last updated January 28, 2011

distance and detail

I headed out on the bike yesterday because, apart from anything else, my body needed it - too many days sitting in front of a computer gives me restless legs and makes me grumpy. It was a decent ride out to Renfrewshire where the skies are bigger and my mind can start to wander places. The fewer the imprints of man, the calmer I become. A far flung beach (the stormier the better) would be the epitome of this.

Turning around and coming over the Erskine bridge, sunlight was breaking through clouds which picked up Helensburgh, Roseneath Peninsula and Kintyre to my west and Glasgow, in the distance, looking dramatic the other side. Times appear hard though, coming back through the outskirts of Clydebank and Dalmuir. The legacy of December's snow and a halting of public services is now an incredible amount of litter, some of which has blown into hedges and scrub. All makes for a depressing scene: the suggestion of a place which doesn't have any pride left.

Towering to my right is the endangered species of the Type-42 class destroyer which is now being fitted-out down-river from its' place of birth. Nearer my front wheel are the grit and blaze crusts by the roadside as well as the huge pot holes I'm continually avoiding. A spoke breaks on my back wheel and I change route back to the quickest one home. There are cars everywhere as well (something I find as disgusting as litter) and I notice people have taken to parking on pavements in the past 6 years - a novel take on overcrowding. The minute I get home an old friend calls, thinking of moving back from abroad and asks for my take on Glasgow. I give an upbeat if honest opinion and we discuss the colour of grass.

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Posted by stupot at 12:43 PM Friday 28 Jan

Tax Avoidance

Filing tax, despite the adverts, is taxing. You get into the swing of it but it's hard work. Instead of the popular hobby of smoking, I now wander the streets drawing to get away from my desk and clear my head. Yesterday I returned to a lane I'd recently found as a shortcut. Despite the grandeur of Glaswegian stone buildings, the rear is almost always brick. Fortunately rear elevations were often considered by the Victorians and aside your common red brick; cream, glazed bricks are popular throughout the city and used to wonderful effect. Of course this blog entry is just more procrastination!

St Mary's Lane


Posted by stupot at 12:17 PM Wednesday 19 Jan

Wheelcraft

Yesterday's ride was punctuated by a welcome stop at Clachan of Campsie to visit the one and only Alastair Gow. Alastair has been building wheels for the past 24 years and commands great respect amongst the cycling community near and far. The notice on his door says 'messy people are happy people and the folk in here are delirious'. It happens to be no joke - the place looks like a violent earthquake happened directly under it but this also happens to be its charm. Where else are you ushered through to the relative warmth of the back room to meet the owner and have coffee ground for you there and then like you are an old friend? Alastair is a master of making people feel relaxed and at home - in exchange for a blether. I don't think he ever cycled professionally but he is certainly a pro bletherer. Back in his chair people came and went and our (very good) coffee went down a treat. We headed off thinking about returning to buy hubs and seatposts.

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Posted by stupot at 11:19 AM Friday 14 Jan

The Wall

We've had a good amount of early snow this year which partially explains my lack of activity for drawing as well as blogging. Spending Christmas in North England allowed us to visit Hadrians wall - what was the most fortified border in the Roman Empire. The build quality is very impressive given that it is almost 2000 years old. A lot of pride was obviously taken by the work force - stone-cutters initials on show, sporadically, amongst the bricks. Drawing time was reduced to about 5 minutes - my digits don't have much heat in them at the best of time.

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Posted by stupot at 11:13 AM Friday 14 Jan

overtaking

On a club run in the UK you are often honked, shouted at and, more dangerously, cut up by impatient motorists. This is usually early on a Saturday or Sunday morning when roads are at their quietest and when people are relaxing into their weekends.

The problem with that last sentence is that roads are no longer quiet and people don't relax in cars. Section 66 in the Highway Codes states that "never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends". People over the years have complained to me about cyclists riding two abreast to which I've always replied that it is legal. Unfortunately the rule is as ambiguous as a lot of the highway code when it comes to cyclists. When do you categorise a road as being busy - especially if it is a 'B' road on a Saturday morning. It's all mainly 'should' instead of telling people how to do it - which I don't necessarily disagree with - as I don't always want to wear a helmet (see dutch commuters).

Rule 68 also states you 'MUST NOT hold onto a moving vehicle or trailer' - when I can remember Billy Bilsland clearly teaching me that this one of the most fundamental skills for a cyclist to learn.

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Posted by stupot at 01:09 PM Monday 10 Jan