Bikes and bruises and puppy dog tales

So own up, who came to this blog searching for “strip club floor plan”? I like your business acumen, if not your taste.

This week’s new things were my first stab at single track mountain biking, and worrying about my pet’s health. Ludo managed to find half a bar of chocolate I’d put “out of reach” on a high shelf, forgetting that a determined, growing whippet means pretty much nothing is out of reach.

Luckily, B was on the scene soon afterwards and took her to the vet for a purge. On the plus side it was a relatively small amount of milk chocolate; on the minus, it was Green and Blacks, so relatively high cocoa content, and fruit and nut – raisins are also toxic to dogs, it turns out! But apart from shakiness and malcoordination for a while, she seems to have suffered no further ill effects.

You can read about the dangers of chocolate poisoning in dogs (and cats, who may be even more prone, though they don’t tend to like chocolate as much as they can’t taste sweetness) here, and here is a list of human foods dogs mustn’t eat. It’s a bit of a wake-up call – I’ll avoid being such an idiot in the future. Well, I’ll try.


Onto the fun stuff. I’d always wanted to ride a bike off-road properly, and bought a lovely ice-blue Felt MTB on the cycle to work scheme to do so – uh, I mean to commute to work on, Mr Tax Man sir. Unfortunately, this bike was promptly nicked, so I gritted my teeth and invested in another Felt, a macho matt black Six Race, determined I wouldn’t just let it stand around cluttering up my hallway (currently featuring four bikes – not what the estate agent would recommend).

I already had an offer (well, I say an offer, I think I just badgered him till he agreed) from my friend Tom to take me out, and on Sunday we went to Swinley Forest in Berkshire, which has a great set of trails for all kinds of riders (it was occasionally galling to struggle to the end of a particularly gnarly trail only to find a 7-year-old girl on her pink cruiser in front of me). But I by and large got the hang of it – I say by and large because I didn’t get on quite so well with certain bumps on the trails, which had a habit of taking my front wheel on one side, my bodyweight on the other, and all of me crashing to the ground about half a second later.

Note the scratches in two directions evidencing two separate tumbles on exactly the same part of my elbow. Ouch.

Despte my teething troubles – and I had expected to eat dirt at least once, despite ignoring frinedly suggestions to wear a long sleeved top – it was fantastic fun, scary and exhilarating and demanding and exhausting. We only covered 13 miles in the two and a half hours or so of riding, but it felt like doing 50 miles on tarmac.

I could only marvel at Tom’s skill and confidence, especially descending – I’d get out of the saddle, brakes tentatively squeezed, only to see him shooting off at unlikely speed down the most horrifically rutted, rooty, rocky, narrow tracks, while I picked my way down rather too carefully – it’s more than possible to go  slowly and lose all sense of balance and momentum. I did also accidentally manage to get a bit of air on a surprise hillock, which was actually totally rad but perhaps next time I’ll be prepared for it.

Do I look pleased with myself? I think I do. Can’t wait for next time!

    • coz
    • September 14th, 2010

    shave yr legs

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