So, I’m off to That London tomorrow for reasons which may become clear on Tuesday and the Brompton will be coming with me – returning temporarily to its ancestral home. The reason for bringing the Brompton is to help Babymother revive the bike-borne school run, as apparently this needs a Cycling Aunt, presumably of the Wodehousian variety. Obviously that means getting the Brompton from Euston to London’s wild north, which I could do perfectly sensibly by folding it up and taking it on the train, but it’s a little known fact that Bromptons are manufactured from pure gravitanium which means that although they are quite light when you pick them up, they get heavier and heavier the longer you carry them. Lugging one up the spiral staircase at Finsbury Park does not appeal, so my plan is to cycle there instead. What could possibly go wrong?
Last time I cycled between North London and the Euston Road I was 22 and immortal, and heading for a last-minute place on a Master’s course in what was then Bristol Poly, which makes me about 97 now. I was on my old student bike with all my worldly goods stuffed into an enormous backpack and I decided to take what seemed to be the easiest and most obvious route which involved going down the A1 and along the Euston Road to Paddington. At the junction between two enormous roads I saw an amber light and decided to just go for it, having forgotten that a) poorly maintained hybrid bikes piloted by unfit students laden down with backpacks don’t have much acceleration and b) London road junctions are ENORMOUS. The next thing I remember was what appeared to be four streams of traffic converging on me at once with their horns blaring while I tried to wave apologetically and pedal for my life. Needless to say, I did not ride back that way again.
Tomorrow, older and I hope wiser, I will be setting off with a game friend to see how far we get on the return journey. This time we’ll be following the railway line and avoiding big roads and if it all gets too traumatic we’ll just hop on a train instead like sensible people. If nothing else, I suppose, I shall get a blog out of it. And hopefully not a one-way ticket to A&E…
More tomorrow, if I’m spared.