So what makes a perfect bike ride? Whilst you ponder your own definition, have a read of what I think.
Look at any bike forum, read any mag or speak to any die hard biker and they'll tell you a good ride is reliant on any one of a million different variables;
Tyre choice, tyre pressure, suspension settings, hydration levels, bike choice, trail conditions - too wet, too dusty, too worn, too new, group pace - too quick, too slow, ambient temperatures, phase of the moon and so on..
It seems we really are a fickle bunch, ready to lay the fact we had a bad one at anyone or thing elses door. Me, I think it's something a lot more subtle than that.
Take my last ride;
I'm going to make no bones about it, being made redundant has hit me hard, my mental and emotional state has been a little unsteady to say the least and I'm struggling currently with feelings of hurt, resentment and anxiety about getting a job and paying the bills.
When the text from Al came through asking if I fancied a cheeky ride I jumped at the chance. Riding is therapy to me and we've not hit the trails together for a long while, I always enjoy Als laid back manner and love of nothing more than being out on a bike and turning pedals.
A meeting time was agreed and I was happy to see blue skies for the day ahead. Meeting at the carpark we unloaded bikes and kit, I ummed and ahhed about shoe choice, the £200 sidi's are still untested and I thought this may be an opportunity to get them out and used. Contemplating possible trail conditions with Al, I opted instead for the battered old faithfuls. Heading out the carpark we quickly decided on a trail or two we wanted to ride and set about getting there by whichever path looked driest. That's not the sort of approach I normally take, but the chat was easy and the sun shining made both of us grateful we were out.
Talk inevitably turned to my job state, explaining the last few months in as few a sentences as possible Al listened quietly before giving his no nonsense opinion on the whole shooting match. It's funny, that advice probably didn't seem much to Al, but it helped me more than he'll ever know. Coupled with flowing trails and well running bikes I arrived back at the car happier than I've been for a long while. We had ridden nothing new, but for some reason I was on a high, and that high has remained.
So, back to my original question of what makes a ride perfect?.. to me, it's about matching the ride to your mental state.. if you can do that, perfection and happiness are a certainty