Pole position (Bike polo part four)

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I’ve been unable to do much on the bike polo mallets this week. I had got as far as removing the grip from a 5 wood. Not sure how to do it, I typed ‘how to…’ into youtube and came up with this video. The idea was, like in the video, that by inflating the grip using a bike pump you can easily slip it off the shaft. What actually happened, probably because it wasn’t an expensive or modern club, was that an ugly ball formed in the grip and as I averted my eyes I experienced pain in my ears as the grip blew out. Then I had a job removing the sticky residue underneath. The next thing was to drill a hole in the tempered steel and apparently it’s a tough job. I decided to leave it at that for a few days.

Then on ebay I found this bundle of aluminium ski poles not far away. I got them for £1.50 each and these are the traditional things to use when making your own kit as they are much lighter and easer to drill. I’ve found the right 75mm bolts at Tippers so next week I intend to try and cut and drill the pipe and assemble. Won’t be long before first practice.

Locked up in Lichfield part six – Dimbles shops

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I live near to the maligned Dimbles area of Lichfield. Last year the front of the shops were tarted up and along with the de rigueur sunken boulders we got these lock up points. I’ve not yet seen a bike locked up there. On the other hand people continue to use the metal railings outside the old chemists to lock up as they have done for years. At least someone has found a use for them.

Routes and culture – slipstreaming Maurice Purser

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For this Sundays social ride I quickly knocked up and printed some routecards. I love maps, and ideally would have drawn one to accompany it, but I ran out of time. To me they are a backup in case of getting lost but as there isn’t anywhere around Lichfield where you are likely to do that, they are more of a record or momento. When I get round to doing the map I will include things you wouldn’t necessarily see on an OS or A to Z. For example after four miles of this route you turn the corner to see a single full sized rugby post in a tiny field. Obviously someone uses it for practicing penalties and conversions. They are lucky to have a massive back garden. When going down Park Lane after 6 miles you look to your right over the rolling fields and make out Little Hay pumping station. These things stick in my mind more than roads and junctions.

A name that keeps being mentioned to me is Maurice Purser. A quick internet search tells me he wrote over 600 columns for the Lichfield Mercury entitled In The Saddle, often accompanying them with his own drawings. He recorded many local CTC rides and some of these were published in a book of rides around Lichfield also called In The Saddle in 1995. According the library website there is a single copy in Lichfield but i’ve not been able to locate it yet. Maurice died in 2010 aged 93. The rides and routes he documented and recorded remain the same today. Hopefully I will get chance to see the record of social history he created one day.

All seasons in one ride – Lichfield to Sutton Park

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Yesterday we cycled to and through Sutton Park. A first for me, and nobody told me there was going to be cows on the road. We went through some lovely backlanes by Shenstone and the opulence and electric gates of Little Aston. We felt the cold sting of the rain and the wind, then the warm caress of the sun. We were just about dry when the process was repeated. Then at Huddlesford on the way back a shower of hail. We were watching the clouds as much as the road hoping to sneak through the archways of calm and not their moist supporting columns.

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Got any thermoplastic polyethylene mate? (Bike Polo part three)

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This piece of pipe came my way recently. It needs cutting into 5 inch sections to make mallet heads. A headless golf club will be inserted and somehow the whole thing will come together as one bike polo mallet. When using golf clubs one way is to remove the rubber grip and drill a 6mm hole through that end and insert a bolt and locking nut through the head and club. Another way is to use screws and glue instead of the bolt. I need to consult with an engineer friend about the best way to proceed.

Half term family friendly bike ride in Lichfield

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I’ve been speaking with a few families and we agreed to arrange a family friendly bike ride one day over the half term holiday next week. It would be useful to find out what is the best day and time for people. It’s the Bower on bank holiday Monday so another day after that.

I was planning to meet in Beacon Park and depending on the group take a circular route and end up back in the park for a play. It would be a great opportunity for the kids to enjoy riding together in a group and hopefully get out on the roads as well as the cycle paths.

If anybody wants to make a suggestion then twit, facebook or email and we can start to make a plan.

All together now

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Yesterday something happened for the first time – we cycled out as a whole family on the short trip to Beacon Park. Five years ago none of us cycled. Then I picked up a cheap used mountain bike from Dave Owen Cycles in Tamworth. My father in law returned to the sport of his youth on an old racing bike. Then my oldest daughter went through a series of bikes including the one she is riding today that is the only bike i’ve ever bought new. My other two daughters have had hand me downs or second hand ones. My wife got a bike last year and her sister too. Most of the bikes are heavy and steel framed and worth more as scrap than bikes. But none of that matters, yesterday seven of us rode together to the park for the first time.