A commute called Arthur.

What kind of rotten English bestows a proper noun on an already poorly constructed sentence ? (actually if I was semantically Willy Waving, I believe it’s a adjectival modifier but I’m sure someone even more anal will correct me) Well this kind of rotten Englishman so he could then rollout an even more convoluted pun. Why is the commute called Arthur? Because it was arfur (half a) commute rather than a full one, see?

I’m thinking I probably should have saved us all the trouble.

Anyway, half a commute was the only available logistical option since my London bike had been interned in the barn for some Tender Loving Percussion (TLP for short, you know there is a really interesting point about acronyms¦ no? ok, I’ll stop but my lip is quivering in disappointment). It’s lived in harsh city conditions through a cold winter, hoovering up and internalising all the shit and crud which lines the strees of our grubby capital. After only 300 miles, the brake blocks were worn to a mil of COMING THROUGH, NO BRAKES!”, the bottom bracket was “ and since you’ve already spurned my attempt to educate, I’m resorting to the vernacular “ totally fucked and the rear cassette was an amorphous blob of salt encrusted tar, horse shit and the remains of slow pedestrians.

While you could change gear, by the time the recalcitrant mech had dragged a rusted chain across the grubby sprocket, your journey would have finished or the world would have ended – whichever came first.

Nothing moved on the bike, instead gears graunched, brakes squealed and cables shuddered. It took a few buckets or water heavily levelled with flesh stripping degreaser to return it to a happy state. Individual cogs surfaced from under choking gunk, cables whistled through silky outers and activating the brake actually conjugated that verb (puts willy away, clearly no-one cares). Even though the barn looked like a triage unit ravaged by sustained small arms fire and metal eating locusts, almost nothing was broken or buggered. Apart from me and that’s an ongoing issue. And when I say buggered, I’m not talking literally just so we’re clear.

So bashed up by bikes, I’ve been seriously considering an alternative get to work strategy “ for example this solution for ˜fat people who can’t be arsed to walk�? as I believe the company strap line goes.

The Segway GT on the golf course.

And what’s great is George Bush fell off one, so it was almost a shoe in until I saw the TreadMill Bike” which makes Sir Clive’s latest offering look positively mainstream. Sanity took a brief hold though and so the bike and I took the all too familiar trip back to London.

So conditioned am I to stumble off the train at Marylebone before attempting to identify my bike in the huge rambling black thicket that is the bike racks, it took a kind passenger to remind me that I’d left it on the train. I couldn’t resist a weak Alec Guinness impression ah these are not the bikes I’m looking for” for a half hearted thank you. Yet it did leave me wondering if this would be the most ridiculous example of failing to remove your personal belongings from the train” That would have made for a fun conversation with lost property Can you describe the item? Colour? Defining features? Size?”/”Well¦..”

Riding “ parrot like on my shoulder – was Nobby Nervous chuntering dire warning in my receptive ear. The prospect of taking a tumble and opening up a scared knee and still bleeding elbow held as much appeal as un-anaesthetised testicle removal (which amusingly would probably be the proportional response of my wife if I bin it again).

Previously in London, I’d barge down the centre line, crank the bike left and right through ˜just enough’ gaps and bang mirrors with anyone who objected. Now I was reduced to cravenly shadowing the curb and casting nervous glances over my shoulder. Even red lights became part of my personal geography again, providing a ready and needed excuse to stop and take a breather. But once back up to speed, every wet slick curve hid a tarmac’d grip reaper ready to snatch my front wheel and throw me into a dark fiery pit.

Or a hospital, which would be far, far worse. I wobbled into work wondering if maybe the knee pads I’d bought for commuting would be more effective strapped to my legs rather than protecting a drawer in the barn. But they’d look so silly and I’d feel so stupid wearing them but Nobby cackles pride before a fall eh?

Reflecting on a total loss of courage, it seemed that not only has my personal skirt wearing rating rapidly increased, but on the expanding periphery are items such as:

It appears to be raining. All the time.

8:30pm heralds almost full darkness.

I have no lights on my bike. Everyone else has.

The leaves are falling off the trees in London

Someone has added 5 miles to my commute.

The last one is indisputably true, I cannot have lost all that fitness even with the clock rolling over yet another year. As for the first four, they are grim portents of the end of summer but I’m not prepared to accept that either.

Still since the first commute where I was mentally beasted by every vehicle from joggers upwards, normality has roared back in booting His Nobness The Nervous whinging into a burbling gutter. This morning I sprinted away from the lights at Aldwych, cut up 18 tons of multi-axled truck, flipped him the bird and arrowed through a gap betwixt bus and traffic island before he could get close enough to mow me down.

I’m BACK (but I’m scarred)

Bit of a ramble this one, but worry not there’s a fantastic incident involving a mobile phone, four pissed youths, a bit of a rumble and a midnight flit into the badlands of Aylesbury that awaits a brain dump to keyboard. It’ll be worth waiting for. Possibly.

5 thoughts on “A commute called Arthur.

  1. Andy


    Having caught a re-run of Top Gear on some obscure satellite channel last night, they demo’d this weird “vehicle” (Imagine Clarkson on one of these things – they aren’t THAT big!). Anyway, you can rest easy in the knowledge that no one “proportionally challenged” (avoiding your word here) is going to be riding one of these on the road (open or otherwise) anytime soon. They’re illegal! There is a God afterall! 🙂

  2. Alex

    Robert. It’s wrong. Move on before you embaress yourself 🙂 How’s the MTB’ing going?

    Andy – shouldn’t you be on holiday, oh shit actually shouldn’t I be working 🙂 If they legalise those things for road use, they need to legalise small arms for the rest of us !

  3. Robert

    I know its wrong but it looks fun.

    The shitty weather has curtailed our weekly jaunts here…..


    about 4 miles of single track 20 mins from the factory 🙂 great for a couple of hours after work.

    Planning to head to Glentress mid September so looking forward to that.

  4. Alex

    That looks ace, like the rocky steppy bit. We may be back at Glentress end Sept will let you know. Weather is very shitty isn’t it.

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