Ok, so I’m a numpty*. I thought that my tyres had plenty of air in them, but on my last ride the handling was bit off when I was at anything approaching speed. I decided to get myself a track pump, with a gauge, and actually do it properly rather than relying on the mini-pump and a squeeze of the tyres.
Oh my God! The tyres are specified for 65-100psi and there was me thinking they were properly inflated and it turned out there was just 20psi in them. No wonder the ride was weird. Big lesson learned!
So, I got myself a track pump from the wonderful Merlin Cycles which arrived in very quick time, especially given the current circumstances. Postage seems hit and miss at the moment, some items are arriving next day and others are taking over a week even at First Class.
With my tyres now inflated to 100psi in the rear and 90psi in the front, I went out for another ride this morning before it got too hot. Yes, too hot. I know, it’s Edinburgh, but you’d think it was the height of summer out there right now. We are simply not used to the high teens and definitely not the mid 20s. I mean, we don’t put our coats on until we get to single figures, that is how acclimatised to the cold those of us here North of the wall have become.
Anyway, I went out when it was still hoodie weather, and I tried out my new Bern helmet:
It’s very comfortable once you get it adjusted right and surprisingly vented for a (bowling ball) urban type lid. The sizing seems a little odd, or perhaps it’s my head, but it feels larger than my old helmet, but I’m hoping that this is because this one is actually the right size whereas the old one was a little too small. I used to get a headache with the old one, pretty much every time I wore it. This feels lose, but my head measures 57cm and the size is for 55.5-59cm so I’m right in the middle of the parameters.
I also got to try out my Endura Humvee 3/4 shorts for a second time and I was even more impressed than I was on their first trip. To be honest I forgot I wearing them, if you see what I mean, and that’s a good thing because it meant they were comfortable. I really don’t do lycra as I looked like an overstuffed sausage and it’s not becoming. I’ll write a proper review of these, and my helmet, once I have a bit more experience with them in different riding conditions. Endura, like a lot of cycling clothes, seemed to be sized a little oddly. I take a M in their bottoms and a L in their tops (I’m a UK12, sometimes I get away with a UK10). But, more on that another time, when I feel in full whinge mode.
I’m not a big fan of cycling clothes, I like to cycle in my normal everyday clothes, and that’s one of the things with a Brompton, nobody expects you to dress like a ‘cyclist’. In fact, far from it: Brompton races (yes, there is such a thing) stipulate the wearing of a suit! Although, people are a little bit liberal in what that suit is made from, and I mean who doesn’t appreciate a little bit of stretch fabric now and again.
The Brooks B17S leather seat is definitely getting even more comfortable, in fact I would go so far as to say that my Dad was completely right about them and it is the most comfortable saddle I have ever had on any bike. I cannot recommend these saddles any more than that. It has taken very few miles to get to the point where I don’t even feel like I’ve been on a bike when I get off it. I can’t wait for it to really settle into my shape. Dad, you always were a cycling genius and my hat off to you.
Perhaps its middle age creeping up on me. Creeping, that’s a laugh, it’s been here a while if I’m honest. I’ll turn the big 5-0 this year. I was supposed to be going to Athens for my Birthday, but I think the Coronavirus has put that idea to bed for at least 12 months. Perhaps I can not count this year and be fifty next year instead, what do you reckon? I sure don’t feel fifty, except when I get up from sitting on the floor that is.
I digress, again. Todays ride was another chance to have a go at filming my ride with the GoPro Hero4 Session that I got last week. I decided not to attach it to my nice new helmet but to put it on my Brompton O bag, the one of my three bags that I’m definitely keeping. I attached it with the sticky mount and constructed an additional tether just to make sure if it did come off I didn’t lose it.
This gave a different perspective to my ride being so much lower down, but it did also prove to be quite ragged as the bag gets bumped about quite a bit. This was especially true over the more poorly maintained city side roads. I thought the bag itself would act as a dampener to this, but that was sadly not the case. Still, it proved an interesting experiment and you can see a short 60 second clip of my riding on the smoother surface of the cycle/pedestrian shared path by the seafront on my Facebook page. I might have to consider some sort of body clip or harness, as I’d rather not have it on my head because although I have the smallest and lightest of the range, the GoPro Hero4 Session, you can still feel it on your head and I don’t like it.
By the way, I’m in shot at the start of this clip, which should provide some added amusement.
I was pleased to say that I managed to use the normal recording mode and not the time-lapse like last time. The footage is broken down into 12 minute segments it turns out, but these can be edited together using the software, although you can still only make a 60second continuous clip. There must be other ways to edit the footage, and I know that GoPro provide a paid usage editing suite, but I have to say that given the price of their cameras they’re taking the Micky a bit with the costs. It’s a premium product but that doesn’t mean their users should be treated as an endless supply of money.
Todays route was under 8 miles and took me around 55 minutes, including stopping to take a couple of photos, and to allow social distancing to take place at some of the pinch points. I stuck to the quieter roads and the cycle paths, which made the journey more pleasant than my excursion on the main routes of last week. Most people were respectful of the 2m rule although it wasn’t easy to maintain it at some of the narrower sections. I found myself holding my breath until I got past people, although I don’t think it would make a difference if they were infectious as it would still land on me I guess.
I considered wearing a mask, but it makes breathing harder when you exert yourself. A mask is more to protect others from you, rather than you from others, and it only really works if everyone wears one. We will see what the rules are when the lockdown eases, but masks certainly look like they may be a factor.
We still have a lot of learn about the virus, and about how we are going to live our very changed lives for some time to come. What is nice is the lower pollution, the diminished traffic and congestion, and the return to being able to breathe in the city. It is amazing what taking most of the cars out of the picture (and the planes) has done globally for the atmosphere and our air quality. It really is a lesson from the planet to us all.
I have been saying all along that this virus is nature’s way of teaching us all the lessons we refused to hear. We were given the clues, the scientists screamed from the rooftops, campaigners shouted and raged, and we still refused to listen. The planet has had enough of us being parasites feeding upon it. Nature is taking back control over us, exerting her will on those that will not listen.
Evidently only 9% of the UK population want to return to life as it was before. This figure is mirrored globally with the possible exception of the US. It would be a scandal if we don’t use this pandemic as a way forward to a greener, cleaner, society. There is a horror waiting for us if we do not quickly learn to respect nature and the planet.
We have to use this last chance to learn because Covid-20, or 21, 22, 23, whatever year it comes in will be worse again. We probably won’t really get another chance to make the fundamental changes needed to sustain the human race. Nature will out us, creatures have become extinct before and it is only our shear arrogance that makes some believe it cannot happen to us. We have always been just as vulnerable as any other animal, and as Covid-19 is proving, perhaps more so than any of us truly realised.
The clear, and clean, air is so evident in the photos. You can see so much more clearly and so much further, and you know what? It tastes much better too.
Talking of taste; like every good cycle ride, it ended with coffee and a cookie. Although it wasn’t in a nice little cafe, but home on the decking in the Edinburgh sunshine.
Now I’m off to wash my shorts, and me. Enjoy the weekend everyone, and remember: Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives (and Donald Trump is a first class numpty*).
a stupid or ineffectual person.“confused numpties who have little idea of what they’re talking about”