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Archive for April, 2011

There is an invisible line that radiates in a circle around my house. It’s about six or seven miles in radius and outside it I will rarely cycle.

In fact its more the shape of a pie with a nice big chunk already cut out and devoured as I don’t particularly cycle north west of my house either. But it’s Turnpike Lane and Tottenham that was so there’s little need.

The pie reaches to Dalston and Bethnal Green in the East, Camden in the West (of my house) and Oxford Circus in the South. So not very south at all. I shudder at South of the river. At a push I’ll do Waterloo. If I really must. Which does limit my options somewhat. In the middle of the cyclable bit of the pie, is Angel where I work. I consider it a launch pad to further destinations. I have cycled back from Hyde park before. But I probably won’t do it again.

To this end I often cycle the wrong way after work, drop my bike at Finsbury Park or King’s Cross and get the tube to wherever I’m actually going. it’s a bit of a pain but I hate bikeless mornings so I’d rather pick her up on the way home than leave her in the office.

Today I am going to a Science Museum Lates night. It’s all about space and I like space quite a lot. I cycled the bike to Finsbury and hopped on the tube. Though, I did have to buy an oyster card first- I have about 10 strewn about my world- and had an amusing chat with the ticket selling man when I asked if I could have a non-royal-wedding themed card. It seems BOTH our invites got lost in the post. How unfortunate.

When I return and get back the deposit from my plethora of oyster cards I will be rich.

Later I will avoid the frankly ridiculous bus fare to go the five minutes from Fins to my house by cycling. It’s not the ultimate in money saving but I think life needs compromise.

Post script: meant to take a photo of the woman opposite me on the tube cos she had some fantastic crochet jewelry on. But she’s gone now. Shame.

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Back on yer bike

Just a quick update to announce that I made my return to two wheels today in an uneventfully pleasant cycle into work. Under heavy supervision last night I replaced the back brake cable, and so far so good – I’m stopping and everything. All it took was a spanner and a £1.99 replacement set from ebay.

Normal CIH service shall be resumed as soon as possible. Tonight I shall endevour to peddle it home under the weight of a Brazilian all-you-can-eat Churrascaria meat feast in Angel.

On a side note I shall be comparing this Churrascaria with the ones I went to in Brazil and paid a fraction of the cost for. Not that I’m bitter about the £23.50. Not at all.

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Caput

The bike is broke. So this post is brought to you courtesy of the 19 bus. As I skidded to a halt outside my house on Friday night, the left hand brake made a popping sound and failed to brake. The left (back) brake fortunately did stop however and thus, so did I.

I am ebaying for brake cables. What an arse. Trying to eke out 3 days without a bike in London in prime cycling weather. BALLS.

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I thought I might bullet point this entry but not sure how to do that on an iPhone. So I won’t. But today’s cycle consisted of heels, Holloway Road and racing a rubbish truck. And I got to work 15 minutes early!

I wore these heels, which may be my very favourite pair to cycle in:

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I had to go backwards to the docs which meant my journey onwards from there involved the leg shattering Hornsey Rise. In fact, for the first time in yolks I had to cut my losses and push the bike for a few metres. Failure.

Then comes the inevitable downhill of joy until I get over taken by a rubbish lorry and find myself peddling into the stench of stale garbage. Lovely.

I spent a while taking him over and being taken over until I decided to plonked myself centrally in the road to stop him getting past. Much like Alan Partridge. Then I got to do th cyclist’s prerogative of snaking along side the traffic jam, skipping the lights and disappearing out of view.

I’m waiting for Laura at Tottenham Court Rd now. Where the hell can she be?

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Today I’m feeling very stiff and sore after the tumble of yesterday. I guess it’s because your body tenses up for impact and the shock of it just makes you a bit sore in general. The bruises don’t help either. Cycling today was a totally different story, though, as the sun was out.

What I forgot to mention about the fall was how quickly people rushed to my rescue. For a start, I was cutting across the pavement – where I shouldn’t have been – so in a way I deserved it anyway. As I slid along the ground a man came running over, ignored my pain-swearing and picked up my bike for me. It immediately fell over again (as it is wont to do) and he swore too so that was OK. Then he helped me up and found my little green shoe before being joined by a woman who fussed over me, exclaiming she’d “saw what happened from all the way over there!”. Good to know the hi-viz works at least. They picked me up and limped me over to a bench where they checked I would be OK, set my bike straight next to me and asked if I was sure I’d be OK if they left. I said I was and they went. But wasn’t that nice of them?

It was only later when I looked in the mirror when I saw I had a big blob of suncream on the end of my nose (yes, it was raining yesterday but I’m paranoid and wear it all winter anyway). He must have thought it was snot. Yuck.

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Another tumble

For four years, on and off, I have cycled around London with minimal fuss. And in the last two months I’ve had two accidents. I hope this isn’t a trend. Today’s tumble occurred because it was raining, I was going too fast and the two combined over a metal drain cover. My bike slid out from under me, my elbow dropped to the floor to support me and I curled up in a foetal position as my bike came to a halt a couple of metres ahead of me and I was stopped by a well placed bollard to the ankle.

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NB. Yes it’s definitely swollen!

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I fucking hate the wind. It ruins my morning cycle for me, the bastard. By Friday my legs are always sore anyway because I don’t stretch (which incidentally is why they’re starting to look a little like Hulk Hogan’s) so for the wind to decide to getup on the last day of the working week is just really fucking annoying.

I don’t usually swear in posts but I think the theme of this one deserves it. There is something about my journey, along Blackstock Rd, up to Highbury Barn, around the Highbury & Islington deathtra… sorry, roundabout and into Angel that channels the wind against me for the entire 20 minutes. In fact, it was 25 minutes today because of the arsing wind. Yet when I arrived, another cyclist hit the door at the same time and when I said, in a comradely way, “Bit bloody windy today”, he chuckled and said he hadn’t noticed. HADN’T NOTICED? I nearly got knocked from my bike, my hair a-flap, little legs fighting the oncoming drafts with Herculean force. He cycled the opposite way, up from South London. The bastard.

Last night, on my way back from the Kingsland Road, two roadbike rude boys slowly overtook me (I was tired and full of Pho), asking whether they were fit. I said that no, I didn’t really think so, as I watched them not make the most of their ridiculously expensive bikes, with no helmets, no lights and dark coloured clothes. Gimps.

I keep getting chatted to while cycling. Last week, an old man with a fabulous beard congratulated me on how well my little Raleigh was running. I think he said something to the effect of, “she’s looking good for her age!”. I resisted the urge to reply that so was he and not to be so insulting to my beloved little bicycle. But I saw his point and took the complement. Then I ran the red lights and he couldn’t keep up.

I was talking to a fellow cyclist about this blog and he suggested there needed to be guidelines on how to break road laws well. Whether he meant magnificent rule breaking that’s impressive for its illegality or just making sure you don’t cause a pile up when you run the traffic lights, I’m not sure. But I might think of some guidelines. I know it’s bad but I get so confused when cyclists stop at red lights. You’re on a bike. If there’s no one there … go!

NB. Oops, hope no one knows who this lawbreaker is…

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