I'm pretty good at recognising people, but sometimes a bit too good, especially at remembering the wrong sort of detail. ('You're Andy, aren't you? We met in that pub in Wolverhampton in about 2003, didn't we? You'd just come out of jail, drink-driving wasn't it, after that disastrous affair with the prostitute I seem to recall, and wanted to put it all behind you and start with a clean sheet because you said you'd just met someone and you thought This Is It didn't you? Oh hello, love, you're that someone are you? Pleased to meet you. You look a bit surprised...')
And I tend to recognise people by their bikes first and then their faces. This is a characteristic of being a Real Cyclist (see the test, left). It happened again yesterday evening at the Barbican. I had a voucher for a free DVD rental and so cycled four miles there to cash it in. I don't have a DVD player, but a free voucher to a Yorkshireman is a free voucher.
At their excellent bike racks I thought hello, I know that sleek, vivacious, elegant, beautiful shape - it's Vanessa's bike. Oh, and that's Vanessa (who's also sleek, vivacious etc., of course). Fortunately this time there was no unwisely divulged backstory or unsuspecting partner to confuse the issue. We met at that fabulous Solstice Ride to greet the midsummer sunrise on Primrose Hill with hundreds of other bikes, and she had a cute borrowed dog in her basket.
Anyway, I'd wanted a snap of Vanessa's bike sans dog, because I just think it's a really cool town bike, with its capacious baskets, sturdy blackness, and flowing-hair, upright ride, and she happily obliged (top right).