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A Sunday In Hell

VecchioJo suffers a Sunday without a bike ride

No thanks to the schoolboy error of doing a big ride on the Saturday and then buckling under the stares of social respectability, Sunday is spent doing Normal Things.

A late start with a leisurely breakfast followed by a purposeless amount of time hanging about waiting for nothing to happen has legs hidden by and trapped inside jeans twitching in some kind of Pavlovian Response as by this hour on any other Sunday they’d be out the door a while back and somewhere skipping halfway up a hill.

Then, finally, we somehow choose to deliberately go to places that I usually spend my weekends actively avoiding, we fight our way against shoals of similarly aimless people and look at things in the shops. We don’t actually buy anything we just pick up things and put them down again, confusing this activity with a meaningful, even creative use of time.

Pretending to look in windows with the rest I instead look at the reflection of the sky, blue with barely moving clouds courtesy of a flat wind, the temperature just right. Whilst others look at clothes my mind’s stylist lays out what layers I would need on today’s ride. That top, my favourite 3/4s, that windproof in the back pocket just in case. Perfect clothes, perfect day for it. I turn my face into the breeze to approximate some sensation of movement.

Pretending that we’ve earned it we head out somewhere nice for lunch and Go For A Drive. Along country roads that I know all too well I imagine my Other Me pedaling the other way and silently wave, silently scrape, silently scream at the window as I pass. The meal is unsurprisingly and reassuringly mediocre, just the right side of poor to not bother complaining about but still mutter a little bit anyway in hushed voices between disappointing mouthfuls. Oddly if I had arrived here by bike after 50 miles or so I would happily gobble up everything offered with cheerful gratitude, but as it is it’s bland and unsatisfying and cloys lukewarm all the way down.

About now my heart should be pounding in my chest as I climb the final hill home and my legs should be begging for respite, but instead it’s my soul trying to tear a hole in my rib-cage, shouting and pounding wanting to rip its way out and escape, just to do something fulfilling, feel alive, used. This hurts, this dull ache hurts so much more than any 1-in-4.

The rest of the afternoon is spent adrift with more worthless small-talk meanderings and the eventual evening meal isn’t ravaged with the usual refueling necessity but slowly and politely eaten with no desire, no hunger, simply eating because it’s suppertime and it fills another gap in the empty day. The escape of bed is finally reached, significantly later than the normal crash and with little real need, just diplomacy. No aching happy tiredness, no muscle ache, no bone-deep weariness, no feeling of actually having confronted the day, no sinking deep into the mattress as sleep breaks in a heavy wave. No. Nothing.

I want my Sunday back, fidgeting I stare at the ceiling, wondering if I kept the receipt.

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 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.

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