There are relaxing ways to spend the weekend – and then there’s manning the Bigtown Cycling Campaign stall at the Environment Fair for the whole day. My Brompton had a starring role in the Brompton folding-and-unfolding race, which meant I had to demonstrate the fold to several million people and then talk them through the process as they attempted to beat the record of 43 seconds set by a fellow member (and Brompton owner) using an innovative technique that involved undoing all the catches at once and collapsing it in one fluid move – possibly not something to try for the first time when you’ve a train to catch and a platform full of curious people watching.
Trying to help the others, I realised how unconscious the whole folding and unfolding process has become to me. For instance, it was only on about the ninth or tenth demonstration that I realised I was using my knee to gently hold the frame down as I swung the front part of the bike round. Nor had I really realised that you have to stand on one side in order to fold it, and it’s impossible to do it from the other. Or that, if you don’t just let the handlebars drop down and click into position with the right satisfying clunk, then it just isn’t right, somehow, although that’s more of a stylistic point than a practical one. Either way, trying to help someone else is like trying to teach someone to knit – it’s almost impossible without taking it out of their hands and just doing it for them…
The other thing I realised is that standing around talking to people all day is absolutely knackering. Even when you’re talking to them about bikes. Add in 18 miles (and Brompton miles count double) and my final errand and it’s no wonder I’ll be spending what remains of the weekend on the sofa … I am DONE.
Total 18 miles.