Never underestimate the power of one wheel drive!


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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Feeling the Love

The other day I posted this on YACF-

What I sent to Andrews of Tideswell by e mail a short while ago-

To whom it may concern.

This e mail is to thank the driver of your coach that made a big difference to my day yesterday. I did not get the registration of the vehicle concerned but hopefully the details of the incident will be enough to identify the driver and pass on my regards.

Yesterday afternoon (23/05/2010), probably at around 3:00 p.m. I was cycling on the A4130 between Hurley and Henley on Thames (heading towards Henley). I was aware of a coach behind me. The driver of the coach showed patience and courtesy, waiting behind me as we descended a hill (I am quite fast when descending but many drivers still force their way past). He continued to wait until there was a good, safe passing opportunity.

Often drivers pass cyclists far too close (I have often been passed on empty roads so close that I could easily touch the passing vehicle) and I include professional goods vehicle and coach drivers in this. Your driver however knows his stuff and he ensured there was plenty of space between us. This is where the story gets interesting. When your driver was about half way through his passing manoeuvre I saw the front of a silver car appear at an entrance on the offside of the road ahead of us. This driver of this vehicle was obviously only looking to their right as they started to emerge from the entrance, turning towards us, into the path of your coach.

Many drivers confronted with what your driver had to deal with would have forgotten my presence beside them and pulled back into the left lane. This would have required me to bail out by riding into the bank at the side of the road and crashing. Your driver did not do this. He was fully aware of me at all times and dealt with the situation by doing 3 things that I was aware of- 1) Started braking. 2) Sounded his horn and most importantly for me 3) held his position until we had both stopped. Once the coach had a clear road, your driver pulled away and continued on his way.

I did not get the chance to acknowledge your drivers skill and professionalism directly to him so hope that you can identify him from the route and time detail. If not, perhaps you can bring this e mail to the attention of all your drivers in order that he gets to see it. I am sure that the right man will recognise the incident.

Thanks again to your staff.

Well, this morning I got more 'Love' from a driver. The pilot of the O2 shuttle bus that was running between Maidenhead and Slough was behind me at traffic lights. These lights are at a point on the A4 which is, to be frank, bloody awful. My dental bills are bad enough without shaking the fillings out of my head over ruts and potholes. I therefore stick to the middle of the road until I clear the dodgy surface. The shuttle pilot waited patiently behind me, no over revving or tailgating until I pulled over to secondary position. I waved an acknowledgement as he started to pass and got a cheery wave in return.

O2 will be getting an e mail from me later!

Monday, 24 May 2010

The Only Way Is Up!

No folks, relax. I'm not talking about the catchy little ditty by Yazz!

What I'm talking about is busting my cherry for hill climbing on my fixed gear.

I have been riding Stig, my fixed wheel conversion pretty much exclusively since early January this year and had not tackled any even slightly daunting uppage, let alone what I would consider a challenging hill.

Anyway, Saturday saw me invited to a friends surprise 60th birthday hog roast (the hog roast was the surprise, not the fact that it was his 60th!). I had a feeling that I might be led astray and have more beer poured down my throat than would be legal, let alone wise, to drive home on. I decided to ride Stig to the bash. My rationale being it would be a damn sight easier to push Stig the 5 miles home than to push my Mazda!

Come time to wend my way home I was right. Too much beerahol to allow me to drive but I was sober. Being sober and thinking straight however can often be very unrelated and Saturday evening was one of those occasions. As I left the party, the options were turn right and have a nice flat 10 mile pootle home OR turn left and have a big hill in the way. I remember my thought process perfectly. "Fuzzy, you have never ridden Stig up anything more demanding than the bridge over the Thames. What are you, man or mouse?"- "MAN"- cue left turn and after 2 minutes my arrival at the bottom of Marlow Hill.

Marlow Hill used to form a daily part of my commute to work. I would descend on the way in and ascend on the way home. This used to be on an 8 speed double road bike though. Saturday was on a 42x16 69" fixed. On one descent I broke the 50mph barrier-
so I knew the hill was a challenge. By the time I got to the top however, I felt like my lungs had done an Alien Chest Burster impersonation. I made it without stopping though! The only close call was the traffic lights about 3/4 of the way up. If I had to stop at them I would never have got moving again.

The ride down the hill to home was entertaining! Hooning down hill on a fixed wheel, clipped in on SPD's is an 'Interesting' experience!

Friday, 21 May 2010

You know it makes sense!

I had a cracking commute in to work this morning. Nice clear skies and the temperature was just right (bib shorts, light base layer, short sleeve jersey and arm warmers).

The roads were fairly clear of traffic. Rabbits hopping around the grass verge, cows peering over the fence at me, herons stalking fish in the reeds of the streams adjacent to the road, swans and their cygnets and ducks with their ducklings in the Thames. The sun rising over Cliveden House and illuminating the mist hanging over the meadows.

I though to myself, is this the only sane way to travel to work? I suspect I will say yes as I ride home this evening, past the queues of vehicles waiting on the A4 because of the roadworks on Maidenhead Bridge (or because it is POETS Day).

Cycle commuting- what a way to travel!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


Having watched the last couple of stages of the Giro d’ Italia, there were lots of images of fallen cyclists and torn lycra and blood and road rash.

Now, like a lot of you cyclists out there, I have had my fair share of falling from the steed situations during which I have suffered varying levels of lumps and bumps and road rash. I then got thinking about the diverse downsides of these injuries. The thing is, for every downside I could think of at least one upside-

Bashed hip or thigh causing you to walk with a limp for a little while- get it right and folk will be falling over themselves to help you.

Broken collar bone- think of the tales you could weave about the way you smashed your body to bits but recovered and bravely cycle on.

Cuts and abrasions- these leave scars and (apparently) Chicks dig scars.

I then got to road rash.

Road rash can also leave scars and as I said, Chicks dig scars.
The problem with road rash is that it weeps and weeping road rash has a nasty side effect- adhesion.

When I get road rash, it is generally on my hip or the outside of my thigh and buttocks. I clean it up and try to get on with my life.

The problem with getting on with my life is that it involves things like wearing clothes and sleeping. I get dressed, pulling on lycra bib shorts for the ride to or from work, or underwear (I don’t do commando other than when wearing cycle kit) and the weepage from road rash sticks to the garments. I go to bed (I subscribe to the Marilyn Monroe sleep wear ethos- she wore Channel No.5 I wear whatever body spray or aftershave I have in the bathroom) and at some stage in the night roll on to my side. The weepage from road rash sticks to the sheets.

Unsticking from sheets or lycra hurts.

I hate adhesion.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Giro d' Italia

The Grand Tour season is upon us and the first of the Grands is underway- The Giro d' Italia.

Of the three Grand Tours, I regularly watch the Giro and the Tour de France. The Vuelta a Espana has yet to grab me. I don't know why but that is the way it is.

The Giro started in The Netherlands this year. I watched the prologue in Amsterdam on Eurosport and have got to say- brilliant ride Bradley Wiggins! Cadel Evans has done himself no harm either.

I watched the stage 1 highlights (Amsterdam to Utrecht) on Eurosport last night. Ouch! It was carnage. I don't remember seeing so many significant crashes in one stage. I'm not sure if anyone was seriously hurt physicaly but, the splits in the bunch that the crashes caused have certainly hurt some of the riders GC times. Bradley lost the Maglia Rosa (leaders pink jersey) because he got distanced after being on the wrong side of a crash.

I don't know whay there was so many crashes- well, I lie, the traffic islands and road furniture caught lots of riders out but, I don't know why they were caught out. They knew the route was littered with hazards and have radios so they can be pre warned of approaching dangers. Something wasn't working though.

Makes for interesting racing.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Yehuda Moon and the kickstand cyclery

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over at yacf many a cyclist partakes in a bit of web browsing. A site that recieves plaudits from a diverse bunch of crank turners is the comic strip Yehuda Moon and the kickstand cyclery

Worth a visit and a bit of a chuckle.