Cycling


I like bikes. I like riding my bike. I like checking out other people’s bikes. I like wandering through bike stores even when I don’t need anything. I like bike related art work. I like people who like bikes. I like anything that causes people to like bikes and ride bikes more. And I like bikes that look beautiful…like this one.

I love the color of this bike. I love the contrasting color of the bar tape. I love the shape of the handlebars. I love the fenders on this bike. I love the old school Brooks saddle. I love that this bike is beautiful yet functional…

I love my bike and love riding my bike, so there is no doubt in my mind that this is probably the coolest flash mob ever! Imagine what they would have done if Tom Boonen had actually factored in any of the stages in the TdF.

If the Cool Hunter was a cyclist you know this bit of beauty would be on his blog.

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The Truvativ Stylo OCT crank is sick! And maybe this obscene retro craze everyone is going through is rubbing off on me as I really do dig the color scheme on these bad boys. Too bad it will not be going to production and will only be made in limited run.

Tonight on prime time TV no less, I watched coverage of the Tour Series, a national crit race series…on TV during freaking Prime Time coverage. How cool is that? This would never happen in the US…that time slot is reserved for some rubbish reality TV show…that people can’t live without.

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Read the full coverage here.

Since moving to England almost 7 months ago, I’ve seen some very interesting stuff and some really odd things. And my bike rides have been not been excempt.

Cycling in England in many ways is very different from cycling in Northmybanner47c6339d0aa40ab9 America. Besides riding on the other side of the road, which means crossing roads different, shoulder checking the other side and a bunch of other changes, the roads are never dry, drivers respond to cyclists different, and the roads are much more narrow than anything else I’ve ever ridden on.

As cycling is often a challenge in England and in London, I’ve never experienced what I experienced today. I was riding back into a village, riding on flat ground…doing about 27mph with a couple cars waiting driving behind me as the speed limit was 30. About 250 yards ahead of me was a round-a-bout. I’m slowing down in anticipation of the roun-a-bout, on the other side of the road coming the other direction is a line of about 6 cars also. All of a sudden, a HUGE bull, probably 1500lbs, complete with horns that had to be 24 inches long on either side, comes storming out of the trees on my right….storms out onto the road, the same road I”m riding on, about 15metres in front of me. This bull looks pissed off!!! I swear I can see smoke, fire and steam pouring out of his nostrils and his eyes look huge. Lucky for me he starts running up the road away from me. I look behind me and all the cars behind me and on the other side of the road have stopped and they have their mobile phones out, hopefully calling the cops or animal control. I think about stopping, but if I stop and he turns towards me I’m totally screwed. I slowly keep pedaling trying to stay back from the bull and right behind him so he won’t see me. After about 20 seconds of following him, praying he doesn’t turn around and gore me Pamplona style, he turns off the road and starts troting through the ditch. I stomp the pedals, trying to get past him and to some safety before the bull gets any ideas about the moron on the bike in cycling tights. I get to the round-a-bout and start nervously laughing out loud, thankful to be safety. I look down at and then see my jersey. It suddenly dawns on me that it’s a good think I stayed right behind him where he couldn’t see me because I’m wearing my favorite jersey, a Boure long sleeve jersey, Ned Overend’s cycling clothing company, that I bought at Mountain Bike Specialists in Durango, CO, probably the coolest bike store ever, go there if you get the chance. Anyways, sorry to rabbit trail, but the thing is this jersey is BRIGHT RED. img_34421I realize I was wearing an invitation for the bull to charge me. At this point, I make the mid-ride decision to just head home after my first hour, counting my blessings and being thankful I hadn’t go to that spot in the road 10 seconds earlier.

Needless to say, my eyes, ears, and mind are wide open now. I’m wondering what other bulls might come storming out onto the road in the coming months while we continue to adjust to living in England. I just hope I have the chance to see them coming and respond accordingly.

Let me know what other craziness you’ve encountered while cycling. Would love to hear some crazy stories.

Four months, as of Sunday the 18th, my family I moved from our comfy little existence to the United Kingdom.  We moved to a city called Croydon, we actually live in SOUTH CROYDON!!!  (Croydon doesn’t have the best rep in London), which is 15 minutes by train to Central London.  A far cry from Farmington, New Mexico where we last lived.  City of 70,000 to a city of 7,000,000!

The last four months have been a bit crazy and at times dangerous.  For one, learning to drive on the other side is just plain sketchy.  It messes with your head.  The traffic lights are different, the laws are different (in North America, you can turn red on a light, here you can’t turn left on a red light, which is the same thing as long as you remember you’re on the other side of the road…catch me?), the speed limits are different, but still in miles not metric….huh?  the cars are smaller, the lanes are narrower and the roads never go straight…so I think i’m going east but whoops, the road is so freaking curvy that now I’m going west and didn’t know.

Walking around town here isn’t any less safe.  Every street I come to, I look the wrong way to check for oncoming traffic.  Get to a cross walk here (the call it Zebra crossing cuz of the stripes painted on the ground), look right for cars….never ever ever see any cars looking right, step off the curb and get honked at or yelled at or mowed down by a car because you have to look left.  It sounds easy enough, but after 37 years in North America, looking right is what I just do…looking left is against my nature.

And  cycling isn’t any easier.  Riding your bike on North American roads is tough enough…huge vehicles who think someone wearing spandex cycling shorts is someone with a bullseye on their back.  In the UK, when you go cycling, it’s also on the left…changes your riding style completely.  I have to learn to corner differently, see the road differently.  Shoulder checking is a freaking nightmare.  Everytime I hear a car coming, i look over my left shoulder (natural in the US) and I see the shoulder, bushes, or the sidewalk…say whoops, look over my right shoulder (unnatural to me) and as I see a car coming up on me I start to veer to my right!  It’s taking tons of practice.  And the roads NEVER DRY here…I’ve almost hit the deck so many times riding…scary.

Just as driving, walking, cycling on the other side of the road is difficult moving here is also requiring us to live on the other side as well.  It’s requiring alot of changes that feel unnatural, that aren’t second nature.  For instance, yesterday, Sunday, I did something my Dutch Christian Reformed parents would have disapproved of.  At 4:10pm I realized we needed milk etc (Who can drink their tea without milk?  How uncivilized) and headed to the grocery store to pick up a few things.  But both major grocery stores in South Croydon closed at 4PM.  I’m standing in the parking lot yelling at myself, ‘You’ve got to be freaking kidding me!’  How does a grocery store close at 4PM on Sunday!!! This is mental!!!  But it’s mental to a North American, but perfectly natural to a Brit…and I hope it becomes natural to me to.

This bit of rambling will be filled with my attempts to learn how to live on the other side of the road in a foreign country for a God I love!!!  Just hope I don’t get smoted by a car trying to do it.