Cycling is among my greatest pleasures in this life. A bicycle is, to my mind, a machine that capitalises on the biomechanics of the human body. On my bike I am inhibited by nothing but the gradient of the hillside, but even lofty climbs of the Cotswold countryside are made a simple joy by the awe inspiring views that surround me as I ride.
My bike is not just a means by which I keep myself fit, although this is a convenient adjunct, it is not just a hobby that gets me out of the house on the days when the ironing pile is mounting (Emily & I don’t do ironing… never!). My bike is my mode of transport, it is my business vehicle and it is our hatchback, our saloon. It hauls our weekly shop up the steep hill from town and it will no doubt in years to come be on the school run.
A lot of my work is done in London and much of that is done within a two mile radius from Paddington to Oxford circus. I catch the train from Stroud to Paddington which takes an hour and a half. When the weather warms up a little, March perhaps, my bike will be coming on the train with me, I reckon I can move much more easily around the city on my bike and now that congestion charge is in place and Boris’, blue, bicycle highway is coming together, cycling around London has become quite a pleasant experience with bikes almost outnumbering cars, it a beautiful world we’re heading toward!
It is with all of this in mind that toward the end of last year I took the difficult decision to break the fundamental rule of our household; I bought something new, a brand spanking new and perhaps the coolest of its kind touring bicycle. Not only was it brand new but at just under £800 it was the most expensive thing I have ever bought. Here I would like to reiterate that this was not a decision taken lightly, it was not an impulse purchase or a whim because I happened to be feeling a little flush last November. My bike is not absolutely essential us but it does make a big difference to the way we live, so discussion took place, decisions were taken and a purchase was made.
The bike it replaced was given to me by my parents five years ago and in cycling terms it had gone round the clock. There are few gifts that have been better used or more highly appreciated than that bike (I mean that mum and dad if you’re reading, that was a great bike and it brought many a happy journey), but after five years and several thousand miles it was coming apart at the nuts and was in desperate need of updating! By the time I had done all the updating that was necessary I was beginning to think there would not be much of the original bike left, also by going up a model I could perhaps get something that was at least built to last for longer.
Emily has a bike too, a very nice hybrid I got part exchange for a bike I picked up for free, she used it to get to work and back. But being five months pregnant she doesn’t have much use for it at the moment so it’s sitting in our greenhouse waiting for her return.