Monday, 19 March 2012

Well thats nice....

Cycling along on the A332 Windsor Road this morning in a north westerly direction, I noticed a White Audi looking to emerge right from 'broadpool cottages', this would have meant him crossing my lane to continue his journey in the opposite direction.

I was a couple of hundred ft away when I noticed him. As I apporached the traffic was fairly heavy in both directions so I assumed he'd continue to wait until I was long past before pulling out.

I was then around 30ft away, riding at 20mph when I realised he was pulling out. This was a bit of a shock, turns out there wasn't a car immediatly on my side of the road approaching his turning , only me on my bike. On the other side of the road the car passing had flashed to the driver to indicate his willingness to let the white Audi pull out. I assume the Audi had got bored of waiting for a gap as he clearly wasn't interested in waiting for me to pass, instead he pulled out directly in front of me. It was cold this morning and the Audi driver clearly had no experience in these conditions as he was un-intentionally wheel spining his car. (if it was intentional he'd be in a car park doing doughnuts listening to Eminem, surely?)

The funny thing was I could clearly lip read him saying 'sorry mate, sorry mate' repeatedly as he realised I was going faster than he'd initially thought and that I was FUCKING CLOSE as he pulled out, oddly at no point did he try and stop, he just continued to pull directly in front of my path.

This sort of incident leaves me seething with anger as its clearly avoidable. Why would you simply pull out in front of an on coming cyclist? When I drive I wait for 2 lanes of clear traffic before pulling across into one of them. Ow wait a minute, i'm on a push bike so I clearly don't figure in the minds of a driver, after all, his journey is far more important than mine. prick.

Rant over.

Friday, 16 March 2012

The things I hate most....

Approaching a roundabout, you've gauged your speed, got into position on the road (depending on where you're turning, having first looked then indicated, of course), then some twat passes you and pulls in front of you so you have no where to go. The twat leaves no gap so you have no alternative. Ow well, at least he saved 10 seconds on his journey.

Single file traffic, a car in front of you is turning right in the road. No issue with that at all, Until some prick in a Reanult Clio (with roll cage??) driving like he thinks he's on a race track, drives straight up the turning cars backside then goes for a non existent gap causing me to take evasive action and almost end up in a ditch. perhaps his journey was so important that my life is irrelevant.

Not indicating at roundabouts. Now I've done this myself in a car when i'm so self indulged other road users are just an irritation. Not difficult though is it, that little stick on your right, goes up and down, not really much to ask. So frustrating when cycling as I have to alter my speed for your actions. You're approaching a roundabout from my right, you could go straight on, left or right. Why not just let me guess, thats an exciting game you lazy twat.

Why ow Why do you hate me so....Winsdor Great Park, every night I have wind blowing into my riding direction, every poxy night. Nothing I can do about it but it just makes those long winding climbs that little bit harder. Just 1 night with a tail wind, thats all I ask. Unrealistic obvioulsy.

Punctures: Now I know this is clearly tempting fate but as this post is about things I dislike on my commute, puncture's clearly had to figure. You can do you're best to ensure you don't get punctures, I use slime tubes in Schwalbe Durano Plus tyres, which are renowned for their puncture protection, just for peice of mind. I'd happily add weight to the bike if it means I don't need to get off my bike to fix a puncture. During the summer months it's not such a pain but during the winter on the unlit roads I ride its a mare. 1 poxy front light to shine on what you can't see with headlights constantly passing then plunging you back into darkness. Its a simple process littered with potential pitfalls if you can't see what you're doing.

Riders at the side of the road: now this is a real double edged sword. The only reason they are stood their is due to a mechanical or a puncture. I carry tools and a tube, never leave home without them, so i just assume others do the same. I haven't stopped, previously and always regretted not doing so. I was riding a sportive once and punctured twice with not one person offering assistance, just bike after bike flying past me, it really affects moral. Had one person just stopped and offered assistance it would have made all the difference.

Since becoming a commuter I always stop, primarily because I ride the same route so the cyclist I help today may become the cyclist that helps me tomorrow. The last time I stopped I was flying on a Strava segment that I wanted to PB. I cycled straight pass the stricken rider at speed then thought 'fuck it' and slammed on the anchors peddling back to offer my assistance. Turns out he didn't need it as he lived 2 miles down the road and was enjoying the point.

This could go on for ever......

The Star for going so far....part two

So finally it happened.... I have passed 200 commuting days. When I started this blog I hoped to ride 200 consecutive commuting days. I have grown up since then and realised this is nigh on impossible with the Engilsh weather.

I did initially feel guilty when driving the car to work instead of riding the bike. Now my outlook has changed a little. Each has its purpose. I'll always choose the bike over the car if given a choice but sometimes that choice is taken away from you and I've learnt to enjoy the drive. I get to drop my daughter off at nusery when I drive which always makes me happy.

This means 2 stars on my top tube to mark the 'double ton'. I still get ripped for this at work, being likened to a child during potty training. 'well done Nick here's a star for your cross bar'.

I intend to attach a picture of my top tube with 2 stickers on (I can feel the anticipation), well what else are you gonna do with that blank tubing?

Bit of motivation as I look down. I wonder how many stars I have on the bike before I upgrade.....

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Deadlines and Dead lines.....

So I've been checking out a few other cyclists blogs and I have to admit most seem easier on the eye than mine. Its not the content but the lack of images I blame for this...

Saturday morning (10/03) I decided to go out for a ride, I was due to go on a training ride with a friend but prior engagements put paid to that idea, I was in the mood for a ride so off I went. Being a commuter I don't generally cycle at weekends, I ride 130 plus miles a week so I prefer to spend my weekend time with the family. (I had friday off this week which kinda gave me the excuse I needed).

                                         Ascot Racecourse (it doesnt actually look this good when empty)

Whilst riding I started to take in all that was around me, the quiet roads, the natural noises and the views, wow the views. Its been a long time since I rode my bike simply for the sake of it, just to get some miles in the legs.

This got me into thinking, this is exactly why my blog posts generally dont contain pictures. When I ride I have a dead line to meet, I'm cycling to or from work in rush hour traffic so I don't get to dick about and stop to take in the scenery or take a picture, I've been dying to take a pic of the surrey border sign which reads 'welcome to surrey, the host county of the olympic road race' as I pass this daily and think its very cool, i'm guessing that will come down next year. Thing is I just don't have the time or the balls to stop and get my phone out of my bag to take a pic as cars are passing at 50mph.

                                         Royal Holloway College (Beautiful)

Up until very recently my commute has been in darkness, I cycle through some nice towns and past some nice scenery but I rarely even look, I have a time to keep and the view away from the asphalt simply blends into a selection of dead lines outside of my line of vision. Ascot race course, Ascot Heath golf course, Windsor Great Park, Old Windsor, Wentworth, Virginia Water, Royal Holloway College, the River Thames some truely great landmarks of English heritage but I'm generally only ever interested in the 2 ft in front of my wheel.

                                         Windsor Great Park (I've not once seen a deer)

So I have added images in this post of places I cycle past daily but barely look at, shame on me.

                                         Virginia waters.

Friday, 9 March 2012

I have a need...

Ok so my best endeavours have failed, well not so much failed but fallen aside somewhat. I had hoped to ride over 1000 miles before the end of Feb. Not happened. I've ridden 857 miles, which is good but not what I wanted. I have a viral infection which I just cannot seem to shift, I've been coughing for weeks, I've seen a doctor and been told its not bacterial and will eventually pass 'within 6 weeks', wicked I never enjoyed sleeping horizontally anyway....

I wanna be fit, I wanna be healthy and I want to stop F**king coughing. I've been avoiding the bike in a vain attempt to ditch the virus.

I feel like I want to replace my bike now, riding so frequently requires certain needs from your steed. I've recently changed my chain and cassette on the bike just prior to the UK being showered in snow and ice, not the end of the world I know just a bit of an inconvienence.

The bike looks shit, everything has a layer of rust, I'm not a cleaner, I know I should wash the road debris of my bike when I get home each night especially when rock salt has been laid down but I simply can't be bothered as its still dark when I arrive home.

Genesis Flyer thats what I want. What a beautiful peice of kit. I recon I have 2 choices, Alfine hub gears or a single speed. Riding derailleur's in all weathers just means maintenance. Genesis do 2 bikes I want to own, I intend to own one before the year is out. Whether that is the 'day one' or the 'Flyer' I don't know. I really am pining for a single speed right now after all, its all the bike I'll ever need.

Who needs gears anyway?

HHhhhmmmnmnn Maybe this is just a phase, my bike went back to my LBS recently to have the gear cables tightened. The front mech had seized. With a little love and a lot of lubrication she came good in the end (ahem)...but seeing my bike sat around all the lovely new bikes in the store made her look sad and old........and rusty. Signing up to another ride to work scheme really appeals. The Tricross has been a god send and never misses a beat but I want something lighter and needing less maintenance.  Steel, single speed, light, fast gotta be done......

Friday, 2 March 2012

Well, that was a good start

Well that lasted long then. Already I have sacrificed 5 commuting days in 2012, one more than 2011 and it's only March, just.

I blogged on Sunday the 26th that I needed to ride every working day to match my 2011 stats, the very next day I drove to work, then stayed home for a further 2 days with a chest infection. 830 miles ridden YTD, could well have been somewhere closer to 980.

Ow well, shit happens. This time last year I was still driving daily so all the crap weather was missed. This year I seem to be catching everything possible, cycling through illness seemed like a good idea initially but as it turns out thats probably exactly what made it worse. My legs are certainly feeling the missed miles tonight, they ache like a wednesday morning. I need to be hitting 5 days regularly to get my fitness back.

Bring on April the 1st.