Take care of your bike and it will run more reliably, more smoothly and even more quickly. Thus there are bike-specific cleansers for the frame and disc brakes, chain degreasers, frame polish and magic potions to re-lubricate the chain and plush the forks: as a result of all this pampering my back yard is akin to a luxury spa for bikes. 

I also seem to have acquired a staggering array of bike cleaning brushes – some ‘borrowed’ from my bathroom, including a toothbrush (not my current toothbrush, by the way) for the chain and a fan shaped make up powder brush that expertly sweeps away mud from hard to reach bearings (even my bike-mad husband looked a bit surprised when he saw me using that one).

And then there is the garden hose - set to ‘fine mist’ as one should NEVER - I repeat NEVER - jet wash a mountain bike – and, of course, the trusty bucket of hot water and a clean sponge.

A crime against glamour, a sensory haven reduced to the pitiful hovel of a woman who has LET HERSELF GO

As a result the cleansing ritual for my bike can take longer than the actual ride itself, especially when I add in a soothing soundtrack of whale music and a forty five minute essential oil massage (‘You carry a lot of tension in your front forks’).

 

Meanwhile, in my actual bathroom, there is something of a beauty crisis going on.

In my life BB (before bikes) and when I was a real life Beauty Editor I had baskets and baskets of beauty products to hand. Nothing was left to chance when it came to primping, preening and (attempting to) perfect my appearance: if it could be cleansed, toned, exfolitated or moisturised, I had the product for it. If it could be enhanced with make up, I had the palette - in several colour options.

And I’d forgotten what my nails looked like without polish.

Sadly these days you’ll struggle to find anything beyond shampoo and conditioner (two for one at Waitrose), toothpaste, deodorant and a rapidly drying out tube of mascara in my bathroom. It’s pitiful. A crime against glamour, a sensory haven reduced to the pitiful hovel of a woman who has LET HERSELF GO.

And all because of bicycles.

Did I want va-va voom or subtle refinement?

This weekend I found myself skulking into my local bike shop to purchase a can of Fork Juice (because it ‘reduces crud build up!’). After a nice chat about how well the trails were running (especially if you’re free of crud!) the bike shop owner enquired about what I had planned for the rest of the weekend.

‘I’m going to wash my bike’ I murmured, while instantly realising how pitiful sad I sounded.

So I pulled myself together and quickly added “AND THEN I’M GOING TO HOUSE OF FRASER’. “Great idea” he said (and this from a man who owns a bike shop: do I really look that slovenly?).

Hours later I was in a department store Beauty Hall pondering the relative merits of mascara formulations and brush technology.

Did I want to lengthen or lift my lashes?

Was I looking to volumise or define them?

Did I want va-va voom or subtle refinement?

Who knew there could be so many questions to answer in the world of lash enhancement. I was tempted to make a witty comment about the build up of crud (oh how flat that would have fallen) when I spotted the perfect mascara for me: ‘Free Rollin – Roller Lash Mascara Set’ by Benefit Cosmetics. Wow! Who could resist the opportunity to roll freely?

Having convinced myself that, with a name like this, it cannot fail to make me faster on my bike I headed for home, blinking like Bambi under the weight of my newly transformed lashes.

It’ll make all the difference: I’m completely convinced.