Use for a towel #42, and a 154 mile ride

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. An excellent book, and I have been quite excited since I heard that they were finally making the film. Eventually the date of release comes closer and closer, and it becomes apparent that living in glorious Aberystwyth has its downsides - only one cinema screen… and it’s not showing Hitchhiker’s! Hmm. This is one not to be missed, so what to do? Aha. Make a joke with a friend who lives in Shrewsbury, the nearest big town, that we could ride there and watch it.

Two weeks later and the joke becomes reality, and with two good friends on their bikes, I set off on my 29er, headed for Shrewsbury, 76 miles away. The road out of Aberystwyth towards the English border is beautiful, especially when you cover 30 miles by 9am.

At a remarkably consistent 10.5mph we pushed on, past breakfast, second breakfast brunch, lunch, afternoon snack, through tea, before making it to Dave’s house in Shrewsbury in time for dinner. Part of this exercise was to see just what it feels like to ride over 75 miles in one day. It feels good! The amount of food, water and sugar that one can consume seems almost unlimited, and we were still hungry later on.

Due to being on the side of A roads the whole way I didn’t get many comments from passers by. A handful of honks from trucks and cars was about as good as it got. I did manage to achieve my ambition of shouting ‘it’ at someone else though… a Reliant Robin coming the other way was on the receiving end of a triumphant yell of “OI, mate, you’ve lost your other wheel!!”. Hehe.

My KH Fusion cover airseat conversion was working a treat, but I still had my first experience of the infamous Butt Butt’r. I had my doubts, but no longer. If anyone else thinks that it sounds silly, or that they wouldn’t need it… think again. Your friends may laugh hysterically when they hear what it is, but the ego pain is a lot easier than the other pain that would otherwise continue! Who would have thought that the Elixir of Life could be bought in tubes from the internet?

So, we went to the cinema, towels to hand. The kiosk man didn’t feel up to making a concession for a ticket, despite a straight-faced request that I had got my towel and could I ‘borrow’ a ticket please? But after paying, it was a superb film. Possibly the best kind – where it’s possible to quote along with the script even on the first time of seeing it. :slight_smile:

The second day is where it would get more interesting. 76 miles is all well and good, but two days running is more of a challenge.

The sun was beating down, our tans were coming along nicely and the chocolate milk from lunch was just making its journey down the path to the everlasting stomach, when my riding height dropped a small but substantial two inches. A flat airseat. Nice. Nothing a quick puncture repair can’t fix though, and within minutes we’re back on the road.

Five minutes later… down again. Hmm. But on a downhill stretch, so my cycling friends were off into the distance, so I made it about another mile or more, effectively on a seat base. Something every cushy airseat user should do now and then – it’s good for the soul. Once we regrouped, I had another look at the tube in my seat. The folding up inside the cover seems to make it rather susceptible to abrasion, and large punctures.

Any advice to prevent this?

With another 50 miles to go before getting home for the night, something had to be improvised. What could possibly work? Thanks to the indelible advice of Douglas Adams, I had my trusty towel with me. Rolled up, it fitted snugly (very snugly) into the cover, and made a concoction vaguely resembling a saddle. Towel fabric may be nice a soft and fluffy when in a loose sheet, but when rolled tight and sat upon it gets amazingly hard. Still, I thought. Worth it, if only for the claim that I did it. After about 25-30 miles of the torture it seemed to get better. Whether the towel was moulding to me, or whether I was getting more and more numb, I don’t know.

My triceps have been having a good work out though – constantly leaning down on the handle trying to relieve weight from the seat.

The other, more concerning, issue that arose from a ride of this scale, were my Achilles tendons. The phrase ‘red hot iron bars’ would be useful. During the second day they got tighter and tighter until I could still ride, but after dismounting, could barely walk. It felt like I might have to give up at some points, but as the day went on it seemed to pass. Fairly scary though. I did do warming up and stretching before riding, and after longer breaks… any advice on this problem of tense tendons?

Conclusion… 154 miles in two days on a 29er is very possible. Average speed of 10.4mph. Chocolate milk is good. Butt Butt’r is good. Always know where your towel is.

  • Sam :slight_smile:

…all I did to see the film was walk two blocks from the pub to the theatre. After reading your story I feel like I was cheating :frowning: Hey – my legs were sore too! But that was from dancing on the bar after several shots of Jagermeister, a bad move, and a bad landing. Butt butt’r wouldn’t have saved me there…

Great story! Just goes to further Ford Prefect’s theory of life, the universe and everything else. :smiley:

Re: Use for a towel #42, and a 154 mile ride

Have some foam in the airseat as well as the tube, so you can ride on it flat.


Realize this is an older thread, but I missed it first time around. Nice story and nice ride. It’s still a pretty small club of people that have ridden 150 miles in two days on a unicycle. Wish I was a member…

I saw the movie about 2 weeks ago… I LOVED the books (especially the three “first” ones… I must have read them at least 4 times). but I was a bit disapointed by the movie… something I can’t explain… maybe the french translation… :thinking:
I couldn’t wait for seein g that movie, so I didn’t ride 75 miles that day… I wish I had, that way the movie might keep in my mind for a longer time.:wink:

Every hoopy frood knows where his towel is.

Nice tale and well done for riding that distance, sorry I missed it 1st time round.

I saw the film and was only dissapointed by the ending, it wasn’t supposed to be about the guy getting the girl, but that’s hollywood for you.


Every hoopy frood knows where his towel is.

A common misconception. Hoopy and frood are both nouns. Hoopy, despite ending in a “y” is not an adjective. Tut! And it’s about 26 years since I read the book.

“You know that hoopy, Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.”

I work at a bike shop and we usually suggest that one uses some sort of powder on their bike tubes before replacing them in the tire to avoid pinch flats and the tube sticking. It may be worth while trying this in the airseat coversion.

No one likes a smart-arse.

Seeing as they are both made-up words that do not appear in the dictionary, I can use them in any way I desire. Anyone who has read the book will understand and (hopefully) appreciate my comment.

Please refrain from being supercilious.

Or in Glaswegian: get it up ye ya wordy trumpet.


Or as we say in Nottingham, guitar tonnit yer daft bogger. Ah
were tekkin’t piss.

It’s a sad day when people who read science fiction and fantasy aren’t up for a bit of pointless pedantry. I have read the book many times and did appreciate your comment. I hadn’t realised Glaswegians were such sensitive souls. I will re-read my Para Handy in a completely new light.

Actually I think you mean books. :smiley:


Yes and no. I read about the first three in the fairly early days, and even had the cassette tapes (remember those? Just after 78s and wax cyclinders, but before CDs). Then I got a bit bored with the formula, and took to Pratchett (sp?) for a while. But the expression containing both those made up words as nouns was from the first of the books. Acsh’ly, it seems a very long time since I’ve read anything light hearted and fun, although, as an insurance claims investigator, I read a lot of fiction.

You idling in that kitchen yet?

I’m certainly feeling more confident with short distance backwards riding.


I feel the same, the last books from Adams aren’t as good as the two (OK, let’s say three;) ) first volumes. wereas Terry Pratchett remains very good with the Disc World… I’ve read maybe 12 of those books (2 were original version, others were french translated) and i still want more!
Too bad I’m not good enough to read and appreciate both authors in English. Although translators are great and keep the book’s spirit, I’m sure that it’s not possible to translate perfectly such rich novels.
Sorry for this non-unicycle-related post:o

Just in case this thread isn’t already off topic enough, have you read Feet of Clay? I can’t help but wonder what a translator does with French/English wordplays - lamp au poisson and the like. Having the whole thing in French must either make it bloomin’ obvious, or complete nonsense.

I do like the idea of learning a language by reading Terry Pratchett though. Pity I can already speak English, really.


Yes I’ve read it… But I don’t remember enough to answer your question. Sometimes the translator (who I respect for the way he manages with the task) is obliged to make notes. For example Death is known as a female in france (you say “La Mort”)… so in every tome he has to explain why Death is a male. in the latest tomes he just write things like:
*Do i really need to explain it again?
But as I said I’m sure that a very few things are lost in translation… but it’s still too much:(

A truly priceless story.
Thanx for sharing.
I would offer to buy you a beer, but a towel seems more appropriate.

Thanx for the translations gents. I must say that both comments remind me of Vogon poetry.

Oh, but beer is also crucial, so too salted peanuts …
personally I’d add sundried bananas too, not for any particular inter-galactic transportation purposes, just because they are nice :smiley:

Great write-up. Sorry I missed it when it first aired a few months ago.

I had the same air-seat problem and wrote about how it finally got to the point where I, like you, had to improvise. I had a towel. I tried it. It was too big.

Luckily I had a spare pair of underwear (say it so it sounds like a poem). I stuffed them into the seat, and the 5 miles home went by in a flash (of hot pain – no just kidding, it was fine). Then I replaced the undies with a foam seat and have kept it ever since. Air seats are lovely, but the reassurance of foam is even lovelier sometimes.