How to Leave the House on a Bicycle: an expert guide

1. Allow plenty of time to gather your stuff and get to your destination. Realistically it takes 45 minutes to get to Bigtown, although I usually allow an hour to allow myself to take my time and arrive looking soignée and cycle chic. Unfortunately, recently that has started to mean ‘start thinking about leaving’ an hour before, rather than, ‘be on the bike and pedalling out the gate’ an hour before…

2. Put everything you need (notebook and pen, wallet, phone, Guardian voucher, bike pump, emergency rain gear, random stuff that lives at the bottom of your pannier bag) into your pannier bag if it’s not already in your pannier bag.

3. Remember that you were going to take some seedlings into town to drop off for the local guerilla gardening plant swap and hence had decided to take the Brompton and basket rather than the big bike and pannier

4. Dig out Brompton basket and remove random stuff which has accumulated in it by dint of it living in the kitchen. Transfer notebook and pen, wallet, phone, and Guardian voucher into your one and only handbag. Transfer emergency rain gear and bike pump into Brompton basket. Put handbag in Brompton basket. Leave random stuff that lives at the bottom of the pannier bag in the pannier bag, but instead take random stuff that lives in your one and only handbag.

5. Carry Brompton basket outside. Decide on mature reflection that you need gloves. Return to kitchen to find last remaining actual pair of gloves, which are ski gloves and a bit sweaty but never mind. Don gloves.

6. Remember that the whole point of taking the Brompton basket was to carry the seedlings. Realise that Brompton basket is now full. Empty Brompton basktet. Reluctantly decide to jettison emergency rain gear. Place seedling tray in bottom of basket. Reflect that, as you will be using the basket for your weekend bag that weekend, on the whole, it might have been better not to put something wet and a bit muddy in it.

7. Return to kitchen to replace emergency rain gear and source stout plastic bag. Place seedling tray in stout plastic bag. Place bag in basket. Fit one and only handbag around seedlings.

8. Remember to fetch a lock. Attempt to fit lock into basket without squashing seedlings. Remove seedlings, one and only handbag, pump and lock and rearrange with seedlings on the top. Success.

9. Realise that at some point in the proceedings you have taken off a glove. Look for glove outside. Look for glove in kitchen. Look for glove outside in case it has mysteriously rematerialised. Look for glove in kitchen for the same reason. Open the cupboard with the plastic bags in it and stare at in in baffled rage for a while. Look for glove outside one last time. Find glove bundled up with emergency rain gear.

10. Don glove. Unfold Brompton. Attach basket. Set off. Remember that even though you live in the countryside, people do now actually lock their doors. Return to lock door.

11. Pedal like the hounds of hell are after you or you will be late.

12. One mile down the road, stop to remove your now very sweaty gloves.

13. Arrive looking the opposite of soignée and cycle chic.

kale seedlings

Still, at least the seedlings made it mostly unscathed.

And how I managed to take such a damn funky photo of them, I have no idea.


8 Responses to How to Leave the House on a Bicycle: an expert guide

  1. Robert Littlewood says:

    You left the iron on.

  2. disgruntled says:

    Haha – don’t. If I ever did iron, I would definitely leave the damn thing on…

  3. Andy in Germany says:

    Apart from using an Xtraccle and not a Brompton, you’ve generally described my experience of going out on a bike as well. Glad I’m not the only one so afflicted…

  4. Michele says:

    And I thought I was the only one . . .

  5. disgruntled says:

    Perhaps we should form a support group….

  6. Adnerb says:

    It would be in vain. There’s a law (no doubt laid down by the cycling gods) that makes faffing (or is it pfaffing?) obligatory. The amount varies as the square of the number of people involved.

  7. disgruntled says:

    That’s all too true…

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