Agatha’s just taken me for a ride down the road. I would like to be able to say I’ve just had a bike ride, but at this point in time I am not the one doing the taking, I am the one clinging on for dear life. What possessed me to think that it would be, well…just like riding a bike? I think the last time I rode a bike I was around 10 maybe 12. Once I started going to St Cuths I went by bus and the bike became redundant.
So the other day I strode into the local bike shop and pointed out the shiny new Avanti Metro with 21 gears. That was the one I’d sat on and that was the one I wanted. I took it for a very wobbly ride out the back and turned a corner, sort of. So the nice man sold me a metal basket for the front and a racy grey helmet.
I pushed it most of the way home, tried a couple of wobbly runs and decided it was too dangerous. I knew nothing about gears or front brakes and no-one had given me any instruction. Finally I turned into Wordsworth St and thought, “this is ridiculous” so I got on and pedaled. When I turned into Chaucer St I had to do a massive U-turn to get to my house, hit the concrete and flew through the air.
A neighbour who lives diagonally to me and who I had never met, happened to drive past, stopped and came to my rescue. “Oh, so you’re the writer, I’ve been wanting to meet you.” Fantastic.
One knee has an interesting shaped bruise that looks a bit like a chain and the other has a bruise and a great big graze. Nothing else was dented, except my pride and my inclination towards bike riding. I put it in the conservatory and glared at it for a few days. Then yesterday I had a conversation with my ever helpful (and only slightly amused) brother who explained how the gears work and how to use the brakes. My main problem is my steering is not great and when I get any speed up I am literally, terrified. I’m hoping practice will solve that. I’ve also taken the basket off for now and I suspect the next time I take it out I will find steering easier. I’m still very tempted to put the whole thing on Trade Me.
This Saturday I can leave my transport problems behind and fly to Melbourne!! I am so looking forward to it. My notebook is full of lists, one page for museums, one page for other things to see, four pages for shopping and five pages of themed bars. Oh yes, I have my priorities right. I haven’t had a break since 2009 and this one will be enjoyed to the hilt and back again. If I’m a bit tardy about letting you know how I’m getting on, look for me in Madam Brussels, 1806, Berlin Bar or the Sherlock Holmes Inn…I am intrigued by Berlin Bar, apparently the room is split in half and West Berlin is luxurious and East Berlin is grotty and industrial. I wonder if I could sell a slightly used bike (with a despotic temperament) to anyone in the Berlin Bar??