Friday, 31 December 2010
"Because I am so hip to technology I am getting you an e-gift; perhaps it can contribute to future bike porn or at least a brand new pair of bike socks. [...] I follow [the TroisV blog] as well as I can, although the filters at my hospital block about every third entry (probably the best ones)."
Socks and bike porn both, Christie! Two for one! Because I used the gift certificate I received to purchase these bad boys (plus one other pair that were out of stock but will arrive in January):
Though I was tempted to post the Red Hot Chili Peppers for album cover reasons only, I'm trying to keep this post hospital-clean, so we get Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot instead. Though this song is totally NSFH. Happy New Year, Everybody! Have a Flotsnoo! 2011!
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
A fine piece of design and cassette deconstruction, indeed.
Being avaricious for such a sticker, a desirous of trying out his new, rather Germanic, gloves from Martock, Dr Matt wondered if the Trois V should take part in this velopedic campaign. His fellow wheelmen were not so keen. He then took it upon himself to uphold the pride of the Trois V, and began his very own Trois V Festive Five, to be completed one day quicker than the embrocation purveyor's fine scheme.
He can now report that he has completed his mission, despite facing a blocked canal path on the way back from delivering Emily, 'Friend of the Trois V', to Paddington, and a strong desire to stay in bed this morning rather than retire to work. Marvel at the conditions he has had to face:
And be impressed by the weight of his evidence:
I also dug out my old John Peel 'Festive 50' tapes; only to realise I have no means of playing them.Flotsnoo!
Saturday, 25 December 2010
Friday, 24 December 2010
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
- Apologies for absence
- Apologies for existence
- Minutes of last club meeting (missing)
- Airing of grievances
- Angry recriminations
- Blame apportionment
Friday, 17 December 2010
I'm using my bicycle notebook to organize outlines for the novel I'm writing.
Two punk songs today:
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Have we mentioned the golf? Because there were loads of dudes staying in our hotel who were very obviously "here for the golf." They were United States of Americans. They were well-fed. They were, like many golf enthusiasts, also cigar enthusiasts. Of course, like most of the rest of the world, you can't smoke inside in Wales, so the cigar enthusiasts needed to step outside to light up. They chose the emergency exit as their most natural way out. These guys were like water: the path of least resistance. Honestly, I don't blame them for using this exit, but once one of them decided to use that means of egress, an evening of consternation (for me) and hilarity (for Jon, Dr. Matt and the couple sitting at the table next to us) ensued.
For some reason, these guys found three things impossible:
1) Moving in and/or out as a group;
2) Staying either in or out for more than five seconds;
3) Closing the fucking door.
This behavior is what would lead my family to label these dudes, "Midnights", after our late if-she's-in-she-wants-to-be-out-and-if-she's-out-she-wants-to-be-in mutt. I could've dealt with the constant in and out by the Cigar-smoking Golf United States of Americans, had they just been able--let me emphasize this--to close the motherfucking door behind them. Of this they were not capable. The first time I simply took a half-step out of my seat and closed the door myself. The second time I did the same. The third time I was a little more exasperated in my door-shuttage. By the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and/or eighth times, my exasperation was cut with open and vocal hostility.
The last man in let the door flap unclosingly behind him, then stopped and noticed it hadn't shut, returned, closed it, looked over at our table (where I was shaking uncontrollably with rage/exasperation/nationalistic shame) and said, "I know, stupid Americans, right?" It was charming, let it be said, but all I could muster was the bitterest of smiles and a muttered, "You don't know the goddamned half of it." Jon and Matt were helpless with glee at my rage; the couple next to us laughing hilariously.
I stood and sang.
Then we went to meet the distinguished Dr. Rich and drink some Irish-brand stout.
Friday, 10 December 2010
Friday, 3 December 2010
That's right, it's the key to future TroisV cyclosportive success, training rollers. I've had exactly one brief experimental run on these things; please take note of the close proximity to a wall (the better to cling onto, my dear!) on one side, and on the other, the soft crashpad of my bed. Keeping balance is not easy, though by the end of my five-or-so minute trial I could almost get my second hand onto the (red-taped, see previous bike porn friday) handlebar. They make a satisfying hum while you ride, and the key seems to be not to look down. See you in hell, outdoor riding on cold and/or rainy days!
Anyway, roll on, TroisV, roll on!
Please, Hammer, don't hurt 'em:
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
The firm sounds very promising:
This representative and successful boat factory was established in 1871 by Messrs. A. T. Gifford & I. H. Higgins, both of whom are expert and experienced boat builders. The factory is 85 feet long, 63 feet wide and three and a half stories high, and the firm also utilize five adjoining commodious buildings. During the busy season they employ fifty skilled workmen. All descriptions of boats are built with dispatch. They have had 30 years' experience, and are the original builders of the sharp sterned bottom seam, mackerel seine boats, used by all fishermen of New England and the Provinces. The firm have furnished over 150 boats to the various departments of the United States Government. They likewise built the three smallest crafts that ever crossed the Atlantic Ocean, viz.: the Centennial, Captain Johnson; Nautilus, Andrews Brothers; and the Little Western, Captains Norman and Thomas. The Little Western made the return trip and landed at Gloucester, Mass. The firm have built during the last fifteen years 3,500 boats of different kinds, and have given entire satisfaction to patrons. They were awarded medals at the London exhibition of fish and fisheries, 1883, for their unrivalled mackerel seine boat; also for their excelsior life boat. Messrs. Higgins & Gifford are both natives of Cape Cod.More from this volume anon.
Sunday, 28 November 2010
It started to get cold. We pulled over by the sea on the far side of Swansea and wondered where Jon might be. By the beach was the message. We called. We waited. We looked at the sea and the grey clouds. Doug's leg stopped bleeding. Jon texted. He was by the beach, near the dockside developments, just after where NCR4 petered out. Back we went, and found Jon on the beach. Reunited, we lubricated, told stories of our adventures, unfurled the Colgate University flag, and I took a quick leak behind the bushes.
Now, down to business. What was the plan? Our Travelodge ('Travelodge - Camarthen' as it advertised itself) was some distance away, in fact a train ride away. And then a further pedal-powered ride to St Clears, where the motel actually was. A nine-mile ride, or slightly less if we went to a near train station (Whitland, whose name I couldn't recall, and Jon's iPhone app refused to recognise). The thought of more riding was not enticing at this point. Trains were less than frequent as well. We also had the notion of hanging out in Swansea and meeting Doug's friend added to the mix. Perhaps we should stay in Swansea.
Friday, 26 November 2010
Little did I know just how much attention.
It turns out poor Zing needed a new cassette (unsurprising) and chain (unsurprising); it also turns out, on further inspection, that it needed a new front shifter. Unfortunately, shifters come in pairs, so this wasn't exactly cheap. Also unfortunately, it took my local bicycle shop's supplier forfuckingever to get the requisite part to them. I found this a trifle irritating, though I hasten to add that I don't really blame the shop.
Anyway, now for the fortunate part: I have a shiny new cassette (not so shiny any more), and a shiny new chain (ditto), and new Shimano 105 shifters, which are actually a lot nicer in a couple of ways than my old Shimano 105 shifters. The cables are internally routed, which makes my bike look cleaner/classier on the front; as a result of the internal routing the "handle" part that attaches to the handlebars is a bit fatter, which makes it more comfortable/ergonomic than the older, narrower (and higher sitting) 105s. Yippee. Oh! and the mechanic replaced my old, grubby, cut-up white bartape with red! Yippee again.
Here's your lousy photograph:
Today's song isn't thematically related, but I think we can all agree that it is awesome.
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Soon we found ourselves on an open pasture, slipping around on a muddy/gravely track. It wasn't the first, nor last, gravely track, but it was the muddiest and graveliest to this point. I followed Matt at a safe distance, keeping in his line, watching his back tire skid occasionally. I thought, "Hm, it might be a good idea to unclip my left foot, just in case I really slide." I attempted to unclip, but realized the mere action of twisting my foot while riding on what any self-respecting football pundit would call a "greasy surface" would only provide the exact force necessary to topple me; so I stayed clipped in. I watched Matt's wheel slide out again, but Matt remained upright; I thought, "Hm, I'll slow a little;" my next thought was, "Oh, I'm falling." Don't worry, Ma! This is the tumble where I land with almost comical gentleness on a bed of long grass, laughing as I tumble because I was traveling about 2 k.p.h. (I'm beginning to get the reputation for these inconsequentially slow nosedives). We decided to walk our bikes to the end of the pasture.
Soon thereafter we came to some little village/town or another--honestly, these names all completely escape me--where we discovered, opposite a gas station, Smithy's, which was a greasy spoon/sandwich cafe. Smithy's sits pretty much literally on National Cycle Route 4. Smithy himself is missing a finger or two. We ordered cheese sandwiches. Smithy instructed his son, who made them. We got cheese sandwiches. Here's a full ingredients list:
2) Cheese (shredded)
I suspect Smithy, had he made the sandwiches, would've included butter, and that his son, nervous on his first Saturday of work under the the old man, simply forgot that sandwiches usually come with butter as a standard feature. Whatever. We were hungry. The sandwiches were good. Smithy was very friendly.
Back onto the bikes, over a little river, and for the next stretch we were cycling on paved pathways that meandered past sheep pastures. When I say "paved", I mean, they were asphalt, and covered in sheep- and horseshit. Before too long we came along a mother riding horses with her two daughters. No idiots, we, so we slowed right down and waited until they'd seen us. We spooked the littlest horse (ridden by the littlest horsewoman) [note to self: idea for TV show: "The Littlest Horsewoman"] anyway. The Littlest Horsewoman, who was probably no more than 8 or 9 years old, tried twice to control her horse, and I was impressed with her horsewomanship, and suspected that a certain retired suomalainen upseer of my acquaintance would've been too; at this point, the Littlest Horsewoman said, "I think I'll get down now," and hopped out of the saddle and walked her horse to the side of the pathway. Smiles and thank yous bounced back and forth from mother to cyclists.
Further along this paved travelway I found myself playing chicken with a terrier that was barreling full-steam towards me. I assumed the dog would divert; suddenly it seemed that it was hellbent on taking as straight line, its tail flapping wildly, ears back, stupid look on its face; so I changed course a little and began laughing my head off as the dog continued past. A little further up, its owner looked at me and said, "Oh God, he didn't give you trouble, did he?" I assured him not at all with some friendly words and continued. Matt was further ahead, and turned to ask me what I was laughing about. I began to explain as I hit a small bridge.
And then I was on the ground with my bike on top of me.
My right palm and wrist hurt, but only in the way they would if they were bruised. My feet were still in the pedals, and my bike had landed entirely on top of me, so I wasn't too worried about it. I could see my knee was bleeding, but it didn't hurt outrageously, so I figured it wasn't much more than scraped. My main concern was my shoulder, which felt as though if I were to move at all suddenly, it would dislocate from its socket.
"Matt," I said. "I'm fine. I'm fine. But don't touch me. Or my bike. I'm fine. But please just don't touch anything." And eventually I felt like my shoulder wasn't going to pop out of its socket. An inspection of the little bridge revealed that the wood was covered in chicken wire to prevent this kind of slide, but there was a gaping hole in the chicken wire. I wiped the blood with an antiseptic wipe, decided I'd live, and we climbed back on the bikes.
Between here and Port Talbot, we hit the part of the trail that really called for mountain bikes; Matt had a puncture.
It was weird riding with basically no idea how far we had to go to get to Swansea. Finally we hit Port Talbot, and rode along the very edge of it, between an industrial estate and some houses. the route jogged up two blocks, then back down two blocks, to avoid going in a straight line. We came through a little parking lot and then had to go over a curb to get onto the wonderful seaside pathway. I was sick of falling off my bike at this point, so I put my foot down and gingerly went over the curb. Matt vaulted himself over his handlebars in what was easily the most spectacular and elegant, if also least injurious, tumble of the trip.
We entertained (read: fooled) ourselves with the notion that the wide and lovely seaside pathway would lead us all the way to Swansea; I phoned Rich, who lives in Mumbles, to say we'd be there within an hour. The National Cycle Route 4 then diverged and we spent most of the last stretch beside the A-road, Matt's chain/gears howling like a banshee. But we got to Swansea. And made some decisions.
Friday, 19 November 2010
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Saturday, 13 November 2010
Friday, 12 November 2010
Monday, 8 November 2010
All this was leading to The Split.
Saturday, 6 November 2010
Friday, 5 November 2010
Which proves that fine art and cycling can be compatible.
My father (hi, Dad!) provides the following commentary:
The first was called Urban Bike or something like that as I recall.
The second had a label that said:
This song is about Michigan. I probably should've used it for the Bike Porn Friday that had the photo of bikes at Holland State Park:
Thursday, 4 November 2010
However, the bit after Annie's pub was fun, lots of fast b-roads with almost zero traffic, save for the occasional souped-up Ford Focus, driven by what Dr Matt drolly referred to as 'Boyo Racers'. It was a great section, and lulled us into thinking that having arrived in Wales, NCN4 would magically be transformed into a wheelers' paradise.
Then we hit some tracks, and it was a bit muddy, but we suspected it would only be temporary. Negotiating a herd of cows, and a wrong turn through a small swamp, we were back on tarmac, but being pursued by a slow moving van. Oh good, we thought, our Bristolian traffic adviser had tracked us down. We reached a junction and the van passed, and swerved to a halt ahead of us. I calculated how swiftly I could extract my d-lock (that was pushing my saddlebag onto my mudguard, and inspiring the most awful poetry from Dr Matt), Doug went ahead to negotiate.
It turned out that the driver wasn't offended by our presence on earth, but was in fact a keen cyclist himself, and was just about the only person on the whole trip who didn't ask us if we were there for the golf. He offered advice on how to avoid a particularly muddy section of the route, which we subsequently ignored, and also asked us if we were trying to get to the transporter bridge in Newport. We had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, but nodded and smiled. It was kind of him to stop, and we wished him well.
Newport was where the industrial estate aspect of NCN4 came to the fore. We wound our way under grimy bridges and past disused warehouses and new build light industrial sheds. Then we found the transporter bridge. Looming in the sky, four giant pylons over a river. The purple line said we had to cross, but there seemed to be no way to do so, and then the cables on the pylons juddered into life.
We were all impressed, delighted even, but Doug and I were mostly grateful for shelter and a seat. Dr Matt, however, was a bit more excited, and skipped gaily around the bridge photographing everything, while the bridge operator gave us a look which clearly asked 'is he soft in the head or something?' We smiled reassuringly, and soon the captain was joining in with Matt's hijinks, and took this piece of hardcore dragon action.
We arrived in Caerphilly at sunset, and tried to match the poorly printed map with the poorly rendered GPS. There was a summit held where the NCN intersected with the on-ramp to Caerphilly's B&Q. We decided to head for the castle, seeing as how it's the second largest one in the UK, and recce from there. Turns out that sunset is the perfect moment to view the castle, but not the perfect moment to remember to photograph it.
We arrived at the front door and took a look at ourselves.
The next morning, we headed to breakfast to face the barrage of 'are you here for the golf?' questions from our fellow guests.