Thursday, September 27, 2012

Back On Two Wheels

There was a definite thrill when it emerged from its cardboard box, all black and shiny and 2012.  It took half an hour, less, to get it unpacked, the pedals put on, the handlebars and saddle adjusted: thank God for allen key technology.  So I went out, a bit wobbly at first, down to the nearest cycle track, just a few hundred yards away.  This was a mistake, because the schools had just come out, and it was busy with kids and their parents; besides, it's not well maintained, so the track itself is narrow, overgrown at the edges, and it was necessary to get onto the grass to let pushchairs, kids and parents past.  Towards the end of the path, some bastard had tipped rubbish, with broken glass amongst it, I had to dismount to skirt that.

Then back towards home on side streets, which are hazardous because of the parked cars with room, just, for a cyclist and a van, say,  to get by, with only a few inches of wiggle room.  Concentrating on all of the above  made getting used to the 18 Shimano gears - configured in a way that's totally novel to me - rather interesting.  The brakes are fierce, another technology that's advanced a long way since my Shanghai bike was designed.  I didn't have long, and I was a bit bewildered with all the school kids getting in the way, and the general novelty of a new bike, so I came back home quite soon.

When I got home my legs felt kind of springy, wobbly and heavy all at once, and I was breathing somewhat - the last 500 yards is quite a hill, though the gears meant it wasn't a killer.  I looked at the clock...  I'd been out just ten minutes.  I looked up the route on google maps later, a touch over 2 miles.  I was disappointed to find my nice new front tyre on my nice new bike was plastered in dog's shit, (which is incredibly adhesive), no doubt picked up during forays into the grass on the "cycle path".  A nail brush was quickly recruited as a bike-tyre-shit brush, (with no chance of a return to its former occupation, mind).  I decided to regard the shit as lucky.