During my childhood, before I started getting whisps of light coloured hair on my face, during a time when my style looked like it had been cut and stuck straight from the pages of Kerrang! magazine, me and my mates would bomb-around on bikes. Usually BMX’s or single-speed bikes before upgrading as a teenage to a stiff mountain bike. Where I’m from, the bike was always the big present at Christmas, usually surrounded by what has become commonly known as ‘stocking-fillers’. During one Christmas, I remember the bike wasn’t there when I came down the stairs into the living-room at the early hours of one morning. My parents had managed to convince me that Father Christmas must have forgotten about it, only for it to magically appear at dinnertime, just as I started to put my bottom lip away. These were magical times, even if I didn’t realise it. I’m sure I did, but you see things clearer as you get older and your time becomes precious.
For some reason, I can’t really remember the seasons when I was a kid, I can’t remember it ever being 'too cold' to go out, we would be out, just knocking around in the woods, on “The Rec” (recreational ground) or down the big ginnel - away from everyone and everything. Whatever the weather, we were out. I look back fondly, every day was an adventure, you went with the flow and you never knew what was around the next corner. We were like flaneurs back then, before I knew what the word meant (we never knew how sophisticated we were!). Imagine that freedom to roam, knocking about on bikes, on tracks, building little jumps and dens and harassing the girls of the village - fantastics! You’d pay good money to do that now wouldn’t you?
What we do now is the same (apart from chasing the girls!), maybe we’re too old to see it the same way, but we partake in the same activities to a certain degree. The only difference really being that we go further, we stay our longer and we eat better. Nowadays our daily duties keep us grounded but doing bike tours with your mates is the ultimate escape, the closest thing we’ve got to leaving our responsibilities as adults just for a few days - it reminds me of my childhood, when you’re deep into the second day of a tour, on the roads unknown, on top of a hill somewhere, through the ford, the places you can’t get to in a single-ride from your home, not knowing where you are and forgetting just as easily where you’ve just been - that’s the feeling you can’t buy!