I’ve bought a bike. It was a bit of a toss up if I’m honest between a gym membership and a bike but, inspired in part by the fact my brother was also purchasing a two-wheel pedalled explorer and in part by the fact that a little-used second hand bike is far more saleable than a second hand little-used gym membership, the bike got the nod.
This is the second time in as many years that I have been taken by the cycling bug despite a general (and entirely rational) hatred of cyclists. The last time it all started so well. Helmet, unflatteringly tight top and padded shorts all acquired I was ready to go. All that I needed now was to pick up an unwanted bike from an ex-workmate and tootle off around the roads and parks of Nottinghamshire. We arranged a rendezvous where we could both enjoy the clean air and spring freshness of
not to mention a casual circuit of the University grounds. Fortunately the University was not in session and so I was saved the embarrassment of heaving a mule of a bike, something no doubt constructed out of post-war tank leftovers, around the paths and parkways in front of any gaggles of attractive twenty-somethings. In all fairness I think if I were sailing smoothly across the ground on a marvellous machine of peddaldry I’d still fail to cause anything along the lines of a cheeky smile or admiring glance. The taut meshed material coating anything less than a finely tuned six-pack would put pay to that let alone the sweat and red cheeked breathlessness. Wollaton Park
It was on the fourth or fifth time of replacing the chain and holding up my decreasingly good friend that he offered a swap for a short while. My word the bliss. His gel-seat caressing my now tender rump that had suffered upon the stoney razor mean to be a seat – the padded shorts akin to putting a tissue over an axe before assuming the riding position, his lightweight frame a feather compared to my panzer-bike. No wonder the smug git had effortlessly wafted around me like a feather all morning. In fact it was no wonder he wanted to sell the bugger in the first place and no wonder he was so keen to watch me die attempting to ride it!
One more attempt on the mule some weeks later followed by a chain less likely to hang on to a gear than a Premier League footballer his wife and I confirmed what I suspected. I needed a new bike. One that preferably weighed in at less than me, was not going to cost me the same as any motorised (and therefore vastly more desirable) alternative. Fortunately each year comes a time when there is an excuse to buy a new bike. One like yesterday’s mental coin toss. So here goes. One bike into the shed. One bike out. At least with a fellow rider now in the house I may manage more trips out this year and to shed a few of those unwanted pounds. What do you reckon?
I’m sure a lot of people will be going through the same process at this time of year. How can they lose those few pounds in this year’s annual self-lie of a resolution? What promised can they make about cutting back on those damaging biscuits, everything in moderation and so on? I myself decided not to make that mine this year. Instead I decided to write more. I guess that, biscuit in hand, this at least is a start.