Winter Image Dump

An odd winter. Some random images. I’m happy it’s over.

 

A Year and a Month

I took a month off from writing, from thinking, from doing much to do with my digital self. I’ve needed to assess what is important to me and how I want to get there. I’ve sat down and thought about my needs and wants again – what I need to do versus what I want to do. For once, sometimes to my detriment, I’ve let the wants out way the needs for a change. It’s not worked out totally as expected.

Things are changing. I’ve taken the time out that I wanted to after my fathers death and I’ve come to realise things in a new way. I have done many of the things on my “Need and Want” list from three years ago, a list that was drawn up at the deepest, darkest points of my PhD. This has surprised me, that even when all hope felt lost, I could still attain the things I needed, and many of the things I want. Simply by working at it. Nothing more, just focusing on it. Getting it done.

There are no shortcuts, no magic pills, no easy way to get to the descent. Just work. Plain and simple work. I’ve lost sight of that and I need to reassess it again. With no targets there are no things to strive for. So this week I’ll do that.

Set my needs. Look at my wants. Inscribe them for daily viewing.

Onwards

A year has passed since my dad died.

A lot has happened in this time, some of it terrible, some of it great.

It really has been a mixed bag of emotions and experiences. This is something that we will all have to face at sometime, the death of a loved one. There is no way to convey what happens, I’m sure it is different for everyone. It’s just – not that nice, but you’ll get through it eventually.

Around this time last year I figuratively woke up. I realised that the world I had created for myself, a world of self created pressure, was no longer somewhere I wanted to inhabit. I needed to step away from it it. So I did. I left. Dropped everything and moved on.

I took a year to move away from my professional career path to immerse myself in the bike industry. I bike shop monkey with a PhD – surprisingly common as I’ve found out. This has given me time to think about what I want to become. I’ve toyed in other professional areas and found I’m not a one trick pony, this has been a revaluation of what I can do.

I took a year to ride, rather than train, on my bike. To look around at my surroundings rather than at my power meter. This has brought me to new places and given me time to reflect. Not having something digital to distract you for a ride opens your brain up to itself and forces to you become introspective. Something I’ve needed.

I’ve eaten, drank and done what I want – when I want. No more worrying about it, just fucking do it. Life is too short to care about what society thinks you should be doing. I’m not condoning renouncing my part as a citizen, but rather to just step back and turn on your bullshit filter and do what you know is right.

Cutting out TV from my life was a major factor. My brain is no longer in a slop of media hatred and consumer greed. I build up my own picture of the world as I see fit. I chose what I want to consume rather than what they want me to consume.

I’ve said no more often.

Overall the past year has been good to me. I’ve had many days of sadness interspaced with rays of humility and happiness from those around me. I’ve spent more time listening to others than I’ve ever done, it’s all helped.

Today is my day. 365 days have passed and I’ll mark it with a bike ride. I’ll look up. I’ll see something new. I’ll smile. I’ll tell someone else I care about that they should do what they think they want to do. Mostly, I’ll enjoy the next 364 days until I get to do this again.

Reasons to be Cheerful: Part 6

People. People are always a reason.

They come to you in times of sadness. They come with you in times of happiness. They give you things for no reason. They do stupid things. They do fun things.

But mostly people are fun. Nice to know, easy to be with, interesting to meet.

Go out. Meet some more. They may not all be for you, but when you find some nice ones. Be good to them.

Reasons to be Cheerful: Part 5

A week of rain preceding 6 hours of grit and water being flung at my bike and I.

You would think that this would not be a good reason to be cheerful. You’d be wrong.

Getting up when it is dark, stuffing coffee and toast into my mouth before rolling out on a semi ladened bike to ride for the day. Knowing that you are probably going to be rained on for the day, then staying dry. Eating cake and sausages in a cafe you’d have never bothered to ride to with people you never thought you’d meet.

It’s better than being down the pub for the day. Cheaper too.

Reasons to be Cheerful: Part 4

Wake up at the normal time and press the long snooze button. Press it a few more times for the sake of it. My body is used to getting up at the same time but the idea of an hours more sleep before not getting up for work is undeniably exciting.

I roll out, take 90mins to have some breakfast, read my book and drink too much coffee. These days, where my targets are zero, are bliss. I can exist in the moment, not worrying about what do do.

All hail days off. You are the best of times.

Reasons to be Cheerful: Part 3

My fingers burn with the cold on the first descent.

My world becomes a small funnel of light from my meagre light sources.

My brain has to accelerate to keep up with the darkness.

My arms, my legs, work harder than normal to control the bike at a split second notice.

My night ride. My world. My time.

Reasons to be Cheerful: Part 2

Sunshine cracks through the shop window, into the yearning eyes of staff stuck inside. No one comes in, they are all out there, in that sun, doing what we want to be doing.

The sun drops and they come in. Cold. Tired. Hungry. They talk of their rides, their day. Envious at first, craving second, happy that they made the most of the light.

That will be me. Bringing my sunshine to other peoples day. Allowing them to bask in my glow and feel cheerful about their time of freedom.

Reasons to be Cheerful: Part 1

Today I got blown off my bike, onto a moore that had been frozen solid by driving wind and snow.

It hurt. So I got up and pushed. Pushed my bike towards the wind, into the cold, away from the simplicity, the ease wherein I could have turned and fled.

To have the opportunity to choose suffering, not to have it placed upon you, in your chosen form.

Thats freedom. That’s a reason to be cheerful.

It’s oh so quiet.

Winter does this to me. Shuts me down, shuts me up. The unfortunate side effect of this is that I have not much to talk about as my brain ceases to function at its normal capacity. Which in reality, ain’t that much at the best of times.

So, I’ve been failing to ride much. I fell off my road bike on the way to buy a car, oh the ironings*, and did some damage to my wrist. This left me unable to pilot a mountainbike as for some reason I couldn’t hold my wrist in a flat bar position. So I did some road miles and they were fun. Then my back locked up for a few days and it’s only come loose today.

I’m due to ride a 210km audax tomorrow. The weather forecast looks like the apocalypse. I’ll probably not ride. I can’t be arsed getting rained on for 10 hours in January. I have zero motivation for it. On the plus side… something or other.

I don’t need sympathy, I can provide enough of that myself. I don’t need to be told I need the miles, my fat belly tells me that. I just couldn’t care less at the moment.

Sod off reality.

*intended