In The Red: 'I've found that the desire to look like Agyness Deyn does not a cyclist make'

Well. Last week's column clearly struck a chord – the emails positively flooded in (OK, "flooded" may be an exaggeration, although there was a definite bump in in-box). It seems that many of you have had the exact same problem with John Lewis, being forced to endure faulty fridges, warm freezers and exploding washing-machines sitting unrepaired for months on end.

Anyway, my threat of bad press did the trick; a brand-new fridge arrived, as promised, on Saturday morning. Well, almost as promised: in fact, the doorbell rang two hours earlier than agreed, much to the annoyance of my sleepy flatmate. Still, I was thrilled: a fridge!

It's amazing how luxurious things can seem after being deprived of them for a few months. I've already noticed a difference in my grocery bills: no more daily milk purchases! No more shop-bought lunches! No more luke-warm wine! It's as if I've been propelled back into the 21st century after a spell in the Dark Ages.

Which leaves me to return to that long-ago-raised issue of transport. I had, if you remember, promised to take up cycling instead of forking out £120 on my monthly Oyster card. Unfortunately, I think perhaps – just possibly – I may have been a little premature in declaring myself a cyclist. Contrary to earlier reasoning, the desire to look like Agyness Deyn does not a cyclist make. It's not that I haven't made progress, it's just that I haven't made much. In fact, I have encountered a surprising number of obstacles on my mission for thrifty transport.

It all started OK. I bought a second-hand bicycle from a stall in an east London market. (Yes, I realise it may have been stolen property; after a good, ohhhh... three minutes spent weighing up the moral implications against the bargain price of £70, I decided that, well, I didn't really care that much. It's not like I'm sure it was stolen, is it?) So, with perhaps a fraction too little deliberation, I handed over the cash and took my new toy home, wheeling it next to me as I walked.

But that's where the good news ends. My boyfriend took one look at the thing before declaring it a death trap and a rip-off. The front brake wasn't working, he said – although apparently this is a much better scenario than if the back one wasn't. He also pointed out that it was a boy's bike. I had no idea that a girl's bike was different, though once mentioned I suppose it did look a bit odd.

Still, not to be deterred, I took it out for a spin. Brake problems or no, it seemed fine to me. Before I knew it I was riding up to the local park, zooming around in circles like a 14-year-old hoodie. And then, disaster: my second brake began to fail and I was propelled down a hill like a tobogganist on a ski slope. Then I lost control of the steering, and my seat shot downwards with a bump. I felt like I'd crashed, except that I hadn't stopped moving. Eventually I reached some grass and came to a halt, before slowly toppling over in a heap.

It wasn't that bad – just rather embarrassing. The local teenagers found it hilarious, catcalling and shouting, practically falling off their park bench with merriment. Nevertheless, it was enough to put me off cycling – at least for a little while. And I suspect that my bike's days are numbered. I haven't been able to force the seat back to its original height, and have yet to get round to having the brakes fixed. I suppose it serves me right for buying on impulse.

I've seen another, brand new, model in a shop near my flat. Gallingly, it's almost as cheap as the first one – but after that waste of money, I'm struggling to bring myself to splash out again.

So far, then, my cycling ambitions have had limited success. Money saved: £0. Money spent: £70. Hmm. Must do better.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

    £60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

    Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

    £30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

    IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

    £24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

    Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

    £50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker