Free lunch, spirit stove coffee, and a better Whyte 901. What's not to like?

Day started off badly, so should have gone downhill.

Text from my sister: "Why are you such a t***? I hate you, and always have done. Never speak to me again." Kind of put a dampener on the day. She's 67, so should know better. Really, she is 67 so it was an unusual text message - certainly something that could have been said any time in the past 50 years, so why today, out of the blue? She perhaps speaks to me twice a year, sometimes never. Longest she managed was three years, no contact from her. So I set off on my bike ride with mixed thoughts. Am I a front garden? Certainly professionally, as that is what I am paid for, and I'm good at it. After a few beers, most definitely 100%. Sunday morning, pootling around? Possibly not.

The key point there being "bike ride." Nothing ever bad comes from going for a ride.

Standard UK legal requirement: Blog in April MUST contain an image of bluebells.

Indeed it didn't take long for my sister to be forgotten about altogether. All I want to do is ride a bike. And really, a ride through bluebells on a spring day? Argue with an elderly relative, or go for a spin?

Wild garlic.

April in Surrey is wild garlic season, so Caterham it was today. Millions of the things, right on the trail. I only take two or three leaves from each plant, and only enough for one meal. I leave the flower heads alone. It did mean my bag and gloves smelt of wild garlic all ride - there are worse things in life.

Wild garlic by the M25

Must be a good year for the stuff.

As I was picking it, a horse rider came past. "Oh, dinner tonight is it? Wonderful!"

Secret trail - M25 100m away, Gatwick 8 miles.

Both the M25 and Gatwick visible in this photo.

They really are. The M25 is in the second row of trees to the left. Gatwick is up on the right - there is a plane visible in my image, about to land. You don't have to go far in Surrey to find a quiet spot.

Spirit burner coffee.

There are no cafes on this route, and I do like my coffee - about time my spirit burner was used!

Spirit burner coffee

I picked a quiet spot, and set it up (and yes, the wooden seat wasn't my brightest idea). Within a minute ten army type fitness people walked by. "Coffee, can I have some?" Then some dog walkers asked what it was? Some cyclists smiled at me, and a few horse riders commented that it all looked very yummy. Now I thought this would be a solo, rather sad affair. It was far from it. How many times do you sit in a busy cafe and nobody speaks to you?

Update on the Whyte 901.

Last week I continued my moan about the mass of the thing. All I did to it this week was to change the handlebar. Put a Renthall on it. Shaved 6cm from the width, and 100g from the mass. Big deal. Oh and I binned the horrid Whyte grips in favour of any others without those silly, hard end caps. Why Whyte, why?

The bike has been transformed. It now works cross country, uphill and down. Indeed coming down the Pilgrim's Way it was utterly stupidly fast. Turns out that Renthall know more about handlebars than Whyte. I'm bemused as to how such a small change has totally changed the character of the bike. Happy.

Changes so far: gone tubeless, changed the handlebar and grips, new saddle. No investment at all; the saddle and bar I took off another bike. Tubeless was just two spare valves and some fluid. Again, from my spares box - the valves must be ten years old. Lost almost 2lb from the mass at no cost really. Why couldn't Whyte do this themselves?

I have ordered a 2.6" rear tyre, which seems to be taking ages to arrive. Hopefully that will add even more zip and should be the last thing I ever want to change. Although, really, do  need a 2.8" tyre on the front?

A quiet ride?

Not at all. A great one. One of the best for a long time; I spoke to so many happy people and my bike is now spot on. Even came home with some food from some light foraging.

My sister? Still no idea what's eating her. She also commented that she hates Londoners (me) and Scottish people (you, Dear Reader, may explain that one to me!). Most likely she's having a bad, slightly racist day, but she's still bang out of order. Perhaps she needs to buy some Renthall bars to be happy?