Okay, so not a wagon exactly … well at all really ….. but two wheels on my bike didn’t have the same ring and that particular phrase doesn’t, as far as I am aware, figure in a 1961 song about the wild west and the efforts of a pioneer family to escape Cherokee Indians.
But I digress which, as those of you who regularly read my posts already know, isn’t in itself an unusual state of affairs but I’ve usually at least started a post before digression takes place ….
Anyway, so Monday was MOT day (that’s the UKs’ annual roadworthiness test for vehicles over three years old, for those non-Brits amongst you) for Thomas the jap’ pickup truck. Normally MOT day follows the same old routine: I take the girls to school; then take whichever car is going to be tested, to the garage; sit and wait for an hour or so while the test is done; and then pay for the MOT and drive home.
This time things were a little different and presented Mud and I with a bit of a problem. Thomas needed some work doing and was going to be in the garage for most of the day. Ordinarily when one of the cars has to go in for repair work, Mud drives the car down for around 8.30 am and then sits and waits until I arrive in the other vehicle to pick him up once the girls are safely installed in school. Of course this then eats into his work time which he then has to make up but Monday he simply didn’t have the time to do this, as he is currently snowed under and on a deadline.
“Don’t worry,” I said, “If you put my bike in the pickup bed, I’ll cycle back from the garage.”
As the garage is only about 4 miles away, I was pretty confident that this ride wouldn’t tax my improved fitness levels and leg strength too much, after all it was less distance than the 6 or 7 miles I have recently been riding two or three times each week. The fact that this particular route was along a very busy main road worried me a little but as I would be pedaling back AFTER morning rush hour, I was happy enough to do the trip. Also, the route back from the garage was the easier option as the longest, steepest inclines were on the way to the garage, so the journey home consisted of some lovely long downhill sections and only a few minor inclines.
So once I had delivered Thomas to the garage, I offloaded my bike, donned my helmet and set off, arriving home some 21 minutes later much to Muds’ surprise,a s he hadn’t expected me back quite so soon.
Fast forward a few hours and Mud was getting a little antsy, as we still hadn’t been told that the car was ready for collection. As with the delivery of one of the cars to the garage for repairs, normally what happens on collection is that Mud and I both travel to the garage in the second car and then he drives the newly repaired car home with me driving the other one.
Monday, however, we had a problem. You see it was very nearly end of school which meant that we would soon have the two girls home and that meant that if we hadn’t collected Thomas by then, we were going to struggle to get to the garage at all because Annie can only carry two passengers.
My heart sank as I realised that there was really only one option available to us: I would have to cycle back to the garage along those long, steep inclines that had been such a breeze on the way back that morning. As it turned out, the challenge of the ride back wasn’t so much the hills (and they were really, really tough) it was the rush hour traffic and the numpties who thought it was okay to try and pass me at just the point when an on-coming car passed on the other side of the road, nearly causing me to cycle into the ditch at the side of the road.
Thankfully I made it back to the garage in one piece, albeit with very tired and jelly like legs. Unbelievably it had taken just 20 minutes to get back to the garage, despite two very steep hills, the first off which I managed without stopping but the second off which I had to dismount 2/3 of the way up and walk because I simply didn’t have the strength left in my legs to finish the climb on the bike. Mud was suitably impressed that I’d managed the first hill and said it showed my cycling was having an effect on my overall fitness levels.
I’ve done nearly 140 miles on my bike now and I can say that it is a lovely, comfortable bike to ride and I would thoroughly recommend it.
As for Thomas …. well, he passed his test and is allowed on the roads for another year.