Suddenly it’s spring. This always takes my by surprise: one week it’s snowy and grey and you’re shovelling enough snow to bury the neighbours car, and the next it’s bright and dry, everyone is walking around in their summer coat and the bike lanes are ridable.
Over the winter my bicycle hygiene policy has been to occasionally notice the filthy state of one of the bikes, feel guilty, wipe it down with a cloth or a lump of snow until the more visible areas are vaguely clean, and run inside to the warm. Unfortunately this was beginning to show so on the first morning when I was sure my fingers wouldn’t freeze to exposed metal, I decided that as well as fixing the back brake on the Xtracycle I’d get the crud off it too.
It seemed sensible to give the bakfiets a quick sponge down as well as I’d been giving it a daily dose of salt for a month and done nothing to clean it off, at which point I realised that a bakfiets is a heavy bike, and the places where it gets most of the crud, like on the bottom of the box, are the most difficult to get to. After some fun and games trying to transport water under the bike, I eventually put a piece of wood on the ground and let let the Bakfiets lean on this, rather like a ship run aground to clean the hull. Despite the best efforts of the nice people at Workcycles, I’m afraid theres a fleck of rust in a couple of places, but that’s remarkably little considering the winter we’ve had. If I’d cycled through the North Sea it may have been exposed to a bit more salt and water, but not much.
Today was a typical Xtracycle job: shopping in the village, a ride to the local hospital in the next town to see a friend, and a stop at the farm on the way home to get milk. All with Youngest Son on the back of course. We saw lots of diggers (what every little boys loves) tractors, several horses, cows (where the milk came from) goats, a shaggy dog and a buzzard who flew low in front of us. Simple stuff transformed into fun daddy and son time by using two wheeled transport.
Of course there’s a flip side. When we got back the Xtracycle was filthy.