This weekend I joined about 20 other cyclists for the weekly Brighton Mitre social ride. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to twig that tagging on to a club run might add some variety to all that solo riding. It made such a nice change to be chatting to various friendly like-minded souls as the miles slipped by. It was useful practice for my underdeveloped group riding skills too. The peloton wasn’t all that tight for most of the ride but we squashed together a fair bit at times and I had to stay on my toes to avoid unhelpful swerves and changes of pace.

There’s something quite charming about the warnings that are shouted up and down the line as hazards are spotted. It’s like a Mexican holler – someone at the front will shout “HOLE!” and the word is passed back down the group, sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, sometimes barked, sometimes panted, sometimes almost sung, in high voices and low, male and female, until it pops out the back, ready for the next warning to sweep through the whirring mass.

I didn’t have to worry about where I was either! What a treat that was! I’d almost forgotten what a carefree pastime cycling can be. All told a fantastic experience and one I’m keen to repeat every weekend, provided we can find a way of making the family logistics work.

Cycling three (metric) centuries in four days has taken its toll this weekend. But not as high a toll as it would have been a few months back. On the whole things are progressing well and I’m in excellent shape, but I do have niggling concerns about some aches and pains, one muscular and one…shall we say saddle-related?

Most of the discomfort I feel during long rides seems to come and go, never threatening to bring me to a halt, but there are a couple I’ve noticed when I do back-to-back long rides that show worrying signs of just getting progressively worse unless I take a few days off. I get a deep-seated muscular ache in my right buttock and hip that really doesn’t like it if I try to cycle through it. And, at the risk of offending those of a delicate disposition, I’ve got an extremely tender spot right under my left sit bone that’s been coming and going for literally years, but when it’s angry it gets really very sore. And right now, it’s clearly miffed.

I’ve been tempted to go and see my doctor about it but so far I haven’t because, frankly, I really don’t like the idea of her (yes HER) painfully poking around where the sun doesn’t shine. Pathetic, I know, but that’s English blokes for you. I’ve also convinced myself that if she were able to sort it out it would probably involve staying off the bike for longer than I want to at the moment. So I’ve talked myself into waiting til after the big ride before I address it.

Wouldn’t it be dreadful if this adventure was brought to a premature end by a spot on my arse?

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine (www.simpsonmagazine.cc).