I have a confession to make – last week, clearly in the midst of some mild inner crisis and not thinking straight, I made my excuses and bailed out of our regular Sunday morning bike ride.
Don’t roll your eyes, there’s more.
I bailed out because of a weather forecast that predicted persistent rain showers, and I didn’t particularly fancy riding in that.
Hang on, I’m not finished.
Not because I didn’t want to get wet, but because I didn’t want my bike to get wet.
Let me explain.
As the text messages went around planning the meeting place and the route, all I could think about was the fact that a few days earlier I’d scrubbed and polished my pride and joy, greased every moving part, and buffed it to a high sheen.
Were I to ride it now in the rain, all trace of the hard graft and elbow grease would be lost within about three minutes.
Of course, when I made my excuses I didn’t get into all this detail, I simply made vague mutterings about not wanting to ride in the wet, to which my name would no doubt have been dragged through the mid-ride mud (I always knew he was a bit soft, but it’s only a spot of rain, etc.)
I suppose I thought that this slanderous questioning of my hard-man credentials was a small price to pay to keep the truth of my pathetic excuse hidden.
I met up with a non-cycling friend for coffee instead, and the minute I explained my unusual availability on a Sunday morning he responded with eyebrows raised, and I watched his respect for me began to ebb away; it turns out I’m expected to uphold, at all times, a reputation of stoical disinterest in any excuse given for not riding a bike at every opportunity.
And here I was, letting the side down.
Having said that, the thought of my colleagues gritting their teeth and grimacing their way through the November weather did, I have to admit, cheer me up slightly.
Re-assured that I’d made the right decision, even if I made it for the wrong reasons, I thought of my trusty steed out in the shed, pristine and gleaming.
I’ll just have to think up a better excuse next time.