Friday, 27 February 2015

Are You Tired, Son?



'No I'm not tired, Daddy.  Are you tired?'

'I'm not tired Son...'

'Are you having fun, Daddy?'

It was four in the afternoon, we had been on the road since eleven and I was bloody knackered.

The bikes are brilliant.  I had been a little concerned about the gears on Alex's bike.  He's never had a bike with gears before and now he had 18 to deal with.  He has a triple sprocket and a six speed cassette so on his left grip selector he has a choice of one to three, and on his right, one to six.  He had no trouble at all.

'I'm in Two - Four, Daddy, what are you in?'

'Two - Five, Son'

Gear mechanisms on bikes have come on a long, long way since I had to pedal myself anywhere.  Most bikes back then had Sturmey Archer 3 speeds if you were lucky, and a basket on the front if you weren't.  If any of us had problems today, it was me.  Rather than a twist grip, I had levers only I hadn't spotted two of them.  There were four.  Consequently I had changed all the way to top (mine has 21 gears) and couldn't figure out how to change down again before I fell off.  So yes, much to Alex's delight, Daddy was the first to crash before we'd even properly set off.

Once we got going, though, it was a delight.  First we cycled to the site, but that wasn't nearly far enough so we cycled back again and then on to the petrol station on the main road where a man had to show me how to use the airline so I could fill the tyres to the correct pressures.  We had a sticky bun and a stimms each but were in no mood to call it a day so we carried on to the golf course.  This gave us miles of tracks to play on so play on them we did.  All of them.  The rumble of thunder and a darkening sky warned us of an impending downpour so we decided to head home.  We got there but Alex still wasn't tired and it wasn't raining so we carried on to Rico's place to have another fizzy drink (I was feeling faint by this stage).  Of course Alex had to show them our new bikes.

'Official Blue Bulls training bikes,' I said.  All the South Africans I have met support either the Blue Bulls or the Sharks rugby teams. 

'Since the Bulls were kind enough to give us a couple of their official team training bikes,' I continued, 'Alex and I felt we should start supporting them; we have all the team kit at home as well.'

'Hang on, the Bulls sent you these bikes?'

'No, they sent them to an address in South Africa, a pal sent them up for us.  Is the bar open?  I'm gagging for a tonic water...'

I'll allow time to let that sink in.  I'm on for the best play ever so I don't want to strike at the first twitch of the fly...

'Well of course the apprentice does all the work, how else will he learn?'
 
I did my 'bike first then started on Alex's.  He'd have been off on his own otherwise!
Note the patented empty paint tin frame stand.
'Daddy knows what he's doing...doesn't he?'
Looking like a bike now and yes, Son, those are the gears
Final adjustments.  There is nothing to compare with German engineering.  All the parts are well made and fitted together perfectly.  Beautiful fit and finish, a delight to work on. 
One last job, make a note of the serial number stamped on the crank case...
Cambodia is a small town in Baden-Württemberg noted for bicycle production and Mohnkuchen
Indian Chief and Indian Scout
The easy way to distinguish between the two bicycles is to note that Alex's has a side stand.
A very chuffed little boy.
He's cycled three million miles and he still has the energy to run!


30 comments:

  1. They certainly are well traveled bikes, Cambodia -> UK -> Germany -> Angola. TIG welding on them looks skilled enough. It is however time to let Alex loose on you with the hair clippers again.

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    1. Oddly enough, I put the clippers on charge last night. I'll let Alex loose with them in the morning.

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  2. You look like a mad professor ....all that hair and those socks!

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    1. So one of the signs of creativity closely associated with mental illness are Marks and Spencer's blue cotton rich socks?

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    2. Yes!
      And the higher they are pulled up
      The madder you are!

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    3. Whatever the NHS is paying you, it isn't enough.

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  3. you really have the "german" lok going on with those shoes and socks! muhnkuchen? what am i missing? great looking bikes. alex should be a gap model!

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    1. "German" look? (you did mean look and not lok?). Since when have socks become a source of amusement? Do you like insects biting your ankles? Do you enjoy the gritty sensation of sand between your toes? Socks are efficient!

      MOhnkuchen Liebchen. Poppy seed cake and if you've never tried it, you have definitely missed something.

      Alex can be a model in his, er, gap year. Right now he must study.

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  4. sounds like a very fun day. Alex has the kind of smile that can light up the largest room.

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    1. A magic day and we'll be doing the same again today. Alex's bike can cut along at quite a lick so we can really go places together.

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  5. You are looking well Hippo.

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    1. I see from your avatar that you haven't changed a bit!

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  6. Keep them padlocked when not in use.... they look highly steal-able. I like those tyres on Alex's.... my grandsons have been skidding with their bike, and the back tyre now has a bald patch..... a new one like that would do just fine.

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    1. The tyres are 20 Euros. You can get them through any dealer local to you listed on http://www.veloland.com/
      The tyres are so sticky and the brakes so efficient, when I tested my brakes to see how good an emergency stop I could do, I shot forward off the saddle and received an eyewatering introduction to the cross bar!

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  7. Ah...now you know what did fall out.....your stand i had to take it orf to make em fit in die box...!

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    1. I could have done with a bicycle pump! And a rear rack for saddlebags, the saddlebags of course, and some bottle cages and bottles, some paddy nappy cycling shorts, a cycle computer, gloves, the Fuxon Werkzeugkoffer... It was a mistake including the 2015 ZEG Catalogue!

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  8. That'll repair the muscles in your gammy thigh (or finish them off)! Good old German engineering! Now you've mentioned Mohnkuchen,I'm longing for a slice and me on a diet too.

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    1. Definitely good for the leg muscles but, if trying to pull my 'German' socks on this morning was anything to go by, bloody awful for my back!

      I wouldn't mind a slice or two of Mohnkuchen as well! I want Kassler, I want any kind of wildgericht, I want spaetzle, rotkohl, I want...

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  9. Unless you are leaving something out (like a sackful of expletives) you seem to have had no trouble putting the bikes together. It says a lot about Cambodian engineering. The Germans could learn a lot from Cambodia which is probably the real home of Mercedes, Bosch and Schalker Eisenhütte Maschinenfabrik.

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    1. Isn't the Schalker Eisenhütte Maschinenfabrik just up the road from the CMC Srl. Italian Woodworking Machine factory? The one next to the German spectacle factory...

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    2. That's right. It's next to the Bastien Schweinsteiger shirt factory near the airport in western Phnom Penh.

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  10. I have to confess that my husband had to put smiley face stickers on my gear selectors (a big smile for low gear) as I kept twisting the grip in the wrong direction. My new Gerard Butler bike is easier as it has a click control. I blame it on being left handed and blonde.

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    1. Better than being cack-handed I suppose...

      Woman sees her doctor...
      'Doctor, everywhere I touch myself it hurts!'
      Dr. examines her and then says: 'You're not a natural brunette, are you?'
      Woman, surprised, 'No. I'm blonde, why?'
      Dr. says. 'You've got a broken finger...'

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  11. How come it's so green? I thought Africa was all desert or at least parched.

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    1. Those photos were taken on the Mangais Golf Course which is irrigated. The area surrounding it is semi-arid. The continent of Africa is, however, the only continent to stretch from the Northern Temperate Zone to the Southern Temperate Zone, 70 odd degrees of the Earth's meridional circumference or about 8,000 kms/5,000 miles, so it exhibits the climates and vegetation of Mediterranean, desert, savannah, tropical rainforest and back again as you move from top to bottom. The contiguous United States is just 56 degrees from East to West, still less than Africa's 68 degrees at its widest. Most maps of the world use the Mercator projection which, in order to display the flattened surface of a sphere on a flat map, tends to squash Africa (and any land mass close to the equator) and expand the more northerly and southerly landmasses so Africa looks smaller than it is. On a typical wall map of the world, Greenland looks about the same size as Africa yet it is 14 times smaller. Africa has 20% of the World's landmass while the whole of North America has 16%. Europe has less than 7%.

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    2. Of course, a world class golf course about to host a PGF match built up amidst grinding poverty, right next to villages without drinking water could only make you swell with pride at the success of yet another development project. The IMF has decreed that the government subsidies on fuel, about the only way the citizens of this country get any direct, equably distributed benefit from the natural wealth of the place, should be withdrawn and the money saved invested in development projects. So we expect to see more factories in the middle of nowhere, some dams, a few more shopping centres. 4G in the cities and several Academies of Excellence. We feed satellite TV to the shop so the locals will be able to see Mangais on the Sports channel next year. That'll be nice for them.

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    3. Thanks for the geography lesson!

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  12. Hoi Mr McGowan I think I need to call the bloody fashion police on you, you need locking up, stop pulling your socks up like that when wearing boots you look like an old fud!!

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    1. I'd like to see a picture of you under the same circumstances!

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    2. Nothing wrong with boots and socks, just not pulled up to try & reach your knees you auld fud, let them fall naturally or pull them down to the top of your boots.......lol

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