Friday, 16 October 2009

I want to ride my bicycle

I've spent the afternoon making my bicycle roadworthy again. To be fair, it only took some work on the brakes, but it's now in fine fettle and raring to go. Unlike it's owner. I'm 36, and my fitness is the lowest it's ever been. I actually ran the cycle down our lane (approx. 500 yards), went back up the hill, and wondered whether or not I should ring NHS Direct for advice such was the burning in my chest. Had I have made the call, they'd never have got a coherent word out of me.

Consequently, I need to start using the thing again. Long gone are the days when I would randomly go on a 90-mile round trip to Scarborough for a day out, on the racing cycle I put together myself - the picture at the top is that very bike, in fact, before I was dumb enough to put it on eBay. I can still tell you the brand name of every part of that bike down to the number of teeth on the chainwheel/rear cluster, and regret selling it still.

And then I remember why I sold it, because it had 14 gears, all in the high range. It was like owning a Ferrari, lovely but not practical for nipping to the local supermarket. It went like stink off a stinky stick, but relied on the rider to be fit and agile, something which I'm not anymore. Hence, I got a new one with more suitable gearing a few years back, which needed repairing today to make it roadworthy again, and now it's done I've no excuse not to get fit again.

Restoring my rapidly-flagging fitness is only a secondary reason for this sudden re-interest in cycling. The prime reason for doing this is because I've no money, and at £80 a month I could save a fair bit by forgetting the bus and cycling the 16.6 miles between Harrogate and Leeds. Each way. I've done a regular commute that was 10 miles each way before. I also regularly cycled to meet a train at Selby on a 6 speed folder, which was 8 miles. So I'm confident I can do it - if I stay fit enough. Watching cyclists fly past our stationary bus in the regular morning traffic-jams in Leeds is also providing inspiration.

I've mentioned this to Mrs B. The conversation goes "I'm going to cycle to work." "No you're not". End of conversation. Ultimately, Mrs B thinks I'm going to be squashed by a car/bus/truck/JCB (delete as applicable), but I genuinely don't believe it's any more dangerous than crossing the road. My moped is far, far scarier to ride, and at the pace I used to cycle at it's probably not much quicker in it's current, speed-restricted, state. The highlight of my youth was overtaking old, flagging (usually Tomos - brand, ie rubbish) mopeds. Hilarious fun, watching said-moped riders face as some upstart on a Raleigh Pursuit flew past, pedalling flat out, laughing uncontrollably as sweat poured from his brow.

Anyway. I have a day off work next Wednesday, and will go for a trial run then. My bus ticket runs out Tuesday, so either I renew it on the way home or go for it.

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