The wall painting.
I haven’t ventured down 青石路 in a very long time. I have glanced down there as I’ve headed into Trust Mart, and I’ve noticed that things have changed (the colour scheme), but I haven’t gone to see how they’ve changed.
It’s not really the weather for going on an adventure. At lunchtime there was an almighty great downpour which was comprised of industrial-sized raindrops, but that was short-lived, and the heat and humidity returned with little delay. However, I decided it was time I got off my big, fat middle-aged arse and went out on my bike to do more than just go to Carrefour, Trust Mart, or, er…
I headed down 青石路 to find that the only real change down there was the painting of some murals on the block walls which are sitting outside the shops at the east end of the street. As far as I can tell, there have been almost no other changes along there. There shops behind the walls, which I had thought were going to be demolished, are all busy trading away, but in the past year (or however long it is since I’ve been down there), nothing seems to have happened.
I carried on past Walmart, where nothing was happening, not even a car display, and did a circuit before heading back into town past the railway station, and just as I decided to follow the road round past Carrefour, the rear cog of my bike started making a terrible grinding noise. I’d already been thinking about getting the front brakes replaced again. Anyway, so long as I pedalled fairly fast, there were no problems, but the moment I started coasting, my bike started sounding like a concrete mixer.
Fortunately, the Giant bike shop wasn’t far away and I got them to have a look. I thought it’d just be a matter of tightening up the chain, which was loose, but the rear cog really was in a bad way and had to be replaced. I think the problem was, in part, due to the wet weather washing all the grit and dust about, which then gets into the workings of my biking. I also got them to fit some better brake blocks, which are longer than the usual ones although I wait to see whether they’re longer lasting.
I think, though, my intention to replace my current machine with something a little more upmarket has had another boost because I have spent quite a bit of money getting my bike repaired, especially in the last six months or so. Let me think. Whole new drive train; two or three new drum brakes; several sets of front brakes; new rear tyre; new pedals; a new set of brake handles; numerous minor repairs. I don’t think I’ve ever had to replace the rims, but the front rim probably needs replacing not just because there are grooves etched into it, but the lower part of the rim and the upper are at slightly different angles probably because of the pressure of the brake blocks.
Anyway, unless things change in the next three months, I’ll probably buy myself a Hunter 3.0. However, if it was a little less racing bike and little more city bike, I’d opt for a Giant FCR3100, which is the first men’s bike I’ve seen here with sensible width tyres (700x32c). It’s a bit like a low-end sports car, which isn’t really convenient for the business of daily life, whereas I need the sports saloon: something I can get a decent turn of speed out of, but which still has a basket and a carrier for things like shopping.
I still can’t understand why anyone would want to ride a mountain bike with big, fat, cloddish, bumpkin tyres in town. I suppose it’s like the cycling equivalent of the SUV, which never gets driven off road because, basically, it’s a fat estate car.
I’ve just seen the episode of Top Gear in which the boys raced across London to see who could traverse the capital the fastest. As it turned out, it was Richard Hammond on the bike, but it couldn’t be a normal city bike. This had carbon fibre everything and cost £1700, which is about twice the price of the one I’ve seen in the Giant shop here. Hammond didn’t appear to be much of a cyclist, either.