A 1000 miles is a long time in commuting

I kept a diary of my first couple of months commuting, mainly for my wife to read to the kids when the inevitable death by BMW finally happened. Now less scared and more scarred, a veteran of over a thousand miles and sixty instances of playing “the running man” with bicycles, things have changed.

I’m a little fitter, a lot more confident and completely engaged in the battle of good (that’s us riding bikes) and evil (that’s everyone else trying to kill us). I’d only offer the glove of friendship to a fellow non cycling road user if it gave me the opportunity to slap him across the chops. I’m bored of the cold and sick of the dark. If I’d started December 1, not June 1, I wonder if I’d still be doing it. I think probably not.

Still having driven round the M25 this weekend to watch the rugby (more on this later), it’s clear that my right to whinge should be negated by the awfulness of the alternative.

It should be, but it isn’t. I shall whinge on 🙂

Here’s the extract. I culled the rest on the grounds that you’ve suffered enough.

Merino wool – stinky by design.

Tonight I caught the early train.

A swift and potentially career limiting exit allied with a spirited pedal to the station bought me just enough time. Time which I spent hastily locking the bike – engage smug mode: with my frame attached lock – and dropping the majority of my worldly possession while wrenching the key from my pocket. The remaining small change was enough for me to sprint breathlessly up the platform before ram raiding the train doors messenger style.

So yeah, I caught the early train but so did everyone else. This is the service that runs snail to harrow and then glacial onward to Aylesbury. But as the novelty of a Chiltern Railways’ train leaving on time never fades, it seemed appropriate to give it a go.

Continue reading Merino wool – stinky by design.

Cycling Myth#4 – Riding makes you fit

Okay not fit but thin. I’m currently in denial about what could be euphemistically referred to as “organic body armour“.

The mid torso blubber has made itself known through a slight tightness in the trouser and a noticeably enlarged belt hole. Loosening my belt would alleviate both these problems, but this would be an admission that cycling 70+ miles a week does not nullify the consequences of a confectionery based diet.

Continue reading Cycling Myth#4 – Riding makes you fit

Pants maketh the man.

Today, in no particular order, I lost the plot, my sense of humour and my underwear. Considering the circumstances, my mind is probably next. Doubt – the fifth commuting horseman of the apocalypse – had been my irritatingly smug riding buddy since I’d left the house this morning. Something was amiss or more precisely missing, but having stopped three times to confirm credit cards, security pass and lock-keys had failed to teleport from the sealed pocket in which I’d imprisoned them only minutes before, I didn’t know what it was.

It was almost a relief then – on opening the courier bag – to be confronted by an empty space where previously folded underwear had nestled. OK, I felt traumatised as only a victim of a panterectomy can, but at least the scratchless itch of doubt had finally been relieved.

Continue reading Pants maketh the man.

Sometimes it’d be worth getting the tube.

If only to hear these pearls of wisdom from the staff (stolen from Cycling Plus)

Here is a list of actual announcements that London Tube train drivers have made to their passengers…
1) “Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologize for the delay to your service.

I know you’re all dying to get home, unless, of course, you happen to be married to my ex-wife, in which case you’ll want to cross over to the Westbound and go in the opposite direction.”

2) “Your delay this evening is caused by the line controller suffering fromE & B syndrome: not knowing his elbow from his backside. I’ll let you know any further information as soon as I’m given any.”

3) “Do you want the good news first or the bad news?

The good news is that last Friday was my birthday and I hit the town and had a great time.
The bad news is that there is a points failure somewhere between Stratford and East Ham, which means we probably won’t reach our destination.”

Continue reading Sometimes it’d be worth getting the tube.

Cylogs – a site for obsessives.

Cyclogs has an interesting take on Internet willy waving. As you log daily mileage, your progress (or otherwise) is tracked on a leader board against other members. It’s free, simple to use and annoyingly addictive. As membership increases, your own personal standing falls so I’ve plummeted from the vertigo inducing heights of the top 15 to a more realistic mid 50s placing.

There were four riders within two miles of my total and we’re leapfrogging each other most days. One guy though has left the gravitational pull of our cluster and is accelerating outwards to the top 30s with suspicious velocity.

Surely he’s not cheating? I mean what is the point? Any shallower and people’d mistake him for a teaspoon. I adopted a lofty moral position stationed firmly on high ground for at least a couple of days before being driven to action.

I emailed the fella asking what his route was. Then I checked it with three mapping programs and – in desperation – some string and a ruler. Still convinced that his distances are mendacious works of fiction, I’m considering requesting an OS overfly. Some friends have told me this smacks of obsessive behaviour – what’s wrong with these people? Everyone – except me of course – is so weird nowadays.

Oh and my London commuter singlespeed cross dressing jump bike has developed a creak somewhere in the transmission area. I’ve tried tightening up the cranks and ignoring it. But it’s getting worse. I’m wondering if completely catastrophic failure will soon insert itself painfully into my journey to work

The Internet is a wonderful thing

For reasons best not discussed, we were debating classic song titles. I trumped the lot of them with “Drop Kick Me Jesus through the Goal Posts of Life”. I was summarily accused of telling a great big whopper of a lie and challenged to prove it.

A couple of seconds intensive googling brought up the required result.
The effect was like mainlining laughing gas. It’s a classic song and shows what can be done with some righteous beliefs and a rhyming words book

Full Lyrics Below
Continue reading The Internet is a wonderful thing

Now that’s a kick ass donkey

The internet has been described as all things to all (wo)men. It’s been rather better described as an enormous repositry for Porn interspersed with the deluded ramblings of a million conspiracy theorists. The truth – as with most of these things – is somewhere in the middle and my own personal shining light is the BBC website.

Occasionally though, an otherwise dull siding way off the information highway throws out a real gem. I give you this snippet from “The Northern Light” a electronic version of Montana’s newspaper.

http://www.ttc-cmc.net/~nlight/2%20news.htm

Please transport that donkey to the middle of my office and let it admister its’ savage justice.

Outstanding 🙂

EBAY – a shoddy place to do business.

Ebay pulled a couple of my listings yesterday. Their grounds for doing so were mildly amusing insomuch as it is a transparent policy to increase their listing fees. Buried somewhere in Ebay T&Cs is the entertaining precept that the seller may not charge the buyer for PayPal’s extortionate transaction fees because in some way this undermines trust in the seller?

How does that work then? As a seller, I offer the buyer many options to pay for the item. One of those attracts costs which I have no intention of paying. If the buyer feels the same way, fine – send me a cheque, do a bank transfer, pay me in chickens, I care not. How can this in some way undermine trust in the seller? Beats me!

Continue reading EBAY – a shoddy place to do business.