Six people transforming the way they travel
My triumphal ride to the Scottish Parliament and back left me with a large bike and no place to put it. I was not inclined to put it back in the shed as I was pretty sure it would stay there and so put an end to everything. I put it in my hall. Beside the dog.
That done I set to pondering the seat problem. A delicate issue – my seat – or rather the one on the bicycle – well actually both when I think about it. The seat on the bicycle did not fit mine. It was the wrong shape. Or at least one or other of them was. It was clear that us ladies need a different ‘clearance’ than the chaps and my seat had no ‘clearance’ at all. It had to go.
I spent approximately £20 on a new seat with appropriate ‘clearance’ and brought the beloved bike into the kitchen for a refit. It took a little bit of time because I had to recover tools from the four corners of the house, it seemed, before the seat was in place and ready for adjustment.
Incidentally, everything concerned with ‘getting going’ as a cyclist took so much longer than anticipated. The household, the family, the toolbox, the shed, the dog even – none of them were cycling sympathetic. This did change but at first it made the process more difficult or wearying than it ought. Furthermore, I had to ‘find everything out’ whether it was how to adjust the seat height, or which cycle shop to go to, or why most cycle seats can hurt women cyclists, they all needed researching. I am not complaining, just saying, but it took extra time which was hard to find in the day.
Anyway, I realised that I had the previous seat position several centimeteres too low and various websites indicated that this would reduce my cycling efficiency by as much as 12%. I chose to adjust the pedals so that, when my heel was placed on the pedal the leg could fully extend. Locking the seat off at that height meant that when the ball of my foot was on the pedal my leg was not quite fully extended and my knee was slightly bent. Much better than the cramped position I had inflicted on myself earlier.
I needed a test ride. Tesco’s – perfect. Except that the pannier was not attached to the bike because I could not find the cable ties (I suspected that they were in the shed). ”Why cable ties?” you might reasonably think. “Surely in this day and age any self respecting pannier clips on and off in a jiffy?” Normally, yes, but my second hand pannier’s clips were stretched from a long and happy life on someone else’s bicycle so they needed cable ties to keep them secure.
A decision to search the shed led to 40 winter hardy dwarf ‘Meteor’ peas being planted out, the shed half cleared of spent equipment and some old software discs being recycled as bird scarers. I found the cable ties and was soon on my way. The pannier was marvellous, the seat felt great and my legs appreciated the new mode.
I was ready to try a longer journey.
But the dog needed a walk.