Spectacles. Testicles. Wallet. And watch. That gets me out of the door each morning. But not for long – without my keys I can’t get back in again and sans smartphone, well, I’d probably combust within the hour.
It’s become habit though; one passed from my grandfather. Ronald also encouraged my other house-leaving ceremony of: ‘Lights, windows, doors, taps; don’t forget, goodbye chaps.’ It probably explains why I now suffer from a mild-to-medium form of obsessive compulsive disorder, returning at least four times (it has to be an even count) to ensure the toaster is off (ignorant to the fact we’d all had porridge).
With this in mind, spare a thought for my wife when we prepare for this (late) summer’s holiday. I’ll be taking my bike and running kit. This will bring her out in a cold sweat, lasting until I’ve completed at least one session of each sport. At that point – and only then – can she rest easy that we won’t be driving three hours on the first day to the nearest cycle outlet in order to purchase vastly over-priced pedals that I’ll only ever use for the week.
Who needs a spare set of pedals? Or a third pair of sunglasses? Or two heart rate monitors? Forgetting kit can be extremely annoying, not to mention costly. But we’ve all done it. Admit it.
Last summer we were holidaying in the Scottish Borders (a well-timed break given that there will be a bloody great wall there before long). The grandparents too. Which meant time to exercise together. Whilst we don’t run together (long story), we do manage to start and finish a cycle as a pair.
The thought of a long ride, interspersed with a couple of infant-free coffee experiences, had kept us both going during the traditional PHT (pre-holiday tension). You know, the bit when you are trying to do double the work so you won’t have to spend the week checking emails or, worse, lying awake wondering what’s happened to that new client presentation now Spencer “I-like-thinking-outside-the-box” has got is hands on it. As my own boss there’s also the psychological barrier to overcome: I don’t get paid for holidaying.
My wife – who had packed for the wee ones as well as herself, and done the toaster-checking – managed to turn up with a full complement of required items. I had my own bag and (basic) mental checklist: Sunglasses. Testicle (protection, ie shorts). Wallet. And Garmin. I forgot my Giros.
Bugger, I thought. Thankfully, my wife has big feet (though she’ll say it’s me that has small ones), so I could still cycle. But we wouldn’t be cycling together. “We could run together, I say.” Maybe not. Which is why, from now on, I’ll be printing out the Yellow Jersey checklist whenever I go away with the bike. We think it’s pretty comprehensive. And we’re sure you’ll shout, tweet or Facebook us if it’s not.
You won’t have to take everything, of course: don’t go out and spaff £300 on new products you won’t need. Check the weather, too. You don’t want to be left without your SealSkinz if you’re caught in a blizzard, but equally you don’t want to pack so much that you ending up boosting RyanAir profits by 6% as you shoot through the luggage allowance.
This year, we’re off to the Western Isles. That means automobiles rather than trains or planes, so there’s no need to use our traditional ‘journey time formula’: home to airport (hours) x 2.5. This allows for us getting to the airport, realising we’ve forgotten, say, the passports and having enough time to go back and get them.
That one is thanks to my mother (daughter of Ronald). Our family vacations would often involve the four-hour road trip from Plymouth to Gatwick. We never forgot anything in the 15 years I can remember, which equates to about 90 hours sitting in airports having arrived 6 hours early every time.
I wonder: what’s the most time you’ve spent chasing about a Spanish island or rural France looking for the bit of kit you’ve left sitting on the kitchen table? Comment on the pinned Facebook post, and the most amusing tale will win themselves a 10 day cycle travel insurance policy for their next trip.
David Burrows is a freelance food and drink writer