Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Justifiable SMIDSY
March 31st, 2010

SMIDSY = Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You.

This is a phrase, which once uttered is bound to raise the heckles of many cyclists, because it’s the phrase most likely to be delivered by an apologetic motorists who has just: pulled out in front of you; cut you up; clipped or buzzed you; or run you over. Now I don’t have much time for people who try and run with this line, but that’s because I’m usually running a headlight that is more powerful than those on my car, have at least two rear lights, have a bag that is a good advert for 3M reflective materials on my back and a jacket with reflective piping too. Even when it’s not dark I’m most often found biking about in my favourite bright orange Arcteryx jacket*. If you can’t see me you clearly didn’t look or your blind.

Now here’s the rub. I think that if you’re riding a bike at night, with no lights or reflectors and are wearing all black then you clearly have a death wish or no common sense. You are going to be invisible to me and any other person in a vehicle in these conditions. No lights and wearing black is an accident waiting to happen. I often see riders like this and usually greet them with a cheery ‘get some lights dickhead’. After much thought I have decided that I would be able to rationalise any guilt for killing a rider over the age of 18** who is riding like this. Not only will it likely be the case that I really did not see them, but they really should know better.

So when you’re lying there with your life blood trickling into the nearest gutter next to a bike flattened by 2 tons of gas-guzzling automotive glory, you may well feel that black was, perhaps not the most fasihonable colour to be seen dead wearing and that really having some lights wouldn’t have been such a bad thing. As a rider I can say with confidence that we’ve probably all run the gauntlet at some point, but I don’t feel big or clever for doing it. Ultimately the truth is that if you play this game and fall foul of lady luck then SMIDSY may quite literally be falling on dead ears and be quite justifiable.

* I once went through the windscreen of a car wearing the yellow and blue day glow colours of the Withington Wheelers. After that I decided that if you could still get run over wearing such a hideous offending-to-the-eyes club kit, you were probably better off not wearing it.

** The battle with my conscience would be a tricky one when it comes to underage riders. Why did they have no lights? What were they doing out on the roads at night rather than being tucked up in bed? Who took all the reflectors off their bike? And why weren’t they riding on the pavement like most of the yoof?

Back from the Rock
March 28th, 2010

Channel Islands

Headed over to Guernsey midweek for the Stag. It was good to be back on the Rock, even if it was only a short trip. It’s a beautiful place to go jumping off cliffs into the sea…

March 18th, 2010

Popped into Harry Halls last week and put an order in from some Big Earl tyres. Neil and Lardy have been using them for a while without issue, so I thought it was worth giving them a bash too. Still haven’t fixed up the Singlespeed, but might get that done this weekend if all goes to plan. It’s warmed up a bit recently, so the under lid beanie has been ditched in favour of a bandana and there’s almost the danger of being too warm on the commute. Spring is on the way at last.

Light Fantastic
March 8th, 2010

Not much to report on the bike front. The disc brake adapter turned up for the Singlespeed, but I haven’t fitted it yet. The Remedy needs a new rear tyre after I holed the sidewall on the final descent of the last ride in Llangollen. It might be repairable, but I’ve never had much confidence in repaired tyres and the Maxxis Ignitor tyres have always been puncture prone. I think that the sidewalls are just too lightweight for a bike like this. The Roadrat is a nicer bike to ride without all the lights on it, I’m glad that spring is on the way.

I had a random chat with a rider on the way home on Friday who was on a Fred Williams road bike. My Independent Fabrication obsessed mate, Jam Price works for Williams, so we had a bit of banter about the bike, which it turned out had come off eBay. I was asked how did I find the Cotic? Well it’s built tough. It was great over winter with the disc brakes and cross tyres on it, but it lacks the kind of frame zinginess that makes it exciting to ride. If you accept that it’s a solid sturdy workhorse then you’ll be made up with one, but if you want something that occasionally you can crank up to 8 or 9 and push a bit, then it’s not for you. I’m not even sure the virtual volume adjuster even goes to 10. I think that for the kind of performance, in terms of reacting to power inputs or sudden changes in direction that I’m looking for I need to look into a proper road bike.

So the lease on it under the Bike to Work scheme only runs until July after that it’ll be new bike time. Hmmm, better start looking now then.

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