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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Giro blues

So why does Sir Brad not winning mean he's lost

Yes, I know second place is firth loser, but if the press coverage is to be believed, Brad is having a 'mare in the Giro. I'm not sure what is wrong with us Brits, but it's like if Mo Farrah "only" got a silver at the Worlds, he'd be over the hill, on the way down.

For riders, this is no problem, we understand that descending can go to pot at the drop of a hat and that a three week race is about who is in the front after three weeks, not one. But for the average punter, it must be more confusing. And does the average sports fan really take notice of the hype and journalistic exaggeration or can they see past to the "truth"?

I guess footie is to "blame". As footie got more about cash and share options and less about representing your town or city so the writers moved from the features pages to the "sports" page. and as there was more cash, bling sold copy.

Its happened in rugby, in the "good old days" "dwarf-gate" would never have been reports. "Rugby player pissed" was hardly a revelation, least not when I played. Indeed, the headline might have had more impact if it had said "rugby player drinks shandy - shock". That young men, on a day off like a beer is not news, is it?

As it turned out SBW had a nasty chest infection - staying near the top of a Grand Tour with a nasty infection really does show how good he is!

Cycling events

Do you like cycling events? I've just registered for "Bristol's Biggest Bike Ride" and I like the idea that a route has been set, lots of people will be doing the same route and for once, the cyclists are the king of the road. Yet, part of me thinks it a bit infra dig. Its like cyclists need a special day to ride safely on the roads, that in reality are a public utility. Now I'm sure that such events are great for encouraging the less confident. Perhaps that outweighs any doubts I have? I don't know. I'd prefer people to think that however nervous they might be, the roads are not supposed to be like some lottery with your life and limb. 

Bristol is by no means the worst city to cycle in. Indeed I am constantly amazed by the way pedestrians and cyclists share, usually without conflict, the paths and ways around town. Drivers are good at giving way and the right of way enjoyed by cyclists on many crossings makes cycling look more fun that sitting in a jam in your car.

Cooking

I love Indian food - or at least what passes for "Indian" food at my local curry emporium. I used to know an owner of  4 restaurants in the Bracknell area and two things were a surprise. Firstly, that most the chefs were from Bangladesh and secondly, that chefs got transfers like a premiership football centre forward (Is that a position these days?)

Anyway - real home Indian cooking is usually more subtle and better tasting. My "go to" curry is an adaptation of a prawn Goan curry from Rick (mmmm, that nice) Stein. A good business man but annoying presenter. That curry only has four spices and can be done from scratch in half an hour. That's for another time, but I was recently impressed with Anjam Anand's recently repeated, "Indian food made easy"

Now "easy" for TV chefs can be different from what you or I might think of as easy (an omelette say)  but this recipe for chicken curry with spinach is fairly easy and really does take under an hour

Chicken with Spinach is really tasty. Give it a go. I would change one aspect. Its probably better not to use pieces of chicken on the bone, its easier to make the sauce without adding the chicken and then when the sauce is looking near finished, add pieces of boneless, skinless chicken thigh. Thigh is my fave chicken - better than breast and cheaper. Simmer in the sauce until cooked and you're ready to go. You will need a 600gm pack of chicken for two good portions. I can't see how the recipe as quoted serves 6. It might if you didn't eat much, but that's not me!

In the news

Many cyclists are filming their rides. Video your ride It got me wondering - its this some sort of London problem. Here in the "Greater Bristol" area, it seems that people in cars are much more aware of cyclists. I rarely get any hassle and TBH, I feel pretty safe cycling even into the middle of Bristol. I guess, Bristol almost has a critical mass of cyclists and we all share the space?

And as the anti cycling lobby get desparate - here's a tongue in cheek "helping hand" pedalling-myths-antibike-lobby

My favourite was this

2. If you support gun control, you should support bike control.Milquetoast liberals are always objecting to the argument that "guns don't kill people, people kill people", because the widespread availability of guns makes it more likely they'll be used for nefarious purposes. Well, just follow the logic. Bikes can be used for nefarious purposes, too: consider scenario 1 above, or the popularity of bikes among drug-dealers. It's a no-brainer, therefore, that bicycles should be subject to the same kind of ban currently proposed, in the US, for semi-automatic weapons.
Can't argue with that.....









Saturday, 11 May 2013

2013 - New Blog season

So onto 2013

Well, its May and I've cycled a grand total of 4 times, 3 of which were on the turbo and one - last weekend - out on the road - well it was nearly like summer. The irony is that having joined the Council, in "Britain's First Cycle City", I've hardly turned a pedal in anger.

Excuses, I have a few, but then again too few to mention. I have had some knee issues- I expect three weeks of skiing have not helped, the bag of snow after each day and a hand full of ibuprofen washed down with a glass of rough red may or may not have indicated I was over doing it. And whenever I look in the mirror - I thing someone has replaced it with a joke mirror that makes you look fat - or I am invisible and am being stalked by some fat old bloke.....

So its a bit chicken and egg. I guess I'll just have to get my bike (not Tebbit style) and ride to work to see if anything falls off and if it doesn't I should get lighter and stress my knee less, or it will get worse and its only a mile from my office to the Bristol Knee Clinic!

Giro d'Italia

Been watching the highlights of the Giro and what I have noticed is that

  1. Italy gets a load of rain this time of year
  2. I'm glad I wasn't trying to descend that fast on greasy roads
  3. The camera motorcycles are way more out of control than in the Tour
  4. I wouldn't mind atrip out to watch a mountain stage!
Seriously interesting race, the main problem being Sky's random time for the highlights and their tendency to "delay" showing it if there is something more mainstream on already (bloody tennis the other night). Still, with a three week race, there is plenty of time to see enough action

Actually watching the highlights does make me wonder what race the journalists are watching. After Bradley was blocked by a crashnear the end of a stage - the write ups were like he'd failed on the day, "Disaster for Sir Brad" style crap.

Still, this won't be a surprise for anyone who reads the press and listens to what politicians say. Apparently, the very large hole in my Councils budget due to Govt cut will be made up by "better asset management, joint working and cost cutting" What will bridge the gap is cutting £70m from childrens' and older people's services and a load of jobs - or "localism" as some stupid Ministers call it. Or vandalism asI'd prefer to call it

Recipes

I have found that moral in my office can be improved by a bit of home baking. I've had some success with Lemon-poppy seed muffins. Easy to do, tasty!

Here is the recipe Muffin Recipe Add a load more lemon zest, the icing is optional!

Stupid stuff in the press

How bad can a cycle path be.....

Image for Lakeside Way, Wembley


Need I say anything?

Might smart a bit if you were not concentrating.......

and good luck with this.....

Image for Joined up infrastructure - not.



Keep safe