Monthly Archives: April 2009

Manchester

So I am ‘up north’ where life is hard, and the women are harder. Actually it isn’t that bad so far. Been to The Lime House for dinner which was great, and them to bar 23 in the Hyatt for cocktails. Now checking out Lock Street. Good night so far. The Pretty Ine is having fun.

Sofa time

I am in the luxurious situation of no longer having anywhere to live in Germany. Sofa time for at a colleague’s house. I Am sad to see the apartment go, but financially it makes good sense. That’s also the answer as to why I put myself through this.

I fly today. I am then spending the weekend in Manchester. Actually, Monday and Tuesday too. The Pretty One’s job is moving up there in a couple of years and they are show us what a nice place it is to live. Then next week it is time to perhaps ride the bike. Trying to arrange possibly riding with Hans (No Way) Ray.

An old friend

The Internet is a strang place. Less geeky by the hour. The joys of many areas, such as the mass interactivity of forums, for example, have been reinvented, sanitised and had pretty pictures added, themes and moderation largely removed, and become Facebook. A socially acceptable forum.

I have been a major forum user in the past. Far from being the waste of time that many seem to think they are, their use can be beneficial. They were a major stepping stone to my working in the industry.

The title of this post refers to my posting again on my favourite forum. I love it for what it was, and grieve it in the same way one wishes that you could go out with all your friends again, just once, with all your secondary school buddies like you did when you were eighteen. It is unrealistic to develop in your own way, and yet desire that the things around you remain the same. I miss the real friendships, bonds and banter, but recognize they are still there for the making. I miss my friend Felix, and the conversations we used to have. Yet the regression he would need to undertake to to through it all again is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

All a bit philosophical this post. Still moving house, and have a fuzzy head.

Out with the old

Clearing out my German flat this weekend I decided that it really was about time I got rid of a couple of old cycle helmets. One was 8 years old, one 5 years old. When I think about the perspiration and the UV in that time, I decided that the protection they offer would be questionable, therefore destroyed them. Besides I have a nice new shiney one!

Otherwise it was a really dull weekend. Moving house and packing stuff up is horrid. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Cool isn’t it?

Some things at work are so cool it is difficult not posting them here. They might not be about me, or cycling specifically but all the same they have their place.

This for example. Replacing (or substituting) the present VW bus and trailer, this monster is now roaming Europe for the race team.

It has a full customised interior, built to the team manager’s specification. There is a seating area, cooking facilities, workshop, bike storage and a bed/massage table. Personally, I am just glad that I don’t have to drive it.

The Commute

It was a ritual that I don’t know if I fully appreciated at the time.  My alarm would go off and I would roll out of bed.  The light would be creeping around the curtains, which would be tentatively drawn back to let the day in.  On the drying rack in my bedroom there was always a selection of cycling clothing.  I lived in a suburb of London, and I commuted through 10 miles each way of London traffic by bike pretty much every day.

This was my training.  Of course, I would ride at the weekends too, but this, this hellish ride, this car, people, bus, motorbikes, glass and dog shit dodging ride was my daily escape.  I would ride in pretty much whatever weather.  In the rain things were a little more nasty, but then again there weren’t as many other (read slower) cyclists around.  The alternative was a stuffy, and stuffed full damp tube train.  Standing and rocking back and forth with the hundreds of other people, breathing dank and spent air.

I used different bikes.  The winter was a mountain bike with slicks, and the summer was a road bike.  I wore a dust mask, full cycling gear and I carried my work clothes with me.

I would ride straight down Oxford Street.  I would ride via Shepherds Bush and up Holland Avenue.  I would get horns blown at me, drivers shout at me.  I would get cut up, knocked off, wet and filthy,  I would vary the route.  Ride through Hyde Park.  Ride the Regents canal tow path.  I would ride through the winter, in the pitch darkness, with only a cheap halogen bike light to pick out the muddy path from the water in front of me.

There would be damp and dripping bikes at the end of the evening in the hallway.  There would constantly be a floor to clean, shoes to dry and lights to charge.  In the summer, it was paradise, but it was almost too easy.  Temps in London around 25 degrees at 8 in the morning.  Thoughts of the previous day’s Tour coverage in my head.  Spinning, and time trailing against only myself and the traffic lights.

Looking back it was great.  Having to ride, actually having to, rather than opting to, is a great thing.

WR

I am moving house

I am currently looking for somewhere to live.  Do you know of anywhere in Koblenz?  I need it urgently!

Getting it wrong Pt2

Some days whatever come out of my mouth is the wrong thing to say or do. Today appears to be one of those days. I will struggle on.

Catching up

Being back in the UK more us a godsend. It is still fragmented, and not without it’s stresses, but is infinitely preferable to the alternative.

Friday was wet. After a week of preferable weather (which allowed me us to go for a run on Thursday night) the bank holiday weather seemed sent to aggravate. The Pretty One was working an early shift, and my intention was to return to Crowthorne to revisit the singletrack handling skills school which it seems to be. The prospect of the filth and filling the car with mud was unappealing. I sat around for a while debating with myself. I switched on the TV to be greater by a non-cyclist on a well known TV programme riding across London in dull and damp weather. It inspired me to kit up and scout the local area.

There are a couple of rivers near where I live. The Thames and The Jubilee river. The latter is actually flood relief for the former. It is man made and forms a bird sanctury. At both sides it is flanked by cycle paths, which while utterly unchallenging allow you to get away from traffic and ride for about five or six miles. In the rain, despite it being a bank holiday, this was as good as deserted. At times, like I have written in the past, riding is just about having fun, this time it was about freedom. it was also about taking the heart rate up a bit.  The way home was from Maidenhead, down the Thames path to Windsor and Eton, through Eton’s ground and back to the flat.  A pretty good little ride of about an hour and fifteen.  No one is going to get super fit from it, but every little helps, right?

I did the same ride again on Monday with slightly more pace which allowed me to feel justified in the huge amount of food I had eaten.

Saturday saw me visiting Windsor castle with The Pretty One and three friends.  This is something that I really needed to do, having not been there for 15 years or so.  What is good is the ticket is valid for re-entry for a year following your initial visit.

LHR FRA

Early start this morning after the Easter break. Back to the German Office. A lot to write about in the last couple of days. Being back in Germany should allow me the time to update a little better. It is always difficult at the weekend as I try not to have my head in the laptop the whole time.