Every year, my fiancé and I head to Stratford-on-Avon to watch a Shakespeare play at the RSC. So far we’ve seen As You Like It, The Tempest, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Othello, and this year it’s Cymbeline. I love watching the obscure plays, as the jokes are still fresh. As well as watching the play we also spend a day or two in Stratford, and when it’s sunny it’s one of the loveliest towns you can imagine. So how better to add to the day than with a cycle ride? There’s a cycle hire shop conveniently placed by the marina, which gives us three options:
- Hire a bike each
- Hire a tandem
- Take our own bikes
I’d love to hire a tandem, but I’m not sure if riding them is very different and how much pedalling would be happening behind me. To judge from the time we hired a rowing boat and she “helped” in piloting by telling me about every swan or duck we came within a nautical mile of to the exclusion of barges and motor boats we were about to hit, I might be better off on my own. Also we would have to hire the tandem for the day, and I don’t think either of us would want to spend the whole day in the saddle, though we’d probably get further than on separate bikes. It would also make for some lovely photos!
Hiring a bike each has one major attraction for me: They hire out Pashleys! I’d love to test drive a Pashley Sovereign for the day to see how it compares to the old BSA, how hub brakes compare to rim brakes, and what it’s like to have two extra gears. Compared to the tandem, of course, I’d have to do a certain amount of treading water to allow my fiancé to keep up, and since the furthest I’ve seen her ride is about a mile, I wonder just how far we’d get (especially with her saddle set far too low). We can hire them out for shorter periods though, so that might save us a bit.
The third, and least convenient, option is to take our own bicycles. Obviously most readers are pretty familiar with my BSA three-speed, and those who were reading at Christmas may remember I bought and restored a perfectly matching ladies’ BSA for her. It hasn’t had much use as yet and it’d be nice to see her riding it. Unfortunately even with the seats down neither bike fits in the back of my car without having the front wheel and mudguard removed, and my fiancé will no doubt also have a certain amount of luggage to take. So without shelling out on some sort of cycle carrier it’d be a bit of a hassle to get them there. Hence why I looked into hiring instead.
So now I’m going to throw it open to you: what would you recommend?