Suddenly I am BUSY.
Last week, I passed my Mod 1. Regular readers may know this was the ninth or tenth attempt. And I passed it, not powered on by confidence or love or hope, but by the things that have always been there for me; Righteous indignation and pain.
So, the first manouevre in the test is the manual handling. This is where the rider has to push the bike from one bay into another without hitting the cones or dropping the bike. There are no official guidelines on how to do this, and due to being skinny and (critically!) extremely disabled, I tend to do it by sitting astride the bike and pushing it backwards with my feet. this is, according to the actual rules of the test, perfectly legit.
According to this examiner though, that wasn’t manual handling, and manual handling explicitly meant “Standing beside the bike, one hand on the bars and one on the tail”.
This of course took literally five minutes of agonised pushing to move the bike from one parking bay to the next, complete with shoulders exploding out of socket, discs herniating, literal crying. But, I did it. And from that point on, I was fuelled with finest grade vitriol. I did a control exercise and figure-8 that could have gone in a training manual. My slow ride was a stately crawl. I U-turned with enough room left over to drive a bus through between my bike and the kerb. In the high speed exercises, I hit the speed gates at closer to twice the required speed than below it. I passed, with two faults (One for having difficulty in the manual handling, one for taking a while to brake after the hazard avoidance) and booked straight in for my Mod 2.
I got home, and found out that my Grandmother was in hospital with a broken wrist. So the next morning, I loaded up the bike and rode North.
I’m not going to talk about her being in hospital, because that’s not my story, but suffice to say that being up north, even though I got to see Sambuca Guy again and go to Ocean Road for a curry, and watch the ships on the river, was exhausting.
I also got pulled over by the police on the coast road for having a burst light – So they got out the screwdrivers and spare bulb kit, patched me up, and sent me on my way. Because even the police are nice on Tyneside.
Anyway, after three nights away, I rode home, getting to Thirsk just as it started to snow, then fell into bed in a complete pile.
The next few days will be possibly busiest. Here’s my last few days, as they’ve been, and my plans for the next weeks;
15th – Bike training
16th – Day of rest
17th – Mod 1 (I passed!)
18th – Leather shopping to reupholster the EN500’s saddle
19th – Ride North, visit Grandmother in hospital
20th – Jerry-rig existing bike headlamp, out with Sambuca Guy
21st – Visit Grandmother in hospital, socialise with family
22nd – Ride home, 120 miles in a snowstorm
23rd – Today! Rest! Sleep! Possibly go out this evening but I really don’t want to.
Tomorrow (24th) – Go to the garage to get the parts for the new headlight (Am switching from a single 5″ light to a pair of 4″ ones)
25th – Rheumatology at StJ, then Ghost In The Shell at the pictures in the evening.
26th – Bike training
27th – Going to Boggle Hole Youth Hostel for the weekend, because Whitby.
28th – Day in Whitby
29th – Ride home
30th – More bike training
31st – Nana’s birthday, but also a day off.
1st – Bike TEST, as in my Mod 2
2nd – Day off!
3rd – Physio at Stanmore again.
…As you can see, by my standards, this is being a busy month.