Sunday, 10 January 2016

Corbyn Reshuffles - Sells Everything! Then Buys a Titanium Adventure/Gravel Bike

Brian Cookson impersonator Jezza Corbyn has announced that he has sold his garage full of bikes and re-stocked with just one ride!! Corbyn announced yesterday that 'the bike industry is just a load of hype that is on this earth to make us all buy more bikes we don't need. I looked in the garage and thought I don't need all these bikes, trying to decide is hard enough, I just need one type of bike that does everything well enough, I need on of them gravel bikes'

Corbyn has sold:

Canyon Ultimate CF - Pure race machine - Too flashy, too stretched out on the back, un-comfy as shit - If you don't race, you don't need a race bike.
Giant Propel - I can't do 50kph and don't ride it in a wind tunnel, I have legs, a head etc... useless
Cannondale Synapse - Sportive Bike - Heavy and does not really work in that bendy way it claims
Focus Mares - CX - Toe overlap is crap and it's got no rack/bottle mounts
Santa Cruz V12 - Why do I keep a bike I push 99% of the time, I live in Surrey!
Charge Duster - It's a BMX, I look like a monkey sexually abusing a football on that one
Giant Reign 27.5 - Because I can't be arsed to buy new tubes for it
Dolan Pre Cursa - I bought this after watching Premium Rush, I rode it once and stopped pedaling to freewheel at the lights, it threw me into an ice cream van, then my sleeve tatts fell off, disaster
Ragley Blue Pig - It's not this nor that, fast or bouncy, and Dave Cameron fucked it's head so that put me off

He has purchased:

On-One Pickenflick with 105 11 speed & disc brakes.

Corbyn has discussed his re-shuffle and decreed that he needs only one approach to riding and any others will be dismissed from the garage at once. He quite liked his old trusty Trek but after he noticed Dave 'Lance Pants' Cameron using a Trek (later stolen due to being chained over a three foot high bollard) he sold it. He did consider the communists special, the Flying Pigeon, later bemoaning their 'uber shitness' and casing international tensions with the East.

Critics have said Corbyn is simply following the very industry trend he is critical of, he replied 'fuck off, you'd never see me on a fat bike'. Corbys single minded approach is expected to draw comparisons with fellow outspoken but focused professional Dr Ferrari, who also had a single solution to increase performance and level the playing field. Arch enemy in a Pendleton/Mears stylele Dave 'Pig Head Terrine Old Bean?' Cameron scoffed at Corbyn's approach, following up with 'I have 30 million pounds worth of bikes so choose what I like, life is about choice and I worked hard to be able to make mine, anyone can have 30,000,000 worth of bikes if the work hard enough, if they work really hard they can have a Rapha sock or hat. I would suggest Corbyn get a Cannondale Lefty! Gaffaw.... Get it, a lefty!!!'

The debate continues - Corbyn was last seen trying to work out how to true yet another bent rotor having parked his Pickenflick next to a lodd of other bikes in Westminster.

Monday, 4 January 2016

I'll Ban all Fixies entering Shoreditch!

Controversial Republican Party of London Village candidate Ronald (Super) Tramp has announced his plans should he win his campaign to oust Boris (the bike) Johnston. Among his many racist and fucking ludicrously  bizarre policies he has announced the plan to build a temporary autonomous death ray cyborg system to patrol the border of Shoreditch targeting any person(s) with sleeve tattoos riding fixed gear bikes, deterring them using lasers. Failure to do a 'stoppie' and turn back to Tower Hamlets will result in the riders 'non US values' being cleansed with radiation and their off the ankle trousers being made baggy and ill fitting. Tramp has released his plans, stating that 'These Hipster freaks have beards, so must be evil terrorists. I hear some of them are friends with blacks and don't eat meat? Obviously I'm opposed to all of that multi cultural vegoterrorism shit, I've taken advice from Oliver Letwin around the black issue, he tells me London's black folk are morally corrupt and I accept that.
Tramp's plans have been widely condemned by all other candidates except for the cross party agreement on a ban on Bianchi Pista bicycles, and the persecution of anyone wearing Rapha Cycling kit under clause b, subsection 5 'because it's pretentious wank'.
Big Blonde Bozza has denied he is related to Tramp despite the glaring physical similarity, quoted as saying, 'I'm no relative, I'm the descendant of a Turkish fella and French aristocrats, so a Muslim and people who wear eau de toilette, Tramp approves of neither, I've met him, he's a cunt'.
The election drama contines, hipsters of Shoreditch await the result with baited beards, peppered with the suds of a craft beer and grease from a 'gourmet' burger.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Floods.. And Phil (the voice of cycling)

Much of the UK is emerging from underneath a fairly deep and depressing series of floods. The last series of these 'once every hundred years' events in the UK was around 15 years ago. This non-centennial aqua apocalypse happened in the same regions as the recent events. Sadly our government has a large voter majority in the South of England so invested heavily in weather defences there, where it does not flood very often. The North and Scotland were hit hardest but had the least protection. Apparently the experts advised the Tories that they should perhaps move some sandbags and a bucket beyond Watford but were told to 'fuck off back up north' in order to 'dig up some coal' by our Old Etonian leaders who cut funding by 14%. Oliver 'black people are morally defective' Letwin suggested the Northerners use their copies of Das Capital to stem the tides. Sadly the old guard have now had to stump up £90,000,000 (around fifty trillion dollars and nine cents) to help the communists and their soggy copies of The Guardian. One Tory who visited the scene of devastation in his personal helicopter remarked that 'I didn't think it was a problem, if you don't have a toilet or electricity and get to work at the mine on a donkey why worry about some floods?'
So to the 'why' in a TED style? Global climate change, building on flood plains messing with river beds and routes, God judging us for watching and TV show starting with 'Made in' (see Essex, Chelsea, Syria). Can we correct it? Probably not, we're fucked. But wait, what would Phil Liggett do? Probably dance on his pedals and go to South Africa for a break and to check on some gold mines with Paul. I'll tell you what Phil would do, he would watch the floods rising but buy some stilts, he would mooch around the water logged streets telling everyone that his shoes were sans water and thus, there are no floods! And all amongst him would say 'no Phil, flood Postal, Storm lance is a shitter and is real, I am fucking soaking!'. And the waters would rise, Phil would accept some longer stilts from the flood Lance fund and, behold, his Nike's are still toasty and dry, whilst being supportive and light, ensuring his gait is correct. Still people would bob around in big yellow Livestrong hoops, hailing Phil; 'we have a problem here Phil, it's rife, my Miele toaster and Gaggia machine are merrily floating away and I can't keep up with them'. 'Don't worry about it' replies  Phil, those Italian appliances are simply more buoyant than you, it's science you see, they must be O.K, they have been PAT(McQuaid) tested and did not fail!'. And behold, the people of the North, despite being piss wet through and occasionally dying due to the thick and gloopy nature of the flood waters clogging their arterial roads by night listened to Phil. They trusted their PAT tested appliances, the Belgian waffle makers worked, the Italian Gaggia gurgled espresso into a silly little mug, the German Bosh tumble dryer tumbled away, all despite the obvious fact that they were submerged under turd infested, ever faster flowing waters. The only thing Phil could not explain was the apparent regular failure of the Peugeot cars and American deep fat fryers, for they sank and rusted amid the deluge, The American fryers were heavy and unable to fry chips for very long before simply blowing up, the Peugeot's and Citroens were PAT tested but had to have another test before leaving France, perhaps this made them less flood proof? Occasionally a Rover 200 would chug by, beating all the Lancia's, Seat's and BMW's in a short time trial, only to be left behind on the steeper banks, confused as all around them seemingly got faster despite deeper waters. Indeed, Blightly had only one appliance of any note, a Damillar limousine. seemingly rust resistant due to being imported from the Orient, for the Damillar could keep up with the Alfas and the VW's despite the thick and dragging waters flooding their radiators.
After some time the floods leveled after much of the rains and storms were shipped to Ireland and never came back, Phil explained that the PAT tested stickers found in the back of an engineers car by some policemen on Belgium were fakes and thus not approved by PAT himself, so some of the appliances had to be thrown into the scrap heap, for a few months, but could come back after a while once the water level had fallen. But still the rivers flowed faster than ever before, the Northerners asked Phil about this, he explained that technology and science meant that the clever Southerners could make water go faster, just in general, don't worry about it. But then, aghast in horror, the Northerners watched the floods rise again, this time they believed Phil a bit less but soon came around when they found that the appliances previously rendered useless in the waters were now omnipotent, especially those previously defunct American fat fryers. The French cars were still a bit unreliable but seemed a bit better than in the past, just a bit slower than the rest. So people rejoiced, they listened as Phil told them there were no floods, Phil organised charity canoe races to the shops with his new American PAT Tested appliances in tow, the US companies paid Phil handsomely for this work and he smiled broadly from his new set of golden water resistant stilts. The voice of Phil continued to dispel myth and rumor and most of the Northerners believed it, there were some who said 'but why Phil, why do we keep getting these floods and why, every now and then, does my Fiat seemingly break down only to either fail it's MOT on emissions and be condemned to the scrap yard then start up the next day and be faster than ever?' Phil laughed from his diamond encrusted Subaru powered Nike Air water flotation boots 'there are no floods, Storm Lance brings only sun and joy. Your Italian car? well Mr Ferrari is "one of the most talented minds" in engineering. Those appliances are just out of line with PAT testing methods but will soon catch up!'
One day, a really big tidal wave came, the wave swept all of the Northerners appliances away and then Storm Travis and Hurricane Brian followed, seemingly give a fuck-less as to whether appliances were PAT tested or not. Not even Phil's Trek hover bike could save him, and his voice was drowned out by the sound of revving Citroens and screeching Renaults driving over the Belgian waffle makers and Spanish Omelettes, the huff and puff of The Sky Train merrily and boringly rattling along the flood free lines, just fast enough out run Storm Lance and Cyclone Alberto but not fast enough to excite any of the passengers.
And then there was calm. Occasionally an appliance would blow up due to residual flood waters left in the sockets, and sometimes new appliances would behave oddly but most of them no longer worked under water and PAT testing seemed to reflect their vulnerable nature. Phil emerged (dry) from the floods and although people were now much more skeptical of his preaching, he still imparted his annoying fucking diatribe, and people still paid him to do it.
Phil is introspective now, he thinks there may have been a bit of a flood, perhaps one or two front rooms got a bit damp? He is happy that General Motors now know how to repair a flood damaged interior but still loves the 1990's Vauxhal Astra GTE for it's unholy ability to go really fast despite having a really shit chassis and unreliable engine, it just needed 4 star and new oil every other day. The fact that he earned lots of money saying how great those 90's American cars were in a flood laden world of seemingly impossibly functioning submerged European appliances has been archived by ITV, hopefully things will change and Phil will drown (notionally).
Phil now has a mantra:
1: When the whole world is flooded, the best PAT tested appliances still float to the top
2: Storm Lance was not 'normal', but every inch of the world was rained on by Storm Lance so it (the flooding) was 'fair' - a level  playing field (albeit under water)
3:Blaming Storm Lance and putting up dams to stop it causing flooding again will do nothing to prevent more flooding and is very unfair indeed, especially when Storm Lance flooded my mates gold mine, with cash

It never rains but it pours...

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Not a Resolution

I'm going to blog more, about all sorts... Spread my wings. I like writing so why not? Send me content ideas, I'll write about it. I'll mostly writ about what i want to as I'm a narcissist. This is a joke, har de har.. Is that what a narcissist would say? I hope not, perhaps I really am?

Happy New Year..

Sunday, 27 December 2015

EPOh Shit!

I had spinal surgery in July (again). Sadly this one did not go so well and the after effects and nerve damage in my legs is lingering. I can still ride a bit, for a while, but it's difficult. Healing is slow, I will improve, repeat mantra... I hope this explains my lack of travel and bike related prose. It is not an excuse as I have been 'in' more and lots of the writing is based on past experience, my new daughter had waylaid me somewhat but I promise to keep working from the menu soon and adding new stuff as and when I can steal a moment.

This week is a departure from the travel, still dips into the bike genre though. I'm branching out now, I'll be musing about any old shit that comes to mind. Expanding my repertoire if you like? Life is too short to focus on such singular topics.

I've been reading a lot about a lot just recently, five weeks off work does that. Due to a recent cancer scare (to go with the spinal surgery) I have learned an awful lot about blood, how it works, what it does other than stain my collar and how it can be manipulated. I know about crit levels, blood transfusions, platelets blah blah. I already knew about HGH and testosterone, the endocrine system and it's love of endurance sports (or not), cortisone (I know a lot more about it since a surgeon filed my spine with it a few weeks ago) and cortisol, I'm definitely more versed with that one recently.

I've avidly followed the sport for years and read Walsh's books, painfully translated from French on slow dial up sites in the early 00's. I think Lance Armstrong is a bully, an asshole to coin the Texan Term. But so was Pantani, just in a different way. Pantani was the product of an Italian system pioneering blood doping long before the Postmen ever added and 'E' to the 'P.O' of the post office. Basso is a nice guy, but he cheated just like Armstrong, did he ever apologise? Perhaps he will now he has retired? Merckx, the great one was, well, great. No doubt the guy was gifted like no other and I do have my doubts about the 69 Giro. But 1973, Lombardia. 1977, Pemoline, again... Eddy starts races for ASO, Lance starts fights on Sunday club runs. Fignon, pissed petrol in 89. Kelly in 91 - even though he gave the testers his mechanics sample - sadly the spanner had been having a dab of speed to keep up with the fact that Kelly's Vitus was shit and needed more TLC than a Fiat Uno. Kelly in 1993, EPOh no! Denied all round then written off under statute limits for prosecutions. Zabel and Aldag killed the sport in Germany for years, Ulrich was just taking the piss (or not). Riis is a bit of a dick but has not been Lanced, Virenque is a commentator for Le Tour and actually challenged Sky's performance. I bit like the FBI using hackers to test security.Vandenbroucke really went for the full on James Belushi effect by adding morphine to his predilections. Di Luca, Hamilton, Millar x 2 (R&D), Heras, the excellently and most aptly named Cunto, Barrie, Visconti, Frank Schleck etc etc... What have these guys got in common? Even when doping they were only a bit better, slightly less average. What has gained them notoriety, well it's not being a bit shit compared to Lance (acceptance of Heras as the odd one out), it's getting popped. Are any of them being hunted by their Governments? Well no. Millar (D) comentates for ITV4, Schleck wins the odd stage, may of them work in the sport. I know the arguments about the tactics used by Lance, the wealth obtained by 'fraud'. It's a shame the CPS did not review his case, the let David Mellor off with fraud as it was 'not in the public interest' to prosecute. Is it really such a big thing that L.A was the 'best' of the dopers? That he had a genetic blood cell volume that benefited massively from EPO whereas others more gifted than he in the gene pool had less of a boost is simply 'life'. I would add I think he deserves a lifetime ban, but so does Contador, Merckx, Shcleck, McQuaid (from all sports associated activity).
When my daughter is old enough to understand and we visit my family in Italy she may as why 'VIVA PANTANI PANTANI PANTANI' is written on the roads in the mountains above my Dad's place? I'll tell her he cheated a lot, won off the back of cheating, regretted what he did and died a sad death. She may ask why 'LANCE IS A WANKER' is written on a road I have ridden in North Yorkshire. I'll tell her he cheated a lot, won of the back of it but his personality meant he did not regret it and is now paying the price for that, but not a toll as heavy as Pantani. She may ask why they are different? I'll tel her Lance is strong in the head and the legs, Marco just the legs, but they are both cheats and idiots.


Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Commuting - General Chit Chat

I ride (did until I had spinal surgery, but will again) to and from work. I've had 60 mile commutes, 3 miles, 12 miles (about right!!) and currently have about 30 miles, which is O.K. Why do I ride to and from work?

1. Time: Even the 35 miles each way to and from Birmingham was faster or about the same in terms of time on my bike riding in at 6.30 am. However, getting home was a different matter, I could be home in 1.10 on my bike, in fact, wind assistance or misery accounted for I could be very accurate with my arrival home on the bike. Riding at a fairly brisk pace.
My record sat in my car on the M42/M6 was three hours and fifty minutes to cover 35 miles. I never took this long on my bike but on the other hand could not listen to Radio 4. He giveth and he taketh away.

2. Training: I have a life outside of racing/riding. My wife is very patient but I would not envisage her being too jolly if I topped up my 45 hour work week with the 10-15 hours riding time afforded to me by commuting. The option to throw in some intervals, hill reps, tempo and threshold work is handy. Ragging the mountain bike cross country in the winter is good for skills work and good fun. Why don't we get so cold on mountain bikes? Wind I suppose.
A sweet recovery ride in the morning sun is a fairly nice way to start a day. A thrash through the traffic into rolling hills is a nice way to end it.

3: Money: In the UK petrol seems to occupy the mantle of 'luxury goods' alongside of Rolex watches and those massive headphones I see people rocking out in. Porridge is cheaper than petrol, and porridge is my fuel. I do own a car but it's crap and rarely moves.

4: Fun: Depending on your disposition, riding in cities is fun. It firms the nerves and skills, hones the senses and only slightly destroys your lungs. Thankfully not as much as car drivers due to the air intake/exhaust relationship.

5: Smugness: Not really! I actively resist the 'smug rider' clan. Cars do not emit much crap any more. Significantly less that cattle, energy production, air travel etc etc.. Bicycles are mass produced and often made of alloy. Carbon production is horrid and the side effects for the Chinese workers are nasty. Tyres are made of rubber, rubber production is not the most friendly process. I ride because I enjoy it and it is convenient. If you enjoy the rattle of the train, the comfort of a Mercedes S Class or the John Travolta like rhythm of a funky walk then more power to you.

Whatever you ride, however you ride it; enjoy it.

PS - Left ear for podcasts (usually cyling360) right ear for traffic is O.K. But a duo of ear plugs for Metallica is not clever. Lose the buds kids.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

A long forgotten piece from my buddy Rich Elliot's excellent blog - Buying and Building a Chinese Carbon Frame

I totally forgot about this!!

Rich has an excellent blog here:

+Richard Elliott

In this article, Steve Malone explains how he went from a Stig lookalike to a "skinny" road rider. He also describes his experiences with his first ever Cheap Chinese Carbon Frame bike build.

Having been a committed XC, then enduro and downhill mountain biker for 15 years I am prepared to admit that I viewed roadies with some suspicion and a hint of fear. The shaved legs and lycra confused me (my legs never got infected by hairs despite being almost constantly wounded). Numerous visits to Alpe D'huez and Le Deux Alpes, Morzine etc over a six year period to ride the Mega, Mountain of Hell, Vijaunay Enduro etc did bring me into close proximity of the 'thin people' but we tended to view each other from afar in a North and South Korean Border Guard fashion. We were definitely the South. The closest I ever got was having to ride up the 21 hairpins on an 18kg mountain bike with 2.5" tyres, I did not see the appeal. 

In 2011 I made my usual drive to Morzine after riding the Mega at Alpe D Huez. In the van, amongst the big bikes, sat a Boardman Team Pro, purchased on the Ride to Work scheme as a commuter and as way to get some miles in without driving for hours to get to some good trails. I had hidden it in a box to make sure no one saw and had covered exactly 0 miles. Morzine in 2011 became famous for it's Somme like 'vibe'. Not a hail of constant terror or gas but very wet, muddy, cold and populated by lots of spaced out looking pissed off people in similar Fox uniforms. After destroying 4 sets of brake pads and a set of bearings in 3 days, with all of my kit basically destroyed I pumped up the tyres out my Boardman. Heading out from Morzine to Avioraz in a piss pot helmet, massive downhill SPD clogs, baggy shorts and an Aldi XC top, I began to break down barriers between North and South. The thin people talked to me about 'The Tour' (it took me a while to catch on to this one), on the famous climb to Avioraz I thought my computer was broken as it said 12mph, on an 8% hill.

I'd never had a bike computer on a mountain bike (if you can check your speed your going too slow) and became a bit obsessed. After deciding road cycling was easy, I smugly cruised up the climb enjoying the novelty of 'scenery' and then got overtaken by a 75 year old French Goat Man on a bike he got for his 21st birthday. I managed 104 miles in 2 different countries that day, but; I needed a lighter bike. A year later, converted almost totally to 'the road' and even wearing lycra I sold the Boardman and began my mission.
I have always built my own bikes. My first few were shelf bikes but I soon became hooked on self builds. Often cheaper (despite what they tell you) and I get a bike exactly how I want it. My new road bike would be self built and simply must be carbon because the media says so. I have ridden Chinese Ti 29er frames and some carbon XC bikes in the past, frankly, they all feel the same as the main brands to me. I know reviewers go on about the spring of steel, the snap (literally) of alloy, lightness of carbon etc but they pay the bills supporting an industry which relies on income like any other. I'm only 75kg and have never suffered with frame flex or felt a frame to be 'harsh', that's the joy of tyres forks elbows and knees.
I looked East, researched the 3 main frame manufacturers, sent a few e mails and decided on Flyxii. I made the decision based on reviews and price. The lack of shipping costs brings them in way below E Bay and the other big two factories. Having chosen the new aero frame from their site I noticed they only went up to 56cm compact (so actual 50).
The aero post meant getting a longer post would be tricky and the 56, although long enough, was not tall enough. A quick e mail to the firm regarding seat post sizing was quickly replied to with an offer of a custom 58cm frame. Apparently they were due to lay up a new batch and could adjust the jig for me. Happy days. They sent me a schematic which looked spot on. Order placed I hit the web for the rest of my bits.
Ribble, Merlin, Bike DE and Planet X were hammered (E Bay was consistently more expensive), Novatech in Taiwan agreed to send me some 1400gm a pair hoops for not much money. Ultegra drive except for the lighter SRAM OEM (same weight as Force) cranks (I don't like the fact that a bent or dead big ring means whole new crank set on Shimano builds). SRAM brakes as they are the best, some bars form my shed and fishing kit from the above shops saw the entire build come in at £907.35. It took me about 4 hours to build and an hour to set up.
The bike: It's excellent, my scales tell me 7.23kg, handles well, the factory got my semi TT 74.5 deg seat angle just right (I do the occasional triathlon). It looks industrial in matt black, the carbon lay up is very visible up close but at least I know it's wrapped up thick at the seat and head tubes. I went for a 53 / 39 with 11-25 set up and find it no worries. It wound up the Long Mynd (2.2k at 20%) without much fuss and handles well up to the 51.2mph I have achieved thus far. No speed wobble or weave and solid cornering. Twitchier than the Boardman but that's the race oriented geo and shorter head tube.