The deadliest, jelliest site ever. Brought to you by Niamh Shaw

Posts tagged ‘cycling’

Plums

Stopping for plums on Henderson Valley Road the other day:

Me <parking bicycle and Jed>: Hi! I’d like some of your plums.

The Plum Man: How many bags?

Me: Just the one, thanks.

The Plum Man: Would you like two bags?

Me: Um, no thanks.

The Plum Man: If you’d eat them, you can have another bag. Free of charge.

Me: Oh! Oh, that’s terribly kind of you, but I have to cycle up the hill you see, and . . .

The Plum Man: So you’ll take two bags?

Me: Thank you, but no, really. I don’t want to carry too much weight or I’ll never get home-

The Plum Man: What if I put them in a box?

Me: I- I don’t- it’s just that- um- what?

The Plum Man: I’ll put them in a box for you.

Me: That’s- well, I’m sure they’ll be fine in my basket-

The Plum Man <looking horrified>: But they’ll get bruised! You can’t have that!

Me: Well, if you- if you think so . . .

The Plum Man <drops two bags of plums into an empty wine box, whereupon they promptly fall out the bottom>: Hmm. I’ll just tape up the bottom of it for you.

Me <scraping plum puree off the pavement>: Thanks.

Advertisements

Cyclist vs bulldozer

When it comes to cyclists, drivers fall into two categories:

a) The ones who mount the kerb on the far side of the road to give you room
b) Those who see how close they can get to you without scratching their paintwork

There are fewer in category (b). They are the type who fancy their chances playing chicken with buses, trucks and bulldozers. If you think this makes them more of an endangered species than they make me, well. Buses, trucks and bulldozers tend to comprise most of this category, so I’m not sure where that leaves everyone

Dairy free

This afternoon I cycled into Henderson to pick up a litre of milk for Husband. I was motivated by love, devotion – and guilt (I forgot to buy milk during the weekly shop).

It was only when I arrived in Henderson/Misty Valley that I realised I had left my wallet behind.

To put this in perspective: I had just cycled 8km, my knickers had disappeared up my arse, I was splattered with sweaty mud, and I had an acute case of Helmet Head. Had I been driving, I would probably have returned home to collect my wallet; or – more likely – rummaged around the ashtray, delved into the seat joins, and turned out the glovebox until I scraped together $3 worth of 5c pieces.

However, there was no way I was about to CYCLE home and back again. I just don’t love Husband that much. Is this wrong? It might  have been his birthday, but it was hardly as if a litre of milk was his present. He got a Playstation III and a pair of spiffy sunglasses. All things considered, I felt that cycling into Henderson ONCE was an operatic response to the call of duty.

In the superette (similar to a newsagent store) at Parrs Cross Road, I explained the situation to the shop assistant. Perhaps I overdid the forehead slapping, because she refused to consider gifting or loaning me a litre of milk, or opening a credit account, because she only worked there and all the above were against store policy.

Since there were no cows in the vicinity, I decided to try the second dairy on Henderson Valley Road.

By this stage, I was completely mortified. What, you thought that emotion didn’t feature in my range? Not at all; I’m Irish, so have an innate patriotic ability for mortification especially of the flesh.

However, I focussed on the journey home: 8km of it involving 400ft climb, and the joy and hope dying in Husband’s eyes as he slowly realises I have returned empty handed and dairy free. I was therefore compelled to enter the other superette.

This time, I had my story better prepared. I didn’t go into details about the sweaty mud, because that was largely self-evident. But I told the store manager about my great journey; how it was Husband’s birthday and he couldn’t have his muesli that morning and had to drink black coffee; how terrible that made me feel; how – if they only found it in their hearts to donate a litre of milk – I would return on Wednesday to pay and thereafter shop at their store with a fierce loyalty and regularity until I died.

God, I love New Zealand. As I cycled home, litre of milk digging comfortingly into the small of my back, I only regretted not scoring a refreshing bottle of sportaid as well

Photos and rare footage from Woodhill

0901-husband-catches-air

Husband surfs a thermal

0901-husband-at-speed

Speedfreak

0901-husband-dodges-charging-pinecone

Husband dodges charging pinecone. Don’t be fooled by the fingers on the brakes – there is no evidence (photographic or otherwise) of him EVER pressing them into service for anything other than hanging his helmet from

0901-see-he-is-occasionally-happy

See, Husband does occasionally smile. Think he mistook the camera for a trick flower

0901-left-the-bro-right-husband

Here, Husband is smiling because The Bro had just headbutted the ground. Not sure why The Bro is looking so pleased with himself – probably relieved he didn’t dent his head

0901-the-bro

The Bro negotiates a twiglet

As usual, there are no photos of me – BUT! As a special treat, there is VIDEO FOOTAGE.

Deadlyjelly confuses diving for cycling. Note how Husband’s camera never wavers, maintaining his artistic integrity throughout

Deadlyjelly demonstrates how to pull knickers out of arse without anyone noticing

And one of The Bro in a rare, almost (but not quite) uncool moment, getting taken out by a seesaw

It’s Buckingham Palace, cretin

Victoria Memorial

Last Sunday, Tim and I participated in the London Freewheel, the second largest cycling event in Europe. It was one of those things I always considered doing when I lived in London, but never did. The centre of the city was closed to traffic from Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London.

Minor setback: I didn’t have a bike. I was tasked with making enquiries about renting one, but I forgot. Crap, isn’t it? A writer, and the best excuse I can come up with is: I forgot. At least it’s the truth, which in this instance I will now attempt to present as ‘refreshing’.

The day before the event, Tim stood outside talking to his neighbour. Michael was attired in t-shirt and a spectacularly unflattering pair of cycle shorts. I mean, really. The Stretchy Lycra Brigade talk about cycling shorts being padded and comfortable, as if that is a valid excuse for wearing them.

ANYWAY, I didn’t fail to notice that Michael was propped against a mountain bike, so after spending some time getting acquainted, I asked if I could borrow it.

“Hi, I’m Niamh.”

“Michael-”

“Nice to meet you. HEY, any chance I could borrow your bike tomorrow?”

“Errr, I suppose. What was your name again?”

Later, I said to Tim:-

“Michael, nice guy. How long have you known him?”

“Ah, that was the first time we’ve met.”

The day was gorgeous. Tim and I cycled across Clapham Common and picked up our fluorescent bibs and armbands at the corner. Since it was a designated access point, a route to the city had been laid out along back roads. We were in a group of fluorescent people and held up the traffic for miles.

Tim; image courtesy SkySport: thanks a million.

The Brits being British, they turned out in their best suits: Wonder Woman ignored her powers of flight in favour of more conventional transport; there was a gladiator and a couple of bears; many bicycles featured bunting and foliage.

Image courtesy SkySport: thanks again.

After cycling three quarters of an hour, we came through a pair of ornate gates, beside which stood a huge fountain. Some bronze statues reclined on the bottom, overlooked by a couple of bland, marble figures, all topped by a gold figure frozen on the brink of a suicide leap.

“What is this?” I asked Tim.

He looked at me in horror: “It’s BUCKINGHAM PALACE,” he said, appalled.

Indeed, when I looked back over my left shoulder, there was a queen-sized structure.

“You might not recognise it,” continued Tim, “it’s only the most famous landmark in Britain.”

“I thought that was London Bridge?”

We cycled down The Mall to Trafalgar Square, down Northumberland Avenue to Embankment and all the way along to London Bridge and the Tower of London. It was a unique way to view all the major sights of the city: Whitehall, Nelson’s Column, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.

On the route back, Tim and I stopped in St James’s Park for 99s and spent time with a few of the 50,000 cyclists that took part.

St James’s Park

London Eye, from the park

Admiralty Arch

Onlooker

Tragic Argyle

Husband stays connected

I used to hate cycling. (NB: in this context, ‘hate’ is too mild a word, but I am not aware of a single alternative that fully conveys my deep-rooted, fundamental, bone-chilling, teeth-grinding loathing. There can be no more perfect confluence of distilled misery than of being a teenager in Ireland in the late eighties. Add cycling to the mix, and we’re talking about a diabolical form of torture. Cycling to school was an exercise in thriving/surviving against impossible odds, what with drunk truck drivers and waterlogged potholes that extended to the centre of the earth, and the wretched awareness that my arse was the biggest in the known universe, and the mobile audience who stared at it incredulously. Not forgetting the tragic grey Argyle I used to think was cool, but was actually so unfashionable that when I wear it NOW it would almost qualify as trendy. And the plastic Dunnes Stores bags secured to my feet with elastic bands.)

Over the years, I have grown attached to my arse and adept at dodging potholes. Also, it is impossible to dislike cycling where we live. Husband bitches about the number of hills, but freewheeling down them is such fun, it more than compensates for slogging back up.

During the week, I made a Trademe purchase from a seller who lived in Waitakere.

“She’s just up the road,” I informed Husband. “I’ll pedal over on Saturday morning.”

I was surprised when he volunteered to accompany me, although it is perhaps less surprising when the alternative was cleaning the gutters. I tried to avoid distance-related discussion, and told him it was ‘all downhill’.

We shoved the bikes up to Scenic Drive – with a minor detour back to the house when we realised Husband had forgotten his helmet – and cycled north. Scenic Drive is a fair illustration of the word ‘undulating’. However, just before Scenic Drive intersects with Swanson Road/Waitakere Road, there is a kilometre long downhill. This was terrific fun, although a section of uneven tarmac reminded me how vulnerable a bicycle is.

We took an alternative route home, opting to traverse Christian Road and along the Pipeline Track to Mountain Road. We walked the Pipeline Track in summer and even then it was greasy; however, it is only a kilometre long and downhill.

Front brake accessorised with plant

Wadi Beh

Men, cycling. Lucas dismounted his bike for the photo

 

Danny pulls a wheelie and a face

 

Husband hasn’t the puff to pull anything

 

David, Lucas and Danny striding manfully towards food

 

Danny can’t face a camera without pointing. Not sure why Husband is joining him

 

Rare image of David without his hand in front of his face

 

Goat contemplating lunch

 

End of the road

Tag Cloud