27 February 2008
To this one, and to all of them, here is my simple wish: may you all end up as chewing gum spat into the urinals of hell.
26 February 2008
25 February 2008
I know times have changed and traffic in the 1950s can't have been as bad as today's, but the 100+ mile journey he undertook from Rugby to Lincolnshire would be demanding by today's standards, let alone the days of fixed-gear bikes with no special equipment. And he did it back and forth in a weekend - set off on Friday night, back on Sunday.
Maybe I ought to try it one day.
20 February 2008
OK, this post is not about cycling, nor is it about Manchester. Over a year ago I reported sighting of a fox cub coming out of Heaton Park. Well, tonight I am in London and had - unwisely perhaps - arranged to meet a friend in St James Park at 7pm. It was dark and foggy, especially once one left behind the main roads and their street lights. What looked like a large cat jumped down from a shed just a few metres in front of me, then proceeded to examine the contents of a rubbish bin. On closer examination, the 'cat' turned out to be an adult fox - who did not look at all concerned about my presence there (more than I can say about my feelings, finding myself in the middle of a park, alone in the foggy evening).
Eventually I found my friend and we went for a drink and a meal. Incidentally, my friend cycles from wherever he leaves in his dormitory town to the station, then arrives to Waterloo and cycles to work (near St James Park). He does so on a Brompton fold-up bike - a beautiful little thing which I would like to try some time.
10 February 2008
Luckily, because she was going so slowly, I don't think much damage was sustained - wounded pride and angry words levelled at her, I suspect - but there were three big lads in her car so I reckon she had her 'insurance' there (and am glad it wasn't me ending stamped against her windscreen and then having to contend with her small army).
Let this be a lesson to us all...
06 February 2008
I can't hope to ever become the source of vast knowledge so aptly and willingly communicated to novices like myself, but I reckon, twenty years from now, if I am cycling as I hope, I will remember Sheldon Brown's website and the inspiration I drew from it in these initial years.
It is also a bit of an unusual road. Most of it belongs squarely to the architectural school of standard 20th century red-brick British Conformism, mostly in the shape of semi-detached, 2 and 1/2 bedroom houses - and very nice some of them are too. But there is a whole row of unusual homes, perhaps built in the late 80s or early 90s, which I'd describe as postmodern - they play with some elements of the traditional home, and so there is brick and roof tiles - trendy and almost green, but tiles nonetheless. And yet they try so hard to be innovative - the sleeping quarters apparently are on the ground floor, the living quarters apparently upstairs. The end of the row is a house where they've extended the ground floor and built a conservatory on top, in effect extending the (1st floor) living room and creating a sort of mini-mansion. Whether this kind of design works is another matter. Would I want to have to lug all food shopping up a flight of stairs just so as to feel 'different'? Perhaps not - so, conformism has its good side too?
The road is shaped like a banana, curved gently. I tend to coast on fifth gear until I reach the bend, then it flattens and I have to start pedalling again. When I reach the end I have to be careful - Hazel Rd does get busy some evenings, and it can be difficult to stop properly to avoid it!.
Stanway Rd has something civilised and genteel about it - that's just as well, for as I turn onto Hazel Rd and Ribble Drive the landscape changes a bit - welcome to the 'estate' and chav territory, complete with 1960s pub-cum-'tapas bar' (Enrique's).
03 February 2008
At least the days are growing longer. I look forward to tomorrow, Monday - only one expected disruption on Thursday, otherwise a full week on the saddle. And must start training for my planned Coast to Coast. Trying longer rides, building up distance until I can manage 30 miles in one effort.