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I was getting punctures in Manchester on a regular basis.

It’s no surprise, but it’s still bloody annoying.

So a few months back I went on the hunt for better tyres.

I bought Schawable Active Plus. An attractive tyre if such a thing exists. It has a 3 mm Kevlar strip, and usefully has a Scotchbright rim on the wall making it a good all round tyre, that will cope with high pressures, and should stay up.

For six months, may even be more, the tyres performed well with the only complaint being perhaps that they’re too slippery when wet, but once you know that you take it a bit easier when you’re cornering. I never take it easy when cornering. I’ve come off twice already, never badly though.

This morning though I punctured. Balls.

First time in ages.

At first I thought I’d just pump it up and carry on, but it was flat again in no time.

Thankfully, and actually unusually, I had the kit. I had the 15mm spanner to take the wheels off. I had tyre levers. And better still, I had a spare inner tube.

So the swop over was a calm affair. Actually, thinking back it was remarkably calm for a stroppy git like me.

But then came trying to get the tyre back on.

I remembered that I had to use a hairdryer on it the first time I put it on.

Trying to do it at the roadside with cold wet hands was horrible. My hands still hurt now!


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.

Wimbledon victory

Tennis ball on red & green courtOkay, I hold my hands up.  I’m one of those people who thought that I would never live to see the day when the British did well at tennis again.  I’m very happy to admit that I was wrong about this.  Andy Murray has just become the Wimbledon Men’s Champion, and I think this is not only a good thing for him; it is also great for the rest of the country.

How many years did Britain spend in the sporting wilderness?  There was a time when our sporting heroes didn’t seem to achieve very much at all, but things are definitely changing.  I think our turning point came when we won the bid for the 2012 Olympics.  All of a sudden there was funding available so that our athletes could concentrate on their sport instead of trying to fit it in around a day job.  Off they went to the Beijing Olympics and came back with one of the biggest hauls of medals we’ve ever seen.

I have to admit that at this point I started to get more interested in our country’s sporting achievements.  I’ve always watched a bit of sport on TV, but now I watch all kinds of things and am cheering our athletes on all the way.  I was interested to see how the whole country took an interest when the Olympics were in London and how it seemed to encourage more people to take up sport.

Every year when Wimbledon is on, our local tennis courts see more activity than at any other time of the year.  Now that Britain has proved it can win, I can only hope that there will be more opportunities for youngsters to get started in the sport.  One champion every few decades isn’t really good enough; we need to support those who want to give it a go.

Talking about sport for a living

I was scanning the news the other day when I saw an article about BT attempting to challenge Sky’s dominance over live sport in the UK.

The company have already won the rights to show 38 premier league matches and will be showing premiership rugby union and top flight Italian football as well.

I think it’ll be good to see some genuine competition for the rights to sports and an actual alternative to Sky. It’ll mean smaller sports get extra cash for their TV rights, because there will actually be someone else making realistic bids. Let’s hope BT’s channel doesn’t go the same way as ITV Sport and Setanta, though.

I think I’ll definitely give the new channel a shot, especially if it’s reasonably priced. I think it’ll see more sport being shown in pubs, because I read that BT are focussing on that market by pricing licences low.

While the idea of a feast of sport was what caught my attention, it was the fact that they’re advertising for a load of new jobs that really intrigued me. Apparently BT are creating 800 jobs across the country; 400 will be permanent and 400 temporary, to help with the launch of the new channel.

I’m not sure if you need qualifications for the jobs, but it sounds like it’s definitely worth me bunging off an application. I love talking about sport, so what could be better than doing it for a living?

I know it’ll probably be a bit more demanding than that, but I’m still keen.

I don’t think they’ve given a launch date yet, but it sounds like they’ll start broadcasting this summer. Wish me luck.

Looking at getting the Motorola Motoactv Sports Watch

I’m really into cycling and always to get a few miles in each day (it’s harder now since I have a job now, but not impossible). I used to have a bike monitor, but it broke a while ago and I haven’t got round to replacing it.

Cycling monitors often look quite gordy and I wanted something that looked good and had lots of functionality; I came across the Motorola Motoactv which looks like it has both.

The Motoactv looks similar to the iPod Nano and comes complete with a watch strap and belt clip, but the most exciting features of it is that it has GPS and Wi-Fi built in so you can sync various sports accessories such as heart rate monitors and bike sensors.

It has a full array of workout features including indoor and outdoor running, cycling and walking as well as a whole host of other activities.

I actually have an ANT+ bike sensor on my bike at the moment, but the monitor broke long ago and getting this back up and running would be great.

The Motoactv tracks your movement through GPS (if outside) or a built in pedometer for when your working indoors and after your workout you can check the map to see where you were. It also syncs to the Motoactv website via USB or Wi-Fi allowing you to see your workouts in more detail.

At around £125 the Motorola Motoactv looks like a great bit of kit; it also plays mp3s and syncs to your Android mobile phone so you can check notifications and answer calls.

I may have to wait till the end of the month to get this but it’ll really help me with my cycling.

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