Monday, March 17, 2008
Springtime for Glasgow (and bicycles)
Arrived in Glasgow last night and walked from Queen Street to the West End. For some reason I've always found walking about cities more interesting than perambulating in the countryside...and cycling even more so. Well, perhaps 'interesting' is the wrong word. 'Frightening' might be better. Who needs computer games or roller coasters when you can dice with buses along Dumbarton Road?
Absolutely cracking morning, blue skies and deep shadows in the Botanic Gardens as I walked over to Mag's flat to pick up the folding bike. And then not one, but two bicycle shop encounters (cheap lock, cheap pump), par for the course, in their intimidation factor. ('Cheap and basic? I'm afraid THIS is the cheapest and most basic we care to stock (£20 Kryptonite'); May I borrow your stirrup pump? 'That's 20 p per tyre...' But I just BOUGHT a crap £5 pump from you...)
Actually, the 20p per tyre charge was waived, though I did get a lecture on under-inflation and having a bit of string tied around the frame ('have you just ASSEMBLED this?'). It was all a bit like the old days of dealing with intimidating sales assistants in music shops - the ones who would let you try out a guitar and then demonstrate their blistering prowess by playing Steve Howe's The Clap at double speed. Until punk wiped the smiles from their faces. And the mercury from their fingertips.
Over to Beeb HQ at Pacific Quay, which involves the aforementioned Dumbarton Road thrill ride, before the excellent traffic-free bike-and-pedestrian route from Finniston. West End to PQ is definitely quickest by bike.