09 January 2008

Double 700C and Tonic

Just before Christmas, I found myself joining the staff of a bike shop for a Christmas night out. We started in a pub before moving on to a Chinese restaurant.

Early in the evening, the boss returned from the bar with a substantial round of drinks, and we started discussing the considerable mark-up placed on drinks by the licensed trade.

Tubes and Drinks
Later in the night, we somehow got onto the subject of how we could hardly judge - seeing bike shops have their own equivalent profit-maker: inner tubes.

Inner Tubes.


What followed was a boozy conversation which, though it seemed like a good idea at the time, is admittedly one of the geekiest in which I have ever played an active part. For some reason that I can't explain, it seemed a natural process to find an appropriate drink to match each of the inner tubes for sale in a bike shop.

I present below our reasoned findings, transcribed from the paper napkin upon which they were noted. Make of them what you will.

Inner Tube Drink
700 x 38C Schraeder White Wine
700 x 35C Presta Real Ale
20 x 2 Schraeder Vodka Red Bull
700 x 21C Presta Mineral Water
27 x 1 3/8 Tubular Red Wine
26 x 2 Schraeder Carling
26 x 2 Presta Becks
20 x 1 3/8 Schraeder
Vodka and Tonic
16 x 1 3/8 Schraeder
Tanqueray Gin and Tonic
29 x 2.2 Presta Single Malt Whisky
700C Cyclocross Tubular Sloe Gin
24 x 2.5 Schraeder Strongbow Cider
26 x 3 Schraeder Stella Artois Lager

07 January 2008

Cycling Meets Agriculture Down on the Allotment

A couple of days after Christmas Mel and I found ourselves in the beautiful city of Bath. We spent a lazy day wandering round shopping, drinking coffee and taking in the atmosphere. I was keen to see the beautiful Royal Crescent, so on our way back to the car park we detoured through Victoria Park before we chanced upon a sizable area of allotments, where Bath's keen smallholders were cultivating their fruit and veg.

Melody loves her allotment, and the idea of snooping around other people's always excites her, so we climbed over the gate and began nosing around the cabbages and leeks. We were about to leave the allotments and resume our search for the car, when I spotted what looked like a bike, but with its front end attached to some kind of archaic mechanism.


This bike had been adapted into a pedal-powered sieve, presumably to rid the local soil of stones and lumps. A chain lead forward from the pedals and was connected to a large mesh drum, which was then intended to rotate, shaking the soil contents so that fine earth falls through and rocks are retained. It was sadly not functional, else I would certainly have hopped aboard and taken it for a cheeky spin.

I've always known that bikes have the ability to solve many of the world's problems. But I never knew that lumpy soil was one of them.


02 January 2008

First Ride-By Shouting of 2008

So there we were.

About half-past midnight no New Year's Eve and Mel and I are riding merrily along Brighton's seafront cyclepath.

Given the time and date, it is no surprise to see dozens of pedestrians wobbling about in the cycle lane. Understandable given the whiff of booze in the air.

So we ride along, happily honk-honking (Mel) and ting-a-linging (me) to clear a path through the merry-makers. We're greeted with countless cheery waves and new year wishes as folks get out of our way.

Until one bloke turns around and shouts "What are you doing? This isn't fucking Amsterdam!" We smile and wave back. There may even have been a bonus honk from Mel.

But he was serious: "This isn't fucking Amsterdam!". What could we say? It wasn't.

But it did smell a little like it.