baratron: (introspection)
Richard & I have been really emo this evening. When it's one of us that feels bad, the other one can comfort them; but it seems to be almost impossible when both of us feel bad to simultaneously provide comfort.

Basically - Richard invited me to come with his paintball team to Florida next month, but where they will be staying is the arse end of nowhere with no public transport. So if I went, I'd either be stuck in the villa all day every day, or having to take taxis everywhere - which will cost a small fortune and greatly limit my movements. If they were staying in Orlando, it would be fine - but they stay in "cities" like Davenport and Polk City, which have 1500 permanent residents and then thousands of holiday homes. And Orlando is in the total opposite direction to where they need to go for the paintball tournament (which is literally in the middle of nowhere), so they couldn't even drop me at a bus stop on the way there.

We then proceeded to have a mutual meltdown about how broken I am. Bluh. It got long... )
baratron: (trike)
Today I've spent over 5 hours outside polling stations and knocking on people's doors to get them out to vote. I've cycled about 10 miles. Physically, I feel fantastic.

It's true that adrenaline has played a part in this, but it's clear that two things are very important for my mood: sunlight, and exercise. MOAR CYCLING PLEASE.
baratron: (trike)
Current state of the h-l: Much the same. Don't have period pain any more, thank $deity, and my gallbladder is behaving itself perfectly well as long as I behave myself perfectly well. (I can eat food with fat in, but not food with very high amounts of fat in or several fatty items in the same 24 hour period. *shrug*. This restriction never bothers me overly much - as long as I can still eat Chinese food with boiled rice, lots of vegetables and juice, I'm fine. I only get annoyed when I can't eat Chinese!). However my chronic fatigue thing is bloody awful. Tired all the time, can't get to sleep at a sensible hour, wake up feeling like I haven't slept at all. Still decidedly snotty. And my knees hurt.

Today I decided to try something a bit different. On the basis that my knees hurt like hell even if all I do is sit around in the house, I decided to give them some gentle exercise by cycling into town instead of getting the bus. Even though it was dark and raining (pitch black at 4pm! Gods, I hate December), I feel distinctly happier. Cycling really is the only exercise I've ever found that gives me an endorphin buzz and it's a useful means of transport as well, wow! And my legs certainly don't hurt any more than they did, and *may* even be slightly better. Please keep prodding me to cycle even when the weather is crap because it does actually make a difference to my moods.

Tomorrow I am going to BU with a "random" person. She is a friend from college who was bemoaning the lack of queer events that are friendly to bisexuals (or to lesbians who sometimes date men). So please be nice to her if you're there, because she wants some more friends.

Still stressed about Christmas. A bit less stressed than I was. Yay.
baratron: (me)
Today I went shopping for a birthday card for my Mum, and found the best Congratulations to the New Parents From A Childfree Person card ever. It manages to combine the messages of "Congratulations on successfully achieving a baby" with "(Though I'm not sure why you wanted one. Good luck anyway!)" without offending either group of people's sensibilities. This is quite impressive.

I suffer from extreme greeting card dilemma in general, because I can only send cards with words that I actually mean, and I don't have enough time in my life to make my own. Normally the problem is limited to trying to find appropriate cards for my partners that don't say "To the One I Love", which seems like a ridiculous sentiment even for most people with only one romantic partner. Most human beings love more than one other person, like their best friends or parent/s or children or pets. I'd be lonely if I only loved one other person in the whole world!

But the difficulty gets doubled or tripled when it comes to New Baby, because I can't manage to send cards about 10 ickle cutesy toesies without wanting to vomit. While the standard "Wow! It's a Boy!" blue card or "Awesome, You Achieved A Girl!" pink cards bother my queer feminist brain with thoughts like "Why the hell does the biological sex of a newborn matter anyway?" and "Who knows which of the many genders the child will grow up to be?". So finding a card that is non-nauseating and will amuse both Richard and me and the new parents is a very cool thing. So cool, that I did in fact buy three of them. Then realised I actually know four pregnant women. Oops.

I have also been both experiencing and suffering from Newton's Third Law today. I spent several hours helping my mum load heavy boxes onto a trolley that had no brakes, and she kept moaning about it running away as we put the loads on. I tried to explain why it happened, but to no avail. Then, coming home, I tried to take the step stool down from the trike, and one of my bungie cords flew up and hit me in the nose. I know those things are a) vicious and b) can store a lot of elastic potential energy, but honestly! It hurt like mad and I now have a visible and scary-looking bruise. And it had to be one of the long 1m cables that has never tried to attack me before rather than the shorter 60cm one that bites me all the time (to the point where I expect it and am prepared for it). Bah.
baratron: (london)
Lately I've been spending a lot of time in Richmond Park. On Sunday I went cycling with Richard, going from Kingston Gate to Broomfield Hill, then came back via the Isabella Plantation. We saw a Sequoia sempervirens and a Liriodendron tulipifera, recognising them both as "non-native trees". Actually, I even recognised the sequoia as a sequoia, but didn't believe it could be one so far away from home. We stared at the tulip tree for a long time because of its weird leaves. Most trees grow according to the Fibonacci sequence, and I'm used to seeing leaves with 3, 5, 8 or 13 lobes on them. Four is... strange.

Yesterday, [ profile] artremis came over and we took the 65 bus round to Petersham Gate to see the bunnies and the fallen-over-but-still-alive trees. We walked through the Park to Ham Gate, then a few roads over to get the 371 back home. The bus takes far longer than cycling for some reason.

Today I went cycling, got a bit lost and ended up doing around 9 miles (according to Richard, anyway). If you look at the PDF map of the park, I went from Kingston Gate up Queens Road, then turned right at Ham Gate onto the yellow/red-dotted cycle path until the car park just under the P in the middle. On the way I found the proper cycle entrance to the Isabella Plantation where there are racks (rather than the back entrance we found on Sunday). Then I meant to go on the blue dotted path through Pen Ponds to Pembroke Lodge, but instead carried on the red dotted path past White Lodge until Sheen Cross, then up Sawyer's Hill. I was slightly surprised to end up at Richmond Gate, but it only took 20 minutes from there back to Kingston Gate down the road (instead of the cycle path - it's safe enough, as it was after 9 pm so the car gates were closed). The whole thing took 1 hour & 20 minutes, which I didn't think was bad considering the hills.

I wish more of my local friends were into cycling, because the Park is beautiful and there are lots of car-free paths. Some of them are even properly tarmaced over, so are easy to ride on. Today, they were full of "serious" cyclists who ride all hunched over for streamlining and speed - I suppose it's good for them to have car-free roads to practice on, but it seems sad that they never get to look at the scenery. I was riding deliberately slower than usual because there were too many interesting trees and animals.
baratron: (squid!)
irc log from just now:
astra: i managed to break the inner tube of my tricycle tyre when i tried to pump it up - i think the pump is faulty, as richard managed to do the same thing.
astra: the 13cm spanner that richard had was not long enough to multiply my maximum force enough to budge the nut to change the inner tube.
astra: the nut appears to be corroded with some sort of white oxide layer, although it "should" be stainless steel.
astra: and the printer is refusing to print anything out, even though it is supposedly connected to the network. it *will* photocopy.
astra: so yes. machines are not my friend.
astra: oh! and pc world managed to send me 2 cyan cartridges + 1 magenta instead of 1 cyan, 1 magenta & 1 yellow - and i ONLY JUST noticed.
astra: and i've now officially run out of yellow ink.

More details later. Now I just need sympathy :/
baratron: (sleepy)
The more detailed update from this post. This evening has sucked.

On my way out to a student's house, I noticed that my tricycle tyres were a bit saggy. I had 20 minutes to do a 10 minute journey, so decided to pump them up. However, I managed to rip the inner tube of the first tyre - I think the pump is faulty, as Richard managed to do the same thing some weeks ago. I'd thought he was just being incompetent or didn't know how to use the pump properly, but I do know how to use it. The amazing "selecter" valve that automatically selects Presta or Schraeder is all stripped out. This means I need to write a letter of complaint to the pump company and ask them to replace it, as it's only a few months old and has been used all of 5 times. Bah.

Then the 13cm spanner that Richard had was not long enough to multiply my maximum force enough to budge the nut to change the inner tube. He had longer spanners, but not of the right size. The nut appears to be corroded with some sort of white oxide layer, although it "should" be stainless steel. So I couldn't get the tyre off to put a new inner tube in. This meant I had to walk to my student's house instead of cycle, and walk when I was late and in a hurry. There is nothing that burns through my spoons faster than having to walk a longish distance quickly. I can walk a long distance slowly, or a short distance quickly, but if I have to do both at once I find it exhausting. Also, because cycling is a much more efficient use of muscles than walking, I can cycle at 3-4 times the speed I can walk, and many times the distance. (I have cycled around 10 miles before, and was awake enough afterwards to consider teaching.) Thus a fairly pleasant 10 minute cycle ride becomes 25 minutes of hurrying & pain, not helped by the fact it was relatively damp weather and my bad ankle started screaming at me before I was halfway there. I really do need to consider having some sort of emergency plan for Unexpected Tricycle Failure - except that this type of tricycle failure shouldn't ever occur :/ Fortunately, that student wasn't having a coursework emergency, and was happy to have a shorter lesson this week with the time added on for next.

Then I got home only 10 minutes late for the student who was having a coursework emergency. After deciding she should ignore all the results from the gas syringe, I wanted to print out the graph of the upturned burette results so she could draw tangents against the curve & calculate the initial rate (rate of reaction at time = 0 seconds). The printer was refusing to print out the graph. I've since discovered that this is some sort of bug in OpenOffice - nothing from Sheet 2 in a multisheet document will print, though Sheet 1 is fine. I can fix this by copying the contents to Sheet 1 of a new or existing document. Weird.

I'm pretty sure something else also went wrong, but I was so very short of spoons after all the earlier stuff that I had no ability to cope whatsoever. Bah.
baratron: (black)
I have been trying to find waterproof trousers to wear over my normal clothes at this time of year when cycling.

I have mostly been unsuccessful, due to some belief by sports clothing manufacturers that only skinny people do sport. Many women's cycling clothes only exist in sizes up to a UK 14, with a handful coming in a 16, and virtually nothing in an 18. (I mean, seriously - what is up with a UK women's size 16 being classed as "extra large"? Size 16 is the modal size! Something like 40% of British women are that size.) Men's cycling clothes come in sizes up to XL or XXL, but would be completely the wrong shape for me (I am classic pear-shape - small waist, big hips, enormous arse) as well as being far, far, far too long.

This won't help everyone, but I found that Craghoppers do women's overtrousers in sizes up to 20, in both short and standard fittings. (Look at Womens Pakka Over Trousers - £30). I also found a cycling clothes supplier in the US called Aero Tech Designs, who have Big Man clothes up to 5XL and Plus Women clothes up to 4XL. Oddly, though, they don't do waterproof overtrousers at all. I should probably email them about it.

It just annoys me so much, because one of the great Myths about Fat is that fat people are fat because they don't exercise enough. Well, in that case, shouldn't clothing manufacturers make tons of big size sports clothing to encourage the fat people to exercise? How are you supposed to play sports if you don't have the right protective clothing? Grrr.
baratron: (blue)
I am a million, trillion, zillion years behind with livejournal. Or about 10 days. Same difference :)

Stuff in my life is generally "ok". Richard had a birthday! We went out for delicious curry at Joy with [ profile] hatter, [ profile] mjl, [ profile] otterylexa and [ profile] rowan_leigh & [ profile] fluffymormegil, who we don't get to see enough. Sadly, the sekrit surprise guests [ profile] hiddenpaw & [ profile] sangluna couldn't come due to stock issues. I bought Richard a The Sun Is Trying To Kill Me sweatshirt from J!NX, and also their Disobey hoodie, and my mum got him the most excellent heavy metal t-shirt in the world ever. To my disappointment, it does not feature hexavalent chromium, but many other heavy metals are represented in true metal font.

Had an asthma & allergy review which was spectacularly boring. Apparently I do absolutely everything right, and there are no other drugs they can give me, so I'm going to have to live with my current level of chronic snot forever (or at least until they invent something new). This is really quite depressing. People without chronic snot can almost certainly not understand how debilitating it is (it's like having a cold or hay fever, with all the head stuffiness and confusion, and itchy nose and ears and sinus pain, and irritability due to itchiness; only it never goes away, and never gets any better). I'm ridiculously allergic to dust mite faeces and sulphur dioxide, and also slightly allergic to pollen, mould spores, various scents, generic PM10 and ozone... there is no season in which I am not constantly snotty, and I'm sick of it :X

I have a new printer which is revolutionising my work environment. It's an HP Officejet which can print and photocopy in full colour double-sided, and has a sheet feeder. It takes less than a minute to print a quantity of material which would take my crappy HP home printer over 15 minutes. It is very sexy. Bizarrely, I bought it through PC World's business division, and got to pay £70 less for it than it would have cost me to buy it from the regular store. Apparently businesses are heavily subsidised compared to home users. New HP-branded ink cartridges were around half of the home users' price (or about what I normally pay to get my existing cartridges refilled). I wish I'd known this - ooh, four years ago when I started being self-employed :P

The tricycle may actually be ready to ride tomorrow. Hooray. Have been exhausting myself walking everywhere. Excitement will be postponed until I know if the repair worked.
baratron: (corrosive)
My tricycle is completely broken. A spot on the welding under the frame has sheered off. It took me more than half an hour to work out what the problem was (initial symptom was simply "pedals will turn backwards but not forwards") and there were quite a few red herrings.

It is a reasonably critical point in the folding mechanism that's gone. So the tricycle will not fold. At all. Currently it is locked to the fence at the front of the house, and we are going to have to rearrange furniture to bring it inside. It is only rideable if you tie the stand up to stop it dragging on the ground, and if you do that, there's a weird juddering vibration down the right hand side which makes me suspect it's not a good idea.

It is, of course, 4 months out of warranty. Or possibly 5. Not that this makes much difference, because I wouldn't honestly want to have to send it back to freaking Italy to get it fixed - that would take months. I need to consult the guy I bought it from and the manufacturer, just in case this is a known design fault, and then find one of Richard's metalworking friends/relatives to do the welding. Joe Random bike shop will not be able to cope with the folding or the extra wheel, I've learned that from experience.

But argh! I need that tricycle to get round! It is so much faster & more convenient than buses + walking. I don't walk terribly well in winter, but cycling is much easier on the joints.

I am really very sad and not very functional. And I don't know what I'm going to do about the students who don't live on bus routes. Tonight, I'm getting a lift from my dad, but he can't do that every day.
baratron: (me)
I've known for years - nay, decades - that I am Not A Morning Person. I only realised how serious the issue was when I attempted to go back to full-time work. I am so very Not A Morning Person that it is impossible for me to maintain a "normal" sleep-wake cycle. This is a statement which no one else has the right to argue with, by the way. Believe me, I've tried absolutely-effing-every piece of advice from sleep specialists, several modern pharmaceuticals, a bunch of herbal stuff and home remedies, and it still doesn't work. The fact is, my natural sleep-wake cycle is for me to wake up around midmorning, and fall asleep around 3am. If I stay on this cycle, I can maintain it indefinitely. If I attempt to get up at a "normal" time, I still don't fall asleep any earlier. So if I try to get into work for 8.30am, I can manage that for less than a week before I collapse in a terrible heap of physical and mental exhaustion. No drug with a Z in the title has ever made me sleep. (When I was prescribed Zolpidem, I once, in desperation, looked online for the maximum safe dose. I proceeded to take 4 tablets, and was still utterly wide awake wondering why the hell I couldn't sleep 5 hours later.) The healthiest thing for me is to say "sod 'normal', I'll have to work for myself at the hours I choose". Just like my fat activist friends who believe it is safer and healthier for themselves to maintain an active body at a higher weight rather than going through a constant cycle of dieting followed by weight gain, I believe it's safer and healthier for me to have a regular sleep-wake cycle rather than a "normal" one.

So I was ridiculously amused when [ profile] rowan_leigh found this link: The A-Team and the B-Team (warning, post contains artistic nudity). I agree with almost everything the author says, except that his B-ness is nowhere near as extreme as mine. (Falling asleep at 1am & waking at 9? Luxury!). The thing that I've noticed though, and have never actually documented, is how much I'm Not A Morning Person. I'm sure it's entirely normal to be brain-fogged and bleary for a while in the morning. But my Not A Morning Person-ness extends to far more than my brain.

This morning (yes, it was before 12 noon): I woke up. 45 minutes after waking up, I cycled to my first student of the day. Slowly, in 3rd gear.

After the lesson, an hour later: I cycled along a road with more bumps in it slowly, in 4th gear. Then up the Hill That Used To Defeat Me (copyright [ profile] epi_lj) in 1st gear, puffing a little.

Came home, sat in front of the computer for a couple of hours before going back out to the shops to buy all the things I'd forgotten existed, because I'd been too sleepy earlier in the day to remember that I needed to eat more than one meal. Cycled along the road at high speed, in 4th gear. Considered switching up to 5th, but didn't as my tyres felt like they could do with some attention. Came back up the Hill That Used To Defeat Me in 2nd gear, easily, despite noticing the existence of photochemical pollution due to the sunny afternoon & its effect on my lungs.

It seems that as well as mental "not being awake yet", there's a physical factor too. Though I tend to get out of bed feeling rested, my body has no stamina when it's the morning for me. It aches and gets tired far more quickly. By my mid-afternoon, this has eased, and I have more strength with which to turn the pedals. Also, by being more awake, I have the confidence to ride more quickly, knowing that I'm in full control of the tricycle, and that I need only a fingertip touch to stop or redirect the trike if some obstacle occurs. By the evening, I'm properly awake, and I can enjoy long periods of exercise - an hour or two hours. Or I can start creative work in earnest, knowing I'll have several hours of my brain working at its peak capacity before bed. My most awake hour is 10pm, and I try to schedule serious brain-work for then.

The realisation that it's a whole-body thing goes some way towards explaining why I'm so impatient & easily annoyed by those freaky mutants who leap out of bed with the most energy they'll ever have in the day.
baratron: (bunches)
I am not the only person in my neighbourhood who rides a tricycle. There's an older guy with a walking impairment who rides a green George Longcross custom trike and parks it near Waitrose, though I haven't seen him for a while. There's a silver Pashley TR-1 that regularly parks in various places around Kingston. A few weeks ago, I saw a yellow Longcross trike parked outside Waitrose in New Malden. And there are various carts and tadpoles for the transportation of goods or small people. (Tadpoles are the kind of trike that have two wheels at the front and one at the back.)

I've wondered who owned the TR-1 for a while, because it's in good condition and seems fairly new. I almost bought one myself, except for the fact they only fold lengthways along the frame, meaning they're still too wide to be allowed on trains. Some months ago we went to Pizza Express and I parked immediately next to the silver trike, then watched it from the window. I got distracted by my starter arriving, and the TR-1 had gone by the time I looked out again. Anyway, on Tuesday I finally met the rider. She's a woman of similar size to me but a bit older. We geeked about tricycles for a few minutes and admired features of each other's machines. I'm pleased to have found out who it was.

I really need to get to some of the Tricycle Association events. Or even just the local branch of the London Cycling Campaign. Unfortunately, they meet on the second Tuesday of the month, which is also BU night. Apparently I can go & be bisexual or be a cyclist, but not both.

Oooh, I just found out about this: Hovis London Freewheel - big cycle ride through central London on roads that are being closed to traffic! It's 14km in total, but you can do as much or as little of the route as you want. It's on Sunday 23rd September, i.e. the day after Polyday, so it's perfect for all of you who aren't normally in London! Literally just decided that I'm going, does anyone want to go with me? :D
baratron: (wolfy)
What is it about my tricycle and Wednesdays? Two weeks ago the chain flew off at speed, today I have a puncture in the front wheel. It's a conspiracy, I tell you. It's the sort of puncture where you put 150 pumps of air into it and it seems almost firm enough, but by the time you've removed the pump and put the cap back on the tyre is completely flat again. Bah.

Sadly, I have no idea how to mend punctures (and even if I did, I'm probably allergic to the glue or the rubber or the plasticiser in something, so it would be a bad idea for me to randomly try), so I'm stuck at home waiting for Richard to get back and be an engineer for me. This is annoying because I wanted to go to the supermarket and stock up with stuff for the weekend... more about that in just a moment.
baratron: (pikachu)
Richard has fixed my tricycle! It turns out that this was a fairly trivial procedure. As [ profile] rhialto and [ profile] fluffymormegil said on irc last night, and [ profile] syphonboa and [ profile] memevector said in comments, the chain guard is entirely non-mission-critical. The actual problem was that the middle cog of my derailleur, i.e. third gear, the one I use most often, had become misaligned with the pedal cog - and this made the chain fall off. Richard suspects the same as Alexa - that the damage to the chain guard is due to the chain coming off at speed. So the tricycle works perfectly well, and I think I'll make do with the chain guard held together by duct tape or whatever for now. It seems like the sort of part that a clumsy person like me will break frequently.

More usefully, I now know how to put the chain back on. Apparently it's designed to be tight at the top and loose at the bottom. I couldn't put it back on because I was trying to pull the chain up from the top where it's pulled tight already. What you have to do is sort of push it up from the bottom so that you have more length of chain to work with. I guess that sort of thing is blindingly obvious to an engineer, but it wasn't to me. So I mention it solely for the education of others.

Speaking of education, I seem to have become some sort of tricycle missionary. Three times in the past two weeks, I've been stopped in the street by people wanting to know where I got the tricycle from, because they didn't previously know tricycles-for-adults existed and they want to get one. I'm thinking that I need to put together a flyer with all the companies' phone numbers and URLs on, that I can just give to people when they ask. It's very strange. Oh well!
baratron: (boots)
I am having a very bad day.


I don't know much about cycle maintenance, and I don't even know what this part of the trike is called (a chain guard, maybe?), but common sense suggests that the chain is supposed to go round the spokey bit, not cut across the middle of it... :/ More pictures.

Read more... )

Edit: it's fixed.
baratron: (boots)
I have a new pet hate: people who walk in the cycle lane.

I'm not talking about shared use paths where pedestrians and cyclists are expected to co-exist. On the whole, I have little problem with those: people who are walking see the sign at eye height and know to look out for cycles. Also, the Highway Code is clear that pedestrians have right of way on a shared use path, and on the whole people act sensibly. The problem is the designated cycle-only lanes that run alongside ordinary pavements and roads.

Now, I have to admit, I have no bloody idea what people are thinking. When there is a wide, flagstone pavement for people to walk on, and a narrow, green tarmaced path with pictures of cycles on - why the hell would someone choose to walk in the cycle lane? If the pavement was damaged or blocked I could understand a person needing to walk in the cycle bit, but when the pavement's fully accessible and in good repair it makes no sense.

And the worst part is that the pedestrians won't move out of your way. I approach walking people in my lane and ring my bell. It's pretty loud. No one ever moves. I get really close and ring the bell again. Still no one moves. I shout out "Hello, excuse me, you're in the cycle lane". At that point, people might move - but they'll almost certainly give me a really dirty look. I'm sorry, but what am I supposed to do?

Would you walk down the middle of a road when there's a pavement available? No! The road is for cars! Walking down the road puts you at risk of being hit by cars! Would you walk down the middle of a bus lane when there's a pavement available? No! The bus lane is for buses! Walking down the road puts you at risk of being hit by buses, which have a lot of mass and don't stop easily! OK, so why should walking down a cycle lane be any different? Do you think that cycles don't have enough mass to hurt you? Believe me, that's not true - ask anyone who's ever had a piece of cycle frame go through their anatomy and difficult, complex fractures as a result.

I can't see what makes people walk in the cycle lane. It has weird green tarmac, and big painted pictures of bicycles. There's usually a line of bricks separating the flagstone pavement from the cycle lane. It's clearly not an extension of the pavement because it's a different colour and texture (and often a different height). Yet people walk in it like it's meant for pedestrians. And then, if a cyclist pulls up behind them and asks them to move, they act as though I'm in the wrong when they're in my designated place! AAARRRGGHHH!!
baratron: (grinning)
I cannot get over how strong my legs have got in the past few months.

When I started cycling, my right leg was doing almost all the work, and my left leg was just being taken along for the ride. Over the past few months, I've noticed my left leg taking on more and more of the effort, and now it's split almost 50:50 between them, like it "should" be. And it isn't just stronger for cycling, it's better for walking on, too - more able to hold my weight as I go down the road, less likely to roll at the ankle or buckle at the knee.

The other day I went for a ride for pleasure, and was in fourth gear on the flat road in Ham. Today I went up The Hill That Used To Defeat Me - in second gear, not first.

I like cycling because I can see improvements in my strength and stamina almost instantly. In a week of just riding to the supermarket & back, I see more changes than I did in two months of going to the gym three times a week. (And that was a specialist program devised by a trained professional in accordance with my body's quirks.) Unlike the gym, if I have to stop for a week because of busyness, it's no problem: I just pick up where I left off. More importantly, this doesn't feel like exercise - it's not boring or pointless, it's just a way of getting places, and fits into my normal life. The only specialist equipment I need is the trike and the helmet, and a lock.
baratron: (cute)
I'm in Glasgow. Internet connectivity here is fairly minimal - we have extremely slow, web-only wifi. But somehow, I've managed to get Semagic working through it. Hrm. So here follows a partial report of BiCon so far.

Thursday (13th July) involved mostly being frozen to death by the most air-conditioned train known to mankind. It was a Virgin Pendolino, and the reason it was so air-conditioned was that my seat was immediately next to the shop, which contained four large fridges which were each venting large quantities of hot air into the train, and the air cooling was trying to compensate for that. However, I didn't realise this was the case until an hour away from Glasgow, by which time I'd already been frozen for four hours and it barely seemed worth moving. Also, my seat was one of the few with POWER (i.e. a plug socket), and I was busy working on a Sims 2 story.

Another point to mention about Pendolinos is they have extremely poor baggage facilities. The rack above the seats is much shorter and higher than on most trains, and the larger luggage racks for suitcases are actually not big enough for many suitcases - let alone the many large suitcases of an entire carriage of people on a long-distance service! I felt particularly guilty to be taking the trike, as even folded it took up more space than I felt was fair under the circumstances. However, with Glasgow being large and hilly, and BiCon being around "20 minutes walk" from most of the recommended eating places, I figured I'd need it for accessibility purposes - and indeed, it seems to be working well for that so far.

Thursday also involved Issues with Accessible Accommodation which led to me almost having a complete meltdown, but fortunately it got sorted out admirably by the organising people. Hooray. I met [ profile] artremis & [ profile] oilrig and [ profile] alexa_robinson, and lots of other people briefly, but was too stressed to really socialise much. Also, most of the aforementioned food places stopped serving food at 10pm, and because it took several hours to get the accommodation thing sorted, it was gone that by the time I got there. Fortunately, I found a nice Italian place where I got tomato, basil & sweetcorn fusilli with chips, and lots of carbohydrate made me a happier bunny.
baratron: (pokemon scientist)
You know, after all the "fun" and "excitement" of Friday - I totally forgot that I'd posted pictures of my tricycles online!

Pashley Picador Pashley Picador

This is my old trike - a Pashley Picador, probably about 25 years old. Still in good working order though the seat's not very comfortable.
Di Blasi folding tricycle Di Blasi folding tricycle

This is my new trike - a Di Blasi R32. Unfolded and ready to ride. dino is there as a size reference point.

The rest of the gallery is here. I'm sure all the engineering geeks will love the pictures of the folding mechanism - which does work just like a music stand!
baratron: (wolfy)
Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday have all been good days. Friday sucked.

I am now 30. The crisis I was expecting to have failed to materialise, probably because I was given a bunch of cool presents, including many boooks and the creativity necklace from Made With Molecules Yay, neurotransmitters! Michael (I'm presuming [ profile] mjl as it was signed "Michael" not "Mikey" - but if it was [ profile] ceno I'm sorry!) got me the Poppy Z. Brite book "The Value of X", which is the first one in the series about seriously cute couple Rickey & G-Man, and I read the whole of it on the bus to Epsom, despite the fact I can't read on buses because it gives me motion sickness. (I've honestly never read a book that quickly before - I virtually inhaled it. And as soon as I finished it, I started it again.) For dinner, Richard & I went to 222, a 100% vegan restaurant in the North End Road in West Kensington, which turned out to be much easier to get to than I'd previously thought. I had an amazing stir fry with seitan (HAIL SEITAN!) and tofu cheesecake.

On Thursday I went to Brighton and went clothes shopping with [ profile] artremis. We bought Hell Bunny t-shirts and I got a black gothic Lolita dress that makes me look like a rag dolly gone bad, especially with hair in bunches with big ribbons and stripey tights. (Photos will follow after I wear it at BiCon, I guess.) We also went in H&M where I tried on many clothes, but only the purple leggings fit me - apparently H&M size 14 is designed for women with much bigger shoulders and smaller breasts than me, and they didn't have a 16 in any of the tops I liked. Then we went for eat as much as you like vegetarian curry ("the food of my people" (TM)) in Bombay Aloo.

Friday bad. Fell off my tricycle going round a roundabout - it was about 70% my fault, about 20% the traffic's fault and about 10% the trike's fault. Can't be bothered to go into details, really. But I got a bruised wrist and a huge bruise and friction burn on my left leg, and my lovely grey cargo pants now have a thin patch in them where I skidded on the tarmac. Then, after I picked myself and my stuff up and got to work, some fucker stole my back light while my trike was locked up. I wasn't impressed, especially as I had to cycle home after 9pm - and yes, it's only just been the summer solstice and it's still mostly light, but you are supposed to have lights on at that time. Bastard, whoever you are.

Yesterday Ludy came up to London and we went to [ profile] earwigmc's Solstice party, where I ate lots of food & met lots of people whose lj names I've forgotten. Public transport was appalling (trains not happening all over the place), but the party included a vegan chocolate fountain! And today [ profile] hatter & [ profile] bfo and [ profile] gerwinium & [ profile] meeping came over and we all went to Pizza Express and ate increasingly surreal pizzas. (Mine featured petit pois, pine kernels, Italian chargrilled vegetables and NO CHEESE.) Now we're sitting in the front room playing Guitar Hero, again/still.


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October 2017

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