I CAN'T excuse it as a impulse buy.
I have not made an impulse buy since 1995 when I splurged my pocket money on Happy Nation by Ace Of Base on a whim. Never made that mistake again. No, I wanted it, my new bike. I definitely did. I just don't know what to do next.
The problem is I want to cycle, I just don't want to be a cyclist. Just as I wouldn't mind being a mum, I wouldn't want to be a Mumsnet mum.
Having a new, first bike is exactly like having a new, first baby. You have a vague idea about what you are supposed to do - hold the handlebars, push off with one foot, don't topple sideways - but that is not enough for other people-with-bikes. They have to approach you and give you advice. You don't buy a bike, you buy into a community. I am an only child, I don't buy into communities.
Most of the advice involves accessories. So far, I have a bike lock that was £1 from Poundsavers. Mudguards seem like an eminently sensible suggestion, as do lights.
The lovely colleague who sold me my new bike has a ferocious amount of kit. She carries gas canisters for her tyres. The single piece of kit that would help me out is stabilisers, but the man in Halfords would not take me seriously when I asked.
People say, "Stop being nervous". I am nervous. I like being nervous - it's a survival mechanism. Every time I sit on the saddle I picture the scene from One Day when Anne Hathaway is hit by a lorry, flies through the air and dies an abrupt death on the Tarmac.
Not only is cycling a community, it is a community made of special tribes. You do not really notice these bicycle factions until it comes time to choose one - and choose you must.
There are the Road Racers, in Lycra on bikes with rams' horns. I went out with a Road Racer once - his legs were smoother than mine; Mountain Bikers who drive for hours before getting in the saddle; Hipsters - both Dutch and Fixie - and Hybrid Commuters.
On Tuesday I saw a man on a recumbent bicycle going up Stockwell Street. He was in a special category of his own.
The one faction I do not want to join is Militant Cyclist, morally and environmentally superior to all other road users and who like to tell you about it.
I am a jumpers-for-goalposts kind of cyclist. I want to have a two-wheeled kickabout in Queen's Park. There isn't a faction for that, though.
I'm cycling on my own.
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