Sunday December 26 2010
We have bought two folding bikes made by the specialist British company, Airnimal. They have a reputation for quality build, and for the fact that the bikes ride like a full size non-folding machine. We even read reports that some riders chose to ride their Airnimals in long audax routes and even time trials. The fold isn’t as quick to achieve as with the small folding bikes, although there are two different types of fold, a lesser and a major one. The major fold involves taking off the wheels, the handlebars and the seatpost before folding the frame back on itself.
Preparing the Airnimals for transport is fun, you get to know your machine by taking it apart, and slotting pieces into any available space within the special suitcases. The two wheels fit in the lid, and are restrained with a cleverly devised modelling-wire clip that threads through a loop at the top. The airline state that if the cycle is carried in a suitcase, this case should not contain other items of luggage, so cunning and cleverness is brought to bear upon the interpretation of the term ‘cycle’. Bags, bottles, shoes, racks and helmet all go into the suitcase.
We fly from Manchester to Malaga, leaving the subzero freezing tundra of Todmorden. The Ice rink is still frozen in my back yard, and the ice lights are shining bright. We have one last skate on the rink before we go. The ride to the airport is slow because of thousands of early Boxing Day sale seekers rushing as lemmings to the Trafford Centre. As we ascend to the flight lanes, we catch glimpses of Frozen Britain for the second time this year. – no part of the land is less than pure white. At Malaga airport we wait in a small café for Gary who has promised to ferry us to El Chorro. His dirty white cap is his self-confessed identifying feature and he kindly takes us round a selection of non-functioning cash machines and then to a garage for food essentials.
We arrive at Finca la Campana about 10.30 at night, and find a small barn-type dwelling with a platform bed accessed by a ladder. It is quite cold and dark. We need to go and get wood for the stove, as this is the only source of warmth. From a cold damp pile of rather oversize logs we select some hopeful pieces and transport them back to the house with a squeaking wheelbarrow, negotiating multiple steps. I remake the bed up on the platform, to make it longer and warmer, and Jim makes the fire. We go to bed about 1.30, not knowing what our surroundings might look like and excited to see where we are when it comes light.
The Frozen Bath we are leaving behind
Nice chocolates, hope they’re still here when we get back.
The Airnimal Cases packed up and ready to fly.
We devise all sorts of spacers and fillers to pad the bikes, out and to help prevent impact on the cases.