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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

On two wheels in Lincolnshire

Over sixty years ago I'm cycling towards a youth hostel in Lincoln. The flat roads offer no respite for free-wheeling. It's raining and a plastic cape covers me and much of the bike; a mobile yellow gazebo.

My thoughts are aeons away from the rain and my pedalling legs. I'm envisaging a movie poster I saw in London two days before: Susan Hayward in a sheathlike dress stretched tight over every contour from neckline to ankles. Despite her name in the movie - Harriet - I'm revelling in Susan's rampant curvature. I'm fifteenish and stuffed with testosterone.

A bike travels four times as fast as a pedestrian. Had I been walking my revelries would have been even more intense. There is a point to all this.

Theoretically I was on a biking holiday. About eighty miles a day with regular changes of scenery to divert me. Yet that day my mind was detached from the physical experience; scenery was passing by unnoticed.

Biking and walking are slow enough to allow thoughts to wander. Oh sure, there'd be times I'd look at my watch, feel the need to push on, wonder what I'd get for evening meal. Other times I’d send my mind on its own holiday.

Two combined pleasures: the smug virtues of exercise plus Susan's barely controlled eroticism. Well, why not?

Was I unique? I suspect there are others – hard men and women - who, nevertheless, have allowed their minds to dally. Not Susan daydreams, perish the thought. Perhaps herbaceous borders, or "I wonder where my Meccano ended up?", or days in Benidorm, many years ago.

But you wouldn't know it from their despatches. Not a hint. Bikers/walkers only write about biking/walking; there’s no other existence. Susan? She’s a map reference.

6 comments:

mikeM said...

An interesting read, but my thoughts kept drifting toward breakfast foods.

Roderick Robinson said...

MikeM: The perfect response! You are excused commenting on Tone Deaf until Christmas Eve.

Avus said...

Susan Hayward looks (and looked) absolutely gorgeous.
My meditations when cycling could tend towards calculating a different set of gear ratios, following the formula: Gear = Wheel size × Chainwheel teeth ÷ Sprocket teeth. Done in the head whilst riding along it provided an interesting exercise in mental arithmetic.
Maybe I was keeping the testosterone too much under control?

Roderick Robinson said...

Avus: Glad there's someone still alive who appreciates Susan Hayward, She had a further talent: she could handle comedy, unusual in a woman so lovely.

However the point I was illustrating was being freed from the bike and its propulsion. From what you've said, it seems you continued to be enslaved.

Testosterone under control? It's a symptom of adulthood, I think. No doubt you grew up early, dreaming of bearing pullers.

Avus said...

I know the feeling of being freed from the bike and its propulsion - it wasn't just mental arithmetic. At one stage in adolescence I seem to remember that I could get fairly disassociated by mentally reciting poetry. "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan...." was a favourite - I still have it in memory.
A sad reflection on growing up, perhaps?

mikeM said...

I've reviewed the Google Image search results for Susan and I believe that fantasizing about her is the masochistic equivalent of savoring a hard ride in the rain.