Now is the winter of our discontent! Well it’s enough to give Richard III the hump!

Unusually for the time of year, it had stopped raining.  The sun shone yesterday and it must have been a touch of the sun that caused me to dust off my mountain bike.  With two replacement knee joints and a couple of major repairs to my thumb joints, my very rude family have dubbed me “the bionic man”.  I regularly try to work out at my local Bannatyne’s, simply to keep the engine ticking over and the joints running smoothly.

Whatever the cause of this sudden weird aberration there was no stopping me; I checked the tyres, donned a pair of shorts, found my cycle helmet and backpack and took off.  I wobbled a bit at first as I tried to remember how to engage the right one of 24 gears (what happened to the three-speed Sturmy Archer of my youth) and set off through the local park to the supermarket.  I didn’t really need to buy any food but I felt that I needed a target destination rather than an aimless route like those guys on the velodrome.

My Lord, where did those hills come from?  I finally made it without hitting any pedestrians who are allowed to share the cycle track, not sure what the council were thinking of.  I also had to use a mile or so of road outside the park and managed to avoid any cars.  I located the tether rails outside the supermarket and managed to sort out how to free my cycle security cable-lock from under my saddle and tethered the bike and my helmet.  I wandered around the supermarket, feeling slightly uncomfortable in my cycling kit and backpack. I bought some squid and langoustines and queued at the checkout, thinking about my return journey which is uphill all the way.

I was thinking of the time years ago when I had another aberration and rode a motor-bike non-stop to the South of France and could still feel the motor-bike vibrating under me three days later while lying on the beach.  My solution that day was to put the bike on the Blue Train for the return journey.  I was standing daydreaming when I felt a touch on my shoulder and found a long lost friend standing behind me.  We repaired to the Cafe for a coffee and a catch up.  I’m not sure whether it was another eccentricity but during the catch up we have decided to wait for at least May and favourable weather forecast once the brats have returned to school and set off for a ‘last of the summer wine’ moment.  That’s nearly the same as a Jolly Boys Outing but there are seldom more that two of us daft enough to do it.

We plan to take my tent to North Norfolk to spend time playing Swallows and Amazons exploring Blakeney Pit in my kayak with our cameras.  The things I do just to have something to write about.  We said farewell, with our heads full of future plans and I went outside and shock horror, no-one had nicked my bike, nothing for it, I had to struggle with the gears and ride up the enormous hill through the park.

That evening I stretched and groaned and in answer to a concerned query from my lovely Pollyanna, I replied “I’ve got bike ache”.  I haven’t had the courage to reveal my plans for my next outing.  Perhaps global warming will have set in and we shall have snow.  Have I ever told you about my camping expedition on Darva Moor in a “white out”?  Pull up a chair


About Jake

Long retired travel writer, author and freelance journalist. Educated at Wolverton Grammar and Greenwich Naval College. Happily married since 1958, with a married son and daughter, a married granddaughter and an adult grandson. Hobbies rock-climbing, dinghy racing and ocean racing. Still regularly working out in the gym.
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