Monday, 28 September 2009

Adventures In Modern Cycling No. 9: Pompy...

Having posted my entry form for the Gridiron 'doing the distance' in style is now all I'm bothered about...
The ride to Brighton proved I can cover 100k+ and I really can't say that I suffered any ill effects in the days following which suggests I might be fitter than I thought I was...
Today's destination is Portsmouth, a similar distance to last weeks outing...
Lovely day, lots of sunshine and not a breath of wind. I head for Chichester and the Centurian Way leaving it at the Brandy Hole Copse exit then on to West Ashling and Funtington..
I chose this route, even though it puts quite a few extra miles on the ride, to avoid the mind numbing experience of the old A27...
Out beyond Funtington I pass fields full of pigs and decide they need to have their pictures taken...
I dismount and, whist fumbling with my phone to select the camera, the pigs take one look at me and stampede in the opposite direction. I feel terribly guilty about disturbing them as, prior to my arrival, they were all laying about under an old tarpaulin enjoying the shade...
I contemplate the circumstances that lead to them being so frightened of human beings and wonder if they can sense my predilection for the odd sausage sandwich...
As I rode away I take a quick look back over my shoulder and saw them heading back to their sun shade so all is well even though I don't have a snapshot of happy pigs laying about...
An unexpected opportunity for bit of excitement presents it's self as a tractor rumbles up behind me. I love a bit of tractor racing. I let it pass, dig in and catch the slipstream (ahead of the queue of cars behind it)... Once I've regained my composure (breath) I click into 3rd and break cover hurtling away into the distance closely followed by several cars seizing the same chance to pass on this twisty country road. On catching and passing me the tractor driver shouted something but, as I don't speak Polish, I can't be sure what the gist of it was...
I dropped down towards Leigh Park/Havant, a vast area of 'social housing' not made any prettier by the beautiful day, and cross over the A27 via a precipitous footpath fly-over..
I get the same feeling I had on the big-wheel at Hollycombe. I can even smell the steam engines and see the light bulbs. Very strange...
The ride along the cycle-path toward the Southsea turning is very picturesque and, as the tide is out, smells of rotting seaweed. There then follows a boring stretch into Southsea along side the main road...
Southsea turns out to be a bit of a surprise. I'd driven along the front before but never paid it much attention. It's fantastic..! Lots of open spaces covered in sun-bathers, an enclosed rose garden, a model village and a boating lake filled with pedalos in the shapes of swans and ducks...
I rode along the front to the 'amusements' area and stopped for a snack at the Twisted Wheel cafe..
I can't recommend it. Having reached the bottom of my bowl I find about an inch of oil there which rendered the few remaining chips inedible. Expensive as well. That small cup of coffee cost me £1.20 and I now realise why this cafe is empty while all the others have queues outside them...
I 'read' some of the Sunday papers that were scattered about. They all seemed to feature some pneumatic harlot that has apparently 'written' a best selling book... Depressing...
I re-mount and head into Portsmouth intending to visit the historic dockyards (free entry) only to be told, on arriving outside the gate, by some buffoon in period costume that I couldn't take my bike in...
'Alright' I said, 'I'll f**k off back to Bognor then!' I was quite angry but cheered up after gazing in awe at the Spinnaker Tower.
I visited in 2007 and did the 'walk of faith' over the glass floor (which can be seen here between the first and second cross-members) whilst Linda watched and waved from the ground...
The ride home was uneventful, dull even. On arriving I didn't feel as tired as I did after the Brighton ride. I wish I'd had more time to spend in Southsea...

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Farmyard Of Horror...


I arrived to late...

Sundry Mortifications No. 3

It's fairly obvious that I'm in the midst of a nasty attack of bicycles...
I did say, after finishing the 'Dobson', that the phase was over...
It isn't...
I can't help myself...
I love building bicycles...
The poor old Potato is going to get a boardtracker makeover...
Mashed Potato I suppose...

Monday, 21 September 2009

Cow Restoration...

I bought a distressed Britains model cow at a boot fair...
I forgot to take a picture of it in it's distressed state but take it from me, most of the black paint had chipped off and it's udders were in a right state...
I trimmed off the surplus plastic left from the moulding process and re-applied the black patches..
I re-touched the horns, hooves and udders...
Then...
I painted it's eyes blood red because it is part of the Devil's Herd that stampedes across the endless skies chased by damned cowboys forever and ever and ever...
Yippie yi Ohhhhh
Yippie yi yaaaaay....

Adventures In Modern Cycling No. 8: Brighton...

I had three options for occupying myself this Sunday:
01) A trip up to the Vintage Cycle meet at Brooklands. (Lots of petrol, not much cycling for me and £9 to get in)
02) The regular folk music session at the Maypole. (Drinking to much expensive beer, not much cycling and a massive hangover.)
03) Ride my bike to Brighton in training for the 'Gridiron'. (Very 'worthy').
So, I turn into the headwind and hit the South Coast Cycleway...

There's a questionable trick I play when I'm on the road. I ride at a reasonable pace until another cyclist rides up behind me and overtakes then I 'dig in', get on the back and am pulled along in the slip-stream...
This is an appalling practice and I'm ashamed of myself for doing it. It's a hang-over from when I used to race and I can't shake it off. I offer my profound apologies to those who find themselves giving me an easy ride (like the bloke who dragged me from Comet Corner to the Ford roundabout.)

I passed through Littlehampton and Rustington where I took a wrong turn (poor route signage)
and found myself wandering aimlessly through a private estate of very expensive homes. This little detour put about 4 miles on the journey before I found the cycle route again around East Preston.
Ferring onto Goring by Sea and then into Worthing.
The trip through Worthing turns out to be the worst experience of the whole ride. Along the main drag, that makes no concession to cyclists, in heavy tourist type traffic.
I'm almost out of the town on the way to Lancing before things improve along a split foot/cycle path. The headwind really kicks in along this exposed stretch but I'm in 'cycle head space' and don't really notice or care about it.
I'd never liked the look of Lancing or Shoreham until I took this route which revealed a surprisingly pleasant stretch of coast. I was especially delighted by the Lancing Lagoon that I didn't know existed. Cormorants hanging themselves out to dry, swans gliding along and this piece of 'people art'
Hammer on through to Southwick where everything becomes industrial, bleak and forgettable.
At Hove the cycleway along the pavement becomes increasingly crowded and demands great concentration if you don't want to park your bike in a pedestrian's buttocks..
I have a confession to make... I don't like Brighton...
I'd probably understand it's appeal if I was twenty years younger and maybe I'd enjoy it but I'm not and I don't...
I've long wanted to see the Volk's Electric Railway. Trust me to arrive on the day it's closed for engineering works...
Downer..
The compensation for my disappointment consisted of coffee and, even though I mistakenly sprinkled a sachet of sugar on them, chips...
Time to head back and the nightmare begins...
Two hours and forty minutes of suffering...
Yes the wind's on my back, yes the new 20 tooth sprocket makes the gearing more usable but the short rest in Brighton allowed my muscles to seize up and I began a grim ride home with the 'mask' down..
The one little light during this was sitting up riding 'look no hands' to present as large an area to the tailwind as I could. By the time I got back to Littlehampton I was becoming downright cocky (see short film below).
I bought Linda a present (just to prove that I'd done what I said I'd done) which she ate without once considering that I might like just a small piece of Brighton rock...
I reckon that I did over 62 (flat) miles today and, despite a slight problem walking, I feel I can safely attempt the Gridiron next month but the true physical consequence of today won't really hit until Tuesday..
Let's see how I feel about it then...

video

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Hollycombe Steam Fair 2009 Visit...

I enjoy my annual visit to Hollycombe Steam Fair...
I like the smell (not pictured)...
I like the piles of rusty metal things...
I enjoy watching people involved in manual labour...
I like the metal signs from a bygone age...
Linda likes the large objects...
I like the dog cakes...
I like being scared witless on the big wheel (whilst maintaining a dignified exterior)...
Linda likes watching me being scared witless from the ground...
Same again next year..?
Oh yes...

Friday, 18 September 2009

Feral Shoes No. 8...

Another refugee washed up on the beach...
This is quite a robust shoe complete with a steel toe cap. I predict many exciting adventures for it upon the rolling main...
When I returned past the spot an hour after high tide it was gone...
Fair thee well bold traveler...

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Life During War Time...

I always know when the Goodwood Revival event is about to take place as the car-park of the Beachcroft Hotel (opposite our flat) gets filled with interesting vehicles...
Given the number of feral teenagers that congregate on the sea front of an evening, I wouldn't take bets on this Ferret Light Scout Car being there in the morning...
I had planned to visit the revival this year but two situations have put my visit back for another year. 1)No Money and 2), more importantly, failing to bid high enough for a Fair Isle pull-over on eBay...
I now have to go and get my wheel brace and a few bricks for I have work to do...

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Feral Shoes No. 7...

Seen on the Shripney road...
Broken under the wheel by the looks of it...

Monday, 14 September 2009

Adventures In Modern Cycling No. 7: Petworth and Beyond...

At the invitation of my friend Jane, I set off for Petworth. A small town dominated by Petworth House. This time the route wasn't so much a test of the bike but of the rider...
Oh how I suffered...
It would be easy to blame the gearing on the bike but, in truth, it was all down to my lack of fitness. The slow steady climb out of Eartham nearly turned my lungs inside out....
I'd regained some my composure by the time I'd started to notice members of the local cycle club passing in the opposite direction. I refused to acknowledge them on the basis that non were sporting cravats and still insisted on wearing out-moded skin-tight lycra outfits...
The decent of Duncton hill provided an opportunity to marvel at the downs scenery from a purpose built vantage point and then, on re-mounting my bike, shout 'wheeeeeee..' to annoy the club-men struggling up the hill...
About a mile outside Petworth is the Coultershaw Beam Pump. It's a place I've driven past many times thinking 'I must go there one day'. Well, today's the day...
At the bottom of this post is a little film I made of it's interesting bits. The pump's only purpose now-a-days (aside from attracting people like me) is to provide a pleasing fountain...
Should the opportunity arise for a visit I recommend it...
Having bought a Coultershaw Beam Pump tea-towel featuring an exploded view of the installation I set off for tea and flapjack at Jane's. I was introduced to Roxy who it's difficult not to love...
After eating, drinking and shooting the breeze I'm back on the road heading for a folk music session at the Labouring Man pub in Coldwaltham. Before launching into some frenzied banjo flayling I sat awhile in front of this fire and contemplated my cycling performance...
Will I be fit enough to ride the Gridiron...?
Time (and a 20 tooth sprocket) will tell...
video

Friday, 11 September 2009

Calender Cat Restoration...

I found this Calender Cat in a box in the attic. All the date cards had disappeared and the whole thing was destined to remain in the attic for evermore.
But then..!
I found a complete set of cards on one of my bin-dipping expeditions so it's restoration time...
After dismantling I covered the brass bits in tomato sauce and left it for 24 hours to remove the tarnish..
I sanded and varnished the wooden base and...
Finished...
Well, sort of...
The astute will notice that it's a one-eyed-cat...
I'm now on the look out for a replacement green glass 'eye'...
I asked Linda if she had any old jewelry I could prize some 'eyes' from...
I was told, in no uncertain terms, that it would be unwise of me to touch any of her jewelry if I wanted to continue to enjoy walking un-aided...

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Refining The 'Dobson'...

After recent rides on the 'Dobson', it became apparent that adjustments needed to be made...
The most important was to ditch the handlebar stem and get a hi-rise version...
In fact this made all the other adjustments irrelevant...
It put me into a more 'natural' position, stopped my 'fizzy hand' problem and enabled me to put the handlebars in the 'down' position which is the way I initially envisioned the bike...
I vaguely remember someone (I think it was John Stevenson who then worked at Two Wheels Good in Leeds and went on to write for MBUK) saying that the handlebar stem should obscure the front wheel axle when your seated on the bike...
Considering the improvement the new stem has made I'm willing to conceed that he may have been right...
The new stem has also improved the aesthetic qualities of the 'Dobson' which now looks 'right'...
I'm still waiting for The Old Bicycle Company to get their fingers out and send me some cable clamps and a 20 tooth sprocket and I need to re-set the saddle angle then it may be close to being nearly finished...

Blue Plaque Spotting No. 5 & 6...

These two plaques are quite close to each other in terms of location...
One ( Joyce's) on what, I would assume at the time, was as sea-side boarding house and the other (Rossetti's) on, for the period, quite a grand building now a solicitors offices...
I haven't yet had enough spare time in my life to read anything by Mr. James Joyce and the only interesting thing I can think of in relation to Mr. Rossetti is that he had a wombat...

What Goes On Here..?

The name of this farm suggests two possibilities...
01) It's quite close to the disused war-time air-field R.A.F. Tangmere and might have been used to confuse the enemy...
02) It's some kind of duck farm...

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Feral Shoes No. 6...

Another one of 'those' sandals...
Abandoned on Hook Lane near Woodgate...
I'm assured they are very comfortable to wear...
Notice also the tiny bar of chocolate that I didn't pick up and eat cos' it might have had germs on it...

Monday, 7 September 2009

Deilephila Elpenor Caterpillar...

Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar adopts 'snake-mode' defensive posture thus confusing Linda and stopping her from eating it...
Seen today in a garden near Slindon...

The Black Rubber Beelzebub...

Oh tremble before the Black Rubber BeelzebubHooting Yard) Lord of the Flies (not shown as the joke shop was closed today)...
I'm not allowed to bring this piece out of the lab because it frightens Linda...

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Adventures In Modern Cycling No. 6: Rowlands Castle..

I have decided to ride the 17th Gridiron 100Km Randonee in October so I need to put some miles into my legs...
Felpham to Rowlands Castle and back is around 35-40 miles and there's a nice cafe in Rowlands Castle...
Standard ride outward to Chichester then to Fishboure on the South Coast Cycle Route (No. 2)...
The nice bit ends at one of the best local cycle shops Barreg Cycles (their so good they don't need a website and you should see the collection of vintage bikes awaiting resto in their 'scrap' yard..) then you hit the old A27...
I can't find a single reason to recommend this piece of road to anyone. I don't mind mixing with traffic but this route is just depressing and into the wind...
I arrived in Rowlands Castle and enjoyed a cuppa and a slice of carrot cake whilst having a chat to an earnest middle-aged female tri-athlete on a 10 mile training run...
The return journey was a joy. I followed a gently rolling route down to Funtington and on to Chichester...
I forgot to take my mobile phone. If I had I'd have posted a picture of three horses in a field, a piece of carrot cake, a vintage side-by-side tricycle and an annoying wasp...

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Bar End Plugs...


I've found the perfect bottle caps for the Dobson's Mucky Nutz bar ends...

Friday, 4 September 2009

Cast Iron Wheel Restoration...

After a couple of hours wire-brushing the cast iron wheel has been coated with a rust inhibitor and now looks pretty good...
I now have 3 hours (drying time) to contemplate what colour I should paint it...
Black, green, red, cream (No. I don't have any cream paint), brass...?
This is the type of decision that could take weeks...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Ennui only on Wii...


Whadever...