Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Now, given the difficulties of keeping up with the vast proportion of the world's population who read this blog, I'd just like first to thank both of you for your kind enquiries during my recent bout of legbrokenness, and offer here a small update. The dashing young chirurgeon told me how long it would be till I'd be fine, and since 'tis zackly that time to the very day I thought I'd take him at his word and complete the ride I set off for on 3rd April.

I can therefore say that the quickest I have ridden Marahau Hill, door-to-door and via Kaiteri, is one hour and twelve minutes, and the slowest is four months. - Yes you're quite right, it is spelt Kaiteriteri but I don't know anyone who pronounces it that way other than hitch-hikers, and as often as not they struggle with it too but not half as much as they struggle with Marahau.

For the record then, it was trikes at first, then the Rain Bike at two months, and from a fortnight ago, a racing bike. And my daily walks to the sea and back - 2.4 miles total - improved from an hour and a half to the current forty minutes, gradually shedding crutches as we went.

Three days ago Sam popped in, armed with a bent trike kingpin for me to repair, and yesterday a retired soldier dropped in to see if a recumbent trike would better answer his cycling needs than his upright trike. These experiences have set me a-thinking, mostly reinforcing a long-cherished idea of spelling out what the best human-powered vehicle in the Whole Whorld might be. And I have to conclude that the Rain Bike is probably It.

The Rain Bike. 

The Rain Bike is a heavy Dutch lady's bicycle made of common steel (the bicycle, not the Dutch lady), having drum brakes, a fully enclosed chain, three hub gears, a side-stand, a dynamo and lights, and very good 700c tyres with rather thin sidewalls. The step-through frame is ideal for an imperfect leg, and really rather good for mounting when the back is laden with panniers. If three gears are inadequate you get off and push. A chaincase makes for liberal oiling and not having to worry unduly about road dust or - obv. -rain. A side-stand allows for propping up at the wayside to gather litter and a dynamo saves having to think about batteries on those rare occasions when night travel is called for. Good tyres make the biggest difference to any bicycle: rolling resistance is more important than we generally credit. Being Dutch in origin, it even has an integral lock, and since nobody else shares my values this is adequate unto the day.

The only thing the Rain Bike lacks is a decent saddle. Unf. decent saddles, esp. on an upright where so much of your weight goes through it, are hard to find since they must tailor themselves to the individual's behind.

Therefore I do solemnly declare that you don't need to spend a great deal of money to own a serviceable bicycle.

I make no such declaration, however, concerning the high school's microscopes, which have once more turned up for maintenance. It's a funny thing that the old, expensive instruments never need anything doing to them. Anything new, glimmery and grey can be guaranteed to be a piece of shit.

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Blogger Mr Larrington said...

It's shit
You wouldn't even wanna kiss it
Its own mother doesn't miss it
It's shit
(Waits for audience applause not a sausage)

August 5, 2016 at 5:02 AM  

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