In some previous blogs I may have given the impression that cycle commuting is all about swearing, gesturing and avoiding near death experiences. No no no, not at all my dear reader! So for the purpose of balance I’ll tell you about four of the 2 wheeled friends I encountered during today’s commutes.
As I made my way through downtown Prestwich early this morning, I spotted fellow middle aged blogging bicycle evangalist and all round good egg, Darrell. It took some time to catch him up but as he eased towards the soon-to-change-to-green-lights at St Ann’s road I seized the opportunity to tuck in behind him for the uphill to Hilton Lane before making him aware of my presence. As we dipped through Sedgley Park I took the lead and returned the favour letting him tuck in behind me for the climb to Moor Lane. We picked up speed on the next down hill but then Darrell had to turn off and I was alone again.
Then, not far ahead, I spotted my friend/adversary/nemesis Mr Boots. He no longer seems to wear boots when he cycles but he’ll always be Mr Boots to me. I sneaked up behind him and then blasted past to ensure he didn’t catch my tail. He didn’t.
On the way home I pulled up along side a funky looking Apollo 125 (as pictured above) at the end of Silk Street and I noticed the rider was looking across at me and checking out my ride. I couldn’t see much of his helmeted face but his eyes definately conveyed the emotion of envy. I was astride a 6/7 year old battered Saracen hybrid hack (with kickstand) but he definately wanted her. What on earth was going on? Mr Apollo spoke and confirmed that I’d read him correctly as he explained that he’d just had to stop cycling and wished he was in my shoes. No you don’t buddy boy, traffic’s starting to get dangerously heavy, it’s about to rain, you’ll be home before I get soaked and with 11bhp between his legs he had 20 times my ability to get out of trouble (I rate my output at about half that of a horse). He still had L plates on and had not yet acquired the normal behaviours of a 125cc rider so I caught him at the next set of lights and asked if he wanted to swap steeds. He was going to Eccles so thought it a little too far to consider striking such a deal and after that we parted company.
The lights were favourable to me and I certainly wasn’t dawdling but back at the Hilton Lane/Bury New Road junction I was surprised to spot Stuart from work making his way back to Simister. He was waiting at red lights at the top of Hilton Lane whilst I, on green, turned right into Scholes Lane ahead of him. He had set off from the bike racks at the same time as me and I asked if he was going along Ordsall Lane but his route was to take in Agecroft and Rainsough Brow, the steepest bit of road around these parts. At the time I thought rather him than me and I was amazed to find we took the same amount of time to cover those 5 miles as I’m sure my route is more direct and he was on a MTB too (though clipped in with SPDs like me). I might try his route for a bit of variety particularly when I know BNR is going to be busy.
So there you go, friends and comradeship on the roads and proof that it’s not all snarling and cursing for us cyclists.