Katie Archibald: The similarities of cheescakes, tarts, socks and tyres

Katie muses the bittersweet nature of the experience gift

I’ve just booked myself into a cheesecakes, tarts and custard class. How to make them, that is. Any retorts about my already knowing very well how to eat them won’t be kindly received.

I was given vouchers for the class at Christmas and cashing in on them by August is pretty good going, don’t you think? ‘Experience’ gifts are fantastic, undeniably the best kind of gift, apart from the pressure that comes with them to now be the kind of person that does fun stuff in their spare time.

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>>> Katie Archibald column: A full year of long-winded, cycling-related(ish) rhetoric

I spend my spare time watching The Chase and eating marshmallows. I’ve always believed I would be having more fun bungee jumping, driving a Porsche, or learning how to make a soufflé, but never felt bad for sitting watching The Chase because, well, who really does those things on their day off? They exist on Instagram, not in the real world.

Until someone gets you a voucher for it.

The voucher removes you from the normal population who just happen to have never ridden a llama, into a very niche group of people who have had the opportunity to ride a llama, at the non-refundable expense of their friend or family member, but haven’t used the voucher. Beforehand, I was a passively boring person.

Now that you’ve got me this voucher for a helicopter ride over the Peak District, I’m an actively boring person until I use it. But this year I’ve only been boring for the first eight months, so hurrah me.

HSBC UK (the official partner of British Cycling) love to give their employees and clients one particular ‘experience’ gift.

The experience is going on a guided ride in some beautiful part of the country, but with a member of the GB Cycling Team. HSBC pick the date for the ride so the stress of “Oh when am I going to find the time to enjoy myself!” is taken away, but in its place comes a new stressor.

The price for these people is having to humour a professional cyclist, listen to faux-inspiring stories about racing with the wrong PSI in your tyres or keeping your socks white throughout the winter.

And thus the experience gift stays true to its bittersweet nature.