Off the bike

My last bike ride was the commute last Monday. The ride home became very dicey as the road surface had begun to freeze over. I pulled and let some air out of my cross tyres to give the grip a touch more tack and I got home safe.

Tuesday and Wednesday were worse, so I decided against a 22km ride along un-gritted country roads and trail. Thursday was my work Christmas Party, which involved me hovering up any and all alcohol I could find. Friday morning was not a good look for me.

So it was Saturday morning for my first opportunity to get out on a bike. I decided to take my singlespeed hack bike out for a spin. It’s a ’94 Marin Palisades Trail mountain bike that I have bought recently. I binned the Alivio transmission, and converted it with a single cog and tensioner. I also added a new SRAM chainset, grips, brake levers and a set of SKS Chromoplast fenders.

The Marin runs like a dream, and will even freewheel better than my skinny wheeled road bike. It has 26” Schwable CX Comp tyres that roll super fast. However I must have put a dodgy link in the chain when I shortened it (I’d shortened it a few times as I was seeing a fair bit of skipping), as when I hit my first hill and hammered down, the chain snapped and the jolt pulled my back.

I didn’t have a chain tool (I’d left my tool pouch on the side at home), so I was left to a ginger hobble home pushing my bike through the streets of Newark.

So I’m off the bike for a few days. I was in a terrible mood on the way to work this morning as I past cyclists doing their daily commute – the weather is much milder and sitting in my car is not where I want to be. My back is sore and I’m sure the car seat feels even worse that then saddle would. However I need to keep it warm give it time to ease up. So the car it is.

On the subject of being sour behind the wheel, recently I began following a twitter feed called Cyclehatred. The account curates hateful tweets about cyclists. If you’re a cyclist it can make your blood boil, and sometimes the temptation to reply to some of the haters can be too much. Check out some of the “conversations” each of these rants generates. It’s great fun watching these folk get bombarded by cyclists.

This got me thinking – why are drivers so angry all the time? It’s not just cyclists. Anything that hinders their progress is the subject of anger and bile. Is it actually the car that makes these people unhappy? Is the automobile just an unhappy place to be?

When I cycle to work I feel energised and buoyant. The endorphins that are released after exercise flush through me, and the fresh air makes me feel alive. Conversely, a half-hour stuck in the car with the inane cackles of commercial radio and my own farts makes me feel depressed.

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