It’s come to my attention that some people are getting paid to ride their bikes.
They have names like Chris Froome and Peter Sagan, and along with a few hundred others they seem to have cornered the market. You may have seen them knocking around France in July, suffering for cash.
I mention this because, for some years now, it has been my ambition to ride my bike nine to five, Monday to Friday.
Unfortunately, this plan has so far been scuppered. Mainly because I’ve been having to work in an actual job to earn enough money to pay a mortgage, feed my children and, ironically, keep two well equipped road bikes in pristine condition.
This actual job happens, give or take, between nine and five, Monday to Friday.
What are the chances?
I’m a victim of the work-life-bike balance.
I’m also a victim of my average physiology and unremarkable power output. I’ve never tested my ‘numbers’ as a cyclist, but I have a sneaky suspicion that Froome and Sagan might be operating at a higher level than me.
Which is the crux of the matter.
Apparently, if I want to earn money to ride my bike during business hours I need to be a ‘pro cyclist’, and get signed up by a ‘team’, who want to offer me a ‘contract’.
It seems I’ve got things all wrong.
I’d noticed that Twitter is full of ‘cyclists’ who seem to do little else, and Strava is crammed with ‘athletes’ chasing kudos and digital trophies.
Could it be that these people aren’t earning a living from this? That they aren’t actually ‘cyclists’ and ‘athletes’? That this is all a thin veneer under which lies a nine to five job and an unremarkable power output?
Are we even sure that Froome and Sagan are getting paid to ride their bikes? Could it be that they’re stacking shelves at Tesco to earn a few quid between races? That they just happen to holiday in France every year and turn out in the local bike race while they’re at it?
I’d heard that pro cycling operated on pretty shaky financial ground, but maybe it’s worse than we thought.