Orientation

Day 9: More bikes and some football

I woke up early, as I had arranged the previous night to meet with Annalise and Eliška to help them with their purchase of bicycles. I scoffed down breakfast and rode my new bike to Great St Mary’s Church in the centre of Cambridge. All three of us seemed to arrive at the same time. Whereas the previous day I had scoured the south-east of the city for a bike, this time we would explore the northern side. We started in the market square. There are a couple of sellers there, but we had arrived before the had fully set up, and most of the bikes they were putting out seemed dodgy at best. We trekked north, trying some shops along Bridge Street towards Magdalene College. While some sold only new bikes, others sold only second hand, and poor bikes at that. We crossed the river, and had moderate success at University Cycles. Undecided, we decided to head to the east of town, to Kingsway Cycles, the place where I had bought my bike the previous day.

Annalise and Eliška liked the selection of second hand bikes at Kingsway Cycles, and tried a few of them up and down the street. Undecided, the proprietor brought out some brand new bikes for only a marginally greater cost. The decision between a quality second-hand road bike and a new mountain bike, albeit without suspension but with mudguards and basket, was a tough one, and the two girls tried both out several times, not wanting to commit to a decision. Eventually, as another customer began to try out the same bike that she had wanted, Annalise committed and both bought new bikes. While at it, I purchased a new rear light that would attach to my pannier tray.

Armed with bikes, we rode back through town. I returned to the college to check my pigeonhole for any information from the bank. Alas there was none. There wouldn’t be any until next week, I thought to myself. I retired to my room, it now being the afternoon, and joined Brittany for a Skype session, to check in on how her project was progressing. Well, it turned out.

In the afternoon, a number of incoming Gates scholars had arranged to have a kick around of a football (soccer ball, to any Australians or Americans reading). After a little confusion, we went to St. Johns fields, and inquired politely to the groundsmen who permitted us to use one of the half-pitches. I brought along my gloves and played as the goalkeeper for a half-pitch 5 vs 5 game between the scholars. We only had a size-3 ball that Pedro had picked up at the yard sale, which was difficult to catch and kick, but we managed.

Two hours later, and having performed some much needed exercised, we all dispersed back to our respective accommodations. I showered, and had dinner in the dining hall, nearly being caught out by the earlier finishing time for Fridays of 7pm. After dinner, I went to the DarBar. It was unicorn-themed night, which meant that a minority of people had dressed as unicorns. From what I could gather, there was some tradition that had something to do with Newnham College, but I wasn’t sure. After hanging out at the bar for a while, I returned to my room and the warm bed that awaited me.

 

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