Involuntary Car-Free Weekend - Part 1
Our car failed its annual MoT test. That means mandatory remedial work before it’s allowed on the road, we won’t get it back ’till Monday evening . . . and an unplanned bill of around £800. Bah!
You could buy a great town bike for that sort of money.
But on the bright side, it means that I get to have a car-free weekend. No siren call of the heated interior, leather seats, cup-holders, sound system, a roof to keep the rain off, and a huge boot (that’s probably a trunk to you) to carry stuff in.
The first part of the weekend’s fun was yesterday evening - Daughter’s swimming lesson at the Village Hotel on Cobalt Business Park. We’ve ridden this a few times before, so there wasn’t going to be any problem. Oh, except for the wind - blowing a steady 20mph, with gusts up to that and a whole lot more. And it was cold, but that was easily fixed by bundling Daughter up in her ski jacket and mittens.
When we got there though, I realised that I’d made a critical error. As our tandem, Daisy, lives in the front porch, I’d come out with the front door keys. All the other bikes live at the back of the house . . . so the keys for the bike locks are on the back door keys.
What to do? If all else fails, I find that charm, a winning smile, and saying ‘please’ helps. So I went up to reception to ask if the hotel had a store room we could use. Initially, they said I could just park my bike in reception . . . but not wanting to take advantage of their ignorance, I had to explain very carefully that Daisy is a tandem - almost 9ft long, and BRIGHT yellow - not exactly in keeping with their trendy decor’s muted tones . . .
In the end, we agreed that the hotel manager’s office would be a better location. Thank you Mr Hotel Manager!
The ride home was more interesting - a very busy road, with a strong, gusting cross-wind blowing us at the kerb. So the choice was to ride closer to the edge, and risk hitting the kerb, or well out from the edge (and potentially in the path of the traffic). Readers of John Franklins’ excellent Cyclecraft, will recognise these as being the secondary and primary position. Doing things by the book, I’d have opted for the Primary position - owning that lane, baby.
But with a nervous Daughter on the back, rain just starting to fall, and the tail end of the rush hour traffic, that wasn’t somewhere I really wanted to be - even though on a purely rational level, I know it’s safer than being a gutter bunny.
Like all these things, it turns out that the third way is the best - we cut across and onto a minor road running parallel to our route, where we had no traffic at all to contend with.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 12/12/2008
- Total Time: 00:45:00.00
- Calories: 469
- Distance: 9 miles
- Average Speed: 12 mph