Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

54, Not Out.

Another birthday. Meh. Still, better than the alternative.

 

I’ve decided I’m going ahead, slowly, with the bike conversion. I say “conversion”, because it’s gone way beyond changing the handlebars. I’ve ordered a sheet of 5mm thick, strong aluminium (there are different strengths, who knew?) and I’ll see how I get on with making a clock bracket. If I don’t make a horrendous lash of that, then I’ll think move on to the rest of the stuff I need to do.  The aluminium was only £13 so it’s not going to break the bank to see how I get on.

 

My other new is the physio guy got back to me. He’s really good, and oddly conscientious. I say that because he’s written me out three long and involved emails and replies, but because he can’t physically see me, due to lockdown, he won’t take any money. I mean, if I was an existing client, or whatever, maybe, but I’m just some randomer pestering him to work for free. I said that to him, that I was glad to pay as it’s harsh asking him to work for free, but he’s still not taking any money. Decent chap, straight away.

He started me off with a load of tests, putting a belt or towel under my relaxed foot and lifting/ twisting without using foot muscles. Prodding under the painful area, etc to make sure it wasn’t a fracture, and it was actually the muscles or tendons causing the pain. After the test I realised it wasn’t a pain on the top of my foot so much. Now that it was really hurting I could specify where the pain was exactly.

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That lump. Excuse the malting skin look, it’s ibugel flaking off. Apparently this is your peronious tertius, which is a muscle that acts a tendon (except for 8% of people who don’t have one at all, I read. Weird if true.) It controls the lifting and rotation of the foot.

He said that the lower limbs take longer to heal as they are further from the heart and have restricted blood flow. Therefore I should do 10 minutes light rubbing a day to stimulate blood flow to the damaged area. He said that I should wait until the weekend for the initial rest, then focus on cycling or swimming, with much reduced running.

He explained that the reason why the pushbike ride hurt so much was because if you have the old, standard flat pedals, you can only press down. With the newfangled clip-in pedals, as your foot is attached to the pedal, you automatically pull up as well as pushing down. (I still think the twisting in and out of the clips made it a lot worse as well). I’ve changed my pedals to the flat ones that came with the bike, and downgraded my short run trainers to pushbike shoes. My run trainers are ‘control’ ones, made to stop you rolling your foot, so hopefully they’ll help on the bike as well. I rode to work and back on Thursday and Friday, my foot was OK. Not perfect but not worse.

Yesterday was my day off and my foot wasn’t bad at all so I had a bit of a test run. I set out as slow and steady as you like. Not bothered about the time, just out here to see how my foot feels… looked at my watch at half a mile, 9.30m/m pace. WHAT! Did 6 miles in at a sub 8 pace. I could feel it had hurt my foot a bit, but nothing much. Today I went for a very gentle run, but at 3 miles I was thinking about my twitter chum who’d just done a fast 5K (3.1 miles), so I stopped, had a breather, then legged it back. I was hoping for 7 m/m pace, but it was a thousand degrees (at least) and I just didn’t have it in me. I did it at 7.20 m/m, which was a 22.39 time. My PB is 21.40, so I’ll take it.

The main thing to take from it is my foot is still working and not hurting.

Some other things I’ve taken from Adrian, the physio guy, is applying some stuff called kinesio tape, which is like an elasticated tape that it supposed to support damaged bits, while allowing them some natural movement. And, as it’s about controlling the movement of my foot, I’ve bought some new trainers to replace my short run ones. They say the padding breaks down after about 400 miles, so you start picking up impact damage on your runs, and for me it’s doubly important as the padding is all that stops me from rolling my foot. I think I bought my last pairs in August. I’ve run 450 miles this year alone. Oops. Good job I had a month off with lurgy, I’ve run 122 miles this month.

Anyway. New trainers, flat pedals, foot rub, tape, reduced running and strength exercises. I think that’s it. So during the week I’ll just be pushbike commuting for exercise, with small runs on my days off. 

When we return to normal I’ll see Adrian for a physical consult. He seems to be a good egg and I want this sorting.

My only other news is, as lockdown is lifting quite a bit, I put my Honda up for sale again. This time it got snapped up. First person to look at it was there to buy it at asking price. When he turned up it was some really skinny guy and his mate. The mate was a biker so took it for a test run. The skinny guy got talking, he was on notice. He’s had bits of his guts out, showed me a tube sticking out of his stomach. Cancer. He didn’t know how long he’d got, but wanted to get a bike and do a big tour of European mountains. He was just starting out, had no kit, so I gave him a nearly new lid and a bike cover. A bucket list biker. He’s not even got his license yet, his test is on Friday. His mate rode it home for him.

Poor chap. He was only 4 years older than me. I hope he gets his grand tour. I can’t see that happening until lockdown lifts.

Twitter hasn’t been very fun filled or full of whimsy the last few days so I’ve nothing to report. It has been amusing me to see the people on my running account, who were chosen for running and such and not vetted for ideological purity, all coming together as one to rage against the Bozo/ Cummings catastrophe. These are a mixed bag of people but as one they are incensed by Cummings touring the country in complete contempt of the governments own guidelines, laws, and policies. And the Tory party saying it’s alright for *him* to do it, just not us plebs.

A vicar tweeting about funerals they’ve had to hold with families not allowed to attend, a husband not allowed to visit his dying wife, had to listen on the ‘phone to her dying alone.

While Cummings drives 260 miles to see his parents.

There are some very miffed people out there right now. Which is nice to see.

Something funny to end on, one from the archives from Forest Fr1ends. Whenever I think of it I laugh. I paint the whole ‘off camera’ bit of the joke in my head. Cracks me up.

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Stay safe.

Buck.

Solutions

I’ve been doing a lot of research and I have the answer to my bike problem.

I just want lower handlebars. That’s all. A 20 minute job.

OK, so far I’ve taken the fairing off and fitted a back to the clocks.

The problem is the handlebars still hit the clocks.

The solution is simple. Instead of having the clocks mounted on an arm fixed to the frame,

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make a mount and attach them to the handlebars.

You have to make this plate, complete with sunken drill holes, but it’s do-able.

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Simple.

But wait.

That leaves the old arm and plate (two pictures above) hanging in mid air looking ugly.

OK, take off the arm.

That exposes the air intake in the frame.

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OK, so you make an air intake cover.

But wait, that arm also supports the headlights.

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So you have to buy headlight support arms that attach to the fork legs and hold the headlight.

But they only work for single headlights. So you have to buy a new headlight. And possibly mess around with the wiring as the loom supports two headlights.

And because your handlebars are now lower you need to fit a shorter throttle cable off a different model of bike.

Ends up looking like this.

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Actually, looking at it, that does look rather lovely.

Hmm.

The thing is, I wasn’t going for aesthetics, I just wanted a better riding position.

It’s not quite the 20 minute job I envisioned.

I’m in two minds about it. But at least I now know the answer, should I choose to pursue it.

 

The other thing that needs fixing is me.

I’ve been nursing damaged tendons on my left foot for about 18 months. Extensor tendonitis, apparently. The tendons that run along the top of your foot and draw your toes back. You can damage them by too tightly lacing your shoes and by overuse. In that time I’ve had other injuries, and the plague, so I’ve stopped running for a whole month on one occasion, and six weeks hardly any running on another. As soon as I started again the pain was back. I had resigned myself to it. It’s just routine now, get out of the shower, slather my foot in ibugel and put on a compression bandage. It only hurts badly after a long run (15+ miles), so I was living with it.

A few days ago one of my twitter chums mentioned she should be doing a marathon in the morning (in jest) but it put the thought into my head. So Sunday morning I did the 26.2 miles.

Which was stupid anyway, as I’d been doing sprint miles the day before and my legs were battered. I was struggling by mile 7. I forced myself to complete it but it was horrendous. 4 hours 10, so, pitifully slow as well. I was trying to take positives from it; lesson learned, never marathon after hard sprint sessions, first marathon since I broke myself last autumn, good for mental toughness, only 3 days since I was too weak to run (the plague comes back in waves), etc.

My foot was hurting pretty badly afterwards, but I was expecting that.

That night I couldn’t sleep with it, I got about 3 or so broken hours. I was on the sofa trying to keep my foot propped in one position so it wouldn’t hurt. Still not unusual. But I got to thinking about in the long, boring, painful hours. I did some more reading and apparently it can sometimes take 3 to 9 months to heal. If ever there was a year to take that long out of training, this is it. I was fighting against it, as it’s taken me all this time to get back to fitness, but this is the perfect time to heal, with all the races being deferred and/or cancelled.

I made up my mind to quit and heal.

So I don’t die of morbid obesity before I can get running again I decided to start commuting to work on my pushbike. To test the water I did a ride there and back yesterday, 19 miles with hills. That was a massive, massive mistake. I thought as your feet are actually attached to the pedals by clips, and the base of the shoe is rigid, there would be no foot movement, so I would be fine. So wrong. My foot flared up like never before. Normally if I move it it hurts, so sleeping is awkward, as is movement. This was just non-stop pain. I couldn’t find any position that didn’t hurt. And movement was making me shout out.

I was lying on the sofa about 03.00 thinking about going to A&E for an X-ray, I thought I might have broke something. I finally got to sleep properly about 04.00 and when I woke up it was back to normal. Which is to say, it hurts a bit when I move, but nothing like that.

That was my wake up call though. I’m determined to heal properly now.

I had a heartfelt whinge about it on Twitter. Some of my running twitter chums have put me on to a sports physiotherapist they use and recommend highly. They say that he’s never stopped them running, always given them active rehabilitation exercises, so there’s hope for me yet. But I’m prepared for the worst. If I have to, I’ll stop. The trouble is, with lockdown, the physio isn’t seeing anyone physically. I’ve sent him an email, as he’s still doing virtual consultations.

For now I’m resting. Tomorrow I’m back at work so I’ll see how my hoof is holding up, then maybe low mileage easy runs just to keep me ticking over. See how it goes. I’m not pushing anything now.

 

Quick catch up on twitter and I’m out of here, busy doing, er, rest.

Some politics:

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A shocking condemnation:

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Morons gathered for an end of lockdown protest

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And forest fr1ends, and account that humorously juxtaposes cutesy kids dolls with adult themes was on fire:

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Some other whimsy

“Her face when she realises she’s pregnant (pic 3)”

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And there’s a thing called “dog shaming” where you put a placard around your dog’s neck saying what they’ve done wrong, take and post a picture of them.

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Right, that’s me. I’m off to dynamically do nothing.

Stay safe,

Buck.

A Pox On Triumph Handlebars!

I’ve been holding off doing this post until I’d finished the job and could report in, well, triumph. I thought today was the day. *hangs head in shame*

All I wanted to do was to put a tail tidy and a top box on the back (done) and lower handlebars on the front. A modest enough ambition. It’s been hellish. First off I got the bars and realised the fairing wouldn’t allow me turn the front wheel.

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So I decided to order a cheap, second hand fairing to butcher all the pointy bits off.

Supposedly there is only one type of fairing for my bike. Spotted one, ordered it. Wrong one. Huh?

It has two screw holes at the top, mine only has one. OK, bought another, assured it was the right one. It arrived, same as the first! What?

I did a lot of searching on the genuine Triumph website and realised I was barking up the wrong tree anyway. You can do away with plastics altogether, by simply fitting a back to the (now exposed) clocks.

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Did so. Assured it was mine. It wasn’t mine. Sort of rounded instead of the angular bits.

Sent it back and ordered again.

(Each of these attempts involved me taking the fairing off and on, by the way.)

New one arrived, right one! Huzzah!

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Plastic gone, but still got upright sitting position due to the handlebars.

So, take the bars and all the bits off, fit the new ones with all the bits, mark where the bits fit, take it all off again, drill two holes in the bars (took ages, like drilling rock!) put it back together again and Viola!

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Chuffed to bits. That’s a great riding position, right over the tank, and (apart from the necessary evil of the top box) looks smart as a carrot!

I put my tools away, grabbed my leather and lid, fired it up, moved 6 inches, went to turn the bars, smacked straight into the clocks. HOW? How is that even possible?

I spent a good 5 minutes looking at it in disbelief, then longer trying to adjust the bars. Not happening. I had to take it all off and put my original bars back on.

So that was my day.

I’ve managed to sell both the fairing I bought, and get a refund on the wrong clock back. but I’m struggling as to where to go from here. The easiest solution would be to reposition the clocks, either drop them down on to the headlights or attach them to the handlebars, but there is an electrical cable with a load of connections that limits travel. 

I’m not beaten yet, but I’m taking a fair kicking. It’s a 20 minute job. It’s taken me weeks, months, possibly, and I’m still not there.

OK, I’ve got that off my chest. Deep breaths.

Which segues me nicely into my other topic; the plague.

 

I’ve had everyone being concerned about me, even the runners on twitter were saying I should rest my lungs rather than try to rebuild my fitness.

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And it’s fair to say I struggled horribly at first. I was a bit hit and miss for the first week after returning to work, then one day I put my running shorts on and my belly flowed over them. I did a half marathon that day and have been pushing it since.

It’s not been an easy ride. I went out two week ago with the intention of running a hilly 2½ miles to a bridge over the mersey which is quite steep, then doing 5 miles of hill repeats, then run home. I got there, did a mile, and had to continue my run on the flat, I had nothing. I ended up limping home, exhausted, barely keeping it under 10m/m. That was for a 10 mile run.

I took a day off, regrouped and have been coming back stronger since. I did a 20 mile run and kept it in the 8m/m’s. Someone was talking about speed work on twitter so I went to test my mile fitness. That’s a lot harder than it sounds. You are going flat out from the off and hanging on for grim life as it all goes south. Anyway, my previous best, I think, was 6.25 for a mile. I’m still a stone overweight and not as fit as I’d like, but I had a benchmark against which to measure myself. I did 2 miles warm up then straight into a mile sprint. It was awful by the end, I was panicking because I was sucking in huge lungfuls of air but it just didn’t feel like I was breathing. I’d put too much into it to quit, so I just kept going. I didn’t pass out and I finished the mile in 6.33, so it must have been in my mind, not my body. I did a really slow mile, walking the last 10th of it, to recover, then tried again. I had a nasty wind hit me at the end, which made it harder, but I felt like I could breathe the whole time, and I did it in 6.39.

8 seconds, even 14 seconds, off the pace over a mile, when I’m 11 stone, isn’t that bad.

I’ve done long, I’ve done fast, today I went out to try and redeem myself on the hill repeats. I did the 2½ miles onto the bridge, when I got there there was a woman runner already doing hill repeats. On my hill. The cheek.

I got stuck in. It’s never fun on hills (for me) such hard work, but I kept going. I was running up one side of the bridge as she was running up the other. I noticed a few times as she was breasting the hill she was walking the last bit. But after a few miles we were still passing at the same place. I was cursing myself for being rubbish, if she was walking sections and I still couldn’t catch her. I was trying to see her route, if she was doing shorter laps (not that I’m competitive or anything) but we were always on opposite sides of the hill.

It gave me something other than my own misery to think about. She finished and was walking back to her car, as I passed close by she shouted “How do you make it look so easy?”

There you go. Perception. I was dying by inches, willing it to be over, she thought I was cruising.

I didn’t hear her so well at first so shouted back, somewhat incongruously, “I don’t. I hate hills.”

It did give me a bit of a boost to finish the 5 miles though. Then I plodded back home. And I kept it, including the 5 miles of hill repeats, under 9m/m.

It could have easily gone the other way, there is no concrete science for the after effects of Covid19, but I’m not one to be put off by the risks of trifles such as lung damage and heart failure. And, to my own satisfaction, I can see definite, quantifiable, improvements. So, I was lucky to get a mild dose, and luckier to get no serious damage.

 

To end on a lighter note, twitter has been fun, if somewhat gallows humour.

Bozo has announced class war. All the rich stay safe, the middle classes work from home, the working class have to go back to work and die. So that’s nice. The plan was always to cull the excess population with herd immunity.

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He issued a vague new slogan to see us through the slaughter.

Alert

Which twitter tried to decipher.

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President Trump went on air and announced that people should inject bleach. The the amusement of many and the horror of the medical profession.

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It’s all about life during the plague.

My twitter chum trying to do video conferencing.

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And people commented on the facile trend of clapping for care workers at 20.00hrs on Thursday. Presumably by the same people who voted for the party that cheered as they refused a pay rise for nurses, and is currently failing to get them masks and protective equipment.  

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But there was some general whimsy.

Someone tagged me in a game, name 5 things that bring you joy, then nominate 5 people to keep it going.

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My contribution

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And random whimsy.

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Lockdown boredom

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Anatomy of a horse

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And just because

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Stay safe.

Buck.

Don

Returning to normal. Slowly.

Things are getting there. Wendy tried to go back to work last week, but with the two bank holidays, and her being lethally contagious an’ all, they said leave it until this week.

She went back on Tuesday. She suffered a bout of the horrible weakness in the afternoon, but made it through the day. She was OK today. I’m more or less back to normal (it’s a relative benchmark). I had a dire headache all day yesterday, but that’s par for the course. I went back to work on the 1st of April, I walked across the yard, up a few steps, and was panting. A week later I did two short runs, both panting badly, but I did them. I was worried I might have got the lung damage associated with the plague, but today I ran again and my lungs were no more panty than you’d expect for an unfit, fat bloke.

The bug was the perfect storm. I was too poorly ill to run, or move much, and so weak I was constantly eating to try and give myself some energy. Today I pulled on my lycra running shorts and they squashed all my blubber up into a big tyre. That was my wake up call. No more sweet stuff, back to the running.

I decided to do a 10 mile run. Actually that was really stupid, they say to increase by a maximum of 10% per week, and I was utterly exhausted doing 6 miles last week. I was mortified by the blubber though. Also I was a little miffed at the self-appointed Twitter Police who monitor people’s activities through their exercise apps and get shouty about anyone exceeding the (advisory) hour per day of exercise. So I wanted to annoy them.

On the bright side, I managed to do the full 10 miles, I held my pace in under 9m/m (all in the 8s) even though it was hard work, and my lungs were fine, so no damage, hoorah!

Not so good is that as soon as I stopped it hit me like a train. But still, good effort, I’ve started on my weight loss and fitness revival, and hopefully incensed a few self-righteous sorts.

 

The supermarkets are returning to normal as well. They’ve still got the maximum occupancy thing going on, but if you pick the right time of day you can often get in without queuing. Once inside you can get virtually everything again.

As an aside, I saw some New Zealand store manger on the news (on Twitter) saying he’d just had his first hoarder trying to get a refund on 150 packs of 32 roll toilet papers and 100, 1 litre bottles of hand sanitiser. He was a bit miffed as they are the morons who have caused the empty supermarkets. He told the guy (I assume it was a bloke) where to go.

 

Something else that is looking to return to normal is my hours. I’ve been asking to go back to full time for about 6 weeks or so. This shift I’m on isn’t 4 on/ 4 off as I’d been lead to believe, and since we became swamped with drivers (absorbing our other companies who are basically dead due to lockdown shutting their customer’s businesses) I am struggling to get extra shifts as overtime. Anyway, inexplicably they’ve just advertised for 6 new drivers. I whinged to my manager, saying that if they’ve got work to employ new drivers they should give me my hours back first. She’s got back to me and said they were going to offer me full time again. Yay!

It’s not a done deal. It’s not until June, and I don’t know what rota or start time they are going to offer me, but at least I know they aren’t just snubbing me outright.

 

Things outside of our bubble, and control, are still awful.

The government’s “herd immunity”, “take it on the chin”, “loved ones will die” policy has lead to them releasing figures of about 1,000 dead per day, but the Office for National Statistics has been saying the figures are likely 80% higher.

Then there’s the economy. I read that lockdown is costing £2 billion a day and the IMF are stunned, they’ve never seen a recession so savage and there’s no clear way out of it. The thinking now is that the Tories are desperately looking for a way to change the narrative to get everyone back to work, and let the surplus population dying be the price we pay to restart the economy. They are already hinting that it’s going to be Austerity with a vengeance afterwards. The NHS privatisation is going on even through it’s hour of greatest need.

And don’t get me started on Bozo going into ICU for 3 days then, over Easter, miraculously walking out, doing a 5 minute speech without a gasp or a cough, then going to see his pregnant girlfriend at his second home.

 

So, nothing to look forward to in the wider field, but for us life goes on as normal. It is very odd.

 

Another thing, while I was off today I had another crack at fitting my new, lower, handlebars. I ordered a cheap second headlight fairing and I was going to cut it into shape, so they handlebars wouldn’t hit it.

Luckily I started the job by getting at the fairing that’s on it now (rather than fitting new handlebars first. It must be a fairing for a later model. It didn’t fit! I didn’t even know they were different.

So that was three screws out, take off the outer fairing, compare the old and new inner fairings, swear a bit, three screws in.

I’m going to do it if it kills me.

 

Other than that it’s just gardening. This is the year of the garden. Lockdown is forcing us to garden out of boredom, if nothing else.

 

My running Twitter account, apart from the self righteous crew, has been keeping spirits up. The exact opposite of my politics account. Let’s not go there.

 

Queeny made the rookie mistake of wearing a green-screen-able frock for some address in which she didn’t offer her £20 million a year to the NHS.

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So Twitter went for it

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Other cat news

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There was news that cats could catch Covid-19

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I was sad that it was all bad news on my politics account.

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In animal related fun

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The police got threaten-ey with more overreach.

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People not happy about lockdown.

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And after the morons burning down 5G masts because a radio wave “causes Covid-19”, someone helpfully explained the science.

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And, of course, the Tango Hitler

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Right, I’m off.

Stay safe people.

Recovery Phase

We are stubbornly refusing to die. I went back to work after 7 days off, following the ‘herd immunity’ government policy. I’m still not 100%, but nothing to write home about. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m still contagious though. The W.H.O. say to isolate for 14 days *after* ending symptoms. UK say 7 days from exhibiting. Who’s right? Ask Boris Johnson.

 

The better news is that Wendy has turned the corner and is getting better. I was worried as it hit her harder and went straight onto her lungs, which is where the bug gets serious. Now she’s got through that phase and is just feeling weak. She’s trying to get back to work next week.

 

My plan for today was to fit my new handlebars (lower to make for a better, racier riding position) on my motorbike, go to the shop, then go for a run to test my recovery.

I struggled for ages getting one grip off the handlebars. I thought it was glued on, but eventually realised it was just the rubber was gripping the handlebar so tightly. I pushed a screwdriver inside to open it up a bit, sprayed oil inside, and it pulled off easily. Annoyingly easily after the time and effort I’d put in to it before realising. Once that was off it was a simple job to strip the rest. I put the new handlebars in place,… and what do you know? The won’t fit as they’d smack into the headlight fairing.

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Aaaaarrrrggghhhhhh!

I put my old handlebars back on.

I’m thinking of buying a cheap, second hand, headlight fairing and butchering it so the handlebars will fit.

So that was a bust. Again.

While I had the bike out I thought I’d give it a wash, and Wendy’s car, and the house windows.

By the time I’d finished I was breathless, hands on my knees, panting like a dog. Even the really mild mild version of the bug that I had batters your lungs.

I had to go to Sainsbury’s, by which time my headache had kicked in pretty bad as well so I didn’t even attempt the run. I’ll give it a go first thing in the morning, before the day has a chance to exhaust me.

Having the bug for a week, (feeling so, so weak and doing no exercise) coupled with my innate gluttony means I’ve put on a stone. I think a lot of muscle has turned to fat so it’s not a true indication of just how much I’ve put on. I don’t need to scavenge for food now,I just open my mouth as it gets drawn into my gravitational field. I heard that a lot of beached whales die because without the buoyancy of the sea their lungs collapse under their bodyweight. This is probably what’s happening with my lungs.

I’ll try and shuffle my girth into a waddle in the morning. I’ve serious doubts I’ll make a mile, but unless I try I’ll never know.

 

Everything is odd at the moment. The roads are great, but we’re banned from driving. The weather has turned really nice and sunny but we’re semi-banned from going out, soon to be totally banned. And work has died. When I went off for a week they were desperate for drivers as the panic buying was driving demand through the roof. Then phase 2 of the lockdown shut all the pubs and restaurants and basically killed one of the company’s smaller companies (that primarily delivers to pubs and restaurants). Their drivers with an artic licence have been moved over to our bit, some without have been trained to do order picking in the warehouse.  Wendy and I are really lucky to both have jobs (so far) with all this going on. So many have just been sacked off, zero money for 5 weeks while they put in a claim. It’s scary times.

 

But in the face of the apocalypse, Twitter keeps on making me laugh.

There was a feel-good story of someone embracing the social distancing/ self isolation thing with a conversation by window signs to their neighbour.

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Which was cheering for the situation.

So Twitter got in on the act.

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Home schooling was popular.

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Some random home tales:

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The police accused of “overreach” as they implement Bozo’s lockdown suggestions as if they were law:

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International:

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Life tips:

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A story of a bunch of wild goats taking over a locked-down Welsh town:

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And the Scottish version:

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Some insightful observations:

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Whimsy:

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(There has been a campaign for everyone to go outside and clap at 20.00 on a Thursday to show appreciation for the NHS. And 5G is the next generation of mobile ‘phone signal, which has some tinfoil hatters incensed).

Just to show however bad things are, there’s always one barking loon trying to make it worse:

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After that post went viral, two 5G masts were burned down!

 

Stay safe people.

Later,

Buck.

Plague!

There’s only one subject of conversation at the moment; the Coronovirus/ Covid-19.

Because we are dedicated followers of fashion, indeed, bleeding edge fashion setters, we chose early adoption. We’ve been off work for a week with it now. We both thought they were being stupid at work, sending us home to self-isolate, then it hit us hard.

The thinking is that 80% of cases will just be mild. Which sounds nice until you look at the definition of ‘mild’. Anything not requiring “machine assisted breathing” is mild. Cases developing into pneumonia can still be mild.

The other thing I read is that bad cases usually require hospitalisation within 7 days. We are approaching that with no serious issues. Hopefully ours is right at the mildest end of the scale.

For us it has been a horrible weakness that comes upon you mostly in the afternoons. You can still do stuff if you really wanted to, but all you want to do is flop. It’s nasty.

The other thing, as it’s a virus that attacks your lungs, is an odd pain deep in your chest, and the cough.

Wendy’s had that for days, but thankfully it’s not getting any worse, I started properly with it last night. The coughing is just little patches every now and then, nothing constant or irritating. The lung pain is pretty constant. It’s a very mild pain, but it is really unsettling.

The worst thing, which is totally unexpected, is it messes with your head. I noticed a week ago that I was feeling a bit rough, then suddenly I felt like I was having a panic attack.

In the same way “depression” is confused in common usage with “a bit sad”, panic attack has come to mean “a bit flustered”.

I don’t mean that. I mean sudden, irrational, thought blocking fear. It only lasted a few seconds but it was terrifying. I was actually hoping it was just that I’d caught the potentially lethal bug rather than that I was going insane again.

And now the lung thing has kicked in it is provoking more of the same. Wendy’s had bouts of it, so it’s not just me.

I am particularly miffed as, in normal life, due to my condition, I don’t really suffer from fear. I’m not boasting, or pretending I’m brave. I used to think I was, but it’s not true, it’s just that BPD makes you take risks without caring about the consequences. It’s not bravery, it’s a mental health issue.

When they said covid-19 has a 7% mortality rate, my first thought was to lick the first person I met with it. I like those odds and I hate waiting.

Wendy was wildly opposed, by the way.

So you can see just how much of a nasty shock having panic attacks is to me.

At least I’m not going insane.

 

Also, because we live in an arbitrary yet vindictive universe, as soon as the government were finally pressured into a lockdown (by the French threatening to close their border as a health risk) the rain stopped and it was lovely and sunny. We’re stuck in the house, bored and a bit poorly, just as it’s getting to motorcycling weather. Super.

 

Selling my Honda is pretty much off the table for the foreseeable future. The economy is tanking, all non-essential businesses have been ordered to close, the workers are getting furloughed or sacked, and even if someone had the money to buy it they aren’t allowed to travel to pick it up.

 

I’ve got to ring my work tomorrow. That’s the end of my 7 day isolation. I can’t see me going back just yet. The afternoon malaise hasn’t struck yet, but the lung pain (more of a discomfort) has started already.

Even if I could tough out the weakness I’m fair sure they don’t want me to kill all the fat old drivers.

 

There have been a few, ironic, political laughs.

Basically every policy St Jezza was slagged off for, as being too expensive and/ or impossible is coming to pass.

They’ve nationalised the railways, after a decade of the poor starving to death because there was no magic money tree they’ve suddenly found and spent more than Jezza’s planned budget, and at the drop of a hat they’ve ended homelessness. As someone on Twitter observed, thousands of poor kids starve to death every day all around the world but nothing is done because the rich can’t catch that. The Murdoch owned, Tory agenda, Financial Times ran an article saying this is the end of the Johnson project. People will not stand for a cash starved, threadbare NHS after this. I hope so. Another irony is a headline yesterday in the Torygraph saying that Britain will starve unless we fly in 90,000 Eastern European skivvies to pick the crops.

Brexit. Biting the hand the feeds it since inception.

 

Twitter has been providing some light relief in these worrying times.

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Stay safe out there.

Later,

Buck.

What?

Everything is going a bit mad here due to the fear of the Covid-19/ Cornona virus.

We’ve got idiots fighting in the aisles over toilet paper. We’ve got selfish, greedy, morons stripping the supermarkets bare of anything they can lay their hands on. People are actually stockpiling water! There is a tap in every house. I went into a spring water bottling plant yesterday, usually I’m in and out. I was there 3 hours queuing behind lorries. The guy said they usually send out about 40 loads, yesterday they were sending out 120.

The last time I saw a toilet roll on a shelf was a week ago. There were 3 packs of 4. Because I’m not a selfish, greedy, moron I took one of them.

 

On the plus side, it means we can get overtime again at work.

 

As we are now owned by Tesco, they’ve introduced a new policy. Staff can go and get their shopping from Tesco on a Sunday morning an hour before the store opens to the public. I’m going to try it out in the morning.  Other good news from work today is someone has just left so a full time vacancy has become available. I’ve reminded them I want to go back to full time, so hopefully I’ll get that. It’s Tuesday- Saturday,06.00hrs start. A bit earlier than I would have liked, but I’ll take it if they offer it to me.

 

More good news is that I dug out two partial packs of very early tomatoes that I bought a year ago and the year before that. I thought I’d give them a go. So far 24 out of the 25 have germinated! Yay! I’ve just moved them to the cold frame. I’ll just have to keep an eye out for frosts, but they should be OK.

 

After my Tesco’s shop tomorrow I’m going to give my VFR750 a wash and relist it. The temperature is rising, (slowly) and it’s stopped raining every single day, so maybe I’ll be able to sell it. I’m going to take a picture with a toilet roll on the bike to drive sales.

Talking of bikes, I got the other tail tidy so I could fit the top box. Then I realised I would have to butcher parts of the brand new plastics on the tail tidy to feed the arms of the rack through. Nothing is ever easy. It was a huge faff, and I had to keep undoing bits I’d already done to do the next bit, but I got it done.

Before:

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After:

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OK, so the box is ugly, but it’s very practical. And the tail tidy has removed all that ugly plate holder frame thing.

The box doesn’t look too bad from other angles. And I can’t see it when I’m on it.

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The final thing I’m doing to it is swapping the handlebars to clubman bars. Which is to say, drop down handlebars so I’m not sat upright catching all the wind on the motorway.

It does everything I wanted. It handles great (and it should feel even better at cornering with proper bars) it feels fast and it slows me down. Perfect.

What I mean by that is some bikes you can be cruising along at 160mph and you just don’t feel like you’re going fast. You’re in the smooth air from the fairings, the bike isn’t straining, it is just a number on the clock. One that will get you very banned.

On this one you feel all the wind smashing into you, the engine is screaming (not in strained way, it just has a lovely howl) and you feel like you are going really, really fast. Then you look at the clock and you’re not even doing a ton. (Allegedly. So I’ve heard.)

 

I’ve not managed to run for a week. I’ve come down with some bug that leaves you feeling weak and tired. Meh. It’s not such a concern, as all three of my marathons have postponed until the autumn due to the plague.

There’s a strange duality about life at the moment. Hysterical panic buying, hoarding, people going into self isolation, versus mine and Wendy’s unchanged lives. Well, actually Wendy has had to endure trauma. Her hairdresser has self isolated for 3 months. I said I’d cut it, but she’s still not happy. And her church are stopping meetings.

Happily I’ve been practicing “social distancing” for many years and am so far ahead of the curve on the “avoiding physical contact” thing that I’m basically virus proof.

So that’s where I’m up to .

As Bob Dylan said “the only thing I knew how to do was to keep on keeping on”

Stay safe, people.

Later,

Buck.

Striple, Latest.

I’ve had a few minor developments.

The back brake binding issue was just the anti-chatter spring thing fouling. Since I’ve taken it off all is well. My new spring arrived today. I’ve bought some specialist grease as well, so when I strip the calliper to fit it I’ll give it another clean and a grease.

I was having issues with the ugly bar muffs. They worked great on bikes with a fairing, but on my naked bike they were being forced onto my handlebar levers by the wind pressure.That was not good. I adjusted them as best I could, as they do work great at stopping your hands from freezing.

Then I was riding to work, I pulled off the motorway on to the slip road and the bike totally died. I was left freewheeling with nothing. Luckily it was stupid o’clock on a Saturday morning so there was nothing behind me. I was fumbling about in the muffs trying to pull the clutch in and hit the start button. Still nothing.

I pulled on to the pavement and had a look. The bar muffs had knocked the kill switch, which cuts all the electrics to the engine. I wasn’t best pleased, but at least my new bike hadn’t died. I put it back on and set off. A mile later it did the same thing. The bar muffs came off before I rode home. Enough is enough. I’m not getting killed by a killed switch. It would be too ironic. That might sound melodramatic, it only turned my engine off, but if I’d have been in the outside lane of the motorway at the time, or accelerating out of a dangerous situation, it could have got very messy, very quickly.

On the bright side, the bike looks loads better for it. The sun was out today for the first time in forever, and it wasn’t raining, so I took the opportunity to wash the road muck off and take some pictures.

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I have been struggling with the wind blast on the motorway. I know, that’s why I got a naked, to slow me down, but I still want to be quite nippy. Also I don’t like the riding position with the high handlebars for cornering.

The solution to both is simple; a new set of handlebars.

You can spend an absolute fortune getting a single headlight conversion and clip-on handlebars ($500- $1000 just for the headlight kit- that you need before you can fit the clip-on handlebars-.)

It is the best look

dear do!

But I’ve done this before, thought “it doesn’t matter how much it costs, it’s my forever bike so it will be worth it in the long run”, then a year later wanted a change and took a kicking on the price.

As Wendy said, “Buy the bike you want. Don’t buy it and convert it into a different bike.”

There is a workable compromise though. Clubman/ Ace bars. You don’t have to modify the bike in any way, you just take the standard handlebars off (and keep them for refitting if you decide to sell) and stick in the new handlebars.

Like this

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clubman

As you can see, it’s not the full-on look of clip-on handlebars, or quite the drop, but it’s a cheap and easy way to lower the riding position. It will let me feel more confident to throw it into corners, and let me lie over the tank at motorway speeds.

Then it will be the full package.

I’m still struggling with the top box dilemma.

Do I get the other tail tidy and fit the top box to make it practical for everyday use, or keep it pretty?

top box

Looking at it, it’s not *that* bad.

OK, get over my superficial self.

Right, that’s the way to go.

On the bright side, this Triumph seems to be faultless. I’ve put 2 weeks and about 3 hundred miles on it, and it’s not missed a beat. Splendid.

Later,

Buck.

Striple!

After the debacle with the Triumph Sprint (Triumph leaving a known weak part to fail, and the previous owner selling it on, as it was about to fail) I bit the bullet, bought the part, fixed it, and sold the bike. I say that like it was a doddle. The sale was a nightmare. It was the same noob who broke it. I don’t want to go through it all as it’s boring and infuriating, but after he’s asked me to take the advert off eBay (ie, he’d agreed to buy it) he came around to look at the bike. I had to take him for a test ride, then he wanted his mate to come around and take it for a test ride, then, after several hours of messing us about and winding me up, he finally agreed he was going to have it.

I had already spotted about the cheapest bike going, so I was desperate to sell to be able to buy it before anyone else snapped it up. Happily we’ve had nothing but rain and gales for months, so nobody was stupid enough to buy a naked bike. Except me.

I was in a rush, so once the pushy noob had bought my bike I arranged to go and view/ buy it as soon as possible. I usually start at ungodly o’clock on a Saturday, with an early-ish finish,usually, so I said I’d go down late in the afternoon.

That meant on Saturday I got up a 03.50 hours, went to work, home for 14.00, on the train for 15.30, arrive at 18.10. Then view and get home. Long day.

On the bright side, the train picked up in Warrington, next stop London. So that was good. Then I had to negotiate the tube, easy as it turns out, but worrisome beforehand. Another train and I was in St Albans right on time.

The guy seemed genuine enough and a nice bloke. And he picked me up from the station. As everyone does in these situations, apart from the rip-off copper who sold me the broken bike. Should have known.

Anyway.

The bike has an alarm, starts on the button, sounds lovely and is in great condition. And, surprisingly, is so small I can actually put me feet more or less flat on the floor! Usually I’m on tip toes, which is less than ideal if you’ve got slippy boots or it’s blowing a gale, but it’s just always been the case so I never thought about it.

So I bought it. I’ve not taken any pictures yet, but it does look just like in the advert.

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I took a bulging sports holdall stuffed with clothes, waterproofs, and my bar mitts (they are ugly but keep your hands from freezing). I put the lot on and waddled on to the bike. It turns out, with the route I took to avoid all the roadworks, it was a 188 mile ride back.  That was bracing. And it poured down the last 50 miles. Of course it did. A good test ride for the bike though. It didn’t miss a beat. The guy who sold it to me said “good luck riding that far” saying it would kill my arse. I don’t know if it was all the layers, but I thought it was quite comfy. After 120 miles I started getting wriggly, but nothing extreme. I’ve had bikes (2 spring to mind) that after 70 miles you were stood on the pedals because you couldn’t bear any more. The wind smashing into you is a bit of a pain, but that was the plan. And it does slow you down.

I’m still getting used to it, and it’s been nothing but rain and gales for forever now, but it seems a hoot of a bike. On Sunday, coming home from work, I had a VW Golf right on my back wheel. I shot off from the lights to teach him a lesson in humility, (it’s what I do, you’re welcome car drivers) and the front end came up. Just on the throttle. Which is to say I wasn’t forcing a wheelie by throwing the clutch out, it was already out, but as I accelerated the bike began to lift. They said it is a “hooligan bike” but I thought I’d at least have to try. The front end has remained planted since, but that’s something new and exciting.

I had the bike nearly 24 hours before I started on maintenance. It’s a bit stiff to back up, and the back brake disc and one front disc were getting warm, so I took the brake callipers off and cleaned the pistons. They were lovely. Slightest bit of muck on them. I cleaned them anyway and greased them. The discs are cool now, but the bike still feels a bit stiff to push. Not sure what that means.

Tomorrow I’m going to make it a lot prettier by fitting a tail tidy. It’s a custom number plate holder. I’ve been told it’s the law that the back tyre cannot be the furthest thing on the back of a bike. If you look at the picture the number plate is held out on an ugly arm to be behind the wheel. The tail tidy puts the ‘plate right underneath the rear light.

(I’ll take pictures tomorrow to better demonstrate.)

Then, after making it too pretty to bear, I’m going to ugly-fy it with a top box. That way I can stash my lid at work and don’t have to keep knocking on the door of security to stash and retrieve it. Top boxes are really practical, but really, really ugly. And in no way keeping with the look of the bike. Sorry, Striple.

So that’s where I am. I’ve finished obsessing. I’ve got my bike. It seems to be all as advertised and lovely. And it does exactly what I wanted of it. It goes like stink, handles well (I think, the riding position takes some getting used to and it’s not been dry yet) and there is no chance of you accidentally slipping into automatic ban (100mph) territory by accident. And if you get there, you certainly don’t want to hold that speed.

Oh, I forgot to say. Wendy was going on about my ‘forever bike’ dream. “You always say this, then a few months later you don’t like it and want something else. It’s never ending!”

I finally got home from the 188 mile ride back at 22.30 ish, after a very long day. When I got back Wendy said  “What do you think of it?”

I replied “Nah, it’s not for me, that.”

“WHAT!”

Hehehehe.

 

My VFR750 hasn’t sold. I had 34 people watching it on eBay, but no-one pressed ‘buy it now’.

I’ve got options. Some guy is coming to look at it tomorrow. I’ve had offers for less than my asking price. Or I could just wait until the temperature is warm enough to lure the Fair Weather’s out of their Volvos, and try again.

Later,

Buck.

Update:

The guy came around to view and was just nit picking trying to get me to give it away. I was in the middle of a frustrating job on the Triumph so I was utterly uninterested. Buy it or go away. He’s gone “to think about it”. Think about putting your hand in your pocket, mate.

I fitted the tail tidy. It was a bit of an ordeal, as the instructions were at best partial. And I had to improvise, adapt and overcome. I ended up having to saw some off the old plastics to make the new one fit.

I got there in the end and it looks loads better.

Before:

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After:

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The number plate is a bit off kilter, but I can adjust that.

Once that job was done I set to fitting the top box.

HA!

Once again the universe proves arbitrary yet vindictive.

The frame for the top box runs inside the exhaust pipes then flattens off just above the seat height. Which means, because I bought the cheap design of tail tidy, it won’t fit.

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The frame wants to come up just about where the arrow is.  I thought about taking an angle grinder to my brand new tail tidy, but as I’d have to strip everything off again to do that, thought I’d better do some research first.

I was in the middle of trying half a dozen adaptations and workarounds when the guy came to view the bike.

I went to look for bikes that had a top box and a tail tidy. I found they’d relisted the ugly, but local, bike I was going to get.

tidy box

Indicators coming out of the side of the light. I tracked that down.

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So, I’m going to have to buy the dearer tail tidy, that gives the top box frame room to pass.

Marvellous.

Then sell mine on eBay.

Then I braved the freezing cold and hail showers to wash the road salt off.

Looking good.

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Apart from the pug ugly bar handmuff things. I’ll be so glad when it warms up so I can take them off.

The back brake was a bit sticky so I’ve stripped and cleaned that again. The anti chatter spring was fouling the piston, so I’ve ordered a new one. Hopefully that will be the end of that.

So, that’s where I’m up to on my latest obsession.

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