Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle

If you are thinking of tackling anything on the Orange Prize longlist I can't do much better for you than to recommend Monique Roffey's The White Woman on the Green Bicycle. I read it recently, and then heard her read in Lancaster. It's a great book, a book of love and betrayal, both personal and political. A really intelligent, passionate read.

And it brings me cunningly on to what I promised the other week. Faithful readers of this blog (you poor sods) will remember the saga of my Wounded Knee, and how running was discovered to be bad and unhealthy. And the joy that I had known, running away from my house and my family a couple of times a week, was lost to me forever.

(I pause now for you to look mournful and despairing.)

Well, hellooo.

It's been a long time since I was friends with a bicycle, and I was very unsure. Here's the thing that swung it. When running, I used to almost kill myself in order to reach the river bridge, where I would stand for a couple of minutes, look at the river and pant for a bit before setting off back again. What was around the corner I would never, ever know. (While running I could never take pictures. Even though I own a camera phone, I just couldn't handle the extra weight. My own extra weight was quite enough.)

But even with my fitness level, there's no escaping the fact that bikes are faster. Look! Do you know where this is? Go on - guess.

Because I have NO IDEA! Really! I am that fast, and my geography is that bad.

And there's the fact that I can listen to proper music, instead of staring breathlessly at my feet and listening to Robert Ullrey's Couch to 5k running podcasts. Robert Ullrey starts each podcast by telling you that he is a 43 year old guy from Northern California who on his birthday decided to start running again. It was comforting, as I panted along like an elderly lady, knowing I was at least younger than Robert Ullrey. But he was forever 43, and I was gradually gaining on him.

Much better to listen to Lloyd Cole and Lucinda Williams, and look joyfully out at the scenery going by.


  1. Well Hellooooooo indeed - I hope you've got a comfy saddle to perch on.
    Now that Spring has sprung there'll be no stopping you and your new Green friend.
    Thanks for the book recommendation - I'll go and add it to my ever growing wishlist at Amazon.

  2. I have three words for you - padded cycle shorts.

    No, seriously. You can wear them under more flattering trousers but the make a HUGE difference; and my backside is bigger than yours so I can assure you natural padding does work as well.

    I'm off on my bike right now actually.

  3. You make me want to go and pump up my tyres.

  4. Yes, me too! (I want to go pump up my tires, that is.) I was just thinking about my poor neglected bike.

  5. Just followed a link over here and had to stop and admire your lovely green bike. Makes me want to take up cycling again immediately, definitely a nicer way to get around than pounding pavements.

  6. Ah, do you carry daffodils and a freshly-baked loaf in your basket? I can imagine it. In my head is this:

    The hairdos alone have cheered me.

  7. Ooh, how exciting!! I've been toying with dusting the cobwebs off my set of wheels - it's been parked in the shed since we brought it home from the bike shop...two years ago...

  8. Go Go, Coffee Lady. I have, perhaps foolishly, signed up for a sprint distance triathlon in an effort to force my own hand. I fear for my knees, as well. I've lurked a while, but wanted to let you know you're not alone in your efforts and I shall be saddling up my bike (when I'm not shuffling on sore knees) right along with you.

  9. Can't wait 'til we get our tandem bike and cross England together. Just imagine the fun and good times. I plan to be in the back, where I can coast most of the time while you peddle.

    PS-Great bike. Love the color.

  10. Goooo coffelady!
    I have a beautiful red bike that I luff although I would luff it more if I didn't live in such a hilly neighbourhood.
    So mym cute bike says hi to your cute bike!!


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