Friday, 28 January 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Cycle Lane Special

Bike Porn Friday was almost a suite of reflections on the obsessive habits that cycling can lead to: a huddle of furtive men (and a few women), rummaging in boxes at a secret pre-sample sale sale in a dark corner of Spitalfields, leading to penury and short-sightedness. But, no. We shall leave that to last night's post. And, instead, have something more pleasant to reflect upon (and possibly more in tune with the growing power of the internet, which has caused it to be switched off aroundabout the Red Sea).

Above you may note three photographs dating from Christmas. Rather than a addition to the roll-call of crap cyclelanes that populate the blogosphere, you instead see the happy workings of a combination of a) a burst water main b) an alert Trois V member c) Thames Water and Camden Council's Twitter line and d) some cheery Bob the Builder types. All these factors combined to repair what was quite a crater, and indeed, flood, on NW1's most over-engineered cycle lane. Of course, it may have been repaired without my intervention, but I can imagine totalitarian powers if I like. They certainly got to it in quickstep.

It's still pretty crap where it meets the perpendicular roads, but what can you do.


Embrocation Supplies

The bi-annual Rapha Sample Sale always divides opinions among the Trois Vs. However, there is a happy outcome of my visit to the chaotic cycling apparel bazaar: some touring shorts. No longer will cake stops be such a trauma for all involved. Sadly, I couldn't get any woolly underwear for Dr Doug.


Trois V!

(a photo in lieu of a video):


Saturday, 22 January 2011

Upon a Winter's Day

Yeah, so it's January and as one "Friend of the TroisV" pointed out the other day, "Losers go on detox in January, winners do an all-pizza diet." We met--all three of the TroisV (which, depending on how you pronounce it, rhymes)--rather later than usual and rode some laps in the cold and the damp. The sprints were lazy. Jon informed us that the Club Mascot has snot coming out of her eyes. We discussed The Omen, which is appropriate since we were cycling past the U.S.A. Ambassador's house. Ah, if only Gregory Peck were the U.S.A. Ambassador for real! And not dead. No offense, Your Excellency. Anyhoo, Dr. Matt had to go straight home to avoid the embarrassment of wandering around the Victoria and Albert Museum in his tights (N.B. this is not so much Dr. Matt's embarrassment we're talking about as it is "Emily"'s). Jon and Dr. Doug repaired to the very busy Look Mum, No Hands!, where Jon sat in a high chair, and Dr. Doug sat in a low one, pretending to talk about his day at kindergarten. On the way home, stopped at that red light on that narrow street, a certain Def Leppard lyric popped into my head before I was distracted by the hip hop aerobics going on in the adjacent building.

Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light, Go! Dirty Operator Come A-knocking on my door!

Go Bears!


Friday, 21 January 2011

Bike Porn Friday: the five-fingered shuffle

We replace the planned BPF post (on the cartography of London Blue Bikes), partly out of irritation with the non-functioning of the stand on Royal College Street, but also out of celebration of the return of chilly weather.

When the last cold front descended, Dr Matt headed straight to an internet purveyor of sweets and cycling apparel and obtained a fine pair of Shimano Pro 'Team Gel' gloves. He then forgot to get on his bike, got a cold, left the country, and returned to milder conditions, which suited his Martock-fashioned, Embrocation + Striped Menswear gloves (on this, please await tales of Kentish Town Pastoral, which should be ready for posting in a day or two, depending on how things go with Perren Street.)

Today, however, his Jobs communication device announced a nippy 4 degrees. Potentially liverish for the fingertips. The Team Gels were unleashed! They were on the snug side, but with a well-judged amount of padding combined with a smooth palm, and comforting snot-removing terry cloth. For a while, Dr Matt was convinced that the white stripe and reflective material made him visible to vehicular traffic: Addison Lee soon disabused him of that silly notion. Arriving safe nonetheless at the bibliotheque, he realised that his fingers were perfectly toasty, and announced the gloves a success. The Swede would approve. Then, he frose the finger tips after removing them to go through the locking routine.

Trois V!


Sunday, 16 January 2011

Five Laps and a Coffee

Essentially, that was it, except Dr Matt also got himself a marmite muffin while Dr Doug watched a poor Look Mum No Hands punter attempt to replace a new tyre, and we approved of a bright red Condor Squadra. (They also have some dashing new socks on sale; owner of red Squadra, take note).

It was good to get back on the bike, and do a few laps, while chewing the fat. Plans for the year ahead are also afoot, and I suspect these will be firmed up during the sports viewing with the mascot this evening.

We also enjoyed the good natured bus jam on Goswell Road/St John's Street junction.

Although no-one noticed my 'beard'.


Trois V!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Upon a Cliff in Mute Amusement

We're digging out the vintage stuff this week for Bike Porn Friday. How about this for a well-spoked machine?

Several questions are brought forth by this picture. How did he get the bike there? What is his plan of escape? And is this what happens if you follow NCN4 all the way to Fishguard??


Monday, 10 January 2011

Don't Get Involvoed.

Hey, Volvo Driver! Yes, you! The mother in the forest green station wagon driving her kids home from school because she doesn't want them exposed to the germs on the public transportation! You!

You know how your engine toils getting up Swain's Lane? You know how right at the steepest part of Swain's Lane it also gets to the narrowest point? You know how at that steepest and narrowest point there's also a set of speed bumps, so you have to adjust your steering not to bounce up the hill?

Well maybe -- and I'm just saying maybe here -- but maybe that isn't the best place to gun your engine and try to pass me, you fucking idiot!

Seriously, we all want to get home in time to see Spongebob, but isn't the trauma your kids will face from missing the first 15 seconds of an episode they've already seen like totally a lot lower than the trauma they'll experience watching their mother run somebody over?

Also, they totally dig the posh chicks at Holloway Prison, if you know what I mean.

Though we all know you'd get a small fine and a few points.

But still: use your fucking head, lady. Where are the police when we need them?


Friday, 7 January 2011

Bike Porn Friday: Pink Schwinn!

A while back I had to take my bike in for a check-up, and it ended up hospitalized with major repairs. One of the things that got changed was the left shifter, and so as a result, another of the things that got changed was the right shifter too. This has been documented. What has yet to be documented is that because the shifters got changed, so did the cables. And the cables stretched (as cables do), so a couple weeks later I took my bike back to have the indexing unscrewedup. This only takes a few minutes, so I walked around my local bicycle shop and looked at the bikes while I waited. Among them, this:

It's a pink Schwinn somethingorother. The important point is that it has an enormous and comfortable-looking seat, and a cupholder up front, so you can bike-and-brew or cycle-and-cider to your heart's content, and still keep both hands on the handlebars (especially if you take the advice of one "Friend of the TroisV", and get yourself one of these).


Obviously, we're going with this one:

Thursday, 6 January 2011

The Triumph of the WIll

So last night I washed my bike in anticipation of fitting my exciting new hoops:

Therefore, of course, this morning I awoke to rain. Undeterred, I took my bike out of the bath, swapped the wheels, and set off to the meeting point to collect Doug.

Due to the miserable weather, cold hands, and the effects of two weeks off the bike, we limited ourselves to three laps before heading off to Look Mum No Hands for a fantastic breakfast of English muffins with marmite, and coffee.

Readers of fledgling magazine Cycling Active will know that this month they did a feature on coffee, guided by the careful hand of the barista of LMNH. Despite them not covering the ristretto, I nevertheless succumbed to their review and ordered a mocha, which turned out to be the best one I've ever had, and has officially been dubbed the TroisV Winter Milkshake.

Now as regular readers are aware, the route home from LMNH usually takes us within the gravitational pull of Condor Cycles. We have documented the Condor effect before, and Doug was keen to avoid unplanned expense and so steered clear of the event horizon, but I needed some brake pads and had to go in.

The plethora of new year's bike magazines contain lots of advice about how to achieve one's cycling ambitions in 2011. The key thing is to set a goal and stick to it. So I went into Condor for brake pads, and brake pads only. No magazines, no energy gels, no clothes, no gps computers, and definitely no croissants. (To be clear, I mean I wouldn't buy any of those things. I did not enter Condor in the nude.)

I'm pleased to report that with a monumental effort of will, I stuck to just buying the brake pads I needed. Aided in no small part by today's song playing in the shop.

Next stop, Mount Ventoux!


Monday, 3 January 2011

Oh Solo Me-ah!

Undeterred (but frankly, a little put off) by the unavailability of my fellow TroisVers, I set off early this afternoon for my first ride of 2011 (and my first real ride in about a month, or maybe even a bit longer). I decided to do the traditional laps of Regents Park, but finishing with a climb of Swain's Lane. After pumping my tires, lubing my chain (stop snickering at the back) and putting on various layers of clothing, I realized I had no idea where my overshoes were. Though I have a lot of nice socks now, I can see that I might've spent my Christmas gift more wisely. As they say, "Whatever."

The ride was mostly unremarkable, if also somewhat boring and vaguely painful--mostly I seemed to have a slight heartburn problem, which I'm guessing has something to do with my late night salsa and NFL football session yesterday. I mused that if I did puke up even the slightest amount of bile and/or Rice Krispies at the top of Swain's Lane, I could at least have the satisfaction of titling this entry "Like a Doug to His Vomit." Alas and alack, I kept it all to myself.

But, Dear Reader(s), there is a major highlight to relate! I was riding up Highgate Road, just before the railroad bridge near Gordon House Road, when a minivan decided to pass by me at considerable speed (racing to a red light), leaving about half-to-three-quarters of a foot between little old me and its side. I grumbled (I lack the vehemence of Jon in these situations) and gestured (back of my hand, no middle or two fingers). But then, Dear Reader(s), then! Police! Sirens! Action! This idiot driver failed to notice the police van behind it! The police pulled this guy over! Now, the Metropolitan Police has received an enormous amount of (correct) criticism recently for the way it treats student demonstrators as though they were a communist insurrection circa 1953; but at least when they aren't jackbooted and helmeted and shielded and charging-horsed up, at least one (or two) of the cops that "keep London safe" have the decency to make the odd correct decision.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the TroisV, its other members, or whatever.