La Vie Velominatus: Life Gets in the Way

Life? Ride your bike. Prophet 5:5

There’s no doubt I live La Vie Velominatus. Sometimes I think I live it maybe a little too much, as I’ve been told by independent observers that bicycles and all associated with them dominates my very existence. And it’s true; I work in the industry, dividing my time between editing Spoke magazine, writing (not nearly enough lately) here, and a couple of days a week in the shop. Whenever there’s a spare moment, it’s usually spent surfing the web, and nine out of ten sites I’ll view are in some way bike related. To end the day I’ll settle down with a book or a magazine in bed. No need to tell you the subject matter. (It’s not porn… really.)

Is this healthy? Cycling is by definition a healthy activity, but when one becomes all-consumed by a solitary pursuit, it can be seen as unhealthy in itself. An addiction. Addictions are usually construed as being bad things, but surely an addiction to something so pure can’t be harmful?

Well, not if you aren’t actually riding. If the only link to cycling is from sitting in front of a computer, writing about riding, reading other’s articles about riding, and making a magazine about riding, all to the detriment of actually getting on a bike and doing it, that takes its toll, both mentally and physically.

It’s a Catch 22 situation. You don’t ride, and you lose fitness. And when you lose fitness, riding becomes harder. So you shy away from hard rides. Consequently, you lose even more fitness. Then you get to the point when you say fuck it, and just get your ass on the bike. You ride with your usual crew, you lag on the hills, but you feel stronger the farther you go, drawing on the energy from the simple act of being out, turning the legs and breathing fresh air into the lungs. You get caught up in the little sprints and KOMs, and find you still have something in the tank. Deep, buried reserves forged from la vie. You finish the ride feeling rejuvenated, tired but refreshed. You vow to ride again tomorrow. But there’s a deadline to meet, proofing to be done, a last mintute article to write. Life gets in the way. And so it goes.

I know. I have ridden my bikes probably on average twice a week for the last six weeks. I was supposed to be doing a race this weekend. I’m glad I’m not. The principle reason for not doing it was money, the very coin I’d spent on getting a bike to race on conspired against actually racing. That, coupled with a grand in dentist fees, a visit from an Aussie friend which helped drain the bank account, then an ensuing illness and my race fitness, which was well on track those six weeks ago, has now all but disappeared in a cloud of debt and lethargy.

Yep, life gets in the way of having a life. A life of riding. But I still have a life of cycling, it’s just being lived through other means right now. And that’s better than not having a life at all. I will be back. Vive la vie Velominatus.

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124 Replies to “La Vie Velominatus: Life Gets in the Way”

  1. you wanna see the pumpkin I prepared for my son’s Sppoky Fun Night at school – second fucking place only – travesty!! I’m lodging a formal complaint

    anyway, I know you are all on the edge of your seats with anticipation, for this extended period on non-cycling related irrelevantobilia, but I can’t upload on this PC – will do it later

  2. @Marko

    Thanks, gents. Certainly my best work and that of which I am most proud.

    You’re talking about the custom V-Kit jumper you made, right?

    Kidding, kidding! Cute ‘lil bugger you got there.

  3. as threatened – can’t believe we only came second – took me/ Johnny nearly 4 hours to make!

  4. @wiscot

    I know it’s the off-season and we’re all a bit bored, but really guys, anyone want to post pictures of babies or cute wee kids?

    It’s the off season in the northern hemisphere. In the guts of it here.

  5. As long as we are on the subject, I took my young padawan out for a V-lesson on the gravé this afternoon. If you look carefully you’ll see that the road has been engraved with Velomiskrit markings.

  6. @mouse
    Thanks Mouse. At least we’ve moved on to kids from Pets.

    I’m gonna start all my conversations in prison with that one.

  7. @Nate

    As long as we are on the subject, I took my young padawan out for a V-lesson on the gravé this afternoon. If you look carefully you’ll see that the road has been engraved with Velomiskrit markings.


  8. It should also be stated that the amount of cycling many of you are able to pull off is quite impressive! I have far fewer commitments than many Followers & it gives us lads hope that there is still a V-Life after one dives into a career, a family, et cetera.

    The passion, kilometers, and enthusiasm many of you still exude is awesome. Makes me realize I can “grow up” and still ride bikes!

  9. Oh well, why not?

    My little girl at the Bay Crits in Geelong in January, and

    In Brugge in April this year.

  10. @mouse
    Why thank you. She’s pretty awesome.
    We got her a scoot bike a while ago. Second day with it she was sitting on it, watching TV, absently practicing track stands. Real ones, too. 5 seconds or so at a time. Nice for a two year old.

  11. @Ron
    indeed, you’d be forgiven for wondering if any of us do any work at all!!

    One of the joys it that for 3 hours of exercise, you leave the house and 3 hours later you are back “holding the baby” (they don’t care that you haven’t had a shower yet) – that equates to 4 hours for 3 hours in the gym (oh the boredom!!), 5 hours for 3 hours of golf, 8 hours for 3 hours sailing, and if you think of going fishing, you are S+1 and in trouble!

  12. As someone suffering from an extreme lack of riding recently, this article couldn’t have posted up on my ‘recent reads and popular articles’ section at the bottom of the home page.

    Life is friggin’ in the way right now, and the vie has been put on hold. Driving me crazy to not have that outlet to even suffer on my own, not to mention with friends who also seem to be behind in the live versus bike battle.

    Thanks for the article, it is good to know that the circle begins again.

  13. Well, if we are sharing kids pics, I did without the weekend road riding to go camping & mountain biking with my varmints in Fruita, CO last weekend. Instilled the V with them and we all had a blast. They had a blast and as far as I’m concerned, that’s all that counts.

    [dmalbum: path=”/”/]

  14. Thanx for this one Brett. I am right at the edge where I know I am riding 4 to 5 days each week (now), — but — wanting to point my career at the cycling industry. This is a good reminder (or lesson or mistake to learn from) to keep looking over my shoulder and not allow either to overcome my career goals or my bike passion. This was a good article double-header. Frank (addiction) and Brett (life).

  15. @brett That was such a refreshing read Brett, thank you. I’m finding it ever harder as I get older to balance time on the bike v time with the famly v time at work. Commuting isnt always an option as my job demands that I have a car with me at work. I’ve settled into a pattern now where the best time for me to ride is out the door for 6am for about 90 minutes. Then back, sort the kids breakfast, shower and kiss the wife. This is Kool and the Gang in the Spring and Summer months but Winter means that all my riding, with the exception of the odd group ride at the weekend, is done in the dark. I don’t care about the rain, hey, I quite like the rain, but riding in the dark is one thing that I don’t much enjoy. Still beats the Turbo though! Your article made me feel better about myself Brett, it’s good to know that other Velominati are in the same boat.

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