Twinkly Dave – Mud splattered bicycle and pizza enthusiast Growing old disgracefully

March 16, 2011

Adieu ma petite Berlingo

Filed under: lunacy - mine,new car — dgpowell @ 12:18 pm

The drizzle, gently settled on the windscreen, was hurried off by the screaching of the windscreen wipers as I drove towards Fleetwood, feeling much like a farmer must do when taking that ‘one last long walk’, with a faithful old sheep dog that’s outlived it’s usefulness.
The bulging brown evelope full of £20 notes in my jacket pocket felt as heavy as a shotgun draped over an arm as I pulled up outside the garage and the last ‘clunk’ of the drivers door shutting behind me sounded a lot like the ‘snick’ of a gun being cocked…

Hidden away inside a big glass building full of top-down convertable puppies and stout 4×4 gun dog style cars paperwork was signed and cash was counted and checked, while the floppy eared and suspensioned Berlingo sat patiently and trustingly outside.

Hands were shaken and a sleek coated, very business looking new car padded round the corner.

Bang.

I no longer own the Berlingo and all of a sudden I’m feeling all emotional. Gone is the overly bouncy, noisy, tin can of a car. Gone.
I’m flooded with memories that suddenly take on a rosy tint. The first-sick-of-a-drunken-student yellow combined with flourescent-snot-from-the-third-day-of-a-serious-cold green of the interior isn’t horrible anymore, it’s just vibrant and fun. The whistling noise from the tin-can roof when ever you got to over 50mph isn’t annoying it’s quirky and cheery.
Oh crap have I made the wrong decision? This car may be comfier and quieter, but does it have the ‘personality’ of the Berlingo? I thought I hated driving round in a car that often caused people to whistle the theme to Postman Pat at me when I pulled up in it, but maybe I didn’t. Is this new car the equivalent of stopping dying your hair, getting a boring haircut, shaving off your cool beard and buying some nice shirts for work?

The road in front of me as I drive back through the drizzle bends and curves. The car sticks to the road, no understeer, no sliding wide. OK maybe I have made the right choice.
More memories flash through my mind; driving up Waddington Fell with Wayne, following Rich, failing to stay on any one side of the road as the Berlingo takes a more flamboyant route round the corners, causing fits of giggles from everyone. Driving over to the start of the first attempt at the Trans Cambrain record, across Wales with Jase, seeing the look of shock on his face as fairly tame roads were turned into knuckle-whitening roller coasters by the bouncing and sliding car.
All very terrifying at the time, but brilliant now. Like having a ‘crazy’ mate who can liven up any night out, but occasionally gets you arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

I glance at the fuel guage. It’s not moved since I set off from the garage and I’ve now been driving for around 45mins. My first thought is that is must be broken and have got stuck, before I realise that I’ve just not used much petrol. Wow. That’s nice. This car goes in the right direction, quietly, without draining it’s tank at the first suggestion of the accelerator being pressed. Quite like this actually!

The new car may be middle management grey. It may, at first glance, lack the ‘joie de vivre’ of the ‘Bling-Bling’ (one of the many daft names the Berlingo was given over the years), but it’s not all bad. A glance in the rear view mirror shows me two rows of seats behind, all of which can disappear into the floor of the car, meaning that the Belingo’s real party piece – van sized and shaped cargo space, could be under threat too.

berlingo2

More memories of just throwing the TD1 into the back of the Bling-o after huge rides, while others thrashed about trying to dismantle their bikes to get them in their respective boots flow by. I remember turning up at various trail centres, opening the tailgate and being instantly ready to ride while the rest of the car park faffed about, collapsing bike racks that seemed to be behaving like petulant children, refusing to pack down into a shape that would fit in the car. The Berlingo was brilliant in that respect, but the new car looks like it can do it too (though cleaning it out won’t be as east with it’s carpeted interior), hopefully there’ll be many more occasions where I can unpack and pack in half the time of everyone else…

berlingo1

I pull up onto the drive outside my house, with no ‘BONG’ sounds of protest from the suspension (no-one could ever work out just what it was that was wearing out on the Berlingo that meant the BONG noise had started to become more and more frequent, loud and disconcerting. It originally only appeared if you drove over a speed bump too vigorously (which, in itself was never a good idea as you had little control over which direction you’d end up pointing after the ducking and bobbing front he chassis had ceased) but had developed into a fault that reared it’s head pretty much contantly; round corners (at any speed) over and sort of bump or pothole, when reversing, when stopping…pretty much whenever you did anything.) and no “will I stop in time” excitement (the brakes on the Berlingo were rubbish too). I’m starting to like this.

The new car settles down in the Berlingo’s old bed without any fuss or pining (you thought I’d forgotten about the whole dog analogy, didnt you) and seems to fit perfectly.

Adieu ma petite Berlingo

March 10, 2009

Giddy as a Kipper

Filed under: bikes,new car — dgpowell @ 11:06 am

Taking car for it’s MOT in a couple of hours (that’s not what’s got me all excited though, in fact that’s just a pain in the arse) and while it’s there getting prodded and probed I might nip out and get in a…little ride!

Yes, after a week and a half of feeling like crap I am too fed up with not riding to stay off the bike any longer. I’m not coughing up as much gunk and feel a lot better than I have been so I reckon it’s worth the risk just to cheer me up 🙂

Going to take it easy and stick to the road as I’m still not 100%, but hope fully I’m at the stage now where a nice cruise for a few hours will kick start my metabolism and burn off any residual nasties.

The road bike has completely died now. Completely. So I’ve taken the wheels off it and stuck them on the cross bike, which will suffice for the time being.

Yay bikes!

March 2, 2009

right yeah, erm, what?

Filed under: bikes,food/booze,lunacy - other peoples,new car — dgpowell @ 1:05 pm

Oh look, we’re back online, w00t, hello.

Back from Ste’s stag do in Barcelona, mental city that – a text i sent semed to sum it up quite well: “it’s mad, like a cross between Vienna and the Gaza Strip”. 3 Euros for a coke in the Irish bars though, and 10 for a goblet of beer on the pavement cafe’s. Crikey. Nontheless, notches were cranked upwards. Many notches. The Irish were outsung in their own bar (but luckily they won the match, so we left without dying), casualties were taken and the World’s Worst Bar (landlorded by jimmy hill, no less) was treated to a bit of the Brits Abroad mentality.

hit the beach

That’s the beach local to the hotel – not bad for a Feb morning eh?

Next up: ride a bike, get the car booked in for it’s MOT (and find out why the dashboard doesn’t like kicking into life…and get them to check that they did a half decent job on the CV joints, cos i’m not sure they did last time). Oh and pay gordon brown hundreds for the priviledge of owning the damn thing. Thanks Gordon.

February 8, 2009

D’oh

Filed under: lunacy - mine,new car,work — dgpowell @ 9:23 pm

Never actually made it to Hit The North 1.5 thanks to a car dashboard that didn’t want to work yesterday morning. I’m currently wondering if it just doesn’t like the stupidly cold weather we’re having at the mo’, as the digital clock in the odometer has been resetting itself each time you pop the key in the ignition for the past few weeks. Yesterday was the first time that no of the dials had moved though.
After realising that all the lights still worked I decided to head out anyway, even though i sort of knew i wouldn’t get to the race in time, thinking i could maybe help out or just cheer people on, only to discover that the directions i’d printed off the web were utterly useless (i should have realised i was in trouble when they sent me the wrong way before i’d even left my own road…). I never got there. Damn.

Oh, and after a short while with the heater on full blast, the dashboard jumped into life (it was fine earlier today as well…in fact the clock hadn’t reset itself either). Damn.

Instead I spent the day buried in a database and faffing about with shopp, which is now working quite nicely on a site i cobbled together for a friend at work. (Thanks also go to matt for putting up with me and pointing out the blindingly obvious)

Didn’t ride today either – wasn’t really in the mood to battle through throngs of people who i had no doubt would be out on all the hills, searching for any remaining snow to play in and certainly wasn’t in the mood for ice adventures out riding on the roads. Instead I did some faffing with my upcoming training plan, changing next week from a rest week into a more power based series of workouts (how serious do i sound?!) as a result of having a couple of days off this weekend and started hunting for more races to enter (and hopefully actually get to…)

January 20, 2009

…the aftermath

Filed under: bikes,lunacy - mine,new car,on-one — dgpowell @ 4:21 pm

me on the sunday morning

2nd place at strathpuffer 2009.
Not a bad result, feels a bit galling as i lost what feels like loads of time with mechanicals (lights conking out part way through a lap, punctures, exploding gas cartridges and the like).

Would proably have dropped out if angela hadn’t been there every lap (ie 26 times) waving cups of tea and anything else i felt like I’d need at me.

Didn’t kill as many brake pads as I expected – think it was about 3 pairs and the ice tyres i bought specialy still haven’t been used, which just goes to show how unpredicable the race is.

Shaggy won, nearly lapping me by the end, Alex Slavin came 3rd (he beat me in 2007), Kate came 3rd in the womens cat IIRC, Angela became known as “bag lady” in the registration tent due to her tirelessly running round for me carrying bags of, well, anything i wanted really and I think everyone had a laugh and a proper “experience”.

We took the scenic route home round loch ness and over the highlands, it was awesome. Seriously impressive stuff with the recent snow just adding to the remoteness of it all.

The new tent is huge, I can stand up straight even in the lowest corners and you could quite easily lose someone in there. the phrase “maybe even Too Big” was uttered (but quickly forgotten).

The car did brake down on the way there, but was fixed by another nice AA man simply by pressing a big red button under the bonnet, after which it’s been fine (and even quite sure footed down the icey highland roads).

I’ll do a proper write up, either here or over on on-one in the next day or so, once I’ve finished eating left over food 🙂

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