Driving is officially “Hell on Wheels”

At some previously undocumented point, cycling became my primary means of transport. Since I spend so much time commuting and so little time driving, this should be largely self evident. What’s more interesting is the way my perspective has flipped by switching from four wheels to two.

Twice this week I’ve re-aquainted myself with the joys of motorised travel and its’ not been a pleasant experience. Firstly the tetchy reunion of me and my car keys took far longer than expected as they’d virtually carbonised at the bottom of the key basket. Then in a moment of early onset Alzheimer’s I couldn’t remember how the radio worked. Or the lights. And the ventilation system was just a set of symbols I randomly prodded until the windscreen cleared.

Continue reading Driving is officially “Hell on Wheels”

Life is just too weird sometimes

First on registering at http://www.technorati.com/ I find that 27.2 million blogs await my perusal. Twenty Seven point Two million. Take a moment to consider that – that’s a whole lot of people with too much time on their hands. What did we used to do rather than avoid our families, shun contact with real humans and, essentially, waste our life? Ah. I’m beginning to see 🙂

For amusment, I typed in “pickled hedgehog” and as I sort of suspected, the results were distubing.

Talking of disturbing and pointless, take a look at the ten oddest things to do with a USB port of which only the last is very very odd. The rest are mainly solutions looking for problems or the experiments of a diseased mind. I thought it was great.

But don’t get me started on the “cluetrain” which I’m not going to dignify with a link. I assume cluetrain was chosen as pretentious_bollox.com was already taken 😉

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.

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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.”

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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