For the fourth issue of Boat Magazine (boat-mag.com) the team spent two weeks in Athens. Film-maker Sam Rowland tells the story of the resurgence of cycling in the city. Meeting an art director who learned to ride at 30, and cycling with fixed-gear club Fast Fridays on one of their weekly night rides across Athens.
The fixed gear community is what first drove me towards riding a fixed gear. Something about riding a fixed gear brings people together. It becomes an addiction. Something you have to do everyday. When you don’t ride you start to get withdrawals. It starts out small; a feeling of anxiousness. It becomes hard to focus; you become restless. Everything starts to bother you. At first you think people are annoying, but then the irritability begins to set in. Everything irritates you. Little kids walking down the street yelling. You think about punching each one in the face. Your co-workers dribble about their lives and you begin to feel nauseous. You can’t fall asleep at night, you toss and turn. Then the headaches start. It makes it impossible to focus on anything except for the pounding behind your eyes. You begin to isolate yourself from you friends and family. You start sweating, and your heart begins to race. Your muscles begin to tighten up. Your friends find you a couple of days later rocking back and forth on your couch wearing only a snuggie and one slipper. They open the blinds and the light burns. You block the sun with your hand and begin yelling profanities at them. They lift you off the couch causing you to kick and spill one of your mason jars of urine onto your rug. They throw you into an ice cold shower, snuggie and all. They hand you a razor so you can swipe away the stubble that has grown over the last two days. In a fit of anger you shave without shaving cream. The razor feels as though you are plucking out each hair rather than cutting them. You like the pain. The pain reminds you that you are still alive. The razor bites deep. Depression sets in. You fight back the tears of days wasted watching reruns of “Charles in Charge” and eating taquitos. You try to fight the demon that is whispering in your ear, “just one more ride.” You told yourself the last time that it was the last ride. It is always the last ride. You have fought hard and good, but the urge to ride is all you can think about. You need it. The rest of the world doesn’t understand how it makes you feel. If they did they would join you. Your friend hands you your steed as you exit the apartment. They need you to ride with them and you need them to ride. If you are all riding together it’s not as bad. It’s harder to feel guilty when your friends are also partaking. Just one more ride and the anxiety will fade away. Just one more ride so the pounding in your head will cease. One more ride and you can sleep like a baby. You begin to pedal and a tingling works its way up your spine. The exhilaration begins to build. Hello old friend I have missed you.