Velosolo Club

OP
anothersam

anothersam

SMIDSMe
Location
Far East Sussex
Contains the occasional blatant falsehood for the entirely justified goal of telling a more entertaining story.

It’s been a while since I’ve experienced the thrill of falling for a hill. This one is called Peartree Hill,

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You may have to squint

and it passes right by my close friend* Roger Daltrey’s house. (*Who do you think this song is about? Listen carefully to the lyrics. That could be anybody.)

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"Come back mate, all is forgiven"

Yesterday’s ride started from home, like all my rides except when we’re on holiday, and we never go on holiday. It was a modest 15-mile loop taking full advantage of Bike Privilege.

I'm no huge fan of people generally
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Us loners are like peas in a pod

I have no problem doing the same routes over and over, because rides aren’t just exercise, they’re an engine to daydreams. They can also be a cyclist’s version of pacing when you’re worrying a problem in your head.

For whatever reason, I took a detour from the norm. Just wanted a change I guess.

Peartree is about 2 miles long, not too arduous but reasonably invigorating if you’re so inclined. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn’t suffering at all. While a hill addict may miss the pain, I took it in my stride.

It undoubtedly helped that traffic was

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Still, the gradient was bang on brilliant, and I knew that when I got to the top I could get my speed on for the spin home.

Partway up I spied a man by the side of the road who appeared to be throwing rocks at the other side, either out of boredom or cruelty to animals, I’ll never know. There was a motorcycle parked nearby. When I got there I felt the need to ask “Everything OK?”, even though my multitool probably wouldn’t be much help. He said “Yeah, I broke down, waiting to be picked up mate.”

I reflected on my own front tyre, baldly in need of replacement. Still thinking…

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I never done you wrong

Roger’s was quiet when I passed.

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Inside sulking

Had I turned left I could’ve checked to see how Robert Smith of The Cure is coping in that big white house of his.

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What do you mean Chaplin’s is closed? (Scroll up to understand this joke)

At the playground on the edge of the village green the sound of children’s games and laughter was silenced by heavy-handed writing.

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The wind whistled desolately down the slide

My iPod Shuffle served up Tanita Tikaram’s Yodelling Song. I didn't yodel.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxs4WuZB-yY

The road to Heathfield was almost lifeless. Heathfield itself is, according to garbled Facebook accounts, a zombie plague pit.

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Not zombies, just taking in the air

Back through Burwash, the high street lined with houses far beyond my budget, I was reminded of the largesse of the landed gentry.

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Pete Townsend sent pudding but it got lost in the post

I haven’t been thinking too much about how long this is going to last. One day at a time. While the riding is good, we otherwise struggle to comply: we all wanna live the way we like.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeoKCJNI-k4
 
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OP
anothersam

anothersam

SMIDSMe
Location
Far East Sussex
This morning’s ride was a short one, just enough to give my underappreciated Langster a taste of the roadtime it deserves and me an excuse to visit with Mr Kipling again.

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I was wearing a helmet (explained in the above link - I don’t normally). As if begging this to be used as a classic example of risk compensation, I turned off my front light to truly drink in the splendid peace and quiet.

First stop was the war memorial.

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Dr Dann gave me pause. Unless that was a battlefield commission, it’s pretty young to be practicing medicine. Was he practicing, say, philosophy instead? Whichever, his name is indeed living on.

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Nearby is our local front line.

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My usual GP is now in self isolation. My previous doc – an avid cyclist who always used to be up for a chat on the subject – was due to retire at the end of the month. I don't know if he's decided to stay on.

On the current playlist: Tom Waits in full storytelling mode.

View: https://youtu.be/iGeIusN-avE
One of my favourite lines in a song ever has got to be “and her hair spilled out like root beer.”

View: https://youtu.be/VWH9iwtl9Q4

Saw the milkman again. What a great job. Wouldn’t be surprised if it required a degree at this point.

On the way home I passed Robin’s house. He’s such an unassuming fellow you’d never know that he once suffered a heart attack and had the brass to drive himself to hospital. Not the sort of man to unnecessarily bother 999, is our Robin.

Nearby lives Mike, who thanks to the corona lull I recently discovered used to illustrate comics.

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Here’s to Robin, Mike, the milk man, and you:

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OP
anothersam

anothersam

SMIDSMe
Location
Far East Sussex
From yesterday’s ride: if a guy passes you going up a hill like you’re standing still, it is not uncharitable to consider that you may not be in possession of all the facts. Fortunately he headed back down again, so I turned around and caught up with him to offer congratulations on his KOM.

“I was cheating!” he said, showing off the electric bike that made it possible for him to be out in the first place, considering that walking brace.

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What a relief.
 
OP
anothersam

anothersam

SMIDSMe
Location
Far East Sussex
Met a man walking his lurchers on my last club run.

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"They’re working dogs," he told me. What sort of work do they do? "Hunt rabbits." Say it ain't so!

Passed a Celtic cross staked out in the burial grounds of St. Mary the Rumoured Virgin.

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Made a note to revisit and walk the pastoral avenues of the departed at some point when it’s not verboten.

The bluebells are out in all their glory.

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Here’s a closeup of one god or his outsourced labour made earlier:

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and here's a gaggle of lookalikes that look like like they lost the plot:

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The neighbours greeted me with suspicion when I got home.

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OP
anothersam

anothersam

SMIDSMe
Location
Far East Sussex
The month didn’t start well.

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Not how a chainstay is supposed to work

With my best bike out of action, and my second best long sidelined because of a maddening undiagnosed noise, it was up to the Langster, by far my cheapest bike and also by far the one that’s had the fewest problems over the years. Go figure.

My only issue with the Langster, aside from the entirely objective fact that it’s ugly, is that it’s the least stable on windy days and awful roads. After ruminating over the matter, I decided to haul out the creaky bike, an old Litespeed, and see what could be done that hadn’t been tried before.

On the cusp of the indignity of being scavenged for parts, I’d swear it looked relieved when I retrieved it from the shed: “What’s a little creaking between friends?” We don't have quite as many memories as @chriswoody and his Super Galaxy, but we have our share.

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Hold me like you used to

Unfortunately the stem was loose, thanks to some earlier tinkering, and I couldn’t get the expander plug to work properly. What the hell was it doing with one of those anyway? The answer is lost in the mists of time. I decided to take it to the nearest shop and have them put in a star fangled nut.

This they did, at a price high enough that I resolved never to darken their doorstep again, and attacked the noise problem (which the shop wasn't interested in helping me with) by throwing a few spare parts at it. And when I took the bike out the creak was gone!

For two days. There’s nothing quite like the sinking feeling you get when you realise you’re stuck in groundhog day.

I think what’s required here is an attitude adjustment.

In one of Bettina Selby’s cycling travelogues she gave up on trying to track down odd noises and decided that it was the bike singing because it was happy. From what I can recall she made some pretty impressive journeys without mishap, so I reckon she must have been right!
 
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Drago

Flouncing Nobber
Location
Poshshire
No solo ride today. It's chucking with rain, which alone wouldn't stop me. I have a migraine, which alone wouldn't stop me, but both together are too much. I'm about 22 miles ahead of where i'd typically be on a Thursday so don't feel too guilty.

Walking the dog this morning I got chatting to another cyclist I see about quite a lot. He was on foot for a change, told me he'd been riding a local bridleway a couple of months ago while riding solo, took a bad fall, punctured a lung and busted a collarbone. Tough as he is though, he phoned his Missus to come and rescue the bike, and only then phone Ambo to come and rescue himself.
 
The month didn’t start well.

View attachment 558900
Not how a chainstay is supposed to work

With my best bike out of action, and my second best long sidelined because of a maddening undiagnosed noise, it was up to the Langster, by far my cheapest bike and also by far the one that’s had the fewest problems over the years. Go figure.

My only issue with the Langster, aside from the entirely objective fact that it’s ugly, is that it’s the least stable on windy days and awful roads. After ruminating over the matter, I decided to haul out the creaky bike, an old Litespeed, and see what could be done that hadn’t been tried before.

On the cusp of the indignity of being scavenged for parts, I’d swear it looked relieved when I retrieved it from the shed: “What’s a little creaking between friends?” We don't have quite as many memories as @chriswoody and his Super Galaxy, but we have our share.

View attachment 558901
Hold me like you used to

Unfortunately the stem was loose, thanks to some earlier tinkering, and I couldn’t get the expander plug to work properly. What the hell was it doing with one of those anyway? The answer is lost in the mists of time. I decided to take it to the nearest shop and have them put in a star fangled nut.

This they did, at a price high enough that I resolved never to darken their doorstep again, and attacked the noise problem (which the shop wasn't interested in helping me with) by throwing a few spare parts at it. And when I took the bike out the creak was gone!

For two days. There’s nothing quite like the sinking feeling you get when you realise you’re stuck in groundhog day.

I think what’s required here is an attitude adjustment.
Blimey that doesn't look too good, it also doesn't look like the strongest way of attaching a dropout to a chainstay though.

On the bright side, at least you only need a new frame, you could always build one out of Bamboo :whistle: Plenty of time over the winter with those long dark nights and Covid lockdowns.
 
OP
anothersam

anothersam

SMIDSMe
Location
Far East Sussex
No solo ride today. It's chucking with rain, which alone wouldn't stop me. I have a migraine, which alone wouldn't stop me, but both together are too much. I'm about 22 miles ahead of where i'd typically be on a Thursday so don't feel too guilty...
I'd like your post if I wasn't otherwise contractually bound.

The rain, I'll admit, stops me nowadays. This afternoon, after fitting a new tyre

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CC recommends

and rolling a bit more electrical tape on the handlebars

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Somebody ran out of patience before they ran out of bar tape

of the only bike that hasn't let me down, I checked the Met Office, Yr, the BBC, and finally the sky on the state of the weather.

View: https://youtu.be/z9KV_SG9Umo

It wasn't going to be quite that bad. Eventually it cleared again, and I was off.

The theme of the ride was "Thank god I'm not on a creaky bike today."

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Alternate theme: the wonder of gypsum

I wonder if they dig up many fossils,

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mostly because I'm reading a book about fossils. Notice those toe clips? Clearly I'm a dinosaur, myself.

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Velosaurus with a curious crest

The mess left over from recent hedge trimming is a good test for the new tyre.

The lanes are pretty, as always, but I miss going to London

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to play in traffic and hop from museum to museum.

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As a girl Mary Anning pressed flowers in books

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Maybe next year.

Blimey that doesn't look too good, it also doesn't look like the strongest way of attaching a dropout to a chainstay though.

On the bright side, at least you only need a new frame, you could always build one out of Bamboo.
I'll bow to your expertise. I'm not getting a new frame out of it, but fortunately the repair is under warranty.

What a great thread! Making a bike from scratch is beyond me, but we do make our own bread.

Technically Bamboo is a grass and not wood.
Better keep it away from our rabbit then.

View: https://youtu.be/fh78UjL5gJI
 
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OP
anothersam

anothersam

SMIDSMe
Location
Far East Sussex
I guess most of us here love our bikes to one degree or another.

View: https://youtu.be/eUtF034h41Q

Yesterday I fell for my Langster all over again. It’s only "ugly", as I called it a few posts ago, in that it’s not the colour of titanium, which is my favourite colour. It’s what you might call

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The skull tattoos don’t help.

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The ride quality suffers by comparison with the Enigma, but that was custom built, so it’s kind of an unfair contest. It rides just fine. Certainly better than an Enigma with a crack in it.

We met in 2007 (the average age of my small stable is 14, btw) while I was in my LBS getting another one fixed. I took it for a spin to kill time and walked out with it, the price too good to resist. Actually I rode away with it on my shoulder, like a courier making a delivery. "Bloody cyclists," I’m sure a few bystanders muttered to themselves.

Not a fan of those freewheels you screw on, it didn’t take long for me to swap over to this,

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which has been trouble-free. The entire bike has given me very little cause for complaint over the years: if I named them, it could fairly be called Old Faithful. It might well grouch about the bodge I was forced to make out of installing the rear mudguard (it only wears 'guards because Best Bike doesn't). Talk about ugly. But it works.

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There was no clearance fore or aft, so I ended up changing the fork as well.

After a honeymoon of about four years it receded into the background thanks to a new purchase, and has spent a lot of time in the shed ever since, #3 in the pecking order. Thanks to problems at the top it recently got a promotion.

When I took it out yesterday I wasn’t convinced we’d have a great time. It was blowy, and I really missed the stability and nice long straight handlebars w/pleasing bar ends

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of the Litespeed (still working on that attitude adjustment). "Come on, we can do this," I told Langster, though I wasn’t daft enough to say that out loud.

And we did. It’s great on hills, for a start; at least going up them. Steep downhills are a white knuckle affair. If I could tailor a ride that was all uphill – with a few breaks, I’m not a complete masochist – I would.

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We had a splendid time together. Towards the end I had that pleasant buzz the best rides always confer. I even managed to finally get comfortable no-handed, which is my ultimate stamp of approval on a relationship.
 
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OP
anothersam

anothersam

SMIDSMe
Location
Far East Sussex
Taking a few days off to give my hands a rest (still need 'em most of the time), though I don't know to what extent cycling contributes to my CTS; it doesn't hurt when I ride...

Do you do handlebars?

View: https://youtu.be/B9a8u16hIhQ

Feeling beastly, my thoughts turned to beauty. There are some awfully pretty bikes out there, of both sexes. I don’t imagine any of mine would win a contest. Titanium, for example, is nice enough, but it isn’t the sweetest eye candy.

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We begses to differ

You need a good paint job to properly dress up a frame.

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A work of art, or overdressed? Spotted at a long ago bike show

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If I were a carpenter

But paint makes me nervous, particularly exquisite custom jobs. This comment resonated,

If I'd spent a lot on something really blingy and up to date I'd be afraid of getting it scratched or nicked and in a way, though nice to have, for me it would take away some of the pleasure of owning it.
reminding me of how I almost fear it's going to spontaneously scratch itself, like Linda Blair with a demon itching to get out. Ti is the safer option, and satisfies a certain spare aesthetic. As would this:

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That’s quality plumbing right there

Another post by Mr T struck me, not just because it painted a perfect little picture:

I had time to ponder how different male and female humans look, and how differently they move, and the nature of gender dimorphism. In some species, such as birds, males and females look very different, yet in the majority of life forms on the planet it is often hard to tell them apart. The man was quite bony and angular, his longish hair bouncing straight up and down in time with his strides. His heels also moved vertically as he ran. His companion was a bit plumper and had a pony tail which flicked from side to side, while the soles of her shoes moved in little circles. They were running almost in step. They looked like they did this regularly. The dog seemed to be enjoying itself too.
A bike doesn't have a sex unless you name it, and not always then.

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They/Them

As for other inanimate* objects,
"Interestingly, the German Navy refers to ships as ‘he’ as their tradition is to name ships in a masculine or magnificent manner. In popular parlance, the tradition of naming ships ‘she’ has now become less common. It's worth noting that the shipping industry newspaper, Lloyd's Register of Shipping, now calls ships ‘it’."

*
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