On Sunday, the Radish
came into it's own. Indeed, up until Sunday I had failed to appreciate the fun there is to be had on this machine; however I am now a confirmed Xtracycle fan.
It came about because we had to go and get groceries. Mrs Dan initially wanted to go, as sending me with a list wasn't god enough, as 'I wouldn't buy the things that she didn't know we needed'. Hmmmm. Mrs Dan and I have very different ideas about shopping. In my world, you take a list, and the objective is to get in and out of the store with the items on the list in the least possible time. Aisles that do not contain things on the list are shunned. Speed is of the essence; collecting things from the shelf without reducing the speed of the trolley is to be encouraged. In Mrs Dan's world, you browse all the aisles, just in case there is something lurking that you didn't know you needed. And each item should be carefully selected, the price of alternatives weighed up, and carefully placed in the trolley to avoid damage.
Anyway, Mrs Dan ended up not being able to go because of Baby Danette's feeding schedule. So I had to go with the list. And of course, I had to go on a bike. This was it! The moment I had been waiting for - a fairly big shop was needed, and the Radish was waiting.
An additional complication was present, in the sense that it was pouring with rain. This was about 5pm on Sunday, and it was lashing
down. Still, there's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes, so I dug out the full waterproofs, and armed with waterproof over-trousers and a cagoule I set off.
I actually really like riding in the rain. However, given the weather and the rather ponderous bike, I took the Victoria Road 'bike path ' (aka street-furniture-strewn pavement). Normally I hate doing this; I've had pinch flats from the potholes and weaving around the bus shelters is a pain. However, on the Radish, it all seemed fine - cruisy, in fact. There really is something in this sitting up thing...
I arrived at Birkenhead Point, and got the shopping. Lots of vegetables, milk, cans etc. Four of those green re-usable bags worth. I wheeled the trolley out to the bike, and loaded up.
Now, there is something supremely satisfying about wheeling a shopping trolley to your bike to load it up. I don't know why, it's just a great feeling. Like you are doing something deeply subversive.
Then, the ride home. Uphill. How was this going to go? Well, the answer is like a dream. This bike handles magnificently when loaded. If anything, it rides better
with all that stuff on the back. Just so stable and easy. Even the weight didn't seem noticeable; I just cruised up the hills. In fact, I was so pleased I thought I'd get a bottle of wine to celebrate, so rode into the drive-through bottle shop at the Sackville Hotel. I pulled up behind a car, propped up the bike on its stand and went to get wine. That pleased me too; it just looked very cool seeing the bike there in the middle of the queue of cars. The wine (a nice Pinot Noir, to go with some bonito we bought earlier in the day) was stowed along with the rest of the shopping, and I rode home feeling very satisfied.
Now I can't wait for the next shopping trip; I reckon I can get a much bigger load than that on the bike. Those green bags were not much more than half full, and I think the Radish will swallow them just as easily when they are filled to the brim.
Not that the trip was a total success. Mrs Dan had asked me to pick up some chocolate for her as I went out the door. But it wasn't on the list, so I forgot. Unfortunately this fact rather overshadowed my excited recounting of my adventure; 'Yes, yes, that's all very well dear, but did you get my chocolate?