Monday, 24 January 2011

The dry shampoo revolution

I like to think I've played a part in this.

I've been banging on about it to friends and family for years. Since I started cycling it's been a constant pannier essential in the battle against helmet hair.

With so many brands now jumping on board I'd advise anyone to give it a go. You'd be surprised at how much it can pep up your hair after a long ride.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Why I love Mr Weenie

Yesterday, Mr Weenie and I went for a walk. We've been attempting to change our usual Sunday routine of pyjamas and toast as I'm now meant to be doing light exercise every day and walking is about my limit.

We went to the shops and were reminded why we get our food shopping delivered. My weird hearing means the ambient noise of other shoppers, freezers etc overwhelms my ears and I turn into a zombified simpleton. I can't hear what Mr Weenie is saying and, as he hates shopping anyway, we always end up miffed and fed up.

On the slow walk home, on which he matched my waddly pace and we ended up walking for what seemed like forever, I saw many cyclists.

The first were laughing over coffee in lycra, four drop-barred bikes chained to the lamppost nearby, clearly having just done a Sunday morning distance run, probably just for fun. I tore my gaze away and we walked on. A couple whizzed by, again on bikes with drops and in long-distance gear, chatting and clearly enjoying the window of non-rain.

I confess, I welled up. I very nearly cried there and then. Forgetting our minor tiff and sweeping me into a cuddle, Mr Weenie asked what on earth was wrong.

I launched into a monologue of love for my two-wheeled companion.

My bike is not just my bike. Reg is the instant mood lifter, the transport that takes me wherever I want to go, when I want to go there, the outlet for my grump when I'm in one and my main source of physical achievement. He's not even in our house at the moment and has been banished to the storage garage as more and more baby things start to accumulate.

I finished, expecting a pat on the head and to be told to stop being ridiculous.

The reply came swiftly: 'Well, let's think about getting you a Brompton then.'

That, my cycling friends, is love.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Tube pluses: You wouldn't get a parrot on a bike

The snow has receded and the air is crisp and clear. The cold means walking involves being bundled up like the Michelin man and the morning commute is full of glum and depressed faces as the realisation that Christmas is over sinks in.

All that breaks the silence of the tube is the chorus of hacking coughs and wet sneezes that spreads through the carriage and reminds you of just how many germs you're in contact with right now.

The highlight of last week was the appearance of a parrot on the tube. Yes, a parrot.

I had climbed aboard the busy train at Farringdon and been pushed aside by a man intent on getting a seat. Thankfully, another one opened up opposite the one he'd found and I sank into it, faffing with my bag as I went. I looked up to glare at the man who'd pushed me and my now considerable belly aside and was stopped mid-look of death by the very uncomfortable expression he was pulling. The cause? The elderly gentleman in a flatcap who was sitting next to him had a parrot on his shoulder.

It was green and very pretty. It sat on his shoulder semi-dozing, attached to its owner via a lead connected to the ring round its ankle. It occasionally glanced around the carriage or readjusted its wings, but seemed utterly unperturbed to be commuting at rush hour on a mass transit system in London.

As we neared Paddington and I attempted not to stare, it began to coo softly then climbed round to its owner's front to nibble his cap. He spoke to it softly, reassuring it that they were nearing their destination. In fact, they got off at Paddington, and I had the joy of walking up the stairs next to them. And I mean joy, bizarre it may have been but the parrot looked healthy and happy and was a welcome splash of colour to my working week.

I'm really missing my bike and with Eenie getting ever heavier, walking is becoming a bit of a chore and commuting is rubbish.

Bring on the parrots.