I feel that 2020 being what it is, social media sites could at least have the decency to turn off the feature that taunts you with posts from a more innocent past. This time a year ago, for instance, we had just held a record breaking bike breakfast, I was looking forward to a wonderful weekend of riding with friends and I was preparing to head to Edinburgh on a bus with the Brompton to join a flock of glamorous cycling women and take the city by storm.
What a difference a year, and a pandemic, makes (although even a year ago I was noting that the world was getting doomier and gloomier by the minute – little did I know…). This Sunday we had a very different edition of the Fancy Women Bike Ride, sadly. There was no way for even the indefatigable organisers to manage events in cities across the world at a time when restrictions are changing from day to day, so all they asked was for us to find a friend or two, local regulations permitting, get dressed up, and head out into the streets of our town or city by bike.
Sadly, I couldn’t even manage that much, being in Duns visiting my parents for what looks like will be the last opportunity for a while. I hadn’t brought any fancy clothes and my one local cycling pal had had to cancel our Brompton play date due to an injured foot. All I could do was dig out my mother’s Paperbike, repair its punctured front wheel and take it out for a solitary spin through downtown Duns – where we didn’t exactly take it by storm but at least Wojtek the bear had brought flowers.
I maintain that the Paperbike is a dress-up bike all on its own so hopefully this will do, adjusted for it being 2020. I was pleased that I had managed to sort out the puncture at all – given that the bike has both a dynamo and hub brakes, taking the wheel off wasn’t an option so I had to do it by ear* something I have long meant to master.
2020 or not, some things haven’t changed however – a year ago I was busy ignoring a slow puncture and we came back on Sunday to find my own bike has a slow puncture in its back tyre that I’m doing my best to ignore now. Was it too much to hope for that in a world turned upside down, the P******* Fairy and her attendants the Bastard Big Thorns would give it a rest for now? Yeah, I know, what was I thinking? This is 2020 after all.
* listening for the hiss of the escaping air, levering off that part of the tyre and pulling out the inner tube, patching the hole, and popping it back on again – or in my case listening for the hiss of escaping air, levering off the tyre, failing to find the hole, levering off more tyre, pumping it up again, hearing the hiss but being unable to locate it, levering off the entire tyre, pulling out the inner tube, going and getting a bucket of water and finding the hole the old fashioned way, patching the hole, and popping the whole thing back on again. At least they weren’t Marathon Plus tyres – it turns out other kinds of tyres just go on and off really easily … who knew?