Breaking your own rules

Today I broke one of my own rules for making cycling the normal thing to do. I went out on a ride for work in very cycle specific clothing.

There were two reasons for this

  1. It was raining very hard, it had been doing so for hours and it was expected to continue for hours. It was also very windy.
  2. The trip out was to take a funeral service at Loughborough Crematorium.

Cultures will vary in what they expect, however, in my culture if a Methodist Minister is taking a funeral service for you then you will have expectations about what they will wear. Many ministers will wear a cassock and that has advantages in weather like this as you can take it in a waterproof bag and put it over the top of almost anything. However, I come from a “low” Church tradition and so don’t wear a cassock. So instead for me a funeral means a clerical shirt, suit and preaching gown.

Maybe it is just because I don’t have good enough waterproofs but I can’t imagine cycling 9 miles in heavy rain with big puddles across the road in a nice suit and shoes. Even if they survived I would be worrying about it all the way and it would hardly be conducive to an appropriate frame of mind for conducting a funeral.

Of course a Bullitt Cargo bike is excellent for carrying the full set of clothes and a towel plus the books etc that aere needed. I could have easily managed with panniers but not knowing how hilly the route was decided that the Bullitt was a wiser choice then my fixie which is my only other bike with full mudguards.

Anyway it all went smoothly, had a nice ride there arriving with time to get dry and change. Coming home I had the wind against me and it felt like a bit of a slog so I stopped at a nice farm tea shop in Mountsorrell for some lunch 🙂 That helped a lot and so my elapsed cycling time was under 1hr 30mins for 18 miles.

Seems to me that there are times when rules need to be broken and for my peace of mind cycling to a funeral is one time when I feel that changing on arrival makes sense.

Sadly funerals are also one time when it is frequently not possible to cycle. For example on Friday I have a funeral which starts with a service at the Methodist Church in Syston and then continues at the Crematorium in Loughborough. The way the timing of these is done leaves no time to cycle between the two and I would feel very uncomfortable trying to push timing that lets me cycle on the families. However, I recognise that this is an artefact of a society and culture that is centred around an assumption of universal access to cars. Normally I would want to challenge that assumption, however, for me a funeral is absolutely not the right time to do so.

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  1. I thought from the heading of your post that you had changed your mind and decided to drive, which is absolutely what I would have done.
    As for committals at the Crematorium, I used to always travel with the funeral director when I was in North Yorkshire as it was 16 miles and I was terrified I’d break down or be otherwise delayed en-route. Might you do the same? (I know the hearse often leaves early but they always seemed to find me a seat one way or another).

    • “I thought from the heading of your post that you had changed your mind “

      Too stubborn for that 🙂

      Yep, I could ask the funeral directors. I guess partly it comes to not thinking about it and partly because I assume the hearse will leave as soon as the service starts and the cars were not coming back to Syston. In Northants they always used to ask if I wanted a lift but not here yet.

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