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London Mayor's faith in Transport for London's road maintenance sadly misplaced...

Boris Johnson is in mourning — for his bike. The Mayor of London’s machine — affectionately referred to as Old Bikey in his latest column in the Telegraph — was destroyed by a fatal combination of the weather, a pothole and Mr Johnson’s touching but sadly misplaced faith in the ability of Transport for London to keep the capital’s roads in good repair.

Any of us who’ve written off a bike will be able to sympathise with Mr Johnson, who writes of his grief: “Think of Alexander grieving for his favourite mount Bucephalus, or Wellington mourning the death of the great Copenhagen.”

As he rode away from a “detailed” lunch with his father, he writes: “I saw a puddle ahead; well, not so much a puddle as an inky mere that spread six feet across the road. I wonder how deep that puddle is, I said to myself, as Old Bikey whizzed me nearer. I wondered whether I should steer round it.”

Old Bikey
Old Bikey

Not how anyone who’s ridden in London for as long as Mr Johnson would react to a possible pothole, you’d think. With just a year of riding across the City every day, my reaction would be ‘Argh! Avoid!’ But the Mayor had faith in a higher power. You have to wonder if some of the details of lunch had clouded his judgment just a little.

“I thought, nah. This is my road, a Transport for London road, serviced to the most exacting standards. To steer round a little pool of rainfall was not only wimpy; it was positively disrespectful to the superb roads-maintenance team in our Surface Transport division.”

You can guess the punchline, of course. This was not just a puddle, but the opening to a watery netherworld, and Mr Johnson rolled right into it.

“Down, down, down went the front wheel for what seemed like a very long time, before jack-knifing on some storm drain or sunken U-boat or other obstruction at the bottom; and then, sploof, I went over the handle bars before making brief but thorough contact with the wet tarmac; and, boing-oing-oing, I bounced up again – as we old rugby players have learnt to do – a millisecond before the taxi behind me could organise a swift election, and I had taken the bike off the road to assess the damage.”

On superficial inspection, all seemed to be well, but when Mr Johnson got back in the saddle, things were clearly amiss.

“When I turned one way or the other the rear wheel would lurch in the opposite direction,” he wrote. “It was like trying to run a coalition with the Lib Dems.”

A couple of bike shop visits revealed the problem to be a broken frame, “slain by the rain” after eight years of “jouncing and bouncing over potholes and cobbles”.

The silver lining to this dark cloud is that Mr Johnson now has an excuse to go shopping for a new bike and plans to correct “the only defect [Old Bikey] had”.

“It was made in California,” he wrote. “Now is the time for a bike that won’t expire beneath me, a bike that won’t snap. It’s time for a British bike.”

[Footnote: Old Bikey appears to in fact have been a Californian-designed hybrid, almost certainly actually manufactured  in Taiwan. Nevertheless we extend our sincere condolences to the Mayor on his loss.

It sounds like the Mayor could have done with to use Fill That Hole to report the gaping chasm that destroyed his bike — or maybe he was able to just call TfL personally.]

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

46 comments

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/118/jbep.png

(It wouldn't even shock me if this was a load of crap anyhow...; )

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rogermerriman [91 posts] 2 years ago
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One of the things that is nice with the old mtb while it's a heavy rather clumpy beast, I've yet to see a pothole that could trouble it, it lacks the poise of the roadie but there is something about a bike that will just roll over potholes, speed bumps, London buses etc, with just a mild woomph as the tyre deforms mildly...

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Niallsimpson [3 posts] 2 years ago
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 41 Got to love Boris, when you have the dismal selection of politicians we have here in N. Ireland, it's good to see one you can laugh at... in a good way!

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Niallsimpson [3 posts] 2 years ago
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 41 Got to love Boris, when you have the dismal selection of politicians we have here in N. Ireland, it's good to see one you can laugh at... in a good way!

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Gkam84 [9092 posts] 2 years ago
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Ahhhhh, Karma strikes again and the balance of the world is restored....why can't this happen to a politician every week. In their fancy cars. The roads would soon get the funding they need

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cyclingDMlondon [565 posts] 2 years ago
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Niallsimpson wrote:

 41 Got to love Boris, when you have the dismal selection of politicians we have here in N. Ireland, it's good to see one you can laugh at... in a good way!

Which is exactly what he wants. He plays the buffoon to hide the pure, sadistic evil of neo-liberal policies. He is a very dangerous man, and if Britain is foolish and blind enough to elect this pile of feces to N° 10 Downing Street, we shall rue the day.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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Keep believing the nonsense...

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md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
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Good old London roads, that's the spirit break the bastard!

that said, given how bad the roads i commute through to the city are i'm not surprised by this, I've punctured every day I've commuted so far this year (only 6 as its cold and wet and dark and I'm lazy)

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md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
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Good old London roads, that's the spirit break the bastard!

that said, given how bad the roads i commute through to the city are i'm not surprised by this, I've punctured every day I've commuted so far this year (only 6 as its cold and wet and dark and I'm lazy)

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md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
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Good old London roads, that's the spirit break the bastard!

that said, given how bad the roads i commute through to the city are i'm not surprised by this, I've punctured every day I've commuted so far this year (only 6 as its cold and wet and dark and I'm lazy)

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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And another one...

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SevenHills [216 posts] 2 years ago
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Karma's a bitch innit!

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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And two more...

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oozaveared [945 posts] 2 years ago
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cyclingDMlondon wrote:
Niallsimpson wrote:

 41 Got to love Boris, when you have the dismal selection of politicians we have here in N. Ireland, it's good to see one you can laugh at... in a good way!

Which is exactly what he wants. He plays the buffoon to hide the pure, sadistic evil of neo-liberal policies. He is a very dangerous man, and if Britain is foolish and blind enough to elect this pile of feces to N° 10 Downing Street, we shall rue the day.

Boris a neo-liberal? You do know the definition of neo-liberal don't you? Maybe not.

Johnson's politics fit the definition of a classic one nation Tory not a neo-liberal.

There's a chap like you propping up a bar in a golf club with a stiff G&T telling everyone that Milliband is a dangerous communist.

Same meat different gravy.

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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And more...

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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Let's hope he's true to his word on the country of manufacture of his next ride.

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cyclingDMlondon [565 posts] 2 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:
cyclingDMlondon wrote:
Niallsimpson wrote:

 41 Got to love Boris, when you have the dismal selection of politicians we have here in N. Ireland, it's good to see one you can laugh at... in a good way!

Which is exactly what he wants. He plays the buffoon to hide the pure, sadistic evil of neo-liberal policies. He is a very dangerous man, and if Britain is foolish and blind enough to elect this pile of feces to N° 10 Downing Street, we shall rue the day.

Boris a neo-liberal? You do know the definition of neo-liberal don't you? Maybe not.

I know the definition. You, evidently, do not.

*aside* why does this website attract so many idiots?

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themartincox [532 posts] 2 years ago
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Cant help but wonder had he been run over by following taxi as he lay in the road what the 'punishment' would have been?

3 points and £60?

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
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cyclingDMlondon wrote:

*aside* why does this website attract so many idiots?

This cant be your'e first dance, all forums attract idiots, this is nothing compared to some I have seen lately, thankfully I havent been slandered for my poor spelling or gammar for a little while, particuly as we all know, your opinion means nothing unless you can speel good  21

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cyclingDMlondon [565 posts] 2 years ago
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jason.timothy.jones wrote:
cyclingDMlondon wrote:

*aside* why does this website attract so many idiots?

This cant be your'e first dance, all forums attract idiots, this is nothing compared to some I have seen lately, thankfully I havent been slandered for my poor spelling or gammar for a little while, particuly as we all know, your opinion means nothing unless you can speel good  21

Hehe .. yeah, I've been holding back from ripping you a new one about that.  3

Last time I posted here (a month or so back, possibly a bit longer), I ventured that 'safety lessons' for cyclists were certainly useful, but were shifting the onus for saving lives, onto the wrong people. Some mouth-breathers took issue with that.

S'funny .. Chris Boardman was saying basically the same thing yesterday...

http://road.cc/content/news/111258-chris-boardman-helmets-not-even-top-1...

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oozaveared [945 posts] 2 years ago
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[/quote]
*aside* why does this website attract so many idiots?[/quote]

Not that many you only got two likes. Definitions are pretty simple for most people. You match the criteria to the observed policies. It is tempting to move people you don't like or whose policies you don't like from one category to another for the purposes of hyperbole. This is common currency in people that hold extreme or polarised views themselves. Thus people that differ from them in their outlook are cast as being at the extreme end of a spectrum. In the vernacular use it is characteristic of much student politics where anyone in any authority might be cast as a fascist. It's juvenile.

I don't subscribe to Boris's policy outlook. I am not a Tory. But Boris is you see. I happen to have taken an academic interest in political science since graduating in the same in 1987. Boris is a plain old vanilla one nation Tory. Nothing so ideological or exotic as a current neo-liberal.

Good luck with your studies.

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mtm_01 [196 posts] 2 years ago
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Thought everyone who cycled knew to avoid large puddles for fear of what lay beneath!

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cyclingDMlondon [565 posts] 2 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:

*aside* why does this website attract so many idiots?[/quote]

Not that many you only got two likes. [/quote]

Oh-oh .. appeal to popularity, anyone?

*guffaw*

{ incompetent trouser-cough snipped unread }

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FluffyKittenofT... [1334 posts] 2 years ago
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rogermerriman wrote:

One of the things that is nice with the old mtb while it's a heavy rather clumpy beast, I've yet to see a pothole that could trouble it, it lacks the poise of the roadie but there is something about a bike that will just roll over potholes, speed bumps, London buses etc, with just a mild woomph as the tyre deforms mildly...

Maybe you are right, but I can think of a couple of pot-holes I know of (they've been there a long time, they might even have their own names by now) where, while your bike might survive, you might need someone to throw you a rope so you could climb out again afterwards.

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jacknorell [974 posts] 2 years ago
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mtm_01 wrote:

Thought everyone who cycled knew to avoid large puddles for fear of what lay beneath!

I avoid them because there's usually nothing beneath... for some distance!

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
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Well all I have to say is I THINK BORRIS IS BRILLIANT

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felixcat [487 posts] 2 years ago
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jason.timothy.jones wrote:

Well all I have to say is I THINK BORRIS IS BRILLIANT

Yes, but what about Boris?

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
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felixcat wrote:
jason.timothy.jones wrote:

Well all I have to say is I THINK BORRIS IS BRILLIANT

Yes, but what about Boris?

YES BORRIS, THATS WHAT I MENT

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seven [155 posts] 2 years ago
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cyclingDMlondon wrote:
Niallsimpson wrote:

 41 Got to love Boris, when you have the dismal selection of politicians we have here in N. Ireland, it's good to see one you can laugh at... in a good way!

Which is exactly what he wants. He plays the buffoon to hide the pure, sadistic evil of neo-liberal policies. He is a very dangerous man, and if Britain is foolish and blind enough to elect this pile of feces to N° 10 Downing Street, we shall rue the day.

He is indeed a monumental shitbin.

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lerrup [22 posts] 2 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:

Boris is a plain old vanilla one nation Tory. Nothing so ideological or exotic as a current neo-liberal. [/quote]

Well, I am not sure Disraeli would see necessarily agree with that definition to be honest with you and just because someone says something doesn't necessarily mean its true, which as you've studied political science then I am sure you know. He is a Thatcherite elitist though, I hope you'd agree with that. I think that he's pretty dangerous to be honest and hides it well.

Shouldn't we take this outside to the Guardian though, I come here to forget about such things normally and have dreams of Titanium on a cro-moly budget...

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