EDitorial ± 17-Jan-2011

Don't Go Into The Light

Let's pull some threads and see how the jumper untangles:

  1. been reading Passage, an intriguing novel by the underappreciated Connie Willis, all about research into NDEs, Near Death Experiences
  2. was discussing the mid-80s film of The Twilight Zone recently, esp. the opening scene driving along the dark road: do you want to see something scary?
  3. riding the prima donna Boardman bike throughout the winter has resulted in numerous moving bits finding it harder and harder to move

Cycling home through yet more puddles a few days back, even I couldn't fail to notice that the so-called brakes weren't cutting the Colman's. If the front wheel is Pinsent to the rear wheel's Redgrave, we're dealing with a coxless pair of numbskulls. Redgrave has declared independence from the frame -- stop? don't you know who I am? -- and Pinsent is content to go through the motions.

Nervously asking the Halfords bloke if I perchance needed new pads, he looked me in the eye, shook his head and ordered two new pieces of everything. There was a murmured promise of delivery by the end of the week. That was four days ago. Sensible options were exhausted last week: work from home or take the car. Neither one gets the heart pumping or the face splashed with droplets of mud.

Monday comes around and I'm determined to travel by two wheels. For as much as I mistreat my bike, I love it. It's the classic cycle of abuse. Braking efficiency is down to around 15%, and that's being kind. Let's saddle up, even though it's once more raining C&D.

Going TO work is largely OK if you anticipate each roundabout and let the shoe leather take the strain. Coming BACK from work presents a challenge. There's a hill on the route, and no self-regarding cyclist wants to wheel his bike down an incline. Isn't part of our lunatic DNA. Approaching Valley Road feels like my never-again ride on the old wooden Great Yarmouth rollercoaster. Prior to the descent, you can actually hear that slow ratcheting-up; must get those gears sorted. Can freewheel from here ... and as my speed steps up, it's then that the remaining 15% gives up as Pinsent decamps to join Redgrave. I cannot slow down, let alone stop.

All part of the calculations, though, since I've got a wide lane to myself and there's a long-ish plateau at the bottom. Super, fine, smashing. Worst is nearly over when the car just ahead of me flips on his left indicator. Up from DEFCON 4, "double take", to DEFCON 3, "round house". No problem as long as he doesn't slow up and turns off smoothly. Hang on, he's pausing to let out another car. Up to DEFCON 2, "fast pace". No option but to violently swing out past him and hope that the emerging car sees my hi-vis jacket ... which thankfully, he does. Phee-yew. Briefly, I was dealing with my very own personal Cuban missile crisis in that long dark tunnel.