Archive for the ‘General Ramblings’ Category

Last week I was on holiday, the plan being to fit riding in around the myriad of other chores that take over your life when significant house alterations are taking place. As you wil have spotted by the absence of posts, riding took a back seat…so far back as to be almost over the horizon. Swimming went the same way but the time was not spent without any exercise. I must have walked miles around bathroom showrooms, carpet departments, curtain departments/shops, Ikea you name the shop, I have probably been there. This weekend when riding was a foregone conclusion, I ended up gardening, chopping, hacking, cutting and lugging massively overgrown shrubs etc. Whatever I was doing, I certainly ended up feeling knackered by the end of each day.

Next Sunday is the Tour of the Cornfields so I hope I have the legs for it.

Meanwhile, bits have been arriving for my new build, so more about that later. Next on the agenda is to tackle the mountain of post and hundreds of emails that have arrived in the last week.

I have punctuated the following to make it easier to read but imagine it is running through your head at 90mph without a break, no commas, no semi colons, no full stops, with one thread smoothly merging with another, round and round like something from Dante’s Inferno or that stream of consciousness bit in Ulysses… the bit before I gnawed my hands off with boredom.

My road bike has gone, I am trying to dispose of my Superlight (piecemeal) and have a new machine in my sights. But…. and here’s the thing…. part of me (probably the old roadie part) is gnawing away inside undermining my plan. ‘What if…’ – what if I can’t raise enough money to buy the new dream machine? Should I compromise and downgrade from a plastic fantastic frame to an aluminium one? The complete aluminium bikes have got rubbish forks and I want to get the best I possibly can. In the case it means Rebas with a bolt through axle. I could always compromise with the superb looking On One carbon race fork. If I get the ally frame will I always see it as a compromise which I regret buying? Will the carbon frame be as good as I hope (no chance of finding a demo ride in my size) or will I regret it? Would building it up out of old parts be a pants idea? If yes, this brings me back to the complete bike idea again. On the other hand, there’s always the Swift. Maybe I could simply get another Swift frame and build it up with the coolest kit I can afford, converting the one I already have to a single speed. I know the Singular team are very successful on their steel bikes and Lord knows, mine is pretty damn quick now. Getting a second Swift (even a blinged out one) might be a bit silly. I could get a Swift now and the others will not be available until maybe October. Waiting ’til October will give me plenty of time to sell the parts from the Superlight but aaargh…. can I make myself wait that long?

Anyway, these are the thoughts occupying my mind and I have a feeling that it is going to be a constant bother until I hand over the cash but then it will just be all about buying new parts to upgrade the new bike…new bars, new saddle (probably) bar ends, new tyres (must have Racing Ralphs) the list goes on and on. Whether the upgrades ever happen is a moot point, the theme will run through my head.

Maybe I should take up tiddlywinks, it would be a hell of a lot easier and cheaper! 🙂

Just happened across a ‘budget’ bike review online and read it with interest then happened across a comment in the responses section which got me thinking.

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/bikes/mountain/product/review-santa-cruz-butcher-r-am-11-41989

(the link won’t work so you will have to copy the address and paste it yourself). For a start, a £2,700 bike certainly isn’t a ‘budget’ machine IMO but that is not the point. In the comments section, someone mentioned something that seems to go on quite a lot and to be honest, unless the testers mention it, it stands a good chance of sliding by unnoticed.

In this case they change the cranks from Deore 10 speed to XTR (compare the pictures and the spec list) and quite possibly the wheels too. To a certain degree this chages the whole characteristic of the package you are buying. Many, but not all, people will simply want to buy a bike and ride it. Upgrades, experimenting with different stem lengths, bars widths etc are simply not even on their radar. When a magazine reviews a machine maybe on the basis of revised equipment, how valid is the review? It is a little like saying the bottom the the range Anthem is a pretty ordinary bike but once you upgrade it to XTR, RP23 shock, Crest wheels, carbon bars etc etc, then it is a damned fine machine. Go out and buy the grotty one, when you have the wherewithal to upgrade it it’ll be brilliant.It just isn’t the same.

Singletrack tend to mention when they change bits and bobs and give you an idea of what the change does and why but how many others do this?

As new ‘evidence’ pours in, Armstrong faces the spotlight once again. With former team mates seemingly queuing up to testify against him he would seem to be sunk, exposed as a fraud and a cheat. Absence of evidence does not preclude guilt but with all the invective flying around, the concept of guilty until proven innocent seems to have flown out of the window. I prefer to await until the investigations are complete while the Twittersphere (@festinagirl for example)is alive with accusation and condemnation. I really hope he emerges from this intact or one of the most inspirational riders of all time will have cheated and IMO that is a ‘bad thing’. Bad for him, bad for cycling.

Having said that, if cycling is to lose its reputation as drug ridden, a wholesale purge might be a god idea. The trouble with purges though is that they can get out of hand and take away with good along with the bad.

I have been looking forward to a long weekend of riding for ages. When I got this cold last week I rather hoped it would be all over by now. I feel absolutely fine but my chest in wheezing away as if I have been sucking on Woodbines or Lamb’s Navy Cut for the last 30 years. I have fettled my bikes this morning in lieu of riding, and surfed about a bit but can’t get inspired, though I did spend some time wistfully looking at an Anthem, and a road bike, and another CX bike, and some really sexy wheels, and a new saddle and…. well all sorts of stuff.

Meanwhile the Royal Yawnfest is rattling on in the house and with my Republican tendencies it has been agreed that family harmony would best be preserved if I made myself scarce!

What else…? Oh yes, my wheels still aren’t ready. Mike pretty much got them sorted last night only to discover that one of my tyres had a large hole right next to the bead so I am going to have to buy a replacement. Sod’s Law I suppose and as I can’t ride anyway, no big deal but it would have given me something to do… drive into town, park, enter shop, chat about bikes for ages, pay and come home… pretty much ideal shopping trip if you ask me.

I suppose I could always go and tidy up my toolkit now 😉

I had a good look at my Superlight while fettling the brakes (again) this morning. It really is beginning to look sad. Some of the people I ride with turn up with bikes that look as though they have just come out of the showroom whereas my Superlight looks as if it has ridden round the world a few times. Great chunks of paint are missing, scratches everywhere… no dings but it just looks tired. Components have been polished bare by years of mud and crap being washed off , you know the score. It has been ridden hard for 5 years or so. In that time it has had a respray (it came with rub off paint) and had a warranty paint job by Argos in Bristol. I paid extra for things like the decals to be lacquered in but they didn’t do it and claimed never to have received the request despite having taken my money. To be honest I wasn’t happy but decided paint wasn’t integral to riding the bike and just got on with it. Recently, I have spent a lot of cash on the bike to get it running well but I reckon this winter it will have to be stripped down again for a respray… or do I just get something else? A respray is the most economical option and the bike is running better than it ever has, so maybe I’ll treat it to a new drivetrain and brakes at the same time…don’t get me started on brakes. I hate my brakes, they are pants, they rub all the time no matter how often I reset them, adjust the calliper etc etc.

To cheer myself up I think I’ll put the kettle on, make a nice mug of tea and wander out to the shed again and maybe I’ll brush the cobwebs off my fixie and get it ready for winter!

The Royal Yawn on Friday

Posted: April 27, 2011 in 2011, General Ramblings

Thanks Willum for deciding to get married this Friday so us proles can have a day off. All the gnomes and drones will be working away behind the scenes to make your big day a very happy one. I am afraid I will not be joining in the ‘celebrations’. If I can, I will be getting out on my bike instead of trooping ‘Metrolpolis – like’ down to London to stand on the side of the road straining for a glimpse of your esteemed self, or alternatively, instead of providing myself with an excuse to veg out in front of the goggle box for a whole day, accompanied by tasty titbits and gallons of vino collapso.

Is it wrong that I find this event as interesting as the AV or not AV vote? The only difference between the two is that I shall be taking part in the latter and have at least a modicum of interest in how it all goes.

The big decision of the day, assuming I am well enough to ride, is.. which bike shall I use? Perhaps you could help me with that one guvnor?

God save the good Lord Protector!

Had I still been windsurfing, the last week would have seen me in heaven, dashing off to the coast for a blast in the waves. Alas, those days are well and truly over (all my kit has been sold) and nowadays strong wind is a definite ‘bad thing’. I hate headwinds, there is something so depressing about slogging into an invisible wall for mile after mile, getting nowhere. Ironically, things only get worse when you turn around and run with the wind, you quickly make it into top gear and fly downhill, uphill…everywhere but as soon as you hit the wind again, your speed plummets. Having said that, I knew a tester once who loved strong winds, he would get his fixie out and push a monster gear 55:15 I think, upwind for as long as he could, turn round, recover then do it all over again. A total loon I used to think but he quickly overhauled me and started putting in more than respectable times while I never got that much better. I still think life is too short for that sort of commitment but testers are a strange bunch after all!