Whether it was the expectation of mutual fun or simply an act of love, when Ruby suggested that we go for a overnight bike ride to celebrate valentines day I was not going to say no. We don’t really buy into the whole corporate love fest thing however it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good reason for us to escape and go for an adventure together.
The ride had originally been set to be a trip around Arran but after considering the ferry times and other logistics, such as sleeping somewhere more romantic than in a plastic bag in a field in February, the trip had been canned. To be saved for another weekend of fairer weather or B&B vacancies or both. It wasn’t until we were through half a bottle of wine and half a steak on the Thursday night that we realised that we had not made any alternative weekend plans, bikes or otherwise.
With a forecast of semi-fair weather a plan was hatched, a pleasant non hilly route was quickly pieced together and a room booked in the excellent Jessie Macs hostel in Birnam where we could sleep in comfort and not need worry about things, like digging a hole to poo in a barrage of sleet. Its not that we are adverse to such experiences but there is a time and a place and an overnight bike ride based around a romantic holiday does not lend itself to sleeping inside draughty shelters in soggy bibs.
The cliched term ‘couples that ride together, stay together’ is often banded around but with cycling (or any other activity that can easily turn into type 2 fun) you can quickly get a solid 10 years of relationship experience crammed into a couple of days pedalling in mixed weather. From elevated highs to near suicidal lows, all these feels simply rest on a complicated ratio based around many factors such as mileage, gradient, cake intake and sock wetness.
Nobody jumps on their bike to go and have a miserable time but it is in these moments of woe that you learn the most about yourself so it is important that occasionally you experience an element of grimness. We are all a product of our experiences and thus so are our relationships with other people. As we share adventures we learn what makes a person happy or sad and vitally how to then make that person more happy or less sad, most important for a successful relationship.
And with some well timed snack spots, a little hiding from the rain and one puncture we made it. Smiles and miles and more stories and experiences shared together. Sure its not the most testing ride for me but getting out to explore with Ruby is what these rides are all about.
Every time we go on a big ride I see her make so much progress, whether its tackling a hard climb, mustering mid ride motivation or getting rad off road. She gives it her best shot and at the end of the ride its all smiles because she has achieved something she can be proud of (even when sitting soaked through on the train).
And every bit of progress opens up for more and better adventures together, who knows where we could go and what we will see. I cant wait for the summer and the adventures that are to come. Soon her new bike will be built, maybe some bikepacking bags will be strapped on and then there will be no stopping her.
To many more gruby adventures with my favourite shredder.