The new groupset held well. I knew it would.
I did have some slight reservations, readying my clips to quickly disconnect at the first sound of slippage… But I powered on (the whole system felt more…torqued?) And it looked great – aesthetically, and mechanically: there was no wobble/drift as I looked down into the engine room of my right-side pedal; previously the front crank would vary one or two degrees from zero.
A day of drizzle. A day where, circa 3pm, a road race event was taking place between Kilmacolm and Penny’s Arch, just outside Port Glasgow. Flags and other race paraphernalia adorned street lamps and roadside ‘furniture’.
I tore a handful of exploded yellows from one of the many roadside areas brimming with sunshine, and they joined my ‘fat boy’ bike pump purchased earlier from Halfords. The assistant was informed of my displeasure at the longevity of previous mini pumps, as I stood – purchasing a Continental 26″ inner tube too – with £5 worth of ‘tech’. Why pay £25? The backpack’s eventual weight – tools, 2 inner tubes, etc. – was noticeable but not debilitating, and the standard sized pump fitted (just!) tucked under the roof of the bag.
A simple and uncomplicated ride. Chapel Farm fared much better than previous attempts: the bike held at near-stationary points, maneuvers were controlled. I opted to walk around the swollen swamps on Devol Road – I had shorts on and no overshoes.
The fortnight absence definitely resonated across my lower body: upper body strength had been maintained through ab. work and weights. But the final time showed approximately ten or so additional minutes – and I wasn’t stopping much to snap any pictures.
Refreshed, I returned with the daffodils and a thirst for tea.
In a week that had sad news wander up and confront me; a week in which I knelt in a church, staring at newly lit candles and tried to block out the slosh of busses washing through puddles that formed in the depression that often formed at the busy pedestrian crossing; that Friday I realised that, when you feel loss, that you find some light that accentuates what you do have, have overlooked or taken for granted. Not that I do. I know how lucky I am. I never forget this fact.
So has another journey begun? That is certainly a good question.
I put my faith in the expertise of the chap at Aerobikes. No Internet is present, just a shop front full of bikes, grease and the odd space for people to position their two-wheeled problem(s) and be comforted or consoled. Attention to detail and purpose; capable hands securing, greasing and checking as the busy afternoon passes by outside. Like the inviolate ambience of a library, this ‘space’ had a calming air.
Skill. Craftsmanship. Taking the time to reflect on the present. Looking closely – examining the problem; formulating and evaluating solutions. Applying. Checking.
The honesty of the high street bike shop is allegory for us all. Our lives are complicated. We need time.