Friday, February 11, 2005

Tales from the river bank

Seeing as I didn’t have to bring the kids to school this morning I decided to take the scenic route.
I used to use the Lagan towpath more regularly, mainly on the way home during the summer, but I got fed up with the dogs, glass and kids. And I usually only went half way by towpath. So today I decided to go all the way, it adds another 3 or 4 miles on to my 11 mile commute but its nice for a change. I’m lucky that I can get to the river about half a mile from my house and make it virtually all the way to work without using any roads. Its good not having to fight with motorists for space and on the towpath other cyclists are more likely to say hello as they overtake me (its rarely me overtaking them). It only added about 10 minutes on to my journey, so I think as the evenings get brighter I’ll do it more often.
Last week I was coming home late after doing a juggling gig at the waterfront hall (not as grand as it sounds – I was fire juggling outside as the guests were coming in) and in my first weak attempt at “subvertising” I decided I’d stick a “BAN THE 4x4” poster on a Jeep bill board in Dunmurry. I pulled over, waited for a couple of cars to pass and got the pritt stick out. No sooner had I stuck it up that a bloke on a cheap mountain bike rolled up, he hadn’t noticed the poster, it was only on a crappy sheet of A4 and fell off the next day. He was concerned that I might have a puncture, which I thought was very nice of him. But I couldn’t help wondering what he was doing out at 11.00 at night in the middle of winter with his pot belly, bottle end glasses, £60 mountain bike and crap pound shop l.e.d. lights.
Anyway, he starts talking about cycling – how convenient it is not having to wait for buses etc. Fair point, but then he veers off in to some rehearsed piece about the queen and some MP talking to her about god. Here we go I thought. Then he starts singing this hymn – how are you meant to react in a situation like that? Laughing in his face might be considered rude. I don’t mind Christians – my twin brother is one. But I always cringe at their attempts to witness to people, it was a cold winters night in Dunmurry of all places!
I started putting my things back on the bike, hopeful that this would drop him a massive hint that I was leaving but he asked me where I was cycling too and if I wouldn’t mind him coming along for the ride. That’s all I need – a cycling Christian stalker following me home on a Wednesday night – “look dear, I’ve brought a weirdo home”. Now I’m not the fastest cyclist by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought I’d take it easy to give him a chance to pull along side. I looked behind after about 30 seconds to see where he was and guess what, he’d completely vanished! Only joking, he was about 50ft behind me so I stuck the foot down and lost him.

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