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Buffalo hide aspirations

The gentle joys of... audax?

It became clear to me many years ago that I’ll never be a racer. I lack both the power to go quickly and the hunger to acquire it. I watch my racer club-mates training with a mixture of bewilderment and pity as they go to ever-more painful extremes in their quest to squeeze from themselves just that tiny bit more speed and stamina.

The thing that decided it once and for all was watching the faces of far stronger riders than me during a local crit race. The pain! The exhaustion! The misery! And yet still no chance of winning!

No, for me cycling’s always been about gentler joys: the scenery, the sociability, the sense of adventure, the sense of achievement. I love pushing myself – but at my own pace. That’s why I love riding in the mountains. It’s why I seek out new cycling experiences such as night rides. It’s why I always like to take a bike on family holidays (much to my wife’s delight). It’s also why I’ve just joined Audax UK.

I see now that this been heading my way for a while. I'm in my fifties now; I’ve got the trusty steel-framed workhorse; I’ve got the burnished Brooks saddle; I’ve even got two different sized Carradice bags. And now I’ve got the self-printed Audax UK membership card to complete the set.

But there’s one thing still missing. Earlier, I tweeted excitedly that my membership pack had arrived. Fellow blogger Sam Shaw immediately tweeted back: “Now to start curing your perineum so it’s as thick as a North American buffalo hide.”

Ah yes, the miles. Time to start putting in the miles…

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine ( 

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