We were going to ride to Westerham, but in all honesty, while I went to bed at 2100hrs last night (Saturday) and had a fairly good night's sleep, waking refreshed and finding myself singing (if that's what it was) while downstairs making myself tea, a boiled egg and two Weetabix at the crack of dawn, I was thinking about the ride, getting back early and all the usual preoccupations. When Andy and I met on the green at 0730hrs we decided to head for the Tatsfield village. I was armed with fruit cake, Christmas cake to be precise, made by mum, and I suggested that if we have cake then we'll need somewhere dry and sheltered with a seat in order to stuff our faces in a civilised manner. Who wants to stand up when there's cake to eat?
The weather was damp and foggy. It was much foggier than Saturday – when we rode to the Tatsfield Churchyard – meaning that benches exposed to the air would be damp, like they were yesterday, and we'd have to stand up. There's no cover at Westerham and there's no cover at the Tatsfield Churchyard meaning that it was down to the village or the bus stop. We opted for the latter.
|Customised NoVisibleLycra frame transfers – you know you want one!|
|Beddlestead Lane in the fog – it was thicker than it looks|
Take Linkedin, for instance; I've had an account since 2009 and has it done me any good? No. It's just full of pretentious posers pretending to be dynamic and 'on the ball' by posting links to articles and stuff they want me to think they're very interested in. It's so boring! And then there's that bit where it tells you who has been looking at your profile; and while I might know some of the people – and find myself wondering 'why are they looking at my profile?' – most of those interested seem to be recruitment agents and they never, ever, get in touch. Not that I particularly want them to.
|Matt and Andy at the Tatsfield Bus Stop...the fog cleared|
Fortunately, because it's online and not in print, it's not a case of 'woodman, spare that tree' and to be fair – and I don't know why, but probably because there's a stronger element of an 'audience' online when compared to the paper equivalent – I have kept the blog going, updating it at least weekly and sometimes daily. I've tried keeping paper-based diaries before and I tend not to get very far into the year before I lose interest, so in that sense alone, the blog has been worthwhile. With this blog we have a record of our cycling 'adventures' that we can refer to, glance at, whatever, at our leisure, even on our smartphones. Yes, I'm that sad! And I'm sure that Andy is too. Jon and Phil are a little more divorced for the whole thing.
But then why should one expect anything from anything? Why should there be any kind of end result to anything we do or say? I've often wondered whether my blog (or blogs) have ever directly affected anything in my life and I can say, almost without doubt, that no, they haven't had the slightest affect on anything. I wonder how many people, having arranged a meeting with me, have then Googled my name and found this blog? Actually, I'm sure people have done that – we all Google people, after all – but has it in any way altered their actions. "Quick, give that guy a call, I don't want to see him next Tuesday, he's taking the piss out of Lycra monkeys and (ahem) I'm a Lycra monkey!" Or, "Hold on a minute, if he's the bloke in the Tesco ASBO specials and the flappy hat and balaclava combo then he's not getting an interview with me!" Hmmm...come to think of it, some people have cancelled meetings. Perhaps...but no, I really don't think so. This blog is pretty harmless one way or the other. It's just a diary of my weekend cycling with Andy and Phil and my brother Jon. Alright, there's a few 'humorous' articles – well I think they're funny – a few satirical sketches, a few limp and misguided political commentaries, nothing that's going to set the world alight, but I can't believe that any of it would in any way negatively alter the course of my life and career. Why should it? And more importantly, why should I expect it to? And that goes for any other bloggers out there in cyberspace. We all do it because we can, perhaps there's a little vanity in there somewhere, I don't know, but ultimately that's about it. It's a distraction, a hobby, something to do, a way of giving stuff structure.
|Red leather Converse All-Stars...|
Where it does come in handy is at work. Being a journalist, life is so much easier these days, thanks to the worldwide web. Finding addresses, reading news from around the world and not just from the UK, setting up Google alerts on certain subjects, having relevant articles to what I'm writing/researching at my fingertips...it's all far easier than relying upon a telephone directory and the Yellow Pages to reach the people I need to talk to; and then there's 'digitalisation' and the fact that photographs can be emailed and I no longer have to rely upon the post (or 'snail mail' as it's called). Remember those stiff, cardboard-backed envelopes required to post off photographs?
Yes, in a work sense, the internet has made things a lot easier on all levels, but unless I come up with the next Google or the next Ebay then I can safely assume that while the internet makes my working life much easier, it's not going to bring me fame and fortune and, you know what? I don't want fame or fortune, just good health and happiness.
And on that bombshell, we headed for home, the fast way. The thick fog, which had engulfed the entire area around the Tatsfield Bus Stop and beyond had lifted. Only minutes earlier we watched bikes and cars disappear into the thick 'pea souper', but now, disillusioned as we were about anything connected with the word 'online' we pedalled off towards the Botley Hill Farmhouse and the road home. We parted at the Green and vowed to be back there next weekend for another exciting episode of NoVisibleLycra.