February 1, 2008 by welshcyclist
Whilst I’ve been avidly reading about, Doug in Duluth ( mnbicyclecommuter ), and Jill ( up in alaska ), busily preparing for the Arrowhead Ultra 135, and the Iditarod, respectively, I haven’t even been aboard my Subway 8. Compared to their adventures everything here seems very tame and predictable.
I’m only riding my bike to commute these days, I have plenty to do at home, when I’m off work, which is three days this week, no overtime at work, because of a dispute brewing, between us, the workers represented by our union, the RMT, and the management. I agree with our union, we have to make a stand against what has been going on, I just hope, when it comes to it, the lads will stay strong. I’m afraid if they don’t, it will all be downhill, and very fast from here on in, as far as our conditions of employment are concerned.
This is the third day of no biking for me, in a row, and I’m missing it, so much so, I actually cleaned the Subway 8, for half an hour at lunchtime, today. Have never cleaned a bicycle before in my life. When I was a boy, we might have used some oil, once in awhile, and I don’t ever remember having even a puncture, or perhaps I have a very selective memory. I do remember, myself and the rest of my mates, always had our friend, David Houseley, who was just ace, at fixing things, and particularly bikes.
In fact, it was he, who built my first bike for me, from parts we scavenged from the local scrapyard, in fact nobody on our estate, bought a new bike. Even when we upgraded, or accessorised our steeds, it was to the scrapyard, where we would go. Maybe that was a major part of the fun of it all, seeking, searching out a bargain piece. I particularly remember a brown leather saddle, I paid 50 pence, to the scrapyard owner for it. That bike of mine was still rideable, years after I’d left home, still in my parents shed, I only rode it twice more, to and from Cadoxton, where I moved when I left home. It was still in their shed, when Elizabeth and I moved to Cork, Blarney to be exact, and I’m sure it was still there when finally, my mum died, in 1989. I’d love to know what happened to it. I don’t know where David Houseley is these days either, but I’m certain he’s an engineer of some sort, he certainly built bikes to last.
But to get back to my bike cleaning effort of today, I’d bought a cleaning kit from Halfords, the same time as I bought my bike computer, I just opened it up, and followed the instructions. I must admit I cut a few corners, but the Subway 8 is looking quite dandy, out there, it’s still out the back basking in the sun, where I left it to dry off.
Snow was forecast for today, thankfully it seems to have passed us by, and you’d swear it was Spring, now, just a few clouds and plenty of sunshine, with no wind to speak of, perfect cycling weather, but I’ll have to wait till Sunday, I’m nights so I’ll be cycling part way to work, can’t wait. I’m only working the one night, and then won’t have to go to work until next Thursday on days. So I’m thinking of increasing my mileage, by starting my trip from Aberdulais, which will add an extra couple of miles, each way. I’ll try it and see how it goes.
Another lad at work is now biking to work, Kerwin Chapman, about 40, wants to lose weight for his holidays, in March, so has decided to ride his bike to and from work. He lives about 8 miles away, so he’s doing the same mileage as me, well, until I up it, on Sunday. Anthony, in his 20’s is still biking 2 miles each way, weather permitting, bit of a fair weather cyclist, for now, anyway. But I now have two converts, which can’t be bad, though, I’m quite saddened, that I’m not the only “strange one” at work, anymore.
Like I said, not much going on here.