Mr English of the parish of America has come to visit and I am very surreptitiously sneaking onto my blog, which I can do because I happen to know he doesn't read it.

Mr English visits me because
a) I'm très, très important and
b) through some oversight they didn't publish his banns of marriage in the parish of Motueka. Matter of fact last time I was in church there were no banns of marriage; it was the carol service which is essentially Motueka Brass Band versus the Congregation, and on the whole the brass band wins. Arsenal subdued West Ham, I heard on the radio (they actually broadcast English football results in New Zealand. Incredible but true.) so I suppose Motueka Bass Band subdued Ngatimoti which is where the carol service is held, a pretty wooden church with an improbable pair of Stokes mortars guarding the war memorial. One gets to inspect the Stokes mortars afterwards cos it's midsummer and they're outside. No shortage of armpits at Ngatimoti carol festival.

Mr English is dead famous. Well, famous to the 423,719 people who've thus far Youtubed his high-speed streamlined bicycle crash. In a moment's carelessness he married a vegan and as you may imagine as soon as I heard I got out my political incorrectitude notebook - no I didn't, silly. I'm the nicest person in the whole wide world. I'd never do such a thing. And as it happened Mrs English turns out to be a lawyer and an American one at that so I dursn't say a word lest she litigate for everything from toenail clippings to the last wispy hairs on my exceptionally handsome head. (I haven't encountered my bald patch; I only suspect it's there from the quiet remarks the children make as they politely disperse from the dinner table. I haven't encountered tofu before either: it's like fried bread without the mitigating smell of slices of dead pig's corpse.)

So Mr English turned up on a Bike Friday tandem and natch I had to have a go, and since Mr Knight was staying here last week and he and I rode my tandem up the valley and back (18.8 miles) in 53 minutes, which is two minutes faster than I can manage on my recumbent bike, I was curious as to how it would compare.

My tandem weighs 51 lbs;
the Bike Friday tandem weighs a meagre 27 lbs.

My tandem is hugely massively upright;
Rob English's Bike Friday tandem is svelte.

'so who goes on the front then?'

Unf. I happened to mention that I wanted some comparative figures so the wretched fellow put on the power as if it was a time trial and we managed it in 46 minutes. Though after about four miles I was almost retching with exertion so maybe the 'we' bit of that sentence is a conceit. Puking aside 'tis a springy joyous ride, just enough bendiness in the frame to absorb road shock; not enough to confuse it with a Bickerton.

However there was a suspiciously black mark on my inside right calf afterwards & I entertain a suspicion that Mr English uses inappropriate substances on his chains. I think he does not follow the One True Religion, that of the chain-waxers. The only reason he isn't being burnt at the stake even as I write is because he showed me a way to loop the cable safely on my Flymo. Shan't say how though, cos I like to hear about everyone else having eloctrocutory excitement while lawn mowing.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010 8:31:03 AM Categories: tandem
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