When I was young, seeing friends in the evening was what you lived for. Making plans, ‘knocking for each other’ and then returning home for food. This morning I relived that glory, but from the child-like heart of a 26 year old on a bike.
Five of us had decided that we would ride out to Giro for breakfast. I instantly felt giddy, knowing that for those few hours I’ll be surrounded by bad-ass people and positive energy. Bookmarked by calpol, now disguised as coffee.
Firstly, we knocked for each other. I met Kati in Waterloo at 0645. I panicked that I’d under-dressed when the chill reached my hands and feet within 5 minutes. I thought about what my mum would have said when I was young: ‘Have you got your coat, Kit?’. I probably ignored the sensible advice then as well.
Kati and I then cycled to knock for the others. We met at Artisan Coffee in Putney for 0730. Three of the five of us turned up wearing purple. Just like kids at school, we found it hilarious. Looking at ourselves like we were the ‘popular kids’ who walk down the road like they own the street. This time though, we were riding.
Cycling through Richmond Park, we doubled up and began chatting about what was going on in our lives. Instead of remarks like ‘boys smell’, we discussed kids and how broody some of the girls currently are. Instead of remarks about what classes we had on tomorrow, we discussed work and opportunities.
After a chilly and quiet-roaded 30km, we reached the corner shop. Giro coffee. With a distinct lack of penny sweets, I opted for Avocado on Toast. Instead of sitting down with a 'quarter of jelly teds', the girls ordered a mixture of beans on toast, granola and banana bread. There was no blue fizzy pop in sight, but the same high was provided after the first sip of our flat white. I looked at my phone and saw a text message from my mum. I call her. It wasn’t to tell me ‘dinner is ready, hun’, but finalising plans for a friend’s wedding this weekend.
We sit and enjoy our breakfast after taking a few layers off. We’re adults now and fully understand the concept of ‘you won’t feel the benefit when you go outside’. With no parents to pay, we close the bill before getting back on the bikes for the return journey.
Between Giro and Waterloo, we drop everyone off. First, Lorna in Putney. Then Sophie in Fulham. Finally the three remaining cycled through West London to Central London. We send Abi off, making sure she knows which way she is going, before all of us are back home. Instead of loading a game of Snake, I finish my Strava ride and make sure it’s saved. I walk upstairs, take my shoes off and try to get warm again.
Cycling brings out your inner child. You feel free, enthusiastic and protective of your 'squad', just like when you were out playing with friends as a kid. The big difference? If I now leave my cycling clothes in a pile, they won't magically be washed and ironed for me by tomorrow.
Strava Route: https://www.strava.com/activities/495465604