Monday, 22 February 2010

Low Carbon Loves

For my week on the blog, I want to introduce you to a few of my low carbon loves: the things in my life that make it easier for me to be green.

Perdita demanded to be introduced first. I've not known Perdita long, but we hit it off right from the start, and we have a lot of fun together.

She's flighty and skittish and next to her I feel a little slow and lumbering, She's light on her feet and loves to dance. To be honest, I find it hard to keep on top of her. She's beautiful, with a style all her own: always glamorously kitted out in hand- me-down panniers and a hand-made basket.

Perdita was a gift last year from my other half's mum. Being in Transition had taught me that I needed to use my car less, and I had a poor neglected bicycle mouldering away in the garage. I tentatively started riding- after 15 years out of the saddle- searching desperately for off-road routes. After a few wobbles and a couple of hair-raising near-misses I found my feet and was soon cycling the 14 miles to work and back 2 or 3 times a week. I recorded how far I cycled and found that I reduced my car mileage by around a quarter last year.

Inevitably this poor old bike of mine gave up the ghost and as I was looking into repairing it, I was very kindly given Perdita.The more I cycled, the more confident I became and the more I enjoyed it. I hadn't realised how pleasant it would be. I love the sense of speed and movement, the beautiful shushing hum of the wheels. I feel so proud and free to be getting somewhere under my own steam. And speaking of free: I don't have to buy her petrol or pay to park her when we get there.

I've had so many magical wildlife moments cycling: slowing to watch a kestrel hunt; passing a whitethroat singing in a bramble bush; and several times on hot summer nights stopping to watch foxes just a few feet away. I had no idea cycling would be this joyful, but Perdita has introduced me to so many new pleasures, and I'm truly grateful to her.

Our relationship is a little unconventional (I have to chain her up quite often). She knows I use other means of transport, but I do feel quite bad about it. I know I don't take her out as often as I should, especially in the winter.

I worry that I'm something of a fair-weather friend to Perdita: I'm determined to show my commitment to her a little more fully this year.


  1. Very amusing post Elena! I never thought of naming my bicycle but I have bought it a present of a new Vittoria Randonneur City tyre after a massive flint went through my front tyre on the way back from the Transition Cafe last week. Fortunately I was nearly home.

    I've had a Randonneur on the back wheel for some time and I don't think that I have had a puncture in it. The front inner tube is looking decidedly battle scared.

    Other parts of the country don't have flints so I presume they get less punctures - are there any cyclists who have moved here from elsewhere who can comment?

  2. Most of my punctures have been from glass, both here and elsewhere.

  3. Loved your post, Elena! My very scruffy 1980s Peuguot is the Pink Peril, bought for £40 from Madgetts in Diss last summer. Punctures - my next-door neighbour has had lots, mostly on glass. I've had none in nearly 9 months cycling round the city; much better in the city than in Waveney Valley (flints). But old tyre perished recently, with a big worn-out hole that was beyond repair. Now whizzing around on Michelins.

  4. Great stuff Elena!...getting to this a bit late, but on subject of punctures ( I have 4 bikes, so maybe not very 'Transition', but then I have no car!). For regular cycling I always recommend the puncture-resistant variety of tyre - 'Kevlar' is the trade name for them.