hirez: (Happy cycling)
It appears that an ideal method for calming me the fuck down is to go out and ride a bike for an hour. For the first time in six months.

We'll see if the usual post-effort horrorshow arrives tomorrow, I guess.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
The other day, I accidentally a fairly well-preserved 70/80s Falcon bike frame. There's surface rust and a 'Reynolds' sticker, but it looks straight and far too narrow of tube because I'm used to oversize ally and carbon frames.

The 'exciting' bit is going to be the collection of enough cheap bits to turn it back into a bicycle.

... I'm sure I was going to write more things here.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
The other week, I was grovelling back through my LJ archive for something else, when I found the set of posts surrounding my attempts to do enough miles to feel fit enough to tackle the Dunwich Dynamo. The short version is that I had a rather good time pottering across Wiltshire in a 100k challenge ride (Still got the cert somewhere) and was looking forward to be able to take part in the Dynamo and the Tour of the Cotswolds the following year.

That remains the longest distance I've cycled, which is hateful.

As far as 'medical' 'science' is concerned there's nothing wrong with me and would I just stop bothering busy GPs with my mithering I should be glad I can ride a bike at all.

That's hateful, too.

Once in a while I forget and go out for a medium potter (out to Hambrook last month on a Sunday evening. It was lovely.) and then spend the rest of the bloody week in a state of paranoia and self-hatred.

In short, cavalcade of arse and ableist entitlement.

(I lied about the hashtags)
hirez: (Armalite rifle)
Let's get the shit things out of the way before thinking about anything interesting.

So, it seems to be random-cyclist-abuse week in Bath.

Arsehole one - some middle-aged fuck in a matching Transit advised me to piss off when I waved at him. Perhaps it was because he'd parked his shitbox on the pavement where the bike-path goes.
Arsehole two - some other middle-aged fuck in an eighties skirt with matching dog-jumper on a matching dog advised me that she wasn't going to let me pass (on the canal path). Since she didn't have the manners or sense to actually face in my direction while saying same, I assumed she was talking to either the dog or the dog-and-bone and roundly ignored her.

Honestly, if you don't want to be treated like a complete cock-end, don't fucking act like one.
hirez: (Radiation)
Some number of years ago... Ok, it was the Phoenix festival with the Stuffies, Poppies & Neds on the same bill. And Stereolab, Shellac, The Grid, Iggy Pop, Carter, The Fall, Gary Clail, Killing Joke, Buzzcocks, the Inspirals, Renegade Soundwave, Swervedriver, Skunk Anansie and, er, the Ozrics. I could, if I were a bigger tosser than you might expect, lay claim to having seen the lot. However, all I can remember is watching the Stuffies and thinking 'Bloody hell this is good' and, er, the Ozrics, where I was mostly thinking 'Shutup you bastards I have a hangover.'

Anyway. On day one I got myself massively sunburned and since I didn't have anything long-sleeved, I had to wander through the markets stalls that clustered together for protection against the startling prices of the 'workers' 'beer' 'company', who's thing was a jolly right-on spiel about collectivism, but who supplied grim ale at 'ye gods how much?' prices.

(I see from the wikipeejah that they do seem to have sensible credentials. Perhaps things have changed in nearly two decades. Who can say?)

So, um, I found the nearest long-sleeved garment that was both cheap and black and wore it for the rest of the festival. And indeed for the next yea-many years because it was just one of those good garments that fitted with what passed for my lifestyle, had pockets that were sensible and was both warm enough in the winter and cool enough in the other bit to just be a happy thing to have.

Obviously I lost it in one or other move, and because the balance of my mind was disturbed I forgot to care about it for a decade or so. It's shit when that happens.

Because I started to care about that sort of thing again in the last few months, I have been vaguely poking at the internets. However, since all the remembrance I could manage was 'Dyed back, probably Dutch mil surplus going by holding the label up to the light and squinting' progress was basically bollocks.

However, yesterday I discover that it was indeed Dutch. Issued from 1960 to 1980 and the key bit was the herringbone weave. There aren't any on the internet.

Since I was going for a potter into Bristol with a handful of films for the posh chemist (Photographique, who appear to be doing well and who now carry a Nathan-leaning selection of films and cameras. Including the tiny Japanese efforts that are rubbish on purpose and I was not tempted by one of those, no not even slightly), I decided to keep going as far as Hotwells to see what the estimable Messrs. Marcruss had lying about.

All the good camo in the world, as it turns out. Also a street filled with surly footer fans and an awful lot of riot vans.

If I had come by car, I would have been able to fill it with Danish M84, Marpat, Belgian jigsaw pattern, knockoff German splinter-pattern, a splendidly Futurist Italian design and some 'iconic' American jackets that looked like they'd been shat out the back of a frightened tank. No herringbone-weave Dutch field shirts, though.

I would also have been caught up in a massive post-riot-van tailback, so probably a lucky escape for all concerned.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
Because it is nice out and I noticed that the wheat next to the Bath end of the cycle-path is being harvested, I pottered off to breathe in the smell of fresh-cut straw and see how my legs were going. I note, entirely unscientifically and I should go back with a clipboard and a pencil, that the people steaming past in replica kit on expensive road-bikes are in the minority. It also seems close to gender parity out there. Good.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
Of late, the telly has been filled with sportspeople banging on about emotions.

It's very odd.

It actually started with the voice-over for the Tour of Poland advert - 'Come and feel the greatest sporting emotions' went someone who sounds an awful lot like David Morrissey. More or less like someone inviting into his carpet shop to fondle the merchandise. Since it's an advert and on Eurosport I don't have to pay much attention because it just goes in the box marked 'Chris Tarrant used to get paid for mocking this sort of thing before there was an internet, then it fell to Jasper Carrott and now some poor sod of a Z-lister gets to sit in front of a pile of Youtube at back-from-the-pub AM. Which is a bit bloody grim when you think about it because it kind of implies that the modern viewer can't manage taking the piss out of things without someone from the telly to help. Clearly the rot set in with MST3K, but they were Americans and so one expected that sort of passive spectatoring'

It is a medium-sized box, but the writing is very small.

In it go 'Salice - made from sport' (other people make their products from a variety of plastics), 'We are Turkish Airlines' (Music begins to resemble a New Order B-Side) and some madwoman steaming about a tennis court in impractical heels.

However, the weirdness has leaked into the post-stage interviews and talking heads - 'A lot of emotion there.' 'Were you feeling any emotions?' ' Many emotions.'

Which fecking emotions, you lycra-clad pillocks? There are fecking loads of them! And they're different!
hirez: (Happy cycling)
Because I didn't fancy the idea of standing in a queue at the Post Office in my winter cycling leggings this AM, I beetled down there in my jeans. This would have been fine had it not been pelting it down with wet snow by the time I hauled the pushbike out of the back of the car half an hour later.

I am now steaming gently from the lower extremities and probably risking a nasty case of Trench Leg. Trench Bottom, of course, is a couple of miles down the river from Stanley Pontlarge. Probably.

On the other hand, it's the first time since forever that I've been quite this stupid.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
For reasons of Elves and the safety thereof, Bath council have closed the majority of the river path. It transpires that the one bridge across that section that isn't completely ugly had been carefully ignored until it rotted enough to need proper money spending. At which point panic and hi-vis jackets everywhere. I assume it's been covered in Private Eye at length, because it's the sort of idiocy they'd adore.

Speaking of idiocy, if you're pottering home on a mixte that looks like it came from the bike reclamation project opposite what was the laser-tag building next to what was the bus station, it is perhaps a jolly good idea to buy a set of frigging lights. It would also be a good idea not to wear your anorak hood up such that you can't see behind you. That way, when you sort of wobble left a bit, then wave your hand like you were shaking a set of bangles down your forearm and swerve right at the same time, you will be less surprised to discover that there's a cyclist following you. Me? Not surprised at all.

Speaking of empty buildings, Bath is filled with the things. I should probably wander about and take pictures of them. It's a bit shit really.

Because the river path is closed, I have to take my life in my hands and belt in on the A4. It's pretty crap. I have become used to cycling at a reasonable sort of pace (12-15 miles/hour, when there are batteries in my Aldi value bike-computer) and being able to look at things while getting a good dose of fresh air. On the main road, I have to peg it along at what feels like double that rate while avoiding all the manhole access covers in the world and keeping an eye out for cement trucks, homicidal Transit drivers, homicidal female noddy-car pilots and Firstbus drivers looking for a new and interesting bonnet ornament. On the other hand, I suspect that going that hard is doing me more good than less effort over a longer time. On the other other hand, I think I prefer having the choice of meander or big ring.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
Minor excitement on the pedal in to Bath this AM. It looked like some time-trial-to-work bollix had come steaming past the pub at the near end of the canal-path and walloped right into some geezer. The blood was fresh on the path, both participants were upright and someone else was on the phone to the ambulance.

I don't particularly mind people giving it full throttle in the big ring, because I do it when I can and it's a bloody marvellous feeling while it lasts, but it really is a fucking stupid thing to do when there are pedestrians about who won't know the score. Especially on the canal path.

The main Bristol-Bath bike path is, well, a bike path. Most of the sight-lines are pretty good (apart from the chicane handy for Rose Green Road, and I've watched a couple of lycra-bollixes belt into each other there and have a swearing competition thereafter) so there's no real excuse for being a cock-end about it and steaming into anyone else.

However, the canal path in Bath is a towpath with ideas above its station and several nasty blind corners under bridges. Conceptually the South Circular to the bike-path's North Circular, if you will. Thus it's common to find people pottering quietly to work with iOS kit plugged into their ears, fishermen, tramps sampling the first brew of the day, tourists and if you're really lucky, a mob of oblivious children.

Of course, some people really are just self-righteous cocks and the only way of making them learn is to break their tri-bars off and hammer them right up their arses. I stongly suspect they're either cycling-as-the-new-golf wankers or triathletes; I would be genuinely surprised if a sensible club-cycling sort would be that shit at bike-handling.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
There's something in the back of my head and I don't know what it is, so I'll jabber randomly about Wells and perhaps it will stick its nose out of its burrow like a curious badger taunted with a box of Jaffa Cakes.

Wells, right? I'm sure the types who live closer to the place will cheerfully fill me in on what a terrible pit it is, as they have with Bath, Radstock, Trowbridge, Westbury, Chippenham and Weston, but I must admit that I was pottering around going 'Ha! Simon Pegg!'. It was a lot like Whitby, but with more cathedrals and less seaside. I think one could usefully put up at one of the inns and attempt some complicated pub-crawl.

Apparently there was a bike race, too. A robot bank won and some NetApps came second. Hurrah for Filers!
hirez: (Bunny Eye)
Today I am really quite sleep-deprived after being woken at zero-dark by $website (and indeed $other-website) expiring on Sunday and Monday. I suspect there's an upper age limit on being able to perform on-call stuff like that without wanting to find those responsible for the failure and administer a shoeing.

On the other hand, will Wiggo regain the red jersey?
hirez: (Trouble with my worms (i))
[livejournal.com profile] scott_lynch Nails it.

Midsummer observances thus far seem to have involved presenting Ma with a tub of Coriander. Tub previously contained a currant bush (You can do your own Eddy jokes) which is now hopefully having a bit of a grow next to the pond. This back-and-forth of containers reminds me of (Amiga)demoscene disk-trading, but then many things remind a chap of other things that one's seen or heard before and they never quite manage a one-to-one mapping.

Next midsummer observance meant trundling up to Mangotsfield station with a pannier of real ale to meet the rest of the Bibulousgoths Bicycling Club. Drink taken, food scoffed, etc. Repaired to very local pub (but really no more local than the Craven or the Copperfields) for the second half. Most satisfactory.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
Some number of years ago, I rambled on here about a trip up to Easy Runner for the purchase of proper running shoes because a decent pair of same are splendidly comfortable and last for a sensible number of years. (See the Sam Vimes theory of economic injustice)

It struck me while watching the Giro (see title) that it was about damn time I went back for another set. It was also an excuse to beetle through #stokescroft to see what there was to be seen, and, well, nice day, bicycle, etc.

#stokescroft looked like Camden from the 90s, only peopled by Nathans of most genders. A fine vibe, but I was on a mission elsewhere. More crap t-shirts and middle-class young women in straw trilbys than you could shake a Twitter client at, mind.

Onwards I went past the Here shop, right at the lights onto Jamaica Street, right on the far side of King Square, left onto Dove Street, round past the flats and about to nip through the back of the BRI when...

... I am only slightly out of puff due to the climb. This is much progress since the last time I was there and had to stop halfway for a hyperventilate. I must admit to feeling rather pleased with myself.

The last time I went to Easy Runner, they made me pelt up and down St. Michael's Hill three or four times in order to check my gait in the progressively more stabilised footwear the nice people handed me. This time, through the magic of increased consumer choice, I got to do it six times before we were all satisfied. Apparently my feet wave at the ankles like someone giving it the Full Rimmer on the wrong set of extremities.

Out of interest, I trundled on up the hill into Kingsdown behind a roadie who was having a lot more trouble than I (and I should note I was on the Courier with only one front cog, so am without any dinner-plate special gear if it all goes a bit HC.) to see what there was to be seen.

Cobbles. And absolutely shiver-up-the-back choral music wandering up the side of the hill from King Square. It was one of those 'shit me only in Bristol wow' moments.

In the evening I was fit only for standing about and smiling peacefully at people.


I keep coming back to a throwaway line that Sean Kelly used when talking (as much as yer man there ever talks) about a particularly picturesque mountain stage in the Giro. It was one of those places where you'd 'just go out to enjoy your bike'. Which, I don't know, maybe it unpacks more for me than it might for someone else.

It's not just about being outside, although that's a splendid thing of itself. Nor is it just about looking at crops or listening to larks having an ascend in the Vaughn Williams style. Then there's the thing about being on a mechanical device which one has fiddled with until one can feel and hear it working as well as one hopes it should, which it is also not about. And the stuff about making all this stuff work by muscle power, a pocket full of fig rolls, a banana or two and a bottle of PSP22... I think it's about all of these things at once in different amounts at different times, but if the set of them are all present and you're firing on all cylinders then that would probably count as quite a good day and, y'know, enjoying your bike.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
If you do by accident purchase some terrible industrial alcohol concoction, vaguely flavoured with some chemicals that the manufacturers are convinced smell a bit like Juniper, don't consume it. If you do, you may find yourself lurking under a pedestrian overpass handy for a half-built estate on one of the grimmer edges of Bristol. As you consider both the empty bottle and your hopeless mortgage, you may feel like lobbing the bottle into the Bristol-Bath cyclepath out of incoherent frustration.

If you do perform those actions, you're a complete bastard and have more or less the life you deserve, because my rear tyre went Ftmpshh! Blop! Blop blop blop! and I had to walk the rest of the way home.

Before that, however, it was going jolly well. The splendid types at Bath Ales had a brew on which smelled lovely and all the tiresome roadies had been out yesterday.

[Edit: FFS! A cm-and-a-bit rip in both tube and tyre. The latter of which is a Conti Ultra Gator and theoretically proof against such malarkey. Bottle-hoofing gin drinkers == complete and utter bastards.]
hirez: (Happy cycling)
What the fuck?

I suspect it's about as likely as Fabian CSpartacus beetling about on an electric pushbike, but I guess we'll find out if a set of mysteriously-expiring cyclists equally mysteriously fail to decompose after.
hirez: (Happy cycling)
I was seized by the spirit of being on holiday (though I could do it during a normal week) and went out for a late-night pelt round the aerial. It was glorious out and happily short of cars to spoil the noise of tyres on tarmac and the smell of summer.

I was even capable of pushing it some in the big ring. If I'm wobbly and suicidally depressed in the morning, that'll have been a mistake. However, I'm hopeful that wilful experimentation with L-Glutamine will show otherwise. Mind, it appears that Glucosamine makes sod-all difference to nowt but Holland & Barrett's bottom line, so perhaps the only performance-enhancing white powders are still the ones that come in gramme wraps.
hirez: (muddy)
All mithering and no sun makes John a dull boy. All mithering and no sun makes John a dull boy. All mithering and no sun makes John a dull boy. All mithering and no sun makes John a dull boy. All mithering and no sun makes John a dull boy. All mithering and no sun makes John a dull boy. All mithering and no sun makes John a dull boy. All mithering and no sun makes John a dull boy. All mithering and no sun makes John a dull boy. All mithering and no sun makes John a dull boy. All mithering and no sun makes John a dull boy. All mithering and no sun makes John a dull boy. Etc.

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