This bike’s gonna kill me…

by DannyUK

Ok, it’s been a while, so I guess it’s time to shove something up here. First things first. Back in the days before all and sundry had an email address, I used to write letters to friends who were away at uni.

That makes me sound really old, but for anyone under the age of 18 who aren’t gonna believe me, it was in fact only 9 years ago. How bizarre is that?

In 1996, the internet was still a fairly new thing. When companies advertised their websites, the adverts didn’t just say companyname.com like they do now, they used to give the full address, meaning that announcing a webpage on tv meant the presenters spent 30 seconds reading the bloody thing out: “So that’s aitch tee tee pee, colon, forward slash, forward slash, double you, double you, double you, dot…” Seems almost unreal to think that now.

In fact, when my kids are older, I seriously doubt they will believe that in order to research any homework for GCSEs I used to have to go to the library after school, and that shut early on a Wednesday. In fact, I KNOW they won’t believe me.

Anyway, getting sidetracked there. I used to write letters to friends at uni, and used to put at the top of the letters whatever was going on in the background.

Soooooo, I’m listening to “Nine Black Alps” on WinAmp on my PC at the mo. I downloaded it after someone recommended them on a West Ham site, and to be honest (and I see this as a sign of getting old), all the songs sound the bloody same.

That’s not to say that I don’t like it as I’m nine songs in now and haven’t felt the need to turn it off yet.

I’m typing this out on Microsoft Word, simply because I don’t want to type it straight into the journal as my beloved is sitting watching TV across the room from me and she doesn’t know I write in the damn thing. Not that it would worry me, but if I ever want to put anything private in here, well, I won’t be able to, will I? So I can copy and paste this in to the journal when it’s done and that’ll be that.

I also (weirdly) feel the need to share with everyone that I can’t write anything in Times New Roman. It just looks so antiquated that I HAVE to change it if I do anything in Word. I always type in Arial. Does that make me a freak? I guess so…

So what’s been happening since I last wrote anything? Well, not a great deal to be honest. September ended, and I was glad to see the back of the bloody month. Septembers always seem to be a bit crappy. As a kid I put it down to being back at school after a six week break and then seeing the daylight hours shrivel down to sod-all. These days it’s more than that.

Work was crap as they have introduced a new system which means that we now need to see payslips for anyone who wants a loan. It makes perfect sense to do so, but when you’re trying to lend people money at a high rate of interest (or, as the company phrases it, “when lending to the sub-prime market”) it’s difficult enough trying to get them to come in, let alone asking them to bring in various payslips and God knows what else.

On the plus side, and the reason for the company doing it, it should save us hassle down the line as we now won’t be lending to people who can’t afford to borrow.

The region has suffered though, and it makes you wonder how many employees were abusing the “no payslip” thing. “What’s that Mr Customer? You stack shelves at Tesco? Part time? And take home £10k per month? Yes, of course we can lend you money, come on down!”

Personally - and this is where my goody-two-shoes side comes out - I could never do it. I’d like to pretend I have ethics that mean I couldn’t lend to someone who I felt wouldn’t be able to afford their repayments, but the truth is that I wouldn’t fiddle figures as it would mean more work for me down the line when the customers stopped paying.

Anyway, enough work crap.

I got my new bike delivered this week. Whassat? Didn’t I mention the last one? Hmmm… probably not. In fact, a quick scan of the journal shows that no, I didn’t mention it.

Well, to cut a very long story down to something manageable, I bought a bike at the start of the year. It was a Y-Frame mountain bike. Despite being used for perhaps a couple of miles a day about 2 or 3 days per week, at the back end of September it snapped in half whilst I was riding it.

Yes, you read that right, the bloody thing snapped.

I can’t even do justice to it in word form, so it’s online here http://tinypic.com/efly8l.jpg and here http://tinypic.com/eflyit.jpg.

The latter picture shows the break a bit cleaner. (update: In fact, I’ve put the pictures below instead)

Mangled bike

My mangled bike again

Anyway, the bike company were fairly quick to send me a new one, though aren’t as quick in responding to emails asking for compensation (another story for another day).

Anyway, the new bike is all hunky dory and seems to be running far smoother than the old one ever did. Anyway, on the way home from work today, I’m merrily minding my own business zooming along the road when I came up to a subway. Not the sandwich / roll franchise shop, but the tunnel that leads from one side of a road, under the road itself and up to the other side.

Experience has told me that, new bike or old, I can go as fast as I like down one side, still have enough room to manoeuvre the bike past the iron railings that all alleyways seem to have (you know the ones, a barrier small enough to stop a mother pusher her pram through it without a struggle, but big enough to allow the teenage drug pedlars zipping past at 30mph on their mini motorbikes).

Today was no different, and as I cycled down the slope leading into the subway, I noticed for the first time that the tunnel was angled – as you got to each end of tunnel, the subsequent slope was angled at about a 30 degree turn.

This wouldn’t have been a problem normally, as the subway is clearly divided in two (with a line down the middle, naturally) for bikes on one side and pedestrians on the other.

What path would a disabled person use? If they had a wheelchair, are they able to use the bike path? You can probably guess the general direction this story is going.

As I’ve picked up speed zooming down one slope and pedalling through the tunnel, I’ve turned to start going through the barriers and up the other side, when I suddenly see an OAP riding one of those bloody motorised scooter things in my way.

Having no time to react sensibly, I pulled the bike to one side, directly into the barriers, having no time to brake properly.

Well, the look on the guy’s face, I’m surprised he didn’t keel over there and then with a heart attack. I slammed into the barrier and fortunately came away with little more than a fucked up little finger (no break, but bruised and cut to buggery).

I apologised to the old guy (I was brought up to respect my elders, before you ask), made sure he was ok and generally did my best to get him on his way. He seemed fine and asked that I was ok, which I was, and then he was off.

By the time I got home and managed to check the bike, I realised that the front wheel is ever so slightly buckled. Not enough to stop me riding it or warrant it being replaced, but enough that when you lightly spin the front wheel, it stops on the brake.

Bugger. This bike is gonna kill me, physically or financially, before too long.

** Update **

Well it’s now Wednesday and I’ve only just got round to trying to finish this off. Cycling to work Tuesday morning, going through the same subway and at the same bloody point that I go to know the barrier better on Saturday, I almost had another bloody accident. AT THE SAME BLOODY PLACE!

Being cautious after Saturdays event, I slowed right down at the bottom of the slope and in doing so managed to avoid a head on collision with another cyclist. Fucking scary when you’re both doing over 15mph at each other.

Then, this morning as I cycled in to work, ten yards from the place that the previous bike had split in two (seriously, ten yards) the fucking chain snapped on the new bike and is unrepairable.

To say I was livid was an understatement. I walked the bike the rest of the way to work, called the manufacturers and they are sending out a new chain. I thought it would be nice and easy to fit but after talking to others who’ve done it, it’s apparently a Pain In The Arse. Soddit.

The bike company also told me that they didn’t have a copy of the complaint email I’d sent in asking for compensation.

Mix that lot in with the broken chain, the fact that my Regional Manager and his boss were both due in the branch today, and the fact that my PC at work rebooted itself 4 times today and it’s been a pretty testing day.

In fact, after reporting the PC fault to our IT team, it was the first time that I’ve ever spoken to them and they haven’t told me to reboot. Had they done that, I’d have probably launched the bloody CPU across the room, so I guess it could have been worse.

Tomorrow sees me attending a meeting in Surrey which means leaving home at 7am instead of 9am to get there. It also means getting a lift from the lovely Vicci, who I think the world of, generally get along very well with, but have a habit of her winding me up and vice versa without even trying. It could be a long day.

And I finish this as England beat Poland. At least we won’t have to suffer any crappy “England Lose” stories in the paper tomorrow. Eurgh.

Oh, and thanks to xx_conundrum_xx who admitted to reading this durge – Cheers 😉


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