I have broken my arm 3 times in the last 4 months, this means I haven’t ridden a bike in 4 months and I think I am suffering from some kind of identity crisis. Can I actually say that I am a mountain biker?
I had 4 months off riding bikes in 2015 when I had my elbow ligaments reconstructed. It didn’t seem as bad back then, I hadn’t fully embraced the bike life. This time though is a bit of a struggle. In a normal week I would be on my bike everyday – I would ride my bike the 20 mile round trip to work, then spend the day planning and delivering cycling activities in schools. I would also spend the day persuading anyone who would listen to go biking with me in the evening and if I hadn’t gone biking both Saturday and Sunday the weekend would be deemed a failure. I spent most of my money on food, bike clothes, bike parts and parking for A&E. Any time that I did have spare I would spend it trying to convince my non bike friends that the bike life is the best life.
I would go back to my parents and my Mum would comment on the amount of cuts on my shins and tell me that my bike shorts made me look like a boy. Every single coat I owned has bike grease on (actually they still do, bike grease does not come out of clothes). If anyone asked what I do I would always say that I’m a mountain biker and then have to explain why I like throwing myself down muddy hills in the rain.
None of this has happened for 4 months (apart from the going to work bit and paying to park in hospital car parks)! If someone asks me what I do I am unsure what to reply with. Is it acceptable to say I ride bikes when I haven’t actually been on one for four months and may not be on one for another 4 or longer? I spend the week trying to decide what I can do on the weekend that will entertain me as much as bikes and secretly curse my friends uploading pictures of their biking activity, wondering if they have forgotten about me. My shins are cut free, my mum now comments on the nice dress that I am wearing and my washing basket isn’t over flowing with muddy bike clothes.
Actually, writing that down doesn’t make it sound that bad! I do keep on telling myself that, but it’s not really working. I walked past a man in Five Tens and shin pads the other day and in my head was shouting at him that I was one of his kind. I was secretly hoping he would notice my Madison branded coat and give me the fellow biker nod. I went home and had a little cry to mourn the current loss of my identity as a mountain biker.