It’s official: my car is gone. Well, it’s still in my driveway, but it’s untaxed and the MOT test is long overdue. And I’ve just noticed there are spots of mould growing on the steering wheel. Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve driven it or anything else on four wheels. For at least three months now, I’ve been using my bicycle for 100% of my travels. Long-time readers will know that I’ve been working my way toward this arrangement for a year or two – ever since this post. I like what this change in lifestyle has done for me, not only physically but psychologically. Last winter, the thought of cycling to work in the morning was unbearable. Now, I simply put on my gloves and grab the bike without a second thought. There’s something to be said for embracing a state of mind that isn’t constantly seeking the greatest personal comfort every moment.
The bike has held up pretty well for the six months I’ve owned it, except for a couple of minor quibbles. The pedals (something you rarely have to think about replacing) were useless. The plastic on both of them broke in half after only two months; of course, I am over seventeen stone in weight, but still. I replaced the pedals with a pair of mean-looking bear-trap-style metal ones from my old bike. More recently, my brakes started working poorly. In my usual lazy manner, I let it slide, until one morning a car decided to reverse out of a driveway while I was cruising down a hill towards it. I couldn’t stop, but I could veer. But the moron’s windows were all misted up, and he just kept coming. I was literally one or two inches from having an accident – the closest I’ve ever been. That experience was enough to make me check the brake pads. I discovered they were worn right down to the metal. Naturally, I’ve now got new ones fitted now. Once bitten, as they say.
At this time of year, it’s pretty dark while I’m pedalling to work at 8.15, likewise when I’m heading home at 4.15. In my usual lazy manner, I’ve been making the journey with no lights. Well, despite the fact that none of my not-quite-an-accidents have been related to darkness, I thought it best to rectify the situation and avoid any unpleasant surprise visits to Craigavon Area Hospital.
No regrets. Bicycles rock.