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A load of old Bull - I feel a good ride brewing
By Nick Bull
Date: 1/11/2010
A load of old Bull - I feel a good ride brewing

A load of old Bull
Week 6 - I feel a good ride brewing

Dear reader (maybe next week I can add an 's' onto that), I have discovered something this past week that needs to be shared. Perhaps need is too strong a word, but in this stage before the theatre curtain gets raised and the Tour Down Under becomes the opening act for the start of the 'real' road season, as I call it, I thought I would concentrate my words this week on something closer to home.

Not through any scientific test or feat of exploration, I have realised that riding a bike is akin to drinking alcohol. Stay with me here, I plead, while we look at the thinking behind this. First, you can ride a bike pretty much anywhere, technically even in the comforts of your own home. While I do not recommend having a can of Bud in your hand while walking around shopping malls or when you are trying to push an unwilling rider up L'Alpe du Huez, there are so many places to enjoy a nice pint. On my weekend ride, I often visit a quiet, out of town bar for some light refreshment and something to eat. Despite nothing but vast, empty land around, there are buildings like this spread along my route. There may be more miles of road around, yet I can guarantee a tasty tipple is just a couple of corners away. And when I don't feel like leaving the warmth of my house, I go to the fridge and pick out a bottle of beer or three or go on the hometrainer.

I remember the first time I took a beginner cyclist on a ride with me. Their first remark after finishing was that I knew a lot of people on the roads. On the contrary, I remarked I was just adhering to the protocol of talking to any passing cyclist, or offering help to those with a flat or suffering from a lack of energy. There is a real togetherness among cyclists that you maybe would not get on a playing field with several groups all trying to play their own game of soccer or baseball. However, I do know another place where this does exist and that's at a good pub. Lots of us can stand at the bar and if that is full, the owners provide us with chairs and couches. You may tell a joke to a stranger and, post-laughter, make your way back to those who you are drinking with and continue socialising with them.

Just a quiet Monday night......

As we all know, cycling is good for you. It reduces the risk of hearth disease and high blood pressure, as well helping with weight management. I recently read an article that sexual intercourse also burns off several calories, and a proven method (not by me, I confess) for having some evening classes, as it were, is by drinking alcohol. A couple of glasses of wine or a vodka mixer will increase confidence and may result in you talking to that polite lady sitting in the corner. We all know that the real purpose of Champagne is to make men and women go home together. Eventually they will exercise, and this came about through drinking. I conclude, your honour, by saying that cycling and alcohol can both be good (enjoyable) for you.

It was actually an incident that I've not mentioned yet that caused to me to link the two things. Before the country came to a standstill because of the snow, I went out on my winter bike a vintage 2007 Claude Butler San Remo. It did not cost a lot of money, I only use it when the weather is dreary and/or wet and it is not brilliantly equipped. Even so, it rides beautifully, it is light and it always leaves me pleasantly surprised. Around 15km into a ride, I saw a rider leaving his house, clad in Gore-Tex clothing and riding a Specialized Tarmac Pro (you know, the one with Dura Ace rear derailleur and levers). About five minutes later, he was on my wheel, at the same time as puffing and sounding as breathless as Nana's dog. After a brief chat, in which man went about telling me everything that was wrong with my machine of choice (he even mentioned the 'disgusting' blue colour scheme), he re-found his breath and decided to go on ahead of me.

My bike computer calculated that, 826 metres later, I had passed him again. Barely five minutes later, I saw his figure in the distance turn around, presumably heading back home. I'm not the strongest rider out there by any means. I predict that at least half of those I pass on my rides would beat in me in a race. The same amount probably also have better bikes. I accept that, nonetheless I refuse to acknowledge the 'flash' cyclist who thinks that expensive bikes and paraphernalia will make them the king of the road. If you are reading this, Sir, please know your limits. The same can be set to any people who have drunk a bottle of cheap Wine and plan to get severely intoxicated. Drink in moderation, stay half cut, and you may get to exercise in a couple of hours.

I'd be amazed if anyone has made it to this point. I'm off flirt with a bar girl.

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