Monday, October 12, 2009

Men don't take advice

It's true, we don't ... I could go on about reading maps or instruction books like everyone else but I have a more personal experience to relay.

A few years ago on another enthusiastic but ill-fated health kick I purchased a proper racing bike ... not a Target cheapy, a proper one from a proper bike shop with biking people and everything. It is orange (I still have it, albeit in the garage covered in dust) and weighs as much as a hungry church mouse with three legs and no tail. It also has those pedals which require special shoes which make you walk as if you have a carrot stuck up your arse. You know the ones, the cube thing on the bottom that clips in.

Anyway, when I collected the bike the sales man gave me some advice ... practice on a quiet road first to get the hang of unlocking your shoes from the pedals. Then he tried to demonstrate, of course being a man I didn't need this demonstration, after all, I know how to get on and off a bike! How hard can it be?.

In the haze of that initial excitement one always gets in the first 10 minutes of owning something new, I decided to take it for a spin, just a short one to start. If I had my time again I would not have chosen a popular beach.

Things started off brilliantly, the bike was very quick and easy to ride (something to do with the wheels apparently), I flew down to the beach, glided along the coast bike path until I reached my destination. The clock tower at Scarborough Beach. At this time the beach front area was being regenerated (it's very nice down there now if anyone is interested). By this time I was cocky, riding in that slow, swaying style they do in the Velodrome where they stare at each other then start pegging it.

Then it happened. I had to stop for a truck coming out of the building site, in my defense it did take me by surprise. I had to quickly brake and put my foot down, which of course I was not able to do. In the panic of the moment I could not connect brain to foot quick enough to tell it to twist. So I just frantically tried to lift it, but nothing. As I slowly started to keel over towards the tarmac, all I could think was, don't damage the bike, don't damage the bike, before deciding that the right shoulder region would be the best place to take the inevitable blow. By now it was like slow motion, which seems to be gods way of ensuring maximum embarrassment.

THUD! followed by a succession of sniggers and gufaws emanating from the throngs of workers who all conveniently seemed to be on a fag break at the time (do they ever work?). Picking up my bike, head bowed and directed away from any human being around I reflected on the advice given to me by the bike shop salesman as I limped away with my body and my pride hurt (but not a scratch on the bike!!).

So will I learn my lesson? Probably not ...

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