So, voting time is here - what's your choice?
Tink tink tink tink went the bike.
'Bike?' says I
'Yes?' says the Bike
'Dunno' says the Bike
'Is it the BB?'
'No' says the Bike, 'guess again'.
'Not a bloody spoke please!'
'Chainring bolts? I have my tools' says I.
'Not even close!' says the bike as we pedal onwards, the noise now both perplexing and irritating its owner more and more.
'Oh come on!' says I as the noise gets louder the angrier I get and the harder I pedal.
The bike giggles, nearly throwing me off in the process.
'Stop that!' says I.
'I cant help it' laughs the Bike, 'you're such a bufoon'
Tink tink tink tink...
Muttering darkening oaths in the equally darkening evening sky I stop to put the lights on. I check the Bike over and carry on pedaling.
Tink tink tink tink...
<snigger> went the Bike
'Right! Thats it, either you tell me what gives or I'll turn you into a fixie and sell you to some spotty student, no more quality oils for you sonny jim!'
'I am just a bicycle' said the bike 'I am not a sentient being, your anthropomorphizing a collection of nuts and bolts, your idle threats cannot harm me'
Totally stumped for a reply I pedal on...
Tink tink tink tink...
The noise, by now, starts to take on a familiar tone. Tink tink tink. It was coinciding with the left pedal stroke, I coast and the noise stops. I pedal and back comes the inevitable. Tink tink tink...
The Bike is quiet - was that a stifled giggle?
Tink tink tink tink TUNK!
Tunk? I look down, the Bike now vibrating with suppressed mirth, almost sending me into the curb in the process.
And I see it... Despite the gathering gloom, there it is in all of its nylon and cotton glory.
A shoelace. A shoelace bouncing off the new bottle cage every left pedal action...
The Bike explodes in paroxysms of laughter, casting its rider into a nearby hedge.
A bloody shoelace
'Speaking as an engineer' says the Bike
'You git!' Says I brushing bits of Cambridgeshire out of my hair. 'I'll have you for that!'
'No you wont' Says the bike. 'Not if you want to get home in one piece'
'Ah, yes' I say, extracting myself from the hedge cursing all things two wheeled
'ok, shall we be off?'
'Sure, to the Pub then?' says the bike, looking forward to chatting to some of the other bikes there.
'Yeah, why not'
So, as rider and bicycle set off once more, we see the fading red dot of the rear lamp as dusk turns to night, the crows roosting in the far trees framed by a now deep late September dusk...
Tink tink tink tink
'Bastard' says I
<snigger> says the Bike.
I posted this on the forum last year, the day after I got my p7.....
This morning, as the weather was so nice I thought I would take the long route to work, and get to know my new "friend".
The first part of my commute is a long steady climb out of Brighton, up to the a27. The traffic was bad as the school run was in full swing, plenty of idiots in boxes not looking where they were going.
Once past the roundabout, things start to get prettier, over to my left I had a hazy view of the coast over the Worthing. On a clear day, the Isle of Wight can be clearly seen in the distance. And over on my right, the South Downs. Mist was hanging about in the valleys, making the hilltops look like islands.
After a while the cycle path up to Devils Dyke veers off to the left, at last giving me freedom to enjoy my ride without traffic. The sweat is starting to flow now as I am still climbing from sea level. I pass a few dog walkers, and exchange greetings. Everyone is in a good mood today.
A few miles later, I reach devils dyke, where I turn left onto the South Downs Way, where the fun really begins Cool The track starts of grass until the first gate, where the trail starts to incline downwards. As speed increases my shins are splashed with dew from the wet grass. Suddenly the track splits three ways, each with loose rocks and gulleys. It is fun to be riding a rigid bike again!
Now, I'm climbing again. The trail now is a jeep track. Traction is limited on the loose surface, so I spin my way to the crest of the hill, before another downhill begins. I fly by a heard of cows, most of which do not even look at what is causing the commotion. The track takes a turn to the left, and the rigid forks track perfectly into the berm that has formed next to the trail.
After pausing at the bottom to have a refreshing drink, I look over towards Brighton. It is all but obscured under a shroud of haze. Only the tallest buildings can be seen poking there heads above the morning smog.
I clip back in and begin the last climb up towards the mast at Truleigh Hill. This is proper mint sauce country, complete with a bi-plane making its way to Shoreham Airport. It's really warm now as I crest the hill, my back is drenched, and drops fall from the pads on my helmet, splashing onto the top tube.
At the top, I click down a few gears, I readiness for the biggest decent of the day. I pick up speed past the youth hostel. I do the obligatory little jump off the man hole, and i'm grinning like a loon. The track turns into tarmac for a mile or so, but it's really fast, and i'm doing 40 mph now, the wind cooling me down after all the exertion.
Then I leave the South Downs Way, and plunge down a rocky loose decent, though the trees, and down into the Adur Valley. A few miles of tarmac now through Upper Beeding, and the outskirts of Steyning.
Once through Steyning, I'm on the Downslink Trail towards my destination. For the first mile or so, it's still tarmac, and rounding a corner I see someone with what looks like a young pony. I slow down to walking pace and as I get closer I see that it's a baby Alpaca. I stop, and talk with owner, and of course give the four month old Alpaca (who is called Petula) plenty of fuss. Nice.
After passing the stinky sewage works, I'm back onto the rough stuff along a farm road for a mile or so, before the trail turns sharply to the right, decending though fields of stubble. The sound of the gravel pinging off the downtube frightens a flock of rooks, which noisely take to the sky, and swirl around like black bin bags in a wind.
Then the last few miles along a disused railway track. Easy going now, the trees giving me shelter from the now suprisingly hot sun.
One final uphill and I wheel into Henfiled 16 miles later. And best of all, the kettles on
I blame my horse, if I had not wanted to get fitter and lighter, then the Zaskar would still be snoozing at the back of the garage covered in dust.
Then there was the redundancy too, that put the lid on it really, the horse and the redundancy, that’s what did it, that’s what drove me up onto the Mendips on a fresh February morning.
Back up on the Mendips, for the first time in, oh, must be ten years? Fifteen? On a lovely fresh, dry sunny morning, with the place to myself, a rubbish map and a pocket full of cake, and best of all, I can still ride, well, in a manner of speaking.
Then there was google and that RetroBike.co.uk. site
Trouble with that RetroBike site is all the wonderful bikes, all the stuff I lusted over but couldn’t afford back in the 90’s, all that stuff in the classifieds and ebay! My God look at all the stuff on ebay and look at the prices. Still, I’ve got to be careful with the pennies, as that redundancy money may have to last.
Then I got the new job, brilliant, what a relief, now I can really do some riding and go on my first RetroBike ride. That was fun but all those guys are so bloody young and fit! Still, at least I can still ride, but my lungs hurt and I can’t be doing with that, I had better get into some training and get some of my old fitness back.
Ahhh, but I’m forgetting about the desire and the desperation, and all those wonderful names, like Roberts and Rourke, and Yates, Fuquay, Lloyd….., it would be nice just to get one just one and then I’d be happy, just to have one of those great frames in my ownership. Still, the Zaskar is a bit of a classic apparently, and it’s going well and getting covered in mud and I’m riding and getting fitter and looking out for bargains.
You just can’t miss a bargain and you never know when another frame like this is going to come up for sale so best get it now, while you can. Of course, you don’t need more than a couple, but if I ride them for a bit and decide which one I prefer the best I can always sell one, or two.
Of course, there was the issue of storage, what with Jon now being persuaded off his road bike from time to time and into the Forest of Dean, riding off with all the others and leaving me walking up that hill. Still, nothing a bit more training can’t fix.
I suppose it was the training that led to the road bike, retro of course. A road bike, I know! First one in how long? Thirty years? Yeah and the rest…
So, here we are then, with the road bikes, and the storage and the projects and the fall and the dislocated shoulder and the turbo trainer and the hills and the fitness and getting back to riding.
Riding, and laughing and meeting new friends, with my kids, on the Zaskar, or a Yates, a Roberts, another frame going cheap, you know, bit of a bargain.
The Naked Running Man...
So it was a crisp, sunny, Saturday morning in February. Not many of those around I think, so I call up my riding buddies to go out for a tread. Much to my dismay they are all in one way or another unable to come out to play! Dammit! Oh sod it I have the morning free of child care so I need to go out! So I sling my leg over my old 1993 Marin Eldridge and set of for my local trails.
I get to the spot and set off for the "roller coaster" section full of joy and innocence. About 15 mins into the ride I hear my phone in my backpack ringing. Fearing a "get home now" call from my missus, I stopped to answer it. I get there too late, but just about getting the phone out. Its then I notice the battery is all but dead. Oh well, selfishly at least it gives me an excuse not to have got "that come home call!"
Its then I notice some thing out of the corner of my eye, someone else out here in the woods in the middle of nowhere! But this is no fellow biker nor an enthusiastic rambler... Noo no no this is a balaclava clad 6ft 3 stacked running man, and he is butt naked but for a pair of stout black boots! He's about 20 meters away when he clocks me and like a startled rabbit he skids to a stop and runs back from where he came from!
Sooo what do I do? I pedal as fast as my aged legs would let me in the opposite direction! After a couple of mins I think it must be someone p**sing about or a dare? I try to rationalise it and carry on. I get to the "roller coaster" section, a series of 20ft bomb craters. Wooping in and out great fun...until after the 2nd on the up of the next crater my chain snaps! Being the crap boyscout that I am, I have nothing to fix it up!
My mind slams back to the balaclava wearing naked man...me here in the woods...alone...broken bike chain...miles from anywhere...dead phone! Its like a freaking movie! And I'm talking about the one with the banjo's! And now with "squeal piggy squeal" ringing in my ears! What to do, only one thing for it walk back the way I came and out of the woods...
So I'm a bit gittery and have wrapped the broken chain around my right fist "just in case!" yeah right! And start the walk back out, scouting bushes and flinching with every noise! After about 20mins I start to relax when from around the corner springs "Naked Running Man!" This time he chose to loose the balaclava and was just a couple of meters away when he turned on his heals and shot off again! I clocked his face and the huge dagger tattoo on his back and the fact that he was completely hairless!
perhaps he was a road biker!
Anyway I get out of the woods and feel the need to get the law involved. I wait till another fellow biker came past stopped him and asked to use his phone. I called the cops saying what I had seen thanked the biker and headed of for the nearest pub! Made a call to the missus who btw is amazing and she came out to pick me up!
A couple of hours later much to my surprise the cops called back! They had trekked through the woods to the spot I described, and had in fact found the "Naked Running Man" and arrested him! They then came round and I gave a statement and later I attended an identity parade! I know!!! I had to ask number 3 to "run about a bit" to decide if it was him! But I picked a guy out, it was the right guy, and he went to court and was fined and banned from any woodland for 5 years!
So the moral of the tale...if you go down to the woods today you wouldn't believe your eyes!
A true story! For real!...