Well, more than a mile, actually. This week I’ve clocked up well over 15 miles walking back and forth to the village and I’m discovering lots of things, mainly the fact that most of my footwear is more comfortable for cycling in than walking – I’m looking at you, wellies – and that I’d forgotten all about blisters but now that I have discovered them I can confirm that they hurt about as much as minor abdominal surgery. I’ve also discovered that people in cars behave just as badly or well around pedestrians as they do around cyclists, or perhaps it’s actually personal to me, regardless of my mode of transport – certainly I have seen no more observance of Rule 206 than I have Rule 163. I’m much more assertive about taking the country lane on foot, though, especially when it’s raining. I’ve realised that this is because, while the consequences of a close pass on the bike are potentially more lethal (pedestrians can always leap to the verge out of the way) they are also less likely to actually happen, whereas if a driver scooshes past you on a wet road when you’re on foot you have a 100% likelihood of getting drenched.
That aside, you get much less wet on foot than on a bike – and it’s been rather nice to be reunited with some items of clothing which haven’t proved that practical to cycle in, such as my big waxed coat (too hot) and my Akubra hat (too brimmed), both of which are way more waterproof than anything else I own.
I’ve also learned that, even more than cycling, the village do not consider walking to be a sensible mode of transport so that I’ve had to fend off (and occasionally accept) offers of lifts (depending on how much cake I’m planning to eat). And to be honest, I can’t say I disagree – walking is very healthy and it’s pleasant on a nice day but compared to a bike, my god it is slow. And tiring too. Add in wellies (wellie miles, like Brompton miles, count double, treble if you’ve got blisters), and I come back from fetching the paper – approximately an hour of walking – ready to collapse onto the sofa, with really weary legs. It would be nearer three hours before my legs felt like that after cycling. Long-distance walkers and runners, I salute you.
I’m also beginning to feel a bit of a fraud because people are being lovely and solicitous, while I mostly feel completely recovered, just a bit grounded. I know I’ll regret it if I cycle too early and something goes ping, so I will sit out the prescribed cycling ban like a good girl and not whinge too much. But I am so looking forward to getting back on the bike. And so are my poor legs…