I have to admit that the last few days have proved testing to my commitment to making my bike my main mode of transport. It’s not just been the rain, or the dark, or the cold, or the fact that I have three evening engagements this week, one of which involved climbing back into my still damp things and heading out back into the rain and the dark only a couple of hours after I had arrived home – but if they’re giving out climate-saving medals, I would like one for that, please. No, I think the low point came yesterday evening as I was heading to New Nearest Village to find out more about the Coonsil’s declaration of a Climate Emergency.* Just as I crested the hill for the downhill run into the village (the topography of New Nearest Village somehow manages to be uphill in all directions, coming and going), my chain fell off. As it was pitch dark, I discovered the downside of having an amazing hub dynamo set up – that you can’t then point your wonderfully bright (even when stopped) but firmly attached front light at any part of the bike to sort it out (yes, yes, I know, you all carry spare lights for just this contingency). I was reduced to waiting for passing cars – not to stop and offer help, but to shine enough light to briefly work by. After about the fourth four-by-four had raced past (I’m going to assume not on the way to the climate meeting, but you never know) I’d managed to free the chain with a minimum of swearing and even managed to make it to the meeting without transferring any chain oil onto my face, which is a first.**
There are upsides too, of course, she says hastily. Mainly when the rain stops and it’s late enough that it’s just me out there on the road, with the odd owl for company. Or – as happened on Tuesday night – a Hercules lumbering slowly overhead at what felt like chimney height. I actually experienced a temperature inversion as the air warmed as I climbed out of the fog in the river valley and up our road. It doesn’t *quite* make up for foolishly choosing to live on a Cat 3 climb, but it is something to have your school geography lessons actually brought to life.
Tonight it’s my final social engagement of the week (well, my writers’ group) and I’ve only got a lift on the way home, so it will shortly be time to tear myself away from the fireside, find the least damp of my pairs of gloves, and set off again into the cold and the dark, saving the planet one bike ride at a time.
I hope the Coonsil appreciates me doing my bit.
* Actually slightly less greenwashy than I thought it would be, but they would appear to have a slightly different definition of ’emergency’ than most people.
** At least, if I did, nobody mentioned it.
I take my hat off to you. I do not cycle at night, I don’t think the country roads, really the drivers, are safe enough. I used to cycle at night in London without giving it much thought. As for going out in the dark, in wet kit, thanks but no thanks!
Carrying accessories to cover all on road emergencies is quite a list. I carry spare batteries for my rear light(, unfortunately, that disappeared on my commute home last evening? Presumably, it fell off whilst traversing a stout piece of timber laid at a right angle across the cycle path that I failed to see in the pitch black, yes sadly we have cycle saboteurs in our midst), a charging block to recharge my front light, which means I must have a spare front light while the first recharges(hours), puncture kit, essential breakdown tools. The latter two are useless without a spare light, but who holds it for you?. Then there’s the biblical deluge proof jacket and trousers. I wonder what more must be carried to travel around the world on a bicycle? lol. I’m quite used to starting off damp and arriving soaked these days.
@Charles – I feel safer out on the country roads at night because my light can bee seen for miles. In town there’s just too much going on
@WelshCyclist – I know, whatever emergency you’re prepared for, something else will inevitably crop up. But sabotage is pretty grim
I’d give you a medical
A medal, I meant!🤭
I might need a medical too!