Cycling woes

Winter is definately on its way.  We’re close to the autumn equinox and the daily shortening of the hours between sunrise and sunset is at its most pronounced.  In addition to this the weather has suddenly turned from 20c & sunshine to dark, damp & cold.  It’s quite depressing.
I got wet on the way in so I had to use the emergency dry socks I keep at work for such occassions.  The waterproofness of my jacket and overtrousers were also severly tested.  I have carelessly washed the jacket a few times with normal detergent which is why it is not quite as effective as it should be.  Tonight I’ve washed it with a special solution for waterproof clothing and will re-proof it over the weekend and hope for some improvement.
The second woe is that I’ve had objects (stones?) thrown at me a couple of times this week.  You just know when it’s going to happen as you are approaching a posse of the less enlightened young residents of Salford.  I’ve decided I need to look a bit more ‘street’. 
There’s a big debate raging about the benefits or otherwise of cycle helmets.  Having read quite a bit over the last few months I can see it from both sides.  To a young or inexperienced rider who is much more likely to fall off there is certainly a benefit, for experienced commuters it’s questionable.  The counter arguements are that a poorly fitting or damaged helmet can do more harm than good and cheap helmets don’t help in a serious impact.  I’m more at risk from these young hoodlums who find it entertaining to try and hit a bloke who looks like he’s got a bright blue mushroom on his head.  I must admit I do look like a victim. 
This week some research has shown that drivers tend to give you more room if you are not wearing a helmet, presumably because you are considered less likely to be an experienced rider, less predictable and therefore to be given a wider birth.  Under the same conditions the reseacher also tried wearing a long blond wig and was given even more space!  See for more info.  This piece of information has changed my mind about wearing a helmet to work, I’ll keep it for weekend off road cycling (where I’ve had a few tumbles in the past!).
So it’s bye bye helmet and hello beanie and I might try darker clothing and polo shirts too.  The bike is not at all ‘street’; to be honest it looks like a shopper.  I might customise it to make it look older and knackered by giving it a really poor paint job with some black hamerite and rename it as a "Raleigh Bastard" or something more threatening. 
My third woe was breaking my right peddle this evening.  I had only gone a mile and was setting off to cross Regent Road when the spindle sheared completely.  I cycled the remaining 5+ miles home using pretty much one leg.  The bike is just under a year old and I had changed the pedals to fit some with a semi-toe clip.  The pedal had lasted about 3,000 miles though.
I’m in the car tomorrow (taking the laptop out for the weekend) but will be back out on the bike to work next week, looking a little bit meaner, no doubt wearing waterproofs again and probably with lights on as well :o(

About holmesinho

Happily married father of 2 living in Prestwich 5 miles north of Manchester, England. I cycle most days though mostly commuting and also enjoy running and triathlon.
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