Okay, so I know it’s a while since I was last here. Nine months, to be exact. “Yes, nine whole months,” I hear you complain. “A couple can produce a baby in nine months,” you say, wagging your finger at me, “but you [that's me, of course], you can’t even trouble yourself to post a simple item on your blog.”
I know, and I’m sorry. I could spell out the excuses, I mean reasons for not writing for such a long time, but that’s not why you’re here. Besides, you’re starting to sound like my grandmother. Don’t worry, everything will become clear in the course of events.
The big event, of course, is not just that we’ve moved house, but we’ve moved across the country, from Kent to Dorset. Simples, I hear you mock in your Russian-meerkat accent, but everyone moves house once in a while, and that doesn’t prevent them from doing what they ought to be doing.
Yes, I know, I know. But I’m not getting into all that right now – that’s not why we’re here. We’re here so that I can tell about the hundreds of boxes that I’ve been unpacking, boxes that seemed to have appeared from nowhere. I decided that this was as good a time as any to sort out and chuck out – probably something I should have done ages ago, but clearly didn’t.
What struck me during the sorting-out was the ginormous number of cycling magazines that I had stashed away. And its not as if I’ve never thrown a magazine away – quite clearly I have, because I also came across a stash of cuttings from magazines that clearly had been got rid of. Of course, there were piles of maps, route suggestions that someday I might ride if I happened to be passing the Isle of Harris or down Cheddar Gorge. Also there were reams of How To Fix Your Bike – most for swanky bits of bikes that I’ve never owned, others so old that the bikes would now be vintage. What is more, you now get online videos of how to fix everything, which doesn’t take up any storage space at all, not even on your PC.
So here I am, shoving a ton of paper into the recycling bin (surely I’ve saved a couple of trees there) and I catch sight of the cover price. That sets the gears in my brain turning, which is a rare thing to behold. The mags on average cost about £3.99. Call it four quid to make my sums easy. A dozen copies a year makes it £48, and that’s only one mag. Sometimes it’s a mountainbike mag plus a road one. And occasionally I splash out on a fancy one for eight or ten smackers, just because I like the cover. Ouch. Over 20 years that adds up to well over a grand, which could get me a half-decent new bike (and yes, I do need another one). So here I am, recycling (suddenly that word hurts) the paper equivalent of something that I could have been cycling. And I probably haven’t even read half of them. Ah well, I reflect, that’s just the cycle of life.
But there is one copy of one cycling mag that I have kept back, because it is too much of a treasure. This is the September 2005 edition of MBR. There, check it out on pages 164 to 169 – six carefully crafted folios in full Technicolor words and pictures, the report on my fearless ride in the Cape Epic that year with Roly, my brother-in-law.
Yes, this mag is priceless, and will never be thrown away. It reminds me of the stupid things we do, and why we do it.