I returned home from a bike ride this weekend to be met my youngest son. He was a bit concerned. The wintery conditions had been whittling away at my faculties for the past two and a half hours and there was no hiding my weather ravaged state. I was frozen stiff.
“You OK daddy?” he asked, ever the empath, “you look a bit cold.”
“Mmmpff…flffmmp…hhffssmm,” I replied. My lips and facial muscles having long since given up on coherent speech.
Over the next twenty minutes, while I battled to remove my overshoes with only limited fine motor skills, he revealed a hitherto unseen entrepreneurial flair. A series of product ideas, for the cold weather cyclist, were delivered with assurance.
“It would be good if you could fill up your handlebars with hot water wouldn’t it daddy?” he pointed out. “That would keep your hands warm.”
“I suppose it would,” I agreed, my ability to speak slowly returning, “…might make the bike a bit heavy though.”
He flashed me a look that I can only describe as withering. As if to say that riding a heavy, water filled bike, would undoubtedly improve my fitness over the winter months, and maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad idea?
“Ok. How about you get a woollen bike, that would work,” he offered.
It could be a racy, lightweight carbon steed, he was suggesting, but clad with merino or angora, maybe even the heavy pelt of a reindeer or an arctic fox. I wasn’t clear exactly how that would keep me (rather than the bike) warm but he presented it as a self-evident solution. Possibly due to the lingering effects of the cold I didn’t feel confident enough to challenge him on it.
And with that he was off.
Presumably to tidy up his latest applications to the patent office and source a reliable manufacturer for these cycling solutions. He peered back at me as he ran off up the stairs, as if to say “fuckin’ hell daddy, do I have to solve all your problems?”
Or at least some clean, child-friendly version of that.
Either way, I was left in no doubt. He’d tried to help. Should I return from a ride next week in a state of weather induced distress, there’s really nothing more he can do for me.