Why can't life be as simple and pleasurable as a bike ride?

Two old women.

Up over at Caterham, popular trail. Two old ladies in front, I rang my bell just as another cyclist appeared coming towards us all.

One old lady: "Oh, one at the back, another at the front!"

My week so far.

Missive from my sister over the weekend: "I really do not like you, I'm not going to bother contacting you ever again."

That put a dampener on things. I rarely speak to my sister, as she moves around quite a bit, having homes in Wales and Spain. She leads a hard life, never having really worked. So for her to contact me just to say that was a bit odd. I suggested a bottle of wine, a sit down and see if she felt the same later on. Nah, still hates me, never going to speak again. Turns out when I left the Midlands, moved to London, that was the start of a slippery slope for me. Got worse when I found a job, got married, bought a house and had kids - really, these are the reasons given for not liking me any more. I was such a nice person when I was long term unemployed 35 years ago, with no qualifications or prospects. Not sure how to fix that one. Think I'll just ignore my sister for a few years.

Anyway, all a bit down after that. Monday morning, e-mail from Matt of the Muddy Moles. Not spoken to him for a good five years; different circles. His e-mail was about my recent postings, and how he largely disagrees with them. Now this I can work with! Somebody who speaks his mind, understands a blog and lives in the real world, where people can express an honest opinion without personal insults. His e-mail made me smile; I do talk crap now and then, so it is nice to have somebody say so. Really, it is - thank you Matt.

At work stopped a consignment and found hidden amongst the tat some 800kg of illegal cosmetics being smuggled in at the port - the ones that eventually give the user kidney failure. Happy find for me, and a positive result for the community. 800kg is a lot.

Today haircut and then the dentist. Both tasks I hate. The barber asked me about my bike; now that I like! And the dentist was so pleasant that I fell asleep whilst she did horrid things to my teeth with metal instruments of torture.

Bike ride it is then.

The ride.

I've been hinting at putting a 2.6" tyre on my Whyte 901, mainly to save weight. The tyre arrived yesterday, and I weighed it. Now this largely proves Matt right; I'm an utter cock, as the tyre came in at all of 60g lighter than the 2.8" Well worth £50 that.

A £50 black, round thing. There's another one on the front as well.

Ah, well out for a spin on it. Oh, the bike accelerates a little faster on the road, and is a little more frisky. Along Route 21 it flew, all of one gear higher than prior. It could just be the dry weather, I could swear the bike was so much better. At home I noticed that the existing front is a 3C Maxterra, as is the new rear where the old one was boggo basic - perhaps I've just matched a pair? One thing though - it's still frikkin awesome going downhill. Try the Pilgrim's way drop into Merstham in the dry one day; it shouldn't be legal it's so fun. Hence the 2.8" on the front stays there, as will the 2.6" - for me it is a better match, sorry Whyte.

Sustrans Route 21 - it does grow on you this one. A classic.

I'm not slagging the bike or the designer off here. The 901 was designed to winch and plummet, on 25km rides max. It was not designed to go cross country, ridden by a 54 year old bimbler. However, I do think they could ship it tubeless and shave 700g right from the off.

Stopped to pick wild garlic for my children's keep fit instructor, had a chocolate bar with avocado (eaten with a Decathlon spoon - why they call them tyre levers is beyond me!) and have just had homemade kimchii soup for lunch. Acquired taste that one.

Trailside snack with a Decathlon multi spoon. (aka tyre lever)


Not sure why, I've always liked cameras yet dislike taking photographs. Not convinced I understand f-stops, appertures, ISO whatever - and me with a physics degree, bless. Have a collection of perhaps 12 cameras, mainly 35mm film rangefinders going back to 1967. As you may have noticed, all 12 of you readers (a select bunch), I'm playing with images in my blog now, the results of taking my old digital cameras out. Google does not like me saying which ones! This one is from an old Mr Tony Knex, 5. Much more fun than using a 'phone - also means I can leave the 'phone at home. For me bike rides and 'phones do not mix well.

The journey.

My sister clearly wants to dig in and tip the apple cart over with her negative, largely pointless comments. She wanted to upset me permanently, a little cancer raging away. By Monday morning Matt had set me on the path to recovery (although I'd be surprised if that was his intention), and life continued to put things right for me. Tuesday afternoon I'm still miffed at my sister, as she's out of order and being nearly 70 should know better, yet she's had far from the impact she wanted. Life is good and it is all about the characters you meet and what you do on the journey. It's easy to be miserable if you want, and ultimately we all die, so it is miserable. The journey doesn't have to be bad all the time though does it?

M25 looking towards East Grinstead. Life does not get any better!