Just taught Shirley Tam, a Hong Kong financial manager who’d found me in the ether somehow; I think someone said “look this lady up”.
She has never ridden at all. This kind of Totally Innocent rider poses a special challenge – as much a thrill for me as it is for the student.
I’ve had about eight to ten Innocents over the years (adults)….as well as a handful of nine year old schoolkids that never got it down, and were terrified.
So Shirley arrives a half hour late because of the tangle of streets we live in…they don’t translate well into Mapcrust, and cell phones don’t work once one drives into our little canyon….
So we had a sit-down tea out in the Habitat as a fine rain pattered overhead–useful tactic to reconnect spirit and body. One hopes not to put Descartes before the iron donkey.
The shortbread fingers disappeared in a couple of impressive chomps, and her tea went almost untouched.
Then I took the pedals off her bike–a tip MEL ALLWOOD recommends in her bike books and I will be re-recommending (i.e. pedagogiarizing)– this way the flats don’t smash the shins of the new rider.
The way I see it, it’s recreating a bit of the history of the bicycle all over again from Draisenne to Safety Bicycle….Shirley lowered her saddle and tip-toed her way up and down Wood Lane for an hour, I urged her to soften all those stiff limbs, and even let the bars wiggle a bit, you can go straight while wiggling the bars (we know this, right?).
Over in Ed’s yard (he’s got the only 1917 house on the street, a darling red-painted cabin with added rooms, a grape arbor and terrifically ancient fruit trees) perfect golden apples lay scattered in the yard, proof of the high winds last night.
“You keep pushing up the street, I’ll grab some” I announced, hitching up the ol’ plaid skirt (with corduroys under, the usual outfit) and apron-carrying about 3 kg. of fine fruit back to the Taj Mahovel.
“I will make an apple bundt cake” she told me.
As for myself, I am a sucker for apple crisp, light on the sugar, heavy on the lemon juice, and still warm, with cream, the heaviest possible.