Tim Pratt
SF and Fantasy Writer

Bicycles Excepted

Yesterday, awesomeness was also achieved. Things began a bit inauspiciously: the child woke my wife at around 5 a.m., so rather than the two of them gallivanting off for the morning while I wrote (as planned), my wife went back to bed for a while to catch up on her sleep. What with one thing and another, it was well after 1 p.m. before I had time and quiet for writing, and mid-afternoon is not my best period in which to get work done: mostly, that time of day, I want to nap.

But I managed to get about 2500 words written, in between some housecleaning, a quick trip to the grocery store, and other distractions.

My wife took her shiny new bike out for a ride, with a rented trailer attached to pull the boy along, and they had a fabulous time. Around 5 she biked over to the rental place to return the trailer… but the boy had fallen asleep in it. The prospect of dragging her bike and a cranky, sleep-interrupted child to the bus stop and riding said bus home did not appeal, so she called me for a rescue. I drove over and transferred the boy to the car seat (he didn’t even wake up). My wife kindly took over driving back so I could ride the bike home, as I’d been cooped up inside working for most of the afternoon, and as a result missed a really beautiful summer day.

I haven’t ridden a bicycle in years. So fun! It’s a good bike, too. The journey was only about four miles, so it didn’t take long. I wished for a longer trip. Berkeley is very bicycle-friendly. All the annoying chicanes and circles and weird signs restricting traffic that are so annoying in a car are wonderful on a bicycle. It’s lovely to sail past a big red DO NOT ENTER sign, with its smaller “Emergency Vehicles and Bicycles Excepted” sign underneath.

I mean, I could do without some of the hills, and it’ll be a while before I’m comfortable biking on some of the main streets, but overall, this is a good city to start bicycling in again. (Don’t worry, this won’t become a bike blog. It’s my wife’s bike, and it’s mostly for her new in-town commute, so I won’t be riding it much anyway.) If only I could bike to work… but there’s not a gear low enough to get me to the top of a hill that steep, and riding down would be essentially like falling off a cliff and rapidly reaching terminal velocity. The brakes would be reduced to ash by friction after day one.

Oh, and then in the evening I did some more writing, and managed about 5,300 words total. So now instead of being 16,000 words behind schedule, I’m only 11,000 words behind! A few more good days and I’ll be in an excellent position.

And I finished The Heroes (pretty good, but Best Served Cold is still my favorite), and am now well into A Dance with Dragons. (It is good.) Also watched some Doctor Who with my wife, the one where a character gets his entire existence retroactively erased. Ouch. What a way to go. I made a joke about balefire, which my wife did not understand. I am too geeky even for my own true love. Oh well.

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