Our quiet rural outpost, Alsager, is not at the cutting edge of anything. Things do happen here, but only a few years after they have happened elsewhere. So you won’t be surprised that heads still turn when I go shopping by bike and trailer at the local Kidsgrove Tesco. After all, Tesco has a carpark, not a bikepark.
The trailer I use is a ….. I’m not very good at remembering brands. Anyway it’s a trailer. It attaches to the back axle with a special gadget, and it can carry three large shopping bags, or about the weekly shop for a family of five.. Now and then I overdo the shopping and have to ride home with something strapped onto the back rack, including one recent occasion when the lucky item was a packet of loo rolls which proceeded to fly off as I hit a pothole and were picked up and returned to me by the strange woman who walks a lot. See, Alsager does have interesting things happen!
My only criticism of the trailer is the connecting joint, part of which is a thick wire spring to provide flexibility. This tends to stretch and then contract as I ride along, creating the strange sensation of someone rhythmically pulling me backwards, and no doubt increasing the work I do by, at an estimate, maybe 5%? I tell myself that this is a good thing. More exercise per mile. More bang for my buck, as brash Americans and – God help us – even some British politicians would say.
Where I lock up at the supermarket I have only once seen another bike. It was July 2011. But there is a sad bike lock round a pole waiting touchingly for its bike to come back. Perhaps one day it will awake to find that the cargo bike revolution has reached our neck of the woods…