Cataracts and Mountain Bikes

Steve Reed sent a query aus Aussie in 2015: Any good ophthalmologists on the East or North Rand come to mind? My 71 year-old brother Doug sounds like he has cataracts. Wants to know who to go see. He does not trust his optometrist anymore who keeps giving him stronger glasses (What!? Us!?). So he wants to go and see someone who is not the butcher of Bedfordview.

A reply: From deep behind the boerewors curtain – even deeper behind it than Bedfordview – came a dodgy reply, shamelessly rigging the tender in favour of family – a distant cousin: ‘Clive Novis is good for cataracts’ (this was his fourth cousin Brauer speaking).

Five years later (2020) I was clearing out old emails and followed up to Reed and Brauer: Did Doug have his cat tracks whipped out? Surely yes, cos if you see a cataract surgeon . . .

Reed replied – and got the subject onto cycling: Yeah, he had ’em done. Some peer pressure from his wealthy cycling mates who were proudly pitching up without their spoogoos and sporting plano Oakley cycling sunglasses! So yes, he was getting myopic shift. His optom sent him after she could not improve his VA any more. After a lot of pre-op anxiety – his pressures spiked post-op – could not see and had to have a fair bit of treatment before it all settled down.

So wisely, he succumbed to peer pressure for the cataracts but not the $12 000 carbon fibre bikes. He is a wise man and his decisions are measured.

I responded, ignoring Doug’s drama and honing in on what was important: Bikes. Liewe bliksem. I bought my first bike in Westville for R150. Loved it. Then I bought a really nice GIANT hardtail for R1250 or R2250. Now that bike I really loved and was very happy with.

But Aitch and a canoeing mate (who went huge in the MTB industry – he still runs MTB trails) decided ‘Koos needs a better bike.’

Koos did not need a better bike. The reason Koos wasn’t winning races was he was stopping to look at the scenery and pushing up hills. All hills. I still push up hills. All hills. It is undignified to ride up hills. Cyclists only look dignified going downhill. Or posing next to their bikes.

– fancy KONA – Tom approves –

So a spanking smart KONA arrives, made in Canada, shock absorbers all over the place. High-level Shimano gearset. A computer to tell me what I did. Never switched it on. I know what I did and I’d rather not record it.

Fuckit! Rumour had it at R17500. Not high at the time relative to what some were spending, but fuckit, R1250 spent years ago was my comfort level. Hush and just say Thanks! and Wow! Koos – Aitch paid for it. I still had to buy cleats to click into the pedals. Now I walked like a doos when pushing uphills.

I faked joy and rode it. It was a softer ride, sure, but I was happy with the GIANT’s ride. Anyway, I’m a natural diplomat, Aitch had paid, be polite, thank you, love. It’s marvelous. Yes, it’s MUCH better than my old bike. Yes, I’ll be MUCH faster now.

And then I remembered a bit of empathy for Doug: Oper-fucking-rations. I don’t want none. ‘Pressures spiked post op’ – gives me the jeebies.

~~~oo0oo~~~

boerewors curtain – imaginary line separating normality from antediluvian thought processes; separates KwaZulu Natal from the throat-clearing hinterland, such as Tshwane, Gramadoelas, Boksburg, Benoni, Vanderbijlpark, Gotpietersrus, Bedfordview, even Herriesmit.

spoogoos – glasses; spectacles; eyeglasses; from the isiZulu izibuko

– R190 000 –

$12 000 – R200 000 Souf African Ront so min of meer; R10 000 more than my Ford Ranger

so min of meer – fuckit

fuckit – goodness gracious me

doos – with an odd toe-up gait cos of cycling shoes

oper-fucking-rations – surgery; definition of minor surgery: surgery on someone else

Aitch MTB Club

On finding out that Aitch had belonged to a ladies mountain bike group, a friend said (in Sept 2013) . . “I didn’t realize she was such a keen bean cyclist – seems there were not many things she did not try her hand at?”
Maybe we can fathom why Aitch got so keen on pedalling . .
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“The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands.
And, when it gets old and  shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the whole community” – quote attributed to Ann Strong
“Marriage is a wonderful invention.
Then again, so is the bicycle”  (and – the bike comes with a far simpler repair kit)
quote attributed to Jacquie Phelan
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“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving”

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” . . before mountain-biking . . (and electric biking) . . came to the scene, the biking scene was ruled by a small elite cadre of people who seemed allergic to enthusiasm”
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“Work to ride – and ride to work”

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“Four wheels move the body.
Two wheels move the soul”

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“If you don’t ride in the rain, you don’t ride”

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“Don’t ride faster than your guardian angel can fly”

(Quotes written on a blackboard at Aitch’s “Angels Mountain Biking Club” coffee shop)

Here’s their guardian angel – who could ride MUCH faster than all of them . . He led their trail rides and looked after them. I never met him but she told me his name. And she’d kick me for not remembering it!

Aitch's ANGELS MTB club (6)