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Extreme Commuting

Oxfordshire is flooding. Truck festival was canceled because the field was underwater, roads are closed, and colleagues' conversations about the weather have become less boring but more frequent in a tiresome zero sum game. Despite all this, I chose to take my normal route into work today: via the towpath by the river. As I turned onto the path, a smirking fisherman lurched into my path from beneath a bridge and burbled "Turn back!"

"Consider the source", I thought to myself. "This man enjoys a sport which uniquely combines cruelty to animals and boredom." Fortified by this reasoning, I cycled on undaunted; and was pleased to find that he was very nearly wrong. Sure, quite a lot of the path was underwater, but never deeper than the crucial distance between the ground and the axis of my bike pedals... except for one short stretch into which I plowed, slowed, and stopped. Faced with the inconceivable alternative of turning back - thus making myself even later for work and effectively conceding that the fisherman was right and hence that fishing was good - I dismounted elegantly into the brown, knee-deep water and pushed my bike with all the steadfast grace of a man striking a blow for piscine rights while fighting a surprisingly vigorous undertow.

After a few metres I was back in the saddle, triumphantly saluting the surprised inhabitants of longboats not expecting anyone to approach from my direction, and contemplating the suddenly-relevant irony that waterproof boots keep water in as well as out. On arrival at work I emptied my boots and wrung out my socks in quiet triumph. My air of manly courage (and faint odour of river water) lasted all day, only slightly marred by an intermittent conviction that I would contract Weil's disease.

If the script writers for XXX III ('Extreme just got extremer... to the max') want to get in contact with me, I'm happy to discuss my fee. I'm confident that white-water cycling could be the new parkour, and I can do all my own stunts...


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 23rd, 2007 11:36 pm (UTC)
My teenage nephew does parkour. I think therefore you might just be a little too old:) In fact I rather suspect you're only just young enough for brown-water cycling, and will soon have to fall back on the time-honoured sport of breaking a hip on Oxford's dodgy pavements.
Jul. 23rd, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC)
Long boats in Oxford? Bloody hell! I mean, I know they got at least as far up the Thames as London in about the 10th Century, but has it really taken them another 1000 years to get here? So much for fabled Scandiwegian efficiency! ;o)
Jul. 24th, 2007 12:22 am (UTC)
Once I rode my bicycle off a pier into the lake near my house, just to see how difficult it would be to get it back out again. I was 12.
Jul. 24th, 2007 03:23 am (UTC)
Righteous! :-)
Jul. 24th, 2007 07:09 am (UTC)
I was going to go via the Marston cycle path into the Parks, but stopped at the first hurdle (water hurdle, that is, not leaping the barriers). I would have had to have had plastic trousers, a change of shoes & socks & trousers, and oh yes your own delightfully (fool)hardy attitude.

Turned back, cycled through town instead.
Jul. 24th, 2007 08:27 am (UTC)
White-water cycling
Apparently the sport of bog snorkelling (cycling underwater through a bog wearing a snorkel) already exists. Maybe you are a future world champion bog snorkeller in the making?
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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