Ups and downs in Reading

Today has been a funny day. Let’s start on a good point: my deliveries have started to arrive – Mark Beaumont’s book. But then it rained…and rained… when will this English summer start? I plodded up to AW Cycles, my bike shop of choice to invest in more kit – this time the panniers. I went for the 36 litre Altura Orkney ones (in red), ยฃ89.99. I also bought a “bar bag” – same make – which will take some getting used to, ยฃ49.99. I associate any appendage to the handlebars of a bike with Miss Marple kind of cycling – wicker basket etc… My ยฃ49.99 bought me something which is more weatherproof than wicker with a tea towel on top (in fact it has a plastic map cover on top!), but it will take some getting used to and I don’t think I’ll be using it around Reading for the time being. I’m sure I will see its benefits when desperate to take a picture in some isolated northern location in a couple of weeks without getting off my bike to delve into the panniers. I got a 10% discount on all of that for being a member of Reading Cycle Campaign and / or the CTC. I also bought some spare inner tubes. It seems to be modern thinking that, quite frankly, when an inner tube costs ยฃ4.99 (and I bought three today as they were on offer – three for the price of two), the average cyclist has better things to do with his or her time than find a bath tub full of water, find some chalk, sandpaper, patch and rubber glue to repair a puncture. My total spend today was ยฃ135.96. I got home and fitted the front bar bracket and slotted the panniers onto the rack only to find that one of the clips was missing so I cycled back to AW Cycles. They put another one on without quibbling. Chatted with a guy called Gavin who has served me up there on my three visits this week. I asked him what else I needed in terms of repair material / equipment / tools. He recommended a chain splitter / fixer. About ยฃ20 should buy me the tool that can do all of that. I’ll pop in again next week.
Cycling back up to AW Cycles this afternoon was the first time I had been on the bike since last weekend: I have been purposefully not using the bike to give my body a rest after the daily commute to and from Henley. I felt nervous about cycling and didn’t feel at all at ease on the roads. How bizarre. I’m usually far too comfortable on the roads…

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