Monday, July 13, 2009
Twenty-Six Inch Wheels
Apparently, cycling is undergoing such a rebirth that retailers of can barely keep up with demand. Maybe the downturn is literally making people get on their bike to look for work, just as my maternal grandma did at the age of thirteen when she cycled from Sunderland to Keighley to take a job as a dressmaker. A journey she managed in a single day. For somewhat different reasons I've rescued my bike from the back of the shed, where it was imprisoned under the stepladder, some old curtains and a pile of never-to-be-used lengths of wood which will come with us to our next house (just in case). Being forty with a love of beer isn't a good combination if I want to be able to walk, rather than waddle, in the near future, so recently I've been cycling the five or so miles to work. There was a time when I was quite a serious cyclist. We lived on the edge of zone 1, so getting about by pedal power was a no-brainer. I cycled to work, I cycled to the West End, I cycled to the shops. I regularly cycled to my mates' house in Barnes (30 miles there and back) without a thought. I did some off road - In cold weather my knee reminds me of the time I fell off while riding a moorland trail. I've done the London to Brighton ride, and one year my chum John and me pedalled from Carlisle to Keighley. I also used to cycle to the pub, with the intention of walking the bike back home. I never did, which is why I have scar on my chin after riding straight into some railings. I woke up the next day briefly wondering why I had a pharoah's beard of congealed blood.