Victoria's Week: On yer bike

MR H announced the other day that he was buying us new bikes. This is because, obviously, he wants a new one, and though I've put up quite a fight as it seems overly extravagant as we hardly ever use the ones we've got, we do have another cycling weekend coming up and my bot has only just recovered from the last one.

MR H announced the other day that he was buying us new bikes. This is because, obviously, he wants a new one, and though I've put up quite a fight as it seems overly extravagant as we hardly ever use the ones we've got, we do have another cycling weekend coming up and my bot has only just recovered from the last one.

Whoa, I said, don't you go getting me anything complicated, I simply don't want it. So I gave him the following spec in order of importance. Firstly, it must have a wicker basket; secondly, handlebars higher than the seat so I can see where I'm going - none of that bottom in the air, head down going fast stuff. Thirdly I didn't want a crossbar and I only wanted very few gears (I bought the Dreaded Daughter's old bike off her and could never get to grip with those, there were thousands of them). Finally on my wish list were town/country tyres. Those knobbly off-road tyres are awful on roads (the last one's got those) while the skinny smooth ones are equally as dreadful if you take off across a heath. My undercarriage simply wasn't built for it.

Naturally this has all been a big production. Lots of research on the internet, followed by covert visits to bicycle emporiums. Then it took two fairly intelligent men several hours to fix the new (naturally) bike carrier to the roof of the car and next came the grand collection.

Finally there was the unveiling and great mounting of my very pretty, blue, wicker-basketed, three geared, town & country hybrid, with bell but no crossbar, bicycle. Surprising even myself, I was off down the road like a female geriatric version Lance Armstrong. It is perfect.


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The other - man's - bike is, of course, a very testosterone-design and fuelled, trillion-geared beast. Beaming, it was onto that that Mr H immediately leapt and manfully pedalled, trailing rather, I thought, behind. It wasn't actually until after our first lunchtime excursion that he let slip that none of his dozens of gears worked. Anyway he's now been back to the shop, where they found the missing bit, and is in training for the big bike riding weekend, which will roughly take us from pub to pub and back again to the seaside for tea. Oh yes, the Famous Four ride again.

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