Wednesday, May 30, 2012

With Royal Approval

Next week our noble Queen celebrates 60 years of reign and all across the United Kingdom and Commonwealth communities will be joining together in combined celebration. Already houses are  being festooned with bunting and union jacks, leaving bright spring blooms pushed aside by red, white, and blue fabric.
People are noticeably more courteous and smiling at one another. Discussions centre on 'The Event' rather than the weather or at the very least the weather that might be expected at 'The Event'.

Most people will celebrate in some appropriate way with friends and family, assembled together in street or  garden parties. Needless to say there will be plenty of baking and the over use of cucumbers in crustless sandwiches. Toasts will be made to Queen and Country and some national pride may filter into our lives

Sadly there will also be many who have no interest in the Queen or tradition. For them the two extra days holiday will merely be seen as an additional opportunity for disgrace.
After years of evolution they have been able to extend the capacity of their leg movements to walk to  supermarkets, although lifting their knuckles from the ground still remains a challenge.

Once at their chosen destination and with the use of  monosyllabic posturings they have sadly discovered the booze aisle, where they unashamedly spend their child benefit money.
On their return their gait becomes more of a strut.
A well oiled movement, bare chested, with boxes of canned 'wife beater' gripped loosely under their tattooed arms.
Sometimes they stop to lighten their load through consumption or spillage, drinking themselves more stupid than they already are.
As darkness descends so do their inhibitions as they randomly abuse each other or anyone within their blurred sight.

When HRH first came to the throne we were a country under threat from rumblings in Europe.
An  island of seafarers, proud, stubborn and resolute, we united together to fight and halt the dreams of the mustachioed fascist from Germany.
Now a number of generations on, those values are seemingly forgotten, along with the sacrifice of our grandfathers.
Apart from our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq a lot of our younger generation believe that sacrifice is a tangible thing. Like going without a curry after drinking 15 pints of lager.
Sadly as a nation we are more associated with drunken yobbos than we are with that old bulldog spirit.

This is no more evident than with our national sport 'soccer' on winning trophies the players initial celebrations reflect all that is anti-social.
They sing songs which consist of one mispronounced word repeated over and over again.
Champ-e-o-nes!!!! Champ-e-o-nes!!!! whilst gesturing with their arms that they are going to drink and drink and drink.

My own celebrations will be more subtle.
I will be riding my bike and wearing red, white, and blue and will ensure that my I Pod is loaded with patriotic songs. My route will be chosen on 'variety' to take in Wold, Moor, Plain and Coast in celebration of 'this fair and pastured land. 
I will toast the Queen.
I will be also be thinking about other sportsmen and women who will also be wearing red white and blue and trying to put the 'Great' back into Britain in our Olympic and Coronation Year.
For all of them representing the country 'this is their year'.
I wish them all luck.

My blogposts have been less frequent recently because in order to write about cycling you have to cycle! After an appalling start to the year May has been glorious!
So rather than Pedal.... pedal .....Blog .......Pedal ......pedal
Its just been all pedal with no blog but I do have 900 miles in the bag for the month so blogging can now catch up.

May also provided The Anglo Mules with their own royal visitor in the shape of 'La Patron' Paddy from America who was leaner, stronger, fitter and faster than I have ever seen him.
Previously on his visits to the UK we have taken him over to Brantingham and Trundlegate to watch the 'Plainsman' suffer. But clearly in his newly acquired condition this was never going to work.

There was only one thing for it. The High Wolds around Thixendale.
In our attempts to make him suffer (Its what cyclists do) he rose to the challenge ensuring that if he was going to suffer on the Hills, that we would too, on the rare flat sections.
On these stretches he pushed us all into our respective 'Red Zones' and certainly taught me a few things about cycling with a purpose.
After the ride we were all treated to our first BBQ of the Year courtesy of Simon and Karen.
As well as our bikes my Camera got an outing.......see for yourself.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bike Fit

As a road cyclist I often find myself  getting ill whilst out on the road.
It usually comes when I am exposed to the presence of other bikes - especially new ones.
My symptoms are quite bizarre - blood drains from my body and I feel irritable.
I have even been described as looking so sick I'm almost 'green' in appearance.
Naturally I researched this extensively before booing an appointment to see my Dr - a keen cyclist himself.

After all the 'usual' examination procedures such as having to jump up and down like a rabbit and stretching to see if I could put my big toe in my mouth. The Dr said 'Enough!!!!!'

When I took what I perceived to be a prescription to the pharmacist I was expecting some new wonder drug. I was actually looking forward to sitting down and reading the list of side effects and let them run through my mind.
Headaches, nausea, tiredness, hot flushes and in extreme cases death. That one always made me smile.
I had previously tried to share my humour with the white coated pill pusher but he was having none of it.
After he took my note I could see a frown appear across his forehead where upon he looked at the reverse of the sheet.
Stony faced he handed the sheet back to me and directed me to the local newsagent.

It was the only time that I could actually read my Dr's note. The words were very clear. 'I prescribe the May addition of cycling monthly'  you have an acute case of bike envy.

With those quite clear instructions, I spent more time than usual in my haunt where I read cycling magazines.
As i turned over the pages things were getting worse. It was like being an alcoholic and reading a 'brew your own' manual.
All the apparent cures were  like Botox - They would make me feel and look great and surely make me feel better -  but I could not afford them.

What made things was worse was that the cyclists in the magazine all looked great too.
They pedalled up the pages with the poise of a ballerina, turning their pedals with the ease of an electric tin opener.
I sulked for days and was losing interest in my bike at the same rate that it was losing interest in me.

Just as I was losing the will to rotate my pedals one of my fellow Mules told me about getting a bike fit.
Not of getting measured up for a new bike to push me over the edge - but getting his old bike to fit him like a glove.
His evaluation was that it was amazing. He felt like he had a new bike !!!!!!!!
Well this was music to my ears so I booked an appointment with Darren Smith at Ken Ellerker Cycles on Chanterlands Avenue in Hull..
So on a rainy Wednesday morning I attended with my bike and two pairs of road shoes all of which were seized from me. After a preliminary Interview about my cycling goals and history and physical capabilities the real action started.
Just about every part of my bike and myself were measured.  That's right we were in it together.
I was photographed, filmed, prodded and manipulated.
At one point i thought that Darth Vader had entered the room as the laser appeared across my legs.
Darren reassured me that he was looking at my leg movements.
In fact all the time that work was going on  Darren was talking me through it.
I thought that I knew quite a lot about the physiology of cycling but it was a fraction of what Darren imparted in just a few hours. I felt that I learned so much that I would have paid for just the chat alone.

Any way Five hours later.......yes five.
Everything on my bike had changed.
My seat was higher and further forward and my stem shorter. 
I had changed from Keo Look to speedplay cleats and my horizontal leg movement had been drastically reduced.
For an introductory cost of £100 I felt that I had a deal of a lifetime.
For me I really felt that I have got a new bike and that I had found a new cyclist within myself.
Do I recommend it? Well for everybody who lives outside East Yorkshire DO IT - you will be amazed at the difference.My average speed has increased by 1.5mph !!!!!!
For those of you who cycle the same routes as me you really need to consider my condition so don't bother.
My bike envy has now gone, by getting a bike fit you may just bring it back.
For those who are interested Ken Ellerkers Tel Number is 01482 446341 and Darren will be happy to advise you.
Happy Cycling