Saturday, 4 May 2019

Bike it

Giving up the car for a 5-mile bike ride to Hobbycraft to buy 4 sticks of charcoal?

I start the journey with gritted teeth. Because (almost) worse than death, loss, sorrow and betrayal, is being guilt-tripped by Greta Thunberg to get on a bike.

Off I wobble, thinking, Greta, I have done this for you and the planet. A personal letter of acknowledgement would be nice, thank you.

After five minutes I consider this is indeed my noble sacrifice.

As we all know, saddles are designed for men. They can swing their giblets out of the way but I cannot readjust my lady garden. Frankly, it has been flattened. I am advised to 'just get used to it'. (Well, I may do, but not without first declaring my martyrdom on a public forum.)

But on return, with my charcoal sticks shoved down my bootleg, I am reluctant to stop.

I have loved it, the cycling. It has been brilliant. Exhilarating. I am aged fourteen again. Rat-like, I can slip through the back-streets of town, watching but not watched, evading scrutiny and being quick about the exit. I can find high freedoms on the three-mile road out of town, towards the next suburb - the beckoning place of so much brighter lights than my familiar street scenes of home. And I can discover routes and tracks and knowledges where the car-strapped cannot go.

Best of all, I stop and start and push and walk and freewheel when I choose. It is a blissful experience of remembering I have my own leg power and I get to choose how to use it.

Also, Greta, I am reminded that round these parts, the scenery is marvellous. Better than the back end of an Audi.

The scenery is only outdone by exquisite bird song of spring and the beating of my heart as I pause to take in the view.

In truth, Greta, you have guilt tripped my soul and I am glad. Also, Tiger is grateful because the charcoal was for her.

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