Weights and Measures

Stopping for a coffee on the way home

Cyclists are interested in numbers – every bit as much as accountants are. The numbers, of course, don’t lie. How many miles have you ridden today? What’s your average speed? Top speed? How many feet of climbing?

Every cyclist now has a computer, linked to a satnav, to relay all this data, in real time. A satnav can also tell you (perhaps discouragingly) the exact height of the hill in front of you, and how long it estimates you’ll take to get to the top. TMI, in my view.

You can link the computer to other devices, to measure and record your heart rate, calorie consumption, sweat production, attractiveness to your preferred sex (I made that one up) and – lovely musical term – cadence.

To a cyclist cadence doesn’t mean quite what it means to a musician. It’s not asking if you’re perfect, imperfect, plagal or interrupted. It’s telling you how many turns of the pedals you’re making in a minute.

This is, apparently, important information. One training site says that “recreational cyclists typically cycle at around 60 – 80 RPM, while advanced and elite cyclists pedal anywhere from 90 to 110 RPM.” Ouch. A bit like saying “amateur cellists typically play out of tune, while real cellists…”

I did my first practice ride with the bike fully loaded. (I should have confessed that last time you saw the cello case on the back of the bike the cello wasn’t actually in it. Yes, alright, that was cheating – but I had to work up to it, ok?)

It wobbled a bit, but it was almost ok. When I got home I weighed everything. Important information.

Self: 60kg
Self, with fully loaded bike: 104kg!!!

Yes, seriously. So where is all that weight? Well, the nearly-fifty-year-old Dawes Galaxy weighs in at about 18kg, a bit more than twice the weight of a modern road bike. Then the rest is
Cello, in its case: 8kg
Kit, from helmet to shoes 4kg
Front panniers 7kg
Small bag on the back 3kg
Bag of CDs on the front 3kg
Water 1kg

And then there are all the other measures – distance, speed, height climbed, etc. You want to know? Maybe another time. As I said, you can have Too Much Information. Besides, if you’re a musician reading this you might be thinking of “measures” as what we used to call “bars” anyway, and I wouldn’t want you to feel misled. And talking of bars, I think I need a beer after all that.

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