Free falling

I have my baby back!  OK, it’s not had all the work done yet, but a girl can only wait for parts for so long, so when the headset finally comes in, I’ll go back and Andrew will fit it.  In the meantime it has new wheel bearings, and very sexy new brakes.  I know, you’re thinking, sexy, brakes… oxymoron right?  Well, who knew?  Because they are 🙂  They’re smaller and (like it makes a difference) much lighter than the old ones.  Oh, and they’re a nice shade of stealthy grey metal too.  Very lovely.  But looks aren’t everything, right?  Do they work?  Well, let’s see…

Today, being the first day in two weeks that opportunity coincided with actually having a bike, I was due to go out with GB for a flat easy ride to looney town for coffee and a chat.  Both of us agree that, had we not been meeting each other, the rain discovered on opening the curtains this morning would have kept us both in our respective beds…  It’s just as well it didn’t, as once that had passed, the weather was gorgeous.  Cold – given the NNE wind – but clear and sunny, with autumn colours all around.  And, layered up properly, cold isn’t a problem either 🙂

I headed up the road all excited to be trying out my “new” bike.  Instantly it was weird as, when free-wheeling, my bike no longer makes the loud distinctive noise that it used to make.  Very strange.  How am I going to announce my imminent arrival to pedestrians now?  It’ll be better for wildlife spotting though, as my inadvertent slowing to watch things always used to make the noise which made the thing I was watching run away.  Or fly.  Depending on what variety of thing it was.  It was also a problem when cycling behind SH.  He’d hear me free-wheel, and accelerate!  So, no noise is good noise *grin*.

I arrived in the Square a little early, and GB arrived on time.  Shortly followed by DM who, as it turns out, was meeting IH for a ride.  Great minds and all that.  Now, A-level maths was not my strong point, but even I can manage 2+2=4.  That would be an even more impromptu than usual ACG ride 🙂

We went the flat easy way over to lay-line central, where the first of the natives encountered was wearing pink fairy wings.  As a place, it never lets me down *grin*.  To be fair, we were obviously a bit early for the denizens of Glastonbury as the nutter quotient was way down.  We sat and drank coffee, and ate cake (aka fuel) in the sun outside, which was very pleasant.  Too chilly to hang around for long though, even having taken the precaution of taking my jacket off so as to be able to feel the benefit of putting it back on again.  Yes – we really do do things like that.  Sad isn’t it? 😉

It didn’t get much warmer on the way home as the headwind had a nasty chill to it.  GB desperately scrabbled for routes to get us home that avoided it but, being south of home, and the wind coming from the north, well…options were limited.  We stuck to cycle tacking across it instead, across the beautiful Levels south of Mark.  We made a brief stop when the under-fueled IH was persuaded by a nagging female (yes, that would be me) that a bar might be a good idea, as he’d bonked completely.  I always go equipped you see.  2 tubes, 1 bar, 1 gel!  That break was shortly followed by a much longer one near Blackford which involved me watching three MAMILs fixing a puncture, whilst laughing a lot.  What I wouldn’t have given for a camera *grin*.  I would have helped, but I might have broken a fingernail or something 😉  Only a man could be minorly pleased about a puncture, seeing it as an opportunity to try out a new toy (a CO2 pump in case you were wondering).  You know who you are! *grin*.

From there we headed for home, with the usual stupidity down the usual road.  I was, as ever, outclassed.  Even on a bad day GB is better than I am.  Minorly galling when you come to think about it.  And he was having a bad day.  It’s a new form of echo location.  He coughs, and I know exactly where he is.   Doesn’t seem to affect his sprinting ability though…

But I haven’t answered the main question yet.  Do the new brakes work?  Oh yes.  Oh yes indeedy.  They kick a*se!  I didn’t get that much opportunity to check them out, but coming down Rug Hill I got to test them a bit, and they work.  Like work instantly and well and when you want them to.  So well that when we stopped in the Square at the end of the race for home, they almost stopped me faster than I could unclip, which made for an interesting wobble.  Dignity was preserved though.  Combine the new lovely stopping ability with the tips Andrew gave me for cornering (push down on the outside down foot) and I think I acquited myself a bit better round corners and down hills than I usually do.  Not that anyone will have noticed but that’s not the point *grin*.

If I can rely on my bike to stop when I want it to, then I’ll be able to panic less about my ability to stop when faced with a corner at the bottom of the hill.  I’ll be more confident and thus do it better.  Well, that’s the theory.  And even in practice it got off to a good start.  Yes – my new brakes are sexy 🙂

Cycling time: 2:34
Distance: 40.7 miles
Avs: 15.8 mph
ODO: 6398 miles

It’s fabulous to have my bike back again.  It’s in very good form, and I’m hoping that I will be too, in time to do it justice for all next year’s events 🙂

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