Katie Archibald column: The women who stare at bikes

Katie gives her advice on how to break a staring habit

A lot of the time I want to sit still and stare at the wall. Not any one particular wall; I don’t have a series of black market fine art pieces hung in my basement, or the script to an episode of The Simpsons written in its entirety across my dining room.

It doesn’t have to be a wall either — I’ll sit in the car and stare at my steering wheel or sit in the garage and stare at my bike. Really I’ll stare at any inanimate object. It doesn’t know I’m staring and even if it does, according to Toy Story rules, it can’t do anything about it.

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This is an unproductive hobby. Of course I get my heaviest craving for wall-staring when the demand for productivity is at its highest, because that’s how the world works.

It’s similar to drinking so much coffee you feel tired again; your heart rate is high, hands are sweaty (because it’s those hands that wrote the big to-do list in the first place and that know all too well all the things to do), but all you want to do is sleep. Sleep with your eyes open, sat bolt upright, and staring at a wall.

Which isn’t always practical. Sure, quite often I just completely indulge and do it (you only live once!), but life is about moderation. Too much of anything, even a good thing, can be trouble.

So I have two useful systems to overcome the craving. The first is to drink a can of Pepsi Max (AKA Happy Fizz Juice). Somehow it’s different to drinking coffee (Happy Bean Juice) and I can’t explain why (it’s sugar-free — don’t treat me like an idiot).

The second is a bit more time consuming and a bit hit and miss. It’s doing something that makes you worse off in the hope that an hour after the fact you’ll be hit by the kind of guilt that drives a person into action.

Eat two loaves of bread, say, or maybe break some stuff. Let the act brew for a small while and then, hey presto, you’re ready to go again.

For obvious reasons, I recommend the first. Now if we’re finished here, I’ve got a Cervélo S5 in the next room that’s begging for a good stare down.