Saturday 3 September 2011

Bicycle Android

This blog is defunct, I moved out of Whickham over a month ago. Thanks for following and believing in me. My new blog is BICYCLE ANDROID.

Follow it here.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Golf fucking sucks.

see you later fuck faces.

I miss you Mr. Crimpy

I saw 2 dear here


Dead badger

For having drinks and talking about bogeys

buggy melee in the rain

Wednesday 13 July 2011


We got this offer sheet from Claud Butler today at the shop today. It contains the phrase 'Nalpalm the competition with these hot prices'. I don't want to stereotype people but the cycling community as a whole tends to come off a little liberal, leftish, chilled and even overly moral. So I can't really see why CB have used the mental imagery of 'napalming the competition' to advertise their bikes.
The physical act of napalming anything tends to be messy. When napalm was used in the Vietnam war skin was burnt from the backs of children, whole villages of innocent women and children were burnt away, kids were disfigured and disabled, adults were left with debilitating and painful injuries and could no longer work or provide for their families.

If it were me, I might have taken a step back at the CB board meeting and said hang on a minute there Claud, don't you think the phrase 'nalpalm the competition' is a little strong?

Claud Butler obviously have no qualms about using terrifying weapons to advertise lower end alloy 'mountain style' bikes. I'm now wondering how far they would go? What's next, are they going to H-Bomb Santa Claus and his reindeers at the north pole with a series of seasonal reductions later in the year, or use the human centipede to run an Easter special on tandems?

By buying into the 'Nalpalm the competiion' thing does that mean when we order the bikes from CB that they will literally dump a truck full of napalm on Edinburgh Bikes up the road, dissolving and burning away not just the bikes, the accessories and the brick work of the establishment but also the flesh of the employees working there? I have friends up there, what about Billy and Murphy? I like those dudes. On paper I guess you could call them the competition, will they be destroyed by the napalm wielding Claud Butler corporation? Do we suffer a napalming if they order the bikes instead?

I'd like to see one of the CB employees be made to ride through a Vietnam jungle on one of these bikes in the early seventies and see how well the bike actually performed. Are they as 'ALL' terrain as they claim? Could they handle a jungle full of flame throwers, pungee pits, hand grenades, land mines and AK 47 wielding guerrilla fighters all while being soaked in buckets of agent orange. How funny would the use of napalm be then when the riders aluminium Ravana frame dissolved away to nothing and they were left running for their lives?

I think of families that lost loved ones in the war on both sides, napalm is a terrible weapon with terrible consequences for its victims, don't romanticise it, don't have disrespect for those people who died in napalm associated atrocities and don't use a hideous weapon as a promotional tool for the so called green ethics of the cycling world. At the very least it's glaringly inappropriate and I'm sure I don't stand alone working as one of the many dealers who find it offensive.

Not that funny really.

Monday 4 July 2011

Faster Faster Faster.

I was watching the team time trial in the Tour De France yesterday and was stoked to see Team Leopard Trek on the speed concept 9.9. I feel like I know those bikes inside out after assembling one for a customer last week. The speed concept 9.9 isn't your average bike, it's filled with more carbon fibre and technology than a formula one car. It has been subjected to extensive low speed aerodynamic testing making it one of the fastest bikes on the planet. In everything but a direct head wind this thing achieves thrust. It's frontal profile is like a knife cutting through a head wind. It is a technological marvel.

Getting this bike out of the box and all the subsequent packaging was a task in itself, it was easily the most comprehensively packaged bicycle I have eve come across. It was also the least assembled bicycle straight from the box, here you can see that the chainset has been installed and the fork but almost nothing else.

The frame profile is such that the Speed concept wouldn't fit well in our usual repair stands so I had to go and get the old faithful cast iron steam punk stand from upstairs. I had to pack the jaws of the stand with plenty of foam nip it up very lightly and then zip tie it all in.

I was fairly certain that it wouldn't fall out of the stand at this point but my anus was still twitching with a 7 1/2 thousand pound bike wobbling about in the steam punker. I remedied this and put my nerves in check by covering the floor in more foam padding just incase there was a mishap.

With the precise tolerances and materials in this bicycle everything has to be precisely torqued. There are a few jobs on higher end bicycles where I always use the torque wrench but never before have I built a bicycle using a torque on every bolt.

The tri-bars were an absolute nightmare to fit, the cabling for the brakes had been done euro style so it had to be all hauled out and refit the other way round. Total nightmare. With internal and concealed cabling of this nature it's best to stay calm and take your time, resolve yourself to a slow build and it all usually pans out. But I was building this bike on bike week so it was super busy in the shop, we kept getting distracted, Lynne was on a wind up mission all day and the customer was coming in to sit on this thing at 3pm so the pressure was extremely high. At around 1 pm I managed to get an inner cable stuck in the intricacies of the tri-bar interior and as much as Dave and I pulled, twisted and shoved this thing it just wouldn't budge. There was a tense silence in the work shop. Sweaty brows were abundant and tempers were frayed. I had to take a step back and try to think logically. After much duress we came upon the idea of rolling the inner cable up like a coil and forming a handle that could be spun and this got the stuck end moving and after a bout 10 minutes we edged it out the end of the hole in the bars. The relief was imense.

This bike is notoriously difficult to cable, all the gearing cable had come through wrong. The gear cables at the bb junction were sat wrong and they had to be shortened. This is a complex process of removing the brake shielding, removing the rear brake and cabling, removing a cable guide plate and then maneuvering two concealed cables into two distinct and opposing directions, not easy with people winding you up and fiddling with everything you remove.
"oooohh, look at that", "eeeh isn't it complicated" and "so how does that work?" were all sentences being fired at me while I struggled to comprehend the set up myself. What makes things worse is that the speed concept comes with zero instructions and almost no online support. A lot of this build was guess work, a lot of the Trek's cabling seems oddly arranged and counter intuitive.

Sram Red groupo was an absolute treat. Here you can see the rear mech and block, the block is machined from a single piece of material, it has a spiral of shortened indexing teeth and is one of the most beautifully crafted bicycle components I've seen. I was hoping this bike was going to come through with Di2 digital shifting because of the nightmare these things are to cable but the customer went for Sram red saving himself 1500 quid in the process. The time trail shifters have a confusing aerodynamically adjustable neutrality which had me stumped for a bit but when I worked it out the gearing on this bike was unquestionably solid.

Here it is all done. The lunch box out back makes the bike more aerodynamically efficient and you can carry power bars and the like. The Bonty water bottle is super aerodynamic also. This is a picture after the customer had been fitted on the rolling road for maximum aerodynamics and comfort. I love the full black paint, this thing is a stealth machine fast light, stiff. You don't buy a bike like this unless you're super serious about going fast, it costs the same as a small car and if you crash it it's gonna explode in a spectacular shower of shredded carbon fibre. I've built and worked on quite a few different time trial bikes but this was easily the most complicated and frustrating but the overall finished product was the most beautiful and efficient.

Monday 27 June 2011

More Missing Animals.

My Mother can be a little strange, she loves to clown around and make the kids laugh, she loves to dress up in ridiculous outfits and get the little ones worked up into a frenzy. She always asks me how come I turned out so weird but I can't help thinking she's the weird one. Here's the newest addition to her costume collection. Many of her costumes are handmade, the intricacy of her work is exceptional and she has a flare for the ludicrous and comical. This elephant suit is shop bought however.

One Halloween Lewis wore my Mothers rabbit suit. It was a fairly well made pink fluffy bunny suit with green fur as the underbelly and tail. We all went out dressed up and getting loose in Newcastle. Lewis managed to pull some student lassy and went home with her back to Jarrow. The next day was a Sunday and we all sat around in the Buff House editing the now classic NSF advert where carmine pretends he's a mafia boss and says the Line 'NSF3-Christmas.' It was raining heavily outside so we concentrated fully and got loads of filming slash editing done for the advert. Everyone sat around still covered in fake blood that proved impossible to remove. Lewis finally turned up around 3 still in the bunny suit and similarly covered in blood. He was soaked, bedraggled and exhausted (a state Lewis reaches so often you can tell he secretly thrives on) and we all had a good laugh at him when he walked in. To add to the hilarity Fortini was probably smoking a cigar at this point.
Lewis in his infinite wisdom had pulled the lassy and jumped in a taxi not thinking that he had nothing on under the bunny suit. He had gotten his freak on or whatever he did, I don't know I wasn't there looking through the key hole and then he had slept off the concoction of rum and alka-seltzer he was drinking. In the morning realising he had no pockets in the bunny suit found himself penniless and 7 miles from home. He had left the love nest and walked to the metro thinking he'd jump it back to Newcastle, a practice which was a lot easier back in the day. Unfortunately as so often happens the metro service had been suspended between shields and town and the bus replacement proved a lot harder to jump. Lewis was faced with a 7 mile walk home in pouring rain wearing a pink bunny suit through some pretty dodgy housing estates. He received quite a bit of heckling but amazingly avoided a beatdown.
I returned the Bunny suit in such a state to my Mother that she subsequently binned it, she was however particularly tickled by the story of Lewis' walk of shame as some sort of recompense.  

NSF 3 First Trailer from Pete_G on Vimeo.

The Parrot poster post from last week got me thinking about the time my Mother tried to save a missing budgie, so here's a slight better punctuated version of a story originally printed in BrainMind issue 3.

Woman, are you crazy? AKA Let The Budgie Live.

A rare morning asleep at my family home. A soothing and deep sleep which is difficult to attain in the floral box room. A room which is always roasting hot and devoid of oxygen. A room stacked floor to ceiling with old boxes. A room that is continuously sweltering and claustrophobic. Through my dreary sleep I can tell that it is morning from the smell of burning toast that brings me back to Sunday mornings of my youth. But this is no Sunday, weekday work awaits me. Dragged form the safety of a borrowed duvet, not buy my alarm however, but by the commotion coming from my Mother's bedroom. I can hear her unmistakable squawk, she's hysterical, calling my name and asking for assistance. I rise from the bed scratching balls and pulling at my T-shirt to cover a hint of morning wood.
The sight I was confronted with beggared even my most deep seated beliefs. My Mother dressed in outrageous pink pajamas was standing one footed on a wicker basket hanging half torso out of her bedroom window. In her hand was the long handled fishing net that me Dad uses to dreg scum out of the pond she was waving this erratically whilst cooing and repeating "here Joey."
I approached rubbing sleep out of my eyes and presuming that I was dreaming. Playing Kirby's Ghost Trap last night might explain the Pink Pajamas but from where in my brain was this upstairs aerial fishing scenario? Now that I was beside my Mother I peered to see what she was fishing for and there it was the trigger for an ornithological escapologist flashback....
....Three weeks previously my Mother had received a computer printout through the letterbox detailing the loss of a yellow and green budgie in the Westoe area who went by the name of Carl. The bulletin mentioned that Carl was cold and timid and it included a phone number. I had found this document both preposterous and hopeless, as if you would ever find a budgie? It would have flown for never-look-back freedom the second it saw an open window most likely straight into the jaws of a neighbourhood cat. I had taken this missing pet notice for my collection and put it on the wall of my not so plush Heaton Attic/apartment where it had kept me in good spirits....
....Cut back to the current situation with my Mother, apparently insane, shouting "tweet tweet Joey, come to your Mam."
This was almost too much. My Mother, clearly in a heightened state, obsessively fishing at a rather scared and rigid budgie was possibly at first assessment of fragile mind. I thought carefully about what to lay on her. "Mother get down from there, You'll set you're neck or worse still fall out of that window" was the best I could come up with.
My mother brought her head in with hair ravished and wind swept and said "Oh there you are, here take this, your arms are longer than mine, get up here" she thrust the fishing net into my hand and ushered me up onto the wicker as she descended from it.
Shaking my head I leaned out of the window fishing net in hand but couldn't reach the bird which stood defiantly on the plastic guttering. "Well go on then, ENCOURAGE him" pleaded my Mother.
"This is stupid he needs an incentive, haven't you got any bird seed" I asked at which point my Mothers face perked up and she rushed off down stairs.
I stared at Carl. He looked surprisingly well for spending 3 weeks on the streets of Westoe, he looked strong and street smart, the Ray Mears of the domesticated bird world surviving on just his wits and instinct. Carl didn't want to be caught he was having the time of his life free from the cage and living off the land like Rambo in First Blood.
My Mother returned shouting "there is no seed, there is no seed, but we have this" in her hand was a large fresh butter croissant.
My mother had a long flagpole to which she offered the croissant and to the end with reams of selotape she wrapped them together.
"What the hell are you doing?" I asked.
"All birds love croissant."
"Are you kidding me" I replied "that croissant is as big as the budgie."
"So what?"
"Well how would you feel after finally escaping a lifetime of captivity you only lasted 3 weeks before you were knocked off a roof to your death by an enormous puff pastry doppelganger?"
"Don't be stupid I won't knock him off." My mother replied and with that she ascended the wicker, leaned out of the window and offered the croissant to the budgie (who was still well out of reach) and began a discourse "Here Joey, tweet tweet Joey, here's a croissant, lovely budgie, tweet tweet croissant."
I could barely look, what would the neighbours make of this scene, they were probably phoning the RSPB as we spoke. I could see it now, the newspaper headline reading-woman clubs much loved family pet to death with obscure French baked goods weapon.
As predicted Carl was not impressed. He took a second look at the croissant and then made for the sky never to be seen again. As my Mother disappointedly climbed down from the wicker the dog jumped up and made short work of the croissant.
Who knows, I thought perhaps Carl will go on to a better life and meet up with the rebellious activist group-the ex pets network.

The confusion is nearly over.

My novel The Dark Matter is pretty much ready for print, once I got amongst the Blurb program I found it pretty easy to use, It's full of bugs but you just got to work around these problems. I had to convert a bunch of files because Blurb couldn't read Mac Word files which I thought was really odd, and it was obsessively turning all my punctuation into wing dings. At present I'm just waiting for The Genius with the cover and then it'll be off to print. Exciting and scary times. I'm still not sure how many I'm going to get done so if you would like one and you don't think you are on my list let me know through the comments on this blog or Email:

The synopsis for The Dark Matter is thus.

A story of a dysfunctional relationship set against an overwhelmingly mundane background. The city is all powerful and undefeatable in its neon lit omnipresence. Both man and woman are oppressed by the triviality of life, a relationship divided by modern world distractions and thinking, two people cohabiting the same space while simultaneously entirely unaware of each others existence, it's a mental journey of thoughts and cross thought processes. It's about searching for a reason to exist in a unforgiving and unrewarding world. It's a tale of obsession, madness, anarchist politics, wigga fashion and an insatiable lust for Custard Creams.

If this sounds like your cup of tea let me know and I'll sort you out with a copy. I'm selling them for what they cost me to get printed so depending on the numbers it'll probably be around a fiver.

I'll have more accurate information as the printing process develops.