Saturday, 9 July 2011

Live - Laugh - Love (5) The A580!

YELLOW FLOURSESCENT BICYCLE CLIP – GILLY, EAST LANCS ROAD (A580), SUMMER 2009



My friend Gilly is a fighter. Every day is a battle. She follows regimes, masterminds tactics, formulates plans and puts herself through hell. Her dedication to the cause is admirable and while others fall by the wayside, Gilly hangs on in there, determined to lose the two stone that she puts on and then looses, puts on again and then looses again on roughly an annual cycle.

What she hasn’t twigged yet is that she is beautiful and we love her whatever.

However, following her foray into the latest weight loss trend – where you exist solely on rain water from puddles and grass clippings (or similar), I managed to persuade her to include exercise in her master plan, and thus went with her to buy a bicycle.

For her maiden voyage, we decided to cycle along the canal towpath. A leisurely cycle ride free from hills, traffic and stress to ease her in gently.

From the very start however, these best laid of plans started straining at the seams. We’d barely made it off her estate before Gilly, struggling to master her gear ratio’s, shifted from top to bottom gear - all in one go. With an alarming ‘ker-clunk, ker-clunk ......CLUNK’ her chain promptly fell off and wedged itself under the cogs. Like a hooker in a brothel, no amount of tugging and swearing would dislodge it. One hundred yards into our ride, our ‘Tour de France’ had turned into the ‘Tour de Farce’!

Defeated, we started to make our way home, scouring the streets on the way for a man! Where are they when you need them? Genetically, a man would be predisposed to help and with the knowledge passed down from his ancestors, a man, any man would surely be able to sort us out!

Luckily our man safari paid dividend big time. He thought he was off to spend the morning fishing in the canal. WRONG! ‘Excuse me, excuse me’, flutter eye lashes, look pathetic. ‘We’ve come a cropper! Can you help my friend mend her bike?’

And, as the good lord promised – so he provided. Once he’d removed the chain guard with his special fisherman’s tool the rest was easy. Oily and relieved we thanked him profusely (we were very grateful), put Gilly’s chain guard in my pannier and set off again with renewed purpose.

Cycling along the tow path, dodging muddy puddles, while trying to avoid ending up in the canal, was more of a challenge for our rookie cyclist that I had initially imagined, but we managed to negotiate it without further mishap. 

Until that is, we went off piste. We turned off the tow path to head back home, took a wrong turn, got lost and ended up on the East Lancs. The A580 is the main A road which links Manchester with Liverpool. It's a duel carriage way, it's busy, it's fast and it's up hill! Bugger!

Stoically cycling forth and all run out of options, there was nothing for it other than to get our heads down and get on with it. Purple and sweating, this was not the pleasant introduction to cycling I had planned. Suddenly I heard a shriek behind me.

I looked over my shoulder to see Gilly trying to untangle her 'jersey leisure flares' from her bicycle chain. By the time I got back to her, she was inspecting the missing chunk from the hem of her trousers. The chain guard (previously removed by the nice fisherman) obviously did serve a purpose after all.

'Why on earth didn't you stick your trouser leg in your sock?' I asked - exasperated by her uselessness.
'I didn't want to look stupid' she replied.
'Gill - we're two 40-something, purple, fat lasses on bicycles struggling up the East Lancs. We already look stupid!!!!!'
'Fair point', she said as we both doubled up over our bikes, and laughed until we cried.

I can't be completely certain, but I don't think Gilly's bike has left her garage since! Whether she has or not, I still love her to bits - she's my Best Woman!

ALL BABIES TOGETHER, EVERYONE A SEED, HALF OF US ARE SATISFIED, HALF OF US IN NEED, LOVE'S BOUNTIFUL IN US, TARNISHED BY OUR GREED, OH, WHEN WILL THERE BE A HARVEST FOR THE WORLD ..........

By this time, those who hadn't yet had a turn at un-wrapping the parcel were starting to complain. It was all getting very competitive. This time the gift was a SMALL BROWN TEDDY BEAR with a red ribbon round his neck. Who? Why? When? .....

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