Thursday, May 9, 2013

700c wheel for the Duplo Bike

Here is the News, and this is Alvar Lidell reading it.

1. For some reason that either now escapes me or isn't worth recording, I built the Duplo Bike big enough to accommodate a 700c back wheel, though the cantilever stubs would've been in the wrong place. So while I had the seat off I added a bridge and a sidepull brake and put a 700c wheel on. It feels easier at very low speeds, but truthfully I can't tell the difference over my hour ride, even though today I did it in 53 minutes and 54 seconds. That's an N=1 result. Statistically dodgy.

A disadvantage is that now I have to re-think how to put a saddlebag on. The mudguard had to go up and the rack had to come off for the bigger wheel, and a bike isn't a vehicle unless it has a mudguard, or preferably two, and something to carry shopping in.

2. For some reason etc etc etc I put the left crank on the right side of the penny farthing. When John rode it down to the sea yesterday the left pedal fell off. He rode it home with one leg only pretending, and I found the right pedal was about to fall off as well. Given that I built it fifteen years ago and have never had this trouble before, you may calculate how much I ride it. (Not very much.)

3. T'other day I was riding the Rain Bike into town. The Rain Bike is a big heavy Dutch lady's bike, which means to say the bike is big heavy and Dutch, rather than the lady. (Last week's Police Report said that "a black ladies mountain bike was stolen".)(Today's Police report says "Domestic incident - young person from the address goes to another address." - I live in a pretty exciting area.) It - the Rain Bike - has three gears and an enclosed chain and drum brakes front and rear and sit-up-and-beg handlebars, but it has 700c wheels and I have fitted racing tyres pumped hard and you can ride it quite briskly if you really want to. A gentleman on a carbon road bike overtook me so I said hello as I do to all other cyclists, but he felt it beneath his dignity to reply to a rider of a big heavy lady's bike with three gears and an enclosed chain and drum brakes. I waited long enough not to benefit from his slipstream, sat bolt upright, and pedalled as hard as I could. When you pedal hard, the ancient bell on the handlebars jingles a bit. It was enough. He could hear it, and kept glancing behind. Together we rode through town like this, he in front pedalling more and more frantically in the hope of dropping me; me behind sitting bolt upright, steadily closing the gap. I could hear merry laughter from pedestrians as we passed. One doesn't like to humiliate roadies, but one does make exceptions when they're rude. Luckily he turned off the main road. I couldn't have kept it up much longer.

4. I had an uncle named Alvar. Natch it wasn't Alvar Lidell, and it wasn't quite Alvar either. It was Alva. I had an uncle* named Arnold who was not as famous as Alvar Lidell but he was a better violinist than I ever was, but then most people, incl. those who can't play, are better violinists than I ever was. He has his own  wikipedia page and I bet my cousin whom I never met wrote it. No of course I'm not going to add a link - if you're remotely int'rested you'll find it, and if you're not you won't care. And he wasn't called what the Wikipedia page says he was called at all. Safroni was only a made-up stage name because he knew nobody'd want to come to a concert to hear somebody called Arnold Middleton. (Well, would you?) He had a friend called Robert Louis Stevenson who was dead ugly. - Not many people know that. - Robert Louis Stevenson had big bulgy eyes that came out of where everyone else's ears are and a long face and looked, basically, like that bloke in The Scream.

*Actually, a great uncle.

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