Today’s #BEDN post prompt was ‘light’. Most people will probably write about light in rather a different way to me, especially because today is the main celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, and Happy Diwali to everyone celebrating!
But, this is what’s happening in my life, and so I’m writing about ‘light’ as the opposite to ‘heavy’… Because, after lots and lots of deliberating, I’ve sold my bike. Those of you who have been following this blog for a while will remember that it took a lot of deliberating roughly a year ago before I bought it!
The Pashley Princess is a beautiful thing. It’s utterly classic with immaculate, historic design credentials and that lovely leather Brooks saddle is the cherry on the top. I loved it. But in truth, I never should have bought it. In my head, the Pashley was perfect for me. It’s pretty bomb-proof, so it would have lasted forever, the saddle was nice and comfy, the upright position perfect for a spot of nosying into other people’s gardens whilst cycling past and the basket on the front useful for putting my food shopping in, whilst slowly pottering my way along nice flat roads of Cambridge.
Ah, but wait. I don’t live in Cambridge. Or York. Or Norfolk, for that matter, or anywhere else flat that might spring to mind. Holland, maybe?
I live in West Yorkshire. In old coalfield territory. We have hills here. And I’d been kidding myself all along that it wasn’t a problem. The last straw really came a couple of weeks ago when we decided to have a short cycle ride to visit my Grandma. She lives a mere five or six miles away, and I knew we’d have plenty of time to rest before making the return journey so I thought it would be totally fine. I was wrong. On leaving home, almost straight away we hit a hill, and by the time I got to the top of that, I was red-faced, and somewhat nauseous (sorry for that image!) whilst my lovely boyfriend Stephen, on his carbon-fibre road bike looked as fresh as a daisy. By the time we got to Grandma’s I was feeling quite sorry for myself and I think she was somewhat alarmed to see the colour of my face! A nice sit down and a cup of tea helped restore my natural colour and then we set off back home.
The return journey was even hillier, as we went a different, slightly longer way. We’d nearly reached home, and I’d had a big change of heart. Instead of thinking that I was slow and struggling because of the bike, I’d really started to think that perhaps I was slow and struggling simply because of me. Thinking that it was purely my lack of fitness, or simple ineptitude was starting to make me want to get off the bike, throw it into a hedge and walk away without a second glance. Thankfully, before I’d got to that point, Stephen realised what was going on. He stopped, jumped off his bike and offered to swap.
Now, the image of a big, fit male cyclist on a women’s Pashley Princess, complete with giant silver bell and wicker basket is quite a silly one, so I am incredibly grateful to him for doing that. But not so grateful that I didn’t whip past him on the next hill on his gorgeous, incredibly light (and three sizes too big) carbon fibre Planet X bike. And the incredible realisation that it wasn’t just me being slow and rubbish, it really and truly was the damn tank-like Pashley, was bloody brilliant. And I knew it was time…
My beloved 91 year old Grandma gave me one piece of advice when she saw how exhausted I was from riding such a heavy bike.
“Put it on Ebay”
And so I did.