Saturday, 24 August 2013

On my reputation at my local bike shop

I have been patronising Martin Swiss Cycles for over a decade and I have got to know the people there moderately well. In turn, they know me fairly well and are very fond of Floria dei Fledermoose, or as they call her, "Batmoose", owing to the logo I put on the front stem. Anyway, when I brought her in for an overhaul yesterday, I asked them with no shame if they wouldn't mind also installing the "thumb" bell that Margo had "given Floria". This neat little bell is designed to be attached to Shimano shifter/brake levers on road bikes in such a way that in order to ring the bell, a rider need only lift his or her thumb. The bell came with instructions, but as shifter/brake levers are somewhat complex things (and I don't even pretend to know how they really work) I didn't feel comfortable "shoving" a third party widget into part of the braking system, even if only for the front brakes! These bells can be adjusted for either left or right hand use and I asked the shop that it be installed on the left.  As much as possible, I put my handlebar accessories (bells, bike computer, etc.) on the left in order to leave the right hand on the rear brake lever as much as possible.

I seemed to have digressed somewhat. Anyway, the guy taking Floria from me accepted my request without a fuss.  Indeed, he seemed quite happy to do it.  I like to think I am a slightly exotic and therefore interesting customer at the shop. My take on the place is the bulk of their customers fall into the categories of MAMILs (a.k.a. Middle Aged Men In Lycra or Spandex bikers), Westmount kids, riders of comfort bikes and some wannabe mountain bikers.  While I could be accused of belonging to the first category (I am a middle aged man who has been known to wear Lycra), I defend my "honour" by pointing out that my tires are far too wide and my bikes too heavy and practical for me to be a true MAMIL.  The fact that Floria has a milk crate attached on the back means I would have a hard time being truly accepted by the MAMIL community. ;-)  (Incidentally, I noticed a "factory" version of milk crate bike basket on sale at the Shop!)  All this to say, that I am an outlier among their customers as they don't get all that many hard core cycle commuters or bike tourers. Hence, I like to think that I am memorable.
The "Thumb bell" installed
When I picked Floria up at lunchtime today, the thumb bell was installed as requested. After settling the bill (Martin Swiss isn't cheap but they do good work), I set off on my business of the day. The bell is surprisingly loud given its size and very handy. Almost too handy. ;-)  However, I still haven't got used to its location yet as a couple of times, I found myself reaching for the older bell mounted near the stem rather than the handy one!
The other side for comparison

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

On a saying of mine being proved right

I am known for having stated a number of times in various contexts with regards to pregnancy due dates: "Babies can't read calendars". Before any ardent feminists jump on me, I will freely admit that as a never married male with no background in medicine, I can't say this is based on anything but observations of a less than statistically valid number of pregnancies of women of various ages as well as heresay from various women and doctors.

Having stated that disclaimer, I haven't run into anyone who disagreed with the basic notion as it really is a very basic observation. Furthermore, this article from the BBC website, more or less proves the fundamental accuracy of my statement, as well as reinforcing the notion that science, for all its wonders, still has a lot to learn about how we come into this world.