I tried to put a bit of air into my front tyre, but the pump had the reverse effect and all the air hissed out. Something pinged out of the top of the pump and fell over the ledge of the platform. Whatever this small thing was its disappearance permanently malfunctioned the pump.
My bike was out of action and I hadn’t even started cycling! I was waiting for the 5.33am train from Edinburgh Haymarket to Aberdeen to take me to the start of my route and now I had a limp tyre and no means to fix it. In fact, this was a triple disaster! It was pouring with rain and I was dripping wet, even though it was almost July.
Sometimes travel does not turn out the way that you planned for, but there is almost always a way to rescue it.
At first I was miserable and almost gave up. I thought there was no point in getting on the train if I couldn’t actually cycle once I arrived. What possible pleasure could be derived from cycling in heavy rain anyway? But I conjured up plan B, thanks to the miracle of mobile Internet. Whilst on the train I tracked down a shop near to the station that had bicycle pumps in stock. It was not the perfect plan B, they never are perfect- I would have to wait 40 minutes for the shop to open and I would miss my connecting train to my final destination, Dyce.
In Aberdeen Station seagulls swooped and squawked. Through the glass canopy I caught glimpses of the granite buildings that this city is famous for. I killed time with a coffee and very dry, bland blueberry muffin. Then I pushed my wounded bicycle to Union Street as commuters rushed by with hoods and umbrellas and buses splashed through puddles.
I was the first customer of the day at the store. I think the staff could detect my desperation when I asked for a bicycle pump- I was walked straight to the product’s location, rather than being given directions. On the way I made small talk about the weather and said I hoped that it would stop raining for my bike ride. The woman’s cheery voice was at odds with her prediction, “Oh, I doubt that. It’ll be pouring all day!”
I had to wait almost one hour for the next train to Dyce. A long wait for the sake of a short ten minute train journey, but my bike was back in action and that was the main thing. At Dyce I started on the Formartine and Buchan cycle way, each peddle stroke all the sweeter because Plan B had worked out.
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.