It isn’t a big bruise, but enough to wake me up if I inadvertently roll over onto my hip. This happens a lot. I decide that one stress at a time is enough. A-level psychology papers take precedence and the bike is put under cover for a while. A lame excuse, I can hear you say. Yup, I know.
Approximately 120 hours later, I take a look at Yami. I’m holding a clutch lever in one hand and two mirror extensions in the other. I’ve memorised instructions, challenging my menopausal mind. What could go wrong? I gather a variety of spanners and set to work. Mirrors are straightforward, although it is a good idea to remember which one is right and which is left.
I step back from my handiwork and puzzle about why they look upside down. I correct the error before anyone sees, sit on the bike, adjust position. I’m happy that I’m no longer looking at my arms and can see behind me. One ride out on the road and now I’m becoming an expert in bike mechanics.
Clutch is a bit harder. The nut is hidden and hard to get at. I discover something called socket wrench that helps. A lot. I know I have to be careful, as a broken clutch lever isn’t what you want. The youtube man had said. It seems good advice. But it isn’t so hard. I’m soon tightening it up – and allowing for my girly lack of strength – I do this enthusiastically. I sit on the bike, and pull on the lever. I watch it stick as it tries to get back to its normal position. I wriggle it a bit, thinking maybe it just needs a good covering of lube.
That’s enough bike for one day. I’ve developed this conditioned response. I go near it, and shake. Gotta get over that.
I get up early, sun’s out, good day for the bike. I plan a couple of manoeuvres in the car park and to practice 1st to 2nd gear – what was that about?
1st to 2nd gear happens every time, but I’ve lost my clutch control. I realise that I’m probably stronger than I thought and was overly enthusiastic when tightening. Spanners are out again.
But that’s enough bike for one day. I’m having a crisis of confidence.
It’s a few days later and Verd has bought his own bike. He has romantic ideas about practising together. I realise I need to buck up a bit and get a grip. I KNOW how to do this. He’s surprised to see me in my bike gear, but says nothing and goes back to counting his gold. It’s his favourite pursuit these days. I take off, a little wobbly, but it’s an uphill start and she’s been idle. I change from 1st to 2nd gear every time, and clutch is happier. I’m not always in control, but progress is made. I look at the gate and think about going out on the road, but decide that I have to prove to myself it isn’t a fluke.
I frown at Verd’s relieved look as he greets me. Why does he have to look like he’s been sweating too whenever I get on her. Perhaps my conditioning is contagious?
Same time, next day, I’m doing figures of eight smoothly. 1st to 2nd gear changes fine each time. I practice stopping where I want to. I flick my indicators on and off. I’m back on track, feeling relaxed. Verd is more curious today and watches. He thinks Yami desires a bit of throttle and suggests she gets a proper run. I picture her on a lead following us on one of our jogging jaunts. I put her back in her kennel instead. It’s good to quit when you’re winning.
I know now that the next trip is not the car park, but the road. I’ve a wee route planned out – quiet suburban area with little traffic, but sports a few technical challenges that will be good for practice.
I’ll let you know how that goes.