Wheels. I got some. only 2, but what freedom, what joy.
A lovely half Chinese, half Irish, young English teacher from Dublin was selling her bicycle. She was due to return to start her MA at Trinity College in April, but her school has now closed, as have all schools, and just in case there’s a lock down, she’s leaving early, to be sure she doesn’t miss the start of her course. I met her at University MTR, one stop from here, after journeying there on an empty train, and then rode home along the (super flat and supe safe) cycle trail by the sea. It was dusk. The city all lit up and me twinkling along with my red and green cycle lights. One or two other cyclists and a couple of little kids were all I saw. I was Queen of the road.
I remember my first bicycle well. Unravelling it in our narrow hallway, for it was mummified in the longest never ending strip of brown paper, wrapped around and around. A bicycle was a very big deal in the 60s. Mine was blue, and had a bell and a basket. I was so proud of that bike. I took my cycling proficiency test on it, passed with flying colours and then promptly fell off. It wasn’t a bad accident, but I was picking gravel out of my knees and that tender bit at the bottom of the palm of your hands, for weeks after. And cycling lost its appeal from that point on. My Dad, my sister and Martin have all had bad accidents on bicycles and I have developed a phobia of busy roads and anything off road that requires substantial effort. My last attempt at cycling in Cornwall, where I struggled to work out the gears (on both handlebars!) resulted in me abandoning the route and my fellow cyclists (all very fit and experienced) half way, desperate and almost in tears, returning back to base for consolatory tea and cake.
But cycling here is quite different from home. There are delightful, well maintained and signposted, flat cycle tracks all around. Following the ‘coast’. It has a very different feel from Cornwall, some of the cycle tracks run between the sea and some very busy highways. But it is all very do able and I plan explore as many as I can over the next few weeks.
This morning I received the membership fees for joining The Peninsula health club and gymn. Back when I first visited in Nov 2018 I cheekily wrote and asked if I could have a visit with a view to joining. The swift reply was a very polite No. But out of the blue I got a letter inviting me to trial their facilities, including access to the coveted pool. I accepted, but of course, due to the virus, the Pen have closed all their wet areas. However, they apologised profusely and at the same time sent me the application form and the price list. £250,000 for life membership.
£10,800 per annum for annual single membership. Lots of lovey benefits, such as robes and slippers and discounts on staying in any of the hotel suites in Asia, discounted pick up from the airport in the Rolls Royce, discounted hire of the super yacht, and discounted beauty treatments, gymn kit laundry service etc.
Needless to say I shall not be signing up anytime soon, although I do hope to get to swim in that pool one day.
All in all, it makes my £40 bicycle, including 2 locks, lights, maintenance kit and phone holder, an absolute steal. And makes me smile as much as a swim in that spectacular pool will, when I finally make it.