Friday, August 01, 2008

Bikes, bikes, bikes

David Cameron, leader of the Tories, got his bike nicked the other week after locking it to a low bollard. Oddly enough, some scally stole it by lifting it up and walking off with it. The Guardian had a go at repeating this trick but were obviously far too obvious and got rumbled before anyone pinched their bike - the lurking papparazo must have been the give away. My friend who works for the Guardian forwarded me a rather amusing internal email:
"Thanks to a slight overestimate of crime rates in the Portobello Road area The Guardian finds itself in possession of a rather nice silver Specialised Globe gents bike (retail price £219.99). Bids welcome..."
Fortunately for Davey-boy he got his bike back, though it was via the power of the tabloid press not via the plod, so not the normal result.

Anyways, it's been an exciting week for me bike-wise as I finally bought a new commuter. It is a rather svelte-looking, fine piece of American engineering (see above) - flat bars but no suspension and hydraulic brakes that bite like a pissed-off pit bull. Indeed they have already proven their worth when on the way to work earlier this week some walker inexplicably decided to step out into the middle of the cycle path at the bottom of short, steep hill I was descending. Fortunately with the new brakes, all they had to put up with was some choice words from me as I skidded around them. The aluminium frame is weird feeling after well over 10,000 kms on my old steel steed. Rigid and light, but you feel the vibrations more I'm sure. Between the bigger wheels, thinner tyres and better frame - I've knocked about 8 minutes of my commute which is pretty impressive.

I managed to break a cycle computer in moving it from the old commuter to the new one, so have now been carrying out complicated logistics moving various computers between bikes to get working ones on the bikes I'm using currently. I'm very upset that the 'good' computer I put on the new bike has decided that my commute is about 2 kms shorter than it was with the other computer on the old bike. I didn't spend all that money just to be told I'm lazy and slow.

I had vague thoughts about turning my old commuter into a fixie, because clearly that is what all the cool kids are riding now, but a) it is actually more complicated than I suspected needing a new wheel if you can't build them yourself on a new hub; b) I'd probably fall off and hurt myself - or at least look foolish; c) I don't have a beard or tattoos (although I do own an Andean ear-flap woolly hat) and these seems to be de rigueur for fixie riders; and finally c) my wife says now she can use my old bike - which isn't a bad idea as it is considerably safer than her old Scandinavia pile of crap.

The biggest question now is how to fit them all in the shed?

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