I like riding on my bike. To be honest that’s a lie. I LOVE riding my bike. Sometimes I dream about open roads, car-free open roads. And winning the tour-de-france on my imaginary child-hood chopper, riding past Lance Armstrong, kicking him in EPO addled face as I zoom past – like I was saying, I dream.
On occasions I’ve had such dreams, I’ve gotten out of bed, changed in to my cycling gear and gone for a quick burn around Mcr’s roads, paths and canal towpaths. My fave ride is between the twin towers of the city’s testosterone factories – Old Trafford’s ‘Theatre of Nightmares’ and the Etihad stadium. No traffic, a bit of road and a dash of nature (well as if some dirty canal water and sleeping ducks count;-), on such nights this boy is happy.
Should this boy be fortunate enough to have a girl in his bed, he still dreams about bikes…think I may need some therapy, but rather than spend the dough pouring out my heart to some stranger, I’d rather save up for pieces of kit. Well designed and durable kit that does what it says on the tin. Can’t live without my camel back, wouldn’t leave home without a spare inner stowed away, and having bought my dear old Mum some waterproof Ortleib panniers for her B.day (yes I come from a family of cyclo-phants;-), I’m saving my sheckles so as to get a pair for myself.
My first mountain bike was a Raleigh Mustang. Big heavy, is a pukey-purple colour (hey I was a younger then) it took me to school quicker than the bus. In my mid-late teens I discovered the holy trinity of drink, (soft) drugs and girls. Rocking up for a date on a push bike wasn’t considered cool back then (not sure if it is now), so the bike got stowed and I got on with things you’re meant to do: (trying to) grow up, going to Uni, getting a job… all that good stuff ;-(.
Fast forward a few years and I wandered into a bike shop, well a bike co-op to be honest. “I want a bike I can cycle to work on, and go off-road with, win Le tour and be back home in time for me tea…” The cooperative bike shop sales geezer told me about this brand new style of bike The 29er. I chose to buy a Marin Bolina Ridge (a bike with 29inch wheels for my non-pedalling friends). It is bike designed for long-limbed fcukers like me. A hard-tailed steed (front suspension only – no bouncing rear = better transmission, more power going directly to the back wheel)… my bike is a beast.
(If you don’t like bikes, I suggest you stop reading now;-) I make no apologies for the man-love I extend to my bike. An entry level off-roader, I spent under £500 on it. Pushing myself and my machine to the max (went through 3 chains in the first 9 months), I have never looked back. Shit I’m beginning to sound like some radical Californian surf dude(but hey natural rush of blood to the head that goes along with biking can do that to you;-).
Much to the disgust of the co-op mechanics, I insisted on weighing down my beat with panniers so I can strap on a lightweight tent, some spare duds, a sleeping bag and I’m off. Last summer I volunteered to look after a group of yout’ man and woman dem on a cycle mobile. Although I thought the cycling a touch lightweight, the chance to take my beast out into some hillier terrain was not to be missed…
Anyway, art and design is the topic of this blog so I’d better shoe-horn something design related into this piece. Check this beauty out:
Not sure how happy I’d be cycling with my arse in the air at such an angle, but I bet this fcuker moves like the proverbial shit off a shovel. Love the design on the disc wheel.
Wear a helmet and save your life. Having been recently knocked off my bike > than once (thank you iidyat taxi driver), I’m not one to diss the wearing of a prophylactic. However like wearing a piece of plastic on yr todger, I find helmets get in the way. Don’t get me wrong, on a first date (especially when going down(hill);-) it would be madness to attempt to reach top speeds without one, but I find helmets just get in the way of the thrills, spills and thigh strain that a good ride should deliver.
My major beef with MCR is how bike-unfriendly parts of it can be. I’d like to meet the fool who thought to put this sign on a dedicated cycle-path.
Bike thieves deserve their own circle within Dante’s Inferno; especially inept (drunken?) ones. I mean, if you are going to steal a bike, at least choose a decent one. Top marks to the fool who tried half-inching this one… liking the way they give up and resort to kicking the wheels in. (note to readers I AM BEING SARCASTIC;-)
Having said that the city boasts a velodrome (for those who get this kicks going in circles); several small bike boutique type shops. The most recently opened and best of which is the Pop-Up bike shop behind Victoria Station. Hidden away under the arches of the railway Dipak runs a tight ship. You can store your bike for the cost of a cup of coffee, pick up some bike-related info and generally have a fine old time.
Sitting typing this, my feet are air-pedalling, my shoulders hunched over the keyboard and my head in the muddy trails of Chorlton’s water park…
Till next time
A bientot mes Amis