The life of the bicycle launch

It’s been a long time since my last post and many cycling related things have happened, including me taking part in my first road race, in which I didn’t finish very high, but I didn’t fall off, or crash and I did finish, so moving swiftly on…

This post is about the launch of The life of the bicycle film made by Clapham Film Unit with Herne Hill Velodrome and The Science Museum, funded by the Heritage lottery’s All Our Stories programme

The launch was at The Science Museum, most of the cyclists involved cycled to the screening from the velodrome. I had a morning meeting so missed cycling through a torrential downpour, I did however arrive just in time for the post ride flapjack…

I was also able to see the Bicycle tour exhibition, including many of the bikes I was able to study for the project.

Find out more about the exhibition here; http://goo.gl/hu32cb

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Anyway on to the film!

It’s a really interesting film, I love they way its cuts between the vastly different stories all linked by cycling. I was very lucky to have three largeish bits in it which I will now share with you (although you should try and see whole the film!)

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The first part was filmed at the end of the day, but works really well as the start of my story, it shows me enjoying my own private velodrome, huffing and puffing and gushing about how much I love cycling.

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I am wearing my modern cycling clothing, summer kit, and it was COLD (We filmed in April this year)

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You can see the two problems I suffered with throughout filming here, cold hands and near blindness, do too a lack of sunglasses on a very sunny day. I always wear sunglasses, on and off the bike as my eyes are super light sensitive, and big attracting grit etc, but sunglasses didn’t work for the film and you can tell I can’t really see, plus my eyes were watering all day. Thank goodness for my cycling cap!

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You can see I pulled my arm warmers right down and rolled my fingers under the palms of my hands sandwiching them between me and my cork (conducts heat) handle bars, all without realising what I was doing and thinking about how strange it would look on film.

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A couple of people still came up to me after the screening to ask way I wasn’t wearing gloves. The truth is at this stage I didn’t own cycling gloves and the fluffy woolly pink gloves I had with me did not really look the part. I had no idea what I was doing till I watched the film, it must have been towards the end of a take! Charlotte was quick to wrap me up as soon as we stopped cycling, but I am a cold blooded person and thus cold all of the time.

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The second part of the film is me in my 1940s kit, I want to show you the way the film cuts to it

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It starts with race footage like this…FAST

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And then cuts to me, not quite as blurry, but you try cycling in original 1940s sandals, bits kept falling off and I had to keep stitching them back together.

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We filmed this first, I was pleased it was a sunny day, I had a hand knitted 1940s cardie, but I was clearly feeling brave as I took that off before we started filming.

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I had to get used to cycling on the slopes of the velodrome wearing this, which was quite good fun…

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This footage was filmed on a old camera, with old film, sorry, I forget the technical terms, But this give the lovely old school colour.

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this was the one time I looked at the camera you can see how much I am suffering from the sun, as I have pirate face.

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Being a costume designer as well as wearing original shoes I also have original 1940s silk stockings, the dress which is cut in line with war time guidance on fabric wastage is not very full and not perhaps not fully suited to cycling.

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The dress kept slowly riding up my legs, not wanting to spoil the flow I waited to readjusting my dress in-between takes, some of which were quite long.

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This meant, yes I was a proper old school Cambridge cyclist, showed my stocking tops. This description is based on my past interviews with women who cycled in Cambridge in the 1950s and 1960s. I was not wolf whistled (as my interviewees often were) but my stocking tops might have inspired my streaker?

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The footage of me creaking and wobbling round the track with my legs out cuts to this…

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Again FAST and skillful!

My third part in the film starts with a tease…whatever is she wearing now?

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before slowly giving away my final costume

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Why I’m wearing my full Edwardian cycling costume of course! (apart from that hat which I picked up from M&S on route, but sssshhh don’t tell anyone!)

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This is how the vintage black and white film footage came out…

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Bear in mind I have the full costume on, including the corset which needed to be laced up to enable me to do the jacket up, was made for a model smaller than me and on top of it all I had to cycle round the velodrome, at least I wasn’t cold!

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Also you will remember from my post about filming this, this was the part of the shoot in which I got streaked, just imagine a nude dude running behind my right shoulder…I think I did quite a good job of keeping a straight face really, and I didn’t pass out, even when I was in stitches laughing.

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Thank you so much to everyone involved, especially Charlotte who talked me in front of the camera. I loved every moment of it!

Find out more about The life of the bicycle here; http://goo.gl/01527g

see more of my stills from the film here; http://goo.gl/xD1cM0

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Curiouser and curiouser: Lindsey in bicycleland

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This is the third and final of my posts about my trip to The Science Museum’s archives as part of the Clapham Film Units life of the bicycle Project

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In which i will explore the final space we visited, after crossing the base by taxi we headed to a much larger hanger filled with more bikes most of which are not suitable to display

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This was the sight we were greeted with (squeak!)

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This monster is a Roulette Sociable

On a Sociables riders sit side by side, these became became popular in the 1880’s in tricycle form and in the 1890’s a number of manufactuers began to make sociable versions of the safety bicycle, like this one. The sign tells me they were surprisingly easy to ride, but we had our doubts, wondering if having two riders of different heights and weights would affect the ride. I later found this short film which answers that question.

I also found another very colorful skirt guard, in a wall of dark colours this looked quite daring!

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Dennis pointed out this bike with a drive shaft. A drive shaft is used instead of a chain to transmit power from the pedals to the wheel. they were were introduced in 1890, but were mostly replaced by chain-driven bicycles due to the gear ranges possible with sprockets and derailleurs.

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I was not greatly surprised by this bike as my husband has one. Due to advancements in internal gear technology, modern shaft-driven bicycles have been introduced. this is ours

http://www.biomega.dk/biomega.aspx

Everyone who sees him on it has to stop and talk to him about it!

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This really is a beautiful bicycle, although this racer is from 1928 it still looks modern and is so well made

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This is a Selbach. Maurice Selbach (the man) had his greatest successes in cycle racing in the early 1920s, setting lots of records, this encouraged him to set up business as  a cycle manufacturer in 1924. He was an innovative engineer and pioneered the used of taper tubes in frame construction and was amongst the first to use roller bearings for both the bottom bracket and headsets of his frames. Maurice Selbach evolved many ideas relating to modern lightweight bicycle design.

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Look at the beautiful attention to detail (and branding) on the cogs and pedals. He died in 1935 after train lines caused him to fall from his bike under a truck.

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we had a long discussion about what these tires are made from. Bicycle tire casing is made of cloth, usually nylon, though cotton and silk have also been used. My textile background helped me recognise these as silk. The casing provides the resistance against stretching which is needed to contain the internal air pressure while still remaining flexible enough to contour to the ground surface. The thread count of the cloth affects the weight and performance of the tire, and high thread counts are generally preferred. The dense weave of this silk casing is clearly shown here, were the Rubber tread has worn and rotted away revealing the silk case, which has also disintegrating shown the broken silk fibres.

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I took a picture of this machine as I thought it was quite Steam Punk, I have no idea what it is or how it works, or more importantly what that handles for? do let me know if you do!

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This is the back of a Victorian post office tricycle, sadly you see less and less cycling post-people. When my husband temped as a post-man, cycling was his favorite bit of the job, heavy on the way out and almost impossible up hills, the journey back was much lighter!

After exploring the bikes for some time we misbehaved a little and wondered off to have a quick look at the rest of the collection…

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Really, look at this cool “stuff” how could you not?

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They had whole planes, lots of cars and this beast, and of course we had to take a little peak in the back…

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although it looked untouched the only thing in the back was seats

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no idea what is this, but its pretty cool

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This picture has a Charlotte filming in it for scale 🙂

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This early bike has a horses head on the front which seems quite strange, till you discover that early bikes were often made by blacksmiths

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I became fascinated by the different types and stages of rotting rubber and yes this is as disgusting and sticky as it looks, sadly this happens to all natural rubber which is a conservators nightmare

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Even Dennis didn’t get out of being filmed, here he is telling Charlotte about this favorite bike in the collection

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The hanger was huge, you could be in there forever, but we had to head back to London and real world!

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A big thank you to Anna Watson for letting me use the picture at the top of the page, see more of Anna’s pictures on her flicker page, including more on the The Life of the Bicycle Film project:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/annawatsonprophoto/sets/72157634178589895/

Find out more about the HLF funded Life of the Bicycle project:

http://claphamfilmunit.com/

 

 

The picture of free, untrammeled womanhood

Continuing on from my last post…

One of the bikes we had that chance to look at was this swift ladies club sports bicycle from 1928

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Unusually it has a flip flop hub, meaning the rear bicycle hub is threaded to accept fixed cogs (fixies) or freewheels. Track bikes are generally fixies and road bikes are normally freewheel.

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It’s a really nice bike, well made and I imagine fast, I love visualising a bike-mad racer girl at time when these things were not common. Lets face it, there is still a lot that needs to be done to even up the scales in professional bike racing.

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When I held reminiscence sessions on dress from the 1950s for my MA I came across a lady who loved to go out cycling with her future husband in the late 1950s and early 1960s around Peterborough, she spoke of having to wear men’s cycling clothes and how people in the small villages she passed were shocked by the fact she was wearing shorts, to ride a bike, on a hot summers day!

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Dress has always been a big issue with women’s cycling. My granddad told me a story of an aunt of his who “ had a very Victorian attitude” and who used to loop a piece of elastic round her foot before pining the other end to her skirt to “ stop boys seeing her stockings”

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Skirts in perturb present unique challenges when cycling, and the skirt guard was designed to counter many of these issues. This ladies bike from 1925 has just such a skirt guard; it is also so perfectly rideable I wanted to stuff it in my pocket for later

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I don’t think I have ever seen anything as textile as these early skirt guards they sit somewhere between, knitting, weaving and welding.

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And then there was a very familiar set of wheels, an earlier (1987?) version of my very own Pashley. My Tube Rider or Pashley fish as I like to call it as the frame is a sort of fish shape, was designed in WW2 to be parachuted into France and quickly put together out of the light components, the modern bikes fall under the heading of beach cruisers, and feel more Venice beach than occupied France. This was my first new grown up bike, my way into cycling as a grown up so it still spells freedom to me.

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For sheer vintage detailing and loving construction you have to admire this Viking from 1961, I can see my 1960s cycling ladie riding round in her shorts on this! Damn I should have worn a coat with bigger pockets!

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The last bike we looked at was this Tera (1982) Charlotte and I knew nothing about this bike and had invented a lovely story about early electric bikes until we were informed that this was the first completely plastic bike, a break through in engineering which was horribly wobbly to ride and so now is one of many cluttering up museums around the world.

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I have to show you a couple of pics of this beautiful early 1960s Viking

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check out these beautiful lugs…

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And then it was time to go over to a new space, a much larger hanger, holding the rest of the cycle collection, which will be the topic of my third and last blog on this trip.

A big thank you to Anna Watson for letting me use the picture at the top of the page, see more of Anna’s pictures on her Flickr page, including more on the The Life of the Bicycle Film project:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/annawatsonprophoto/sets/72157634178589895/

Find out more about the HLF funded Life of the Bicycle project:

http://claphamfilmunit.com/

 

It never gets easier, you just go faster.

It never gets easier, you just go faster. – Greg LeMond

Day 30, I made it, in one piece, even if that piece is a little bruised, scratched and stuck back together, this isn’t really cyclings fault, I wasn’t built to be a Concours model, or I would have had some inbuilt spacial awareness and balance.

Today involved the normal cycle to the train station, Cambridge again, 4 and a bit hours of laser-cutting later and its back to the boro and over to the cottage to complete a funding app, over a beer, as is becoming the tradition, then off again to the rowing club to drink tea and hunt round for the thing that’s making the club house smell so nasty, before home, which on reflection smells quite fresh, even if it does resemble a stage from a production of lord of the flies.

I have been trying to work out if I should carry on this blog after today, not everyday, that’s mad, just when I have something intresting to say relating to Cycling. I continued to debate this into the 1st of May, until a reserved an email offering me an exciting cycling related opportunity, so that’s it, the blog carrys on

365 day cycling pledge? Bit much? Ok fine…

 

 

 

 

To be a cyclist is to be a student of pain

To be a cyclist is to be a student of pain….at cycling’s core lies painScott Martin

Day 29, which also happens to be a Monday, new week and meetings about new projects

Last night him-indoors and I watched a film called Premium Rush, unlike some of the other cycling themed films we have watched this was quite a high budget affair

‘In Manhattan, a bike messenger picks up an envelope that attracts the interest of a dirty cop, who pursues the cyclist throughout the city”

Or so it said on the tin, Its really quite good…

The main character’s bike is quite a lot like Frank-n-fixie

“I like to ride. Fixed gear. No brakes. Can’t stop. Don’t want to, either”

Its all about the speed, the risk, the skill and you would have to be completely mad, but it makes you want to ride…fast

Its a good film, I dont think I’ll convert to “runnin’ reds and killin’ peds” thou

But

This morning I found myself very late for my train, so on heading off I said to Frank, I need to be at the train station, yesterday, lets go! and off we sped

I like to ride, fixed gear, some brakes, could stop, but it would take me ages to get going again…so ideally I don’t want to

I made the train, out of breath and really for anything…which I needed to be

My day didn’t get any less rushed and it had lost of weird planned for me

I spend the morning sitting in a heritage meeting for someone else, in a theatre, while all around me the Rocky Horror show was being set up

I may just be a sweet transvestite…but I’m one who knows how to compete the correct permission forms for oral history interviews…

So after a super quick snack-lunch I’m off to a swimming pool, representing a football club, to talk about cycling, confused!

The meeting was all bout the Tour de France coming to Cambridge in 2014 and I’m already excited and so pleased to be involved, It was also a great opportunity to meet Representatives from the many different cycling clubs across Cambridge and to find out more about cycling events both locally and nationally.

I wore suitable socks…

Thanks to a canceled train I was super late coming back to Peterborough and thus my Monday night circuits class, which I am very much in need of participating in, the result of which was:

A, I had to get changed into my gym kit in a stinky train loo…again…Superman has to change in public loos less than me

B, I had to run off the train, jump on frank, instruct him I need to be at the gym, like yesterday, pedal like mad, before storming into the class, knackered, which I managed in 8 minutes, which is quite good, when you factor in locking and unlocking Frank and looking for my trainers…

Fast-ish and getting faster

Gosh today is going to hurt tomorrow…Hello pain, my old friend

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But why is the rum gone?

Picture this

My alarm goes off

Bleep, Bleep, Bleep, Bleep…

Getting up is going to require commitment, so lets go in strong, rah, yeh! lets do this…

I swing my leg out of bed, biff! toes hits wardrobe, Hard

Ouch! Thump, I have now fallen out of bed, clutching my toe

The husband sits up, looks at me waling on the floor and says, “I’ll go switch the alarm off”

My poor toe is bloody and hurts a lot, walking is near impossible so rowing is out, oh bugger this is going to make me look soooo bad, soooo lightweight.

After some time the toe stops bleeding and I start to limp around. I both brake and fix myself I lot, so I don’t normally need a doctor to tell me if somethings broken, I know what I have broken feels like, the toes not broken, just bloody and bruised and the nails busted up quite badly, but that’s just a super glue and nail varnish job, no problem.

Well toe, I’m going to give you 24 hours to fix or I shall cut you off old school Tour de France style* as I want to go cycling tomorrow.

And then there’s Frank, he’s still in town, I spend the morning being good and resting, then by lunch time I very slowing force my toe into socks and boots and limp the three miles to town, I’m dressed like….  well I’m not sure what you call this look, sports leggings with those go faster stripes, a new Romantic /pirate shirt and a classic 1970’s men’s jumper with a hat with animal ears.

Who cares, this is Peterborough and town is filled with POSH fans heading to the football in animal onesies. Why? Isn’t your mascot a bloke in a top hat and tails ringing a bell? Why not put your wedding suits on? Middle aged balding football fans in onesies, eeh God.

Frankie’s not been stolen (I know, I was shocked too…) and I try cycling home, on wheels, is better than on feet or toe, so that’s good news.

I spend the afternoon trying to over look the smell of gone off eggs and get on with this blogging business, while him-indoors makes scale models of Peterborough, as you do.

I try to be good and rest to that means no cleaning or tidying right? being about to find stuff is so overrated.

* see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Vietto for more toe chopping madness

 

Cycling away to join the circus ( I heard they have cake)

Reader, The day started badly, him-indoors is very stressed 
about his MA work and I can't really help him, which makes 
me stressed. The house looks like someone has turned upside
down and given it a good shake, my fat upper arms dont fit 
in my blouse and I'm not ready... For any part of the next
three days.

So I'm up at the crack* upsetting the neighbours with my sewing 
machines, trying frantically to get ready for my printing session 
later, while thinking on how to get my new bike to the repair 
shop at the same time.It's not broken, the gears just need a 
professional touch and I really want it ready to ride it on Sunday.  

Of course super-mum comes to the rescue as per, helping me get Jake 
to the bike shop and then making sure I'm at the Uni in time for my 
printing slot. Mums rock, she even brought him-indoors pork pies, 
which means I can tick off "feed husband" from my weekly list of 
jobs.

I arrive super-stressed, but as soon as the smell of the print room 
hits me I'm as calm as can be, and after a few small battles with 
the laser printer my days starts to reflect my new found mood. 
Who needs Prozac when you have ink and rollers, oh baby...

By the time I've had a bit of fun with lasers and a very productive 
snow queen** project meeting. I'm in an amazing mood and the 
sunshine after the mornings hail reflects this improvement suitably 

Returning to the boro by train with a small brown leather suitcase 
off of the 40's*** full of samples and an over-sized portfolio of 
card I am looking forward to joint birthday meal with Cuddles 
(that's a person not a activity) dispute the total lack of an 
opportunity to change or draw on my face.

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I haven't really had a proper cycle today, just getting Jake to 
the car, but it's starting to look like that's about all I'll 
fit in.

So to the meal I go, it's a great evening, I spend a lot of time 
banging on about how I have to be at the rowing club at 8:30 in 
the morning while  simultaneously descending into an ever growing 
cloud of rum.

Here's a bad idea, take a group of rowers, add lashings of rum, 
what do you have? Pirates, lots of them, with no captain.

The plan was to walk home, him-indoors brought frank, so we could 
try a beer-backie, but that's not going to end well, I think I might 
have missed the boat somewhat on backies****, in the end Chris takes 
pity on us and drops us home, leaving poor frank alone in town, so 
that's tomorrow's rescue mission planned then, free the fixie-one

Is it just me or is the floor moving (holds on the the edge of the 
bed) damn fenland earthquakes 

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*when the day cracks, it is now dawn, not to be mistaken for the 
cracken, which is very bad news for water dwellers or shot drinkers 
as it turns out (burp)

** a project for The Scott Polar Museum in Cambridge, yes my job 
rocks, i know right? 

*** which always makes me want to run away and join the circus or 
something equally reckless  

**** a short history of backies and me: I didn't know what one was 
till i met my husband, a couple of times when we have been short 
on bike and long on tired legs we have tried this, but  I scream 
the whole time, which might explain why him-indoors is so deaf, 
ANYWAY i think the reason this gives me the fear is because you 
have to learn to do it while you are still a teenage and thus 
immortal, and why did i not do this as a teen, growing up in 
Cambridge aka the land of the bike? well Where i grew up every 
child had their own bike, so there was no need for such things. 
Silly!

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