It broke. The ultimate tourer broke.

It broke. The ultimate tourer broke.

I was devastated when I realised that my Unit has a crack in the drive-side rear dropout. I was at the beach when it was spotted. I called half a dozen or so frame builders and welders, and so far only one has been willing to have a proper look at it, inside of 5-6 months, and even they aren’t ready to go for a few more weeks.

I didn’t realise how attached I was to this bike. We’ve had some amazing adventures, and I was planning many more.

Some photos of the broken bike below. I’m hoping I can get some photos of the repaired bike soon. And I need to figure out what colour to paint it.

It broke. The ultimate tourer broke.

Kona Unit 2-9, the ultimate tourer?

I’ve reached D-1. Most people omit half of the answer to the question “how many bikes do I need?”, only saying that you need N+1 bikes, where N is the number of bikes you currently have. But the full answer is that you need N+1 bikes until N = D-1 where D is the number of bikes that will cause a divorce, or some other similar upheaval of your life. Anyway. I’m there. We don’t really have room for more bikes, and even though I buying a touring bike would be great, it’s not a good idea. I don’t need it.

I have a gorgeous 2008 Kona Unit 2-9. A rigid, single-speed mountain bike. I love it. I love the suppleness of the steel frame, and riding single-speed is good for the soul. Maybe. I figured that turning this bike into a tourer rather than the commuter I’ve got it set up to be at the moment would be a good way of not crossing into the dangerous N=D territory. It also won’t prevent the bike from being a commuter anyway.

This transformation will take place over a few stages. The first two stages have already happened. On-fork storage, and new handlebars with a few more hand-position options and carrying capacity.

The 2-9 comes with a suspension corrected Project 2 fork. A lovely, simple fork with a straight 1-1/8″ steerer. Simple. Perfect, apart from not having any cage mounts. Local legend Peter Good – wielder of the oxy flame, conjurer of gorgeous brazed fillets – to the rescue. It wasn’t expensive. It didn’t take long. I got a pair of forks back that looked like this:

With some patience, sand paper, and rattle cans, I ended up with a pair of forks in gorgeous barbie pink.

With racks mounted, it ended up looking like this:

Perfect.

The next stage is new bars, and I settled on some Surly Moloko bars as being the right ones for me. Good sweep, and plenty of space. I did my first bar-tape job, and I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out.

The next step is a frame bag, and some sort of seat-post bag. Then I’m ready to go touring!

Leave me a comment if you have opinions on what else I should add to make this even better!

Universal Harvester

Universal Harvester

I really enjoyed the book, but I don’t think I understood what was going on while I was reading it, and probably not after I finished it either. But maybe now, a few weeks after, is it starting to congeal into something resembling an “aah…so that’s what was going on!”. Maybe. Probably not.

John’s (because we’re on first-name terms, obviously) writing style feels familiar, and there are several sentences in the book that wouldn’t be out of place slotted into a Mountain Goats song somewhere. This familiarity, though, lulled me into thinking that it would be a linear, and probably obvious, story that made sense. I was expecting more horror. I was expecting to be messed with more, psychologically. I didn’t expect to time-travel (not that the book is about time-travel) between generations, and across the country quite like it did.

I was confused for a lot of it once it moved away from the first story arc of the spliced in footage on the rental cassettes. But the writing style kept me reading, and I’m glad I persisted with it, even if I didn’t understand what was going on.

I reckon it’s a two or three star book. Same writing style with a story I understood and it would be a 4.5-er. I’m not blaming the author for me not understanding it, I should add.

A most unexpected swim

A most unexpected swim

When someone says “English beach” you don’t really picture anything that great. Grey skies. Grey sand (at best). Grey water. A lot of people not really dressed for the beach at all. I’d been told that the Jurassic Coast was beautiful, and, along with my preconceived ideas I (internally) pffff’d and mostly dismissed the idea of swimming in the UK.

But then I remembered that I would need a July swim to complete my swim-every-month-in-2022 challenge. So, caution to the wind and those sorts of things, I decided to head to Durdle Door as early as possible to avoid the crowds. £5 to park for 4 hours – they sure know how to make it difficult for poor people to do things in the UK.

Anyway. I followed the path down, and down, and down, past the views of white chalk cliffs, down the rocky path, then down the worn wooden steps and onto the san….pebbles. They were oval, smooth pebbles. Apparently walking barefoot on pebbles is a good way of improving health (it’s called tap shek) – so consider my health improved!

There is a very striking arch in the water at Durdle Door Beach – the arch is the namesake for the beach. Durdle Door.

The water was clear and a beautiful blue. There was a slight swell, but nothing significant. No wind. The sun was out.

I dove in to the instantly deep water (the coarser the sand on the beach, the steeper the beach) and started swimming for the arch. The water was refreshing, especially after suffering through the 40℃ heatwave in London. A shower doesn’t have the same refreshing power as a swim in the ocean after a hot day.

I reached the arch, swimming through it on my back, looking up the whole time, watching the perspective change. It felt special. Magical. Like I’d gone through a portal to another land. Swimming back through the portal, I was worried I’d go back through to the place I’d come from, but I stayed in the magical place where I’d been through Durdle Door.

If you ever get to the Jurassic Coast, and the weather is Just So, I heartily recommend swimming through the portal to another land.

Durdle Door
Preconceived Ideas washed away.