Monday 8th September- Day 1 of Student Life

My first morning in a new city was sunny.

Today I had a cycle around the city centre, finding food shops, clothes shops, supermarkets second hand CD shops, a cycle store, and a drum shop, where the shop keeper talked to me for ages and taught me things I’d never known about cymbals. Also a book shop with paperback novels stacked to the ceiling because they’d run out of shelf space. The bike shop gave me a new light and some advice about cycling in my new city. They said to watch out for the tram lines- they’re not recessed into the ground properly and on a wet day, if you don’t cross them at a 90 degree angle, it can be dangerously slippy and could knock me off my bike.

Cycling is something I enjoy, and it’s a good way to get around. I’ve been able to ride a bike since I was about six, but only cycled regularly in the past year or so. I’m no bike expert. The Jennymobile was purchased at a Fair for £10 and has five gears, most of which I don’t use. It’s rare for me to cycle farther than four miles in the same day, so I’m not a particularly fit cyclist. I am also ignorant of the highway code. It’s good exercise and free transport which is faster than walking.

To be able to cycle safely on roads requires not just good hearing, but also accurate judgement of the direction and distance of sounds. Before Johansen IAS therapy, cycling on the roads would have been a stupid idea. I couldn’t identify the direction of sounds, or the size of the vehicle making them. When my hearing was at its worst, and most distorted, I had auditory hallucinations such as phantom bicycles on the empty pavement behind me when I walked. Traffic was just one solid block of deafening noise- not separated into sounds of individual vehicles as it is now. Because of my synaesthesia, in my mind’s eye, the solid block of traffic sound resulted in a solid block of coloured, rapidly moving shapes blocking the air above the road surface. This made crossing roads and dealing with traffic feel complicated and stressful. After Johansen IAS therapy, the solid block of sounds became more like pockets surrounding the vehicles, with a few sounds drifting through empty air gaps between vehicles. I’ve been meaning to draw this for a while, because the changes in my sound synaesthesia has reflected changes in my hearing. I’ll try post it in the pictures section soon, as well as adding it to  this blog post.

 Going to the Movement and Learning Centre was equally important to my cycling skills. Thanks to Ian, I have good balance and coordination and the confidence to cycle alongside traffic.

 Despite my wonderful new hearing skills, I still dress brightly to be safe, and take care on the roads. My bike has bright lights, front and back, and I wear a retina-singeing reflective yellow anti-death jacket.

Usually, I go on cycle trips for food-gathering purposes. Since I am the engine of the Jennymobile, it’s important to eat lots. I found a large supermarket about a mile from the flat and had my first big food shop.


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