Saturday, 8 March 2008

More bruises...


Years ago, in the old garden shed my Dad had built from a Nissen hut (post-war luxury…), amongst all the other old stuff like pre-war lawnmowers and old trunks covered with labels from faraway places like Lagos or Kaduna, he used to keep the two bicycles that he and Mum used before they were married.

Mum’s had no gears - my sister used it for years, and I believe it just fell apart in the end.
Dad’s was a ‘Sun’, which again had no gears, but it did have one bit of kit, which I’ve only recently discovered to be a very popular innovation, and has a huge following.
A fixed rear wheel.

In fact, there was also a free-wheel gear on one side of the wheel, and if you took the wheel out and turned it round, you had the fixed wheel cog in the same position.

Dad used to race bikes when they lived in Hertfordshire, and he often regaled me with tales of bikes being made with cane wheels, solid tyres etc, but this fixed wheel riding seemed to me to be an impossible task – I never got the hang of it!
Now I read that courier riders in London prefer these bikes, and there is a genuine preference for using them in traffic. This explains quite a lot, but not the absolute agony I remember while I went up and down while pedalling, totally out of control, and with great bruises and scars forming on both short-trousered legs…

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had a ghastly experience about 20 years ago when I went on a scout camp to Sweden as a result of a bicycle with a back-pedal braking system. We set off on a 50km ride. First time I'd ridden a bike with back-pedal brakes. All was well for a few miles. Then we came to a long downward slope. Speed built up. At the bottom of the slope was a sharp right turn of the path. The reason for the sharp right turn was the presence of a river. (can you tell where this is going?).

As the speed built, so did my panic. Fingers clawing for brake levers that weren't there, I hurled through some reeds and sailed into the air, plunging into the icy waters, legs flailing and screaming like a girl.

Although my dignity was sorely battered, it turned out that there was a silver lining in the form of a pneumatic Swedish girl scout called Helena, who ministered to my various injuries, and subsequently over the course of the next two weeks various other bits of me as well. Ahem.

Daisy said...

this brought a wonderful memory back to me...i have identical twin sisters 5 years younger than me...one of them was an inventor since she got out of the crib...she went around and got pieces of bikes out of the rubbish bins around our house to make her own bike...she had a bike...but wanted her own creation...the damn thing was so tall i had to lift her to put her on it...one thing she forgot, were the brakes...when stopping she would just run into our mom's car and fall on the roof...it was hilarious seeing this little kid ride this huge bike and run into the car...she is now an artist and still invents little things around the house...

Scroblene said...

Fleeters; they were lethal - and although my experience was not as 'fulfilling' as yours, I can recall the blind terror of trying to stop hitting various brick walls, pedestrians, elderly gentlemen, milkmen etc ...

Swedish bike riding has a kind of ring about it somehow; rather like watching Abba while de-carbonising the Mobylette...

Scroblene said...

"it was hilarious seeing this little kid ride this huge bike and run into the car...she is now an artist and still invents little things around the house..."

Poetry!

Daisers - that sounds marvellous, and how many dents did it take for her to get a new bike?

I remember a chap stuffing his tyres with newspaper, as he couldn't afford to buy an inner tube!

Daisy said...

it was an old rivera and held up well against her abuse...she never would ride a new bike...she is stubborn that way...and i love her for it...

Anonymous said...

I do hope 'the worst storm ever in the history of the UK' has seen you unscathed.

It was touch and go out here in ming mong land I can tell you.

I popped over to the post office just after the power had come back on after a 20 minute cut, and the queue of smelly benefit claimants was in full moan. Time 0920 hours.

I don't mind the OAP's but there were at least 6 people of working age, three under 25 years, moaning like drains about having to wait because the post office systems required rebooting - (that's explained on Course 44 of NVQ Level -2 - Computing for Thick Cunts)

You wouldn't mind, but these DNA wasters (OK exclude the oldies as I'm heading there) who ALL stank of fags, were moaning that they had to wait to get their money.
You must bear in mind that all these potential organ donors have to do to get this money is:

(a) keep breathing from one week to the next, and
(b) haul their sad arses up to the post office to get it.

The noisiest and smelliest started SHOUTING about '...how you'd think they'dve had a back up power plan for this sort of thing, like a generator or sumfink'.

I was sort of impressed he was actually thinking about it BUT
He kept saying it so I piped up - "I think your suggestion is a bit unrealistic, they're closing post offices across the UK, there's no money to keep unprofitable ones open, so I doubt if the remaining one's can afford to install back up generators which might be used on average once every 5 years or so - if that".

Well you can guess what happened can't you?

As benefits someone who failed to successfully get any GCSEs at any grade whatsoever, let alone an F, who probably never even got his 25 yard swimming badge - he called me a cunt and told me to fuck off.....which I must admit I did, laughing maniacally.

GRATE Britten rools da waves as any fule no.

Still its turned out nice now.

Tuscan Tony said...

A keen cyclist friend told me last summer that fixed wheel was the way forward fro cycling. Rather like Telemark skiing I suspect.

Scroblene said...

Well, Morning Ranter - sorry you had to experience the gene pool throw backs this early in the week! Don't forget that the last of the money he had last week went on the lottery on Saturday, so he must be having chip withdrawal symptoms as well!

Its hopeless ever trying to engage a reasoned argument with spongers, I remember the same thing happening in Canterbury once, and they really do suffer from 'Crusties' there!

Luckily the wind has died down, thanks to the BBC talking up the biggest storm since records began, and are'nt we smugly making it worse...

I walked JRT round the village earlier, and one gust did give us a bit of a problem with hat held down firmly, dog yelping in circles, and a huge tree looking down at us with an evil glint...

Looks great out of the window now, might even go out after lunch and wash the car - if can find it...

Scroblene said...

Tuscs, I have to show complete ignorance, but what's Telemark skiing?

Were'nt there a load of heroes there once?

Lady Jane said...

I had to look up fixed rear wheel bicycle and telemark skiing;-)

Scroblene said...

Ha ha ha Laders! It is a bit pressurising all this technical stuff isn't it!

I had to look up Telemark skiiing, as well, and am still none the wiser...

Somehow, I never did snow skiing but we were regulars on the gravel pits on the Romney Marshes, where we water skied for years!

Mrs S has the distinction (which she has never let me forget), of getting upright on the first 'pull'...

(Somehow this term seems to have different connotations these days, but there again, we were lusty, full of energy and going to get married one day...)

electro-kevin said...

A DM columnist regaled us with a story of how he and a friend (when they were boys) used to ride each of them standing on a pedal on one bike 'bobbing up and down' this made me laugh.

Lilith said...

I had to look up fixed rear wheel bicycle, and telemark skiing, and Hertfordshire! Hello Love.

Evil of Dron said...

Greetings. Mr Scroblene.
I had to look up Kaduna.

Anonymous said...

Does fixed rear wheel mean it doesn't turn? How would that work?

Scroblene said...

Blimey! Up to 15 comments - and it's budget day when we all pay 14p more for a bottle of wine... (I thought a gas-guzzler was a yob and a tube of lighter fuel, but as I'm so thick on matters beyond Waitrose Savignon Blanc, it's not surprising...)

Lilith; I had to look up (or interrogate Mrs S) on everything today; why Easter is so early, why I had to mow the lawn (hmphhhh), And now I'm gonna have to look up more about fixed wheels as Mutley has thrown a paw into the ring!

And I'm supposed to be working...

How are ya anyway?

Scroblene said...

Dronners;

Yes, it is a long way away - even further now I expect...

Dad had lots of photos from then, the'yre somewhere in the attic...

Scroblene said...

Mutters,

It means that there is no freewheel arrangement on the rear wheel, so when you stop pedalling, the pedals actually still barge around as they are 'fixed' to the wheel, and this causes bruising, shock and a whole lot of silly comments about having to look things up.

I had to look up something serious today, and now I've forgotten what it was...

;0)

Anonymous said...

That sound terrifyingly dangerous on a large bike ... in my memory we had a very small kids bike which did that..

Scroblene said...

Just go and see Lady Jane's post asap.

I really feel like smashing the ugly faces of our incompetent administration, and Ed Balls is first.

Tuscan Tony said...

Scorobs, off topic:

http://www.last.fm/help/

All very mysterious.....

And back on topic:

http://tinyurl.com/2mssfg

It is very, very , very, very difficult. The boot is only clipped onto the ski at the toe. And that is just the start of your problems with it!

Scroblene said...

Blimey Tuscs!

I must be the only bloke who has never skied! At least the water was flat on Romney Marsh though... This looks marvellous, but I reckon the bones would take forever to heal after the first mishap, which I reckon would occur within two seconds...You're a braver man than I am, doing this!

As for Last FM! Well, they are contravening the laws of copyright and will receive a note from Sue Grabbit and Runne! I'd forgotten they used that word actually; I was asked to leave after a mild flirtation with Pandora, which is now confined to the US I believe!

Scroblene said...

Elecs, Bobbing up and down within an inch of a sharp saddle is one pastime which I would have to avoid through excess watering of the eyes...

It is funny though...