Cycling to Work

19 04 2012

I really didn’t realise that it had been so long since I had written anything here, which just goes to prove that not a lot has happened.  Well apart from the trip to Wales.

Recently, in an effort to get fit, I bought a new bike, a road bike so that I could ride to work.  I know that this is against all of my Mountain Biking heritage, but I just need something that will be a bit easier, and the skinny tyres do help a lot.  Now the bike is nothing spectacular, it was the only bike that I could afford in the size that I needed, plus I got a load of Nectar points buying through Amazon (better Christmas presents for my family now).

My plan is to ride the 5.75 miles to work as often as I can, both to get fit and save money.  So far it has rained more often than not, so I haven’t got as much use as I wanted.  When I do go in though, it takes me about 27 minutes, which would be shorter if it weren’t for all of the pesky traffic lights and the level crossing that is bound to have a train coming when I need to be passing it.

It is quite good to see so many people riding to work, I invariably pass the same people going in the opposite direction every day, and they are a right miserable bunch.  None of them ever smile, it is probably my fault, why would they want to smile back at someone gurning like a fool.  But I find cycling a happy experience, I enjoy it, and it makes me smile.  I quite understand people on their way to work being miserable, but surely they must be able to think back to the fun that they had on their bikes when they were kids.  I can, and to me my bike still means fun and freedom, even if it is tempered by the fact that I have to spend the next 8 hours a day sat behind a desk in a soul sucking job.

Normally in a car my trip to work takes about 20 minutes, I would much rather spend another 8 on my bike, getting some fresh air.  It really helps that over half of my ride is on cycle lanes.  I wish it was more though.





Cav’s SPOTY

24 12 2011

Cav won the BBC Sports Personality of the year and deservedly so. He was typically humble in his acceptance too.

Afterwards Michael Caught said that loads of kids would want to be him. That isn’t strictly true, I want to be him as well and he is 6 years younger than me.





A Word about Mark Cavendish

25 07 2011

Sprinters have always been my favourite types of cyclist.  Watching the tour when I was young formed this opinion.  The sheer speed and danger of the final Kilometer of the race was what made it exciting for me and it still does.

Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (aka the Tashkent Terror) got me started, I even named a goldfish after him. After him, names like Chippolini and Zabel were who I looked for in the results.  Now however, all of these have been blown away by Mark Cavendish.  Fresh from his 5th stage win in this years tour and 20th stage win altogether he became the 5th highest stage winner of all time.  

People call him big-headed, but I think that they get it confused with confidence, and what is wrong with having a bit of confidence.  It is so un-British I guess, but its about time we felt we could boast about something.  The nation (and the Isle of Man in particular) has a sports Superstar to be proud of.  But Cav’s wins are more than just him, he will be the first to tell you that, his HTC team have got his lead outs to a fine art, and are always the first to be thanked.  Bernie Eisel and Mark Renshaw are the 2 best lead out men in the world and Cav wouldn’t have been as much of a sucess without them (although I don’t doubt he would have still been a success and a multiple stage winner).

David Miller the Garmin-Cervelo rider is right when he says that Cav should be seen in the same light as David Beckham.  He is a true superstar, revered in nations where cycling as a sport has a higher profile. 

Anyway, Legend.





Thoughts on Le Tour 2011

22 07 2011

I have been a bit slack posting things on here of late, with lots of things going on to distract me.  One of them being Le Tour De France.  Pretty much everything stops while this is on and the 7pm nightly highlights become part of my life for 3 weeks in July.  It has been this way since the eighties. Phil Ligget, Paul Sherwen, Gary Imlach, Ned Boulting and Chris Boardman provide the soundtrack of 21 Days. 

This year has been something special for the armchair cycling fan, I can’t ever remember a tour that has been this open.  With 3 stages left any of the top 5 riders could conceivably still take the yellow jersey in Paris on Sunday.  So through the flat stages and the dominance of Mark Cavendish  (what a legend now with 20 Tour stage wins), the 2 stage wins for Edvald Bosson Hagen (who rides for Team Sky, so is an honorary Brit in my eyes), World Champion Thor Hushovd taking 2 breakaway stages, Andy Schleck taking the mammoth stage to the Col du Galibier and a huge chunk of time out of the current leader Thomas Voeckler.  There is a lot that you can say about little Tommy V’s heroics this year, keeping the Yellow through the Pyreneese and into the Alps and keeping himself in contention still.  The effort has been amazing and I hope he keeps a place on the podium.  He won’t win, but I hope he is there. All of this has gone on to make this a great version of the greatest stage race.

The final 3 stages will shape the Tour’s podium and an Alp d’Heuz finish today and a time trial tomorrow will provide the Yellow Jersey (please not Cadel Evans).  The final stage to the Champs Eleysee in Paris will provide the ideal stage for Cav to claim the Green Jersey, providing he gets over the final mountains.

This month has provided more sporting excitement than any football/rugby/cricket/F1 season than I can think of and is an ideal armchair sports fans viewing.  Allez Le Tour.





Was Staying Up Until 2am Worth It

25 11 2010

Hooray, hooray the Ashes are being played again.  Sadly they are being played in Australia, but like all good England supporters I predict that we will retain them, which as we haven’t won on Australian soil for 17 years is no easy prospect.

I wanted to be up for the morning session of the first day, so I decided to hit the sack early and wake up in time for the midnight start.  This didn’t happen as I would have liked as I couldn’t actually get to sleep due to late night text messages and a housemate with what I think is Bronchitis.

So I got up at midnight, to watch the masterful 3 balls faced by Captain Andrew Strauss, and Jonathan trot not achieving much more than a bit of ploughing outside of the crease.  When I went to bed again at 2 am, KP and Alistair Cook were doing alright.  When I got up again at 7am, we had a bit of a collapse in the late-middle order, with only Ian 2The Flamethrower of Eternal Justice” Bell putting up any meaningful resistance, but then getting himself out to a ball that he shouldn’t have played.

Anyway, Australia are just edging it at the moment, but I still think that England can win this test.  We have the better bowling attack and I think this is where the match will be won.  Apart from Peter “Very Punchable Face” Siddle the Aussie bowlers didn’t really look like that much of a threat.

As for staying up until 2am, I am glad that I did, it’s not very often that a Test Series causes this much excitement.  Besides if I wanted to watch the highlights programmes I would still be up until 11, so what’s an extra 3 hours between friends.  Plus I do like the live text commentary.  Where else would you get a man breaking up with his girlfriend just so he can watch the game.





Le Tour 2010

26 07 2010

This was one of the best Tour De France ever, the battle between Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador kept going until the Time Trial on the 2nd to last stage. 

Sadly for me being in Scotland I had missed the first 2 weeks when most of the excitement happened, with the carnage on the cobbles of Belgium, Renshaws disqualification for headbutting, Cadel Evans crying (I really don’t like the man) and Lance Armstrong having a nightmare in his final tour. 

I did see the Pyraneese though and had there not been a technical hitch with Andy Schleck’s bike, I am convinced he would have won the tour. 

Still, well done Alberto, I have finally calmed down about your slightly dodgy move on Andy, but not the fact that your domestique Vino is an unrepentant drug cheat.

Also another 5 stages for Cav, he truly is a missile.  Team Sky didn’t have the best tour though, but they will learn.





Phew!

23 06 2010

OK, 1-0 got us through.  Not top of the group though, which means that we will probably be playing Germany.  Still, it’s better than not being in the last 16.  Right, relax until Sunday.

Well done to USA too.





Belief

23 06 2010

Can England get any worse than their miserable 0-0 draw with Algeria.  I certainly hope not.  The country hopes not.

How will Fabio Capello get the best out of the demoralised bunch of Prima Donnas that played so poorly, while still sticking to his 4-4-2 formation and forcing Steven Gerard to play on the left where it doesn’t suit him.

I think that it will all come together, but then again Nostrodamus I ain’t!





In Defence of Kaka

21 06 2010
Kaka, one of the Worlds best players, a religious man, and one that you would never do a dirty thing was unjustifiably sent off because of a cheating dirty trick from an Ivory Coast player, during Brazil’s 3-1 victory.  The only surprise to me is that the diving Ivorian in question wasn’t Didier Drogba (who scored a great goal, but I still don’t like him).
 
The referee was shockingly poor anyway (allowing Brazils 2nd goal that was quite clearly 2 handballs), but there was no excuse for the 2nd yellow card shown to Kaka.
 
Not even seeing what had happened, he was conned by the feigning Kader Keita, who went down like he had been punched in the face.  In reality he had ran into Kaka’s shoulder at chest level and then proceeded to writhe around in (faked) agony.   
 
If you watch the replay, the ref only saw the aftermath of the Ivorians surrounding Kaka and a scuffle starting (handbags really, it all came to nothing).  Kaka was then given a 2nd yellow card for Violent conduct.
 
This is what I hate about football, the cheating and the gamesmanship to get other players sent off, especially one as good as Kaka who would have been a star of the next Brazil game, but who could now be banned for up to 4 matches (on seeing the replay there is no way this will be any more than a 2 match ban).
 
Keita, the other player involved will get off with his misdemeanour when in fact he should have been booked for simulation.
 




Terrible, Terrible, Terrible!

19 06 2010

I can only be talking about the horrible looking draw played out  between England  and Algeria in Cape TownAlgeria. In what has been the worst game of the World Cup so far, it was also one of the worst England performances for years.

It appears that the team had under-estimated Algeria (A team that knocked out African Champions Egypt in the Qualifiers) and some badly timed comments from Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerard along the lines of we can beat them if we don’t play our best, really didn’t help!

The simple fact of the matter is that we were rubbish. The formation was wrong, there were no attacks down the wings, Rooney may as well have been playing in midfield the amount of times he was in his own half. Englands so called Talisman, was more of a millstone around the neck of a team that had no ideas. Were it not for his reputation he would have been taken off if he had played like that for his club team.

I don’t really have the heart to say anything about Emile Heskey, he looked like a broken man when he was substituted. I would mention how badly Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole played, but for large parts of the game I wasn’t actually sure that they were playing.

It was good to see that David James got a work out, admittedly only from dodgy backpasses (John Terry, please stand up) rather than Algerian play.

The England fans booed at the end of the game, much to the disgruntlement of Wayne Rooney. I am sorry, but how were they supposed to cheer that performance. If you are worried by a bit of criticism, you are in the wrong sport. The fact is if you over-paid and over-hyped had pulled your fingers out and actually looked like you were trying we wouldn’t have booed you, or if you were sat in my living room, mocked and in one case, fell asleep.

I don’t really have anything else to say, apart from the fact that you had better buck your ideas up. Well done to Algeria though, you deserved your point.