My wife has never been a particularly enthusiastic cyclist. We used to cycle a lot in the 1980s when times were hard and we couldn’t afford a car. We used to take the children (we had two in those days) in child seats.
Then a change in jobs and fortune for me and we were motorised again. Eventually, Janet passed her driving test and we forgot about cycling.
In the past 18 months, I have started again. I have been a very active environmental campaigner in recent years and I am a firm believer in practising what I preach. So I bought a Brompton and go to work on it as often as I can (my workplace varies from day to day and so does the amount of equipment I have to take with me).
I persuaded Jan to join me so we bought a T6 off Ebay and we are now a 2 Brompton household.
To begin with, it was a fraught reintroduction. In one or two of the early rides, Jan’s starting technique was definitely suspect. I managed to persuade her to cycle a couple of miles to a friend’s house and we were still married when we got there.
She clearly needed practice after nearly 20 years’ layoff so I suggested a few more rides. These suggestions have been more sympathetically received recently. Then, the first meaningful ride, to her yoga class. We decided that we would ride out together, she would take her bike in, I would go home and she would make her own way an hour and a half later. It’s a round trip of about 6 miles and we’ve done it twice now.
More recently, she’s done a longer ride. One afternoon, we covered 16 miles, which is probably a good deal more than a lot of Brompton riders have ever done in one go. It took a couple of hours and involved some dismounting, particularly when the rape fields got to her, but we made it.
I plan to organise a few car or rail-assisted rides in the near future. Watch this space…