Friday, 26 June 2009

Neil Young

I am a massive Neil Young fan.  Not obsessive, I don't have all of his albums on all media!  But I do have most on either LP, CD or both and I do have about 40 bootlegs.

My last Neil experience was to boycott along with my friend Mal, his last tour.  Ticket prices were just too high, £75-80 per head depending on where you could get them.  We just said no!

This latest tour was a bit more reasonably priced, £50 per head.  Choices were Nottingham or Aberdeen.  We chose Nottingham.  Tuesday lunchtime, Ian, Mal and I drove down the 150 miles on the hottest day of the year so far, with my air con broken.  We arrived in plenty of time to drive round Nottingham's one way system, totally lost.  Then spent an hour talking my sister in, as she was lost as well.

We missed the support act.  Got a good spot for Neil.

What a show!  Probably the best NY show ever.  Opened with Hey Hey My My, Everybody Knows this is Nowhere, Mansion on the Hill, Cinnamon Girl.  Then On the Way Home, a very early song, followed by Burned.  There was a fantastic Down by the River and the final song Rockin in the Free World.  He started to wind now, seeming to get in sync with the drummer to finish, then jumped back centre stage for another chorus, then back to the drummer, then another chorus, and so on for about 6 times.  The crowd went mad.  Brilliant.

The band came back on to do a cover of the Beatles A Day in the Life.  It was fantastic, raucous, wild, probably the best ever Beatles cover.  The song finished with Neil ripping the strings from his guitar, propping it against his amp, feeding back wildly, then whipping the pickups with the ends of the broken strings! 

Absolutely awesome.


Sunday, 21 June 2009

Happy Father's Day

I have had a very pleasant Father's day.  After sleeping in til 10, I got up and rode out to the shops to get some croissants for breakfast.  Number two son had gone to work but left me a present of a new Sigma BC5000 computer for my new bike.


I really like the Sigma stuff.  This is a fairly basic one, speed, trip distance, trip time, total distance and clock.  That's all I need.  In fact my favourite computer, which doesn't seem to be available anymore was another Sigma that just did speed, trip distance, total distance and clock.  No buttons, auto scroll through the functions, auto reset of trip distance after being still for 4 hours.  Cheap, easy!

I spent an hour or so fitting it this morning.  A nice feature of the design is that you can undo the mounting and turn it through 90 degrees for mounting on the stem rather than the bars.

This afternoon we went for a brief spin, just eight miles with a stop at the pub.  Very nice.

Number One Son got we a Wiggle voucher which I have put towards the new saddlebag.

84 miles total this week, not bad but half of last week's.



Saturday, 20 June 2009

New Mudguards

The Pompino was rattling something rotten the last week or so.  I thought it might be the Bagman saddlebag support at first as that has come loose a couple of times, but after a thorough check over, ie rattling everything by hand and bouncing the bike up and down a bit, the source of the noise was narrowed down to the rear mudguard.  These weren’t new mudguards, they came of my Ribble, where they had done generous duty for about 6 years.  With three years on the Pompino, I think they had earned their money and decided to get a new set.

A pair of SKS Chromoplastic guards were duly ordered from Wiggle at the beginning of the week and arrived Thursday.  So after lunch today, I set about fitting them.

Three hours later they are on!  It shouldn’t have taken me that long, but after following the instructions it became clear that the stays needed to be cut down.  This meant undoing everything, including the special little stay caps that poke through the mudguard fitting, which were a bugger to get off.  RIMG0206 The reassemble everything without the stay caps and mark with a hacksaw.  Then take everything off again and fit the stay caps again.  Then put everything back on. 

Looks good now though, and no rattles.

















No mega-miles this week.  Heavy rain, wind and boys late for exams on Wednesday.  On Thursday, I had to take the tandem wheel and disc brake mechanism to the bike shop so they could get the measurements right for the mounting bracket.  It is an early Hope mechanical disc brake and doesn’t match any modern mountings.  This does mean that they are getting on with the rebuild.



Saturday, 13 June 2009

More new bike goodness

I am still in love with my new bike!   It is ace!

I have done just over 140 miles so far this week, 130+ of them on the new bike.  It still seems like a very upright position, but then again, that is what I asked for.  I did a 20 mile ride Thursday, easy pace, pint of beer half way, and it was comfortable all the way.

I think my hands are too small to be really comfortable with STI.  I can change to the smaller sprockets fairly easily.  But I can't change up very well.

I am going to get a Carradice Barley saddlebag.  I have two Nelson Longflap bags, one on my Pompino and an old tatty one that I've put on the Hewitt temporarily.  I really like the Carradice bags and don't seem to suffer from problems that others have re their thighs hitting the bag or the angle being wrong.  The Nelson is great for going to work, I get my butty box, change of clothes and some bits of stuff in easily, but for a general day ride it is too big.  The Barley is about half the size, but still has the side pockets which I use one for tools, tube etc and one for a folding bag, emergency light and lock.

We did another long (for me!) ride today, about 55 miles out to Chipping and Dunsop Bridge.  It was a glorious day, sun shining and a gentle breeze.  We got to the cafe at Dunsop Bridge at lunch time and sat in the garden, eating bacon and egg on toast, tea cakes, lemon cake and drinking tea.  Joe and Ian recounted tales from the road from their Land's End to John o'Groats trip.

I am knackered, but still pleased with the new bike.



Monday, 8 June 2009

New Bike

My wife rang me at work today to tell me that my new bike was ready.  Did I want her to pick me up from work and take me round to get it.  Did I!

Hewitt's is in Leyland, about 18 miles from work on the other side of Preston.  I had a voice conference that didn't finish til 5:15, Hewitt's closes at 6.  It was touch and go whether we would get there on time.  How come when you are in a hurry you always get stuck behind stuff, learners, tractors etc.  Anyway we got there with 5 mins to spare.

My new bike is beautiful!

It is a Hewitt Chiltern audax bike.  The frame is steel, 631 main frame, 525 rear triangle and forks.  

Brooks B17 saddle

Tiagra groupset, except for 105 hubs, long reach brakes and Mavic Open Pro rims.

After a bit of wondering about how best to get it home, I changed into my cycling gear and set of to ride the 13 or so miles home.  The bike is great.  It fits me really well, the gears shift flawlessly although as this is the first bike I've had with STI gear shifters, it will take a bit of getting used to.



Sunday, 7 June 2009

Trough Again

(transferred from MSN)

So, last weekend was my furthest ride (70 miles) for a long time, at least two if not three years.  And hard, 1500m of steep hard climbing.  So this weekend I planned to take it easy.  Then Karl sent out an email to the Core Team asking if we were up for a ride.

The plan soon became a road ride this morning.  Out to Chipping and through the Trough of Bowland, with a bail out option for Karl and me at Chipping.


Weather was good, warm, cloudy, and not much wind.  We set out at a steady pace.  Joe had my panniers on as a final shake down for his Land’s End to John O’Groats ride next week.  To make it more real, he had a full box of 50 Go energy bars in one pannier.  Ian was on his brand new Independent Fabrications touring bike, again in readiness for LeJog.  It is a cool bike, cream with red lettering, red Chris King headset and hubs, Brookes leather bar tape, Swift honey saddle.  Angry bees Chris King hub sound every time he free wheeled.

We got to Chipping in fairly short order, despite one of Joe’s panniers jamming in his spokes.  Eventually he took it off and shoved it in the other, newer and better pannier.  At Chipping we had a decision, do we carry on round the Trough or head back.  I was feeling OK and decided to carry on.

Dunsop Bridge came up pretty quickly and a stop for tea and tea cakes in the sunshine.  Then we set off to Marshaw and Boundary Hill.  Several miles of steep!  Although I stopped a few times, I rode it all and faster than last week. 

Then it was back to Scorton and a zig zag through the lanes to Myerscough and the familiar roads home.

Total distance 65 miles, so not quite the leisurely spin I had intended, but it was good to be out with the guys again.



New Blog

I've decided to move over to Blogger. Hopefully I will do a bit more writing here than MSN!

New bike next week!!!