Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bike Envy

I am suffering from a severe and prolonged case of bike envy. Actually, it would be probably more accurate to call it cyclist envy.

As I may have mentioned before, I am a bit rubbish on my bike. I am no longer the slowest cyclist on Oxford - just, I can overtake old ladies now - but it seems that there are an awful lot of on-bike skills that I am yet to get the hang of.

For example, that neat trick where you are cycling along and swing one leg over so they are both on the same side, coast along for a little while then come to an elegant stop. Hmm, I tried that once and I fell over.

Then there is the whole cycling with no hands thing. I'm sure I used to be able to do this, but when I try it now even for a few seconds I swerve dangerously.

Also, carrying bewildering large items while cycling. I have seen, variously, planks of wood, ladders, tools, large musical instruments and full-scale trekking backpacks on people's err, backs. I carry a medium handbag and every now and again it grinds dangerously close to the wheels and I get a trifle wobbly. The same with two full shopping bags on your handles - I bravely gave this a go the other day and very nearly had a wine-bottle related accident. Which would have been very sad.
Phoning and texting on the go would also be a useful skill to acquire. It's probably not the best plan, but I have seen people who are really good at it. I answered a text message while cycling along the towpath once and promptly dropped my phone and nearly cycled into the river. Ooops.

There is also the question of cycling attire. I cycle to work and generally wear my work clothes (I don't often cycle so fast I work up tooo much of a sweat. But sometimes I wear my sandals or a skirt. The skirt thing is a bit hilarious. Best way I can think of to flash your knickers at an unsuspecting public, so I have taken to wearing cycling shorts under my skirt then whipping them off when I get to work. Only problem is, I invariably forget to put them on when I leave, so have to ride the gauntlet in a rather revealing fashion. And the number of times my sandals have made a bid for freedom - it's a miracle none of them have ended up in the river yet. That would be a good one to explain when I got to work.

Then, the Oxford cyclists holy grail - cycling when pissed. I generally steer clear of this one, preferring my drinking establishments within walking distance, but there have been a couple of times when I have been coaxed into town with bike, or when a post-work drink has become eight post-work drinks. Let's just say I didn't quite fall off, hit anything, or lose my shoes, but it's probably as well I didn't bump into any cop-cars. It's quite hilarious though. I know people who regularly cycle home absolutely plastered - and they only occasionally hit imaginary cats.

Anyway, these are things I hope to master during my time in Oxford. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Particularly the silly kind. Or any suggestions on other bike-related skills I should try to acquire.

More on that story later.

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Blogger Dave said...

Buy a unicycle.

One less wheel to worry about, so twice as easy to ride. Obvious when you think about it.

20/8/07 8:04 am  
Blogger mig bardsley said...

Dave has the answer. No handlebars either so you have two hands free to carry stuff.And if you get a giraffe uni, you'll solve the shopping bag problem. As your bags will be high above the wheels. Though this could exacerbate the skirt problem. Just a bit.
It's always as well not to bump into cop cars.

I see no tragic pigs ?

23/8/07 11:31 pm  

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