Summer. I remember summer. Not only has it been raining since I got married in May, there's been no surf either. Now cycling and surfing don't really share a culture or heritage, least not amongst the roadie brigade, but a challenge is a challenge. One of the main reasons for MTBing is that the challenge is both mental (skill based) and physical. Road cycling is (mostly) a physical challenge.
For me at least, if I'm having a bad day on the road, I'm not having fun, yet even a rough day on the trail is uplifted by the views, the scenery, the quietness and the odd glimpse of nature, close up.
Now surfing offers many of the same features. The opportunity to see (or indeed swallow) nature close up, a challenge of skill and luck and no wave is like any other, every ride is unique. So what is my point? Well, one of the reasons I go MTBing is for getting out there, sharing an experience with friends and relaxing afterwards in the pub. Since I've been surfing I've discovered surfing and riding share some common ground. The need for a bit of individualism, the often slightly unconventional lifestyle (well least in spirit - no auditor was ever THAT unconventional) and the lifting of the spirits that happen on every ride, on a bike or on a board.
Actually getting to surf was not a forgone conclusion. I've loved going to surf beaches since I was little, but after a weekend spent on a "learn to surf", all I could do was do a quick wobble and then go drink the sea. I did manage to make progress by getting a bigger board and now I "ain't too bad for a land locked old fat git". Anyway, try it - you'll earn your refreshments!
Cycling in the news
In a word - CRASHES. given the weather, I've had the "chore" of watching the Tour de France, live. I don't know if its the route, or its early in the Tour, but there have been crashes galore. Team Sky have lost one rider already and Cav went down hard on Weds. These guys really earn their corn.
I see that forgiveness has come to David Millar now selected for the GB Team at the Olympics. Of all the people who have admitted using drugs, David always seems to be the most repentant. I am in two minds on the drug issue. One part of me likes the idea of a life time ban, indeed a lifetime ban from all competitive cycling, yet that provides no room for redemption or forgiveness. Whilst not for a moment being at all religious, the human idea of forgiveness seems important to me and so I welcome David Millar into Team GB. It should also be to Cav's advantage to have such a strong team mate in his quest to get that gold!
Again, "cyclist causes accident" is in the news again..Dangerous cycling conviction
Whilst not for a moment condoning the actions of this cyclist, on the same day (using a crude average) some 8 people died in traffic accidents and yet I fail to see these all reported in such vivid detail. Common sense suggests that this is because such incidents are so rare that they get reported, my cynical side suggests it plays well to "a particular demographic". I t also means that everyone of use have a responsibility to be "good cyclists" and not lower ourselves to the level of carnage caused by drivers.
Recipe of the week - in a word CAKE
Cake and cycling go together like beer and skittles. I made this Victoria Sponge for my neighbour's birthday. Its an all in one recipe and took me all of 10 minutes to prepare and get in the oven. It will take the full 25 mins to cook and need a while in the tin to cool on a rack, before being strong enough to get out of the tin. I greased and floured the tins, and this worked fine. It's a very moist cake so go careful when handling it, especially before it totally cold. I used strawberry jam, (I picked out the fruit!) and butter icing, flavoured with vanilla. I would like to say I how long the cake lasts, but it was reported to have lasted about 15 minutes once my neighbours three kids got home.......
I'm not sure why, but after a winter of neglect, spokes tend to break in the summer. (I use the word "summer" in the vague sense of being in July) so, my task for you this week is to check the tension of your spokes.
This is easily done by running a tyre lever round the spokes and listen for any which are not in tune with the others. NB. on the back wheel, the different sides of the wheel will have different tones due to the way rear wheels are constructed. The front wheel should be of even tone.
If you find a lower tone (or possibly rattly) spoke its tension is lower than its neighbours and visa versa. If its a lot, then tighten or loosen the spoke to have an even tone with its fellow spokes. Take care, as this may affect the trueness of the wheel, but a loose spoke may already have caused the wheel to go out of true.
Here is a bit more information to help you out. Spoke maintenance isn't hard, but might save your ride and the cost of a new wheel