A Smashing Sunday

My Sunday was panning out to be fairly typical. I had lunch with family and then headed of for my usual “ride round the block” on my bike. I called into a shop to pick-up some milk and cat biscuits. The milk was to replace the two litres of the reduced-priced stuff I had bought a few days previously which had gone clunk the day after (don’t worry it’s presently being put to use in a loaf of bread).

I’ve found this a couple of times recently when buying reduced-priced milk (from different shops) that it has already gone ‘bad’ by the next day – I suppose the question is, why the shop is keen to sell off the stuff. I always assume it’s simply because they’ve had a fresh delivery and have failed to sell the previous stock, but it still shouldn’t go off as soon as the next day. It’s almost like there have been some handling miss-hap where it hasn’t been kept properly refrigerated at some stage.

Oh and the shop had sold out of the cat biscuits. Anyway, on with my ride.

I’d passed a couple of couples out walking, the first pair were J-walking which amused me, and the second were crossing the road in front of me; the husband across the road already when I arrived round the bend and the wife just starting to cross. My reaction was to casually ride between them. There was plenty of room, and it wasn’t like I came hurtling out of nowhere and cutting them close, but the wife had a little fright and remarked: “Jesus Christ!” which amused me. I think I’ve met the pair out walking before and had a similar instance where she blurted something out. Sometimes if I have the chance I ring my bell but either this goes unheard or it causes the people I’m dinging to dither about and get more in the way.

I recently saw a sign on a shared footpath that called for everyone (walkers and cyclists) to say hello to one another, I think in some areas (such as with mountain bikers) these cyclists get a bit of a reputation for putting people in harm’s way.

My reaction when I encounter a “situation” is to avoid it, like, glide round, rather than slam on my brakes, ring a bell, or honk my horn (that thing rarely gets used). I also tend to give people a little wave when I pass, rather than actually say hello, which, if that goes unnoticed might give me an air of arrogance. When riding I’m usually in my own head-space and switching to “Talking Mode” is something that takes more effort than the instance allows.

Some miles later on this ride and I headed down a hill and round a bend and then I started to get slower and slower and I could hear something was caught in my back wheel. I pedalled on for a hundred yards or so (a risky thing to do in my experience because I’ve had a bit of thorny twig stuck in my mud-guard before now that rubbed on the tyre until it punctured it.) On this occasion though it was just some grit that had got trapped between the guard and the tyre and was rattling about. With that dislodged, I continued on.

Not much further on I swerved round a pot hole. It’s one I’ve encountered before and I pick one side or the other and on this occasion I chose the side closest to the kerb, but with the hole now larger and closer to said kerb, that left me little room and my back wheel clipped the edge of it. The jolt caused my pannier strap’s hook to unhook and then rehook itself round the wheel. I immediately pulled in but not before the measly strap had done one revolution round the hub and stretched itself beyond its limit of elasticity. I unwound it and tucked the strap out of the way, the pannier still hooked on my it’s two top hooks and a velcro strap (the bottom hook that was now no longer in place helps keep the pannier hunkered down on the rack (such as when going over bumps), and also stops it swinging about when leaning into bends).

Back on the move yet again, my next encounter was of a four-wheeled vehicular kind, and with a driver behind the wheel that somehow thought they could pass me before reaching the junction they were planning on taking (which they couldn’t). Luckily my swift action on the brakes and a swerve round them avoided me going into them. I also managed to get back along side them and shout “Idiot”.

So much for not being of the vocal type, although I’m not sure they even heard me, or were even still aware of my existence that split second after they decided to cut me up.

All of these encounters had by now got me somewhat flustered and thinking something was working against me on this ride. I often use this kind of intuition to decide what junction or route to take (particularly when I’m on a casual ride like this, rather than having a specific destination), so this time I decided to take the next opportunity to return home more directly.

I doubled back down a road which headed me for home, but this was not without some speedbumps. I felt a bit of a breeze on my back now and picked up some speed. One particular speedbump has a nice shape to it and with speed can allow me to kind of launch off it, which I did, amusing me somewhat. The next ones I kind of thumped over and should have taken the opportunity to then slow down a little. The next one I thumped over and then there was a thumb behind me…

I’d left my pannier in the road behind me.

I hankered on the brakes and turned round to retrieve it. Hooking it back in place and velcroing it back down as I chuckled to myself. There was no sign of milk trickling out so at least the plastic carton was still intact it seemed.

After that, my ride seemed quite pleasant and relaxed while I amused myself by mulling over all what had happened on the ride. Out into the countryside I passed a gate to a field with sheep and little lambs in. There was a group of little lambs next to the gate and as I began to “aww” at them one started running beside me (in his field), bleating at me, so I bleated back.

Perhaps he was one that had more close dealings with humans in his first few days and he was calling to me as if he knew me, or he was just having a fun game chasing after me. It was fun for me too. He then peeled off and returned to his friends after the brief gallop and burst of energy; I glanced down at my speedometer: “10mph, not bad little man!”

Almost approaching home and I suddenly remembered. The carton of milk wasn’t the only fragile item in my pannier… I’d taken my tablet computer to my sister’s house to share Fitbit details of my recent “350 flights of stairs“. I laughed; like Schroedinger’s Cat, the device could either be fine, or it could be broken, and I wouldn’t know until I was back home and would take a look at it then…

Oh well (I laughed). I can replace the screen cheaply enough, and it still functions enough to switch on and sync with my Fitbit. To be honest (in addition to it not costing me anything) it was already quite scratched but now the touch-screen/digitizer layer is shattered; it displays the image ok, I just can’t press anything on the screen.

In other news: (besides the milk carton being dented and not standing up straight in my fridge), we had a nice sunset; we haven’t had these for a while:


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