I have recently been aware of the accelerating passing of the years* which birthdays don’t do much to dispel. Although I’ve tried ignoring it in the hope it would go away, the numbers do keep mounting up so I’ve decided to embrace the process instead and mark my birthday properly by riding my age each year. Some people – who are either hard as nails or born in the summer – do this on the day itself, which does have the advantage of sharpening your appetite for cake, but my birthday falls in March and at the time the weather was a bit grim so I decided to postpone it. And then, knowing that without a fixed deadline, the chances are I would never actually get round to it, I decided to recruit some more people to join me if only to keep me honest, and provide a bit of company on the day.
Which is why I sent out the following email to a selected group of those friends who I guessed might be likely to think this sounded fun rather than a sign that living out in the middle of nowhere had begun to soften my brain:
I have long been mulling a deranged scheme for celebrating my birthday by ‘riding my age’ each year, starting now at a relatively manageable (help) 44 and gradually building up as I get older and madder until I either get knocked off my bike by a quarry lorry at 83 or end up in the local paper as I complete my century on a hand powered tricycle about a week after I set off. This year I have finally decided to put it into practice … although I think I’ll wait until the weather improves a little before actually doing it. I’m emailing to see if any (or all) of you want to accompany me on this venture. I haven’t worked out any of the details except that there will be cake at some point during the ride. And that those who don’t want to do the entire 44 miles could join us somewhere along the way for the cake part.
Astoundingly, the response was overwhelmingly positive so, my bluff well and truly called, that is what I will be doing this weekend.
As it happened, just as I was putting the finishing touches to the day, a card and silver star arrived for me in the post from @gypsybug at Chasing Mailboxes – my prize for not properly completing the Erandonneering challenge. It struck me that I was missing a trick here, simply calling it a birthday ride, especially as I’m not even doing it on my birthday, so I have decided to rebrand it. As these things have to have a cod French name, I am now having an Anniversaire and as they also have to have some rules, here are the rules if you want to hold an Anniversaire of your own:
- You have to ride your age in the measure of your choice (miles, kilometres, furlongs, chains, light years…)
- You can do it any day you choose within a year of the birthday in question (before or afterwards)
- There must be cake involved at some point in the proceedings
- Any other rules are at the discretion of the birthday girl (or boy).
And that’s it. There are no prizes, other than the satisfaction of blowing a big raspberry in the face of time. I’m hoping that the raspberry will just get more satisfying as the years wear on, assuming I stick to it, although at some point I will probably go metric as the distance racks up (I’ll blame the EU, naturally).
As birthday celebrations go it’s not *quite* as exciting as the day of tank driving that I was planning for my 40th, which was unfortunately cancelled at the last minute. But having done a recce this afternoon of some of the route – and with the weather forecast set to not absolutely miserable – I think it should still be a bit of a blast. With cake.
*not so much because of my increasing decrepitude as the fact that I’ve now been an embarrassingly long time writing my Difficult Second Novel. Think Donna Tartt, but without the massive best-sellerdom in the first place…