Never underestimate the power of one wheel drive!


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Monday, 28 May 2012

On the Right Track

On Saturday morning I joined a group of Marlow Riders for a track taster session at Calshot Velodrome, part of the Calshot Activity Centre down on the South coast, just outside Southampton.

Marlow Riders is a club formed as the cycling wing of Marlow Runners. The club was born out of an idea where one fo the Runners decided to invite his friends to join him for dinner to celebrate his 60th birthday. The only catch was that dinner was in Paris and his guests had to cycle to the venue. After a number of months of training, the group did the ride to Paris in 3 days. Marlow Riders  was born.

The taster session was organised by Marlow Rider Willi Moore, a cyclist with years of experience including being a Team Pursuit Bronze medallist at the Munich Olympics.

On arrival we booked in and signed the usual waivers etc. then made our way to the centre of the track. Calshot is the second shortest velodrome in the world apparently at 142 meters (ish) on the racing line. A sort track howver doesn't diminish the angle of the banking. Standing at the foot of one of the bends, looking up the steep banking was enough to make more than a few sphincters start to twitch.

Not to worry though. We were fitted for our Dolan track bikes and then lined up track centre facing our instructor who talked thorugh the foibles of riding fixed. He then got us riding round the flat track infield so that those who had never ridden fixed could get a feel for it.

As the session progressed we were put through a series of exercises that got us up to speed and up to the top of the banking in a controlled manner.

The feeling of riding round the velodrome at speed was exhilerating and the experience of being at speed at the top of the banking then diving down towards the exit of the bend and the racing line has to be experienced to be understood. 8 grown men and women smiling like children at a toy shop.

If you get the chance to try track cycling, give it a go. I don't think you will regret it.

Monday, 14 May 2012

A rant

A little while ago, Nick herbert MP wrote this letter to Police Officers in England and Wales.

I am fuming! He has the temerity to address me as a colleague! Unless he is a sworn Officer, Special Constable, PCSO or Civillian employee of one of the Police Forces in England and Wales, he is no colleague of mine, he is a The Managment.

Herbert- stop patronising me and the folk I work with. I am not your colleague. I am a minion. Thats right, a minion. One of the thousands of folk who work for the Police Service who are being shafted- no cancel that, Right Royaly Shafted, by this Government under the auspices of the Puppet that is Tom Winsor. It has to be a Royal Shafting as we are under a Coservative/ Liberal Democrat coalition govenment. A Labour governmet wouldn't dare go in for all that Royal stuff. Too un SocialistThey would just shaft us but with all the skill and vigour that can be applied by a strong manual labourer.

In just under two years, I qualify for a full pension. Until this shafting business started, it was my intentionn to continue working as a Police Officer. Well, you have gone and completely screwed that up. Come the day of my qulification, I might take my in excess of 25 years loyal service and experience and jump like a rat leaving a sinking ship, for that is how I see it. The good ship British Policing is going down. God have mercy on her soul.

Catching up with stuff

Hi Folks!

As you may have noticed by a) the lack of anything new to read below and b) the absolute rubbish mileage returns I have logged, my cycling based life has not been what it should recently. This is mainly due to what I do to earn a crust. I am currently involved in a job which, if I were to tell you about it, I would have to find you all and kill you (or at least put you across my knee and give you a damn good spanking). Lets just say that the job has been taking up a lot of my time- both scheduled and unscheduled work time. Hopefully, over the next 6 weeks or so, this time commitment will reduce, allowing me to get back into my former lifestyle and riding more frequently again.

So, what has been happening out there in the meantime? Well, it is Giro d' Italia time again. Some good stages so far, a poignant moment of silence prior to the start of the stage on 9th May to mark the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt last year  and a couple of good stage wins by Mark Cavendish (and a bloody painful looking crash where he was brought down by another sprinter recklessly changing his line). Needless to say, my satellite TV decoder box record function is getting good use.

The annual return of bats to our garden has taken place. The 'Black Arrows' display team are on fine form doing their thing around the airspace over my lawn. If it isn't the bats in the evening, it is the Red Kite during the day. Sometimes the numbers I can see from my garden are in double figures. Sometimes a pair of kite will put on a display by playing tag in the sky overhead, diving at each other, barrel rolling to avoid one another. Great stuff to watch.

She Who Must be Obeyed (Mrs Secret Cyclist) has done me proud again. Ferry crossing and hotel booked in Liege for the depart of the Tour de France. Top Bird my Wife.

As you can see, life goes on. Roll on resumption of normal service is all I can say.