Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cycling can be dangerous when carrying furniture

Blue Bess

Ok, I admit it. The coffee table was a mistake.

Chip and I cycled to the St. Giles Cafe this morning, a former haunt for us in 1986, for a good and greasy "home breakfast" of eggs, sausage AND bacon, beans and toast. And good strong coffee. Mm mm. You know when the lunch break construction workers come piling in, that you have hit the right joint.

After breakfast, I felt energized to run a number of errands and the beauty of the bike, in addition to efficient ground coverage, is its carrying capacity. As usual, my eyes and ambition much bigger than the basket. But between my shoulder bag and the bike, I shoved it all in there.
bag of apples
1 kg meat
hamburger buns
mini yum yums (crack cocaine laced donuts)
9 inch Analon stock pot
scones and clotted cream
a tomato
20 Christmas ornaments
3 books
3 cassette tapes including English Pop Hits of 1983
tea cozy

I made it home although the weight distribution on the bike at times can be problematic especially with any over correction in turning. Luckily, Oxford bus drivers must know of me and give me a wide berth.

Which brings me to the coffee table. After unloading the groceries, etc. I was further motivated to continue to a used furniture store down the road. Our house is not properly outfitted for snacking in front of the TV (priority for Hunters) and I needed one small steady table to put near the sofa. I did find a good one and started away from the shop with it propped securely atop the basket. That setup should have remained the plan of the day, but it felt so inefficient to walk when the wheels go so much faster. If I could push it, surely I could ride with it up there, right? Well, I'm not a genius, that's obvious. The table sort of acted like a giant wooden windscreen and after realizing that the physics of my ride were going to require a calculator, I swung the table off the basket and began to carry it while riding one handed. I was too wide for the sidewalk so I rode out into the street. Now my balance was corrected, but the cars driving by were coming so close to the legs of the table that I was sure someone's mirror would eventually send me flying. I rode back up onto the sidewalk, and that was much better until I nearly sling shot myself around a bus stop pole with the legs of table. Some scary moments, but also thrilling.

In the end, I did avoid a third trip to the John Radcliffe Hospital and although nobody else in this family is quite as thrilled with the table, I feel euphoric, as if I went out, shot it and brought it home roped to the hood of my car. Proud and satisfied.


  1. So, the family was unimpressed with your new piece of furniture, huh? Perhaps you should have them read this account of your perilous journey home with said table atop basket and then dangling from one arm. They may develop a new appreciation for table or you. On second thought, 2 of then are teenagers...they care not. So I ask, have you Hunters never perched a plate on your knees in front of the telly? And again, why do you never take the bus? Is it just because you are on a constant search for blog fodder?

  2. I, too, have overloaded my bike and I have ridden in the rain and in skirts and with bags of groceries dangling. And I have fallen. Seriously three years ago and a little less so a couple of weeks back. Thank goodness not in the path of cars. But it's been close. It's a problem when you don't have a free hand to work the brakes.
    You be careful, you hear??? I'm older than you, I can take chances. I can even wear purple!

  3. 20 Christmas ornaments. This
    probably means you will be spending
    Christmas in the UK? Sounds fun
    to be in the land of Dickens for
    the Christmas season.

  4. I think after such an auspicious acquirement, your new table deserves a name -- and a photo on your blog...

    Oh, and I ate cheese curds for all of you today...

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  6. We applaud your true insanity and creativity - very glad that a change in continents has not changed you AT ALL...... by the way, do you have a coffee table hunting license? We hear the bobbies are tough on illegal coffee table poachers...