Diet is a concept I always find inseparable from the words “of worms” – a less than tasty option, but one which might well lead to weight-loss. I do seem surprisingly prone to such foolish memes. Earlier today, I learned that part of the scherzo from Borodin’s String Quartet No. 2 in D was used in the musical Kismet (or should that be Kiss Me?) as the basis of the ventriloquist’s least loved song, “Baubles, Bangles and Beads”. I now find I can only think of the composer as Gorodin (best said with the teeth clenched): yes, a mere 62 years after Educating Archie hit the BBC Home Service, I am now trying a vent act in text (and I bet you never saw my lips move!).
I would seem to have digressed further from the plot than is traditional, even for GofaDM, for this was to be a post about cycling. A little earlier in the week, the Guardian reported (as I’m sure did other organs of the fourth estate) that there had been a rush to the cycle shops of this sceptred isle following Bradley Wiggins’ victory in the Tour de France. Whilst wishing to take nothing away from Mr Wiggins – as a cyclist myself I’m frankly amazed that anyone can perform to that degree for that long and can only imagine the state of his knees and backside – I do wonder if this is really the correct explanation (or at least, the whole explanation).
This last week I had reason to have some work done on the warhorse: my heaviest duty velocipede. Doing so, I discovered that my local cycle shop – the excellent Cambridge Cycle Company – had seen a major (and much needed) upsurge in business. They had a much more convincing explanation: viz the sudden cessation of continuous heavy rain and the shamefaced re-appearance of our local star in the skies above South Cambs. It may be that the fortuitous combination of victory in France with this shift in the weather increased the effect, but I would hazard that had the Tour de France taken place a few weeks earlier, the exploits of Messers Wiggins, Froome and Cavendish would have had a much diminished impact on the cycle traders of the UK.
Anyway, my reason for taking my cycle to the shop was unrelated to the Tour de France or the weather: I know what happens when warhorses are taken to France and I continued cycling through the recent record-breaking moistness. No, I went to take advantage of a serious discount on Ridgeback titanium bike frames and so the aluminium of the warhorse has now been transplanted with light and durable titanium (proof against sea water, chlorine and aqua regia – not that I plan on taking it near any of these as my own frame is rather less durable). So strong and corrosion-resistant is titanium that this frame should “see me out”: a phrase I wasn’t expecting to use for a good many years yet (though, it is some comfort that the same would have been true had I acquired the frame when still a teenager).
As part of the delicate surgery on the warhorse, a couple of other issues with its existing components were discovered. I had somehow managed to break both the saddle and the bottom bracket (oh yes, I have all the jargon): and also contrived to remain blissfully ignorant of both facts. I like to imagine that my frame is somewhat sylphic, but both sets of damage would be expected to arise from a rider of more than usual girth and mass. Perhaps it is down to the power of my pedal strokes? Or am I just like catnip to the Higgs boson? If so, then perhaps a dream job at CERN is closer than I think: even if only as an experimental subject. I suspect that more prosaically, it may only be an indictment on the condition of the roads of South Cambs: where’s the Olympic regeneration when you need it?