When the going gets soft…

As Shakin’ Stevens would say: “snow is melting, all around me”. cyclefucius was fortunate to feel a little sun in his face. And not a little mud… Today cyclefucius ended up looking more like his jockey cousin, Feargal O’Fucius, who does like a bit of soft going. Cheers Feargal!

cyclefucius and Feargal in younger days
cyclefucius and Feargal in younger days

10 things cyclists say

So much in common with those I pass… or (more often) those that pass me. Yet so many that I really wouldn’t ever want to have coffee with (sounds like a ‘gran falloon’ – Ed.). Here are some actual samples of “conversation” that mostly there is no possible answer to:

1. See that hill? I go up there at 15 kmph!
2. I’ve got a 32 at the back, you know.
3. I’m a pro [pause for impressed reaction] but I just can’t seem to get warm today.
4. I recommend [insert brand] power meter.
5. You should work on your cadence, you know.
6. Is that full carbon?
7. Can I suck your wheel noisily for a while and then out-sprint you at the top of this rise? (Actually they never say that).
8. Slow down, you’re depressing me! (usually good natured).
9. You can do it! (Usually pitying).
10. cyclefucius’s all time favourite: “I used to be like you…”

Naturally no-one reading this has ever been guilty of such a thing… Got any gems heard on the road/trail?


Wrestling, corkscrews, tweezers, and the art of bicycle maintenance

105 cable

cyclefucius remembers the following advice from a famous wrestling trainer (you’ve had so many? – Ed.): “never try to do anything you don’t know how to do”.

For years I thought this was “never do anything you don’t know how to do” which is kind of self-fulfilling (and rather defeatist). I think the human translation is “learn how to do it first”.

So readers may remember the unintentional “fixie” episode and despite – or perhaps because of – the dubious products from the pound shop (actually the 100-pesetas-or-more shop”) the problem returned. A bit of manual wrestling with the bare cable (see what I did there?) and a form of shifting could be done but soon cyclefucius’s shifters began to sprout bits of frayed daddy-long-legs-like cable. Something was definitely Wrong.

Local bike shop. New cable. Also asked for them to check the chain wear and, somehow lost in translation, cyclefucius is sold a *tool* to check the chain wear (but finds this quite karmic along the lines of don’t give him a fish but a fishing rod).

Now the famous wrestling trainer may have been right in his time – but these days the quote should of course be “never try to do anything you don’t know how to do or that doesn’t have an explanatory video on YouTube”. So there I am in the back garden of Fucius Towers surrounded by tools, bike parts, grease and rags, with a nice Canadian gentleman in the background calmly explaining what I should do next. (Business idea – some form of remote using hand signals only in order to pause YouTube when hands covered in bike grease.)

105 cable
Simply poke this out

So we get everything dismantled up to the shifter. “Simply poke the old cable through the shifter” says the man. Clearly he had been more prescient than cyclefucius and had changed it before catastrophic failure / application of dubious Chinese products.

So now starts the real wrestling. Shifting down to rotate the shifter barrel so we can actually see the little round bit. Poking around with other bits of cable from the back (warning – 105 shifters are really delicate and easy to damage – I am sure this gets worse as you go up the range and weight gets shed). Poking around from the front end. Turning the bike upside down. Turning the right way up. Repeat. Think “That calm Canadian in his pristine bike shop with all tools known to man has no idea.” Or words to that effect.

Finally we are done. The saviours? A corkscrew and some tweezers. The thing is poked out. Given the state of the cable, part of cyclefucius will be concerned for some time to come that some of the little daddy-long-legs bits are irrevocably stuck somewhere inside the cable and/or shifter, seriously affecting wattage. Or will use that as an excuse.

Putting in the new cable was actually fine and could almost be done in real time with YouTube man. Almost. cyclefucius has never before heard the words “fourth hand cable puller” and still believes that this is cheating.

So we are done. Even the chain was replaced before darkness fell. Handlebar tape will have to wait for another day. Will cyclefucius be carrying the indispensable corkscrew and tweezers around in case of emergencies? He certainly will not be admitting it publicly.

Dodgy science and clicky eyes

Clicky eyes

As regular readers will know, cyclefucius is not just a philosopher but a scientist as well. So cyclefucius appreciates how technology is great at providing access to the latest learning and potentially useful nuggets. On the other hand, technology is equally great at providing access to dodgy science and potentially harmful crapola.

So cyclefucius recently heard that all the blood in your body has to pass through your eyes. And that’s the most effective way that the wellness-generating and toxin-incinerating effects of sunlight enter the body.

cyclefucius has not been able to verify whether this true, in what timeframe, or what we really learn from this. “That’s why we like to be outside.” Or “That’s why we like to go on holiday to warm places”, maybe? And maybe the skin does the same job? Definitely in the category of dodgy science. cyclefucius will not be ditching the sunglasses (except perhaps indoors) or staring the sun, and certainly doesn’t recommend that anyone try it.

On the other hand, despite the protests of friends that this must be an urban myth, cyclefucius was able to verify from various sources the existence and skills of Daniel Kish. He’s the echo-locating “Batman” who despite not actually having eyes at all (seriously) is able to mountain-bike (by clicking like a bat) and generally contribute to helping blind people become independent and developing neuroscientific research into image formation. I loved this podcast (like all This American Life episodes). Definitely not in the category of dodgy science and I do recommend that you listen too.

cyclefucius takes on the laws of thermodynamics

cyclefucius – combining the physical and the metaphysical since 2014 – appears to have found a way to break some fundamental laws (makes a change from traffic laws – Ed.).

Alas gravity still works. (Though cyclefucius’s contemplation of the day is that the higher up the mountain you go, logically the pull of gravity must be less. So altitude training must not work?) Nor has cyclefucius discovered perpetual motion, alas again.

No, cyclefucius appears inadvertently to have purchased some “low calorie energy bars”. Now, there is no denying that cyclefucius hit the Turkey hard this festive season (so to speak) so his subconscious maybe trying to tell him something. But having to eat three of the little blighters in order to ingest sufficient energy to get home is in cyclefucius’s book neither thermal nor dynamic.

Hashtags “#Always read the label” “#Doh!”