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Errant fireman's hose 

Well, y'know Saturday's post? - On Sunday my wife went to a Top Team event, which is where some keen work colleague pressurizes everyone to enter a carnival and hop about in four-in-a-sack-race and carry-water-in-your-welly-boots-while-wearing-them games.

About halfway through a fire hose blew a nozzle thingy out of the end and the hose started lashing about like a wild thing, knocking over a pushchair, a nurse, and slicing my wife's foot open to the tendons. She needed seven stitches. The gash was two and a half inches long. It bled through the pressure bandage afterwards and she had to have it dressed again. My finger didn't hurt nearly as much when I saw the wound. She fondly imagines she won't be playing tennis until Thursday. When she cancelled tomorrow's lesson her coach sent her a text:

Sorry to hear that. You never know when you're going to be hit by a fireman's hose.

I consulted a former fireman who chances to be a mathematics graduate. I learnt that fire hoses operate at 130 psi and a 25 metre hose weighs 25 kg. The mathematician calculated that when a hose nozzle thingy breaks and whacks your foot open, the force delivered = Enormous.

Meanwhile my son has found the following two advertisements in the school magazine, whose juxtaposition is not entirely irrelevant in the circumstances.



Monday, November 7, 2011 7:57:00 AM Categories: advertising injury

Drama in Real Life 

Yesterday morning I was surprised to find the tandem lying on its side and the penny trike halfway up the drive. We are usually more careful than that. It suddenly crossed my mind to count the bikes, and behold, the rain bike and Frankenbike were missing.

What sometimes happens in these parts is that those who have generously partaken of wine think of bicycling home, and redressing their lack of bicycle by what we prefer to call borrowing, leave them propped up against a tree somewhere else.

Several walks round the orchard and along the river bank but no bikes, and we are left - as is so often the case - with an enhanced appreciation of what we don't have any more. A lady's step-through bike that can be mounted easily in waterproof trousers, with a fully enclosed chaincase, drum brakes front and rear, stainless steel 700c rims with very fine racing tyres on, and waterproof panniers is a truly practical vehicle in a country blessed with adequate rainfall.

Stolen rain bike

And suddenly I feel remorsefully proud of Frankenbike with its Marzocchi front fork and GT Horst Leitner rear suspension that let me cruise the dirt roads in glorious comfort with its swept-back city handlebars that you can't buy in New Zealand despite being a hundred times more comfortable than straight mountainbike handlebars and a Mirrycle that you also can't buy here.

Stolen Frankenbike

However I fancy you will heartlessly observe that having your bikes nicked is scarcely Drama in Real Life, which needs to at least have a sawmill where the operator falls into the machinery and has his legs and abdomen cut from his body so that only arms, chest and head remain, and while using a pair of crutches improvised from a torque wrench and a speed brace to limp along to the emergency ward he gets run over by an unexpected reversing Tiger tank owned by a re-enacter and all that remains is a wisp of hair which, by careful skin grafting and experimental stem cell research, they reconstruct him in a Petri dish and after six months' rehabilitation hand him the address of Reader's Digest to make a few bob on the side. - I always loathed Drama in Real Life. It was horrible and gory and I hated it but at least it put the actual experience of being in the dentist's chair in context. Why did dentists always have piles of Reader's Digests? How many did they think you could get through? They only have National Geographic these days.


Well anyway, I told you I was stupid, didn't I? - In fact I rather laboured the point. - I needn't have done. - Somehow or other this afternoon, after donning eye protection and ear protection but failing to think as far ahead as enormously thick heavy leather gloves, I dropped the angle-grinder with a rotary wire brush and it cut straight through the tip of my right index finger. The brush sliced the nail in half sideways and left the tip of the finger flapping about in a manner an estate agent might describe as semi-detached and a violin teacher might describe as something else. Dr Brewer who has considerable empathy with vexing mishaps was on call and until he could get to me he told me to apply pressure to both sides of the knuckle, which would pinch the artery and stop it bleeding. Useful tip, but I'd have preferred to have learnt it out of context. Throbbing and regret in equal measure right now. Time for a career change. I'm going to apply to be a Visual Aid for Health and Safety lecturers.

Saturday, November 5, 2011 9:15:00 AM Categories: injury Stolen Bikes stupidity

Schroder's Hat 

The bin man calls here of a Monday morning, and from this statement I divine a Great Insight: that I am the vainest person in the world. Paris Hilton thinks America wants to spend its broadband connection examining her limbs and all that pertain thereto; Alan Jones believes Australia wants to listen to his radio show encouraging motorists to run cyclists off the roads; but only I am vain enough to think that the entire Internet wants to know when the dustman empties our bin.
 
Waste disposal in New Zealand is a private affair: you have to pay for it. Accordingly most people gather their domestic rubbish and lob it out of the car window. (Next time there's a world shortage of used empty paper tubs for Kentucky Fried Chicken, I'll make a fortune just cycling along the Motueka Valley Highway and stopping every ten yards.) The bin man empties an old oil drum for $10.30 - the price occasionally increases to randomly inconvenient sums that aren't to be found in a wallet of a Monday morning - and to get our money's worth there's always a scurrying around at the dawn of the week for stuff to chuck out. Yesterday I remembered a pair of forks which came my way. (Build just one recumbent - one - and people will start to give you old bike bits. I guarantee it.) And I now offer this piece of Wisdom to the World: Unless you are completely stupid, little is to be gained by welding this onto a pair of front forks:
 

Had I possessed a munted helmet that too could have gone in the bin. Scrolling to the bottom of this discussion
http://www.kiwihpv.org.nz/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=36&start=20
I see there's a photo demonstrating the force of impact of Nigel Schroder's skull on those boulders the other day. (One's concern is, of course, for the rocks. Schroder's a solid beefy sort of lad and if he hadn't had the hat on, I dread to think what might have happened to those boulders.)
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 3:59:59 AM Categories: bike crash injury Nigel Schroder Roll-down tests

Schroder's Cat 

 
Here, for no very good reason that I can think of, is a picture of the Maruia Falls. I had to steal this from harlequin.co.nz because the one I took got lost somewhere in the dusty innards of my computer. The Maruia Falls are très pretty but that isn't why we send all our visitors there. It's because in 1928 they weren't. In 1928 they were just a plain common-or-garden scenic river. Still Glides the Stream and Shall Forever Glide (1), until the 17th June 1929 that is, when, after a few days of the locals hearing what they thought were aberrant deer stalkers in the hills, there was a mighty cataclysm and the Mairua River suddenly broke in half and dropped  nine feet ten-and-a-ninth inches. (That would be three metres, Mr Hague, though frankly I feel your espousal of these narsty - ew - French measurements borders on the philistine.) This is an altogether more satisfying earthquake than the ones where a picture goes slightly askew in a housing estate on the outskirts of Peterborough, even if a clutch of people have to get buried in landslides for it to happen. We haven't had an earthquake for a while and therefore I suppose we ought to expect one. Pleasingly the estate agents have all bought houses for themselves on the Richmond Hills which command a view over Nelson bay, not thinking about the fact that the Richmond Hills only exist because occasionally they shoot upwards three metres at a time.
 
Below the Richmond Hills are the Saxton Playing Fields crammed of a Saturday morning with all the Nelson schools' sports clubs, and it falling to my duty to endure a van-load of the truly mindless conversation of my daughter's hockey team, I thought I would skip spectating for an hour and drop in unannounced on James or Nigel or Sam, who all live conveniently nearby waiting, no doubt, for a hearty terrestrial shaking to land a selection of startled estate agents in their midst.
 
To James McLeod's. James's neighbour was washing his car and had mistakenly thought the entire neighbourhood wanted to hear his choice of what purports to be Music but in fact James, unable to bear the din, had gone out. James is of Scottish descent and, I hope, about to take up the bagpipes by way of retribution.
 
To Sam McEachern's. There stood his blue recumbent on the verandah with its new seat upholstery but there was no sign of Sam nor indeed of any of his neighbours, so perhaps he had spent the morning giving James some preparatory bagpipe lessons.
 
To Nigel Schroder's. No neighbour, no Music, but no Nigel either. And there stood Nigel's new low racer, gleaming in his shed, so obv. they weren't all off secretly riding up the Richmond Hills together.
 
Nigel's new machine is a front wheel drive with a swinging bottom bracket. I knew he'd finished it because he sent me film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FG5okNSvpTY of him riding it and he seems to be more in control of it that I ever was of the one I made, which after it whacked me in the side of the head got punished with a hacksaw.
 
However in the evening I had a doleful email:
 
Well the roll down - at Marsden Valley, the same place we did the last test - didn't quite go as well as planned. The old bike had topped out at 55kph and on the first run the new bike was faster at 58kph but I had to use the brakes a little to regain control as it started to wobble .
On the second run things went a little wrong. I crashed at about 50-55kph.
Fell from the bike and slid down the road a little then into a creek hitting some very large rocks on the way. My helmet was completely destroyed. James drove me home, then we went to the hospital where I spent the next 7 hours being checked. X-rays and a CT scan. Luckily nothing was broken. Feeling very sorry for myself today. As for the bike it's ok but it's the last time I'll ride it as a moving bottom bracket, so I think it'll get a rebuild and I'll go back to having a boom and a twist chain FWD. The moving bottom bracket was just too unpredictable. The speedo had a 55kph max after the crash and I hadn't got to the fastest section of the run.
Nigel
 
My daughter Susan gaily said 'If he keeps the broken bits he can call it Schroder's Cat, cos it can be a crashed and an uncrashed bike at the same time,' which stunningly obscure joke can only be understood by quantum physicists one of whom I am not.
 
Anyway as - surprisingly - there was no gravel rash we can't twin him with Bob Knight, and as there were no broken bones we can't twin him with Geoff Bird. But there were bruises everywhere and he's very sore so we can twin him with oh, just about everybody else in the recumbent-building fraternity, I should imagine.
 
1. Wordsworth who is famous, or Arthur Streeton who ought to be famouser.
Monday, July 26, 2010 9:27:17 AM Categories: injury Moving Bottom Bracket bikes New Zealand Nigel Schroder Roll-down tests
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