This morning I cycled the full 35 miles to work. Normally I drive halfway, leave the car in a park n ride and cycle the rest. However we are going away this evening for a long weekend so it made sense for my wife to pick me up after work on the way to our destination. With the baby and her vast entourage of associated paraphernalia, there will be no room to bring the bike which meant leaving it at work for a few days. So Bike Number 3 was dug out from the depths of the shed and after 6 months hibernation was put back into action for a mega-commute.
There may have been a slightly less complicated logistical resolution of the above problem, however it is likely that this would have resulted in not cycling. Babies and bikes are complicated, butsometimes you can still make it work.
After a little bike fettling last night I took it for a quick spin around the block and was satisfied that it was up to the challenge. However, on setting off this morning I was immediately struck by its inferior quality compared to its replacement. The frame, wheels and components are all budget range and were perfectly adequate for my first few years of cycling when I didn’t know any better. But once you’ve experienced real quality it’s very difficult to go back to lower-grade stuff.
The morning was a real pea-souper of a fog. Visibility can’t have been more than 10 metres and as I wobbled and click-click-clicked my way towards work, my body and bike acted like a sponge soaking up the thick droplets of water vapour hanging in the air. Glasses were quickly abandoned and I kept mistaking the water dripping off the front of my helmet for oncoming rain.
Halfway to work I began to notice the first signs of a nasty illness to my old bike – rusty, greasy residue was bleeding out of the headset and splattering all over the top tube, my water bottle and down my legs. If anybody has an experience of this type of thing then opinions are welcome – it’s an aluminium frame with steel forks. I’m assuming it’s nothing more than a little rust from a lack of use and nothing that dismantling and applying some grease can’t fix. However if the forks could snap leaving me holding a set of amputated handlebars and watching an unbridled front wheel bombing downhill, then it might be time to say goodbye to this old steed.
Nonetheless, I made it to work in one piece after two hours of riding and set about eating a feast for breakfast before finding somewhere to take a mid-morning nap. If only …