Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A day of ups and downs

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs, in more ways than one. In the physical sense, I went up the Tibidabo funicular (twice), and down a really quite good mountain bike trail (twice). Needless to say, the knowledge that I can pay €2 for a train to to take me to the top of the biggest hill in the area is A Very Good Thing. This, then, represents the metaphorical 'up' to today's post. My world this afternoon took a turn for the better.

It also, inevitably, took a turn for the worse. Well, in fact, two turns for the worse, and these represent the metaphorical 'down' that completes the allegory. You see, upon driving (the 20 minutes(!)) to and from the foot of Tibidabo funicular, my worst fears were confirmed. Pleb the Passat, my erstwhile companion of the last few years, is ill. In fairness, he doesn't appear to be dead, and still pootles around town perfectly happily. Only when we reach the motorway though, does something appear amiss, vis., he doesn't change to top gear. Refuses. No matter how fast we're going or how high the revs are, his automatic gearbox will not shift into its fourth and highest gear. This means, when driving along the motorway, I am stuck with having the engine screaming at me - I dare not take it above 60mph in case it blows up. It is very sad, because the problem is terminal. Automatic gearboxes like Pleb's keep going until the stop, at which point the cost of fixing/replacing one becomes several times more than the value of the car. So, while Pleb is still alive, he's very much on this last legs.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said for my bicycle frame, which is well and truly DEAD. For some time (in fact, since I got it second hand) it has creaked quite a lot, but it did me proud for a week in the alps a couple of years ago - in fact had it only lasted that week it would have been worth the £80 I paid for it! Recently, though, I've noticed the creaking getting worse, and after two 10 minute runs (down exceedingly rocky trails - with a few north shore drops put in for good measure) I had noticed a significant increase in creak-noise. Only a quick glance was necessary to confirm my worst fears - there is a now monstrous long crack at the point where the headtube joins the main part of the monocoque frame (see pic above). Proper 'terminal'; so this afternoon I shall strip the frame of everything of worth and chuck in in the skip. I remember first seeing the frame when Oli pulled up out side Mat's parents' house in Clent about, ooooh, I'd say 7 years ago. I was impressed with it then and have been impressed with it ever since. Given that neither I nor Oli are reknowned for our 'delicate' riding styles, such an ending was to be expected, but it doesn't make me any happier.

So, to summarise, my day of ups and downs ends with me with me sitting here, facing an iminent bill of several thousand euros to replace today's physical losses, but offset by the gain in knowledge that there is some awesome mountain biking around the corner. Given that the biking was always there (I just hadn't discovered it yet) I think I am probably worse off out of the deal. Still, 'push on through', as Fatus* would say. Barcelona is still awesome place to live, money can be earned and material things replaced. Eventually. Anybody know any good car/bike shops in Barcelona?

* (Muir)

PS Check out some photos of a new DWS venue at Rhossili!


Anonymous said...

that's a bit of a bummer fatboy but as you pointed out, you can't say you didn't get value for money from it.

Only slightly jealous to hear you've got an uplift service close to where you live. I'm willing to bet its no Chicksands (and that's probably why its good!).

Jake Stacey said...


You've been spammed on your blog.

I am in awe...

Alun said...

Yes you're right, 80 notes paid two years ago, and usage for a week in Morzine and several trips to Scotchingland, Wales and, er, Chicksands = good value indeed.

The good news is that I have sourced me a lovely lovely replacement...I pick it up tomorrow. Pics to follow.

Alun said...


Oddly enough I was spammed on the very first blog post I ever made. I don't think it's much to be proud of. Of course I've deleted it now, so nobody knows what we are talking about...