Miscellany: Back on the road, punctures against the clock, bike decluttering and 1950s ‘cross

This week’s been a good one thus far. Back to work, therefore, back into bike commuting zone. Following a long layup, I had my Wirral Way ride on Monday, then two days of bike commuting.

The first day was a shock to the system – the journey home in particular being fun and games – carrying a laptop, camera bag and tripod on the bike (and up and down the station stairs at rush-hour) was a rude awakening for my Christmas-softened physiology.

Yesterday was interesting too. A fix the puncture against the clock moment at Picadilly station – 10 minutes before the train is due to arrive and I find a cartoon style tack sticking out of my tyre. I managed to get the new tube in, pumped up and the bike reassembled in time to catch the train back to Liverpool. My brake gunk encrusted hands got a few looks of distaste on the journey home.

Looking ahead, I’ve got a great weekend of work ahead – reporting on the 2011 British Cyclo-Cross Championships at Derby – two days of mud-plugging action. Can’t wait.

I’m also considering stripping Resurrectio down to its bare essence. I’m not sure if other riders out there get this urge from time to time, but every now and again, I get the urge to ride a stripped down, unladen bike. Sometimes you can add accessories like bags, kickstands, fenders etc, one after another in order to make the bike more useful and practical, then you get to the point where the weight creeps up and the cycling experience loses a little sparkle.

Does anyone else out there ever experience the urge to declutter the bike?

Finally, and back to the cyclo-cross theme, I stumbled upon this wonderful video of a 1950s cyclo-cross race. Awesome what these chaps do on standard ‘clubman’ bikes. The commentary is, erm, quirky too.

Hoping to squeeze a cheeky ride in tomorrow – I know that watching hundreds of other folk riding at the weekend will give me acute ride-envy.

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6 thoughts on “Miscellany: Back on the road, punctures against the clock, bike decluttering and 1950s ‘cross

  1. dexey

    “Does anyone else out there ever experience the urge to declutter the bike?”
    Nope. The way I look it is that the comforts add weight to the bike but not to me. The extra effort required by me is good exercise so Ilose even more weight. Subject to minimal cake increase by way of compensation for extra effort :0)

    Why didn’y you wait until Liverpool to fix the puncture and thus travel with clean hands, or carry a pair of latex gloves?

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      Good point Dexey – I’ve (thus far) resisted the urge to de-clutter. These things usually pass plus – we’ve got heavy rain forecast – and there’s nothing more pleasing that watching the water channelled out of the end of the mudguard. Often if I fancy a livelier ride, I’ll ride with a backpack rather than a saddlebag – sometimes the Carradice can make the bike feel a little dead and top-heavy. However, I do love a traditional saddlebag…

      I did think of fixing the puncture at the Liverpool end – however, the urge to test my speed-puncture fixing skills got the better of me, especially as I had an audience! I usually carry a pair of latex gloves but I’d forgotten to put a fresh pair in the bag after the last roadside mechanical.

  2. dexey

    Ah, pride!
    Imagine if you had failed :0)

    Do you use a handlebar bag, at all? I can’t remember seeing one in the pictures. Some of the weight shifted forward may give a better distribution and help the liveliness of the bike. On my small wheelers I put all the weight for a day ride over the front; I find it stops the steering being skittish.

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      I’ve got a Carradice Zipped Roll that lives on the bars occasionally, but nothing more substantial than that – I use it for longer road rides. When commuting, I have to carry a laptop to and from work three times a week so it’s usually a backpack or the Camper. I do like riding a front loaded bike though, better weight distribution and the ability to get at your stuff on the move are big pluses, as well as the steering damper effect that you mention. There’s also something about being able to actually see your stuff which is reassuring.

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