Saturday, 10 October 2009

Striking out alone

Last weeks “Toilet Weekly" made me grin as the letters page included a piece about dressing like a girl to make yourself more visible on a bike. Mikey often comments on how much more we are acknowledged when I am out riding with him – particularly as car drivers allow us more time and space. But never has this been more evident as last Sunday when I ventured out by myself. Just me and my trusty bike, Basil!

As “VeloCakers” are aware, last Sunday saw “Team VeloCake” doing numerous CycloCross races nationwide. Much to my dismay I was unable to be a groupie at such an event (Don’t ask why – it’s complicated!) so I decided I would participate in my own race. OK, yes I was the only entrant but at least that would mean I could win! So off I went – not too far from home – just in case of a bike emergency, as Mikey still hasn’t prepared me a cycling survival kit.

This was my first lone ride since my early 20’s and I was slightly apprehensive before I started. I hadn’t even pedalled 200yards when an elderly farmer in flat cap and wellies stopped me. Eek! Was he about to stop me for cycling down a public footpath that clearly displayed signs reading “NO BICYCLES, NO SKATEBOARDS!” at either end. I was worried - but had to laugh when I realised he had stopped me for a chat about the weather. Still laughing, I continued on my way only to be face to face with yet another walker. OMG! Had my luck run out? Would they grumble about my wheels? Nope, again they cheerily smiled and said “Hello, Nice afternoon isn’t it?” Puzzled (by this nonchalance) I quickly came to the conclusion that it was because I was still in close proximity to a public house on a Sunday afternoon. But this joviality didn’t stop there.

Halfway up my 1st hill (which happens to be a single track lane) a man in an oncoming Land Rover pulled into a lay-by to let me pass and then gave me a broad grin and cheery wave.

I suddenly felt self conscious. Did I have my helmet on backwards? Oh my God, had I forgotten to put my trousers on? Did I have odd shoes? What was with all these jolly salutations? Phewph! I was fully and sensibly dressed and contrary to the advice from cycling weekly I wasn’t even wearing a pink and frilly Laura Ashley dress!

The greetings and chatter continued. The polite driving carried on. Everyone I met seemed really happy to see me and even the local horses and woolly cows came over to say hello. I had a great time! I felt like a true local – I had been accepted into the community and beyond.

Sadly, during the next ride with Michael things returned to normal. Cars whizzed by too close for comfort, grumpy farmers and miserable dog walkers uttered no more than a grunt which loosely interpreted could mean hello.

...By 'eck, being a lassy really does have it’s perks!


VeloCake said...

you didn't have a photo of any horses.

p.s. is there not enough stuff in the garage to make up a repair kit. i'm teaching you self-sufficency through necessity :p

KatieCake said...

Pfft! I want something that I can call my very own... so there'll be none of this borrowing malarkey; when you think that I won't need it!

One of these would be super! :)