I think it may be time for a new bike. Actually, I think two years ago may have been time for a new bike, but back in London my bike performed its main job – not being stolen while locked up outside Vauxhall station – admirably while still managing to be more or less ridable in the flat former malarial swamplands of South London. But up here, where there are hills, it’s another matter. Technically, my bike has six gears if you believe what is written on the gear lever. In London, I mostly just cycled around in fifth, having decided to save the top gear for an unspecified emergency, sort of like turning the amp all the way up to eleven. Now that I’ve had a couple of weeks of riding around I find that its actual gears are as follows:
6: Top gear. Still saving for an emergency. Running away from dogs?
5: Suitable for flat bits. Not much use at the moment
4: Going up small hills
3: As far as I can tell, exactly the same as 4, but makes a strange rattling noise. Would be useful for going up small hills while warning, say, horses of my approach if I were ever going faster than a horse while going up a hill
2: Going up steeper hills, if it weren’t for the fact that the bike doesn’t like it very much and tends to pop it back into third.
1: Not sure what this does, as I have never managed to get into this gear. Possibly reverse.
So there you have it. Added to the fact that both mudguards are held on by mud and force of habit, I think it’s time to go shopping. The other half has 21 gears and claims to use all of them. This may be why I now only recognise him as a diminishing dot on the horizon…