I had a lunch date with a friend today, and though the morning was cold and frosty, the sun was out and a quick scout of the road suggested it was dry and not too slippy. I waved the other half off for his hard day of feeding the ducks and figured I’d set off at around 11:20, giving myself plenty of time to take it slowly.
It went a bit like this:
11:15 – I am in the wrong trousers (‘the Wrong Trousers, Gromit!’) so change and transfer keys into right trousers
11:18 – attempt to round up gloves, mittens, buff, hat, GPS, phone, fleece, bike bag. Have lost bike bag
11:19 – quick mental check of what I’ve forgotten, before locking door.
11:19:15 – I have forgotten GPS. Unlock door. Remember GPS is in pocket and relock door. Switch on GPS, leave it hunting satellites while I get the bike. Find bike bag still attached to the bike
11:20 – forgot to take off extra jumper (needed for sitting around the house, not for cycling). Unlock door, take off hat, take off fleece, take off buff, take off jumper, put on buff, fleece and hat, lose battle with fleece zip, swear, win battle with fleece zip, lock door again.
11:21 – attach GPS & set off. Yay!
11:22 – arse it’s cold. Why did I take off that jumper?
11:25 – first slippy bit. Road mending people have dug an enormous deep hole at the foot of the hill to get at a pipe. Fortunately they’ve put a beach’s worth of grit on the downhill bit. Ride down on my brakes anyway.
11:28 – next slippy bit, under the trees, down by the waterfall. It’s okay, if I take it slowly. Very slowly. This is not helping warm me up
11:30 – I’ve averaged 8mph so far (normal speed: 10-11 mph on average). Lunch will be cold. As will I.
11:31 – turn onto bigger road. Slippyness now extends as far as the eye can see. Proceed gingerly. It’s not as bad as it looks. I can cycle on it…
11:32 … but I’m not enjoying it. And it will only get worse. And my own personal ‘is this a good idea’ gauge (‘can you imagine this as the opening scene in an episode of Casualty?’) is flashing red. Turn around and pedal carefully back.
11:45 – ring friend and am relieved when her reply is ‘thank goodness for that’. It’s foggy and lethal down her way as well and she was going to ring to put me off but decided I could make my own decisions. We rearrange lunch.
Rearranging lunch is easy enough, but it’s not the first time I’ve had to admit defeat recently. The problem is that I can only really justify getting away with not driving the way I do if I can actually get everywhere I need to go by bike or public transport. Most of the time, I can manage, but it takes time, particularly the public transport part. But if this ice continues, I’m going to either have to admit that I’m limited in the things I can do and the places I can reliably get to by the weather (and the dark), or I’m going to have to admit that I’m dependent on lifts from others and particularly the other half, or I’m going to have to drive more. Those are the choices living out here. Well, there’s a fourth choice: the council could provide an actual useful bus service (hourly would be nice, as would running into the evening and not having to ring up the day before to book it). But as that is never going to happen, what do I do?