as it isn't - should have known better, really, but some lessons you never learn. Within 100m of the start there I am pedalling in my tiddliest gear up a flat but somehow steep and dragging waterlogged field, brain all confused because whilst I know this is '06, my legs are telling me it's '96, that I've slipped into a ten-year timewarp and been zapped straight back to my first few years of mountain biking, when I rode all the time in these conditions because I simply didn't know any better. Funny how as we become more accomplished riders we start to let equipment dictate the pace. Winter filth is for road bikes, or the crosser at a push. Dusty summer's evenings (remember them?) call for singlespeeds and a cool beer on the beach at the end. Commuting is fixed wheel territory - all that grime wreaks havoc with precious, costly Campag - and The North requires a new bike to be built up for pretty much every trip as the gears get rescued from the shed for another irregular airing. Sad, really, that sometimes I look at all the bikes in the corner and spend so long trying to work out which one I want to ride that by the time I've made my mind up the sun's long gone and the day's over. That innocence, of being able to ride a bike, just one, all the time and for everything...


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