Monday 23 February 2015

Miley Oh Ryley

Skipping suffered this week. Just didn't find the time to fit many sessions in. On the one occasion I did skip, this was performed in the office where I am based.

Skip = 1 x (4 x 100)

Running took a slight hit too. I did manage a run this week but my overall distance was relatively short. However, I did my longest run over recent weeks - about 6.5k. I ran along the towpath from Bournville into work (but only ran one way).

Cycling fared much better. I cycled Ryley (the retro Raleigh bike) on my first work and back commute using this machine. She rolled fine but I just can't seem to power her fast over long stretches. It took me nearly an hour and half just to cycle into work. I had fumbled with the bars on Ryley and they weren't set quite right. As I cycled under one of the bridges on the towpath, another cyclist was heading my way. I couldn't apply my brakes because in my daydream haze I couldn't find them - I had them positioned way too high. Luckily the other chap braced as I mouthed some words of panic. Cycling back home was interesting as once again I took the towpath. At night it is not uncommon for me to see rats. This night, the creatures weren't rats but what I initially thought were mice. Sure enough, a few k along the towpath and this creature zoned right out in front of me and then disappeared. It was tiny, too small to be a rat. A few k further along and another one of these creatures zoomed out in front of me again. I had a better look at this one and it sure looked like a mouse. The behaviour of this mouse thing was crazy - not only did it run out speedily before me, but it jumped straight into the canal. Now I'm not sure whether it jumped in panic, or whether it was crazy or kamikaze, but in it plopped and I never saw it resurface. Can mice swim? Was this really a mouse? 
After research on the BBC Wildlife site, I'm led to believe the aforementioned mouse may well have been a water vole. This is what said site had to say: Water voles are widespread around Europe, living in the banks of slow moving rivers, streams and other waterways. The waterside burrows of these strong swimmers have many floor levels that hinder flooding, as well as nesting chambers and a food store for the long winter months. Although water voles are a quick meal for many predators, the UK population suffered a catastrophic level of predation by the American mink. Water voles are often mistaken for rats. Ratty, in Kenneth Grahame's 'The Wind in the Willows', was actually a water vole.
I took Ryley out again the following day. Initially I had plans of using Ryley on the impending Snowdrop audax. However, after this past few rides I had changed my mind. Ryley was rolling fine but I hadn't set her up quite right. The bars were lowered again but this time the brake levers were too low. As awesome as Ryley was, I thought back to the time I was 16 and came off another Raleigh Esprit, pretty much identical to Ryley.
Yup, you got it. I had 'the fear'. The fear was here! Oh dear, oh dear, but never fear...

After deciding I wasn't going to use Ryley for the Snowdrop audax, I decided I had better take 'Slinky' (my audax bike) out for a quick test run. Slinky hadn't been ridden in a while and she was now fitted with different pedals and a different saddle. The pedals were PD - A600's and the saddle was my new rubber Brooks. I will blog about saddle and pedals in another post. Anyways, wow, this bike felt great and rocketed along just fine. After a period of cycling heavier bikes and single-speeds, this bike just felt so much more comfy and speedy. Oh Slinky, I had missed you (more than I thought).

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