Yesterday, I asked the Benmore Duty Officer if he might possibly have a few minutes to look at my bike as the gears didn’t seem to be running quite as smoothly as they had the potential to do. I’m afraid I don’t much about bikes, he replied. Then he thought for a moment and said, But I’ll gladly have a look at it for you. After all, it can’t be much different from a chainsaw; which is something he knows a great deal about.
And he clearly wasn’t wrong, because he collected a few of the tools that he uses to maintain his chainsaw and biff… baff… bosh… my bike now runs 200% better than it did before. Not that there was anything fundamentally wrong with it, only now I have a pretty challenging commute morning and evening the bike and I both need to be on top form.
Luckily I’ve chosen my companion well. He’s a big old, solid, beast who clearly had a hard life before he was reconditioned by a community project in Edinburgh. The best way I can describe him is a cross between Don Quixote’s horse Rossinante and Boxer, the Shire horse in Orwell’s Animal Farm.
But the frame is solid, the tyres have plenty of wear left in them, the bearings are reassuringly robust and while the brakes aren’t too sharp, I’ve ridden with a lot worse.
So far the weather has been more than kind – sunny, no wind – and the views out across the Firth of Clyde and Holy Loch have been beyond poetic. Yes, there have been midges, but after all, this is Scotland in June. I’ll let you know how I feel about the journey when a cold, wet, slobbering wind is screaming in my face like a sergeant major and the rain is lashing down in bucket loads. On second thoughts, maybe I’ll just catch a bus.
One last thing. As I cycled in this morning I kept thing that My Bike is like a chainsaw, has huge potential to be the first line of a poem. If you’ve any suggestions for the second and third lines please do feel free to share.