52 ways to save the planet: No. 4 : I've Got a Bike
I've got a bike
You can ride it if you like
It's got a basket, a bell
and things to make it look good.
I've give it to you if I could
but I borrowed it.
Pink Floyd, Bike.
Bloody hell. It's true. Riding a bike is like, well, riding a bike. You never forget. I nipped out to Honiton by train tonight, returning - still on the train, admittedly - with a 15 gear mountain bike. It needs a little tender loving care but I wheeled it off the train at St Davids, along the main road (no lights, so no on-road cycling) and to the cycle track by the river. I then got on and whizzed along the path until I got back to the road. Having not cycled for about a decade, I had a momentary panic at the sight of a sharp corner - turning a corner having been my literal downfall when I first tried to ride a bike - and had forgotten that one should not wear slightly flared trousers in case they get caught in the gears but within about five seconds I realised that I could still ride.
My old bike was a 3-speed bike from the era before mountain bikes and barely after sit-up-and-begs, lovingly known as Faster Mule! Yah! Yah!. To be cried in a Yosemite Sam voice, obviously (like this). So I am considering what to call this new one. Faster Mule Too? Speedy Gonzales? Andele! Andele! Arriba!? I thoughtly briefly about Serenity, since it is second hand and in need of some TLC, but given how often Mal Reynold's spaceship gets battered and that I intend to ride on roads I decided that name might be asking for an accident to happen.
Oh, and it doesn't have a basket, a bell or things to make it look good. Or indeed lights or a lock. And I've not borrowed it. It came via a grass roots free exchange system and it's the means by which I acquired
Serenity Speedy Yah Mule Too which are the topic of this post. I'm saving the whole "cycling is good, m'kay?" for a week I'm all out of other ideas.
I got the bike from my local freecycle which is contrary to the name, not merely a way of getting free bicycles.
The Freecycle Network was started in May 2003 to promote waste reduction in Tucson's downtown and help save desert landscape from being taken over by landfills. The Network provides individuals and non-profits an electronic forum to "recycle" unwanted items.
There's over a thousand members in the Exeter group alone and, when someone posted they had a bike in their garage, I claimed it. Obviously, this is a variation on giving stuff away to charity but is built on a non-commercial basis. People offer stuff from the odd to the fantastic and if you want it, you call dibs. Someone is offering a paper shredder on my local group.