Cycling

The Pashley bicycles are beautiful. They have been made in Oxfordshire since the 1920s, and these ones are a rich, mauvy-pink with painted metal chain guards, Hawker-Siddeley (or whatever it is) three speed hub gears, and a wicker basket on the front, fastened with leather straps. The large bell looks traditional, but when I ping it it goes DING DONG and all the people in the street would think their doorbell had gone. Oh Wow.

-What do you think of that?
-It’s so heavy, so old-fashioned.
-But very beautiful.

She tells me her husband has a Pashley Guv’nor, and people get together for rides in Edwardian gear, tweeds, plus-fours, moustaches. As long as it isn’t your only bicycle, she said.

Terry tells me in Friedman-John I could cycle everywhere on red paths, no need to go on the road ever again. As I pushed the bike to the cycle shop, a woman stopped me to say how much she had enjoyed cycling past the lakes on the old railway line to Waterford. Actually, though others don’t like cycling on roads, I don’t mind- that guy pulling out noticed me this morning just in time, and most drivers are courteous. The other guy who, rather than pulling into his side of the road, pulled out past the parked car driving straight at me forcing me to brake hard at the bottom of the dip was unusual, and the guy who would have broken my humerus had I been bent over with it stuck out was far closer than most people.

It would not only be my only bicycle, it would be my only mode of transport, and I don’t have five hundred quid for that. Or for a helmet like that one, which just perplexed me.

Oh, and when I am accelerating down hill I hate it when they pass me then brake for the chicane, but it does not matter nearly as much now I have better brakes; and I was feeling really good sitting up, higher than the drivers, in the sunshine. Ruler of all I survey…

A pity the road surfaces are so badly worn, with pot holes, that you really need a mountain bike. So I have a mountain bike. I will get my cadence faster, so cycle more efficiently. I have been reading about the problem of weighing down the pedal on the up-stroke, putting weight early enough on the down stroke, and how to flex the ankles.

Half the people who were on Disability Living Allowance and have been reassessed for its replacement, Personal Independence Payment, get nothing. This is not because they were not disabled, but because the test is designed to pay the benefit to far fewer people, in far more restricted circumstances. Some very poor people are having their income cut by around £100 a week.

Eckersberg, View of the Church of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura

10 thoughts on “Cycling

  1. My sister is a keen cyclist. The old heavy ones may look good but their heaviness works against you. I used to ride a tandem and though we got waves and smiles, it wasn’t much fun on a steep hill.

    It’s hard not to see a conscious uncoupling happening in our welfare system. I hope some of the stories in the news will help us all get a better perspective. I find it very hard to see handouts for the rich in austerity budgets.

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    • DLA to PIP, some of the rules are changed. There is no more lowest rate care- someone unable to prepare a cooked main meal for themselves, or who needed a carer for an hour a day but could cope the rest of the time, cannot get PIP though they could have got DLA. And the interpretation is changed- can you go to an unfamiliar place alone if you psych yourself up for a week beforehand and getting there is really important to you; do you just not go to unfamiliar places because it is too uncomfortable, most of the time? Each claimant is assessed by the employee of a contracted out agency, to make the less generous interpretation.

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  2. Well here is a confession: cannot ride a bike! When I was around 7 during gymnastics at school the wooden spring-board broke under the pressure of my foot as I prepared to jump over the “horse” and my foot sank through the splintered wood, hurting like hell and put me off riding bikes, jumping off anything doing anything where feet are above solid ground – except driving a car 🙂 I admire people who can ride bikes and often imagine myself on one

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  3. I love to ride, and have a mountain bike which has its gears tortured as I find it so hard to go up even the slightest incline. It is however like flying to me, I adore it. Despite the fear of death.

    They’ve already been responsible for deaths through the spare bedroom tax, and more shall die and be thrown into poverty with the new PIP benefit. They took all those who had been deemed chronically ill or disabled for life in DLA and therefore never need be tested again, and ignored it, making each and every one of them reapply. When you are that ill ‘proving’ your pain again and again is so psychologically damaging. They are literally trying to kill off the sick, disabled, disadvantaged and poor. And they are succeeding.

    esme upon the Cloud

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