Monday, 15 November 2010

a year in review (what I have learned)

So a season of rides after work is over, as darkness approaches I think back to the beginning of the year, and to all the things I've learned about learning to ride.

1. You fall off

Thats right, Even if you keep pedalling eventually you will hit pavement, or rock, or mud, or gravel, or tree root, or grass. At times it will hurt like a son of a bitch and the language that spews from your mouth will be worse then the kids on my estate. Other times you will just feel like an idiot when for the 5th time in a row you have fallen over sideways because you just cant figure out the mud thing. But the most dangerous part of falling is the way it can kill your confidence, so dont let it, swear loudly and carry on riding.

2. Its still expensive

Oh my god!!! Seriously! It should be illegal how much this costs! The words How Much?! seems to be heard loudly when my credit card bill arrives. But I just cant help it. They can be so irresistible all shiny and new, staring at me on the Internet web pages, begging to be used. *sigh* And then you say "well why dont you stop spending?" or "stop looking on the Internet then" Well you try it! I challenge you... do not buy any cycle related anything for at least 2 weeks... can you do it?

3.You need more then you think you do

And cue the credit cards and internet. Ok so some people think they can get away with one of everything. Really?? One?? Oh wait that must mean you only have one bike, and you only ride once per week then? I thought I would never need things like chamois cream, until that is, I wore a very questionable pair of padded shorts that ended up with rubbing worse then that of a clueless teenage boy looking for the clitoris :-/ And do I really need 4 pairs of gloves? Yep, actually i could use 5, cue credit cards and internet. And again, how many pairs of cycling shoes/boots do you need. Well I have 4 bikes so 4 pairs?? Oh and see thats the other thing about needing more then you think you do. One bike is never enough but even with 4 bikes Im already thinking I need one more.

4.You may alienate friends and loved ones

I really enjoy my time on the bike, and since cycling is a newer thing to me, my previous friends dont quite get the attraction, or maybe its that the majority of them are just lazy. I dont generally drink that much especially if im on the bike the next day, and Ive quit smoking, apparently losing my appeal to my mates in the mean time. But cycling has also brought me new and fabulous people into my life, 80% ive yet to meet in person but hey, at least then they cant stop liking me because Im not ordering several bottles of Peroni at the bar (can someone please explain the Peroni thing to me, there are several much better tasting things out there)

5.Tantrums are a fact of life

Kick, scream, swear, cry, moan, sniffle, gripe, laugh historically, wave fists in air, give folk the finger, all part of daily life of a cyclists. I have gotten quite good at tantrums. Screaming I AM SHIT loud enough for the NW to hear has become my trademark. I cry oh my do I cry. Somedays I even consider selling the bloody things and taking up knitting, then again Im sure I would be shit at that too. Im not sure whats more frustrating and what causes more tantrums, road or mtb??? Im sure maybe cx will prove to push me over the edge and I will end up crying like a little baby cuz I JUST CANT FUCKING STOP!!!

6. People who drive cars are idiots

FFS!!! I cannot ride on the pavement, Road Tax dosn't exist, you can see me, yes you bitch this is a cycle lane, I am allowed in pedestrian only area's of Kendal, I dont need to get off the road, I am not a bitch (ok I am but they dont know that) and I am on a real bike. I am tired of cars parking in the cycle lane, there are only 2 in the whole of Kendal so im sure the lard asses can park somewhere else. And why the need to pass so close, or so fast???? Bloody retards in a vehicle encased in protection bullying a lil lady on a bike, your so fucking tough arent you!? Well stop your white van and I will kick you in the bollocks, now you aint so tough!

7. You can do more then you think you can

Ok so Im not ever going to win the TDF or for that matter the local Tour de Staveley, but I can get up a hill. I may not be fast but im slow and im not in a hurry so I guess it dosent really matter. I still panic a bit when I see a big hill ahead, or a steep decent. Im not to good at rock drops or keeping upright in mud, but I still push on and I still try, and occasionally I surprise myself (and others im sure)

8. Somedays you need to put down the bike

There are somedays when your legs ache or other body parts, or when your motivation has disappeared along with one of your favorite socks, the weather is insane, or your having a 'special' day. Its ok to put the bike down, curl up under the duvet and relax. Some people may tell you things like "getting out will do you good" or "stop being such a wimp" generally these are men, I say, again, kick then in the bollocks and they wont be out on the bike either.

9. Woman specific ranges are still pink

How many times do I need to tell you that I really dont like pink. But what actually is starting to annoy me more is the woman who wear a size 8-10 asking me "why do you find it so hard to find womans cycle clothing?" well you skinny bitch, grow some tits and an ass and then try again! There is stuff that fits me, but I have to purchase an XL, how is that supposed to make me feel good about myself??? And If I have to wear an XL being a size 14 what do woman who have bigger hips or chest have to wear?? So skinny girls, please dont brag about your huge array of choices to me, I may sit on you!

10. Cycling is the most brilliant hobby

Ok so I may moan a bit, but a the end of the day, what other sport can make you set goals, get fit, socialize, climb mountains, soar over hills, wade through water, and fill your days and nights with so much enjoyment you never want to go inside. If it wasnt for cycling I wouldnt have much to do with my time, (I may have more money) and I would have never met the most amazing group of people I have ever known. Thanks to cycling I have figured out a bit more about who I am and what I love most.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

I built a bike (sort of)

Well its been a few months since that cx Dolan Frame arrived. A typical Dolan Frame, black with white transfers. Oh but being a girl I had another colour in mind. Green with white forks!!!(no bloody pink!)

I sent it for a paint and whilst waiting for it to be returned I took redundancy and shopped online for parts.

The original plan was to buy used on eBay. Ooops :-/ well the wheels were used.

But the credit card was happy and soon it was time to put it together. So I learned how to build a bike in stages.

Stage 1: Have someone with you that knows what they are doing.
Seriously there are bits on a bike that look they belong in a car! And the parts have to point various ways and fit in various holes?????

Stage 2: Your going to eventually get your hands dirty and greasy.
I don't mind getting my hands dirty but I would prefer not to, and isn't greasing holes something that normally a man is better at???

Stage 3: Have someone who has the right tools
I really didn't want to have to buy torque wrench thingies, chain putter onners, wire cutters??

Stage 4: Patience, patience, patience
How many fucking Allen keys does it bloody take to put a bike together!!! You need plenty of patience just to find a key that fits the part! And then you have to tighten one side then the other then return to other side WTF??

Stage 5: Realize that your not done spending money yet
Something is bound to fail when building a bike and you are destined to have to purchase another part, or return something that isn't working. Keep your credit card handy and beg your local bike shop or Internet sight for discounts

Stage 6: Be very nice to the person helping you
Buy cake and make sure the kettle is always boiling. Don't piss off the help by whinging or refusing to grease bits!

Stage 7: Try not to squeal so much when its almost ready!
When can I ride??? Is it ready yet???? EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE its so pretty!!!!!

Stage 8: Enjoy it!
I had so much fun building it! Now I get to ride it!!!

So for my first outing on the cx Hutty and I went for a blast around Keilder. Not a technical course at all but a beautiful 25 miles around the lake on a sunny cold winter day. And I got my first puncture too! The bikes not completely finished yet, a few tweaks required. But all in all its mine and my first build!

So this winter I will get muddy, learning to ride cx style!