Well, it's been a busy week, so there was no reason why Saturday should be any less busy. As it happens, today things look like they're coming together nicely.
Before I go on with the story of the day, I should like to rant at a minor frustration I had on Friday. I went into my online banking and could not remember the ID code. I've been using this code for a few years. I can type it in my sleep. All of a sudden it was no longer in my mind. My bank account number was similarly not in my mind. I've been able to reel that off for the last few years also. I thought I might have been having a Homer Simpson moment. Something along the lines of "every time I learn something new it pushes some of the old stuff out of my brain". I have been taking lots of information in recently - like the moves and lines for a couple of musicals. However, it turned out that this memory loss was only temporary. I must say, I can now empathise with the older generations who find some of the simplest things dropping out of their mind. With my 31st birthday coming up in the near future (well, it's a couple of months away, but I live life quickly, so it will be upon me in no time) perhaps I'm feeling my age. There are certainly one or two extra miles on my clock.
Anyway, today started early for a Saturday as the postman called. They say the postman only rings twice. This guy didn't. He rang once and then knocked. I rushed downstairs to receive a new toy. This device plugs into the car cigarette lighter (are these ever used for lighting cigarettes? I don't thing I actually have the heated elementy bit anymore) and also into one's MP3 player. Then you tune your radio to 88.1Mhz and you can hear your MP3's through the car stereo. As with many of the gadgets I've bought recently, I'm unimpressed, but it does the job and I'm getting used to its shortcomings (which are that it broadcasts a low intensity signal and so the radio has to be turned up far enough that there's an obvious background noise). The good news is that this cheap and cheerful device (under a tenner) will do the job well enough for me to enjoy using it for the purpose and I can travel to London listening to pretty much anything I like from my music collection without so much as having to touch a CD.
Last night I was intent on buying a new bike. I wasn't going to give up the dream of pedalling around London. I bought one. I did my usual trick of buying the first bike presented to me in the first shop I went to. This didn't work last time, but the shop I went to this time was pretty smashing. They sold all sorts of gadgets and their price tags were in dollars. This was a computer error (well, not an error - they have american inventory software - I saw them using it) and actually their prices were 1:1 with pounds. Still, it was entertaining to look at.
I have spent more on the bike I bought today than I did the first time around. This bike has more gears and seems a lot more solid. It's also bigger. On paper it has a smaller frame, but it's clearly bigger and more comfortable. I test rode it before buying and it felt right from the off. They've given me a service plan. A service plan! and they even fitted all the accessories for me. I like this idea of not doing anything technical with the bike. Let someone else worry about it until it becomes my problem.
After a trip to Asda, at which I bought a handsfree kit for the mobile phone - I've been far too naughty and illegal thus far - a couple of shirts and a shitty pair of trainers, which will undoubtedly prove to be the most comfortable shoes you can buy for £6, I came home, changed and went on my first proper ride on the new bike.
The first bike got a 2 mile run, after which I came home (having walked for some of the way) and collapsed on the sofa, unable to move for some 90 minutes (also unable to breathe). On this bike, the more comfortable seating and pedalling position, coupled with the extra gears, coupled with my reacquaintance with cycling technique and a little extra lower-body strength, developed in the first 25 miles of riding the previous bike, meant that I had a longer first ride. I went for just over 5 miles. I only got off the bike to deal with dangerous junctions (easier as a pedestrian) and I tackled some bastard hills. I was able to breathe and my legs were not burning. I'm also not as saddle sore as I was.
I hope this is a sign of a long and happy relationship with the new velocipede.
Time will tell.