as a colleague left work the other day, she made mention of having tidied her desk prior to leaving. since the desk in question is of minimalist coverings even when busy, i pointed out that it would be difficult to tell the difference between her desk when tidy or untidy, to which she replied that even if the former state, her desk would be considerably tidier than mine. unlike my usual quick-witted self (a guy can dream), i had no ready reply to this accusation, for the basis of it was entirely true.
my usual defence of this somewhat obvious state of affairs has been to cite my artistic disposition. in years gone by, when life was less corporate, macwarehouse used to send in a monthly sales magazine, the inside cover of which regularly featured their more spendworthy clients, almost invariably involved in the graphic design and publishing environment. and they are almost always untidy. that is, however, a statement which requires qualification; untidy is not only a state of mind, it's an entirely subjective description, aimed at the less than organised by those obsessively so. the latter description fits my colleague to a tee.
how many of us, about to leave home for an event, a race, a cycle show or any number of other reasons to travel, play mental games for days in advance trying desperately to ensure that all necessary precautions have been taken to enable safe passage all the way to our ultimate destination? and it's not only travel arrangements that need looking after. though not quite related to cycling, in my early years of inveterate gigging as a session drummer, i arrived at the appointed venue, set up drums and cymbals only to realise that the evening may be quieter than usual due to a complete lack of drum sticks. since that memorable time, i have always carried an extra pair of sticks in my trap (stands and pedals) case.
some things you hopefully only do once.
when it comes to cycling, there are more intricacies to be negotiated, for it is rare that the accoutrements of modern pedalling reside neatly in a set of custom cases. all has to be accounted for individually: helmet, shoes, shorts, jerseys etc., many of which are often spread geographically around one's abode. and there is rarely any filing system keeping track.
assuming all the above to be in place and in order, with destination successfully achieved devoid of any hitches, that's often where the bulk of the trip (should it be such) begins. cyclists have had it bred into them from the days when stabilisers still occupied pride of place on the rear wheels, to keep extensive and meticulous diaries of training regimes, weekly kilometreage and modern intrusions such as heart-rate numbers and watts. no bike ride can be considered complete without pencilled statistics retained in a back pocket, or perhaps brought to the table at day's end.
the shortcoming that you can see heading in our direction is the apparent lack of a suitable bible in which to record and organise even the most anodyne of cycling excursions. but i might just have a solution to that.
the bicycle travel journal recently published by laurence king publishing, containing unique and eclectic illustrations by architect and keen cyclist nigel peake, is something of a godsend. arriving at washingmachinepost cottage just prior to my trip south for the rapha supercross event, i eagerly flicked its pages and secreted brown envelopes to aid organisation of boats, buses and trains. those little brown envelopes, popping up just when you least expect, proved ideal as an organised method of filing tickets that i usually contrive to lose. thus as the conductor/steward aboard the virgin pendolino heading ultimately to london euston, ambled between coach seats imploring us all to "have your tickets ready", rather than my usual frantic searching through every pocket in every garment i am wearing, i simply pulled the necessary from their little brown resting place.
add to that, along each step of the route, i was immersed in reading the book finally reviewed yesterday, and finding it necessary to make notes along the way. as indeed was the case after the windermere 'cross race. the bicycle travel journal made for the ideal method of recording choice aspects of my weekend trip. i was even moved to make some rather rudimentary pencil drawings as i went over the rest and be thankful, and that's something that hasn't happened for many a long year.
its 128 pages encased in a faux leather cover featuring an inscribed bicycle wheel are blank, lined, half blank, half lined and bookmarked by the aforementioned brown envelopes (removable via a tear-off perforation), brown pages and interspersed with charts to allow detailing of punctures, cake stops, kilometres ridden, altitude gained and many other notes of cycling ephemera. how i have ever managed to get from one week's end to the next without one of these, or something very similar, is something my office colleague would find nigh on impossible to comprehend.
if you're an organised cyclist with little in the way of artistic tendencies, this is the journal for you. however, if numbers and statistics fail to hold any interest, but inscrutable sketches of obscure subjects could inform and entertain in equal measure for hours on end, this is also the journal for you.
as necessitous as a presta valve on a 700c inner tube.
posted wednesday 19 october 2011..........................................................................................................................................................................................................