It’s a very sad day. Truth be told it’s been a very sad month since I heard, mid December, of the death of Gareth Hobson, but today is his memorial service. Gareth and his wife Julia were on the trip of a lifetime, mountain biking and climnbing in Canada and America when Gareth had an accident whilst climbing in Utah.
Gareth was real inspiration both as a secondary school teacher and to to his friends, the sort of bloke who does stuff on a bike that you tell other circles of mates about. With his skill came humility and a complete lack of the pretension that often accompanies those who are gifted at their chosen sport. He always had time to go for a ride or dish out advice, he will be so deeply missed by all who knew him.
One piece of advice he gave me was if the missus doesn’t approve of the large sum of money you’re planning to spend on kit for your bike, just tell her: “it’s a matter of safety”. This conversation inspired the following verse.
“It’s a matter of safety” he hastily said as she saw the receipt and
put her hands to her head. Don’t look at the price just think of the
need to have the best bits of kit for my steed. The parts of my bike all
need to be strong as it only takes one of these bits to go wrong and
I’ll be over the bars and flat on my face and we both know that is not a
“It’s a matter of safety” he warmly insisted as she inspected the seat
post he had lovingly fitted. It is just a tube but it’s ever so light
and it positions and holds my saddle just right. And look at these
handlebars, please darling don’t wail, they’re carbon and soak up the
bumps in the trail.
“It’s a matter of safety and these were a steal” with a big stupid
grin he presented the wheels. “Just over a grand”, “How much over?” she
sighed. “About £900 quid” came the mumbled reply. They’ll last me
forever plus they’re very lightweight and who really wants a Parisian break?
When he’d finished the tour of the carbon rear mech he said with a smile
“I’ll be building yours next. Please don’t get irate or try to compete,
this thing has got wheels and you only have feet. The bike is great fun
but you’re my real thrill, besides I don’t think I could ride you downhill.”
So Gareth’s advice to those who have need to get past their partner
bling kit for their steed, just tell them without it you’ll scrap, knock
or scar those bits of your body they like as they are. You can sum all
this up with one little phase “It’s a matter of safety!” at the end of