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Friday, 17 May 2013

Of Bats and Bikes (or Trikes)

Well, as promised a few days ago, here is some catch up stuff.

Every spring, SWMBO and I keep a weather eye out for the annual return of the Black Arrows display team- a pair of bats that use the airspace over our back garden for hunting. We were beginning to worry due to their lack of action this year but, it would seem that the cold weather had delayed things. 10 days ago, the advance party made a few passes over the garden. We haven't seen it every evening since but, 4 or 5 appearances have occurred. I think we are very lucky to be able to watch them in action.

Today marks stage 13 of the Giro 'd Italia. This is, I think, my favourite Grand Tour. I have been fortunate enough to attend at least one stage of 4 Tour de France editions but the Giro is by far the better spectacle in my opinion. Absolutely barking stages such as those on the Strade Bianchi (unmade gravel roads) or the climbs and summit finishes up also unmade tracks. The challenge to the riders seems almost extreme at times.

Mark Cavendish has won a couple of stages so far this edition and it was nice to see him dedicating his second stage win to Wouter Weylandt who was killed on the Giro 2 years to the day previously.

Sir Bradley Wiggins was a pre race favourite this year but it would seem that illness has got the better of him. He dropped quite a bit of time over the preceding few days and retired before the start of today’s stage. Rigoberto Uran is likely to take over as Team Sky leader. I wonder if this will have an effect on the plans Team Sky have for the Tour de France. I hope they stick with having Chris Froome as team leader supported by Wiggo.

In 10 months, I will either have the option to retire from my current job OR, if the Home Secretary has her way, I will be compulsorily retired (we find out some time in July). In preparation, I have got myself a part time job at my Local Bike Shop! I spend one day a weekend in the shop as a sales assistant and occasional supervised spanner monkey. I get paid to talk about bikes and fettle them! I am in heaven.

One major plus side of the job is that I get to see and occasionally try out some different stuff. The shop owner has an Inspired Cycle Engineering (ICE) Adventure recumbent trike. As the shop is a dealer for ICE, a bit of product orientation was called for. Boss Man is away for a week so I have been using the trike to get to and from work. Riding it is an absolute blast. It makes a very different use of the leg muscles when ascending but, descending is great fun. The trike doesn't have a rear brake (apart from a 'parking brake') but has independent disc brakes on each front wheel. Hooning down a hill, bleeding the speed off prior to releasing the outside brake, leaning in and clipping the apex of a turn before accelerating out id very exhilarating. I am sure that, with practice, I can get the tail out a bit and negotiate the bends with a bit of opposite lock. I want one! I would go with the Sprint I think with a larger back wheel 26" maybe to promote faster progress on the flat. Pity about my budget though....

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