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Posts in Category: cycle path

Rainbows 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:26:58 AM Categories: bike clothing cycle path tandem
You think your family is gifted. Huh. We are much better than you will ever be. We have just won the world sock-washing championship.
 
It rained and rained last week and the valleys filled and emptied into their rivulets and streams and eventually the Wangapeka overflowed its banks and the citizens of the Baton, where they say gold is still to be panned, were helicoptered to the Tapawera School and popped into sleeping bags for the deluge, and the Motueka River swelled and rose and by watching the downswept logs steadily overtake me as I cycled alongside I could tell how fast the water was flowing and by joining the sightseers clogging the cyclepath that abuts it I could see how close the water was to the undersurface of the bridge. (Very close.)
 
And delightfully it's now been raining again, with the start of some morning sunshine to amuse me with the curious observation, wot I have never before noticed, that the lower of a double rainbow has the blue on the inside and the red on the outside, while the faint upper rainbow has the red inside and the blue out. So the reds, with a gap between them, are adjacent. I never knew that before. I was never a student of double rainbows.
 
Anyway the scullery steadily filled with washing but now with blue skies peeping in the east I have first thing this morning pegged up ninety million socks to dry.
 
The mystery is this.
 
There were no laundry baskets.
 
If you own a teenage daughter then one of the things you do each week is buy a new laundry basket because however frequently you assure her that such are not part of her bedroom furniture, a teenage daughter's bedroom door is a laundry basket valve. They only go one way. In. And this morning looking for something to carry a great mountain of damp socks outside I peeped into a certain bedroom and was mystified and stumped, because though the floor besported piles of clothes tumbling out of open cupboards, there were no laundry baskets. That certain bedroom floor, with some effort, held up the following:
 
1 camera
1 computer
Approx 200 miles of wires and cables attached to approx 2 million electronic gadgets that I didn't even know she had
Assorted
 
The last is a sort of dustbin category and includes more stuff than I care or have time to list but it's an essential taxonomic box (just wait - if you don't believe me - until you own a teenage daughter. Then you'll see. Then you'll jolly see) but the salient point is that there were no laundry baskets whatever. None.
 
It was as if there'd been a sudden laundry basket famine, as if a laundry-basket-vacuum passed over the house in the night and sucked all of them up and they all disappeared into the ether. I was completely mystified and stumped and am even more mystified and stumped now because somehow all those socks got pegged up, yet I have no idea how they managed the semicircular, rainbow-shaped trip round the outside of the house from scullery to clothesline. My brain is defective. It has a gap the shape of a rainbow in it, and somewhere within that gap lurks the fascinating information as to where I found all the laundry baskets.
 
The Human Power bit of this post being a bit thin, and my notebook (an envelope) revealing only the enigmatic information '3 lbs 2 ¼ oz' with nothing to tell me what possessed that weight and why I needed to know it, I shall justify my web existence by stating that a black tandem tyre lasts just 2,735.4 kilometres and then has to be replaced. The tyre was black and the mudguard was black but on inspection identical adjacent colours was all they had in common with a double rainbow. Unlike my morning rainbows, there was no gap whatever between them. They had, in fact, been rubbing all the while. As I say, my brain is defective. (The mudguard is now zip-tied to the rear rack for a bit of clearance.)

Evil Things 

Friday, October 23, 2009 9:47:01 AM Categories: bike clothing cycle path tandem
Right, I'm going to tell you a series of things that you're going to find hard to believe. First, Mr Knight, a previously respected member of the Colonial Diaspora, has this week done an Evil Thing. Specifically, he failed to buy this item: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280410386202&ssPageName=ADME:B:EF:GB:1123 which very definitely caused Mrs Knight consternation because I'm certain she really wants him to own a British racing trike so he can wear those diamond-pattern  socks http://www.tricycleassociation.org.uk/History.html?image=med4278ee0ee414d. For weeks now Mrs Knight has been waking up fretting about Mr Knight not having a British racing trike. She rings me up to say so.
'Richard I'm worried about Bob. He doesn't have a British racing trike (red) to hang on his garage wall.'
Why even Mr Larrington of the parish of London, who incidentally has dismally failed to move to New Zealand, has a British racing trike. And that's two Evil Things that Mr Knight has done recently, the other one being that he failed to move in next door where I can pop round and borrow his Campagnolo one-inch 24TPI die. There is a distinct and worrying lack of consideration on the part of members of the Colonial Diaspora. What earthly use is it to me if he lives six hours' drive away?
 
Second, this of course forced me, also a prev. r. m. of the C.D., to do an Evil Thing, which was to haul myself along to see Josh who works at the local bike shop and borrow a tool off him. Now you know my views on lending tools. But it's become a constitutional duty. Under the new Government we're all to grab as much as we can for ourselves, the Finance Minister recently having been caught helping himself to a generous grant of public funding for his family home http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/politics/2853258/Come-clean-on-trust-Bill-English-told, and as of yesterday they want to extend this to seats in parliament. (They've proposed a couple of referenda to see if they can do away with Proportional Representation, under which unfortunate system they have to listen to what other people say. Bush and Mugabe and Dame Shirley Porter and Hitler were also keen on meddling with electoral law, as I recall.)
 
The tool I borrowed was his one-inch 24TPI die to convert a Raleigh fork into a Peugeot fork and make a hack bike out of my latest new old light-weight frame just in case the shorter crossbar will permit me to use drop handlebars for a few more years. I am busy painting this bike which is a process I abhor; yesterday it got a cursory rub with a bit of sandpaper and I sprayed it with primer before dinner and a bit of gloss afterwards and this morning I noticed certain runs and blotches and whatnot and fell to thinking about Mr Knight's Claud Butler which has taken him (consults recent emails) two months to paint but then Mr Knight is a dangerous obsessive who abrades his frames with a single grain of sand glued to the tip of a toothpick.
 
The third thing you won't believe is that the people of Motueka all drive rubber cars and they can make them go narrower by reducing speed alone. The Motueka river is spanned by a long bridge and whenever two cars approach from opposite sides they go slower and slower until they meet, whereupon each car becomes dead narrow and they can just squeeze past each other. I know it sounds improbable but I've seen it happen lots and it's always the same. It only applies to bridges, though. This morning a lorry passed us when another lorry was coming the other way, and as we were none of us on the Motueka bridge, neither lorry needed to become narrower so we had exactly three inches of space outside our handlebars as they roared past.
 
And the last thing that will tax your credulity is that because I am clever - you know, immensely, hugely clever - I have cured my wife of pedalling the synch chain off at junctions. Moreover I did it without recourse to beating. - Wives and dogs and walnut trees, like it says in the rhyme, except I expect Mr Blair managed to make it illegal to say anything as scurrilous as wives and dogs and walnut trees but since when did I ever care? I committed political correcticide years ago. - Anyway I seldom beat my wife and anywayer envisioned that it would be unproductive, given the advantageous retaliatory position she occupies on said tandem. - No, what I did was provide a second front mech. I reasoned - but I expect you can guess what I reasoned and you'd be right. It worked.

Memento mori 

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 11:05:11 AM Categories: cycle path
A while now since they 'built' a cycle path opposite our house. It was actually an excuse for funding, because one of my privy councillors informed me that they could only get funding for the sewer if they built a cycle path on top of it, and they could only get funding for a cyclepath if they built a sewer below. - Don't ask me. I didn't make the Rules. - But Mr Knight, a volunteer fireman, informs me that the fine on the Canterbury Plain for lighting an un-licensed fire is $400, while the licence costs $1500. So the Rules are occasionally a little puzzling.
 
First they dug and laid the sewer, then they deposited an entire truckload of crushed glass on the road outside our drive, then they left matters for a fortnight, and finally they returned and shovelled most of the glass into the mud and laid tarmac over the top, scattering the whole with gravel.
 
We had six punctures in the first week. One of the Rules is that 'if there is an adequate cycle path provided, cyclists must use it.' There is some discussion around the word 'adequate.'
 
At the timber yard one of the chaps who lives down our lane sympathised, saying he wouldn't ride a bike - if he did ride a bike - on that cycle lane, but - mind - he'd drive his car as close as he could right next to anyone using the road on a bike if the cycle lane was any good.
 
Sprang Gordon Wallator from the office to the fray:
'Doesn't matter what their reason for riding on the road is - it's not your business to endanger their lives just because they choose to avoid a crappy path full of puddles and broken glass!'
 
I liked Gordon. He was a Canadian, nice guy, wiry and lean, white hair and specs, a mountain biker. He would chat enthusiastically about our tobacco sheds, which are large and capacious and the sort of thing Canadians don't have in Canada, so they get all carried away when they come across them in New Zealand and dream up things you can convert them into. He retired last Friday, aged 65, from the timber yard. On Sunday he died.
 
Yesterday the flags over the timber yard were flying at half mast.
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