Everything’s going well: I’m on the Coker, I’ve ridden from the car, across the field, all along the river bank, over the suspension bridge, along the embankment, down the little twisty passage under the road bridge, and made it over the zig zag footbridge and then finally reached Beeston Marina - five miles without a UPD.
At the marina, everyone was friendly. I was asked sensible questions. I’m starting to feel like a local celebrity - “That’s our unicyclist. Comes through here regularly. Goes everywhere on it, you know…”
Then I’ve gone all the way tround the nature reserve, up and over the trickiest hump-backed footbridge of all in the steeper of the two directions, and I’ve made it back to the marina without a UPD. The only minor problem is a slight twinge in the left knee.
From the marina, I made it along the road, and up and over the fiendishly difficult cobbled bridge, up onto the top of the flood bank, then I earned gasps of amazement as I swooped down the steep grassy bank onto the football pitch.
And now, I’m ambling along at a steady 8 mph or so, the path empty, insects buzzing, massive dragonflies everywhere, the sweet smell of rosebay willow herb in my nostrils, and the happy sound of children playing in the cool waters of the river down to my right. The sun is out, the sky is blue, and the only cloud to spoil the view is that my left knee is twanging a bit, and my foot feels like it’s badly positioned on the pedal.
Then a particularly clever brain cell has an idea. In fact, more likely than not, a few disgruntled brain cells got together around the water cooler - maybe the sort of brain cells that control something unglamorous like peristalsis in the lower bowel. And now one of them has had an idea - an idea that could earn him his ticket to a cushy posting somewhere exciting., like the frontal cortex…
Of course, proper procedure is to get all ideas checked and ratified to ensure a consistent approach within the remit of the mission statement, but this little clique of brain cells knows that the only result of that would be for someone else to take the credit. Either that or the idea would be changed beyond all recognition by committee, implemented way to late and with an inadequate budget - and then who’d get the blame when it all went wrong?
So this is the time for the brain cells to be bold, to show they can make a difference, make a name for themselves. They bide their time, until the supervisory brain cells are away, looking at a heron on the other bank of the river, then they make their move…
Quickly, they remove the left foot from the pedal, and flex the left knee, figuring that by the time the knee has flexed a couple of times, the pedal will have come back round so that the foot goes straight back on in the right position. Brilliant!
Except it doesn’t work like that. There’s a reason why new ideas have to be approved by senior management - because other departments might be involved. On this occasion, it is the UPD Department, followed by the Sprinting Department. The Department of Swearing and Expletives also has quite a lot of input.