You were not my first love. No, I wrongfully deceived both you and myself for many a wasted year, flirting with football, frolicking with running, and goofing around with golf. And let’s hear no talk of the sordid affair with alcohol. What was I thinking?
Yet throughout you were always there, waiting demurely in the shed. Oh forgive me for locking you away in there and letting you rust. It wasn’t you, it was me.
What changed? With age comes experience, wisdom, a longing for freedom. I remember the pain of our first date. We’d met only days earlier courtesy of that good old matchmaking website, eBay. Money changed hands and we touched for the first time in an empty car park like lovers from the lyrics of a Pulp disco-pop-indie hit. Something changed.
This is meant to be, we both thought but dare not say as we prepared for our first day together, a 100 mile jaunt through the Chilterns when I’d barely kissed 10 miles training on the flat.
The day began fast, quiet, our tongues tied. Already I was head over heals, over committing, in at the deep end. The hills climbed that day would help us over future mountains.
We met regularly after that. Skipping work and ignoring friends to be with one another. I showered you with gifts, new wheels and tyres, fresh lube and a new necklace for your cogs.
With each passing ride I learnt your ways and we could spend hours together comfortable in silence. We travelled the length of the country, dirty weekends in the Lake District, in Wales, and then further afield when I took the big plunge and invited you to Europe for a week long breathtaking romp.
Not that we’ve always enjoyed a tailwind. We’ve had our tough times too. The days you leave me broken, unable to walk or when you leave me so empty I’m on the verge of sickness. This is your payback. Redress for the times I neglect you, leaving you unwashed and greasy, or wet and cold when I force you out in rain so heavy we should be chaperoned by a lifeguard.
I cannot cheat you. You know when I’ve dallied with my old flames, you can smell the filthy kebabs and booze, punishing me accordingly for my infidelity and minor indiscretions.
Sure, the occasional carbon beauty steals my breath and turns my head yet it’s you I ride each Sunday.
The romance never dies
We’re a pair of romantics at heart. We care not for anniversaries because each time is just like the first. We’ve seen more sunsets and sunrises together than the ocean. Moonlit rides to the coast. Mountain retreats. Sunny beach holidays where the waters are warm and the beers cool. Or simply nights in with the turbo in front of the television.
Even when we’re not together you’re always on my mind. I’m planning our next getaway or searching for your next gift. I strive to improve myself so you can be proud of my progress, for I must be fit enough to ensure I never embarrass you.
We’ve changed one another yet all the new bar tape in the world will not repay how much you’ve changed me, even if I’m not 100% sure about the clothes you like or the cream you make me wear ‘down there’. Mentally and physically I’m unrecognisable from who I used to be. The food, the travel, the exercise. You know what is good for me.
We’ve been together for years now. We never tire of the roads we’ve ridden many a time before. We know most of the bumps that lie ahead yet we live for the many new adventures we’re still to discover.
For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. We ride.