A Normal ride on a normal day, so here are some uniquely humorous and very British perspectives on cycling from the folks at 7reasons.org.
7 Reasons That Urban Cycling Is Tricky
- Pedestrians. The moment that they sense the road is free of motor vehicles, pedestrians will swarm onto it from all directions without looking. There is no discernible pattern to their movement, which is wholly impossible to predict. If you have a bell fitted to your bicycle, you can sound this as you approach. This won’t cause pedestrians to move out of your way, but they will at least look at you as you plough into them. The movement of pedestrians in cycle lanes is easier to predict. They won’t move out of the way at all, as they are apparently mesmerised by all of the pretty pictures of bicycles they can see there.
- Pedals. No serious cyclist uses standard pedals and you’ll find that anyone with a remote interest in cycling is attached to their pedals, either by clips, or using a clip-less system. This is lovely for generating a lot of power, but an absolute nightmare when maneuvering in dense traffic, where cyclists often need to put their feet down. This is why you often find the riders of cooler, more expensive bikes laying in the road at traffic lights, having come to a standstill and forgotten to extricate themselves from their pedals, which causes them to fall over (it always seems to happen in slow-motion). Well, either they’ve forgotten, or they’ve had some sort of equipment malfunction. In my experience, the larger the audience, the more likely you are to have that malfunction.
- Distraction. There are many distractions that endanger the urban cyclist: girls in summer clothing, other bicycles, local landmarks and, as I discovered on Monday, shop windows. So distracted was I by my own reflection in a window that I cruised slowly into the back of a car which had come to a halt in front of me, causing many people on a bus to laugh. It was very undignified.
- Temptation. There are many temptations in an urban environment and it’s easy to succumb to them. While no one would dream of having a few beers and getting behind the wheel of a car, it is perfectly acceptable to have a few beers and then push your bicycle home. But pushing your bicycle is boring and dull and, when you find yourself alone, away from traffic and pedestrians on a deserted riverside cycle path, for example, it’s tempting to ride for a bit. This is a mistake, as you will soon realise when you find yourself wobbling outrageously and unable to steer in the direction that you are vaguely aware that you should be heading in. You will feel a growing sense of anxiety as you lurch between heading toward the river, and heading ever-so-slightly less toward the river. In your efforts to avoid the river, you may find that actually ride round in circles. A dry crash counts as a win in this situation.
- Cars. Cars are the major hazard to urban cyclists, chiefly because there are so many of them. They do many, many stupid things, but perhaps the most irritating thing they do is to straddle the cycle lane while waiting to pull out, thus halting all cyclists who could otherwise have continued along the road. Having pedalled hard to build up momentum only to be halted due to inconsiderate behaviour is infuriating. As you approach them, all of your shouting, waving and bell-ringing will be in vain as the driver will never, ever make eye contact with you, and they certainly aren’t going to back out of the way. Many cyclists kick the cars of these idiots as they make their way around them. If I attempted that, I would probably fall off (see reason 2).
- Buses. Terrifying behemoths of the urban environment, buses strike fear into the heart of cyclists. They pull out without any warning and, despite being slower than most bicycles on tight, twisty roads, they will always try to overtake anyway. If you want to see what the face of a terrified and angry cyclist looks like when squashed up against a window, you should sit in a seat on the left hand side of a bus, somewhere near the centre.
- Taxis. The bette noir of the urban cyclist, the pedestrian, other road users; in fact, all right thinking people. Trying to avoid taxis in an urban environment is challenging indeed. They’re apparently exempt from all of the laws of the road and can seemingly park anywhere, travel at any speed, in any direction, are not obliged to signal and their drivers don’t even need two hands on the wheel. Or even one. Who knows where a taxi will turn up next, or in which direction it may be travelling? Your bike could be struck by a taxi at any moment, even if it’s on the roof-rack of your car or stored in your garden shed. The bloody things pop-up everywhere. They’re a menace.
7 Reasons That You Shouln’t Do Bicycle Maintenence at 3AM
- It’s Cold. Not in bed, it’s nice and warm there. But it will be cold in the kitchen. Very cold. But that’s where the bicycle and tools are. So, as you’ve arrived downstairs wearing a t-shirt and pyjama bottoms, you’ll grab whatever clothes you can find from the cupboard under the stairs. And fairly soon, outfitted in green flip-flops, a pink and brown striped scarf, a beige trenchcoat, a blue bobble hat and a pair of grey fingerless gloves, you’ll think to yourself, never mind, it’s not like anyone will see me. Then you’ll head into the kitchen where it will be…
- Dark. So you’ll put the kitchen lights on, and the kitchen will become very bright indeed. So bright, in fact, that you’ll hurt your eyes and be caused to squint. But you’ll set to work anyway; squinting, with spanner in hand and then, out of the corner of your squinty eye, you’ll notice a light, shining through your window (because no one covers their kitchen windows). Yes, it’s…
- The Neighbours. Or more specifically, the neighbours whose bedroom overlooks your kitchen. And you’ll do what anyone would do in this circumstance. You’ll stand up, squinting, smile and wave at them. Mostly to reassure them that it’s you and not a brainsick, colour-blind tramp who has broken in to steal the pasta from your kitchen. Or the lemons. And eventually, after the initial shock at seeing your outfit has worn off, they’ll realise that you’re not a burglar. And the spanner that you’re waving in your right-hand will probably mirror their opinion of you. Anyway, the neighbours will soon go back to sleep and you’ll return to the bike and work slowly and deliberately, in order to be…
- Quiet. Shh. Very Quiet. As quiet as a timid dormouse breaking wind next to a hungry lion. Because your bedroom’s above the kitchen. And making a noise would be inconsiderate/very very dangerous. So you’ll work quietly, and that will go well. Until you drop the spanner onto the quarry tiles. And you will drop the spanner onto the quarry tiles. Then – suddenly – and without warning, you will be face to face with…
- Angry Woman. And Angry Woman is…angry. Furious, in fact. Angry Woman is…shouting. She’s shouting things like: “What the hell are you doing?” In this circumstance – even though you have a spanner in your hand and a partly disassembled bicycle in front of you, you shouldn’t resort to sarcasm. That will make Angry Woman turn red and growl. You don’t want that. And then she may shout… “You love that bicycle more than you love me.” Now, the last time she said something, you spoke, and that didn’t go at all well. But that doesn’t mean that pausing and considering your words carefully is a good idea this time; it certainly isn’t. Because then it will appear that you’re actually considering whether you love the bicycle more. And even though your bicycle isn’t the one yelling and shouting at you, and it does have red handlebars and a nice…no, no you don’t love the bicycle more. Really. Anyway, the pause is a bad thing. Because then she’ll shout… “You’re supposed to be in bed. WITH ME!” Okay, so sarcasm and thinking haven’t gone well for you. What’s left? Humour? No. “I didn’t think you’d want your bottom bracket lubricating at 3am, darling” is the wrong reply. And after she’s shouted, “And what the hell are you wearing?!” (it’s rhetorical this time) before storming upstairs, you’ll probably come to the conclusion that it’s time to go…
- Back To Bed. Stepping out of your Beach-Boy-hobo-Humprey-Bogart-on-acid-costume, you’ll return to the nice warm bed where you’ll discover by touching legs with your wife that your body temperature is at least ten centigrade lower than hers. And then she will kick you. Very hard. This will hurt, and in two days time you’ll have a large blue and purple bruise on your left shin. At this point though, when the pain subsides, you’ll fall into a deep, satisfying, refreshing sleep and the next morning you’ll wake up and feel amazing. And you’ll feel that way right up until the moment you open your eyes and see the…
- Oily Fingerprints All Over The Sheets And Pillows. Ooops. And later, on your cycle ride, you may feel inclined to visit both the florist and the chocolatier.
7 Reasons To Cycle Naked
- Fine Tuning. Chafing can be a problem when cycling. Your clothing, posture, the angle and height of the handlebars and saddle are all factors that can cause chafing in places where you really don’t want to be chafed. It’s hard to tell, when riding, exactly where and how chafing is occurring. If you remove your clothes, however, you remove one of the variables and can more easily make the necessary adjustments to your bicycle. This will help you get to the bottom of the problem (the problem of the bottom) more quickly.
- Accidents. Accidents happen to cyclists. The naked cyclist, however, will not tear his new jacket when falling off. If hospitalized, he will not have to worry about whether he is wearing clean underwear. If the hospitalized naked cyclist is a lady, she will also not have to worry about whether her bra and pants match.
- Wide Berth. Studies have shown that motorists give less room to cyclists that wear helmets and high-visibility cycling gear. This is because motorists believe that correctly attired cyclists are competent and unlikely to make suddenly and erratic manoeuvres. People are generally wary and sometimes frightened of nudity (it gives them the willies). Imagine how much room they’ll give you if you cycle naked.
- The Chain. No, not the Fleetwood Mac song. The bicycle chain is an oily, abrasive clothing magnet that excerpts a mysterious force on your trousers, unerringly drawing them toward the teeth of the chain-ring. This is messy and annoying. If you ride a fixed-gear cycle it’s very messy, very annoying and very dangerous. If you cycle naked you can’t get your clothes caught in the chain.
- Helmets. At least 50% of naked cyclists always ride with a helmet.
- Naked Bike Ride. Going on the Naked Bike Ride is a very good reason to cycle naked. You can draw attention to oil-dependency and body-painting is encouraged. Who wouldn’t want to cycle around in the all-together painted as Spiderman or a mermaid?
- Annoy James Martin. “Celebrity” chef James Martin hates cyclists. Last September in his Fail On Sunday column, he spoke of his joy at inflicting “sheer terror” on cyclists, and boasted of having run a group of them off the road while testing the Tesla Roadster. These lycra-clad cyclists, “with their private parts alarmingly apparent” managed to annoy him quite a lot. If the private parts of clothed cyclists manage to irritate him that much, imagine how much we could annoy this vacuous dullard by cycling naked. Hopefully to the point of spontaneous combustion.
So on that note, here are todays numbers…
Started: Mar 23, 2011 9:28:08 AM
Ride Time: 1:48:40
Stopped Time: 50:00
Distance: 30.49 miles
Average Speed: 16.84 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 21.22 miles/h
Ascent: 217 feet
Descent: 112 feet