First off, a race report. I did the castle coombe crit on Thursday night. It's basically a kermesse style race but with a unique twist, or really a series of unique twists which make it its own kind of creature;
- It's on a flat, windy motor circuit so you find yourself spinning like a nutter in 53-11 on one straight and wheezing like a pensioner in 53-19 on the other
- It's a handicap race, the 4th cats get a 1 lap (2 mile) lead, then go the 3rd cats with about half a lap, then after the 4th cats do lap 1 the scratch posse heads out, this workd well as the scratch group gets some through and off working and we catch the assembled 34 bunch quite close to the end. BUT I have recently discovered that some 4th cat racers (and I admit it's not all that long since I was a 4th cat) have the memory span of a goldfish. Each lap is a new and exciting experience, necessitating much screaming and occasional frenetic bouts of heavy application of rubber to rim. Having been in the elite group for about an hour, this is quite a shock when we do merge into one glorious whole.
- It always bloody rains
- it starts at 730, so it gets dark near the end which makes it more scary
- they let someone with some special counting skills do the laps to go board resulting in the 15,14,13 12, 12,12 10, 9,9 7, 3,3, bell lap combination which leads to much frenzied moving up and complaining at the back. I can see the organizer is trying to eek out as much racing as he can for us, so actually I quite respect his funny counting but it does piss you off when you're in the hurt box and the lap cards start to climb
- you shouldn't drink loads of coffee beforehand because then you cant sleep
this Sunday I have an E12 road race, it's called the python rr, I hope this doesn't mean it is going to bite me in the arse. I have had pretty good luck with snakes. I picked up a puff adder once thinking it was a grass snake, but it seemed to like me so I survived. Didn't stop everyone I was with running away when I kissed it's little head though, they still maintain I'm nuts. I went swimming with a green mamba once, my first multi sport experience. Someone saw the snake, yelled, I swam like a madman then ran like a bullet (actually I ran like a constipated duck because that's how I always run) then I realized I had left all my clothes and shoes by the river so I minced back and rescued them.
Anyway onto the planning – as you can tell form the above I have spent a chunk of my short life in Africa, I love the people and the countryside. I also love bikes. I have hatched a cunning scheme to combine my 2 passions in using one to help the other. Yep- I'm going to have Africans push me up hills. No, sadly it's a little more serious than that. Lots of people struggle to get to school and even if they could get there paying for it is a massive struggle, so is doing homework without an electric light. I'm not going to pretend I can solve the world's problems with a sturmey archer 3 speed but I do have a little scheme which I think might help.
Giving families a bike would allow them to
- sell their produce in urban areas and make a little bit of money which they could use to pay for an education or to improve housing/farmland (it's a bit hard trying to sell stuff to your neighbor when he grows the same stuff)
- get kids to and from school and allow medics or teachers to travel around more freely than they could on foot.
- generate enough electricity through a dynamo hub to power a small light bulb for a few hours a night
- have a piece of kit which they can easily fix themselves (or once person in each community can fix) and which has zero input/fuel costs.
It's a plan, if anyone has the kit/ideas/contacts to help (I need bikes, dynamos, transport, cash and brains) drop me a line jamesstout100 [at] gmail.com
In other news my chickens just dropped a massive egg, I mean it's bloody huge, I took a photo. At least 2 yolks, maybe 3. I don't envy the poor little birdie which had to lay it though.