The Lancaster district is chock full of cyclists. Head out on any given day with a half decent weather forecast and you’ll see them in their thousands.
Over time, if you spend enough time pedalling up and down our Lancashire lanes, you’ll start to spot familiar faces; you’ll nod, wave, or say hello, neither of you knowing the other’s name, but silently thinking, ‘I know you’.
There’s the old timer, who’s not as fast as he used to be, but he can ride all day (and frequently does). Give this man a grid reference and he’ll tell you where the nearest café is and how good the fruitcake is.
There’s the young buck, who’s nervous and unsure of himself, but in a couple of years will no doubt be quick enough to humiliate us all, and feel sorry for us while he’s doing it.
There’s the racing snake who flies past impossibly quickly, lost in his own world, and busy making complex mental calculations around calorie intake, power to weight ratio and heart rate zones.
There’s the executive cyclist who’s new to the sport, with money to burn, decked out in full Team Sky kit and riding a state of the art and painfully expensive Italian bike.
The executive talks a good game but often has a bit of catching up to do.
And there are countless others in-between.
The times when confusion sets in is when you’re out shopping, or in a restaurant perhaps, and you spot one of these oh-so-familiar faces out of context. You think, ‘Oh look, there’s, erm, what’s his name? How do I know that bloke?’
You catch their eye and give them a half-wave, and even as they are waving back you both have that bemused look in your eyes which says, ‘Nope, I can’t place you’.
When you’re used to seeing someone in their natural habitat, hunched over a bike and dressed in lycra, to see them in the real world is instantly confusing; especially when you only vaguely know them anyway.
So what category do I fall into?
I suspect I’m neither old enough, young enough, nor quick enough to be that memorable.
Perhaps they think, ‘There’s that nondescript lad again, and he’s not sat in the café for a change. I know him’.