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Arse Cream, Lube and Strava

A language all of its own

sunny 35 °C

Cycling, like all sports, has its own terminology which to the uninitiated can at best sound unusual and, at worse, lead to raised eyebrows.

As we enjoyed a day off the bike in NanNing, a small city in Southern China of 7 million people, we ventured into the town centre which was dominated by shops, local brands and the infernal Starbucks, McDonalds, et al. The first building we entered was 7 floors of mobile phone and accessory stalls. Surely there were more phones than people.

Wandering the streets enjoying the sites, crawling up back alleys and going into shops for no other reason cause they were there was a nice break. I spent most of the day with the Kiwi and German, I like to hang out with winners, and of course conversation turned to how we were feeling.

"I need more Arse Cream", announced Phil. Rather than this being a conversation stopper we walked on as normal. Cycling is very demanding on the nether regions and no-one escapes the dreaded saddle sores. In fact, the standard morning greeting is not "Good Morning" but "How's your arse?". To which a mumbled reply gets a sympathetic nod. "Arse Cream" is designed to take the rough edges of such predicament and is a cycling essential.

Shortly after, as we sat down in the afternoon sun to enjoy freshly squeezed juice, Georg lamented the fact that his Lube had been confiscated at the airport. A similar lack of reaction from us, as Lube is used on your chain to ensure all runs smoothly and effort is translated into power.

At this moment 2 young adult girls approached us and asked if we could speak Chinese. My fellow riders volunteered my services and I spent some time answering their Chinese survey. After some confusion as my Chinese in their area of study is limited, I deciphered that their survey was into attitudes towards Homosexuality and Gay Marriage. They were seeking local and foreign viewpoints as a comparison for their college assignment.

After bidding goodbye we looked at each other and burst out laughing. These girls had overheard our cycling discussion, and are obviously unfamiliar with the terminology.

Which brings me to Strava, an online community where you can load all your efforts and share with people. You can follow others and see what they are doing, where they are going and how well they are doing it. It captures all the essential information of your ride as you can see from the pics, as well as your heart rate (for those not too tight to pay PC, RB).

Upon departing for this trip the overwhelming summary was be careful, either of others, drivers, motor scooters and other hazards, and, or, I hope your heart doesn't give out. It got me thinking, as one does have a great deal of thinking time each day. If my heart did decide to give out, it would make an interesting profile on Strava. It would be pretty rare that at the very instant it was all over, my heart rate monitor would deliver a flat line.

I reckon it would make a pretty impressive picture to hang on the wall."The day Dad's heart stopped!" Hopefully the girls would share it with you at my funeral and they can put it pride of place with all my other artwork they love so much!

Yes I know, sick. But when you're in the Hurt Locker, its 35 and steamy and you're watching the kilometers slowly tick over as you head towards Vietnam your head does go to strange places. But that's cycling. Strange. Arse Cream, Lube and Strava.Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 8.04.06 pm

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Posted by Stephenhanlon 01:01 Archived in China

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