Author Topic: Velosolo Club

Mayday miscellany
« Reply #40 on: May 04, 2020 »
What do you mean it's on the 8th?! You shouldn't be multitasking holidays, Powers That Be.

Let's put some sepia in there. (Did people hurt themselves clapping back then?)

For those concerned with verisimilitude, the following is a composite ride. It didn't happen all on the same day.

Demo in Trafalgar Square, late 90s. (Just to drive the point home.) I used to carry around a big camera and lens. No more: unless they can prove need, the SLR & 180mm stay home.

Great bokeh, bunny

A book I found in the loft...
This post is like ride prep: it can take a while to actually get on the bike.

That's more like it, though it isn't me: it's Peter, who I met as we were both passing through Brightling, the top o' the world around here. We took time out of our busy lockdowns to chat for a few minutes. My lack of gearing came up, as it often does, and I extolled the virtues of the ease of working on a singlespeed bike. As if on cue, my chain popped off.

Another Peter. I run into him from time to time.

Good luck with that.

One source of comfort, I guess.

Too close for comfort mate...

Not even enough room to swing a broom.

Yay! Closed for thee but not for me. Without Covid clearing the roads in the first place, I wouldn't have bothered coming this way and would not be enjoying the use of what is normally a slightly too popular road.

So what this sign is basically saying is "Eat me."

We'll take a coronacheck on that

Casa Daltrey

Pinball wizard

That's right, he's sitting in his own little chair.

2 metres up also works.

Gypsum highway

What the owner says: "I'm not giving it away."

Ideal for aspirational first time buyers.

Riding lot

Morning glory
« Reply #41 on: June 02, 2020 »
I’m not to ride a bike or ejaculate for two days. What a thief of joy my doctor is. He says it will throw off the results of a blood test, but I think he’s just trying to shift old stock from the pharmacy.

Say it ain't so

Abstinence doesn’t start till tomorrow, which leaves 24 hours to spend storing up memories. Awoke at 2.30 to get a head start, and because sometimes I use lack of sleep as a drug. Chompsky, ever attuned to other creatures stirring in the house (preparing for a bike ride: a bit too much stirring), got up about an hour later to demand an advance on his breakfast. He had his own appointment with the medical establishment scheduled for later in the day.

Nurse, hand me nail trimmers, stat

These early bird specials are heavenly. Traffic is naturally thin on the ground, and dawn’s early light is its own drug. I planned to clock my usual 18 mile route, which is nothing to write home about. In my defence, if such is necessary for the court of Strava, the hilly ribbon of tarmac would surely be twice that if stretched out.

The bike, recently cured of a noisy ailment thanks to a chain transplant, was in fine fettle. We brake for hydration (sucking water from a bare nipple is not my idea of good hygiene) and deer, of which there were a few in need of a lollipop lady.

A milk float and a car in medical livery converged with me at a particularly rural junction, briefly forming an unlikely traffic jam. I yielded, not wishing to delay either an early cup of tea or the fly-tipping of used gallbladders. Later I passed an idling ambulance, no emergency in sight, and made sure to document their displeasure at being used to illustrate this post.

Keep it up and you're going for a ride

Down the last hill, progress was slowed considerably by the urgent need to flesh out this report by any means necessary. I therefore paid a visit to the playground which sits between the church and the train station and which usually attracts more bored teens than children.

'Black Adder' was taken

Don't even think about enjoying yourself here

Clapping won't get that rainbow built

I observed nominative determinism in all its glory,

reflected on mortality,

and tried to avoid stepping into the light just yet.

Those sneaky milk floats will get you every time.

Due south
« Reply #42 on: July 29, 2020 »
Yesterday I flirted with ignominy by nearly having to walk up a hill and posting about it, ignominy requiring an audience. This isn't the hill in question, but it is a view from the ride:

What are you looking at? Here's a hint:

It's not one of those.

When you go through the same landscape almost every day for years, you might be forgiven a little navel-gazing. My interest was the lay of the land. You see, I have a problem, and it isn’t hills.

My iPod cord has been catching on my abdominal edifice and tugging on my ears. This is one of those situations which sounds inexplicable and bizarre until you find yourself in it.

I run the cord through my shirt and tuck the Shuffle into the pocket of my shorts. (Leaving it out in the breeze is a nonstarter.) While this isn’t ideal given that my skin is oversensitive – I'm not a fan of clothing labels either – one perseveres.

Lately, however, it hasn’t been hanging free and easy, but rather gripping me like a vine, requiring constant readjustment until I somehow get the placement and amount of slack just right. It’s terribly vexing even as it’s one of the less urgent problems in my world.

That picture is documentation of cord placement which was actually working for me. It should be reproducible. (As if.) The ultimate solution is obvious. No need for a prescription as I've long been self-medicating, but it looks like a dose of willpower is in order.

Everybody is someone's landscape

Cinéma vérité
« Reply #43 on: July 30, 2020 »
It's not French, but it is subtitled.

As Velosolo Club secretary, it falls within my job description to caption and archive all video from rides. There isn't much so far. In fact, this is the first

and possibly the last.

They shoot horses don't they
« Reply #44 on: August 14, 2020 »
A few weeks ago I faced perhaps my toughest challenge yet. It’s taken this long to recover sufficiently to post for posterity. You never know what you’re capable of until you try. Now I know.

It all started when I noticed the trophy case was bare. While this is nice from a dusting standpoint, the lack of goals and achievements weighed on me.

A speed record was out, as I have no measuring devices up to the task. Hillclimbing events are stymied by competitors unaware of the event. Professional bodies don't take note of personal bests in going hands free. I was running out of options.

The ride in question began innocently enough on Brokeleg Mountain Haremere Hill. This is one of the few ascents in my patch which is easily conquered while staying put in the saddle, though thanks to simplespeed and a certain restlessness, it never takes much to get me dancing on the pedals.

As I climbed, seated for a change, an objective abruptly presented itself: would it be possible to complete my entire circuit in this state?

Spinners, not to mention recumbent owners, do it all the time, but the novelty of the idea for a committed grinder stunned me.

When attacking a hill, the very steepest bits are usually accomplished in a crouch anyway, pulling hard on the handlebars and practically kissing the stem. I predicted a few tricky spots, but it seemed eminently doable.

What I didn’t predict was how my body would soon be screaming from boredom. Even on the flat – and it never stays completely flat around here for long – it took real effort not to at least get up to stretch.

As challenges go, this was clearly one of the stupider ones. (Worth a trophy in itself?) After ten miles or so I felt committed for the next five, and so on. The miles ticked by relatively uneventfully. There was, admittedly, an inch or two of loft on the harshest gradients. The judges allowed it.

I finished the ride triumphantly seated at 30 miles. I'm not going through that hell again.

« Reply #45 on: August 27, 2020 »
The day began with an R-rated dream, which we'll come back to.

With rain forecast later in the morning, I opted for a starry ride, leaving my usual hurried note on the fridge whiteboard: art not at all advanced from the efforts of my youth,

along with a clue for any search party.

A familiar route with known hazards is best when it's dark, so I surprised myself by making a left turn where I’d usually make a right. It wasn’t exactly into the unknown, but it would take me down roads less travelled.

A white cat crossed my path. Common sense told me this was a good sign. I didn’t get a picture of the cat, but did of the fish parked in indecision at a singles hangout

and the school of puns.

My ipod is eerily good at scoring my rides.

This put me in mind of those cycling widows you occasionally read about. A parody is begging to be written. Meanwhile there's this.

Down the road the road got quite bumpy. I was assured it was temporary.

That dream which woke me just in time at 4am featured a real person in that way dreams sometimes do of putting them in a different body – even though you know it's still them. Providentially rhymes with Harlot. She was lacking most of her clothes and entreating me to lack most of mine. We were rapidly approaching all hands on deck. This was problematical on several fronts, most of them being that I'm married.

We did not in fact part friends; I’m confident she would be as queasy knowing she'd {sort of} had this starring role as I am in reviewing it, though she seemed quite keen at the time. In the dream, I hasten to add.

Why tell you this? Because of Joe Strummer. After Brandy (You're a Fine Girl) (Looking Glass's version, not the fine cover above), Get Down Moses came on.

At one point Joe sings about making new friends out of old enemies, which struck me as hilarious, the brain forever playing connect the dots, writing and rewriting stories, and churning the subconscious to amuse and bemuse.

The sky was peachy as I headed home.

Andy (You're in Trouble)
« Reply #46 on: August 28, 2020 »
There’s a guy who treats his bike so fine
He’s only happy when he makes it shine
He doesn’t know that he’s out of time
His wife will soon be gone

Because the woman doesn’t have that lust
She’s got a saddle with a coat of dust
And so he goes, as go he must
He goes out without her

His friends they say “Andy, you’re in trouble (you’re in trouble)
“Are you just too blind to see (to see)
“That your marriage isn’t big enough for three?”

Andy rides with his chain gang
A group of lads with whom he likes to hang
He loves to race, and the salty tang
Of sweat while she sheds tears

He keeps his stats for every ride
He says he trusts that numbers never lie
Meanwhile his wife can’t look him in the eye
It’s not the Oakley’s fault

His friends they say “Andy, you’re in trouble (you’re in trouble)
“Are you just too blind to see (to see)
“That your marriage isn’t big enough for three?”

They had a fight she clearly laid the blame
On his bike; he said she had no shame
She realised he wouldn’t change
Andy knew it too

Then one night after they went to bed
He got back up, and moved into the shed
She found him there and shook her head
And then she called her mum

His friends they said “Andy, you’re in trouble (you’re in trouble)
“You were just too blind to see (to see)
“That your marriage wasn’t big enough for three.”

The month didn't start well
« Reply #47 on: November 14, 2020 »
The month didn’t start well.

It's déjà vu all over again

With my best bike out of action, and my second best long sidelined because of a maddening undiagnosed noise, it was up to the Langster, by far my cheapest bike and also by far the one that’s had the fewest problems over the years. Go figure.

My only issue with the Langster, aside from the entirely objective fact that it’s ugly, is that it’s the least stable on windy days and awful roads. After ruminating over the matter, I decided to haul out the creaky bike, an old Litespeed, and see what could be done that hadn’t been tried before.

On the cusp of the indignity of being scavenged for parts, I’d swear it looked relieved when I retrieved it from the shed: “What’s a little creaking between friends?”

Hold me like you used to

Unfortunately the stem was loose, thanks to some earlier tinkering, and I couldn’t get the expander plug to work properly. What the hell was it doing with one of those anyway? The answer is lost in the mists of time. I decided to take it to the nearest shop and have them put in a star fangled nut.

This they did, at a price high enough that I resolved never to darken their doorstep again, and attacked the noise problem (which the shop wasn't interested in helping me with) by throwing a few spare parts at it. And when I took the bike out the creak was gone!

For two days. There’s nothing quite like the sinking feeling you get when you realise you’re stuck in groundhog day.

I think what’s required here is an attitude adjustment.

« Reply #48 on: November 16, 2020 »

was one of those days that required a clean-up crew.

Thanks guys. Cyclist in a good MOOd coming through.

A recently fixed bike will do that. Not even the fact that I had to replace a nice svelte old Campagnolo Record with this

is enough to dampen my spirits. "Just don't look down," my wife tells me, apparently unaware that that doesn't mean it isn't there. Like these holes I had drilled underneath the downtube a long time ago,

tucked well out of sight and now the permanent resting place of a pair of stripped bolts. Or these, for some lovely but eventually unwanted shifters.

Should I dwell on my mistakes, or move on? Let's move on.

Hello again Robertsbridge, founded by Cistercian monks in the 12th century and currently well guarded by

silhouettes. I have a peek through the window of the bookstore, which is the closest I get to browsing these days.

What's this across the street? Still not sold?

How can buyers resist this garden? Comes with its own guardian angel,

to keep out the riff-raff who can't scrape together 9x the average income.

The Wrongmove Ride

I'll let you in on a terrible secret, which I'm posting here so it'll stay a secret: one of the reasons I voted for Brexit was because I had the nerve to hope it would cause an almighty crash.

Further along I take a rather lacklustre snap of the flooding (see if you can discern the professional photoshopping job to salvage it),

spot a groovy Y,

and fall off my bike. See, I saved the best for last. Thanks to a U-turn which was a little too much like a V-turn, I tipped myself over into a puddle.

"Protect the head!" my brain didn't have time to shout, the selfish bastard.

(It's OK to laugh @ 33 seconds. Nobody here will judge you.)

The bike was fine.

I wasn't in much distress either, my calf, upper arm, and hand having admirably taken the fall without much complaint. It certainly wasn't enough to ruin an otherwise splendid ride. Thus endeth this report.

« Reply #49 on: November 19, 2020 »
This afternoon, after fitting a new tyre

Blatant product placement

and rolling a bit more electrical tape onto the handlebars

We're all in the tape family here

of the only bike that hasn't let me down, I checked the Met Office, Yr, the BBC, and finally the sky on the state of the weather. After a bit of a wait, roughly equivalent to normal faffing anyway, I was able to set off without fear of melting. The theme of the ride was "Thank god I'm not riding a creaky bike today."

Alternate theme: the wonder of gypsum

I wonder if they dig up many fossils,

mostly because I'm reading about fossils. You noticed those toe clips, right? Clearly I'm a dinosaur, myself.

Velosaurus with a curious crest

The mess left over from recent hedge trimming was a good test for the new tyre.

You killed the dinosaurs, CO2, haven't you done enough?

"A trade secret among paleontologists is that many of the fantastical numbers you see in books and museum exhibits – Brontosaurus weighed a hundred tons and was bigger than a plane! – are pretty much just made up. Educated guesses or, in some cases, barely that."