Way to Go!

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/trains-planes-and-automobiles/”>Trains, Planes, and Automobiles</a>

You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, or car? (Or something else entirely — bike? Hot air balloon?)
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Choice of transport mode? No contest, Airplanes mean crowds, waiting in line, luggage getting lost, feeling shoved around discomfort, boredom.

Trains – well in the old days trains were fun. In the days of steam, Thomas the tank engine and the Fat Controller…yes, trains in stories were great. The Railway Children, Hogwarts Express…The reality was much less fun, Overcrowding seems to be the norm and even if you have a seat booked you have a struggle to find it and then have to get the person sitting in it to move. Can be tricky.

Bus? If you live in a rural area of Britain just finding a bus can be a challenge. A lot of the rural bus services have been shut down as “uneconomical”.

A car does give you the chance to set your own pace – or at least choose your own traffic jam. But at least one of the party has the job of driving and can’t enjoy the trip and the scenery,  It costs too, fuel, servicing, maintenance, MOT, vehicle excise duty, driving licence, insurance. Cars are an expensive luxury that would not be used to the same degree if we had a really good public transport system.

The best way to go is under your own power on two – or three wheels.

“In a car you’re bound and fettered
But a bike can not be bettered
As a way to get yourself from A to B
So I beg you, do not drive,
Breathe fresh air and come alive
Get  a bike and come and ride along with me!”

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Or just possibly this way…..

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Coin From 2010

“Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?”

What was I doing in 2010? I had to look it up and found that a number of interesting, exciting, satisfying and unpleasant things happened that year.

A poetic image of a poet
A poetic image of a poet

2010 was definitely a good year for my writing. I published a short book of poems called “A Poet Needs a Bicycle”, QQ Press printed a limited edition of 50 copies and while I didn’t make my fortune I wasn’t left with heaps of unsaleable books cluttering up the spare room.

I also had my first real success as a playwright. My play “Estella” won a competition called “Grand Words” run by the Grand Theatre Blackpool. So I am now a dramatist as well as a poet and to cap it all I got a trophy to keep on my bookcase and a cash prize.

What else happened? We had a day in Edinburgh looking at recumbent bikes and trikes and riding them in a park in the centre of Edinburgh. My first ride on the Kettwiesel recumbent trike which has now become so much part of my life I can;t imagine being without it.

I suppose I should mention the less pleasant aspects of 2010: I went to visit a friend in a nursing home and walking back to the bus stop tripped and fell cutting my face and breaking my left wrist. I can’t even claim the pavement was uneven – it was all down to my clumsiness.

All in all 2010 was an eventful year and I can’t believe all these things happened half a decade ago – they all feel far more recent.

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Try a Trike!

Take a complicated subject you know more about than most people, and explain it to a friend who knows nothing about it at all.

How to explain the delights of riding a trike to someone who knows nothing at all about it – and that includes most of my cycling pals, especially if the vehicle in question is a recumbent trike?

The stock phrase “it’s like riding a bike” doesn’t really apply any longer when you go from two wheels to three. Yes, like riding a bike, riding a trike is a skill you won’t lose once you have mastered it, but that is as far as the similarity goes. Put someone who has ridden an ordinary bicycle ( “ordinary” as in standard or usual not  “Ordinary” as in a penny-farthing or high-wheeler) on a tricycle and they have great trouble controlling it. You have to unlearn the method used to steer a two-wheel bike by leaning.

The amazing thing is that once on a recumbent trike this doesn’t apply. It is so very different from a bicycle that steering is learnt from scratch. Many years ago we went on a short holiday where we were given the chance to ride a lot of different recumbent trikes. At that time I was an average sort of cyclist, commuting to work and riding the back of a tandem at weekends, but even though I had never ridden a trike since I was five, I found no difficulty at all in getting used to the various recumbent trikes on offer,

Fast forward now to the present day: I’ve got a recumbent trike and I  wouldn’t be without it. My balance isn’t good enough to get around on two wheels and a trike is my preferred solution. It’s also an instant talking point when I park it outside the supermarket. And I get noticed. Drivers see this peculiar machine, ridden by an eccentric old lady and give me a wide berth. On a bike they used to regularly cut me up. There is nothing like a trike!

My Favourite way of Getting Around
The best way to get around!

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You’re Never alone with a Trike

One of the main things about riding a recumbent trike is that you are noticed, Trikes aren’t for the shy retiring type. If you want to fade into the background and hide from people don’t get anything as unusual as a trike.

Park a trike outside a cafe or supermarket and nine times out of ten, when you come back there will be at least one person looking it over. The usual questions are ” is it comfortable?” , “how fast can you go?”  “do you feel safe?” and often from younger people “how much did it cost?”

It seems nowadays people measure the worth of an object  by its monetary cost. When I was growing up it was considered impolite to ask what something had cost,  a bit like asking how much someone earned. It just wasn’t done. I might say to a friend “that’s a nice handbag. Where did you get it?”  but I’d feel I had to offer a reason if I wanted to know what it cost, eg “I’d like to get a similar one for my daughter – is it very expensive?”

Back to bikes or trikes: some of the odder questions I’ve been asked:

  • How do you pronounce the name of the maker? ( It’s Hase – hass- e the German for hare, I understand.)
  • Where did you get the flag? – ans. it came with the bike. The questioner wanted to get a similar flat for her mother’s mobility scooter.

I’ve learnt to allow extra time for shopping at our local supermarket to allow for the time explaining the delights of a trike and how  I came to ride one. There have been some expressions of interest and even people saying “I’m getting less steady perhaps it’s time I went for a trike”  But so far I’ve not managed to persuade anyone to change their mode of transport. But I live in hope!

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ESME

 

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