Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A vampire on a bike.

Some of you know, some of you don't, but I am a vampire by trade. That is, I spend my day collecting blood samples from housebound patients. Unfortunately, this weekend our car broke down which had catastrophic implications for work.  Living in such a rural and large community,  I cover many miles a day, driving between patients.

After a few phone calls to my manager and colleagues, I suggested that I do my rounds by bike.   My manager wasn't keen on the idea of me riding around with all those sharps on my back... Health and safety regulations! So it was agreed, that I would just use my bike to get to the nearest surgery and then go by foot. Obviously, this meant I couldn't see everyone on my caseload so half of my patients had to be reallocated and I just kept a few.

Basil was prepped and my work equipment was stripped down to the bare essentials; squeezing everything into a pannier and rucksack

I set off this morning a little apprehensive but in high spirits, this was gonna be an interesting day.  My first port of call was the surgery, just over a mile away, to pick up my work.  I decided to start at my furthest away patient and realised that it would take me a good hour or so by foot, so I hopped back on the bike; it would be quicker and I'd organised my bag well; putting all the sharps in secure boxes in the pannier, not on my back.  So off I pottered.  Much slower than usual due to the weight of the bike and my bags. It was so odd riding with such a heavy load.  Plus, I was struggling with the flat pedals, it was a nightmare - my feet were all over the place.  Irritatingly, I was also struggling with my trouser legs, which kept getting caught up -  improvised trouser clips were made.

Up and down a number of hills and bumpy farm tracks to see my first victim. On my arrival, they were shocked to see me, as they had an appointment at the surgery for the blood test this afternoon. Grrr! What a waste of all that effort (over 20mins riding to get here). Ah, well ... the journey was very pretty.  The patient allowed me to take the blood as I was there anyway!  Back to the surgery to drop off the sample, arriving a whole hour after I left. I was shocked it had taken so long, imagine if I'd have been on foot!

A small selection of what I had to carry with me on my bike.
Then I was on to my next victim, thankfully this was a much shorter journey.  Back to the surgery to drop off the sample (I was worried about carrying the samples for longer than necessary, just in case the worst were to happen). Then to my next patient. This involved going through a very busy town centre (What should have been a 5 minute ride, was about 15.) Blood obtained and then a tough ride back to the surgery - up a steep narrow hill plagued by tourists that were having too much fun to consider the green cross code.

On my return to the surgery I realised that I had finished! 3 patients in 3 hours and 12.5 miles on the clock! (Oops, normally I can do 3patients in an hour) Thankfully, my colleagues had done all the other bloods between them, so now I could either do the 15mile round trip to the office or take some time owing back. I opted for taking some time back so after speaking to my manager, I finished a few hours earlier.

Although, I had quite the little adventure, loved riding my bike, and despite it's environmental advantages, I don't think I want to do that again anytime soon. It was too much like hard work!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Still riding.

There has been a lack of posts on here recently; mainly due to just getting on and riding at every opportunity.  Most of the rides have been uneventful and a hard slog though heavy rain and gale force winds. I guess there goes the summer! :-( Gonna have to think about investing in some waterproof cycling shoes earlier than expected.

Thankfully, despite a busier than usual schedule, I have still been doing a fair mileage and apart from Teds tyres starting to wear down, he still rides like a dream.  Gary (my CinderCone) has also taken me on a number of adventures down the local singletrack. I was horrified to discover though (after a friend pointed it out) he lacked a VeloCake sticker.

In other news, after hinting at Mikey for weeks, I finally own a pair of polka dot socks, so now Super Ted and Spotty are together again. ;-)

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A belated blog about Mullertons Birthday Rides

The start of the month was Mikey's birthday which obviously involved a number bike rides.  The evening before his birthday involved a short but sweet ride to the beach (a mere mile and a half each way) for a pre-birthday game of boules and Frisbee. With a couple of bottles of beer in the pannier we then picked up a Chinese on the way and munched it whilst sitting on the surprisingly quiet sand. It was Ted's (the Cross Bike) first trip to the beach, so whilst there I decided to have a go at a moving dismount (in preparation for my CX debut).  I failed miserably and after a few unsuccessful attempts and hard bashes to my legs, I bottled it.  Was a great night though. Loved the boules (I won). On our way home, we stopped at a pub for a quick drink.

Talking of pubs, at some point at the around that time, there was also a short ride one evening to another local pub.  It was a wet evening though so out came Basil (my Hybrid) with his useful dynamo lights and mudguards and out came the Hi-Vis jacket. The journey was, again, only about a mile away, but on those cold wet unlit country lanes we didn't want to take any chances. It was real odd riding the hybrid again - he is a real sit up and beg bike and the position felt so peculiar.  I woulda been right at home in the Netherlands. =D

The birthday ride itself was also nice. A 15miler road ride along the local lanes, taking a carrot for my fave donkey.  Then a pit stop at a beach cafe for an ice cream.