I’ve covered some decent mileage on the new bike recently. As well as a couple of weekend rides I’ve managed to commute by bike almost every day for the past fortnight. The bike is an absolute pleasure to ride and still brings a smile to my face whenever I look at it; however the first impressions from non-cyclists have been quite scathing. A few of my colleagues had been hearing about a new, mythical, handmade bicycle for several months and thought I was joking when I finally appeared on a traditional steel frame bike. Comments such as: “no offence, but it doesn’t look like a new bike” and “is that your grandfather’s old bike?” were funny, but probably summed up the general reaction. The irony is that this new, expensive, steel bike is probably safer from theft than my bottom-of-the-range aluminium bike which had merely copied the shapes of modern racing bikes.
Today I rode my “grandfather’s old bike” to a meeting. I packed my panniers with clothes and papers and set off early, hoping to find a place to change before the meeting. Halfway there it hit me that I’d forgotten to pack any shoes. It was too late to turn back, and I’d unfortunately worn a pair of black socks with white toes. So I was faced with the choice of attending the meeting in socks which looked like spats or clip-clopping around in cycling shoes. I went for the latter.
I’m not sure that anybody actually noticed, or if they did they were too polite to say anything. Regardless, it was good practice for walking normally on cycling cleats.