Do you ever concentrate when you’re riding? I mean really concentrate? Concentrating so flippin’ hard that you’re staring down the line of the front wheel like you’re sighing a target, focussing on what’s in front, forgetting about all behind?
I do. Sometimes. Usually when the rain is lashing against my bike like a trawler buffeted by North Atlantic swell. Or when I’m climbing a hill and I see nothing (and I mean nothing) but the ground in front.
When these moments come (and they do) a mental soundtrack plays out, the mind’s coping mechanism throwing up a tune to distract from the pain. I’ve had a few over the years. Some I’m willing to own up to (‘Angel’ by Massive Attack, ‘Only you’ by Portishead, ‘Wham Bam thank you mam’ by the Small Faces) and others I’m not (that’s my guilty secret). But right now, in the middle of meteorological hardship or the throes of lactic build up, it’s Terry Callier that plays out:
I know you, rider
Baby, you might miss me when I’m gone,
I say, baby, when I’m gone
‘You’re goin to miss your candyman’ by Terry Callier is available on the excellent Late night tales compilation by the Cinematic Orchestra.