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My Smashing Bike! 4, June 2007

Posted by babychaos in General Wittering, Life and living, Light Fluff, Play.
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What feels like several millennia ago now I mentioned I had enjoyed, if that’s the right word, knee surgery.

Well, the recuperation process is slow – they said it would be – but I decided, recently, that I was really going to have to get fit again or at least fitter. I haven’t been able to do much exercise because it has hurt so much but after three days of pretty solid walking in Rome something brilliant happened. The next week there was no pain, nada, zilch.

This is a massive event. We are talking something I have not experienced for five years.

Ok so it bloody well smarted at the time but afterwards the recovery was near miraculous, that made me think that while exercise may hurt, getting back to doing some, or at least, more, would be A Good Thing. Yes, it is time to get fit. How to do it though… it’s not just a case of using the joint and getting the grafted cartilage comfortable. I have soggy ligaments too, you see – well I should imagine all this knee surgery doesn’t help but on top of that, hurling myself over a wall and ripping one of them wasn’t the biggest plan in the Book of Smart either.

So, in-line skating is my usual choice but in-line skates which will work on my local roads and cycle paths need to be off road skates – Rollerblade Coyotes and that means they weight about 9lbs per foot.

Rollerblade Coyote’s

See what I mean?

That’s quite a weight which should probably be left until I have built up the muscles again – having legs like Charles Atlas keeps the ligaments that bit more taut although sadly it means few trousers fit (big thighs) and of course, it means big thighs (bad enough on their own). Never mind. I can handle big thighs if it means less pain. Where was I?

Ah yes, exercise. Well, the gym never feels very strenuous because I have to keep getting off things so I decided I’d look for a reasonably cheap form of exercise I could do sitting down. The obvious answer, get a bike. I sought advice and was told that if I wanted to go off road – lots of tracks round here – I’d need a mountain bike but that if I wanted to go on road I’d need a hybrid. In short, I’d need to spend £300 or £400 on something which might turn out to be the wrong product. Ok so that’s cheaper than riding lessons but it’s still a sod of a lot more than I was thinking about – my off road skates were only £150 and that included a spare brake, a spare set of wheels and $75 air-freight! I wasn’t doing that… so I decided to look out for a used mountain bike at car boot sales.

Within days, I found just what I was looking for. It’s a Scott Tampico bike, with front suspension, Shimano gears and crank case/pedals and a disk brake (also on the front). It’s a man’s bike but what the heck!? As one of my friends says, cycling is a very sexist sport, even the women’s bikes are built as if for men! So I bought it for the princely sum of £35. Here it is in all it’s smashing glory!

My Smashing Bike!

My luscious, ritzy bike… and our garden table, the mower, Mr BC’s Black & Decker Workmate plus Mr BC’s Dad’s entire tool collection.

It seemed very light and felt very balanced so I stuck it into Google to find out about it. I wanted to find out what seasoned mountain bikers thought. I found a couple of forums and weight, handling and gears are the things that get a good press. Most of people writing about the bike thought the font suspension was a bit soft – and Scott seem to have listened and upgraded to the Rock Shox for the 2005 model – curses, mine has the decried pre Shox suspension. Damn! ‘Still that makes it easier to date, I’m guessing 2003/4 then. Not that I’m going to notice the shocks, anyway.

My previous bike and the only full sized bike I’ve ever owned, was given to me by my dad when I was 11. It has 10 strangely do-it-yourself gears made by a French company called Huet and weighs approximately four tonnes… well ok, not four, three and a half maybe. You get the picture, it’s not cast iron but it’s still heavy enough. No aluminium ritzy liftlite alloys in those days.

The gears on my “new” bike are a bit shuggly, I have to be careful how I shift or I chuck the chain right off. Although, of course, there’s every possibility that the cause is “finger trouble” on my part. I’m new to this, the difference in technology must be huge, I’m probably doing the bike equivalent of trying to double de-clutch an automatic car. And they are very responsive. Hit a hill or a boggy patch and you can click them up or down until you’re comfortable it’s changing through the gears on the middle cog of the three big ones that is a bit hit and miss.

I’ve got them down as the bike equivalent of close ratio. Actually I’ve got the whole bike down as the equivalent of something like a Lotus Elise, not too expensive in the general scheme of things and all about the best weight and handling possible for the price. I’m kind of hoping my new bike’s all round performance will whup the pants off the more expensive bikes in its class the same way the Lotus does, although, even if that were true, it’s unlikely with me on board…

A Lotus
A Lotus, yesterday.

I stuck on some cheap mudguards so I don’t get that well known mountain biker’s condition “incontinence bottom” and I have some new handlebar grips on order because I reckon that if you are going to hang onto something sweat soaked it has to be your own sweat not the remnants of someone else’s. One of the tyres looks a bit dodgy – there are lots of cracks in the rubber and I expect I will need to get it serviced, if only to fix the aforementioned smooth – yet lumpy – gears.

On the upside it weighs very little, I think the frame comes in at about one and a half kilos – or possibly two, depends what year it is. Basically, it’s light, which means that even with knobbly tyres and extra gubbins on board – me for example – it’s not too much of a schlep to get the thing moving.

I have been out once. I got lost – some bastard turned the signpost round – but that did mean I found some soft muddy dirt tracks and it was brilliant. Not as good as in-line skating along them would have been but at the same time, to in-line them you’d need a slope or a lot of stamina. The first is not always available here in the fens and the second is not available after two years post knee surgery sitting around on my bottom! With the bike it was still a real scream.

Where the bike wins is when it gets really boggy, keep going and up to a point you can stay on the surface and not sink although the back slides away a bit (a familiar sensation if you been shied with on a horse). Stop and suddenly you’re in it up to your calves! That would have been a very nasty squelchy mess on skates… No it would have been a retrace the last three miles back to the turned sign (after a short sleep) and go in the correct direction this time, moment. Luckily the bike took me over it no problem.

Any complaints? Well, the saddle is a man’s saddle. That means it’s not built for my bottom, I may get used to it after a while, or I may have to buy a gel filled saddle cover, or possibly some cycling shorts with a gel filled bottom… otherwise if I do this regularly I may not be able to walk normally that often! Even so, on the face of it, I’m chuffed.

The Bill…. Well… I have spent £1.20 on one of those things you stick into a bicycle pump to get the air into the tyre, £2 on a lock, £9 on a new clip on back light, £10 on some cheap plastic mudguards (they’re removable though) and I may have to spend another £50 – £70 on getting it serviced/a new front tyre or a gel saddle cover. Even so, we are looking at a good entry level bike for grown up competitors – rather than dabblers like me – and something that retails for £490 (minus a pence or two).

In other words, I’m going to end up spending from about £50-£100 or so and come out of it with a £500 bike! Even better, I was told by a friend who does dirt/off road biking a lot that it is very good for your stomach muscles – thank heavens, mine are hurting so much I thought I must have a hernia! So not only will I be able to go biking with her but maybe I will finally lose the paunch!

On a last note, I have to show you this video of my Rollerblade Coyotes in action… These people are waaaay better than me – well for a start they can rely on their knees to turn both ways but they are also placing their feet the way I have to!

I did used to use normal in-line skates with just the wrist pads like these guys – I don’t fall over much and it’s how you tell the world you’re good. Unfortunately, no amount of familiarity with being on in-line skates will compensate for my clumsiness. I often trip and then there’s accidents… Eventually, I got a stone in my wheels in the local park and wiped out, hence the need for an operation on my knee and off road in-line skates. So now I have learned my lesson and wear an Animal extreme sports helmet and knee pads as well…

I never got my Coyotes onto really rocky terrain like the stuff at the start of this video and I wouldn’t either – look at the concentration on that guy’s face! I know my limitations. I can’t do the ground and where I’m going that thoroughly without falling over a rock or hitting a tree.

Having said that, the bit on the quarry road and the dirt bike tracks, though, I’m ok with that… it makes me hanker after getting mine out and having a go – they’re more manoeuvrable on dirt too, on roads and cobbles they handle like oil tankers.

Hmm… for all the loveliness of my new bike and the fact I can go cycling with friends, I intend to get back to this… for a start, it doesn’t hurt my bum.

The AC/DC soundtrack, is enough to make the vid worth watching.

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Comments»

1. Joe Drinker - 4, June 2007

Oh, to live in a place where the ground isn’t covered by cacti or running wild with poisonous reptiles and insects! I live in the desert of Arizona, USofA, and we’re on mountain bikes to keep us out of reach of the needles and stingers of the native residents.

And those off-road skates look like too much fun – I’d kill myself on them.

Good luck with the recovery.

JD

2. babychaos - 5, June 2007

Hey Joe,

Thanks! When it comes to killing yourself on the skates, you and me both! Actually it’s not as bad as they make it look, the more you attack the road the safer they are it’s when you’re going slow on them that you are most likely to do yourself an injury.

As for needles, scorpions and general critters, I can imagine that’s grim but…. you live in Arizona! That’s waaaaay cool!

And we have nettles. Ok so they don’t kill you but when you’ve wheeled a bike through about 20 yards of them growing to shoulder height you do know about it for a couple of days afterwards! (yep, it’s not just my bum that’s smarting) 😉

Cheers

BC

3. Mrs. Nicklebee - 5, June 2007

Oh nettle! I hate nettle! I walked through a nettle patch when I was a kid once. ONCE. I didn’t know what it was as I was carelessly running over fields and through valleys, across streams and winding my way around orchards. That was a horrible feeling! It felt like that awful, sharp tingling when a body part was waking up after spending too long under something heavy, like me.

Cool bike and skates! I’ve never seen skates with wheels that big. I’d love to have a pair. Do they sell them in extra wide?

Mr. Nick was just talking yesterday about a new seat for his bike. He likes to ride but he also needs to be able to walk.

I was just thinking about you yesterday as I was reading The South Beach Diet. Did you ever start that low carb diet you mentioned a few months back? This is day two of starvation by lack of carbohydration for me. Thankfully, I’ve seen the cookbook for the SBD (not real flattering initials) and better things are just a shopping trip away.

I did not know that biking was good for your abs. Hmmm …

4. babychaos - 7, June 2007

Yep, nettles are pants! And I didn’t know it was good for your abs either… until I tried it ! (ooof). 😉

Cheers

BC

5. markowe - 8, June 2007

Hi there!

Thanks for the in-depth explanation about the bike on my blog – your comment was longer than my original blog entry 🙂

I think you made the right move getting (back) into cycling with a bike like this, especially bought at that price. Actually, I wonder whether its wise to post pictures of it – it sounds a bit TOO cheap, if it retailed at 400 quid new at least, so if the previous owner is still “attached” to it, ahem…! But it’s just way better than buying some cheapo supermarket jobbie – this is basically a decent, entry-level “real” bike.

All the best with riding it, oh and thanks for the link on the blog, I have reciprocated 🙂 See you around!

6. babychaos - 8, June 2007

Hey Mark

Many thanks. I am glad I could help with some info.
Amazing though it may seem, I’m pretty sure my bike is not stolen. The main reasons are:

The guy was selling all sorts of cut price stationary so I am pretty sure it was his and he just wasn’t using it any more. I think he said he was using it to commute and then got fed up or changed jobs or something and hasn’t used it since.

On the whole the sellers I am dubious of are the guys who turn up with a whole trailer full of bikes and want more for them. £100 for a second hand bike which was only £150 new. This guy was just “ah £35 will do, I don’t want to take it home”.

I did also wonder if, were it legit, he’d have advertised it somewhere where people who appreciated it and were happy to pay more for it would see the ad. Then I remembered selling MG parts on ebay and trying to get them to a buyer the other end of the country. It was a massive shag. So… I’m hoping it’s a simple of case of not wanting to be bothered with the hassle of advertising it for sale in a bike magazine.

Only time will tell, for now I will just have some fun and enjoy the bike. I know absolutely nothing about Mountain Biking, always wanted to try but have never done it until now… so looking forward to finding out by trial and error what the sport is about.

Cheers

BC

7. Lupita - 4, May 2008

hi, this is Lupita, and I would like to know, where did you buy your Rollerblade Coyotes in-line skate? (LupitaMedina2709@hotmail.com)

8. babychaos - 6, May 2008

Hi Lupita.

Sadly they don’t make them any more, I got them in an end of line sale from the States about 5 years ago (still cheaper than buying them in the UK).

I think other companies make off road skates or you can make your own although I’m not sure how.

The only thing I can suggest is googling them.

Cheers

BC

9. Weapons: Knives - 9, August 2008

Can I ask though – how did you get this picked up and into google news?

Very impressive that this blog is syndicated through Google and is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created?

Obviously this is a popular blog with great data so well done on your seo success..

Rollerblading greats you should write about next, my ex was a Windsurfing champ!

10. babychaos - 10, August 2008

Hello weapons! Do you know I’ve no idea how I got syndicated, I guess that’s up to Google! Thanks for letting me know though! You’re not the only one who’s impressed, I am, too!

Cheers

BC

11. Mountain Bikes for Sale - 1, December 2010

That’s a great bike. I recently purchased a bike as well. The site I purchased it from was a really helpful and reliable source.


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