Winter has gently killed my bikes. Attrition. They all have something mildly wrong with them - worn bottom brackets, slack pedals with plates that no longer hold onto fresh cleats no matter how much you wind in the tension screw, forks that need servicing, broken spokes, wafer-thin brake pads, grips that don't....
... with one exception. Mr Wanga, with his lithe steel tubes, stainless Surly cogs and chainrings is in the rudest of singlespeed health. Admittedly that's because he's had minimal use this winter, but hey, I'm slightly scared of the evil little bastard and his surrounding invisible zone of malevolent mechanical mayhem. Lifetime ticklist includes a washing machine, two cars, numerous expensive bike components, though rarely his own and, apparently, a classic Anglepoise lamp while sojourning darn sarf.
But needs must, so out he came for yesterday's night ride. And do you know what, it was ace. I'd forgotten - again - how much I enjoy the absence of chain clatter and shifts, the focus on lines and traction and that funny thing of out-climbing geared bikes not because you want to, but because you have to. The bike made me do it, your honour.
A sweet, gritty evening made sweeter by knowing that I'm off somewhere warm and dry and friendly in just a couple of days time. Like staying with friends because it is staying with friends, ones who I've not seen for far too long.
Mr Wanga however, is staying in his bike cave.
Is it breakfast time yet?