The couch. This is where I want to be, preferably horizontally, as soon as I unclip from my pedals after a cycle. Unfortunately my post-cycling routine does not always conform to my dreams since I usually get in the house to be greeted with a son who wants to play with his daddy (and by play I mean he likes to punch my helmet to test its integrity).
Let’s turn the clocks back a few years. I am single. I live alone. I have more hair. What would be my ideal post-cycle ritual? First thing I would do is put the kettle on and make a coffee which I would then enjoy whilst analysing my data on Strava. I would pretend, as I sat there in my kitchen, that I am a DS on a World Tour cycling team trying pouring over the data of my GC contender deep into a Grand Tour although in all honesty all I really care about is if my average speed was above or close to the 20mph mark. As a side note I really don’t know why I have focussed on 20mph as being some sort of marked of cycling prowess but it has unshakably stayed with me for as long as I can recall. If said average speed has not been met then the data must be interrogated further to find out why. Elevation most likely but you cannot discount those traffic lights.
Coffee finished it is time for a shower. A long one. Perhaps if it has been a wet ride I will even keep my bibs shorts and jersey on for the shower to give those a good soaking. Whilst in the shower I will carefully study the hair length of my legs (more on that here) to see if they are acceptably short or if another shave is required to get the pro look. Shower done it is then time for track pants and a t-shirt, a crucial uniform for what is to then be two hours swallowed by the sofa.
Perhaps the TV would be, especially if it was May, July or September when the Grand Tours are on. If it was a sprint/ transitional stage perhaps I would doze off and hope to awoken by the commentators increased volume on the finishing straight when I would ideally wake up to see Cavendish boss the sprint.
By then my hunger levels would be unsustainable and the kitchen would be raided safe in the knowledge that I have done a great work out and can totally justify not one but two bacon butties. One with ketchup and one with brown sauce, a sort of savoury main course and dessert.
I know that I should really have cleaned the bike as soon as I got home but I have yet to find an actual human being who follows that advice. So with my hunger sated and refreshed from my nap I can now tackle the bike cleaning. Bike cleaned and lubed it now sits in the house drying off so that I can look at and admire the machine. It is pretty obvious but a clean bike, gleaming in the light, just begs to be ridden. I have honestly not went out on my bike a handful of times when I know that it is sitting in the garage with a layer of winter road detritus coating it.
And now back to reality. I come home and lean my bike against the wall before going inside to grab the key for the garage. This is an important step as the short time it takes me to open the front door and grab the key is enough to act as a barometer as to what I can expect when I triumphantly and fully enter the family home. Can I hear commotion? Can I hear nothing? Is there the unmistakable frantic energy of someone preparing to leave the house on a family outing?
Depending on when I go on my cycle (see here for my unusual cycling clock) it is pretty usual to come home and launch immediately into full-fun-Dad mode without even any time to change from my lycra, which is ok if you are pretending to be a superhero perhaps. The data analysis can wait. The couch is now just a place to jump off. The bacon butties remain an uneaten dream. The dirty bike festers a bit longer. None of this really matters though as I am a Dad first and getting time out on the bike is just a bonus.