I like bike shops, you make friends in them, even if the service is given by a 14 year old with grey hair. You’ll know what I mean in a mo.
Verd: Do you have a clothing section?
Grey-haired 14 year old: Upstairs, duh
No sign of any stairs, exit Verd.
Grey-haired 14 year old (they exist in more than one shop): Have you done your test yet?
Verd: Not yet
Grey-haired 14 year old: It’ll be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. I’m telling you now, you won’t pass first time.
Saf: mental note – don’t book lessons here.
Despite finding out where we won’t be having lessons or buying our bike(s?), the experience has generally been positive. The actual 14 year olds (well, slightly older, but definitely not old enough to have done the test) are a helpful mix of knowledgable insight and infectious enthusiasm. But with budget limitations for the great adventure, online surfing is also necessary.
The search for an all-season suit in my size brought us to Derbyshire, where we met a lovely family who made us tea and entertained us with stimulating conversation. We then trekked to Lancashire. Partaking of tea in a very powsh BMW showroom was a novelty and it was there that I found MY bike!
I have fallen in love – sorry Verd – but you know, you always did like the idea of polyamory.
It began like this:
I wouldn’t sit on a bike in a showroom in case I dropped it, tore my jeans, dislocated a hip or did something equally embarrassing and/or painful. But Verd announced to the sales folk that I wanted to sit on a particular bike. I cursed him. He chuckled arrogantly. “Revenge is sweet,” thunked I.
Knees turn to jelly as said bike weighed a ton and I could barely touch the ground. Try balancing a ton on the tips of your toes. Not good.
The episode was repeated in the BMW showroom. But now I knew that I wasn’t going to dislocate my hip (running and t’ai chi do have their benefits), and that I do actually have biceps. They may be hiding, but they seem to work. Enter grey-haired 40+ year old. His approach contrasted extremely with ‘it’ll be the hardest thing you’ve ever done’ grey-haired 14 year old, to ‘you’re a natural’, and for a brief while, I even believed him. He gave me a very simple, but strangely confidence-boosting lesson on how to sit on a big bike. I was still a little higher than I would have liked to have been, but I was assured the bike could be adjusted to make it lower for me. Still, I wasn’t quite convinced that I’d be able to ride it, as lovely as it was. However, that 5 minutes turned a sick feeling at the thought of my first lesson into excitement. I can’t wait to ride!
Remember that I said you make friends in bike shops? We made a friend with someone who had the lower-sized version of the same bike. He very kindly allowed me to sit on it. I followed the ‘how-to-sit-on-a-bike’ lesson exactly, knowing I’m a natural, and that’s when I fell in love.
Here he is:
And eBay has a couple to offer. 125 to 700cc in one weekend, and I’ve still got to start the ignition. Hey ho!
After all that excitement, it was the call of priority number one: try on helmets. Bad hair days have never felt so good.