So apparently – I do wish people would tell me these things, how else am I supposed to know? – it’s more or less compulsory for a bike blog to include a post on some ridiculous amount of stuff the owner has managed to carry on their bike instead of using a car. Up to now I’ve been remiss, mainly because my cargo has been limited to library books, newspapers, the odd pint of milk and emergency bacon purchases.
I’m working freelance at the moment and been working to a deadline so I can only really justify actual useful bike trips rather than joy rides so I haven’t been able to take full advantage of the good weather.* But today I had a whole set of errands to run in Bigtown: going to the library, picking up train tickets, finding out some information from the local volunteer centre and buying a replacement loo seat. Apart from the latter it was a perfect excuse for getting on the bike and as it was far too gorgeous to contemplate taking the car I decided to risk it. After all, people in Holland are always moving sofas or entire kindergarden classes or what have you by bike, how hard can it be?
Well, perhaps surprisingly, not that hard atall. It would have been easier if it hadn’t still been in its box, but I decided that, while the phrase ‘adjusts to fit most standard toilets’ sounded wonderfully reassuring in the shop, on closer examination it contains more weasel words than a Mustelid research institute’s library and if there was a problem, I doubted they’d take it back without the packaging. And I decided against going round the main roundabout because, much as I love jousting with traffic in the middle of the school run, I could just see the box slipping loose as a giant 4×4 bore down upon it. The main problem, if you really want to know, is that I had foolishly chosen to wear my jeans, which are still rather snug, and so it was hard to get my leg over, as it were. And my bungees have lost some of their bung, so my cargo did break free when I hit one completely egregious pothole, but fortunately only once I was out in the country with plenty of time to retrieve the box before the only car I saw on that road ran it over..
So there you go. Need to buy a toilet seat and only got a bike? No problem. And Homebase even have some bike racks outside . Clearly they’ve heard that cyclists spend more money in shops than those that arrive by car. And that, having hauled their purchases home, they’re extremely unlikely to try and take them back…
* Deadline is end of April, if you need to know when it’s going to start raining again.