Someone needs to get a grip here…

The Heath Robinson cello rack

I’ve just had a birthday, which must mean it’s now less than two months until I set off.  My age appals me, btw, so I’m not saying what it is – only that I’m definitely not too old for this.  There might be lots of reasons not to do it, but age can’t be one of them…

I belong to an on-line cello group.  Started in lockdown, when live performance was out of the question, we play short extracts to each other, and then everyone chips in with their critical feedback.  You’re not allowed to say you’re “nervous” about playing to other cellists – the permitted word is “excited”.  Well, I tell you, I am very excited about the Highway Cello trip.  It suddenly seems rather imminent.

When I set about preparing, it seemed to me that the cello was the important factor.  I needed to get my music and my performance ready.  But now I think I misjudged.  The bike is way more important.

If I play a few wrong notes, it’s not the end of the world, is it?  But if I can’t cycle 50 miles a day (70 miles on the first day, due to a bit of mismanagement) then there won’t be any notes at all, will there?  At least, not in the right place.  By which, obviously, I mean not in the right geographical location…

There was a disaster with the trailer.  I found I couldn’t ride the bike with it loaded.  I did a supermarket shop, and on the way home the trailer fishtailed like an ancient caravan on the motorway, and I fell off.  And hurt myself.

So the trailer is now abandoned, and in disgrace, rotting in a corner of the woodshed.  Plan B.  I bought some square section aluminium tube, and fabricated a rack to fit on the back of the bike, so the cello can be strapped to the bike itself.  It looks like something out of a Heath Robinson nightmare.

And it means I’ll need to carry my kit in panniers on the front of the bike, in order to balance it.  But the bike forks haven’t got any lugs to attach a pannier rack to…  It’s just one problem after another.  Someone really needs to get a grip here.

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