Work and ride

Yesterday was an office day. Big things happening and I had a meeting to attend and present at.

I had planned to be out of the house by 7am, as I like to be early. Unfortunately, the medication I am taking has other ideas as one side effect is making me fall asleep, the alarm must have been snoozed many times before I dragged myself, bleary eyed, out of bed.

Several cups of tea later, I considered using the car, but that seemed a backward step, so I uncovered the bike, removed the chains and cranked her up, letting her warm for a little while as I sorted my boots, bike trousers, jacket and helmet out. One disadvantage of using the bike is the amount of prep time it involves. Unlike the car where you can just jump in and be off, there are a few tasks I perform before setting off on the bike. It has become like a ritual to me. Even to the point of stopping outside the front, adjusting the mirrors, then finally popping the lights on and slipping first my right glove, then my left, before setting off. Clearly the order is of crucial importance.

We are approaching winter, so disadvantage number two, the cold. I don’t mind it so much, at least, I dont mind it while we still have temperatures above freezing. The ride out cleared some cobwebs, my journey is mostly urban dual carriageway with 50 mph limits, though I generally ride a little faster, and lots of roundabouts and traffic lights.

Two thirds of the way, I took a slip road and started using the gears more, through various twisties, roundabouts, and much more fun overtaking. Car drivers are generally curteous and ease over slightly to let you pass. And no articulated lorries with open back doors to contend with. Bonus!

The day was a busy one, we had greeters at every building, goodie bags and various events. It was great catching up with a number of colleagues too. All these things are absent from your day when you work from home. The presentation went well and late afternoon as I was finishing stuff off in preparation for going home, a colleague asked if I could help out and explain a few techie things with some of what seems to be my trademark….diagrams! We found a room, and a few additional colleagues who wanted the same info, and I went through my spiel, coloured pens in hand, with my scribbles on a flipchart.

All sorted, sunset was drawing close, it was later than expected. I packed up and headed out. The return trip was back through the twisties as darkness descended. That had my juices flowing, as I rejoined the dual carriageway the volume of traffic had picked up and I was already in the swift mindset. Each junction and roundabout became a series of rapid downshifts, filtering through the traffic towards the front of the queue, slip into neutral, bike grumbling as I sat at the front slightly forward of where traffic stops and racing starts as lights changed to clear out of the way of the car drivers.

A satisfying way to finish to the working day. It was only as I stripped of my bike gear that I realised how damned cold it was.

The long weekend

The urge is strong this morning. Two, mutually exclusive urges. I feel like smoking. Smokers know what I mean. The sort of thing where you strike up and inhale each time like it was your last. And I feel like firing up the bike and going for a blast. Not a potter around town. The type of ride where you take the bike through the twisties at the limits, the limits of the bike, with pegs scraping, and the limits of your ability. This weekend though, I’m going to be doing neither.

I dont remember the last time taking some time off work. In fact, we are in the second half of the year and I have four weeks of untaken leave. I had been saving them for the transplant operation, but that isnt happening. So last night, I set my out of office notice, shutdown the laptop and started my long weekend.

We are shooting off later today (in the tin can, not on the bike) for a weekend away. We both need and deserve it. My wife is tired, work has been tough on her too these past few months.

First though. I have an appointment with my doc and then a trip to hospital to see the consultant.

Then we are out of here.

Oil and petrol

The smell does funny things to me. It brings back times and situations of my youth.

The growl of engines, you can almost feel it resonating through you. Like a deep dark song that embodies your thoughts and feelings.

And the rush of speed, windswept, exposed. In control, yet at the edge of what is controllable.

These are the reasons why I have gone back to riding motorbikes. I read somewhere that riding a bike is the closest you will get to the sensation of flying. Someone else said that it is like steering a missile.

I’m older now, I have figured out that I’m not immortal. And control is often an illusion. I watch the road, the people, constantly scanning for warning signs.

But once you are out on that open road, there is no other feeling in the world like it.

Hump day

Traditionally Wednesday is hump day, the middle of the working week, once you get through it, there is the nice easy slide into the weekend.

I’m not feeling it yet though. As I prepared for bed last night, my mind told me it was “cigarette before bed” time. When I awoke, my mind told me “cuppa and a smoke”. Bastard. I’d kick it’s bloody head in, but that would be a bit odd. I am odd enough already and I don’t want to encourage the men in white coats with a nice jacket to come take me away.

I was reading through some blogs I follow and came across an “If I won the lottery” type post. I had a convo with an old friend yesterday about lottery wins, how much was enough and how much was too much.

£250,000 would be nice. Enough to share some winnings with the rest of the family and take a month long break. Maybe hire a motorhome (that’s RV to our colonial cousins), strap a bike to the back and take a slow drive from the west coast of the US to the east.

I read an article a few years ago that £5 million was the minimum required to give up work and live off the interest, with a couple of nice holidays each year. It’s probably double that now. I’ve always thought I wouldn’t give up work. I’m a bit of a workaholic, what the hell would I do with all that free time? Recently though, I am thinking, I’d get my dream bike, a top end camera and tour the world, photographing the places and people along the way, perhaps making a book out of it.

Hmmm, very nice, these dreams. However, it’s hump day….hi ho, hi ho….off to work I go.