A few months ago my car gave up the ghost. It would’ve cost more than it was worth to repair and as I’d just got to the point where I could save, I wasn’t prepared to fork out. I also wasn’t up for getting another used car, only to go through the same ritual again, weeks, months or years later. So I decided that I would start to cycle. Smelly Boy has a car so going out together was sorted, I like walking and we don’t live far from the town centre so going out socially= not so much of an problem. One issue did present itself: the commute.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is only a 7(ish) mile round trip but there are 7.24 hours of work in between and whilst I’m active and enjoy exercise in the form of dancing and yoga, I feel faint at the thought of a mile on the exercise bike. If you then take into consideration that English weather is only pleasant for plants and ducks, you will hopefully understand why I was a slightly apprehensive newby cyclist.
I’m nothing if not stubborn; I’d decided to get fit and save money and by jove I wasn’t going to let a few miles or the London Road (prolonged uphill cycle before breakfast) persuade me otherwise! I dusted off the old bike from Mum’s garage and began on my quest to become the owner of some beautifully steel buns.
Advice from one who now knows
Firstly, get waterproofs. Especially when the local water company decides to declare drought and hose pipe ban because it means only one thing: torrential downpour lasting two months.
Secondly, get a giant mother of a lock. Don’t bother with a chain, sorry to chain makers but they’re no competition for bolt cutters (as I discovered at approximately 22:15 on a Tuesday evening post volunteering at Northampton’s Hospital Radio (@RadioNeneValley for those who are interested).
Thirdly, where ever possible get yourself a comfy seat. You think that the roads are bad when driving a car. Think again buster! You’ll soon learn when your tush is being punished for the effect of two hard winters on Britain’s rubbish tarmac.
But what you should expect is to truly test the holding limit of your back pack, to appreciate a beautiful clear morning (remember to have camera – you’ll get some awesome shots) and to fall in love with cycling all over again, it’s not just for kids, it’s fantastic! Not forgetting that you will become uber organised. That or you’ll forget shoes and underwear (true story).
I can’t really end this post without thanking my colleague Sarg and the poor Smelly Boy for playing chauffeur when reasons of health and/or frightful weather prevent me from sculpting the buns. Nor can I finish without apologising, Smelly Boy, for my behaviour on Friday. You were lovely enough to give me a lift to work on Friday only for me to rub it in when I decided to stop at the wonderful Malt Shovel (according to their website “Carlsberg Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2011 and Northamptonshire CAMRA Pub of the Year in 2010”).
I’ll wander away from my apology for a moment as you need this pub in your life and I’m nice like that, sharing the knowledge. So quickly: it is the only pub that I’ve ever frequented that serves draught Cherry beer AND pasties so instantly I’m enamoured. They’ll win you over with their excellent selection of locally brewed beers, not to mention possibly the best selection of drinks for the ‘Designated Driver’ in an alcohol consuming country-ever. Plus they have great live music and (although this may be outdated) awesome BBQ. But the link’s included so that’s enough of a plug.
So a swift half of the aforementioned fruity beverage and a read of ‘The Power of Now” later, whilst you were still hard at work. Whilst it was lush, I’m a bad woman and sorry gloating.
Now lovelies, off you go and get on your bike. And try the pub, you’ll thank me later!