Wheel the bike out the bedroom where it's been resting for the last few months, bounce it down the stairs on a soft back tyre and clamp it in the workstand.
Hello gorgeous, it's been a while.
Off the bike again, but for over three months this time, and with extra added medical testing and poking with sticks that frustratingly concluded with a vague answer and no cure but did happily extinguish the quietly growing gnawing Fear. Thankful for much more than a small mercy.
Three months trying not to think about all the missed riding, countless sunshine afternoons wasted, races scratched, waving rides off while all I could muster was wheezy cabin-fever beating rides into town for coffee and milk and back, and they don't count. But they kept me alive, even if sometimes they left me dead.
Attacking the problem from a totally different angle has brought results, some of the quite rollercoaster variety, but I can see the end of this tedious ride with a desperately slow and steady improvement, and finally, finally, I can envision an imminent return to the bike.
Run a tip along the top-tube, a clean line in the dust reveals the shine beneath. Caress the whole frame with the dusting rag, and gently finger the gap between the spokes. Tinker with the gears, a subtle tweak with thumb and forefinger, dribble the lightest of lubes onto the chain, squeeze the softening and pump till hard. And to finish her off, the loving, caring sensual, wrap of some new bar-tape. Because.
I'm not sure I can hold on any longer, I may just burst.
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.