Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gifts & Bonus Knowledge!

Everybody loves presents and I’m no exception, so last night when I arrived home after a tough day at the coal face and my sweetheart told me she had a gift for me I was thrilled. At first I thought it might be that Lancia Fulvia 1.6 HF I have been asking for (what better way to turn up to a race) but when she handed me a heavy square object wrapped in brown paper I knew it wasn’t one of those. My first guess was that it was an industrial sized block of Belgian chocolate, which would have pleased me greatly, but it was better than that, it was this…

I spent half the night poring over its pages with child like wonderment before eventually retiring to bed much later than I normally would.

Usually I need to go through a complex routine which eventually gets me out of bed and on the road but this morning, thanks to the thoughtful and inspiring gift I received the night before I awoke feeling somewhat motivated to go for a ride and leaped out of bed and into my matching kit, which I had laid out the night before to spare my beloved any shambolic rummaging around in the dark wee hours.

I’m pleased to report that the missing cyclists I have mentioned in previous posts have miraculously re appeared. With yesterdays rest day in the Tour de France I suppose these people managed a full nights sleep and were keen to ride again. It was nice to get a friendly good morning from another happy person getting their morning fix of “cyclocise”. It’s only a matter of time before somebody uses that word to market a spinning class or similar activity. Remember you saw it here first.

In any case it was good to see people were properly attired for the cold and slightly damp conditions, under dressing is a pet hate of mine.
I then came across a scene that no matter how many times I see it never fails to amaze me. I try and pick out a beautiful moment every day and today I thought this was mine.

It makes me happy every time I see this scene and it’s not because of schadenfreude. It just reminds me how lucky I am to have an alternative to sitting in that queue of traffic every working day. The thing that has me vexed is that many of these people who are sitting passively in their cars stuck in the unavoidable peak hour traffic may be the same people who throw things at, yell abuse at or threaten with violence you or I while we ride our bikes every day. What causes a person to be driven to abusive behaviour because a cyclist held them up for 10 seconds and yet the same person sits submissively in traffic for considerably longer without as much as a word? Shouldn’t this photo be full of hostile people leaping out of their cars and accosting the others around them? I just have to console myself with the fact that most people are pretty considerate and that’s something we should all acknowledge with a friendly wave when we see it, whether we are on our bikes or in our cars. I couldn’t dwell on the subject for too long because as I was about to continue on my way I was distracted by this.

New Knowledge Section!

One of the daunting things about cycling is that there is just so much to learn. Sometimes the most obvious things can make a world of difference to your pleasure, fitness and or comfort. You may have been riding for 30 years but I’ll wager you will still be learning. So from now on whenever I post I will be including a little piece of the knowledge I picked up along the way. Some of it you will already know but bare in mind that there are people out there who are just starting cycling and need some guidance. I don’t pretend to be an expert but I have been riding for a long time and like I said, you never stop learning.

You may have noticed that it doesn’t need to be raining to end up with wet feet, all you need is a wet road. Wearing socks over your shoes can help but there is nothing worse than that moment when the cold water finally seeps through your shoes and hits you toes, to avoid this the best thing to do is to get yourself some decent shoe covers, prices vary and generally as with most things you get what you pay for. Don’t be afraid to buy the expensive ones you wont believe how you went without them once you try them and a good pair will give you years of service. Of course they will only keep the pouring rain out for so long and eventually the water will seep through but at least shoe covers or booties as some people call them will delay this from happening. The added bonus to wearing shoe covers is that your shoes will also stay clean. People have been known to put plastic bags inside their shoes in an attempt to keep their feet dry, I wouldn’t recommend it, your feet end up soaked in sweat and eventually the water will seep in at your ankles anyway. Of course regardless of how prepared you are every now and then you will end up getting home with wet shoes, if you want them to dry before the next mornings ride pull out the inner soles and stuff your shoes with news paper this will soak up the moisture. Change the paper a few times over the evening (4 or 5 times) and hey presto, wearable shoes in the morning.

I’m off to buy some beer and snacks now for tonight’s Tourmalet stage of the Tour de France. I'm really looking forward to some good honest smackfest racing from the favourites as they try and break each other.

Here’s hoping its entertaining.

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