Friday, April 30, 2010

A perfectly good gentleman's mountain bicycle

TransportNZ has decided to maintain State Highway 60, not one lane at a time but the entire section. And to everyone's surprise they have taken it away. The whole highway. For the last month a mile of road between here and Motueka has had no tarmac at all and is a sandy muddy swamp and accordingly Mr Knight, who knows about these things, has instructed me to acquire a perfectly good gentleman's mountain bicycle. Nobody in their right mind builds such a thing but unf. I have a crippled neck and mountain bicycles suitable for perfectly good gentlemen have the handlebars about a mile too low and make my arm all numb and tingly. (Attentive doctors of medicine will immediately diagnose C7.)

Besides I already had the makings of a perfectly good gentleman's mountain bicycle. I had some Marzocchi forks. These cost but little because a previous owner - a moron, if we're being straightforward - had attended to the stem with a hacksaw. (I offer up to the world Middleton's Second Law, which is this: 'Things are seldom improved with a hacksaw.') Fortunately I am a genius and promptly extended the stem with a one-inch tube which inserts tightly and when plug-welded to another stem lies perfectly straight.


A plug-welded stem extension

Moreover 'arry, who ran the bike shop in Loughborough (no-one pronounced the 'H') once gave me the back of a bent GT LTS. - This is a GT LTS which had a bend in it, not a recumbent form of a GT LTS, which clarification I make because there are all too many philistines who following a very doubtful and frankly rebellious parish in our noble British colonies - America - erroneously fancy that 'bent' is an acceptable abbreviation of 'recumbent.' Which it is not. Bent is a word with negative connotations into which I shall not go. Recumbents on the other hand are a glorious invention of magnificent god-like creatures, viz., us lot.


And having a vast Bike Heap I have decided to weld all this together and I can assure you that this will necessitate my using the *uck word quite a lot because it always does. I will also waste most time on the tiniest little bit, and the smaller and less significant it is, the more time and the more *ucks will be spent on it. In fact I just spent two and a quarter hours attaching one of those plastic cable-guiding thingies to the bottom of the BB shell of the donor frame, because a previous owner - a moron and probably the same one - had removed the original and it wasn't a standard size and to make another one fit I had to use a hammer a screwdriver a hacksaw a punch two rivets the small end of a .223 brass rifle cartridge a 7mm spanner a 13mm spanner the hacksaw again an 8mm tap and some meths to wash the reaming tapping and cutting fluid off my best trousers in which I had rather foolishly entered the workshop. As there may well be a vicar reading this I shan't tell you how many times I said *uck but it was fewer than this morning when I found that my bloody wife had constructed one of her amusing Art Installations with all the crockery on the draining rack. We have this rule - call it My Wife's Second Law - that when she cooks I wash up, and when I cook I wash up. And should I demand my yuman rights and go On Strike of an evening she punishes me by playing that bloody Jenga game with the plates and coffee mugs and glasses and carrot-grater and lemon squeezer and anything else possessed of an outlandish and unstackable shape, and behold! at 7.55 am there on the draining board is a reproduction of Mount Everest in bone china.

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