Sunday, 24 April 2016

The wrong sort of bike

I think I must have the wrong sort of bike, because for the second time an old lady has said as such to me.

The first time it happened was just under a year ago.
I was huffing and puffing at not much more than walking speed up a local hill that has a bit of a "reputation" locally - the climb up from Aldbury to the Ashridge Estate (National Trust).
The old lady came down a little track, with her dog, and saw me about half-way up the hill.
"I think you have the wrong sort of bike she said".

I carried on to the top, then turned around, rode down then came up gain.
She had seen me on my 3rd ascent of 5.
If the bike can get me up the hill 5 times running, it isn't the wrong bike, I rather suspect. I went on to ride the London to Brighton in 4 1/2 hours on that same "wrong" bike, AND put in my first 200+ km ride on it several weeks after that.
ANY bike that a fat old man like me can get 200km out of in one day isn't the wrong bike!

What brought the "wrong bike" incident back to my mind was that a week ago I went for a long-ish ride. 115km (71 miles). Anyway, after 80km (50 miles) I stopped to sit on a thoughtfully provided bench, eat a few biscuits, and admire the view from Oving (nr Aylesbury, Bucks).
Along came an old lady (a different one) and she started chatting to me. Then she squeezed my tyres (bit personal, methinks!) and went through the "wrong bike" routine again. I pointed out that I had ridden 50 miles to get to the bench, but that didn't seem to affect her view. Apparently her son has skinny little racing tyres, and therefore everyone else needs them, too (Mermaid was wearing 37mm Marathon Plus tyres, same as usual). Then she let slip that her son rings his wife up to collect him when he gets tired riding. I concealed my obvious delight - he may have the "right bike", I thought, but he clearly has the "wrong legs". In case of massive mechanical failure, I would ring my wife, but in general her view is that if I can get myself into a fix, I can jolly well get myself out of it again. And quite right, too.

Not sure what it is with old biddies giving me advice.
I'm sure they are only trying to be helpful.
And when I am parked up in the town centre, and some light-fingered type is about, I am rather glad they are not interested in Mermaid, because, after all, I have the "wrong sort of bike" ;-)

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