Olympic and world champion, Katie Archibald got into cycling after winning handicap races on a Highland Games grass track. She writes a column for Cycling Weekly each week
A couple months into starting this column I submitted a piece which the editor rejected. It was put to me, in a very gentle manner, that what I wrote had to have at least a fleeting reference to cycling. Which makes sense. To be run in Cycling Weekly magazine.
What was quite sad about the situation was that this plain truth hadn’t occurred to me at all. The pieces I’d written up until that point had passed the cycling relevance test by pure accident, such is cycling’s consumption of my existence.
The same embarrassment pops up often in interviews, since ‘tell us about your hobbies outside of cycling’ is a favourite puff question. Cycling is pretty much it, I’m afraid.
I could lie and tell them about something I’ve done once on a whim but then making marshmallows or taking selfies or colouring in the chips on the fridge with nail varnish becomes my ‘thing’, my gimmick. And I’ve already got blue hair; I can’t handle another gimmick.
Of course, once upon a time I would have said writing was my hobby but we now know that is in fact just an extension of cycling. Thanks, guys.
I started dating someone who owns a drill this year though and that really has opened up some brilliant whim-hobbies. Don’t tell Laura Kenny, my landlady. She won’t be reading this, we all know her hobbies are dogs and Adidas products, of which CW is neither.
I have to stress again though that putting holes in things, including really big holes with the massive drill bit we bought recently, is not my thing.
To top it all off I’ve also got a ‘not all fingers are thumbs but all thumbs are fingers’ situation with my social circles. Not all cyclists are my friends (why won’t Chris Hoy accept my Facebook request?) but all my friends are cyclists.
I have one exception — two if you’ll allow me to put trike riders in a separate category — called Fiona. Terrible news for me though, she just moved to London and so is undoubtedly on the cusp of taking up cycling. Quelle horreur.