The Bad, the Good and the Don’t Understand

‘The Bad’: When I first started this, it felt so good. It was almost balmy at 6°C after -2°C for a wee while, down to 3 layers and beard not freezing. But it just hasn’t been so fine for the last few weeks and it’s been blowing a hooley for the last few days with storms Gertrude & Henry making themselves known and keeping me off the roads with violent winds. I missed the one quiet day in the middle as I’ve been doing the intros & lighting for our local pantomime, ‘Beauty and the Beast’. De-rigging the lights happened on the same day as the calm so ah well!

Beauty & the Beast ELDG Panto

Lighting the Pantomime Dame

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Doing my bit of introduction

Freezing weather with dicy roads, ice, snow, gravel, melt water, mud etc. I think you’ll get the idea.

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Roads a bit uneven!!!

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Snowy hills to be skied up later, roads damp here but not icy

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The Ninja outfit

New brake blocks first, pedal bearing collapsed, back wheel bearings went, replaced chain but one of the rivets came adrift and the chain plate bent back on itself causing a sudden halt but all is sort of back to peace and serenity again. Colin of Belhaven Bikes was superb, went into the shop to see about getting the wheel bearings replaced and he did it just about on the spot, brilliant service. The rest I did myself.

‘The Good’ is I have very much enjoyed my rides recently despite the conditions plus the snow allowed me to get out on skis locally for a couple of hours up in the hills.

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Skiing up – conditions better than it looks

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Wonderful stuff snow.

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Looking towards home, variable under ski

Even this wasn’t without a wee bit of grief though. First of all my collapsible poles decided to collapse when they shouldn’t (new ones have now arrived), then one of the skins on the skis used for climbing uphill decided that the glue holding it on to the ski was a bit old and parted ways a few times. More curses of an inventive nature. Just as well no one else was on the hill with me!! Had a good run down, though the snow was very variable with deep banks of soft stuff, delightful nevee and some solid ice to make life interesting! It was gorgeous scooting along on the lower stretch in the sun with fabby views and the coos keeping their distance.

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After the gate, tractor tracks

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Ready for gliding down

Now the ‘Don’t Understand’ part. Americans on guns, I just  don’t get it! In Britain we have some of the strictest gun laws in the world. Seems to work on some level as we also have some of the lowest gun crime/ murder rate in the world and the majority of our police are not armed. The majority of murders in the USA according to the FBI are by someone know to the victim. Why does an amendment made in the time of flintlock rifles need to apply to a modern situation? What need does a citizen have of semi automatic or worse weapons? Maybe the right to bear arms should apply only to flintlocks? Though it’s probably way too late for that now. I also don’t understand how the American Rifle Association with only just over 3 million members can seem, from my perspective, to dictate to the whole huge population of the States.IMG_3515

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Figures from the FBI, looks like you’re more likely to be murdered by family or someone you know.

Now I don’t think I want answers to these thoughts, it’s just a highlight of how different two nations can be. Our UK world history has been pretty horrific at times, but I feel we seem to have a better balance these days on the whole. I have travelled in various places around the world and I must admit the country that gave me the most unease was America.

Just don’t get me started on Trump though!

Enough of philosophising, I maybe should have just kept to the biking?

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Our local river in flood, though not too bad this time

 

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The storms bring good sunsets, but turn 90º and it’s all black clouds

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Skis showing the skins attached to the bottom of the skis for climbing up snow slopes plus the ‘freeheel’ bindings. Very marginal snow conditions here though!

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18 thoughts on “The Bad, the Good and the Don’t Understand

  1. Rachel M

    Did you ski uphill and then back down again? Sounds like hard work but good fun nevertheless!

    I completely agree about the gun laws. I think most of the rest of the world looks upon the US gun laws with bewilderment. Australia had one of the worlds worst mass shootings in terms of the number of people killed by a lone gunman. It was the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. The then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, immediately banned all semi-automatic rifles, and all semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns and there hasn’t been another massacre in Australia since then.

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  2. fossilcyclist Post author

    Yup up & down & it’s magic – freeheel skis, but wide with skins that stick on the bottom, but you take them off to go downhill. I’ve also got heel lifts that keep your feet more level when going uphill, less strain on the tendons etc. The skins work by the hairs flattening when you go uphill, but the plush points backwards and grips when you stride off. Used to be seal skin originally (I’ve got an ancient pair I was given somewhere) but now it’s nylon. There’s a wee bit here https://brooksrange.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/what-are-climbing-skins/. If it’s not too steep you can use wax that grips when the weight goes on the ski, you do need different waxes for different temperature though – a black art!
    Glad someone agrees about guns though.

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  3. bgddyjim

    Okay, interestingly our murder rate is better than 111 other nations… It’s not the guns either, it depends on culture. We, unlike you, are not as homogenous a society. For instance if you were to take a dozen of the worst cities in the US, the rest of the country would fall well under your homicide rate. We’d be between 0.4 and 0.7.

    Other than that, my friend, it’s our right to defend ourselves as we see fit. I’d take that over the right to die quickly any day.

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      1. bgddyjim

        Depends on where, when and with whom I ride. Yes, indeed I have carried a pistol on a few bike rides. In some circumstances I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it – and if you think a pistol is too much weight, think of how heavy it would be to carry a police officer on the back of my bike!

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      2. bgddyjim

        Where our liberals run things in this country things are scary and bad. It is what it is. I’m certain you have places where you avoid in your society though. I just have a better insurance policy that I’m walking out of one of those places than you. To each his, or her, own.

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      3. bgddyjim

        I should add, I have a special license that allows for this. It requires extensive training and continued maintenance of that training. It also requires special government access to my fingerprints (on file with the FBI)… And finally, review by a special board that says yea or neigh.

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  4. Mountainstroh (Tony)

    I once read that to be an adventure something had to go wrong… Well done with repairs. and Pal I wish I could give you an answer on the gun thing. There are just somethings I will never understand, and as far as Trump goes….

    Yeah nuff said

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  5. AndrewGills

    Can you hear my jealousy? I love snow (probably not to live in but certainly to visit).

    As for gun laws … What are the Americans thinking? Oh wait … Maybe they aren’t. But then, I’m Australian and while we don’t have gun deaths we do have a government that believes climate change is hocum. Haha.

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  6. Jean

    So across the border in Canada where I am, I live in a prairire province (that is Canada’s mini Texas, except dropping oil economy is causing now over 40,000+ people unemployed…trend for last 12 months). I live in big city, but there’s only 2nd big city 300 km. north of us. Plus 2 little cities. REst is all rural in Alberta.

    It is a province that has more gun owners than others…it’s the mentality.

    As for the earlier American justifying because he lives in a more homogenous society: Great Britain in its big cities is diverse now..for last few decades. I’ve met a number of black Canadians, East Indian descent Canadians and some East Asian descent Canadians who lived /born in the U.K. So just because it’s more non-whites around, one has to carry a gun?? How stupid. I had a home in Toronto for 14 yrs. that did have some drug activity in the neighbourhood. No, a gun is not going to help me. Taking precaution late at night is better.

    I don’t wander around in Canada’s big Chinatowns or black areas with need of a gun. Shall I wander in poor white areas with a gun tucked in my purse? Sure some same areas have had shootings. A lot are drug or gang related or its domestic violence based.

    I find it very interesting, in predominantly non-white areas in U.S. big cities, some whites may feel very threatened…that they need a gun or they feel “unsafe”.

    You might need a gun in far Arctic….to protect self from polar bears, etc.

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