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Bike Lust

Oh no, what’s happening?

I have ridden my bike just three times in well over a year, my arse hurts like hell to walk, to sit down, and another ride is beyond consideration for at least another couple of days.

And yet here I am spending loads of time looking at bikes online.

In the past you’d only come across the potential of a new bike when you passed a shop (OK, I admit, you’d engineer passing the shop a lot more often than you needed to, but still, it might only be a couple of times in any given month), or perhaps if you were feeling profligate, when you bought a bike, or cycling magazine. For me it used to be mountain bike mags, especially the one with the amazing Mint Sauce cartoons in.

Now, you can just log on and get lost in a world of lust. And right bang up to date now, my lust is this baby:

Plug1 It’s a Charge Plug. It’s a kinda of fashionista’s bike, but only on the basis that it’s the most elegant thing out there on two wheels, and at less than five hundred quid it’s actually ridiculously cheap, even if that does put it way beyond my means.

The fact that I’m avoiding while banging on about the bike that I fancy is Sandy.

She didn’t show up last night.

Not that we’d arranged anything, i was just hoping to see her. I had my lines prepared, I was calm, while obviously a bit excited. But as the evening wore on I gradually got the sinking feeling that you get when you know something isn’t going to happen.

In the end I went home just after ten, having only had three pints of 1664. At least I could greet the old man civilly when I got back to the house I suppose.

Tonight? Let’s hope.

Back on the bike

When I was a kid my bike was everything.

I bought the first one when I was eleven. I say that I bought it and that was very much the case. I had to seek some chairs from the shop dad had back then, and I was allowed to use the money to buy the bike from the second hand shop up the road from where the folks loved.

And I loved it!

I have looked after most things that I have owned since, but nothing, nothing at all was looked after like that first Raleigh.

I can’t remember where it was kept, but it certainly would have been under cover. I rode everywhere. Even at eleven I would take off, either with friends, or on my own, and I’d be gone all day long.

It probably saved my folks a whole lot of grief because I kept riding right through school, and that meant that while some of the kids I hung out with were out on the streets in the evening, smoking and trying to buy beer at the Co-op, I was always off on the bike.

The down side for mum was that I used to eat a stupid amount of food. Cereals were my favourite, and then chips. Unfortunately I hated vegetables, but the good thing was that I didn’t like anything sweet either.

Anyway, that’s all just background. I have decided I’m going to start riding again, try to get fit again. I rode yesterday and it felt amazing, it is somehow utterly liberating to ride a bike. Trouble is I know that when I get on it again tomorrow my arse will hurt like hell, and continue to do so for a few days. Good job I know from experience that it’s just a barrier of pain you have to go through.

Reading for free

I recently wrote a blog piece about how I’m doing a lot more reading these days thanks to the timely gift of an ereader.  I also mentioned it because I got a lot more into it than I thought I would as it was costing me a fair bit.  However, I set out to change that and have discovered that there are many ways in which I can keep up my reading habit without it eating into my bank account.

Having carried out a quick search online, I’ve discovered that many ebooks are available for nothing.  Now, it is fair to say that some of these are not that great.  Many are from new writers who are trying to break into the market and just want somebody to read their stuff.  There is nothing wrong with that and it is a great way to find a few gems, but you do need to be aware that you will come across a lot of writing that is not necessarily fantastic before you find one book that is worth the wait.

There is also good news for those who want to catch up on the classics.  A lot of classic novels are out of copyright and are available in a free electronic format.  I’ve never been one for the classics, but there have always been a few that I wish I had read and now I have, without spending any money.

The great thing about the ereader is that hefty tomes are no threat to it at all.  Carrying an ereader around is nothing compared to the heavy books that I would have to lug about if I chose to get paper versions.

However, there are many people out there who want to read a paper version.  You still get to read for nothing if you make use of your local library.  For years I never set foot in my local library, mainly because I had this image of it being a dusty place filled with all the books that people didn’t want to buy.  When I did decide to pop in I was pleasantly surprised.

The large rooms were light and airy and boasted all kinds of things on the shelves.  All the latest releases were available.  Moreover, the old-fashioned ticketing system has been confined to the archives.  A self-service computer system for checking books in and out is in operation and means no more queuing at the desk; definitely a plus!

Shedding the pounds

ExcerciseIf there’s been one benefit to my extended period of unemployment, it’s that it’s given me the chance to get fit. I’ll be honest; when I was working I started to pile on the pounds a bit. What’s the point of bringing a healthy sarnie to work if there’s a chippy round the corner? Being unemployed, while all my mates are at work or studying means I’ve shamed myself into going out for a jog every lunchtime. I haven’t stopped there, either. I’ve started playing football in a local five a side league and even had a go at tennis. I’m terrible at it, but my buddy takes pity on me and tries not to embarrass me when we play. The only problem with all this activity is that my clothes have started to look stupid, because they’re all too big for me. Suddenly my porky belly is actually quite flat, even if I do say so myself. I practically need to replace my entire wardrobe now, but there’s a slight issue here. Being unemployed my budget doesn’t really cover the cost of buying loads of new clothes at the moment, so I’m going to have to make do for now. I’ve managed to scrape enough pennies together to buy a pair of jeans and a couple of t-shirts, but I can’t stretch to more than that right now. It’s only excessive amounts of washing that is saving me from having to walk around the streets dressed like a clown. I’m also borrowing quite a few of my brother’s old clothes until I can afford some more; I definitely need to find a job soon.

Somehow, I’ve turned into a bookworm

Last month, my mum asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I honestly couldn’t think of anything. It’s always a bit dangerous saying “surprise me,” so I approached the small, neatly wrapped box she presented me with a week later with more than a little trepidation.

I pulled off the wrapping paper, prepared my best fake smile, and looked down; it was an e-reader. I didn’t know what to think really. The idea of an e-reader had never really appealed to me, but now I had one in my hands, I was quite intrigued. I knew I should read more and the more I thought about it, the more I realised how good a present it really was.

I thanked my mum, and then rushed off to get it up and running.

I’ve had it for about a month now and I can honestly say I’ve never read so much in my life. It seems pretty sad when I think about it, but having the books on a gadget just makes reading so much more appealing. I’ve also become a little addicted to downloading books. It’s so easy and you can start reading something new right away. It’s convenient, but my bank account’s taking a hit.

Initially, I thought my newfound lust for reading would fade as I got used to having the device. I suspected it would end up permanently discarded on my shelf after a while, but if anything, the opposite has happened. I had been having a few problems sleeping and they’ve all but disappeared since I started reading for an hour or so before bed. It’s really relaxing and a great way to unwind.

I never thought I’d become a book worm, but I’ve caught the bug for reading and it doesn’t look like disappearing anytime soon.

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