Yeah, nah. The goods from Japan have arrived so now we have plenty of bikes. Kazuko is happy because she can ride her minivelo to work and enjoy the comfort of proper mudguards. I’m happy because I have all my bike tools and my Pista and Australian customs are happy because there is nothing they like more than inconveniencing people and then charging them for it. But before we get into all that, here is how the statue on the river celebrated Cadel’s Tour de France win:

A happy Tour de France supporter.

I’m not sure if we have seen a ‘Cadel effect’ in local cycling as it rained all the week after the Tour so the sort of fair-weather cyclist who might have been encouraged onto the road by someone who coincidentally comes from the same country as them winning a race would have been unlikely to venture out into the cold and rain. Why can’t they hold the Tour de France when the weather in Perth is better? (And did you like the length of that first sentence?). The rain didn’t stop me, though. I was prepared to ride through puddles like this one:

I'm sure this path was above sea level when we built it.

I’m certain the pelicans were mocking me as I tried to keep my feet dry through that puddle.

Untroubled by the depth of the water.

But as I said, our boxes from Japan arrived and there was no time to be basking in post Tour de France tenuously reflected glory. Instead, there were bicycles to be shown off and bicycles to be cleaned. My Bianchi Vigorelli has earned itself some temporary mudguards and become thedaily commuter bike. It has also become quite filthy over the last few weeks but here it is being given a good old clean:

That's better, isn't it?

I’m not one of these fussy people who give their bike a full rub-down after each ride so there really was plenty of filth to be removed. Oh yes and the front yard style is known as ‘building-site chic’. This time next year, gardens will be out and weeds and ‘temporary’ fences will be in. With the Vigorelli nice and clean, there were just these other bikes to do:

A clean bike is as good as a holiday, they say.

The shoes are there because I was informed that they were a bit stinky, too. Missing from the photo is the Pista as it was already spotless. I swapped the Pista’s Brooks saddle with the Vigorelli’s less comfortable saddle and I hope to start using the Vig for nice long rides as the weather gets better – I’m hoping there might be a few overnight mini-tours.

But back to the title of this post. Now that it’s stopped raining for a few days, I’ve been able to get the Pista out onto the road for a few commutes. The old bar tape didn’t survive the trip from Japan very well so I took the chance of new bar tape to swap the brake levers for ones that let me run the cables along the bars instead of having them waving around in the air in an old-fashioned but mildly annoying way. The new white  bar tape looks very sexy indeed and the bit near the brake levers where I appear to have wrapped it poorly is, in fact, a feature and not a flaw.

To complement the new look of the bike, I have taken to riding around on it while carrying a mini-messenger bag and I have flipped my back whee so that I no longer have a free hub and I am fully fixed. I really do not know why people choose to ride fixed and therefore make cycling more dangerous than it already is but I’m still going to persist with it until either the end of the week or my crash, whichever comes first.

I spent today’s commute chasing my left pedal every time I took off, trying to get my foot into the cleat which of course meant I never take off quickly and I’m much more likely to find myself stuck in the middle of an intersection, trying to get my foot into the pedal while a car bears down on me. But I also don’t need a car to crash into me: I am quite capable of coming a cropper all by myself. My gearing is 48 x 16 which means I need to keep up a cadence of about 120 to go downhill at 45kmh. This isn’t actually as hard as it sounds, because I don’t actually have to push to keep up that cadence – I can just let the pedals spin my legs. However, at the bottom of that hill in Kings Park, the danger comes from a rather dramatic speed hump. I have to get out of the saddle to clear the hump and not risk the saddle kicking into me in a most uncomfortable fashion. This led to my pedalling not quite keeping up with the speed of the back wheel. How I stayed upright, I shall never know. Maybe I won’t tomorrow. Or maybe I’ll try actually using the brakes.

Anyway, I’ve realised I’ve failed to take a photo of the pista since it got back so I’ll just have to try to leave home early enough tomorrow so I can get out the camera for a quick photo shoot and not be late for work. Unless it’s raining. Then I’ll just take the Vigorelli.

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