The Worst Is Yet to Come: Basil Doesn’t Know

Back on July 14 — exactly a month ago — I noted that I’d had a small surgery, and that there had been complications.  Incredibly, there have been yet further complications, with far-reaching effects.  It will be mid-February or early March 2014 before Basil and I will be cycling together again.  (And it’s already been over six weeks since we’ve had any sort of ride to speak of!)

This is a pretty devastating state of affairs, and I’m not sure that I’ve even yet fully realized the impact this ban will have on me and my quality of life, particularly since, you know, “quality of life” = Brompton!  I depend on Basil not only for all the healthful physical benefits of cycling, but also the vast positive psychological benefits that come from traveling through the world on small wheels.

[Basil, in happier times, running wild and free on NYC’s West Side Greenway]

This will mean a few changes for the blog, too.  For over nine months I’ve written a blog post here every single day.  Sometimes it’s been a bit of a stretch to make the quota, but as long as Basil and I were riding regularly, there was plenty to write about and discuss.  There will still be much Brompton- and Basil-related to write about, but I expect that post frequency will probably drop down to two or three a week until we’re back on the road, trail, or street again.

There are posts in the works — that new bag of Basil’s that I haven’t been able to finish yet; some interesting ideas about how to carry a B; Basil’s Park Tool stand that I bought just before this debacle began — and now that I am [mostly] through treatment, I’ll be able to get back to those topics and explore others.

In the meantime, I’ve got to break the news to Basil.  He still thinks this hiatus is temporary, and I’ve been too cowardly to explain otherwise.  Also, this is just so wrong:  Bromptons are meant to be active!

I’m hoping that Basil will accept that this will give me some time to get to know his workings more thoroughly, and to develop a deeper appreciation of all of the technical things that make him a Brompton.  When we were riding all the time, there simply weren’t enough hours to do that, too — this is our chance.  I’m hoping he sees this as a silver lining. It’s all we’ve got, so I’m going with that as the modus operandi for surviving the next half-year or so.

30 replies on “The Worst Is Yet to Come: Basil Doesn’t Know”

so sad, yet so beautifully written. I’m wiping a tear from my cheek, and wondering how Basil will feel about your exploration of his most private of areas. Hopefully, he will understand, as I am sure he already does, that you are his owner, caretaker and dearest of friends. Without you, where would where and why would he be? As a fine dinner is not complete without the diner to enjoy it, so it is with Basil and you.

Aw, Saul . . . it is sad, but I have to believe it’s only a momentary setback. Basil has a Brompton’s native self-cnofidence, so I”m expecting that he will only be pleaed as I learn the specifics about why these little bikes are so cleverly made. I can’t speak for Basil on this point, but I certainly feel half a person — incomplete, as you say — when I’m not riding him.

I have enjoyed reading your blog very much. In fact your blog encouraged me to buy my Brompton a month ago. I hope your road to recovery will be fast. In the meantime please continue blogging keeping us updated with your progress.
Get well soon!!!!!!

Nicholas, thank you so much for your kinds words — and I am so happy to think that my blog had some little part in your decision to buy a Brompton! I hope you have many happy years with your B — and yes, I will keep blogging, one way or another, just a bit less infrequently.

So yes this enters a new chapter, etc., but I’d like to point out that very few stories about, say, pro sports or theater or politics or whatever are actually written by the active participants. Now you get to write brommie stories and, temporarily not be a cyclist. That sounds like serious journalism of a sort. If anyone can do it, you can.

Harry, what an interesting way to look at this . . . it’s not one that had occurred to me at all, but I see how true what you say is. I’d never really consdered the “participant vs writer/reporter” question before in quite this way.

I’m not sure I’ll rise to the standards of “serious journalism” myself, but your comment has given me a new perspective, and a lot of food for thought. Thank you, and thanks for your strong encouragement, too.

Well said by Harry! Your creative nature will prevail, and in a few turns of the calendar pages you and Basil will walk out the door, frame (or seat, whatever your preference) in hand, new creations under your belt. Take care of yourself and savor the time as you dig into Basil’s roots; that sounds like a good winter’s adventure in itself. I hope you’ll pass on some of your findings; I’ve learned many things from your blog and have mustered up the courage to do a few modifications because of it (would never have thought of disassembling a bag frame — now I have a backpack that happily wears one — working out perfectly!). Looking forward to more posts (no pressure there!)…

Seattle Rider, thanks for your encouragement, too; you are quite right that though this will be a different winter’s adventure, it will still be an adventure! Confession: I always hope that people will see the frame mod and bag posts, especially, because they are so liberating — it’s really terrific to learn that you’ve been inspired to experiment because of what you’ve read here!

I’ll be happily thinking of you cycling around Seattle with your backpack mod, now and ongoing. And you are so right — Harry has really set me onto something very useful . . . these months may go by far faster than I had originally thought.

First of all: get well soon!
Tell Basil the outright truth – he will understand it and maybe there will be new posts about rides you and Basil do in your imagination – to perform them next year!

Detlef, I’ve just found your comment in the spam queue — so glad I looked before deleting the rest! Thank you for your good wishes, and I shall certainly follow your advice. Postponing the bad news is one thing, but I would never lie to Basil . . . real relationships are based in trust, after all!

You are thinking very much along the same lines as I have been — wherever I go in the next few months I will certainly bring Basil along in my imagination, and perhaps writing about those excursions will help both Basil and me to focus on the anticipation of resuming our travels, rather than the immediacy of not being able to share them.

I’m sure we all look forward to your return to riding (& the blog posting frequency that no doubt will come with that). Speaking for Basil, I know he craves at least an odd little foray & so perhaps Mr D (or Saul?) could be trusted?

Thank you, Ian, too, for your encourgement, and that interesting suggestion. Basil’s going to be very pleased, as he’s well aware that you are often in tune with Brompton needs to which I have been unwittingly insensitive.

Mr. Diarist, alas, is trapped 24/7 in a professional morass from which he has yet to emerge (and I am now confident that he may emerge and immediately race to NYCeWheels for his own Brompton). Saul, though the most trustworthy of souls, lives, quite distantly, as do all of those wonderful people with whom I’ve enjoyed group cycling. But we shall see . . . it does seem criminal that Basil must suffer just because I can’t ride!

I kinda know how you feel, it was terrible not to have my Bumble B when he went in for surgery and that was for only 2 weeks. I did ride another Brompton “Bluey” that was loaned to me but it just wasn’t the same and I felt like I was betraying my B.

It is strange how these assembled pieces of metal create the sense that they are actually living, breathing & feeling beings.

Not to be able to ride Bumble B would be unthinkable and I can’t even imagine what you are going though. I just hope that time flies past to the day you can properly ride your B, Brasil

I hope he takes the bad news well but looks forward to the day both go out on a nice summer day, just you and him.

“It is strange how these assembled pieces of metal create the sense that they are actually living, breathing & feeling beings.” Oh, CrazyBee, you are so right! And how we end up identifying — and being identified with — our Bromptons. I really feel as if part of me is missing. It’s so clear from your own blog that you and your Bumble Bee are one — those separation pains were clearly real!

We will be all right, just as you and The Legend were. Our Bromptons are stalwart types, and we mere mortals must strive to be the same!

If I were closer to your castle in the woods(?), I would be honored to take the B man out for an exercise run. You know I would respect him to the utmost;, however, I’m sure he would know I am not The Brompton Diarist.

Well, no castle in the woods, but my Saturday BCP rides (and equivalents thereof) did involve a minimum of an hour and a half of travel from my humble abode to the meeting points, so I’m not really close by. Part of the issue is that I’m not able to safely wrangle Basil in and out of various situations; it’s not just a matter of strictly not being able to ride him, though that is the case also.

That being said, though, I’m afraid that Basil may have to languish anyway, as it’s Mr. Diarist who must have the first non-Brompton-Diarist ride, should that day come. Heaven knows the poor man has put up with extravagant amounts of Brompton-mania for a long, long time now, so that only seems fair!

(Those long hauls to get to those marvelous group rides? Completely worth it, as I know you know, Saul, thanks to you and your cohorts!)

So sorry to read that there are further complications. Take care of yourself first and foremost. Basil will understand. I look forward to reading your less frequent posts and to the day when you’re riding again. Who knows, I may have a Brompton by then!

Take care

Thank you, Steve! I’m sure you’re right, Basil will see me through this until we’re back cycling again. As to your Brompton — Basil and I are quite pleased to go on record as applauding that plan!

As it should be, with Mr. D. exercising the noble Basil. Rather than allowing Basil to languish in the closet in his highly engineered folded position, you may consider allowing him to breathe the fine country air. If he were to come out of the closet, so to speak, you could still enjoy his company and fine features, even tho not on a ride. What a fine objet d’art he would be.

You’re on to something here, Saul — I think you are quite right, and Basil and I need to get out together if only to appreciate what has been, what will come, and the marvels that are Basil! He’s posed for a few Basil portraits so far, but perhaps he and I need to do a little creative experimentation in that area. Don’t hold your breath, though — I’m strictly a text person, and lack any artistic merit at all. But we’ll see if we can come up with the occasional image worthy of Basil’s natural style!

In your absence from the cycling scene in and around the Philly environs, have there been any spottings of Bromptons, or are they all respectfully awaiting the return of Basil?

Mme. Diarist would have done well, Saul, to have acquired that castle in the woods, as it would have undoubtedly have come with minions who could, at this very moment, be assisting her in catching up on everything that has been tragically neglected while Mme. has languished during the past few months. This, of course, would have allowed hours and hours for discourse with Basil — nonetheless, he is not being neglected, and Mme. manages to speak with him at least once a day. Neglected work is one thing, but, rest assured, Basil is top priority!

No need to enter a cramped closet — Basil comes out easily, and the door is wide, if one can only manage a brief word. Which one does, because it’s really, really awful having Basil in the closet almost all the time!

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