Saturday, 31 December 2016


It's been quite a year. So many people have had very hard times, we have lost big celebratory names, political turmoil has surprised many, and it seems folk are just wanting the year to end, and 2017 to start.

I'm just grateful. I am eternally grateful to have a job that pays well enough to fund an expensive cycling hobby, never mind also pay the mortgage, insurance, and increasing food bills.

I am grateful to have a comfy bed, warmth, running clean tap water, the ability to choose what I put on my plate and the luxury of portions that can be as big as I would like them to be.

I am grateful to wake up every day and know I have the most amazing supportive partner who tolerates the chaos that follows me everywhere, the fact I break pretty much everything I touch and the huge amounts of time spent riding and working away from home. He fixes my bikes, he looks after me like an angel, and he never criticizes or puts me down.

I am grateful for my broken arm back in March, and the ease with which it healed, how supportive work were during the time I couldn't drive, and for the amazing staff at Gloucester A&E. I am grateful for finding a love for running during my time off the bike, and I am grateful to have continued the long distance cycling during the rehab period thanks to so very wonderful tandem partners.

I am even grateful for the weeks and weeks of post-viral fatigue which hit in October and dragged on until Mid December, resetting my goals and breaking the 'must keep putting in the miles' rut which had formed deep from three years of Audax.

I am grateful for the amazing friendships that have continued during 2016, and those new ones which have formed.

It's been wonderful seeing a 'tongue in cheek' weekly 'Average Joes' social ride take on a life of it's own, and a fantastic group of like-minded riders come together and pull each other along without any pressure or ego.

It's been effortless keeping the group together, either on rides themselves, or through social media, as it's own synergism acts as the glue to bind it.

I am grateful for the massive variation in places I have ridden, from sea to hills

Urban cycleroutes to farmers fields

Through the summer heat and the winter cold. 

Mostly I am grateful to wake up every morning and know there is another day to be lived, another day without fear of oppression, hunger, conflict or poverty.

It may not always be this way. We need to appreciate every minute of every day and remember that, when the challenges come along, those first world problems of ours, it's our perspective that dictates our response.

2017 will be what it will be, but there are no plans. There will be no 'box ticking'. Work will be done, because it must be done. Rides, however, will be for experience and adventure.

No obligatory events. No more tick tick tick of clocks marring the appreciation of the moment. No more miles-for-miles-sake. Quality routes, multi-day trips and, of course, wonderful social rides with friends.