On Wednesday February 16 2011, I participated in Bike To Work Day. Feeling very virtuous, I sallied forth to my CCHL Audit and Risk meeting, setting sail around half 7 for my 8am start.
Rounding the corner of Hereford Street in the slipstream of one of my leggier colleagues I discovered something interesting about bikes. Unlike in a car, you cannot simultaneously indicate, brake and turn without invoking the wrath of gravity.
Upon faceplanting, I let fly with the one word John McCrone referred to a couple of weeks later in the Press as “a yelp”. Picking myself up, it took ten minutes more to lock the bike, limp to the meeting and explain to Bruce Irvine the reason for the bandaids covering cheek and chin and hands and knee was because I’d cut myself shaving. It worries me to this day that he believed it.
Biked home that day, but left her in the garage for the weekend while I frozen-pead the knee.
By Monday 21/2/2011, I was raring to go. Up Rapaki I headed during my lunchbreak, Pepper beside me. Thought she was a bit slippy in the gear department but I made it to the top. It was only as I headed back down that I realised the rear derailleur was a dangling thing and the bit holding it on had fallen off.
Said “yelp” again. Figured out that gravity is one’s friend if one still has brakes. Made it to the bottom, took the bike back to John Bull’s (I bought her there on Boxing Day after the quake – it was centred five houses away so I thought a mtb would be a good idea.)
And 24 hours later, almost to the minute I began my descent down Rapaki – the quake hit. John Bull’s on Moorhouse, right smack in the cordon.
Since then, I have been reliant on the kindness of friends and now I confess all.
I bludged my first bike from friends around the road. They have kids – therefore bikes the right size. It was however their nana’s bike that I ended up borrowing, and which I managed to puree last week on my way to the Community Board forum. This time, it was Pepper’s doing – literally. Right in the middle of Derrett Place. Like a mighty sea anchor she stopped me – but this time I had half gloves on and I rolled better.
The bike did not. Nasty things, chains. Lovely man, Colin. Dumped the bike on his back doorstep, sent him a text saying “you’ve got a new project” and continued on with a much relieved Pepper to the board forum. About half way there I realised I wasn’t going to make it in time so smiled sweetly at a tradesman who gave us both a lift. Bike 2 bit the dust.
Borrowed bike 3 from a friend of mine who had a spare in his garage. This one has remained intact – in fact, I haven’t ridden it. I was a bit worried about this whole gravity bizzo, but it’s been there in case I need it. All black and shiny and flash – a mean machine.
John Bull’s was paroled from the cordon a couple of days ago – and I had a ring yesterday saying my bikelet was fixed and good to go. Chris and I picked it up today after we did the grocery shopping. It feels so good having her back – my freedom is mine again.
And Colin has fixed bike #2, which I can now return to rightful owner. Ditto bike #3.
There is a roaring trade in bikes and single malt and hot pink jackets at the moment. And now Disaster Barbie rides again. If you see me on the road – give me a wide berth. I’m fast coming to the conclusion that when gravity switches on, she tends to be the winner on the day.