Slumming it with the Bottom Dwellers

Everyone hates a cyclist, even it would seem, other cyclists.

I regularly pass between the various food levels in the transport chain but rarely get lower than when I drag out the push bike. Cycle commuting is a thankless task so its fortunate then that’s it such good fun.

I haven’t used my bike since I got the motorbike but my parking space at work is under threat so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out the cycle commute.

My route hooks up with the new CS7 cycle-superhighway that when complete will link Merton to the City and enable me to cycle much of my way along an extremely blue strip of paint work. I follow the same strip on my way in with the motorbike and it is busy, you can’t afford to veer off course by even a millimetre or you will plough through a swarm of cyclists who creep into gaps like hoards of stinging ants.

I took the Brompton in today and I’m afraid I did veer a little bit off course in places. I was buffeted by a speeding ambulance who pushed me slightly off kilter and into the path of an undertaking cyclist who dinged his bell at me provocatively until I apologised. In an attempt to cross 5 lanes of traffic near the treacherous Elephant & Castle I managed to piss off a van driver who wanted to mow me down – I could see my blood and guts reflected in his glaring eyeballs. It’s amazing how mad people can get when driving the few yards to the next red light.

Anyway, I survived it and it was a gloriously sunny day, a perfect day in fact for trying out the Polaroid sunglasses that have been sitting in my drawer for about 6 months.

I’d held back from trying these specs out as I was convinced I’d look like a particularly uncool variety of alien but once I was togged up in my biking finery I think they added the right air of determination and confidence for the task ahead.

The sunglasses come in a very well padded case that holds 3 replaceable lenses, orange for low light conditions, clear for almost everyday in the UK and these shades for the unaccustomed sunny days. They clip on and off the frame very easily but they are held firmly and I have no doubt that you could bounce down a rocky mountainside without fear of dislodging a lens.

They’ve also got a pair of rubber thingammies that hook behind the ears to ensure a firm grip of your head. It’s not firm really but they do keep the glasses in place and they would be perfect for running.

I’ve never run in sunglasses before but I’m aging fast and can’t afford any extra wrinkles caused by screwing up my eyes to avoid the glare. I’ll take these out on my next run, although I’ll probably have to clip in the orange lenses as I have a tendency to run long after sundown nowadays.

The ride back home seemed considerably more relaxed but then I was in such pain from the symmetrical buttock blisters caused by the monstrous Brooks saddle that I could barely pedal for more than 15 seconds in every 60. If you’re content to stay behind the pack, the ride can be a little less stressful.

One thought on “Slumming it with the Bottom Dwellers

  1. Highway Kind

    Very strange, I’m sure my saddle didn’t take as long to break in as yours but my Brompton is 10 years old and memories fade.

    but if it is not working you must ditch it and get something more immediately comfortable (but less elegant).

    I am amused by your worries of ageing.

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