Monday, August 30, 2010

Hotter than Hell 2010 - Part 2

If H G Wells was in Wichita Falls at 7am on Saturday morning he may have been smiling.
He once stated 'Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the human race'

As a science fiction writer he often looked to the future seemingly with a degree of disillusionment as was illustrated in his most famous novel 'The War of the worlds'.

In his novel the earth is over run by Martians with superior intelligence and technology who try to destroy man.
Just before they succeed they are struck down by a simple cold virus reminding us about both the fragility and simplicity of life.

Even back in 1898 Wells was concerned with the pace of Human evolution. He believed that there an ever increasing trend to rely on intelligence and technology to the detriment of our physical being and natural senses.

With obesity levels soaring globally, often running parallel with a sedentary lifestyle; Mr Wells may have used one of his own time machines to take a peek into the 21st Century.
His concerns were well founded
He seemingly saw the bicycle as a technological advancement that could embrace both the spiritual and physical aspects of human life.

I am not sure how many of the 13,000 + people assembled for the Hotter than Hell have read any H.G. Wells, but I am sure that most would please him if he were alive now.
With the cannon sounding and the sun up wheels steadily rolled over the start line in a multi- coloured sea of Lycra. The morning temperature was a pleasant 70f and aided by a favourable tail wind The Mules soon found a comfortable rhythm maintaining a speed of 20mph.

Jason 'The Kiwi Sherpa' led the pace line with such efficiency that there were no shortage of riders looking to add themselves to our ever growing tail.

Because of the requirement to keep hydrated, everybody was drinking at regular intervals, which is easy to do for the experienced rider. For some, this was seemingly not the case, as our main hazard to riding was the water bottle slalom course that had been laid out in front of us.

I must have counted at least 100!!! They were posh bottles too, the ones that keep the contents cool for a greater duration.
Of course once dropped you might as well say goodbye to such a vessel unless you want to wait around the roadside for hours.
One guy close to me dropped his keys right in the middle of the road, imagine it!

You might have spent months training, new bike, new clothes and a fortune spent in the exhibition centre and you drop your keys. By the time you are able to retrieve them, that's considering you actually find them; Hells Gate would surely be closed and the inflatable monster as deflated as you might feel.

As the sun got higher so did the temperature and of course the amount of stray bottles.
We all had three bottles each with an intention to get to Hells gate as soon as possible.
This is a strategic point on the ride at 53 miles where the Century riders have to reach in a given time.

This is usually by 12.30 pm which gives you plenty of time, but that time can be brought forward during the ride if the weather gets too hot. This is purely done in the interests of rider safety.
For sustenance we had our pockets stuffed with Mule Fuel 'MuleBars' . We gave these out to other riders joining our pace line who were greedy for more!!!!!
Unfortunately they were not in a position to write down the website whilst cycling at 20 mph so here is a quick reminder.

For the record we are not sponsored by Mulebar we just think their products are great!!!!! try them out.

We got to Hells Gate in good time where we stopped to fill up our bottles. As we were doing so we were approached by a spectator who had read the blog posts and was looking out for us. It was a great feeling.

The second part of the ride became more testing. The sun was now directly overhead and the temperature was soaring. The wind was now in our faces and increasing by the hour gusting up to 20mph. The feeling of a pleasant ride dwindled into a challenge as the heat sucked at your energy reserves. I was now taking a drink every ten minutes to replace the rivers of sweat running off me. We decided to reduce the pace slightly something that appeared to be mirrored on the course as our momentum remained the same.

With just under 6 hours riding time on the clock we crossed the line all together and all smiling.

Paddy 'Le Patron' provided champagne to start off the re-hydration which was followed by some Boddingtons Beer (and a bit of water to be sensible)

All in all it was a great ride.

Shortly I will be leaving the USA, back to England where I take part in The Manchester 100 mile ride next Sunday with some more Anglo Mules.

Paddy and the US contingent will be doing Tour de Cure and Tour de Pink.
If you see us on the road.......say Hi.

Happy Riding

Hotter than Hell 2010 - Part 1 The Journey to Hell

After months of training Friday morning finally arrived.
It was not the usual Friday morning, the one that comes with a 4.30 am alarm call in Beverley, East Yorkshire.
The one that would be followed by dressing in the hours of darkness before cycling to work, comforted by a warm sensible coat.
Hardly the sort of Friday that would inspire the other two wheeled urban warriors that I look up to.
But this Friday was different.
This was 'The Friday Morning', just as the following day would be.............
'The Saturday'.

Rather than having the androgynous voice from my alarm repeatedly reminding me of the time I was woken by 'Le Patron' (My Brother Paddy) at a more civilized time of 6am reminding me that my domestique duties applied to more than cycling !!! As if I had forgotten.

By 8am the Mule Trailer was loaded and other Mules had arrived for the Journey north to Wichita Falls. So fleet of Hoof our wagon wheels did turn, taking us up Highway 45 Towards Dallas and Fort Worth.

We met up with Paddy's father in Law 'Joe' at The H3 Ranch which is located in the famous Stockyards area of Forth Worth.

For me personally it was a special experience.

Forty four years ago my father came to the USA with the British Air force and we were located in Fort Worth, Texas. I was only 6 at the time but went to school there for three years.
Its too long ago to remember everything but I do recall being very happy and having the opportunity to travel around America.

I also remember that my school class used to sing the British National Anthem every morning after there own, I really appreciated that and think the other kids enjoyed the novelty of it too.
Its often funny how things like that stick in your mind.

As I sat in the H3 Ranch drinking my Buffalo Butt Beer I wondered if my late father had visited the same hostelry, he may have even sat in the same seat.
I smiled knowing that he would have approved at my choice of beverage.

He also loved to cycle and like me took it up seriously later in life.

Joe a willey old Texan is not unaccustomed to such bar
He was the sort of man you listened to.
He spoke of bygone days when this particular part of Fort Worth was heaving with stock men bring their cattle to market.
With business done, dollars were exchanged for bouts of hard drinking and gambling followed by by the more expensive attractions that came accompanied by soft words and scented beds.

Although the piano had been replaced by a modern sound system, you could almost hear the faint tunes still reverberating within the floorboards.

With our victuals duly completed we left Forth Worth and headed north.
As we pulled our Mule Trailer out of the stockyards and onto the open road there was a real sense of poignancy.
Soon the air got drier and the temperature rose.
Lush greens were replaced by yellows and browns.
There cactus, nodding donkeys and buzzards all things I wanted to see.
This was Saturdays cycling terrain, hot dry prairie land.

Hotter than Hell

As we got closer to Wichita falls we also saw other Bikes, first only one or two, then dozens, then hundreds, until it reached a point that practically every vehicle on the road seemed to be part of some cycle carrying convoy.

Wichita Falls opened its arms to all of us and we were soon ensconced in our Hotel 'The Holiday Inn Express' on Kell Boulevard.
Like over excited children on Christmas Eve we were ushered to bed by wise words and the prospect of having to rise at 4am.
No sooner had I shut my eyes then it was time. 'The Saturday' had arrived and we all made our way to the start.
This year saw over 13,000 entrants and with so many cyclists for some it would take over an hour and a half to get over the start line.
We were positioned within the 'Scorchers' which meant we were meant to be able to complete the ride between 4-6 hours. It also meant that we could cross the start line within a few minutes after the official start time of 7am.
It was ironic that within the 13,000 people we ended up being stood next to a lovely couple from Kansas who were next to us in our hotel. I already knew from watching 'The Wizard of Oz' that people in Kansas are keen at cycling.
It was also apparent that some non scorchers had infiltrated our starting area and they were highly unlikely to cycle at the required pace.
Just before 7am I took off by helmet to the US National Anthem and did so with pride.
6 fighters jets flew over and a canon was let off to start our ride.
We were off........
Part 2 will be posted tomorrow

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hotter than Hell Preperations - All Good Mules deserve a nice home

Today was my last day in the saddle to acclimatise to the Heat and Humidity of a Texas Summer. I went with my twin brother Paddy 'Le Patron' and acted as his Domestique , setting the pace and sheltering him from strong and windy conditions around the vicinity of Zube Park.
Riding 'shotgun' for Paddy is a role that I have grown accustomed to over the years, so much so that now Paddy quite unashamedly calls me his 'Super Domestique'

For those of you who are familiar with the term you will know that there is a hierarchy among domestiques; the more accomplished, often called lieutenants or super-domestiques, are called upon during critical times.

The lieutenant(s) stays with the leader as long as possible during demanding periods providing him all the support he can muster.

Obvious examples from the recent 2010 Tour de France were Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) riding in support of Alberto Contador, Chris Horner (Radio Shack) riding for Lance Armstroing and the mighty 'Spartacus' Fabian Cancellara (Team Saxo bank) riding hard for Andy Shlek

Paddy commented that it was a good training ride all be it from the relative comfort of his 'wheel sucking' armchair. For me it was an altogether more gruelling experience but pleasant none the less.

We completed 45 miles which also took us past our cousins (see above) who received their customary salute. The ride personally took me over 4500 miles for the year almost a mile to the day as at this time last year.During last years Hotter than Hell ride we noticed a fancy double decker team bus from some local club (The name escapes me) and Paddy our patron commented that one day we will have our own.

Today we collected our own 'Team Trailer' I grant you that we cant sit on the top of it and drink fancy cocktails but its a start and a fantastic asset. It even has the names of our current 'active' members on the side
Well done Paddy !!!!!!!!

'Travels with my Mule' is a small cycling team but we aspire to great things.

Our ultimate aim is to form a vibrant social cycling team to collectively take part in international charity cycling events. To accept any rider of any ability who wants to take part in events and feel part of a team. We have a core of riders in USA mainly Texas and the UK but some of our members come from all over the world.

We have our own website which provides more information about our team. We also have a number of member blogsites.

If your riding in the Hotter than Hell don't be shy please shout out 'Go Mules' and you will get a big thumbs up, alternatively come and meet us afterwards. We have some wrist bands and if the team have not been too greedy we may also let you try out some tasty MuleBars our 'MuleFuel' courtesy of MuleBar

Either way have a great Ride.

Who know next year we may have a bus too !!!!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hotter than Hell, I agree - Mules in Training

After arriving in Texas on Friday night my 'Super domestique' duties were soon required.

Saturday morning to be precise at 5am. It was like getting up for work at home.

The most significant difference occurred as soon as I stepped outside.
Rather than indignantly starring up to the skies as I slipped on my coat, I was wiping copious amounts of heat induced sweat from my brow.

It was 85f even before the sun had come up, with a level of humidity that could poach even the hardiest of ostrich eggs.

The weather man seem to be in a joyous mood obviously realising that he had a pale pasty Brit as one of his audience.

Hot conditions will continue today as an upper level ridge of
high pressure remains parked over southeast Texas.
Daytime high temperatures are expected to reach 98 to 104 degrees
inland... mid 90s along the coast.
The combination of the heat and high humidity will result in maximum heat index values of 105 to 109 degrees this afternoon.

The next bit was even more interesting !!!!!!!!

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

If you plan to be outside... avoid prolonged exposure or strenuous
physical activity.

Your body can lose up to a gallon of water an hour through perspiration.
Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages can increase the rate of water loss in your body... increasing the risk of heat exhaustion or stroke.
Wear lightweight... light-colored... loose-fitting clothing.
Wear a hat to shield yourself from the sun and use a sunscreen to reduce possible sunburn.

Thank you Mr Weather man.

WE rode 55 miles Saturday and 43 Miles Sunday and the weather lived up to expectations.
I am used to having water dripping off my helmet from heavily laden rain clouds that have raced across the Pennines to great me on my morning rides.
The quantity of liquid did not change but was replaced by sweat. I felt as though somebody had introduced a high pressure hose into my seat post and that all the pores on my body had created a human sprinkler system.

It was great to meet up with the American Mules and to ride as part of a team again.
My intense training since the start of the Year did not go unnoticed which also enabled me to act as a super domestique for Paddy (Le Patron) who is still playing catch up after his recent training set backs.

With a good stock of MuleBars and plenty of fluid we all rode well and things look good for next weekend.
Mules in Training

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Skins Challenge

During the course of the Tour de France 'Skins' Compression clothing had got some very willing volounteers to trial out their new cycling range.
To add some extra spice to proceedings some of us were asked to take part in three cycling challenges to reflect what was going on in France.
There was a 15 km time trial, 120 km hilly route, and 150 km flat route.
Four of us took part.
Living in different parts of the country, we were all restricted by the limitations of our own terrain. I must admit I struggled to find some flat roads.
Anyway the results are in.
I came third, it sounds better than second to last !!!!!!!!
However my sincere congratulations go out to my fellow competitors who are all biologists too.

Austin Tanney (Our Winner)

Jason (2nd Place) I already feature Jason's blog which is 'velorunner' a highly recommended site.

Well done guys !!!!! and thanks Matt from 'Skins'.
Skins cycle clothing evaluation can be found on a previous blog of the same name.

As I write this blog I am now in USA about to take part in Hotter than Hell 100 mile endurance ride. Out training in Houston today..........all I can say is that its HOT HOT HOT

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Proof that God is a cyclistLA's mayor is the latest convert to cycle advocacy, but which other cities – and people – are most in need of change?

The Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, is the latest convert to cycling advocacy. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AP

You might think that Los Angeles, the city that has spent a century being defined and shaped by the car, would be an unfriendly place for cycling.

You would be right. But proof that God is a cyclist came last month when Los Angeles' mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, decided for some unknown reason to go for a bike ride.

The prolific LA cycle blogger Ted Rogers was one of those registering their surprise: "For his first four years in office, Villaraigosa never let the word bicycle pass his lips in public."

The story gets better, although not for the mayor, who experienced an immediate road-to-Damascus conversion. The shattering revelation came on Venice Boulevard, where a taxi pulled out across his path and he fell from his bike. Today, with eight metal pins keeping his broken elbow together, the mayor is Los Angeles' latest convert to cycle advocacy.

He declares that he wants to change the city's culture in favour of cyclists; yesterday he held a "cycling summit" at the city's transport HQ and went some way to winning over what Rogers calls "a highly sceptical house of roughly 300 bicyclists". His suggestion at the meeting that helmets should be made mandatory – he was wearing one when he had his accident – was reportedly met with "audible dismay", according to the LA Streets Blog.

But he has pledged $3.2m (£2m) for cycling in the city this year, and committed to building 40 miles of bikeways each year for the next five years. The event, says Rogers, was a first step, but it was a "huge, and hugely successful" one.

As providence appears to be smiling on cycling at the moment – with bike hire schemes popping up all over the place – which other cities around the world are most in need of change? And for that matter, who's next for cycling conversion?

Jeremy Clarkson, or celebrity chef James Martin?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mule Bars

It is now less than a week to go before I depart to Houston and I have finally placed my suitcase on the bed the spare bedroom. The packing ritual is about to begin

Doing an event like the Hotter than Hell Endurance ride is not really like preparing for any other cycle ride.

With temperature promised to be in the 100 f and legendary winds ripping across the North Texas plains, the 100 mile distance is only a secondary consideration.

Food and Hydration is essential to ensure that you have a smile on your face when you cross the finishing line.

Despite the fact there are hundreds of sports gels and bars on the market I have usually gone for natural food products.
Bananas, Dried fruit, dates etc but carrying them has often caused problems.
The lovely yellow banana that I placed in the rear of my shirt often turns black by the time I come to peel it leaving a mushy pulp to eat.
With the other items I place them in sealed bags but they eventually all stick together.

Trying to separate my dates was never a problem in my misspent youth.
But with the nutrition type, trying to separate them whilst climbing or descending a 25% gradient can often lead to a departure from the road or prompt curses from the rider following my wheel.
I needed something that was natural, nutritious and portable and tried a whole range of products.
Then I discovered MuleBars.

They were on display in my brothers shop - Cycle Heaven (York).Andy my brother does not believe in gimmicks when it comes to cycling and that applies to food too.
He is also as green as they come.
When I enquired about this product I got a massive thumbs up from both him and his staff (all cyclists) The question they came back with was 'Why would we sell something that we did not believe in ? I agree.

The founders of Mule bar take up the story

'It all started on Cerro Aconcagua in the Andes, pretty high up at about 6200m where we had a lot of problems with our stomachs, were unable to find food you can eat and digest easily when you’re really out there. This is the mule and gaucho which inspired our the name of the bars and the icon silhouette we use.

...That was in 2002. We got back to the sunny Wiltshire-Hampshire border in the New Forest, back to our makeshift office, the “Loveshack” and QMFC kitchen, and we got started on cooking up some ideas we’d had on the Andes expedition. The first bars were all over the place and wouldn’t fuel much, let alone an adventure, but they did spur us on. We kept at it most Friday afternoons, skiving off the day job mostly and finally started getting somewhere in about late 2004. Guinea pigs are easy to find when food’s involved with bikers and climbers and so we kept trying out the bars on mates who we were out riding with and after about ten times of turning up to races and being told our bars were better than the ones on sale we thought we’d better do something about it. We formed Fuel for Adventure, because that’s exactly what it is, and started designing wrappers, getting key nutritional help from our now partner Matt Lovell who just happens to be the England RFU nutritional advisor and took the bars off to a great mountain bike race all round Scotland. The bars went down a storm. Since then we’ve been out there spending long hours cooking up prototype after prototype and getting the bars better and better and tastier and tastier and delivering more and more energy. MuleBar has summited Everest, has ridden and now sponsors the incredible Absa Cape Epic mountain bike stage race across South Africa, is the Official Energy Bar of The 2009 Tour of Britain and the list goes on and on. The key thing is it’s Fuel for Adventure, for everybody’s personal adventure.

There is a large void in my suitcase reserved for these pieces of edible energy.

They come in two sizes the MuleBar 65g and MegaBites 30g each with an assortment of different flavours including :-Chocolate Fig Fiesta, Strudel, Liquorice, Summer Pudding, Mango tango, Hunza Nut and Pinacolada.They also
do a great ReFuel recovery bar- choc & banana and choc & date, which are
naturally high in 20% protein.

You don't have to believe me check them out yourself

You can order on line at

Being part of the Travels with my Mule cycling Team we call them 'MuleFuel'.

If you come find us after the Hotter than Hell we can tell you more about them and if your lucky I may have a few left in my Jersey.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mule or Mamil

Fantastic article by Dominic Casciani of the BBC
He could easily have been writing about me and in fact everybody I cycle with!!!!

Flashy sports cars are out, now no mid-life crisis is complete without a souped-up road bike. Why?

Every weekend, across the nation's rolling countryside, watch out for the Mamils: middle-aged men in lycra.

And ladies, if you have a man at home taking an unusual interest in how you shave your legs, you may have a Mamil in the making too.

Research conducted by the retail analyst Mintel suggests there has been a surge in the number of middle-aged men choosing to get on two wheels.

Given the number of men aged 35-44 who are buying fancy-pants road racing machines, is this a 21st Century mid-life crisis? Has the silence of skinny tyres and carbon fibre framesets replaced the thunderous noise of motorbikes?

Back in the day, when some men with a bit of disposable income reached a certain age, they did some strange things. The grind of the office and home life convinced some that the answer to an expanding midriff lay in a pair of designer jeans and a flashy but cheap Japanese sports car. Teenage daughters ran away screaming. Sons were deprived of the role models seen in adverts for shaving products.

Gents, our womenfolk were right all along. It wasn't a good look. And did it do anything for the beer belly?

But then came a confluence of coincidences that gave a man an option other than looking like a gigolo cruising Italy's glitzy Lake Como.

The past three years have seen the rise of the uber-techno, super-flashy, full-carbon fibre, bobby-dazzler road bike. The market for these bikes has expanded faster than a 45-year-old's waistline, partly thanks to the success of the British cycling stars at the Beijing Olympics. Marketing departments have produced smart advertising messages that encourage a bit of freedom, elite performance and memories of teenage derring-do.
And the result can be seen on Saturday and Sunday mornings as middle-aged blokes polish the rear derailleur, lower the mirrored shades and pedal into the hills. Every couple of weeks, you'll see a girth of Mamils gathering to race a "Sportive", a form of amateur competing that has taken the British cycling world by storm.

While the serious, younger riders are busy getting into the zone of elite competition, we're comparing the latest GPS route-finding cycle computer and pretending that we know how to stretch.

No Mamils life is complete without the Spiritual Journey to the Mountains

'We hit the first hill and suddenly we're a puffing, panting, heaving mass of sweaty humanity that's well past it's sell-by-date. Sounds humiliating? I've never had so much fun in my life - and there are also some unintended benefits of being the older rider'

'First, there's the no-questions-asked fan club. My kids, on the promise of an ice cream, will cheer me over the top of any climb. They're still young enough to think I'm Superman - and you don't get that kind of pick-me-up on the golf course.'

Even better is the Mamil's solution to saddle sores. A teenage shop assistant in a too-posh-to-pedal London shop tried to sell me some balm for £30. What's the point of that, I asked. I've got loads of unused nappy rash cream at home. He thought I was terminally uncool. I know better son, learn from your elders.

Robbie McIntosh is 45 and has spent much of the past year clad in lycra after being talked into cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats.

Ten days of pain, rain and groin strain later, he decided he was ready for Mont Ventoux.

This mountain, the Giant of Provence, is one of the toughest climbs in the world - 23km straight up. British cycling legend Tom Simpson died on its slopes in 1969. With terror in his belly, Robbie began the slow climb up its slopes last month.

"I wanted so much to say I'd climbed the Ventoux. It's an amazing mountain and a serious challenge.

"I was surprised at my nerves but I had a sense that if I could do this on a bike I could do anything and that was a feeling I wanted so much."

And make it he did. He wasn't as balletic as the local, young French riders - but he stood alongside them at the 1,910m summit and surveyed the world.

"Cycling has given me an opportunity to feel sporting achievement of the very highest level," says Robbie. "It doesn't matter that the pros ride up Mont Ventoux at twice the speed or more. I can scale the same sporting heights as the best cyclists on the planet. I can walk with giants."

Flash road bikes definitely look like a midlife crisis”
So a man becomes fitter and happier.
Where's the midlife crisis in that?
Ah. The costs.

Ladies, look away now. Men who seriously cycle typically spend about £3,000 to live that dream. For a time, at least. That sum will cover the set-up and the first year, then about £1,000 a year, at least, on top of that.

The must-have bike of the summer is the Pinarello Dogma, the bike used by the British Team Sky in the Tour de France. Yours for about £7,000. Thankfully, most Mamils don't have that kind of money to burn.

But it hasn't stopped the rapid growth of a suburban money-laundering operation. It goes something like this. Man dribbles while looking at £100 bib shorts on cycling website - they're the kind that make you look like a wrestler. Partner says no, think about the starving children. Man continues to look at bib shorts and decides they will help conceal his 36-inch waist.

Ventoux brings some men close to collapse He calculates that three weeks of hard pedalling will help on the belly front - which is coincidentally the same time it takes to receive a secret new credit card to pay for the shorts. Job done. Platinum status achieved with the online cycling retailer. Discounts on more kit to be sent direct to the office rather than home.

When you run the slide rule over all of this, flash road bikes definitely look like a midlife crisis.
There's a look to strive for, expensive kit and excuses for weekends away.

I and my band of hill-climbing brothers disagree. It's about becoming a happier and healthier person rather than sliding towards mediocre oblivion at the bottom of a pint glass.

But a message to other cycling widows from my own Mrs Mamil. She's discovered a precise form of retaliation. If your portly husband buys another stupid fluorescent jersey, buy yourself another pair of shoes.

That way, at least one of you can look good.

For original article and other related stuff visit BBC Link

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Colour Purple

Its been a funny old week.
The holiday season has gone into full swing with hordes of people flocking to seaside resorts and other national and local attractions.

As this has taken place, the weather has been rather unsympathetic.
Providing the nation with what can almost be described as an autumnal feel.
Commuting to work has been challenging to say the least.
Each day I have been faced with strong, cool, blustery, winds and violent cloud bursts; creating frequent goosebumps and damp clothing.

This change has prompted me to rummage through the bottom of my drawers containing 'cycling clothing'; in search of long sleeved shirts and jackets that resist more than a light shower.

My tumble drier has also been put on a short term contract.

With the weather too unreliable for outside drying, and it not yet being cold enough to put the heating on, I had little choice.
My carbon footprint has suddenly been extended by half a size.

Too make matters worse 'Addy' my bike has been playing up.
Although he is no where near retirement age, he is getting on a bit.
Do you know bikes like dogs have their own years.
Where one dog year is the equivalent to seven human years.
Well for bikes its even more exaggerated.
One bike year is equal to 'as much' as 15 human years!!!!!!!
If of course you hardly use it, youth can be prolonged (Cycle botox)
So 'Addy' being over 3 years old now is getting up towards 50, so he is bound to have a few complaints here and there.
He also likes to go back to the bike shop to visit 'Miss Grace'.
When he complains I am not always sure if its a true ailment or just a case of 'Cry Bike'.
(Miss Grace sexy isn't she..............)

Addy has been nagging at me all week vocalising from somewhere around the the rear derailleur top pulley. He really is a master of Ventriloquy

Each time I stop pedaling, he is very cunning and stops too.
In the end I lost my cool.
I turned him upside and forced the pedals round with my hand.
This really wound him up and I soon had him squealing.
Spun into submission he soon told me that his chain was overstretched and that the constant pressure of performance had given him many sleepless nights.
On top of that he said that he had been grinding all of his teeth and that they were so worn he found it difficult to communicate from one place to another.

It sounded serious!!!!!

Serious ailments require serious action.
So this week my usual Saturday 'long ride' was cancelled exchanged for a visit to York with 'Addy', to see the bike Dr's.

The prognosis was clear. In order to ensure his survival, Addy needed urgent surgery.
New Chain, New cassette and New front chain rings.

Unable to bear being in the operating room I took a walk into the city with York with Joanne.
York is a beautiful city and its history attracts many tourists.
The cobbled streets often contain street performers.
There are no tramps with penny whistles attempting to put a tune together whist smoking cigarette's and drinking cheap sherry. No to be a street performer in York you have to pass some sort of street performers audition.
Some of them are very Interesting as well as entertaining.
One such performer is 'The Purple man'
It is basically a guy totally motionless on a bike.

I know you might be thinking phaaaaa It could be anyone of you, when climbing a very steep gradient, But this guy was Purple.
He was also dressed in such a way to present a feel of movement.
It was quite amazing. But why purple ?

On my way back to Cycle Heaven I could not get the purple image out of my head and also thought about another great image although in this case a moving one.
The film 'The Colour Purple'
In the film one of the characters Celie says 'The more things change, the more they stay the same'
A few minutes later I was soon to realise how true it was.

Addy had been refitted with new cassette, new chain and new front sprockets, but when it came to his road test he still nagged on through his top pulley. Addy !!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe he just wanted to let me know he was there.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The X Files

After training solidly for a number of months I decided to give myself a four day break from cycling and went to a place that would offer no cycling opportunities - Afloat on the Norfolk Broads.
This is our British equivalent to the Everglades in Florida only with No sunshine, No alligators, and No newly formed Oil slicks courtesy of BP (Bumbling Prat's) I did look out of my porthole each day looking for a pedalo, but alas my legs had to be deprived of circular movement.

The break was most enjoyable, but it was thirsty work which required a full hydration programme with cold beer during the day and red wine at night. Variety is important I think.

On my return to Yorkshire I felt so guilty about leaving Addy (My Bike) behind and not cycling that I really packed the miles in over the following four days completing nearly 250 miles.
One of my cycling trips took me to York where I had to go on the same road that I had tumbled over earlier in the year. Now as roads go this particular road would come in the 'good' category. Not a problem, fine, dry and flat with no pot holes or gravel traps.
When I went passed the spot I half expected to see something like a blue plaque in the road.
The sort you see on houses sometimes.
You know like 'This is where Charles Dickens first contracted Chicken pox' or 'William Blake had his first real snog here'.
I guess I wanted to see something like 'This is where Philip Shrimpton had his first major cycle crash'.
Maybe the local Authorities had thought about it but had decided that much more dramatic things were going to happen in my life.
Having safely got passed the plaque less thoroughfare I was slightly relieved at the lack of Drama.
So much so, that on my return journey the place offered me little by way of trepidation.
That was until I reached the point where the plaque should have been placed had it been considered.
At that very point my rear tyre decided to pop, My first puncture of the year.
It would have been an instinctive thought to consider new wording on a plaque, but my first priority was in fact to get the **** out of there as quickly as possible.
I did not need no Moulder or Sculley to tell me that that road was definitely haunted by some anti cyclist ghoul.
My Tyre changing rivalled the Red Bull Formula One team, and I was off running again within 9.2 minutes
The Next couple of days saw further cycling which included the final part of my Skins clothing evaluation. This will be covered by a future blog .
In three weeks time I will be in America and I may just compile a new UK X File to be evaluated.
Happy Cycling