My new bicycle, very definitely a “she,” arrived yesterday.
Yesterday was a day of much loveliness all round. The electrician from Home Jane came and said “not surprised your shower wasn’t working, this wiring is what we refer to in the trade as ‘a death trap,'” and set to and put the shower on the right sort of cabling, so it now works. No more washing my hair in the bath, oh, what bliss.
Whilst she was doing that, I fixed the skirt I made and mum helped with (as opposed to me getting in the way helping and mum doing most of the work), that I’d somehow managed to make an inch too big in the waist, oops.
Whilst wrestling with needle and thread, I got a phone call from Evans Cycles at Canary Wharf saying that my bicycle was in and could I please go and pick her up as she looks about as out of place as, well, a Pashley Princess Sovereign among a showroom full of stripped-down racers and hulking mountain bikes.
So, having purchased a rather expensive helmet (only buy a cheap helmet if you’ve got a cheap head), and a fairly hefty D-lock as well, I set off, clutching the map and directions from Transport for London.
There’s a reason “it’s like riding a bike, you never forget,” has entered into the lexicon. You don’t. Well, I hadn’t, in the three years since I last got on a bike. There was, I must confess, a fair amount of “getting off and walking whilst cursing TfL’s cycling directions and wondering why I decided to leave my A to Z at home,” and one harum-scarum moment that made me whimper and head for the safety of the pavement at speed, but I think high-speed police chases whipping past you at, um, speed are part and parcel of cycling in east London.
And so we made it home, and I fitted her new lock, and I set up her Twitter account (yes, you may mock), and then we went for a trundle round the tiniest park I’ve ever seen. I then decided that being able to walk on Friday was probably a good idea, and so we came home again.
She is a very lovely bicycle. Incredibly comfortable to ride, she feels very sturdy and reassuring, and I noticed that car and van drivers gave me a lot more room that they used to when I was riding a mountain bike. I suspect there’s something about a sit-up-and-beg swishing round the streets of east London that triggers some hind-brain “keep clear of this lunatic,” instinct. We’re never going to break any speed records, but she will get me where I want to go at faster than walking pace and a lot more comfortably than the Tube at rush hour on a Friday evening.
There will be photos when the weather’s not quite so yucky. She’s named after the climbing rose Zephirine Drouhin.
I daresay there will be blogging of bicycle-assisted adventuring…