28 April 2009

Close Encounters and Near Misses

I was cycling home along Bury Old Rd, just before crossing the M60.  I know, one should always be at max. alert, ready for anything, etc.  But the mind drifts after 45min.  Suddently, I felt something to my right - not 'heard', felt, for my bike had been 'touched', only slightly. t was another cyclist.  A lycra-man, nice racing bike, shades, no luggage other than a bottle of orange stuff, clad in white-red-n-blue like blooming Chris Hoy.  

A black van was next to him.  I figure he'd been overtaking me, the man in the black van had decided to overtake both of us, and the road had decided to narrow just at that moment.  How very inconvenient.  I did the only thing I could, which was to stay the course in as straight a line as I was able.  The van gave a bit more room, and lycra-man raced ahead, swearing loudly and waving a fist at the van.   The the van sped away, and I continued my way home, shaken - not stirred.

20 April 2009

Heating, uniforms and the return of...

In many countries of Eastern Europe, the 'central' in central heating means central government: heating comes on at a certain date late in the year (when cold weather is expected to kick in) and is turned off when Spring arrives. I once spent a few days in Skopje in early March (OK, it was 10 years ago) and because it was unusually warm at 16c, I had to sleep with the windows open to counter the effect of a huge radiator in full blast.

In Lima (Peru) the Police used to have a very rigid distinction between 'winter' uniform (a green jacket over a khaki shirt) and 'summer' uniform (just the shirt, no jacket). The changeover took place at a certain time of the year - usually, they'd end up enduring the odd day of hot weather in their winter attire, or shivering in Lima's persistent winter drizzle in short sleeves.

And what does all this have to do with cycling? Well, not a lot - I was just thinking that, luckily, I'm not bound by rigid rules like those, so I'm responding to the good weather... and the shorts are back!. It's a highlight of my cycling year, just like when I have to switch the lights on to go home in October.

Also, only four weeks to the Coast to Coast...

17 April 2009

The lady again

As I've said in a previous post, often on my ride bike home I come across this seemingly continental lady cycling the other way - into town. Well dressed in civy clothes (in winter these include leather boots and quilted coat), her bike very much a 'town' one, built for comfort (though I did notice a change from the original one - and hoped it wasn't due to theft). And no helmet - just like in the continent, some may say.

Worringly though, yesterday I saw her again, but this time... wearing a helmet. I sincerely hope this has not come about due to an accident or mishap, or that at any rate it was a near miss and no actual harm came to her. I can't imagine, though, that she's shifted to wearing a helmet out of a desire to keep up with UK fashion. I suspect that, like the rest of us, lack of safety (perceived or real) has led her to adopt this (perceived or real) safety measure.

Quosque tandem, Catilina...

12 April 2009

Collecting bikes...

It's Easter. Time to visit family - and collect a couple of bikes for my children. One is a hand-me down from Big Cousin. In perfect condition, 20" frame, front suspension and complete with cycle computer, my boy has been looking forward to getting it for weeks. He's very pleased with it - his first 'real' bike, one could say - a full size bike, almost too heavy for him to hold, but he'll grow into it.

The other bike has a more complicated history. My F-in-L's friend found it in his garden. Someone had thrown it over the fence. I reckon it's a 22" frame - a mountain bike, with front suspension and good 'rapid fire' gears identical to the ones in my 'Tourismo 24'. Even the brakepads seems fairly new. The only hitches with it are a bit of rust in two of the cables (but another cable seems brand-new) and the rear tyre shredded to bits (yet the front tyre is in good condition). A mistery - but still, a bargain: £13 on new parts.

01 April 2009

Turning left, the friendly way

Not all drivers are nasty pillocks. Some of them are polite pillocks - like this chap yesterday, who caught up with me as I approached a junction, and hovered, signalling to turn left, until we made eye contact.

I played it safe and stopped - I waved him on, my hint of sarcasm seemingly lost on him, who smiled and gave me the thumbs up: cheers, mate!

I count myself lucky that he didn't just make the turn and run me over. But how little effort and time it would have taken for him to just get behind me - I'd have cleared the junction in no time, and he'd been on his way just as quickly.

The location? Cheetham Hill, of course. Perhaps I need to try a different route.