Recognise the title?
Shakespeare’s description of the soldier in the seven ages of man. There now, that’s probably earned my a totally unjustified reputation as a expert on The Bard and all his works. You might even want me on your team for the next pub quiz!
Only joking. But reputation is a funny thing. It all depends on your standards of comparison. To many of my friends and acquaintances in the village where I live I am considered as a keen cyclist. But most of them don’t ride a bike at all. Some of my friends in the local cycling club hardly count me as a “proper” cyclist at all. I don’t go for 25-mile training rides just for the hell of it. They do. I also ride a trike, and not only a trike but a recumbent trike – how weird can you get?
People I meet outside the supermarket – the bike park outside our local supermarket is a great place for striking up conversatioms about cycling – often say “You must be fit.” But it depends on your standard of comparison. Compared to Bradley Wiggins or Victoria Pendleton I am not fit; even compared to some of my cycling friends of a similar age I am not a strong rider. But I don’t care. I ride to get where I want to go at the pace I want to go. I enjoy riding and use my trike to get around.
Many people regard a bike as either a toy – something you get out on a nice sunny Sunday afternoon to go for a quick five mile ride to a nearby picnic site. To others it is a piece of sports equipment, taken out to do long training runs and carefully maintained and cleaned, My trike is neither of these: it is a “means of transportation” as they used to say many years ago on the radio programme Twenty Questions. I use my trike to get from A to B. Keeping fit, saving money by not driving a car, being ecologically friendly and not polluting the atmosphere – are all only side effects, though admirable ones.
THIS IS NOT THE WAY I RIDE