In a long public life I have made it a rule never to speak ill of the dead; to not criticise someone who can no longer respond to the criticism. I am going to break that rule in the case of Paddy McGuinness… Working on the notion that ‘the dogs may bark but the caravan moves on’, I rarely responded to his unreasonable and unceasing tirades. So, in that piggy bank of reasonableness, I have a massive store of credits that, in all fairness, I am in a moral position to draw on.”
Once again displaying all the qualities that made him exhilarating to watch on the Parliamentary floor (including a remarkable lack of tact), Paul Keating drops the motherfucking BOMB on the deceased…
As with all new obsessions, it’s important for me to rationalise the new-found crazy biker instinct I have. The Yawning Chasm of Instant Death is a significant part of this. Riding a singlespeed is the most amazing feeling – like being invincible. Leaping on the bike you feel immediately like an arsehole courier – bouncing off kerbs, belting through pedestrians, helmetless and unstoppable. It’s like being on your BMX when your about 12 or 14: you and your bike can go anywhere, do anything, and you’re no longer worried by that continual nagging worry that I think most cyclists have – that everyone else is doing it better.
The Yawning Chasm of Instant Death is the only bike I’ve ever ridden that causes people to stop and stare, to lean out of cars or skid to a halt at the lights beside me and say “Dude, that’s a fucking awesome bike!” It’s crazy, a lunatic opportunity to boast or to evangelize the singlespeed creed. My mountain bike – which, I’ll say now, is a great bike – is covered in dangly bits. Bidon, bell, lights, pump holster, bar-ends, lock-mount, weighty suspension forks, derailleur, the whole awkward shifter-and-brake-lever nonsense, not to mention fancy disc brakes and superfluous cogs that I just plain don’t use. There’s too much! The Yawning Chasm of Instant Death, on the other hand, is sleek and uncluttered – the bare essentials. I’m in the amazing position of deciding what I need on the bike after riding it, not before. Hence, lights, toolbag (puncture kit, multi-tool), bidon. I’m umming and ahhing about a bell.
Singlespeed welds you to your bike like you can’t live without it. You feel the direct transfer of power to the wheel – your body is inescapably part of this machine. It’s not a vehicle, it’s you. That’s why I liken it to the bikes I had as a kid – if you had a BMX, you had the means to just go. You could leave everything behind, the parents who didn’t understand, the humdrum responsibilities of chores or homework, and just fling yourself around for a while. You could fall off, do stupid things, try out secret tricks in a lonely schoolyard, or just bounce around the street with a couple of planks and a milk-crate for a ramp.
I’m no superman, not a bike messenger, and i never intend to become one of the lycra-clad road-beasts. I’m jst a guy who’s fallen in love with a bike!
Today I realised my bike has Presta valves. Never dealt with those before! Argh!
But help was at hand:
5-1. To the fucking Spuds. That’s a Pro Evo scoreline, you wankers. Christ, I hate football.
“Bye! Bye! Bye! Bye! Bye!”
“I’m sorry, [X]. No. I’m really sorry.”
“You’ve got red on you.”
“Want anything from the shop?” “Cornetto…”
“… Have a nice cold pint, and wait for all this to blow over!”
“What you thinkin’?” “Pub?”
“PUNCH! THAT! SHIT!”