It’s my blog birthday! I started on this day in 2007. Nothing very exciting has happened today – though the day is yet young – so I offer you a poem instead.
Now We Are Six
When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
now and forever.
A long time ago I drove a 2CV whose previous owner had got up one day, looked at a small comedy French car and decided that its image would be greatly enhanced by the addition of some Winnie the Pooh cartoons. It was cheap and not too rusty, so I bought it, and then I found out that it’s really quite life-enhancing to be the cause of small children breaking out in smiles and cheerful waves. (One of my gifts is that through a form of remote mind control I can make babies cry just by looking at them). It was a helpful antidote to the gruff contempt which it attracted from the maintenance guys at work.
This morning I was riding Two Moos along the road which is a shortcut to our village primary and got waved at by at by several Very Small People. I think the fact that he has shiny pink glitter stripes helps. It’s lovely to be popular!
The moon is bouncing off the glitterball that lives in my window and has covered the walls with spots of soft silver light. For some reason I have started falling asleep at about 9.30 in the evening but the benefit is that I wake up early enough to see things like this.
Actually, I think the reason I am in bed so early is that I have started cycling to work. I could blame the excessive cost of petrol but in fact it is the excessive amount of lard that I am carrying that has made it necessary. I am going abroad for Christmas and I don’t want to be a fat pasty English bird sweating my way round Australia. As I am rubbish at denying myself food the only way forward is to cycle 60 miles a week. It sounds like a daunting number but it only takes an hour each way. I’m used to taking an hour to get to work, anything less and I’m never quite sure what to do with myself. It’s very flat – there’s only one small hill on the way home, which I have to do battle with in high gear because if I change down the chain gets stuck. And only about 200 yards of that has to be done on rural roads with a national speed limit.
I find it a very peaceful way to travel, particularly when compared with the challenge of filtering five miles of standing traffic. It’s good for my head, too – because the middle part of my route is traffic-free I can safely let my mind wander without the worry of stuffing myself up the back of a Skoda.
The drawback with this, of course, is that I now have a crisis of identity. I asked the Cambridge Cycle Campaign for advice on the etiquette of passing on cycle paths – do we behave like little cars and hug the left? What do I do when someone faster comes up behind me and dings for attention? They were very kind and helpful and naturally invited me to join their group, which lobbies for better cycling facilities in the town. And right there is where we have a problem. I’m all for Advanced Stop Lines – as long as I can put Two Moos behind one after we’ve filtered to the front. Most cyclists (well, most of the ones who post on The Guardian’s Bike Blog) don’t like to share. They think of motorcycles as two-wheeled cars. I think of bicycles as motorbikes without an engine. I can’t lobby against myself. I might have become my own power lump but I’m still a biker.
The other reason I need to be more svelte when I get Down Under is that I’m going to be travelling on a 110cc twist-and-go. I had such a laugh on the 125 that Cambridge Motorcycles lent me that I’m going to spurn a rental GS in favour of buying a postie bike to explore Western Australia. The less of me it has to carry the more room I’ll have available for creature comforts.
Heading for Glen Prosen. Last time I was here a deer nearly took me out.
This is the view from New Lanark Youth Hostel, which is lovely, but Graham has a room to himself as Paul was taken ill before we left Birmingham and has had to go home. The hills are still beautiful and we are hoping he feels well enough soon to catch us up.
The boffins at BMW have discovered that if you drop your bike sometimes your handguards get squished onto your levers. So they have helpfully written to warn me. But that might not provide me with sufficient technichal information to avoid disaster. So I've also got a new page for my handbook and some groovy stickers to go inside said implements of destruction. End of lever in the cross-hairs – good. End of lever outside the crosshairs – danger! Surely a nifty BMW cloth to rub them down with ought to have completed the set?
Going to have to buy myself one of these from Whitehorse Gear…