Honesty, that’s the key.
I come back to it over and over again. People can tell, always, when you’re trying to be pretend you’re something you’re not.
When I started writing about cycling I had to make the decision (and it was a decision) to be honest.
What do I mean?
In short, I had to make it clear that I wasn’t one of those lean, mean, ‘cool’ cyclists who clock up 100s of miles without breaking sweat.
Oh, no. I was one of those men on the wrong side of 30 (or 40 nowadays) who was carrying a little (a lot) too much weight, didn’t know a groupset from a twinset and could only manage a ride down to the all-night garage and back before collapsing on the couch.
I realised that there were many people out there like me – they were never going to be Chris Froome or even ‘Joe Bloggs’ the second-fastest fella at their local bike club.
I understood that these people were enthusiastic for change and more than a little bit intimidated by a sport that seemed to celebrate a bodily perfection they couldn’t hope to live up to.
It takes bravery to leave your house in skin tight Lycra when you’re carrying the extra pounds. It takes humility to smile and wave as the local bike club whizzes by, leaving you for dust. It takes patience to sit by the side of the road and change a flat tyre as white-van man toots his horn and shouts something unrepeatable as he speeds past.
There’s a whole host of people who aren’t photogenic, fast or fabulous on their bikes. They’re just folks trying to carve back a bit of life for themselves, despite the naysayers. I write for these people.
That’s why I share photos of me out on my bike (they’re never flattering), I tell stories of my failures (and occasional triumphs) and don’t worry when what I write takes a comical edge.
It’s OK to laugh at my experiences. Laughter doesn’t hurt anyone, really. I just hope, that after people have laughed, that some of them might get inspired to get out on their bikes too.
They’ll be glad they did…