The thing about a touring bike is that it is never really finished. You are always making small adjustments. Whether it’s a better location for a light bracket or a small change to saddle position there always seems to be room for one more tweak. Right now Gill is waiting for a new handle bar stem that will give her room for more adjustment. She feels like she wants to be slightly more upright on the bike to tackle discomfort in her hands. At the same time I am convinced that I want to raise my saddle slightly to relieve occasional pain in my knees. Unfortunately, in my case, it will involve a visit to this man, as the alloy seat post is well and truly welded into the steel frame. It’s all part of the fun of touring though, looking for the holy grail of riding position and equipment set up.
Life feels very similar at the moment. We have both found part time jobs that we are happy with which is like the equivalent of purchasing a good basic bike but now comes the endless tweaking to get things just the way we want them. And like a new bike, it’s going to take a bit of getting used to.
We are hoping that this new found freedom will enable us to do a lot more short tours this summer. We have organised our touring kit so that we could, in theory, be packed and away in just an hour or two whenever we have a few days off together. Unfortunately, our working shifts don’t allow for this just now but it will only take a small tweak to resolve it. Coordinating nice weather with shift patterns might be a little trickier but we’ll see what we can do.
Despite the current difficulty in planning anything much more complicated than a trip to the supermarket I am quite enjoying the chaotic nature of our new lifestyle. For the first time in my life I don’t have to be jealous of our retired friends who love to tell us that they don’t know, and don’ t care what day it is. Neither do we. I don’t normally start my fund raising shifts until mid-morning so we only need an alarm clock two days per week when Gill is working. We are both likely to be working some weekends so we are free from the Monday to Friday routine that has dominated the whole of our married life up to now. (Well apart from our ‘gap year’ just gone) The unpredictability and variety is really quite refreshing.
Today Gill is at work and I can enjoy my time writing, reading or whatever I choose. On Saturday it will be Gill’s turn. Tomorrow we are both off work together so we plan to rise at some ridiculous hour and go walking to hear the dawn chorus, simply because we can and because we both enjoy such nonsense.
This morning I had a message from Gill about her shifts over the next two weeks and a two or three day mini tour on our freshly tweaked bikes looks like a distinct possibility. We are getting there. I have no doubt that should we ever get our lives and our bikes perfectly set up we would be instantly bored, so for now I am just revelling in the small adjustments to both. It’s been hard work achieving this state of mild chaos but well worth the effort. There were some pretty dark days when we were both trawling the internet looking for work and wondering if we had seriously miscalculated. But perseverance has paid off and it feels like this is where we wanted to be once our life-changing journey was over. For now, at least, we are riding on the crest and looking down into the rut that we escaped from last year. It will require some skilful balance to stay up here but I can heartily recommend turning your life upside down once in a while. When the dust settles and with a little tweaking it can be very rewarding indeed.