Putting on mudguards

Well it's that time of year. Time to put the mudguards on. We have a tradition in the club where mudguards are worn from when the clocks go back until they go forward. It's a poignant time of year, putting on my Crud Catcher's tonight I thought back from when I took them off. It doesn't seem five minutes since I took them off in February for Llanberis. All the club runs, the Time Trials, the highs and the lows.

Now they're back on and ahead of me lies 4 months of lonely Winter months on the road. Where it takes 10 minutes to get dressed just to go out. The gasps at the first touches of cold air as you get going. Slow, long base miles. January is the worst. The beautiful, easy autumn days of October and November are over, where the thought of competition are out of sound and mind. December's build to Christmas has long bin and gone. January is tough, burning off the Christmas weight and Llanberis only a month away.

I hate putting on mudguards. They are horrible, clumsy things. They are the defining moment of the end of the season. They are the start of hard months ahead. Bring on the Winter.

Bring back Milko!

We've recently signed up to having our milk delivered by the milkman again. I have said for a while how I missed having the milkman around and out of the blue he knocked on. He said he would lose his round if he didn't sign people up. It is costing us 60p a week. 60p! For 60p a week I'm all up for supporting him

To be honest it was him knocking on the door that did it for me. We need more people with the drive and determination to sign people up. I'd rather him have 60p extra of my money than for him to be on benefits. Business is so hard at the moment when he signed up he looked delighted. I knew what it meant for him. I know how hard getting business on board can be. It gave him a lifeline to support his family. We need more hard working people like this searching for opportunities rather than soak up benefits.

I missed having the milkman deliver our milk. I know that sounds sad but for me it added character. It added to being part of a community. It was also someone you could depend upon no matter the weather. You could be up at daft o' clock in the morning but you would never be alone. Seeing the milkman in his milk float always put a smile on my face.

I didn't mind having the birds peck at the foil top either, nor the milk being frozen in the Winter because that was part of it all: you moved through the seasons. You knew it was Spring when the birds pecked at it and of course Winter when it froze. Many would get pissed off at pouring away a pint of milk, for me knowing a young bird had enjoyed a gulp of my semi-skimmed made me feel better about the day ahead. And no dirty thoughts either, I know what you're thinking.

For me though it was more about trust. Someone would deliver product while you slept while you had trust in the neighbourhood that it would be there when you woke up.

However it seems strange that so many of us have moved away from the trusty milkman. It is working out to be around 60p more a week to have our milk delivered. 60p! You probably spend more on that driving to the shop to pick it up. And yes you do drive to pick it up! For me it makes sense.

So if you're reading this, please support your milkman!