When I was a kid I used to get in from school and if not going out playing footy or some other sport I’d go for a ride on my bike, this was pre mountain bike days and the whole bmx scene passed my little village by so I’d go out on my ‘racer’ or road bike as they are now know. I had no particular specialist equipment and just rode my bike on a ten mile loop round the lanes. I might if I could remember put a puncture kit in my pocket but that was it, can’t ever remember even putting a water bottle in the cage. Of course this approach changed for longer excursions but for the after school ride it was just get on the bike and go for a ride.
Nowadays I seem to find myself packing as if I’m going on a major expedition when I go out and sometimes the logistics of getting a ride sorted can itself feel like planning a journey to some far flung region of the globe. I am particularly bad and stuff all sorts into my backpack, just in case, even though I don’t know how to use half of the stuff that’s in there. To this end I’ve gone to a much smaller pack to restrict what I can take but still seem to carry a lot.
Tonight I decided to ride like I was a kid again, an hour loop on trails as opposed to roads near my house. The bike may be different but the approach was the same. I packed nothing, no backpack, no water, no tools, no pump, no kit. Just mobile (didn’t have them of course when I was a kid) and some cash in case I stopped at a pub. It felt incredibly liberating and of course if I did have a mechanical I was never more than a couple of miles from the house. I know this is not the approach to take really but tonight it felt right and I remembered what it was like to be 15 and free.