Diary of a cycling commuter no. 3… in which bad things happen in threes
In the third blog of this series, Communications Coordinator Sarah shares what it is like to ditch her bus pass and take up cycling to work.
The above gives it away: it’s been a bad month on the bike.
Within the space of six days, I managed to puncture my front inner tube, then completely burst the back one. It’s my own fault; because some of my commute is downhill and over gravel, I treat the bike like a mountain bike rather than a hybrid, forgetting that it doesn’t have tough enough tyres to cope with stones and hard edges. The latter mishap – caused by smacking my back tire into a kerb after failing to jump it – resulted in a 2km jog to a morning meeting, where I arrived drenched in sweat and feeling a bit stupid pushing my sorry-looking flat-tyred bike.
Danny MacAskill I am not.
On the plus side, the nice guys at The Bicycle Works taught me how to refit an inner tube on both the back and front wheels, meaning as long as I carry a spare, I can fix it on the spot next time.
Moving on. After work last week, I cycled to Fort Kinnard to return something to TK Maxx and have a browse in other shops. ‘The Fort’ has very limited parking for bikes, so as I moved around from shop to shop, I had to lock up my bike to whatever was available – lamp posts, metal struts and benches.
It was a pain constantly locking and unlocking both the frame and the wheels, but boy was I glad I did… coming out of Waterstones I found two intimidating-looking men fiddling with my bike.
I’m a bit of a terrier, so confronted them – and they immediately shot off, shouting “nice bike, love” back in my direction.
It served as an important reminder to always lock up the bike properly, making sure nothing can be removed… becuase people will try even if you’re only away for a few minutes. I’m determined not to have this bike stolen!
And so to my final tale of woe. Cycling home last Friday with Chris from the office, we came around a corner on the Innocent Railway cycle path and I hit a gnarly fallen branch, the end of which was the perfect height to catch my handlebars and send me flying. I landed a good two metres in front of the bike, a bit surprised but relatively unscathed. Further inspection revealed I’d ripped by coat and bent my bell out of shape, but we were able to cycle the rest of the way home without trouble.
Five days have passed, and I have some colourful bruising and a rather sore knee, but I’m not deterred from cycling in the slightest. I’m thankful it happened on a quiet, off-road route, and it’s taught me not to speed round corners if I don’t know what’s coming.
So there you go – it’s been a tough month, but (ever the optimist) there have been some great moments – seeing the wild foxgloves bloom in Holyrood Park, and finding an old pine dresser destined for the bin which I later took home and repainted.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I love cycling!
Tweet Sarah at @sarah_fordhutch