Adventures on Two Wheels

Today I took my bike to the park.

This was something of an achievement. I am a reasonably keen cyclist – but the cycle in question is a tricycle. I learned to ride a bike when I was eleven or so, but I have never had very good balance, and always had problems with the whole ‘signalling right’ issue when on a bicycle – which meant that bicycling on roads was contraindicated. When we moved to the Isle of Wight, that was about the only place to ride a bike – so I stopped.

Last year I bought a tricycle and got reasonably good at cycling. At the beginning of this year I asked my brother to bring my bike (actually one I’d inherited from my aunt, and had never ridden myself) up from the Island. He and Tony have had a whale of a time taking it to bits, cleaning it, and going, ‘ooh, we have a sandblaster at work…’

Today I took my bike to the park.

It is not true that one never forgets how to ride a bicycle. One does remember fairly quickly, but one has to endure a certain period of blind terror, wild flailing, and falling off into puddles and leylandii hedges first. Then one finds that one foot follows the other, and one is half way across the park and hasn’t yet fallen off and OH HELP THERE IS A LADY WITH A DOG, so one brakes, and slithers forward, and discovers with extreme gratitude that one’s foot is on the ground and the bike hasn’t fallen over, and the dog is still fifty yards away, and the dog has disappeared completely.

So then one turns around to go back the other way and OH HELP THERE IS A CHILD ON A SCOOTER. But one is feeling quite brave (at least compared to when one started) and gingerly wades forward and starts pedalling, and is fine, and so is the child on a scooter. And then THERE IS A TREE AND THERE IS ALSO A LAMPPOST and one has to go between them oh my goodness (let us wuss out and stop and walk this bit) and then one decides to go between the public lavatories and the cricket pavilion and there are PUDDLES AND A HEAD WIND.

And after about half an hour of this one’s nerves are in shreds and one’s thighs are feeling likely to come up in magnificent bruises – and that’s quite enough for one day.

I am really quite proud of myself.

But I don’t think it’s going to space today, or even to Billingshurst in July.