The Bike Shop!
I went out the door of the bike shop with a new fancy green European bicycle. At times I am so happy about my new fancy bicycle that I convince myself that it is a magic bicycle. The new fancy European bicycle is a very dignified dark green like the green in the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk sure to propel me without effort up the coast to Ireland. I change the name of my new fancy European bicycle according to how I feel at the moment. The big talk in this neck of the woods in Somerset, England is the bird flu pandemic. So my new bicycle’s name has become ‘The Pandemic”. It is a lofty distinguished name for the bicycle that I hope will fearlessly spread as fast as the pandemic that has been sweeping across Europe and the world at a moment’s notice.
The bicycle mechanic who assembled my bicycle said I could cycle over the ocean bridge connecting England to Wales if I headed north/west on the rural road. So out the bicycle shop door I went riding without a map on Jack and the Beanstalk the magic bicycle with full intentions of spreading as fearlessly as the bird flu pandemic. As well as my grandiose thinking, I had exactly zero km/miles of cycling experience and exactly zero amount of time invested in getting fit enough to cycle to Ireland. In my elation to be breaking free from the isolation of Alaska I had merrily somersaulted over this fitness step in the planning. I had spent the last two years reading about bike touring. However, I am reasonably sure that reading doesn’t qualify as physical training.
The bicycle mechanic in the bike shop as I headed out the door was so encouraging as to sarcastically wonder if I was a real cyclist. Real cyclist? No, what’s that? There are about a dozen folks in all of Alaska who are determined to bring the cyclist culture to the far north. They cycle 3km about 2 miles to work or school from June until September sometimes in forty below freezing temperatures dressed in full winter regalia like soldiers heading for the cold war. Every year at the end of a short cold summer, the weather chases them inside until the roads thaw in the spring or about 8 months later. I myself never joined the hearty frozen bunch. Instead, I had found myself to be satisfied to be lazy and read my Adventure Cycling Handbook and daydream myself to sleep each night in my warm bed.
I sure do wish I had of known in advance that only these real cyclist people could purchase bicycles at this particular bicycle shop in Bridgewater, Somerset, England. Although I am not a real cyclist I am going to give it a try. I am going to try to cycle The Pandemic through England over the ocean bridge to Wales, up the coast of Wales then The Pandemic and I will catch the ferry to Ireland and peddle on from there.
Posted by Loretta Henderson