I had to make a pretty big detour on my way into work this morning. It was partly because large sections of the Regent's Canal seem to be shut down for repairs at the moment. But also because I was being driven slowly mad by the rattling of my bike rack. It was fitted to my lovely new bike when I bought my LCM (London Commuting Machine, actually a Giant Seek Zero) from Chamberlain's in Camden. But as I've been riding it pretty intensely every since, several screws worked loose - and in fact on closer inspection, had popped out. So my bike has been rattling and it's also not great having your child on the bike seat while you worry about whether the whole rack is going to give way.
So I made a detour back to Chamberlain's. Sure enough, they're as lovely as ever and wasted no time in replacing the offending screws and bolts. They have a lovely way of selling stuff to you too where you actually feel great that you've bought something - in this case, I walked out with a bottle of chain lube. I'm impressed to say they didn't charge me for the screws or fitting them. I was sorely tempted by a fancy light you can buy with its own battery pack - but for £99 I didn't quite feel I could afford it.
Anyway, by now I was feeling rather late for work, so I got back down on the canal and sped off. I suddenly noticed something. The silence. It was fantastic. Obviously there's the slight sound of the wind in your ears and the low hum of the tyres on the towpath. But the bike itself - completely quiet.
That somehow felt better than having any number of gadgets or gear. Going at speed along a lovely stretch of canal with hardly another person in site - it's about as close to flying as you can get without actually taking off.
Consequently, when I finally did arrive at work I was in rather a good mood, rather exhilerated, and yes, a bit knackered. But nothing an enormous coffee and a muffin couldn't sort out.
So cyclists - fix that bolt, get that chain sorted, declare war on rattles. And sing along with me "Silent bike, holy bike ..." OK, perhaps forget that last bit. KC