Bicycles and such

I rode my bike to work today, the first time since we moved to the new office. This was nice, because rather than the horrors of unreliable hire bikes I could ride my own bike. Which has hydraulic brakes that probably need bleeding because they’re very soft at the lever, and the rear wheel shifts disconcertingly under hand acceleration, because I forgot to do up the quick release properly after I changed the tyres last week. So I suppose I’m exchanging communal mechanical contempt for individual, which is obviously preferable. I know how bad I am at bike maintenance, which is better than a more mysterious variable.
Anyway, got to work in 15 minutes (about the same as if I take a bus or scooter) then wasted 15 minutes waiting for the cargo lift, so that’s no so great, but then I did get to ride home tonight and not have to jostle for the queue at the bus, or walk, or look for another dodgy hire bike. And I had managed to do up my QR.

However, from about 5 today I felt incredibly nauseous – I don’t remember eating anything particularly dodgy, yet from then in the afternoon until we’ll after I’d got home I was in the grips of a terrible, belch-inducing migraine where at every moment I thought I would vomit on a colleague, a passer-by, or my own children. That passed eventually – my restorative was to fall asleep lying next to my children, and wake in their bedroom an hour later, to find my wife had gone climbing and I was left to write up the online Blood Bowl matches I had last week, and then lose 4-1 to a nice man in Germany. (Which sounds dreadful, but even though I’m losing by a large margin, it’s more because my team are fragile and less just because I’m inept.)

And so to bed.

4 responses to “Bicycles and such”

  1. The service people keep asking me whether my brakes are hydraulic and I keep forgetting the answer every year. I think it is Yes. Although I’m not sure what I’m saying yes to

    • As with most things bicycle-related, you can either have something that’s mostly very reliable, but a hassle to fix when it goes wrong, or more unreliable, but easier to fix.

      Disc brakes can either have a hydraulic line between lever and calliper, or a cable (pretty much all bicycle brakes that use the rim of the wheel to apply the braking force rather than a brake disc were cable actuated). Hydraulics are very reliable – until the brake fluid gets contaminated with air or dirt, and then they’re a real pain to fix because if you lack the right tools and gloves, you end up covered in a variably-poisonous fluid. Cables – well, cables stretch or get dirt inside them, but with a bit of gumption you can fix them in ten minutes with nothing worse than a bit of grease on your hands to show for it.

      Nice annotated picture of a disc brake here. If you can see cables rather than hydraulic lines, you don’t have hydraulics 😉

      • Like a good bit of Sheldon Brown! He taught me how to get on and off my bike, which took me 45 minutes to brave first time round, believe it or not, as I had never had a bike so far off the ground before. It looks like I have a hydraulic line, but how is that different from a cable?

        • If it’s hydraulic, it’s probably more robust and less likely to go wrong. And if you’re getting it serviced every year, all is good.

          (Hydraulic usually means discs, and although they have more than enough power (I managed to lock both wheels riding down Crystal Palace Hill on my road bike once, which was … fun) if you don’t want to mess about with cables stretching and going wrong, they’re always the way to go)

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