Cyclejen's Blog

75 miles, cha cha cha
July 26, 2010, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Cycle Jen Main | Tags: , , , , ,

Apologies about the title. I really feel I hit my title peak at It’s Snow Good. After that it’s just been downhill all the way. It’s a weight on your shoulders, once you’ve come up with a spectacular title – I kind of understand how Einstein felt after he cracked general relativity. A lot of pressure, let me tell you.  Still, I already know what the title will be for my last blog entry before I do the challenge. I promise you, it’s a real show stopper, worthy of a Pulitzer. Do they do Pulitzers for titles? They really should. The subsequent post, I’m sure, will just be AAAARRRRRGGGHHHH MY LEEGGGGSS! In the meantime you’ll just have to put up with some treading water.

The title is to the point. The point being 75 miles. I don’t think anyone’s ever cycled that far before, in the world, ever. When Neil Armstrong first landed on the moon and said that whole ‘one small step for man’ malarky, he hadn’t reckoned on bikes, otherwise he would have just muttered ‘small fry’ under his breath instead. And the best thing is, I did it with people! 13 people, to be exact. It was all part of a charity bike ride for the British Heart Foundation that was organised by my employer. I signed up as I knew it would be a great opportunity for a doing a trial run. I have to say though, I did find it kind of difficult not to sound like a posturing arsehole when I told the other participants that I would do it, you know, for practice.

Still, it was an interesting day and great to be doing it with real live people. So far on bike rides I’ve been making do with singing and talking to myself. I’m not kidding. Admiring the scenery will only get you so far; after a while, you’re going to have to invent company. Luckily, I’ve managed to avoid being caught by car drivers or, worse, other cyclists babbling on to myself. I’m incredibly glad that no one came close to seeing me breathlessly singing Cyndi Lauper’s version of ‘I’m Gonna be Strong’ whilst attempting a particularly nasty hill. I’m also glad I’ve not yet been responsible for any car crashes caused by car drivers bursting into hysterics at the sight of a sweaty, struggling cyclist flapping her mouth open and closed like a fish drowning in air, and then hearing ‘AND TAKE IT LIKE A MAAAAAAANNNN YEEEAAAHHH!’ in doppler effect as they whizz by.

Thankfully, my parents’ willingness to meet me at various stopping points for mental and physical refreshments has prevented me from becoming a deranged lunatic. Although, after the events on the Dundee-Aberdeen bike ride, I’m now not so sure. In nearly all respects the bike ride was typical of what you would expect. People brought their bikes, we pedalled for a bit, we ate food, we chatted. Some were faster, some were slower, all types invited. Punctures occurred and gears jammed, but all in all we all made the distance in one piece. I have what I hope are real memories of the leisurely pace we took out of Dundee and the burn on my legs as I climbed an incline that stretched for several miles. I remember the sun, the sea and the wind on my face. What makes me doubt the existence of any of this is the mystery of the Man in White.

To give a bit of background, this event was initially promoted by posters dotted around the workplace. A general email was sent out, those who wanted to participate replied, a group of six was formed to represent the Aberdeen contingent and, after fine tuning details over the course of a few emails and going for a few shorter rides together, we were good to go. What none of us knew was that all this time a mysterious entity had been watching from the sidelines. We only became aware of this person when, whilst having lunch at a tea room in the middle of nowhere, one of the Dundee office’s people told us that a man who called himself the head of cleaning services was in the car park after furiously cycling 51 miles from Aberdeen to join us. Apparently, he had turned up at our initial Aberdeen meeting point, only to be told by the security guard that we had already left for Dundee. He then proceeded to the bus station and attempted to get on the Megabus and was naturally denied due to the fact that he had a bike with him and no reservations. With no thought whatsoever of taking the train, he decided his only option was to cycle down to Dundee, in order to take part in the cycle ride back up to Aberdeen.

We waited in anticipation for this man to come into the cafe. Who is the head of cleaning services? Is there a cleaning services department? If so, why haven’t they cleaned my desk for the past two years? The room hushes as in walks a thin, small framed man in his early 40s, dressed in a tight white t shirt and the tightest, whitest shorts I have ever seen. It takes every ounce of effort not to immediately zero in on the (let’s call a spade a spade) genital bulge that’s in plain view. A doctor could take one look at his shorts and immediately determine his sperm count. It makes me think of those plaster of paris figurine kits I used to have when I was a kid, but before they were painted – alabaster white and lumpy. Well, that’s that childhood memory ruined. More astonishingly, this man gives no outward sign at having apparently cycled 51 miles in three and a half hours. He sits, has lunch with us, informs us that he works as a contractor on the night shift and has decided to do the bike ride after seeing the poster. He waits around with us for lunch and then proceeds to zoom off back to Aberdeen, and we never see him again that day.

However, I suspect we may never see him ever again, and I’ll tell you why. Being a contractor, he did not have access to work email. Therefore, he couldn’t have known to even appear in the car park at the time originally organised, let alone an hour later as was subsequently arranged. Furthermore, I cannot think of any way he could have known we were stopping to have lunch at that particular tea room. The car park was hidden back from the road, so he would not have seen the company vans. How did he know we were there? This man has to be some kind of ghost or prophet; I can see no other explanation.

Is he the bike Messiah? After all, when a lady came round with a raffle to raise funds for the tea shop, all he said was “I don’t gamble, but I will donate.” Does his white outfit represent the purity of the true cyclist’s spirit, unencumbered by any worldly constraints? Come to think of it, I’m not even sure he ate any food at the tea rooms. Or perhaps I have succumbed to road loneliness completely and he doesn’t actually exist at all. Perhaps none of the 13 people I rode with exist. Or worse, perhaps I am just a construct in the mind of the Man in White, who has made us all up to save himself from the crushing loneliness of cycling for so far, for so very long. Maybe he’s doing London to Paris and not me. Perhaps you too are constructs in his head to distract him from the lactic burn in his legs as he reaches the peak of a 3000ft climbOH GOD WHO’S TYPING THIS  THING?!

If you are real, Man in White, please get in touch to prove you’re not a figment of my imagination or I of yours. Please explain your apparent telepathic and superhuman cycling abilities. And the shorts, is that just aerodynamics then or what? Finally, Man in White, just in case you really are real, please do not take it personally if  I go to sleep tonight with a knife under my pillow. Amen.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

That was hilarious! I think you almost runined my 3rd line as I tensed, choked and rolled on the floor!

Well done on 75 miles! Awesome!

I have unfortunately had to take to cycling long distance in place of running due to line invasion/abbrasion. Though to be fair… I should be doing nowt!

Jode’s x

Comment by Jode's

Brilliant post Jen!!! Very funny, I was giggling away on my hospital bed for a while after reading it. I hope the nurses didn’t spy me, or they’ll think i’m mad!

Comment by Lizzie

… awww you shouldn’t worry, they already know your mad dear 😉

Comment by Jode's

I remember the glory days of my early “comedy” blog entry titles, then I rapidly ran out of steam and started compensating by going all surreal, particularly the “Mum and Dad melting into lemon curd beneath the willow at the bottom of the ocean” post, which was perhaps taking it a bit too far. I’m currently going through a nihilistic blog phase; “Blog number 101 from an island on a small planet hurtling through darkness in a vast uncaring universe” was a particular crowd pleaser, although I’m not sure the man in white would approve…

Comment by Woody

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