Spinning Plates

Night of the long fork

An expression slightly more couth than “buzzing about like a blue arsed fly” which traditionally warrants a suffix in the form of ‘lend me a broom to stick up my arse and I’ll sweep the floor while I’m here’ . For those not mentally tuned to Radio Hedgehog, the paired down summary is that my life suddenly became extremely busy.

Which hasn’t entirely squeezed out a strong desire to throw new bikes down lavishly dusty trails – what with an upgrade to badger-lung, and the continuing seasonal confusion where Spring was loving a Summer upgrade for a couple of weeks. Somehow rides and days numbered the same for a total of five before sleep deprivation and lungy hangovers slumped me in front of late night TV instead.

Firstly Jess and I – along with around ten thousand other people* – had a dustful of the blue trail on Sunday morning with the only disappointment being a couple of cocks who failed to understand that a heavily trafficked easy trail isn’t their personal playground. They at least had the decency to sheepishly apologise for their antisocial trail behaviour when some middle aged bloke got all angsty. The cafe staff were more apologetic regarding the run on the ice cream fridge, which mattered not as we just had cake seconds instead.

Arriving home, many jobs of increasing tedium faced a man recently re-acquainted with reasonable oxygenation. Regular readers will be unsurprised to find excuses outstripped responsibility leading to a ‘quick blast’ on the Cross Bike which had me giggling like a Friday Night Stoner. Rooty trails are being increasingly sought out which faze me increasingly less, and the bike not at all.

Flushed with success, two desperate flits across the South Midlands fetched me up at first a Malvern and then a FoD night ride. Both times onto one of those spinning plates was handed my arse. Everyone is about 10{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} faster than I remember or I’m 20{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} slower. Both uphill and downhill to the point when a riding pal enquired if I was pleasuring myself on one particularly arduous climb. Oxygen being at a premium, my only available communication method was a mildly vigorous hand signal indicating that a) no I was not and b) if this hill doesn’t stop soon, can someone bury me here?

Since it was by then dark, he received nothing but ‘deformed rabbit‘ silhouetted in the bike lights. Arriving home quite badly broken it became clear that this was essentially nothing to do with a month off the bike, and a lung function somewhere close to 80{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} of not much to start with. No it was a bike issue. And that’s easily sorted. Pass me the eBay login.

First up, a longer fork to better suit the frame. Out came the light, stiff and insanely expensive 5 inch prong to be replaced by a pre-loved crude approximation of a proper sprung end but – and here’s the important bit – an extra two inches of travel. Hammer-time over, I examined the igor-more-bodies like transformation with a mixture of satisfaction and mild concern.

Firstly it’s not exactly stealth black is it? It puts one in mind of a fat lass stuffed into six inch Essex stilettos. Secondly it’s a lump and a half adding over an old school pound to the front end. This thing has the gravitational mass of a small moon. One description may be ‘planted‘, another is ‘immovable‘. It’s certainly impossible for twelve stone** weakling like me to heft the front end over any obstacles – which is not such as issue since this spring behemoth shall easily roll over anything up to a two story building.

The back end tho, suspended only by my withered legs is likely to get quite a shock when said building transfers potential energy into arse reaming force. A quick ride suggests finding out might be quite a lot of fun until it all goes wrong and someone loses a colon. And again searching relentlessly for anything positive, the massive weight increase has been largely offset by the removal of a single headset spacer.

Anyway it’s done now and so am I . After two weeks of string bag/stick an octopus in there 12 hour days, absolutely nothing is of more importance to me right now than just going to sleep.

So for those short of time, here’s the pictorial summary of things that happened in the light. For night rides, please mentally insert ‘fish out of water’ rider desperately signally for something pint sized and medicinal.

Tomorrow we’ll take fat boy fat for a play in the Monmouth hills. A place hardtails rarely go. And even more rarely return. Luckily I’m equipped with a bravery-light/mince-heavy riding style which should see me through.

* Mainly – it has to be said – fat mountain bikers going quite slowly. Jess caught one up on a climb which made me grin a bit. I was still someway behind 😉

** I refuse to accept the existence of metric measurements. I was born before 1971 and the common market and can therefore only think in imperial.

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