I’ve cycled to work and back the last couple of days despite recent snow fall but definately won’t be riding tomorrow.
When we had the snow and ice at the start of the year I turned to public transport in my hour of need and it laughed at me. The buses were especially pitiful on the day I walked almost 10k in a round commute of 20k. I returned to my faithful bicycle as the only form of transport I could depend upon and once I had acquired the patience to push it along the icy side streets I found not only was it safe, but that the main roads were quieter and all the drivers around me were being that little bit more careful and considerate.
I’ve got a little bit more bus nouse than I had 12 months ago but on Monday morning I wasn’t awake early enough to catch the buses I needed to reach the office for 7:30. I also knew the tram was likely to let me down and later in the day I found out that the Eccles line had not been running early in the morning. The bike ride was less treacherous than those I’d made in January and again the quieter roads compensated for the discomfort of the biting cold.
I spotted my regular commuter/competitor ‘Mr Boots’ making his way gingerly along Bury New Road. He rides a Trek MTB, disk brakes, probably a bit better than mine but he doesn’t look like a cyclist. No lycra, clumsy backpack on his back, probably 5 to 10 years older than me, always rides with big boots on and is quicker than he looks.
He first came to my attention on a ride home as he too rides along Great Clowes St then straight along BNR to Prestwich. I steadily caught him on the climb up to the fire station at Broughton so felt comfortable overtaking him. I was then aware that he’d increased his speed by 5mph and tucked in behind me (which is exactly what I would have done if the roles were reversed). This knobhead stuck right behind me until the climb into Prestwich village and then had the audacity to overtake me just before turning off down Church Lane before I could ‘get him back’. Whenever I see him now, I track him for a couple of miles, chose my moment and then blast past him at a speed he can’t possibly match.
Monday morning he was almost ‘pottering’ and I had to be extra patient to stay behind him before declaring my hand at the climb out of Sedgeley Park. It was almost a mistake as the Moor Lane lights were on red and there was a chance he could catch me up, but he didn’t and to be sure I set off accelerating to 20 mph like my life depended upon it and then let the gentle downhill towards town ease me up to about 25 mph whilst holding true primary position for a change to avoid slush, ice and hidden debris. He didn’t catch me.
This evening I was delighted to find I had a broken spoke and a slightly buckled rear wheel. I dropped it off at the Biking Factory Shop in the village and now have a couple of days of enforced bikelessness as the folder is unstable at the best of times and fixing my feet to my skinny wheeled roadie would definately be a step too far.
Mr Boots will not be troubled by me for a couple of days at least.