My beloved colleague Chris Gerhard, excusing his inability to spell my name correctly, writes:
Alec Muffet has just told us what he likes about his bike. Now I have two comments about this.
First what I really like about my bike (any one of them) is that that they are silent. All except the triplet, which is silent but the kids on the back are not.
The other thing I find odd is that every time Alec mentions his bike I get all hopeful that he is talking about a proper bike, and each time I am disappointed.
When I read that Alec hand delivered some of his Christmas cards on a short bike ride, I started to think that perhaps he was copying my annual trip to deliver my local cards. I used to do it over a single trip, 40 miles of stop start and sometimes even a few drinks on the way round if I was caught delivering. Now it has been broken into two shorter runs; but being lazy I have two helpers on the back, one to sort the cards, and one to jump off an deliver.
I could get amusingly shirty here and point out that:
- Although my bike is noisy, his bikes can’t do 135mph on the M4, or indeed go on the motorway at all, and…
- The length of my christmas-card round exceeded his by a factor of 10, and…
- I thought that The Goodies had established that his “Triplet” is actually called a “Trandem“?
…but good-natured bitchery aside,
He and the other gonzo cycle-fascists on the top floor of building 3 Chris and his chums can rest assured that I also appreciate (ahem) “pedal-cycles“, although lacking his consummate and perfect insanity hardiness, I can’t bring myself to commute into work every day, come sun, rain or pissing hailstorm, or indeed at all, by bike.
Partly this is because I used to commute 18 miles per day by mountainbike (Witney to Burford, return) at a job before joining Sun, and really hated cycling the A40 in rush-hour traffic. I realise that to you, Chris, this is a trivial distance but
as we’ve previously established, you’re bonkers, mate. wanting to cover that distance every day is a matter of personal taste.
Partly this is also because a mountainbike is still not a very pleasant way to cover the 12 mile daily commute I would have to do in traffic, although I do regularly pore over Ordnance Survey maps to try and discover a legally cyclable route through the enormous, heavily rutted and possibly mined British Army Tank-Driver Training Course which lies directly between my home and my office.
Further this may be to do with my not having got a life with anything that this entails, so the notion of my getting up before 0700 in order to facilitate spending 30 minutes to cycle into work, subsequently leaving work
at the same time as the non-geeks at a normal time in order to spend another 30 minutes to get home, does not really fit into how my work day usually pans-out.
Finally, there is the question of the bike itself; with the arrival of Chris’s group in my office building, he and his peers demanded and got the installation of some very swish bike-lockers to protect their collective two-wheeled prides-and-joys.
(Aside: I suspect that one of the conspirators’ suggestion to park an old Ford Transit minivan in the company carpark, cancel its roadtax, insurance, and rip the wheels off it in order to store their bikes in that, might have influenced the decision in their favour. I consider this to have been a political masterstroke.)
However, were I to get a new pedal-bike to commute-in on this summer, it would probably be one of these.
I therefore have no idea where I would be able to park it.
 Unless height of the riders is the differentiator, not that Bill Oddie is particularly tall.