Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Star Crossed Lovers

Trusty and I are like Romeo and Juliet this week, kept apart by forces beyond our control. No snow this time, but trips out of the capital, loads too large for panniers and, I confess, more than a usual number of alcohol suffused social engagements. I cycled to work last Friday and haven't cycled home since. The final straw came yesterday when, at the end of a long, brain aching day I skipped out of the office, all ready for a reinvigorating cycle home and realised I'd forgotten my lights. I stood, gazing at Trusty's shiny flanks, weighing up whether riding home lightless was only mildly foolhardy, or, in fact, suicidal. Reluctantly I decided on the latter. I hung my head and walked away to join the muttering, shoving throng at the entrance to the tube, leaving him alone in the bike park once again.

Tonight is our night though. Nothing will stop us. I've got lights, I've got batteries, I've not get that much to carry and not a drop of booze will touch my lips, despite a Christmas lunch. I am as excited as for a first date. Hold on Trusty, I'm coming.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Pedal Power-ful

I'm back on Trusty this week, and I've realised another reason why I love cycling. You thought you'd heard them all eh? How about self-sufficiency? I couldn't work out why I found returning to it after public transport so very satisfying, until I realised it sort of reminds me of the difference between pocket money and your first pay cheque. I love that I get from A to B all under my own steam. That my body is working well, the finely honed machine it was designed to be. I don't mean finely honed like an athlete, far from it. You wouldn't want to see me in skin tight Lycra. I mean finely honed in that, you know, it works. My legs get me where I need to go. Cycling reminds me how amazing we are, every cell and sinew.

I have this feeling in the same way with walking and running (still, toddler like, thinking 'look at me go!') but much much more so with a bike. I'm so fast! Bikes are a magical invention that take my paltry effort and mysteriously convert it into glorious, thrilling speed. It's like the feeding of the 5,000. I know it isn't a complicated technology, and someone cleverer than me could tell me how it works. My guess would be the equation goes:

Power in (P) + rotariness/spinnyness (R) (possibly not the correct name for the force)=(A) amazing.

There must be some variables. Time and distance or something.

I should so be a scientist.

In any case, even though I don't understand it, it doesn't feel like cheating, in the way that the bus or the tube does. Whoever invented the bicycle (apparently Ernest Michaux in 1860, though it's disputed), I salute you, you big brilliant boffin you. You blessed my life.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Cycle Lifestyle Magazine

So proper posts coming soon, I promise, but in the mean time I think you should check out this new magazine about cycling in London. I write for it, so am clearly biased, but it is not techy and macho like all the other bike mags. Just pretty and inspiring. And there is an advert for a bike holiday in scotland where they tell you stories. Sounds like the best thing ever. You can pick it up for free in your local bike shop, or download it here.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snowbound and Stir-crazy

I miss cycling. It has been three days now. Every morning I get up and look at the whitened streets around my house and have a vivid flashback to a horrible fall two winters ago. I rounded a corner on what turned out to invisible black ice, my bike (Stally the Stallion, Trusty's precursor) went one way and I went the other. Hard, and fast. The bruise on my thigh took about a month to fade. And I can't face it happening again.
However, I am getting to the point where I think it might be worth it. I can feel Trusty's waves of resentment at being cooped up all the way from his garage to my fourth floor flat. I have taken the tube three days in a row, and like it no better with practice. It feels like swimming, and not in a good way- taking a death breath and diving below, feeling your lungs burn until you can burst through the surface and out into the air. The underground is the underside of London, no light, no beauty, just angry faces and stale smells. Yes, it is fast, and warm, which I appreciate on these bitter days, but still. Perhaps risking purple thighs and frozen fingers is better. 

Having written this-of course it is. What on earth have I been thinking? Be gone, black-ice related fear. I'm getting back on the road.