Thursday, 4 September 2014


I spent most of yesterday struggling. Over analyzing and doubting. Afraid. When I get like that I start to look for confirmation that things are bad. When I left the office I said goodbye to someone. They didn't look up and issued a muffled "umnyeugh" that's what it sounded like anyway. Then I thought "That's it! People barely notice me I'm going to get fired I need a new job."
That swam in my head the whole way home. By the time I got there I was grumpy. I got an email from the school. The boy had been back for a day and a half and had to be issued a behaviour warning for talking during class.
"See things ARE out of control." Walking back after collecting the littler one I intervened to keep him from stepping in dog shit. In doing so my handlebars got stuck in an overgrown hedge and spun catching me in the erm...coin purse.
Let's recap. Work is underwhelming. Child misbehaving, people letting their dog crap on the sidewalk OPPOSITE the dickhead that can't trim a hedge...sore coin purse.
By the time I got home I was foul. I banned the older one from going to hockey practice so I quickly ate and set off with the smaller one.
Waiting for the bus. Watching the people run by in the park. Cars in the street, hockey bags by my feet I suddenly felt this sense of small. It was liberating to say the least. 
None of it mattered. 
The sun in the sky.
The clouds.
The earth spinning around our star all of it hurtling through space and there is no amount of dog shit, lame colleagues or sore balls in the world that matter. Just ride the ride. Control? 
I never had it and I'm ok with that.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014


I watched you slide away
Through salty eyes that stung
I'd have cursed...

Go ahead
I’ll ride with regret
I'm teammates with regret


Thursday, 26 December 2013

Bikes, bust ups and the highway

2013 started pretty much as expected. Well, a lot where 2012 left off. I'd only got back on the bike in November 2012 after being hit by a van. The Tour of Flanders lie ahead in March and I was getting miles any way I could. On St Patricks Day a few of us did the Lionheart out of Longleat in Wiltshire. Woke up to snow. The Ronde in Flanders was just weeks away and it was 160 miles or 250 kilometres. 

The announced that the 100 mile course was to be shut and all of us would be doing the 100km one. I was secretly relieved but that's 150km less than Flanders. It was so cold. It proved useful for fortitude training as the bleak, windswept Belgian landscape loomed with its "Flandrian" weather; it was obvious that fortitude training might be more important than biomechanics and oxygen transport work.
My hands hated it. I got frostbite on a building site in a freak storm off Lake Ontario years ago. Now my fingers don't react to the cold very well and on a bike it seems to be magnified because of the blood demands of the legs and having the hands only holding bars not moving.

Off to Belgium feeling under prepared. Kicking myself for not getting a turbo trainer.
Flanders was hard, hard, hard. It started well. Cold but well. I woke up at 3am and drove from Ghent to Oudenaarde to get the bus to Brugge at 5am. I was supposed to meet some people but it was so cold I took off. The first 100km are pretty flat and you with the large numbers we were going well over 35kmh without even trying. Then (because of the large number of people) a pothole appeared in front of me. No place to go without hitting someone, I bunny hopped it. My back wheel caught the far edge. Minutes later I had a pinch flat. I pulled into a recycling area off the road. Two others were fixing flats. I got out the co2 and inner tube and changed it. Put the co2 on and it all emptied before I could get it on the tire. Last container...same thing. Stranded. Everyone had gone by. There were groups of late starters going by and I took the emergency number out of my pocket. The one you call when you quit. I looked at it. I put it back in my pocket and waited. Everything in my world went completely black. I was just past a roundabout on the Belgian French border on what looked like an industrial estate. Alone. Flat tire and over 100 miles left of the 160. Then, a Belgian man with a flat tire pulled up. We chatted. He was on his third flat and said "there goes my chances of victory!" I laughed so hard. I told him about the co2. He let me use his pump and then called it a day and phoned for a ride. I got on and pedalled alone into the wind going east.
I kept going. The cobbles, the supporters, other riders soon brightened my mood. It was a very long day but by the time I'd reached the finish at Oudenaarde in the light snow, I felt like I'd done something epic. The hardest part of the day was overcoming myself on the French border. That will be with me forever. 

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Yankee Doodle Dandy Highwayman

Adam Ant WAS the Dandy Highwayman. 

He isn't so dandy these days but the term "Dandy" as in Yankee Doodle Dandy is...well, according to wiki...

"A dandy (also known as a beau or gallant) is a man who places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies, pursued with the appearance of nonchalance in a cult of Self. Historically, especially in late 18th- and early 19th-century Britain, a dandy, who was self-made, often strove to imitate an aristocratic lifestyle despite coming from a middle-class background." Dandy on Wiki

Isn't that a hipster?


Well, if the cloak fits...

The song Yankee Doodle Dandy... was a swipe at the new rich in the US for being bumpkins. "Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni..." was not about pasta. Macaroni Style on wiki 
Don't get upset. 
This is a good thing. 

I like to think that no self respecting Yank would wear this shit...

If you need a stick to put on a hat you're doing it wrong

Dressing nice, speaking well and exercising shouldn't be alternative pursuits of some subculture. 
Why shouldn't we all aspire to these things? 
To make an effort.
To add romance to our wardrobes.
Make our bodies fit for purpose. 

Dandyisim in the fitness community  

"You can't turn up for a group run in THOSE shoes. They will write pasta songs about you." 

North Face have turned into a global clothing powerhouse by embracing the spirit of the dandy. Pursuit of leisurely hobbies... erm, fashion.

Where are you going? Everest?
Nope. PTA meeting.

Rapha in the cycling community have based their whole empire on dandy. Its all about lifestyle, style and image and not so much about hard graft. Now, as the kit makers for Team Sky, they have pro status but I would bet my monocle and cape that all the other teams think they are a bunch of dandy highwaymen.

And just what is wrong with that?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Support Your Local Bike Shop

Placid Planet Bikes, Lake Placid, NY
When I was growing up everyone I hung out with spent half the summer milling around Recreational Vehicles and Equipment in Fairport, NY. site here

Despite the incredibly misleading's a bike shop. Howard and his staff were always helpful and put up with our bazillion questions. It was and is a hub for a like minded community. I still think of it fondly today. If its a skate shop, ski shop, bike shop, hobby shop whatever; these kind of locally owned shops are not only valuable to the local enthusiast but also incredibly important to the local community.

I seek them out on vacations. Last year when we were on a ski trip in Lake Placid, the people at Placid Planet bike shop were very helpful and knowledgeable. It's comforting to know that if you are passionate about something, like minded people are lurking in just about every local bike shop. They might be a little harder to find than the big chain shops but they are there for you to discover. 

Local bike shops or LBS's don't just sell bikes. They organise events, run classes, clubs and can offer a pretty educated opinion on just about ANYTHING.

These days my LBS is De Vere Cycles in South London. site here

Maurice Burton
I really lucked out with this one. It is run by former British Champion and pro Maurice Burton and his family. Great bio of him here...Maurice Burton  Facebook page here...Team De Ver Cycles

I went to see him yesterday with my son Oliver. I had been putting together a bike and without boring you I messed it up.

I carried the thing through the door to his shop and Maurice walked out shaking his head like "What have you done...".
I explained what I TRIED to do and he explained in very nice terms that I was an idiot and should have come to him first BUT they could sort it out.

He showed us some Cervelo frames that had just come in and explained the carbon fibre process at Time bikes in Lyon, France where he'd been to the factory.

Maurice is a champion. His posters and photos are on the walls and the place is half high end bike shop and half museum. His son Germain is also a British champion and blossoming into a very accomplished rider in his own right...Germain Here

Germain Burton wins the Bec Hill Climb at just 16 years old

This isn't just a bike shop. It's a community. Besides that, for someone like me its heaven. Having Olly with me (who has said he wants to take up road cycling) to be able to bend the ear of a man who is raising a family of cyclists it is pretty special.  De Ver also has a club that does weekly rides and the usual club shenanigans. They also organise a training camp in Lanzarote in the spring every year for some valuable winter training and what looks to be a lot of laughing.

I feel really blessed to have De Ver Cycles on my doorstep just as I did RV&E when I was growing up. These types of shops ARE the community.  I am very proud to call them "my bike shop".

Sunday, 30 December 2012

A Load of Old Cobblers

Cobbles - Flanders

Shortened from cobbler’s awls, for balls (testicles or nonsense)

The Tour of Flanders has been a bike race for 99 years. The 100th anniversary of the event will be the 2013 edition at the end of March this year. It is 256km long or 160 miles. Most of the first 110km or so is flatish.I've signed up to do the thing as a challenge. The day before the real bike riders do it.
How do you train for this nonsense?
It is longer than any event I've done. The weather will be...well, never mind the weather. I've never done an event that was actually perfect weather. Forget the weather.
The cobbles? Who the hell has access to cobbles to train on? Why would you if you could? I don't think I could afford the money for inner tubes.
Muddy, long and bumpy.
The history of the event and the atmosphere are something I want to experience first hand. I want to ride on the roads, see the places and the people that make up this monumental classic.
It will be silly hard but I guess that is the point!