‘Have you given up blogging then?’, the other half was asking me today (although I’m not as funny as I was in 2005, he still checks regularly, just in case the quality has improved). The truth is, I’ve been simply too busy to blog (it’s funny that this was never a problem back when I had a full time job but hey ho, that’s the joy of ‘downshifting’) although I did manage to hammer out this to help the Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative celebrate their women in cycling month and promote Pedal on Parliament to boot (you are all coming to POP aren’t you? I mean, those of you who live within a reasonable distance of Scotland. Or even those of you who don’t).
Of course, having happily written a whole guest blog about how one of the things preventing women from cycling is having to run errands that make using a bike more complicated, I’m now going to completely contradict myself – for me it’s running errands that actually gets me out on the bike in the first place. In fact in times like this, if it wasn’t for having to go and cycle for the paper or into town, I’d probably never leave the kitchen and I’d be climbing the walls by the end of the week.
Errand six: papershop run. Distance – 11 miles, category – store, observation – however many times it happens, you *never* notice a tailwind until you turn around and it becomes a headwind
Of course, because it’s errandonneering time, I can’t *just* go and get the paper – I have to think up other categories of things to do. This made Thursday a little tricky until I had the sudden genius idea of dropping off some POP flyers with a contact in the Coonsil. I also took the time to follow my own advice and say something nice to the Coonsil sustainable travel officer, which took him by surprise…
Errand seven: Coonsil office. Distance 8 miles, category – non-store errand, observation – sometimes the carrot works better than the stick. Although I reserve the right to get out the stick again when the Coonsil are being useless.
But that wasn’t all. As part of We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote, we’re asking people to post selfies (again) in their local area in Scotland, saying what they’d vote for. Having already established that I can’t take a selfie, let along a selfie while holding a sign AND enough of the surrounding area to make it clear where you are, I headed to my chosen spot (the Burns statue on Bigtown’s High Street) and then looked around for someone who would help me with a bit of social media campaigning. After the first chap I tried decided to tell my his life story by way of explaining why he couldn’t take a photo of me with my phone (is it something in my face that encourages this? A simple ‘no’ would have sufficed), the chap sitting next to him on the bench took pity on me and helped out. And yes, you can’t actually read my sign, but I wasn’t about to complain.
Errand eight: selfie tweeting. Distance 8 miles (at least, by the time I’d got home again), category – wild card, observation – Burns was a keen proponent of active travel, having walked several miles to get to a pub when he was stuck out at Brow Well in the middle of nowhere supposedly taking the waters. As it was taking the waters by wading out into the Solway Firth in January that finished him off, this might have been a sound move had he actually stayed in the pub.
Friday was another trip, this time to Edinburgh, but because of the shortage of time, I’m afraid I got a lift in the car. I did have the Brompton though, so I managed a multimodal ride to and from the the station to the training course where I was sharing my experience of campaigning. I forgot to take any photographs on the day and, while I did consider photographing the resulting Brompton bruises (I can’t carry it up and down steps or into a crowded train without banging it against my leg) but I didn’t think the Internet was really ready for my thighs, so my train ticket on to my parents will have to do.
Errand nine: travel to training course. Distance: 3 miles, category – work or volunteering, observation – it’s a little disconcerting to be asked to share your expertise in something even when you still feel like you’re making it up as you go along.
And finally, today, visiting my parents in Duns (and still mega busy – the joys of freelancing…), we did have time to pay a social call on a gardening friend of my parents, and – of course – inspect the ford.
Errand ten: ride to Gavinton. Distance – 4 miles, category, social call, observation – there really is very little point in having a ford with no depth gauge.
Are we nearly there yet?