Well, this week the overnight temperature finally rose above freezing on a regular basis, and I happily de-mothballed my bike and got pedalling. Albeit with a brief detour to the bike shop to get it fixed after I managed to bugger up the gears whilst trying to lubricate the gear cables.
I've finally done the sensible thing and bought a proper maintainance stand, like the one in the picture, to hold the rear wheel off the ground so I can maintain it. (To lube the gear cables, you need to "shift the gears until the chain is on the largest sprocket, and then stop the wheel from rotating. With the wheel stopped from moving, shift your shifter all the way in the opposite direction, as if you were going to shift to the smallest sprocket. The rear derailleur should now be stuck on the largest sprocket, which will give you enough slack to fully release the cable from the frame." Thanks to the internet for that.)
£17 in the Edinburgh bike shop sale, it will be worth it for the amount of time it will save me when trying to maintain the bike. It is easy to shift the gears "on land" when the wheel is held off the ground and can spin freely, and an absolute bugger to try doing it any other way.
More importantly, I'm back on my bike, no more spending £11 a week on a Megarider bus ticket for me. This is good. There are few sadder sights than a cyclist deprived of a bike, waddling about on two feet instead of gracefully swooping about on two wheels as Nature intended.
So I had my first ride in to work for 2010 on Monday. And I had to yell at two pedestrians on the footbridge over the Central Motorway on the way in. This footbridge is the bane of my life; people, especially students, WILL NOT realise that it is split in two for a reason, namely, so that bikes can go over it. I don't ride my damn bike on their half of the path, now, do I?
It would be nice to think that people are rational and, if they are going to wear hoods over their heads whilst listening to music on earphones, thus depriving themselves of peripheral vision and hearing, they would be extra careful to look around themselves when walking over a bridge with big blue "cycle path" signs and pictures of bikes helpfully painted on the footbridge, especially if they are going to step out onto the cycling half of the footbridge. Alas, no.
Looks like another fun year of cycling and irritability awaits.