I usually only use my bikes for sport but in the past two days I’ve used my Proflex to go shopping. Yesterday I first visited a cash machine where I didn’t even need to get off the bike. It was vastly more convenient than having to park the car 100 yards away on the car park and walk around the side of the supermarket. I then went to the Bike Cabin only to find that the spoke I needed, to replace a broken one, hadn’t yet arrived. I returned this morning, still riding the Proflex, to find that whilst the spoke had arrived it was too long. Benji would cut it and make a new thread at the end so I had a quarter of an hour to fill. I chose to ride around town to see what it looked like from a bike. I could have stopped at other shops but would definitely have needed a good lock. There may have been a time, maybe in the 1950s, when you could leave a bike outside a shop and be sure it would still be there when you were ready to go. Sadly it’s not like that any more. There’s even the fear that parts could be stolen from a securely locked bike, nowadays. If I was to use a bike for shopping, I’d like an old one of little value. What am I talking about? A 23 year old Proflex might fit the bill!
My 23 year old Proflex, recently, nowhere near a shop.
By the time I got back to the Bike Cabin I imagine I’d have climbed around 200 feet which is no problem for me but for many riders, who could ride a few miles on a level surface, it may have been too much. I see plenty of people commuting and generally getting around by bike, though. It was certainly easier to take my bike into the bike shop than it would have been to park my car. Often I have to park around the corner and walk back. As well as better cycle lanes, secure parking would be the best way to encourage more shoppers to leave the car at home. Another change that would help might be to amend the current rules on electrically assisted bikes. Why should you have to pedal at all? It might encourage more users if you just set off and it powered itself. I don’t see this adding any more danger than a bike where you need to do a limited amount of pedalling.
I got back home, fitted the spoke, put a spare in a drawer, walked the dog and went out to Healey Nab on my Boardman. My wife often comes home from work and asks me what I’ve done during the day. She should read this. I’ve listed 5 things, right there. I intended to ride 3 laps of Healey Nab but could tell from the start that I was tired. It was a little bit breezy and every inch felt like hard work. I reached the trail head and thought I’d do a full lap of the red graded route. I saw a familiar face, with one other individual, at the new jump section. It was Scott, who is one of the main trail builders. I thought I’d complete my lap and perhaps stop for a chat the next time around. The surface was very muddy in places especially up the climb at the back of the hill, The falling leaves are soon turned into mud and the trail could do with a good clean at least once a year, which was what Scott was doing when I stopped on the next lap. Since my recent adjustment to the rear suspension the bike was performing much better over the second, big jump, then I stopped. I remember Scott had mentioned trying an E bike, as in an electrically assisted mountain bike, previously. He’s bought one and covered 70 miles in the first few days. He perhaps carries a few more pounds than might be ideal (I should have joined the diplomatic service!) and may be better suited with an E bike. He said it allows him to ride for much longer and keep up with his friends.
I hope I’m many years away from needing electrical assistance but would certainly go down that road, rather than stopping riding, as I know a mutual acquaintance of Scott and I has also done. I only did 2 laps today. I didn’t see much sense in exhausting myself when I already felt tired. I suppose with an E bike I could have done 5 laps and might have enjoyed the ride more.
Not sure I’d leave that lovely ProFlex parked up outside a shop! I once had a £79 Halfords bike chained up in Reading town centre. Thieves cut through a £99 lock to steal it!
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