Christmas is a time for overindulgence. For me, that usually means doing something a bit silly in the dark. The evidence: Last night, I left my house at midnight and cycled 70km through the night to get home to my parents’ for Christmas.
There shouldn’t be much more to say than that, but whenever I mentioned my plan to anyone their faces registered a mixture of disbelief, disgust, and a difficult question: “Why?”. (Except one guy who said, “70km? That’s nothing.”)
So before I fall asleep again, I thought I’d answer that question with three good reasons from last night’s silly ride.
The solitude of an unusual and unnecessary physical challenge.
Christmas is a time of year when I reflect on life and I find cycling helps (not as good as walking, but I didn’t have time this year). As my wheels turned over, so did my mind. What have I achieved this year? Who do I have to thank for those achievements? What have I learnt from my experiences? Where can I go from here? And I can only really delve into these questions alone.
The ride, it should be admitted was indeed pointless, even more pointless was the idea of cycling through the night. I could just as well cycled on Christmas Eve morning, in the clear light of day. But traditional rites of passage throughout history include this element of unusual and unnecessary challenge, not only so that people can “prove themselves”, but also to mark a break with the past. In my case, “the past” is 2015.
Without the solitude and without the rite of passage, my year does not feel complete. I am able to emerge from the trial a new (exhausted) person.
It would be easy to skip over the fact that I love cycling through the night. Between about 2am and 5am, I had the roads to myself. While we sleep, the night shadows play their cinema. The battlements of a Norman church looming out of the night. Climbing through the woods around Stoke Row. Following an almost full moon that catches the startled eyes of sleepless rabbits. It’s there for us every night, just waiting.
Peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches.
- Peanut butter (large dollop)
- Nutella (large dollop)
- 1 slice of bread
- Take out bread.
- Paste large dollop of peanut butter on the bread.
- Slap large dollop of Nutella on top of the peanut butter.
- Fold bread over. It should feel infeasibly loaded.
- Lick knife clean.
Say no more.
(Oh and the ride itself, I guess!)
For all you crank-heads, enjoy the stats. (p.s. No idea what happened around Sodding Common… Guess tiredness.)