Regular readers of this blog might have gained the impression that I, Bertie, am not as interested in bicycles as is my owner Gail.
While this might be true up to a point, I want to explain today how I am in fact a close observer of Gail's cycling activities, to the extent that I can predict with some accuracy what will happen next, depending on which of Gail's three bicycles she wheels out of the front door.
First we have the 'town bike', a 1970's vintage three speed 'Hercules' brand, maroon in colour and with a basket on the front. Gail only uses this for short outings - doing her 'messages' as we say in Scotland - and I can be confident that she will not be gone long. She might ever come back with some special Bertie treats in the basket!
Can you believe that once, when I was a puppy, Gail tried to get me to sit still in that basket and go for a ride with her. Let me tell you that was never going to happen!!! Not even after she had added a comfy cushion and a treat.
Secondly we have the trusty 'tourer'. Made by Thorn Cycles in Somerset, this is Gail's all time favourite bicycle, now twenty years old and she claims it fits her "like a glove". It is designed for touring, being robust, with luggage carrying capacity and very low 'granny' gears. Over the years this bicycle has carried her variously through France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Albania, and it wears a dented top tube courtesy of Lufthansa as a badge of honour! So it is a cause for concern when one sees Gail packing and loading panniers onto this bicycle as in the past it has meant a trip to 'camp' (i.e. boarding kennels) is imminent for yours truly.
More recently of course, Gail's travel activities have been limited, and the Thorn bike has mostly been used for rides out of Aberdeen when the weather is not great and/or she will be cycling at a relaxed pace with her less speedy pals. So I can expect her to be out for longer than with the town bike, but maybe not more than half a day.
It's when I see Gail pumping up the tyres on bicycle number three, a titanium framed, carbon forked number from Spa Cycles in Harrogate, that I know she will probably be away for many hours (and if I'm lucky I will get to spend time with neighbour Kirsty and my new poodle girlfriend Ella). Use of this bicycle, with its skinny wheels and inadequate mudguard, is confined to days when the weather is fine and the roads are dry, and when Gail is meeting up with her fitter and faster friends. I have learned not to expect a long walk after Gail returns from one of these rides.
So there you have it. I hope I have proved to you here that I do take a close interest in Gail's bicycles, at least insofar as they impact my own canine wellbeing...