When we started this blog to chart our progress as we prepared for the Solent swim there were plenty of references to our childhood largely because we spent plenty of it in swimming pools. As the swim challenge is now done the cycle one we are tackling this year is very similar for me in that a bicycle was the other staple in many of my childhood memories and so getting back into the saddle has evoked lots of memories of times when life seemed so much simpler. Most of our summer holidays were spent cycling from home to Sandy hills where we would tear up and down mountains all day (they felt like mountains they weren’t really) only stopping to eat a few home made fish paste sandwiches and a shop bought (Mr Kiplings usually) Apple and Blackcurrant pie. If it wasn’t holiday time, our bikes were never far away for riding to and from school (we didn’t get the whole Chelsea tractor school run thing in those days), or for cycling to our paper rounds or evening shifts at the newsagents. My pride and joy was an electric blue Carlton Continental racing bike (neither of us were allowed the ubiquitous Raleigh Chopper – Too dangerous), whilst Ian wanted Christmas money so that he could build his own bike. I think it was £100 that he got and instead of building a bike with it he took all his mates (don’t think I got invited) to the Golden Egg (St Neots’ answer to the Wimpy chain) and spent pretty much the lot on egg and chips. There are memories of going over the handlebars into a patch of stinging nettles for me and for Ian he always harps on about the time that our three wheeler trike suffered a catastrophic weld failure at the bottom of the frame, folding in on him and almost putting a brake lever through his throat. That three wheeler had been great for wheelies (if the boot was filled with house bricks) before he wrecked it.
So today gave me another childhood memory thanks to those lovely cleats that I blogged about last week. Second time out on the bike using them and it was great, they clipped in easily they came out smoothly and before long all of my concerns from last week were gone, they are great. I was soon brimming with confidence leaving it later and later to unclip weaving around traffic still clipped in couldn’t see what I was worried about last week. Yes I had a couple of close ones when I got over confident and tried overtaking some stationary traffic, another when someone stopped dead in front of me at some traffic lights to let a wrong lane transgressor in but I cycled about 25km without incident. And then it happened, Parley traffic lights (almost home) I filtered to the front of the queue, unclipped waited for the lights and pulled away. Feet snapped into place and then I had to weave around a car who was jutting into the road, no problem I went behind and then suddenly there was nowhere left to go. There comes a point (at about 45 degrees i think) when if your feet aren’t out it’s clearly going to hurt. Over I went bouncing off the back bumper of a Nissan Micra. Today is the first time that I’ve cycled in just my shorts and now I’ve got another reminder of childhood in the form of a grazed knee. I can only find two songs that mention grazed knees one is by snow patrol the other is a pretty sad song but I’m including it here for the line “Skinned our hearts and skinned our Knees” (reminds me of growing up). Never knew that Nirvana did a cover of this but here is the original by Terry Jacks.