Space Marmite and Cosmic Herb

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James Of Staple

Dear All,

I got it, finally. A month after I was given the all clear in OPD and walked to my LBS to order it I
got the call that it 'est arrivé' but in this case less Stella and more Super. If you ever come a
cropper and break a bone immediately treat yourself to a new bike as it speeds the healing process.

I'd already bought all the good stuff I'd read about in this ng (thank you) such as Cateye lamps,
Zefal pumps, tyre boots, shorts with bum friendly nappy linings and also a lime green Lusso jacket
that works oh so well with the fluorescent yellow vest. Oh yes. Everything is new except the ancient
Dunlop Green Flash trainers held together with tape just to make the point that I could afford
better but I ain't walking...

It's not a shouty bike and mostly gets ignored by others but the odd spectator gets their gaze
caught spider-like by the web of componentry. Dawes say the frame is 'Raindow Burgundy' (sic), John
at Beacon Cycles said it was 'sort of brown' but I've seen it in sunlight and I know different, it's
Space Marmite and Cosmic Herb. There are only two cheap components on this bike and it took two days
before I noticed them.

Planned the commute but first got the feel through a bit of the National Forest - found Charnwood
were starting to build new cycle paths which will be fun. Encountered a puppy being walked and
discovered dogs have a strange attraction to it. Bizarre. 10 miles, one hour. Matches single leg of
commute - breaking myself in gently.

Monday: can't be late, no experiments so inbound train. Peak time but no charge. Left it in stores
where it got in the way, this spotted by Managing Director. Whoops. Ride home was horrible, late and
dark - six miles of stop start bumper to bumper traffic before I turned off into the forest where
the damp breeze off the land cooled my self preservation fuelled stress and the quiet sounds of a
countryside falling asleep calmed my mood. Back to the map room for a new route home. Slight
posterior calf tendon strain, aching bum and seriously inverted metatarsals slightly tempered by
freezing cold feet.

Tuesday, train: no charge. Collared by MD. Whoops. 'You know where you want to keep that? Comms
room'. We're an IT company so trouble in the comms room equals zero revenue, lock the premises and
go home. There are banks with walk-in safes less secure than our comms room. OK, he's know to ride a
Dawes but did that influence my purchasing decision? Well, I'm daft - but I'm not stupid. Boss
directed me to buy Leicester cycle path map even down to shop to buy it from which I did because I'm
a good boy. Also directed to leave work on time for the light - whoopee. Ride home involved 300m of
traffic and 287 stops on cycles path to consult cycle path map. Collar bone ached in memory of
recent cycle path event therefore all attention on road and signs, up short stretch to gateway being
lock by a man in uniform! I look up slightly. Big sign on building says 'National Space Centre' -
nah, can't be that's got a huge.. great... towering.... ah. OK, I'll give you that, you are the
National Space Centre and I promise to look up more. This time two pairs of socks, two short rest
breaks but still the aching backside.

Wednesday. Train, etc. Homeward and squirrels, another near miss dog magnet incident, small child on
roller skates and one dreamy student lass later and I'm home with zero impacts. Erm, apart from one
large road-central cow turd but I know where that is now. Road-central turds rely entirely on
cyclists for removal and seemingly I'm the only cyclist on that road: it's a battle of wits and I'm
determined not to be beaten by a turd. I'm learning the route - I only had to whip it out once, I
was a bit self conscious what with all those people watching me but I was desperate and didn't have
any choice. Tucked it back in the special pocket and I was on my way...

Thursday. Train. Met non-evangelical vegetarian in the habit of attending road kill suppers (it's
quite ethical) who suggested a possible solution for any squirrel kill. At a bit of a loss for
remedies for small girls on roller skates and grown up ones on foot but compliant owners of freezers
on-route were mooted. Probably not ethical. I'm seriously into this, I'm struggling to remember
times when I've felt more alive. Much freedom. No driver competition for road space on this route,
all the consideration, caution and courtesy that's missing on built up routes. Can't flash my lamp
in thanks often enough. This detour takes me five miles off the shortest route and it's all hills
but it's worth every moment, and I'm doing this whole thing for fitness after all. Funny dog magnet
moment: some stout hunting breed very quiet and well behaved on lead, women reaches down to unleash
and off it goes at phenomenal speed constantly sounding a curious barking for around 300m when it
suddenly stops, goes completely silent, squats, dumps, barks once and then it's off again in the
same loud, fast manner. Now it's dancing around me for the joy of doing so, never once chasing but
just using me to make running really fast even more interesting. I'm not much into dogs but I really
liked that one. Not rained once but I bought some over trousers anyway.

Friday. Unwritten as this hasn't happened yet. Looks like a morning commute so an evening train can
get me to a pub quicker and I ought to get my head down now.

The bike has all the effortless cruise comfort of a Saga liner, it steers like a missile downhill
and a cow at low speed. I'm tempted to do both in and out next week. Is a 30 mile daily commute too
much in week two?

Nah, it's a Super Galaxy.

James of Staples (The sound of two hands typing)
Flippin eck thats quite a commentary. Can we hear the next instalment? Its better than Eastenders!

Seriously, its great to hear your enthusiasm - I could have written something of similar tone when I
got my "racer" (drop bars ancient 27" wheel bike) on the road this winter - after 3 years on a
Raleigh Trail 2000 it was a revelation and I rediscovered the joy of cycling.

Have a happy week 2!

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