4 Mar 2017

4th March 2017: Brace yourselves!


Saturday 4th 39F, 4C, heavy cloud and breezy. Showers possible with temperatures up to 9C, or 48F in old money. I saw lots of small birds on my walk. Mostly Yellowhammers, Great tits and Chaffinches. Rather grey, but mild with very light winds. Later: my traditional Saturday ride to more distant shops. Only 17 miles.

Now brace yourselves: Having seen a top racer of yesteryear, who must remain nameless, wearing ordinary braces [US: Suspenders] on his racing shorts, I finally succumbed. No, not a pair of those medieval, "Iron Maiden" devices but a pair with proper clamping clips. These have gentle, clamping jaws which don't shred the usually thin material from which shorts are usually constructed to <cough> [impolite] <cough> anatomical precision.

You would  not believe the relief in finally being able to climb out of the saddle without the shorts immediately heading south. I have lost count of the number of times my [not-inexpensive] shorts have misbehaved. Every time I rose from the medieval, leather throne they would sag like a baby's nappy in those baggy "overthingies." To immediately catch on the nose of the Brooks B17 "Whatever." The shorts are now [arguably] as good as bibs but without the extreme toilet visit issues of bibs.

It doesn't happen very often but if you really need more than a brief roadside stop then bibs force you to disrobe literally down to your socks! A practice best avoided in my [very limited] experience. Even if you have the comfort of a public toilet cubicle it's still difficult to find enough elbow room. Not to mention the lack of wardrobe space and storage shelving.

If you have already warmed up then everything is damp and clings as you struggle out of it. Then feels icy cold when it is time to dress again. Leaving you in a quandary over whether to relinquish the cubicle to the impatient queue and thereby risk the real danger of public exposure as well as hypothermia. I daren't even imagine how the ladies cope in bibs. They don't have the anatomical advantage of the boys. Who must give regular thanks to their stretchy bib braces and their being helpfully tailored in just the right place. "Suits you, Sir!"

Moving swiftly on: As I returned from my bracing ride I stopped to replace my GripGrab skull cap as the wind had become rather chilly. My last two remaining brain cells were complaining about the draught and I need at least one of them to remember to breathe. Two young chaps went past on their carbon steeds seemingly without effort as we exchanged cheery greetings. Perhaps it was simply mirth on their part. But, being entirely at fault, I tend to be forgiving to the point of delusion.

In best, untrained, cross-terrier style, I climbed back on and gave chase. However, I seemed to be going backwards as they idled along about a quarter of a mile ahead. So it was down on the tri-bar extensions and onto the big chainwheel. [If it can even be called that outside of single chainring MTB extremes.] I managed to crank it up to a steady 18.6mph for a few hundred yards but still they moved away. All without the least sign of discomfort as they chatted away and wove about to avoid the ragged verge. Even riding side by side at times. Just to upset the passing psychos. Who inevitably wanted to speed.

Having exhausted all potential of making my mark on the day my own velocity dropped back to a miserable 16. Then 13 and on down to an inglorious 10mph as I sat up and fought my very own, private, cross headwind. A buzzard gloated down as it floated effortlessly over the road straight into the "gale" without so much as a feather out of place. The two road men must have been hiding behind the hedge somewhere [probably totally exhausted by now] as I crawled past. Because I never saw them again even on the next long straight. Don't you hate it when they do that?  I'm blaming the increased weight and wind resistance of the new braces. Well, you have to wear them home, don't you?

Sunday 5th 39F, 4C, heavy overcast and very windy. It doesn't look at all promising. Aka: Which part of raining and blowing all morning do you not understand? It actually kept it up for most of the day.

My legs were aching yesterday evening after my pointless chase. What a silly old chap! Lest ye titter; it should not be forgotten that I was carrying a sizable load of shopping in the 50cu meter sports bag. What was, as usual, resting on top of the already overfull Carradice "Camper Longflap." With another, lighter "shopping bag" containing the bread and tomatoes to avoid their being crushed. Which all explains my having to wear the new braces home. There was simply nowhere left to put the svelte packaging.

I see the occasional abuse of thin plywood as a possible means of excess cycle carriage but will not get involved. I cannot bring myself to having a crude 'box' adorning my grubby Trykit. It is all too much to bear. Besides, I can easily imagine myself being regularly stopped by the Danish border patrol. Just in case I have become a 'coyote' to eek out my meager pension. Or even to supplement the pet shop stuff with some decent bedding for my new mouse. Organic Mouse Mats don't come free, you know! By the time I have added the postage, for online purchase form Germany, the financial burden is becoming somewhat extreme. Needles to say they don't sell organic mouse mats in <cough> "green" <cough> Denmark.

It's all getting a bit '1984' these days. What with more Danes being employed by the tax authorities than any other occupation. The rumour on the street is that "They" monitor every citizen's bank account. Just in case they have taken up a lucrative new hobby. Like organized people trafficking or bulk drug importation and wholesaling. Or, far worse, trying to start a legitimate business in their retirement. Now I just need a catchy name. Mouse removals? Rodent logistics? Have mouse will travel? What about something more charitable?  A mouse is not just for Christmas? All getting a bit too 'Cinderella' for you? Suit yourselves. You will anyway.

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

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