Following a long tradition in the Mayne family we celebrated the new year with a bike ride. The ritual matters to us, we know that under the skin, no matter how overstuffed we are by the Christmas period we are at heart cyclists.
Getting the blood moving, opening the lungs and feeling the pedals turn over means that the year will be OK because riding a bike will be the physical and mental therapy that we fall back on when we are jaded.
This year we were three generations.
Geoff, Grandad, Dad – call him what you will. At 74 years old he has just completed a 14,000 mile year, one of his highest ever. Riding almost every day back in Bungay, Suffolk he is the picture of health. Those miles will have moved him still further up the league table for mileaters, the 300,000 Mile Club. You wonder why I became a cyclist – look no further.
And at the other end of the spectrum is son Ben, who as a student has managed to dedicate himself far more to his computers than his bike this term, but with no miles in his legs can still jump on a bike and join me for a couple of hours yesterday and over an hour today.
As the weather looked a bit mucky we did my byways route around Finchampstead, linking together dirt roads and minor tracks through Barkham and Arborfield until the increasing rain forced us home after about 90 minutes. Job done, honour satisfied, we have reaffirmed ourselves.