bikebritain Says May 25, 2011

RIDE24 ahead; Lukey's stacking up the miles

The reason I didn’t write an episode last week was because it seemed irrelevant to write about cycling in any form, however amateurish, after the terrible tragedy at the Giro d’Italia. All of us associated with bikebritain wish to express our sincere sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Wouter Weylandt, whose funeral took place yesterday (as I write this).

With some notable interruptions, my preparation for RIDE24 continues apace. My enthusiasm levels wax as I cycle more and wane as the event gets closer, like the lights of a high-speed train appearing in the distance whilst you’re tied to the tracks. Those of you fortunate enough to have viewed the “Lukey’s Bike Buying Bonanza” video on this site will be aware that I am now the proud owner of a new Trek 1.2 which is not only a joy to ride, but also a boost to my confidence as I now feel like more of a proper cyclist. I now feel as if I glide through Stockwell and Clapham twice a day, dodging the broken glass that appears to be spread across the road as a local pastime. Still, it is nice to have a hobby – the glass-smashing I mean, not my cycling.

My cycling has become more obsession than hobby. I am attempting to replicate the conditions of the race by cycling continuous laps of the ring road around Hyde Park and have stepped up my research into what awaits Team bikebritain in a month’s time. The Goodwood track is described in most quarters as being flat and quick, which I have decided is good and bad news. I like “flat” insofar as I’m not a massive fan of incline. In this respect, I am unlike other member(s) of the team, as you can liberally see evidenced elsewhere on this site. However, if it is considered “quick”, then my comparative lack of speed might show up even more than I expected it to. 

Having cheered and depressed myself with that information, I decided to have a look at what happened in last year’s competition, held at the Dunsfold Test Track in Surrey, or the Top Gear track to us lay people. The winners clocked up an impressive 191 laps, amounting to approximately 8 laps of what I understand is a 1.75 mile circuit every hour. Inspiring stuff. Clearly, any team that has me in it isn’t going to be winning unless they lock me in the toilet and tell the organisers I was last seen chasing a kebab van towards Chichester so I’ve set my sights a little lower. A middle of the road tally from 2010 seems to have been about 150 laps, and some swift mental arithmetic from me (ten minutes with a calculator) determines that this equates to about 110 laps of Goodwood. Now, if I complete an equal shift to everyone else, kebab van notwithstanding, my contribution will work out at about 27 laps. This is actually less than I was expecting which means either a) I’ve miscalculated horribly or, well, it’s almost certainly a).

You may note that I haven’t mentioned the hybrid thus far. I’ll get straight to the crux of it; she is no longer in my possession. A week prior to the shopping trip so chaotically depicted in the aforementioned video, I left my trusty steed locked up on Wapping High Street. Wapping High Street is cobbled and, where I come from, cobbled equates to posh and I was in a hurry so I hastily and inexpertly locked it up to the nearest lamppost and went about my business. When I returned, it had been relieved of its front wheel and given a good kicking, which was slightly disappointing. Having mentally re-categorised cobbled streets as ‘extremely dangerous’, I dragged the hybrid home, where she sat outside my front door for several days gathering dust – literally gathering dust, currently living adjacent to a demolition site really does help with these descriptions – until there was a knock at the door. A young lad stood on my doorstep, and politely enquired as to whether I still wanted this sad looking contraption. ‘Ah, here we are,’ I thought, acquiescing to his request. ‘This is my chance to pass the baton of mediocre cycling to the next generation. This young lad, a budding cyclist and mechanic, can restore her to her former glory and perhaps one day I will see him the crowned Tour de France champion, at which point he will thank the priceless contribution of the chubby gentleman from Bermondsey who set him on the road to glor- oh hang on, he’s saying something...’

“Do you have the wheel?” he asked. So much for that, then. I should just resign myself to being the kind of chap who looks as if he gives away perfectly functioning £200 bikes for his own enjoyment. Having explained to him that no, I didn’t have the wheel and hence my willingness to donate it to a total stranger, he trotted off, seemingly still content with his new toy. I was now slightly more concerned that he intended to beat elderly women about the head with it rather than focus on becoming the new Lance Armstrong, a feeling which hardly diminished when he came back five minutes later to ask me if I could bellow down to his mother in the next street to confirm that yes, I had permitted him to take it and that no, he hadn’t stolen it, although I increasingly suspected that was precisely what he would have done had I not answered the door. The story was rapidly losing all of it’s romance by this point. In summary, though, the hybrid is gone and I remain a one much-better-bicycle family. If I’ve given that away to another Oliver Twist impersonator by the next time I write, then you have my permission to run me over with that kebab van.

Until next time,

Lukey.

Words - Lukey

Thumbnail Image - RIDE24_112.jpg

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