I decided to go for a bike ride this morning. That was poor cycling decision number 1.
I merrily hopped on my bike, popped in at my boyfriend’s bicycle shop to get the tyres pumped up and to give it a bit of a clean (my bike, not his shop – that would be kindness to the point of stupidity), then I whizzed off, filled with the joys of life and looking forward to nice long, calamity-free bike ride.
Then I decided to go off-road. That was poor cycling decision number 2.
I spotted a dirt track leading into woodland off the main road. Feeling adventurous, I went for it. It was all going well – it was a little muddy here and there but nothing by trusty steed and spectacular riding skills couldn’t handle – until I came to a fork in the track. It looked like this:
A normal person who have taken the left-hand track. The one that was paved and fringed with woodland flowers, and promised happiness and delight at every turn. Instead, I made poor cycling decision number 3 and took the right-hand track.
Now, as those of you who live in England will be aware, we have had quite a lot of rain recently. And when I say quite a lot of rain, I mean we’ve had more rain than if we’d rung up God and said ‘Tell you what, God, you know all that rain you’re storing up there that’s got to last for the whole world until the end of time? Well, just for a laugh, why don’t you dump it all on England every day for about six weeks, and we’ll see what happens?’
That’s a lot of rain. So, as everyone knows, when rain falls on a ‘dirt track’, it ceases to be a ‘dirt track’, and instead becomes a ‘steaming river of mud and shit and oomska through which no cyclist should ever attempt to cycle’.
I realised after about seven seconds that I’d made a poor decision and that to continue on this track would mean nothing but doom, mishap and woe, but, in a move that was to become poor cycling decision number 4, I did not turn back and take the flower-lined track to eternal joy and salvation. No. For some reason I battled on.
The mud became deeper. The puddles became wider. The bicycle became harder to manoeuvre. My sense of self-hatred became more acute. Soon, it was impossible to carry on riding unless I wanted this to happen:
So I dismounted. This instantly became poor cycling decision number 5, as I’d chosen to dismount right in the middle of an enormous puddle of scummy, muddy, watery sludge, and my very expensive trainers paid the price for aforementioned poor decision.
So I proceeded to push my bike through the ghastly oomska, wading through this river of shit, mud seeping through my expensive trainers, through my socks, and into my delicate feet, until I came to another fork. This time there was no decision to be made as both tracks promised exactly the same thing, so I thought I’d stick with consistency and went with the right-hand track.
This turned out to be poor cycling decision number 6, as the gentle purr of traffic that had comforted me so far, reminding me that I was in a wood surrounded by busy main roads and dry pavements, became softer and softer until it was nothing but a whimper. But I ploughed on. I stumbled and tripped and swore my way through the mud, falling over a submerged tree root at one point so that I fell on one knee and damn-near drowned.
Eventually, just when I was on the verge of setting off some flares, I began to hear the traffic again; it got louder and louder, and then there was light: a beautiful, greyish, weak ray of sunlight at the end of the track, which meant I had made it through this infernal swamp of despair and had returned to the main road. I emerged, sweating, panting, covered in shit, but thankful to be alive.
So I found a nice dry bit of pavement, got back on my bike and, eager to be home so that I could make myself not covered in shit anymore, started peddling very fast. This was immediately poor cycling decision number 7.
I eventually arrived home. I stumbled to the front door, peeled off my mud-caked expensive trainers and my mud-caked socks, opened the door, and had to crawl through the hallway on my hands and knees to prevent getting my mud-caked feet on the carpet. Just as my mud-caked bum was in the air, the neighbours chose this point to pass by, and, obviously alarmed by the sight of me on my hands and knees in the middle of my hallway with the front door wide open, they gingerly inquired after my health.
After which I crawled upstairs, peeled off the rest of my mud-caked clothes, and I think it was in the shower when I vowed that I would never get on a ****ing bike again as long as I ****ing well lived.