In The Red: 'I've found that the desire to look like Agyness Deyn does not a cyclist make'
Saturday 11 October 2008
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
Problem gambling: Amid heavy advertising and a surge in remote sports betting, more and more 16 to 24-year-olds are now seen as 'at risk'
10 tips for taking out a personal loan
Make money as a mystery shopper
The HiFX guide to managing corporate foreign exchange and international payments
How to start your own internet business
- 1 What if 35 Palestinians had died, and 800 Israelis?
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45 after suffering from cancer
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client Services Associate (Microsoft Office, Ana...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Graduate Data Operations Analyst (Graduate, Anal...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Dynamics...
£4000 - £30000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Front-end...
Day In a Page
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000