you owe me nothing in return

 

A little something from Alanis this evening to a) delight the legions of Portuguese fans of lifeinthecyclelane who are forever demanding plinky plunky music videos with subtitles and b) make my Canadian reader hang his head in shame.

In fact, the interweb tells me Alanis is half American so you guys can all feel bad too.

Incidentally, on behalf of the UK, I hereby sincerly apologise for The Spice Girls. *slow, sad headshake*

Anyhoo, it’s been all kinds of exciting here at lifeinthecyclelane HQ recently; you’ve probably read the news reports about a crazy-eyed, hairy-faced man abandoning his unfortunate and all-too-patient girlfriend at various marketplaces around Manchester while he goes off cycling in the wilderness with…

<insert dramatic music here>

…another girl.

Salsa Mukluk 2A filthy girl.

1456671_10152219705564863_2054789501_nA filthy girl who likes going down.

1465350_10152219705879863_535419075_nA filthy girl who likes going down and let me taste her pussy.

1451350_10152219704934863_255121575_nYou can make up your own jokes.

But seriously, Canadian-American regret and hideously inappropriate innuendo aside, this is after all a cycling blog so it’s about time I reported on something at least a little bit cycling related.

Ahem. You at the back! Stop sniggering. This is a serious blog.

 

This year, I’ve largely been switching back and forth between my Surly Troll and Kinesis Crosslight for commuting duties. During the summer, the Kinesis was also my evening & weekend ride of choice for exploring the local lanes and bridleways.

As the days started to get shorter and the weather started to get crappier, I set the Troll up in its now familiar mountain biking guise and the Kinesis became my foul weather commuter.

It’s time to talk about rubber.

Hey! No sniggering.

709111_183LrgAfter countless miles over tarmac, gravel, hardpack dirt and (some) mud in blazing heat, freezing cold, pouring rain and (a little) ice, it’s finally time to hang up what has to be one of the best sets of tyres I’ve ever owned. The Vittoria Randonneur Cross Pro with its semi-slick, semi-knobbly tread, reflective sidewalls, sticky compound and excellent puncture protection has been absolutely flawless.

Mine are now looking almost completely slick, the reflective stip is starting to peel away and the combined abuse from Birmingham & Manchester’s roads and trails over the last few years has left them beaten, battered and scarred. And yet, through it all, I never had a single puncture.

Of course, one simply can’t abandon one’s girlfriend without the universe handing out some kind of cruel and unusual karmic punishment. My punishment came in the form of a 2 inch galvanised steel nail that somehow found its way into my rear tyre, directly through the tread, out through the sidewall and CLATTER CLATTER CLATTER into my rear mudguard; albeit mercifully just around the corner from the office.

Now, as a rule, when your tyre sidewall gets damaged, your tyre is toast. This is normally bad news. Especially when said tyres cost a small fortune. But, given the seemingly endless mileage they’ve given me, I really can’t complain; I’ve more than had my money’s worth.

1471784_10152222999774863_1520757008_n

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for what it’s worth

 

You can’t keep them all.

Correction: I can’t keep them all.

380924_10150419503169863_784234862_8039982_959727584_nMy girlfriend is quite patient with me and my bike obsession, bless her. But, patient as she may be, there was no mistaking the “Seriously, you’re actually paying money for that thing???” look she got on her face when I dragged her to an obscure corner of Oldham to pick up this beautiful old Falcon Panther.

425348_10150673432819863_784234862_8829403_132888241_nYou may even have read about the restoration of said bike here; like almost all of the bikes that enter my life, I pretty much fell completely in love with it and it’s been my ride of choice on only the warmest, driest days (except for those few emergencies where I needed to commute on it on grimy, rainy, horrible and / or icy days – an interesting experience, let me tell you!).

You will of course be familiar with the mathematical equation for working out the appropriate number of bikes to own:

n + 1
(where n = the number of bikes you currently own)

For me, that meant:

  1. Surly Troll touring / commuting / monster cross / fully rigid mountain / go-anywhere-do-anything bike
  2. Falcon Panther 10 speed warm weather hipster bike
  3. Carrera Epic flat bar road bike project (I haven’t told you about this one yet)
  4. Elswick Hopper Safeway 3 speed town bike project (Karen hasn’t realised I still have this one yet)
  5. Surly Krampus ridiculous dream bike (I haven’t convinced Karen to let me buy this one yet)

Kinesis Crosslight 4t NCN route 55So, when I examined n, realised I was running dangerously low on bikes and built myself my Kinesis Crosslight cyclocross / road(ish) bike, you can only imagine the look she got on her face… A word to the wise: No amount of pretending that bike frame shaped package the neighbours took in is actually a pair of diamond earrings is going to get that look off her face. I suspect an actual pair of diamond earrings might but we’ll never know because I’d just spent all my money on a new bike. Durr.

Before being struck down with a severe case of Man Flu, I gave the Kinesis a 100+ mile, week long shakedown of commuting, single track and high speed, Salford based madness on the roads. Somewhat unsurprisingly, I have a new love in my life.

All of this made me realise just how little I’ve actually ridden the Falcon. And, now I have the Kinesis, the chance of me wheeling it out of the garage have been cut in half (at least). So, it had to go up for sale.

Now, it’s been ‘up for sale’ before. I was asking silly money for it in the hope that either a) somebody would actually pay me silly money for it or b) nobody would actually pay me any money for it and I’d have to keep it. So this time, I put it up with a much more reasonable price tag; the likes of which people might actually consider paying, the likes of which might actually give me some more space in the garage and score me some much needed boyfriend points.

Now, I put quite a lot of time and money into that restoration (probably more than I should have) and, like any classic car owner will tell you, the chances of recouping what you spend on a restoration (let alone making any profit) are somewhere between slim and none.

I haven’t actually done the maths, but I figure I’ve probably broken even… but, the time I spent restoring it, the time I spent riding it, the knowledge that it’s going to someone who always wanted one when he was a kid and therefore appreciates the real value of the thing… well, that all makes it worthwhile to me.

This. This is how I’ll remember it.

545507_10151216346724863_732135669_n’twas a fine day.