Let them Eat Cake

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.

card and silver star

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:

  1. You have to ride your age in the measure of your choice (miles, kilometres, furlongs, chains, light years…)
  2. You can do it any day you choose within a year of the birthday in question (before or afterwards)
  3. There must be cake involved at some point in the proceedings
  4. 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…

21 Responses to Let them Eat Cake

  1. You should be so lucky. Me – state pension age in 17 days. I’m sitting here thinking ‘how the f*** did that happen?’.

    Anyway, 65 mile ‘birthday’ ride? Your challenge will be… considered. 🙂

  2. disgruntled says:

    other measures are available – 65 kms? Furlongs?

  3. Paul M says:

    I’ve worked out that if I did it in miles, I’d have to do the BHF London-Brighton, and then along the seafront to Shoreham. Don’t fancy kilometres much either, even if this is the age of decimalisation.

    I could do it cables of course, but at ten to the nautical mile (2,000 yds) that isn’t much of a challenge.

    Irish miles, that has to be it. Sometimes assumed to be a little longer than English miles, in practical fact they are as long or as short as you wish them to be, and there’s always a pub at the end of them.

  4. disgruntled says:

    Irish miles sound perfect.

  5. Flighty says:

    Enjoy the ride and cake when you do it, and I’m all in favour of Irish miles! xx

  6. Paul says:

    Local cyclist Les is, I think, 100 this year. Always did his age miles on his birthday. Had to drop to kilometres in his 90’s and recently had to do it in stages. Fingers crossed he gets out this year in September.

  7. disgruntled says:

    Flighty – thanks!
    Paul – Les sounds awesome. Hope he makes it

  8. 2whls3spds says:

    I vote for yards as I age, or possibly metres if I am feeling frisky…as long as there is a pub and pints involved I am game! 😉


  9. disgruntled says:

    I’ll have to work a pub stop into the next one I think!

  10. […] before, when I managed a 28 mile loop of some of the roads we would cover, Saturday’s Anniversaire was a bit of a trip into the […]

  11. […] I may joke about N+1, but the Brompton aside, I’m really more of a one-bike girl, so the bike has tended to bear the brunt of my Mrs Armitage-ish tendencies. However, I did think as I rode out this morning that bike and I are more or less complete – at least until I break down and fit an electric motor in time for my 80th Anniversaire. […]

  12. […] the Brompton was to test it over some fairly hefty hills. It might have to be lent out for my next Anniversaire, and I wanted to make sure that the route I had chosen was actually doable with the gearing […]

  13. […] the good news is that it’s my Anniversaire ride on Saturday and it looks as if I will have a good turnout, so it should be a grand day out. […]

  14. […] which is a problem when you’ve invited several hungry cyclists to join you for a 46-mile anniversaire jaunt at the weekend and you need to feed them brownies, and – just now – forgotten […]

  15. […] that will have to wait for Monday. Tomorrow we have plans to ride bikes and eat cake and forget about politics and that’s the only really sane response to this morning’s […]

  16. […] I don’t think I’ve fully digested the impact of the EU referendum result yet – I don’t know that anyone has – but yesterday I had a welcome distraction in the form of my Anniversaire. […]

  17. […] readers may have noticed that I have not so far held my Anniversaire this year. This was not because I had given up in the face of the ever-increasing distance, but […]

  18. […] yesterday was the day of my Anniversaire – a 49 mile cycling jaunt with any similarly inclined friends who care to join me in […]

  19. […] that too many people will turn up and it will be chaos). There’s also the small matter of my Anniversaire which is next Saturday and didn’t even have a route planned until late last night. But […]

  20. […] Donard, ensured that I more than felt my age), I didn’t formally mark the occasion (through my Anniversaire) until this weekend so that others who are more busy than me could join in […]

  21. […] all had gone to plan this year, today would have been the day for my anniversiare – the way I prefer to celebrate my birthday (observed) these […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: