Monthly Archives: February 2010

More bikey stuff…

I nearly got my commuter clean yesterday, but was stopped in my tracks when I discovered a very loose spoke on the back wheel. I can fix most things and do most work on a bike that it needs. But wheels are something of a black art so I didn’t touch it. I threw the wheel and the Spawn of Satan in the car and drove over to Northfield Cycles where Richard said that if it was him he’d leave it loose as the wheel was true. To fix it would mean having to sort all the adjacent spokes out. I’m not the lightest bloke and the Ridgeback does do some pretty uneven ground so I told him to crack on and get it sorted properly, which for the princely sum of £6 he did. 

The computer.

I fitted a Brooks Saddle to my Giant, got the saddle bag sorted and fitted the rear light to it. I’m just waiting for the computer to arrive from Amazon. It’s the same type as I use on my commuter and it does all the basics very well. 

As promised piccies of the Giant.

So the rest of today is about getting the Ridgeback put back together as I’ll be on that tomorrow. The weather is very wet and very windy. Or so the Beeb website says.

Yesterday afternoon was spent at The Dodford watching the Irish beat England. The score was a fair reflection of the game with the Irish being deserving winners. I am now at a loss as to describe what I feel for what England are trying to do. I was in the company of another experienced coach yesterday afternoon, my old mukka Ski and we were totally mystified. I now think something is very wrong in the England Camp. How can experienced professionals who we know can play exciting attacking rugby for their clubs week in week out now seem to be unable to even deliver an accurate pass when the’re in a white shirt? Hell, even Wilkinson missed the tackle on Bowe for Irelands winning try! Actually he was in completely the wrong place because our back row had gone AWOL. I dunno what to think, but I now believe the coaching staff are in danger of being asked to leave. 


Garage and fettling…

This morning is about bikey things, commuter is getting a major degunk, adjustments and lube, then I’ll be fitting the last few bits to my road bike.

This afternoon is being spent down the Dodford Inn watching England v Ireland. I’ll need to watch it at the pub as I’ll need the beer to drown my sorrows as I can’t see England winning this one.

I saw Wales v France last night and while the Welsh will be pointing at a second half revival, I hope they’re not kidding themselves, the French never looked troubled and Lievremont’s annoying habit of substituting almost half his team in the second half meant it was that that got the Welsh back in it. the French defence and commiting very few to the breakdown is key to their success. French Grand Slam I think.

For the Father’s of Daughters.

10 Rules for taking my Daughter out

Rule One: If you pull onto my drive and blow your horn you’d better be delivering a package, because you’re sure not picking anything up.

Rule Two: You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter’s body, I will remove them.

Rule Three: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don’t take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your trousers ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, in order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waistline.

Rule Four: I’m sure you’ve been told that in today’s world, sex without utilizing some kind of “Barrier method” can kill you. Let me elaborate, when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

Rule Five: It is usually understood that in order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is: “Early.”

Rule Six: I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven: As you stand in my front room, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the film, you should not be dating my daughter. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process than can take longer than painting the Forth Road Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don’t you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

Rule Eight: The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a Snorkel parka zipped up to her throat. Films with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; films which feature chain saws are okay. Rugby games are okay. Old folk’s homes are better.

Rule Nine: Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, four-eyed, greying, middle-aged, dim-witted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless God of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, a pick axe, and I know of a few rarely visited acres of land near my house. Do not trifle with me.

Rule Ten: Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a frost covered peak near Port Stanley. Or a fighter jet over the desert in Kuwait. When my Gulf War syndrome or other things I have been exposed to start acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull onto the drive you should exit the car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, and then return to your car. There is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.

Another Century…

Even though I did a 101 miles this week I have remained static at 18 st 7Ibs, I stayed static the last time I did a century in a week. Maybe I shouldn’t go for it again! Not too bothered though, the better weather is coming (so I’m told) and I’ll be able to crack on and clock up some real miles.

The pedal home last night was along the cut, very wet and very peaceful, I’ll take that. My legs were very tired though, I was quite glad to get home, the last climb up Cock Hill especially took it out of me. I’ve been out of the saddle getting up there lately, yesterday was a sit down grind.

This afternoon is about getting the Spawn of Satan’s trampoline built in the garden without him hiding my tools and bits from the kit. Wish me luck!

Birmingham Royal Ballet…

I hope the title caught your attention! Birmingham Royal Ballet is on the hill going up into Selly Oak and it is where I punctured this morning, I was up late anyway and taking it pretty easy going in. The old legs are are a bit tired. Their drive is very well lit and I took advantage of the illumination to fix the puncture. 10 minutes later I was on my way and doing battle with the puddles on the canal. The first time this week I’ve gone in to work down the canal. On a plus I noticed some Crocus’ popping their heads above the grass on the drive, is Spring on its way?

Yesterday’s ride home was again along the cut, very wet and very muddy and strangely for the conditions the towpath was quite busy. Which irritates me a tad. The towpath is mine!

Richard from Northfield Cycles called me yesterday to tell me that my Road Bike was ready for collection. Cool! So I got home, dumped my commuter in the garage and Wifey dropped me off in Northfield opposite the Black Horse Pub. That photo of the Black Horse below is taken from where I sit most nights on my bike at the Northfield lights, maybe a cyclist took it?

Richard had got my bike ready for me and with a few minor adjustments to saddle and bars I was off. I did a 5 mile loop around the Lickeys to test gearing and just to see if I could remember how to ride an anorexic machine like this. There were a few missed changes due to forgetting which was up and which was down, but all in all I’ll take it as a win. I have a computer to put on and a Brooks saddle to fit probably on Saturday and then it’ll be ready for action. Just wait for the nicer weather though.

Battle won…Not the war though…

My inner wimp was really giving it loads this morning, from very early O’Clock I was contemplating not pedalling, we had a good snow fall last night so I was anticipating very bad roads. But the lean mean fighting machine won the argument and I got up at my usual 0500hrs and got my pedalling kit on and opened the front door. I’m glad I did get up to pedal, most of the snow had gone and it was pretty warm (relative term). It must have rained in the night after we went to bed.

The pedal in was very good, I was feeling quite strong and felt I got a bit of a lick on. I went through the City Centre and for the first time ever, beat the 50 minute pedal in mark!

How the body and mind and mind works I have no idea, yesterday I felt bloody awful, no enthusiasm and feeling pretty leaden. I even had a dose of saddle soreness as well to contend with, the first lot I’ve had in months, yet today I’m flying along feeling good. Bizarre.

I fitted some of these at the weekend:

They’re Giant Ergo Contact Bar Ends, they seem to be doing the trick with the numb hand thing and aiding my hill climbing, I don’t know if it’s these that have upped my pace a bit, I know they’ve stretched me out on my bike so maybe I’m a bit lower when I’m pedalling. I’ve also noticed my knees are getting a bit closer together when I’m pedalling too. All fat bikers will know exactly what I mean by that!
The pedal home yesterday was a bit grim, a headwind and snow to contend with, I chose the city centre route home as the cut was still icy and although there was loads of traffic I never had any Joby’s to speak of. Selly Oak as usual was grid locked and maybe I shouldn’t feel all smug, but I was getting one or two hard stares off car drivers as I rode past their traffic jam. I suppose me smiling at them wasn’t helping their mood. Just trying to be friendly like!

Who’d have kids?

I know I shouldn’t moan, but…

At about 1230hrs yesterday my mobile rings and I see it’s wifey calling, I answer and she tells me that she’s rushing Dan (Spawn of Satan) round to A&E. What the f**k has he done now I ask?

Lately he’s had a bad cold so we bought him some Medised which is like a cheaper unbranded Calpol Night, it contains Paracetomol and a sedative. Basically it helps him sleep when he’s a bit under the weather. The little git had drank about half a bottle!

Now I can hear you thinking how the hell did we let him have access to medicine? Surely it should have been out of reach of Satanic claws.

If I may I’ll let you know the security measures we have in place. Upstairs every door has an external bolt up high to prevent him getting in to the bedrooms (except his own). We have all electrical sockets covered, child catches on every draw and cupboard, and we even have the TV high on the wall (as Rafe can confirm) as he smashed the last one that was down low on a TV stand. Oh, plus he smashed the gas fire and wrecked a carpet. But hey, that’s Dan.

Anyway, moving on, we relented and now keep the bathroom door open, as he’s a “big boy” and wants to go to the loo on his own. Fair enough. This is progress. Yesterday after going to the loo on his own, he came down stairs and showed wifey the empty medicine bottle saying he’s had a drink. This bottle was in the cupboard, high on the wall, next to the bathroom sink. We can only surmise, he used his toilet stand to climb onto the sink then reach into the cupboard and removed the bottle, then there’s small matter of the “child proof” bottle top.

To cut a long story short, he’s ok after a visit to A&E lasting 6 hours for observation. I could bore you with all of the hassle wifey had there but that’s a novel in itself. And it’s a bit stressful.

All of the above meant I had to come home early as daughter had a Docs appointment for an injection which meant I had to take her as wifey was trapped in A&E.

I started to pedal home on the cut, but it was too icy so I came off at Ladywood Middleway, pedalled through 5 Ways down the ring road and got on the Bristol Road at the MacDonalds junction. Selly Oak was nose to tail which obviously didn’t bother me and I was home in time to take daughter to the docs after a quick shower.

Wifey and Dan got home about 1810hrs, with him being his normal self and wifey ticking like a meter. Which lately because of Dan is her normal self.

This morning’s pedal was through the city centre as the cut was still icy, a good headwind meant it was a bit slower, but I found my new Lizard Skin socks last night so feet were toasty again despite it being bloody freezing this morning.

Like I said, who’d have kids…