Just so you know: this page was imported from my old blog. Some pages were rather mangled in the process; my apologies if things don't quite look right.

It's just gone 7am. I've just stumbled through my front door sweating, confused, legs filled with jelly, eyes red, throat burning and a desperate need not to have a cigarette for the first time in a long time.

No, I haven't just woken from a nap in a gutter after a PWs night out. Nor have I just spent the night doing anything more fun. Nope, I've been road-testing my bike with all it's Shiny New Bits™.

Rewind back to midnight last night: I worked fairly late at the Union tying up some loose ends and generally doing the things I should have done months ago. Earlier in the day I'd been to Halfords to buy the last part I needed for my bike - yet another "bit" I thought I had covered but didn't, so I got home hoping, praying and pleading with lots of Gods - none of which I believe in (where's the point in religion? If I've picked the wrong one, I'm just making the right God angrier...) - to let me put The Bike together at last.

After two hours of alternately swearing, bolting, trapping fingers, screwing, knocking expensive things over, banging, and lots of other noisy adjectives that probably have you lot at the back of the class giggling, the bike was back together, with hundreds of pounds of new parts on it. By this time it was 5am, and with a dentist appointment (which I have to skyve off thanks to my tonsilitis earlier this week - no kisses for me then...) later this morning, I figured I might as well go out and test the bike while the roads are empty and the chavlets are a-kip.

(By the way, I'm not entirely sure where this post is going...)

So, off I go down my road in the cold morning air. The sky's just beginning to turn a deep bluey-purple, and I'm struck by how little road vibration the new - very hard - tyres actually transmit. I'm also nearly struck by a passing car. A parked car. Somewhere in my head, a light bulb flashes on and I remember to turn on my lights so I can actually see where I'm going. Yes, I am proud to be an idiot...

A minute or two later and I'm grinning like the village idiots I'm descended from as I shoot down Fawcett Road, and heading towards the sea front. If the weather were a bit warmer, I'd be picking flies out of my teeth.

A couple of minutes after that, I'm starting to realise (a) that this is the first serious exercise I've had in a long time, and that (b) smoking is the reason I'm starting to hallucinate due to lack of oxygen.

Still, it was nice to perch on the sea wall enjoying a cigarette while watching a trio of wheezing joggers I'd flashed past ten minutes previously. The look they gave me wasn't exactly awe... More a "stop bloody smoking and get back on your bike you fat tw*t". Something like that, anyway...

I know it sounds like I'm whinging, but I'm really not - I love cycling, mainly 'cos it's the only form of exercise that seems to be almost-efficient-enough to not seem like a daft waste of time, and I'm looking forward to getting fit enough to be able to start working back up to my 100 miles-a-ride goal. Hell, I might even give up smoking because of it...

Coming tomorrow: what new parts I've put on the bike, and how much the new bike parts cost me.
Coming soon: Adventures In Halfords trying to get a refund for all the new parts.
Coming later: Adventures In Street Begging...

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