It must have been around fifteen years since I last rode a bike… rode one any kind of distance anyway. A few years ago I rode a few wobbly yards along the pavement near Queens Park but that’s about it. Enough to know I hadn’t forgotten (so it’s true what they say) but that I should probably avoid riding anywhere near people, obstacles or roads.
Lately with all of the naked bike rides, critical masses, London to Brightons and bike film festivals, I’ve kind of started to feel a bit left out. It’s like suddenly there’s this whole world of bike riders doing really interesting things and I have no part to play in it.
A friend has lent me her BMX while she’s away. So it was with some trepidation and clumsiness that I carried it out of my block of flats, down the steps and wheeled it down the hill. Safely on flat ground I made some embarrasment for myself out of leaning the bike against a tree by the level and attempting to climb on. I managed the feat but with one clear problem: Antonia obviously has much, much longer legs than me. This is not difficult, I’m barely over five foot.
Fortunately help was at hand and I peddled my way most uncomfortably, climbing (or rather falling in a slightly controlled manner) off at intervals when I was too near a pedestrian, road or another cyclist, to Cranks DIY Bike Workshop. A very friendly man showed me how to lower the seat and I was off again – still uncomfortable but a vast improvement. One thing I don’t remember about bikes is the pain. Friends assure me that your bum hardens up after a while but I really can’t imagine how anyone copes! I cycled all the way to the art squat in Portslade from just by Brighton Pier, only stopping once to eat an apple and discreetly massage my poor bottom.