Thursday, 30 December 2010


I think my year is done.  I’ve done down with the cold that seems to be doing the rounds here.  I’m in work tomorrow, but will probably drive.  So 5123 miles is my total.  Pretty good I think

The weather has improved.  It is 16 degrees warmer than Christmas Day!  Snow has almost gone.  They are predicting a return to sub zero temps again next week though.

I think my target for next year will simply be 6000 miles.  Unless I can come up with something cleverer.

Happy New Year



Sunday, 26 December 2010

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas.

Its still cold and snow covered here. The roads are covered with snow and ice and pretty much unrideable. I don't think I'll improve my miles much. I have more than exceeded my target of 4500 miles and even my stretch target of 5000 miles, so I'm pretty pleased.

What should my target be for next year? I'm under some peer pressure to do the Harlech Triathlon in April but other than that I'm not sure. More miles? Different type of target? Any suggestions?


Monday, 20 December 2010

More Snow and Ice

I didn’t ride much this week, it was too icy.  I’ve been trying to get some studded tyres but no one seems to have them.  I had a bit of a scare on some frozen mud coming home on Monday and decided not to ride Tuesday.  Wednesday was our team night out so I drove and left the car.  Thursday I rode in through torrential rain and the odd bit of hail, got soaked.

Friday was cold and they predicted snow.  I drove in again, planning to come home and ride out to the pub to meet Karl later.  On the way home it started to snow quite a lot.  I put lights on the P7 and rode that rather than either of the road bikes.  It was a good choice.  By seven there was an inch or so of snow on the roads.  Karl came out on his Pompino and you could see his skin marks in the snow.

By Saturday morning there was a good 6-8 inches, which is almost unheard of round here.  We were supposed to go mountain biking, but cried off.  Dec-2010 002 Dec-2010 001

It has stayed very cold since then, –4C maximum daytime temperature.  It was –10C at 6 o’clock yesterday.  Jayne and I went for a walk over the fields.

Dec-2010 004 Dec-2010 006

Total miles for the week – 24

Miles for the year – 5123

Not sure how many more miles I’ll get in this year.




Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Another dismal week

I was in Switzerland last week.  Monday it was –5 in Manchester.  All flights were delayed due to freezing fog.  I eventually got to Zurich 2 hours late, to be greeted by relatively warm and very wet weather.  Very un-Swiss winter weather.

I drove straight down to Bristol from the airport for two days of meetings and no cycling.  The drive home was long and there were numerous accidents to slow me down, so I didn’t make our usual Friday beer.

Saturday I did a short hour spin round the lanes on my own.  It was warmer than it has been for ages, no ice on the roads.  We were out at Simon’s Saturday night, I drove and we left the car there.  Sunday I just did a gentle ride out to pick the car up.  There was ice on the roads again.  Still can’t get ice tyres.  Not sure how much more riding I’ll do if the weather doesn’t improve.

Miles for the week – 24

Miles for the year to date – 5099


Sunday, 5 December 2010


Its been a very poor week riding wise.  I rode in on Monday.  It was quite icy out so I stuck to the main roads, but even so, there were a couple of hairy moments.  I was away Tuesday to Thursday, so no more riding.  Friday was very icy, worse than Monday, so I drove to work. 

Mileage for the week – a paltry 13 miles

I am off to Switzerland tomorrow for three days, then straight down to Bristol from the airport.  So next week will be a very low mileage week again.  Good job I’ve reached my total already, December is looking to be a light month.


Sunday, 28 November 2010


The weather has turned cold, its barely got above freezing all week.  It has been very sunny and little or no wind though, but the sunny days don’t matter when it goes dark at 4 and you don’t leave work til half 6.

Anyway, apart from the cold, it was the normal weekly commute.  My ribs are good enough to allow me to ride the fixie again, which I prefer in the icy weather.

No Thirsty Thursday ride as our friend Nic is moving to Manchester this weekend and we went to the Taps for a few pint to see him off.

Friday was a day off, so I decided to ride out to meet Jayne from work.  It was still very cold, I had to keep off the really quiet lanes because of icy mud on the farm roads.  Managed to get 20 miles, a club sandwich and a pint of Black Sheep at the Farmers Arms.  This pub is in the village where we used to live and I’d not been in for about 15 years.  It had changed hands recently and vastly improved, but the beer still wasn’t the greatest, maybe the first of the day, but not great.  By the time I got home my hands were frozen.

While we were out Ian texted to see if anyone was out on Saturday.  No one else was so we decided to head up to Grizedale.  There was a light dusting of snow on the roads as we headed up, but turning off the Barrow road onto the back roads to Saterthwaite and Grizedale we were glad to be in Ian’s Landrover as the roads were thick with ice and compacted snow.  Bit of a shock at Moor Top wher ethey had installed pay and display parking machines, not yet in service though.  Not sure how that will affect visitor numbers in future though.  We headed off to do the loop out east from Moor Top down Eel House and Greythwaite Hall.  The going was a curious mixture of harder and easier at the same time.  The snow filled in and softened the sometimes very rocky technical sections, the boggy sections were frozen, but just when you needed it there was no grip.  We were very circumspect on the really tricky bits, choosing to walk rather than risk injury.  The climb back up from Greythwaite Hall was an unrideable slog up what is usually a hard, slippery climb.  The snow capped fells were a beautiful backdrop to the day though.  We had to skip the downhill to Coniston due to failing light and general knackeredness.  We got back to the car and got changed.  Only the presence of others avoided a bare bottomed snow ball fight as Ian hit me with snow as I got changed.  I had to retaliate.

Sunday we headed out for a short ride on the tandem. It was still cold.  We only did ten miles, the roads were still quite icy and Jayne wasn’t happy.  We took about 3 hours to thaw out.

All in all a reasonable mileage.

Miles for the week – 100

For the year – 5062 miles



Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Woo Hoo

5000 mile target achieved.

As of my ride home I am at 5001.45 miles for the year.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Better Weather, Better Miles

The high winds of the previous weeks have finally died down. Its been possible to ride without too much concern for gateways, bridges etc which have proved difficult over the last few weeks.

The usual riding to work week went OK. Monday was the first really cold, frosty day, I decided to ride the main roads rather than my normal back roads to work. There were a few patches of ice but generally OK. Thirsty Thursday was called off again due to a mix of bad weather and people’s availability.

Saturday we set out to Scorton, over the Cartford Bridge, the flat way. We got there in time for a quick coffee and a toasted teacake. The Barn cafe is great, but you do have to run the gauntlet of tat that the gift shop sells. It was too early for proper lunch, so we headed on to Dunsop Bridge through the Trough of Bowland and over Boundary Hill. The climb out of Scorton was extremely tough going, I had nothing in my legs and was struggling all the way. The reward was the whizz down into Dunsop Bridge, for once with no cars to impede the 40+mph descent. We stopped at the cafe for a bacon and egg buttie. We ate quickly and got back out on the road. We still had a way to go, 30 miles for me, over 40 for Joe, and it gets dark now at about 4 o’clock. We went the shortest, least hilly way back. The Inn at Whitewell car park was packed, probably due to featuring on The Trip. We were struggling on every little rise the rest of the way home. I eventually got in at quarter to four, with 60 miles under my belt. Joe still had another 30-40 minutes of twilight riding to go.

Sunday Jayne and I decided to head out to Barton Grange on the tandem. I was cold and a bit damper than Saturday, but still a lovely winter ride. The roads were very quiet and it was just nice for the two of us to be out. When we got to Barton Grange it was absolutely heaving. They do a big Christmas tableau and have a massive Christmas decorations sale. The cafe was mobbed. We had a quick cake and cup of tea before fleeing back to the road. We had the wind behind going home.

Miles for the week – 156

Year to date – 4962

Only 38 miles to go to reach my target! Should easily reach this by Wednesday.


Sunday, 14 November 2010

Wild Week

Weather wise that is. 

Monday morning was quite windy.  I had to go to Bristol in the afternoon, so I drove in rather than ride.

Tuesday down in Bristol it was quite windy, but I arranged to ride with a colleague out on the Bristol – Bath cyclepath.  We rode to Swineford, about 10 miles away and met another colleague for a few pints and something to eat.  Ric’s fruit crumble and cream weighed heavier than my last pint and he struggled on the way back.  Fortunately the ever increasing wind was on our backs on the way back to Bristol.  The path is mostly unlit and our headlights picked out a fox, several cats and more than enough stealth cyclists.

I was in Bristol til Thursday afternoon.  Wednesday was too wild to ride.  As I drove home for Thirsty Thursday, the wind continued to increase as I came north.  The final section down the Fylde was very rough.  We decided once more to cancel.  Over the evening the wind really picked up.  Our fence was flattened, Lytham Windmill lost a sail and the lights in Blackpool were devastated, over £1M of damage, plus knock on effects to the electricity supply to the area.  It was still too windy to ride on Friday, but I drove home then rode out to meet Karl for our regular Friday beer.  It was hard work.

By Saturday the wind had dropped but the weather was still poor. Hail and rain put paid to a Saturday morning trip through the Trough.  So we went to Tesco’s instead and bought wine, beer and bed sheets.

The forecast for Sunday was better and we headed up to Staveley with the mountain bikes.  Karl, Alison and I met up with Ian, Mark and Alex to do either Kentmere/ Long Sleddale or Garburn.  After getting round to Kentmere Church pretty quickly, we decided to do Long Sleddale.  The climb up and over wasn’t too bad, but the bedrock section down into Long Sleddale was much tougher than I remembered and I bottled the really tricky section.  As we rode down the valley, the sun dropped behind the fell and the temperature flowered considerably.  As we climbed back over to the Kent valley we were back in the sun and a bit warmer, but the sun was very low and right in our eyes.  It glistened off the surface water (of which there was a lot) and made picking a line very difficult.  We slithered and slid and pushed our the top and down the single track descent back to Staveley.  I pinch flatted trying to catch Mark and Alex, probably a good thing because they are younger, more skilled and on better bikes than me, there was no way I should even be able to keep up with them, let alone catch them.  I was probably saved from myself and serious injury.

Whilst it was my poorest week for ages, given the weather I still managed something.

Miles for the week – 43

Running total – 4806



Sunday, 7 November 2010

Dark, Wet, Windy

The clocks changed here last Saturday night. Which was great for an early late start on Sunday, but meant a return to winter commuting.

Monday was the last day of Jayne’s hols, so we headed out to Scorton. The weather was much better than forecast and we rode out over Wyre in warmish winter sunshine. Due to the early start we got to The Barn too soon for lunch, so a cappuccino and a tea cake had to suffice. We headed home via the hillier route east of the M6, but the hills soon took their toll on Jayne and our speed dropped. We did see a deer in the woods by the road though. 40 miles was Jayne’s longest ride for quite a while.

Tuesday back to work and back to wetter and windier weather. It was dark by 5 o'clock. I won't be riding home in daylight for the next four or five months. By Thursday the wind had got up to 30-40mph. We decided to forgo Thirsty Thursday. Karl was at yoga and the wind was rocking his car. I hadn’t set off home from work yet so didn’t really know how bad it was. Very bad. In the cross wind I struggled to stay on my side of the road, actually having to steer into the wind as well as lean to keep over. It was very hairy and the decision to cancel was a wise one. By Friday the wind had died down a bit but the rain was still with us.

Saturday dawned sunny and with little wind. We planned to go to the man made trail in Gisburn Forrest. The Red Route was a good mix of technical singletrack, twisty burmed forrest sections and open fire track. Not a long route at 18K, but great for a morning out. We’ll definitely go back, it will be much faster in the dry.

On the way back Karl and I stopped off in Clitheroe to visit the Belgian beer shop. We also saw two deer as we crossed Waddington Fell.

Today Jayne and I planned a gentle potter out to Scorton on the tandem. Karl and Alison joined us on what was a very cold but sunny morning. It was the first time out on the tandem in ages and the pace was so slow, we didn't stand a chance of reaching Scorton in time for Karl and Alison to get back to clean out their chickens. So we diverted to great Ecc and the Courtyard Cafe. Again excellent paninis and toasties before heading home.

This is my best week for over a month, but I am off to Bristol tomorrow, so I don’t think it will be a big week then. Not far to my 5000 mile target though

Miles for the week – 140

Year to date – 4763



Sunday, 31 October 2010

Best Week for a While

I forgot to mention 20 odd miles out to Great Ecc last week,  Cold but sunny and a nice stop at the Courtyard Cafe.

The start of this week was the usual trips to work.  I rode the Pompino for a couple of days, but the lower bar position and lack of gears set my ribs hurting.  Plus I was feeling the effects on the Saturday MTB ride, which was much harder in retrospect than I’d appreciated.  Wednesday I used the Hewitt, much easier.

I’ve been off work since then, as Jayne has half term break.  Thursday we went up to the Lakes with no 2 son to get him a tent for his 18th birthday.  We settled on a MacPac Minaret after getting some very good service and advice from The Epicentre in Ambleside.

I thought I would be on my own for Thirsty Thursday, but Karl called at the last minute and we had our first proper night ride there and back.  The lanes that are so familiar in daylight are suddenly strange and unpredictable.  We came close to overshooting several corners.

Friday was set to be rainy, so it was ‘plumbing day’.  I had several jobs to do, fix a leaky shower, fit an outside tap and replace a washer in the bath to see if that fixed the poor water flow.  First problem – didn’t have a spanner big enough to get the shower valve cover off.  Off to B&Q for a big pipe wrench.  After a bit of swearing and a lot of oomph, the shower was back working.  I thought I’d tackle the ‘easy’ job of the bath washer next.  Second problem – the screw holding the tap top on was stuck fast and I rounded out the head.  I had to drill it out, which took ages.  Once out, the tap gubbins came off easily and I swapped the washer and got it back on quite quickly. Third problem – no water would come out!  After taking it off again, I realised that the mechanism was knackered and would not wind back properly.  So I went back into town to get a new mechanism.  Apparently you can’t buy just the gubbins, you have to get a new pair of tap tops.  Once home, the tap went on easily and water flowed.  Success!  Fourth problem – when I went to turn the hot water supply back on I noticed that the bottom of the airing cupboard was soaking.  The valve to the water heater was leaking and had probably been doing so for a while.  We shut of the heating and water again and called the emergency plumber.  He eventually came and temporarily fixed the problem, but as it was heating, not plumbing could not do a proper job.  It seemed OK, but we left the tray under the valve just in case.  By this time I was fed up of plumbing.

Saturday morning and the tray had water in it, plus there was water dripping from another valve.  We put a call in to the heating engineer, who could come between 12 and 6.  So we went out for a quick 20 miler in the nice sunny weather.  While we were waiting for the heating guy, I fitted the outside tap, not without a little swearing and scuffed knuckles.  The guy eventually came at 4 ish.  Turns out he is the organizer of the local BMX club and a bike fan.  Once he’d replaced four valves and we were waiting for the heating system to refill, I took him to the garage and showed off my bikes.

This morning, Alison, Joe and I headed off to Chipping.  Karl caught up with us at Inglewhite and we got to the Cobbled Corner Cafe quite early, despite the headwind.  The Cafe was in chaos, they’d just had a coachload of walkers leave and a bike club run arrive.  We just ordered coffee and cake otherwise, according to Alison, we would be waiting at least an hour for any hot food.  The wisdom of this advice was soon bourn out by the service to other diners. The ride back was with the wind and much easier.

All in all a pretty good week.

Miles for the week – 119 miles

Mile for the year – 4623 miles



Monday, 25 October 2010

Getting Better

Another short week, but I’m headed in the right direction now.  Monday & Tuesday were lost to work outings.  I rode in Weds to Friday and didn’t hurt too badly.  I’m off the Ibuprofen as well.  No Thirsty Thursday ride, Ian is in California, Karl in Scotland.

Saturday we arranged to go mountain biking.  Something gentle for me and Joe and something not too technical for Simon, as he starts a new job today and didn’t want to bash himself up  for his first day.  We decided to combine two rides and do Cartmel Fells and  Whitbarrow Scar.  In the end there were six of us, me Karl, Alison, Joe, Simon and Tony.  Me, Karl, Simon and Tony were all on P7’s, Simon and Tony on single speeds.

There was a lot of road riding to link up the off road sections, but it was on nice quiet back roads, very unusual in the Lakes.  Lots of climbing though.  The descent from Witherslack Hall was fantastic, just wet and slippy enough to be challenging without being too technical.  I flew down until I came to an enormous dog stood in the middle of the path.  I was the size of a small horse, or at least seemed so as I approached a speed.  Luckily the owner was there and pulled the dog off the trail as the rest came down.  Another long and steep (1 in 4) climb got us up onto Cartmel Fell and another cracking series of downhill double and singletracks.  The last one was a bit tricky with little or no back brake and being a bit timid because of my ribs.  But we made it.  All in all about 25 miles.

Total for the week – 92

Total year to date - 4504

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Another poor week

I’m pretty sure I cracked a rib or two last weekend.  It still hurts to sneeze or cough.  Last week was very hard as I still have a cold.

After the previous weekend’s shenanigans I decided to take it easy riding to work on the Hewitt.  The weather is getting colder but it was largely a fine week.  I rode most days, but got the train home on Thursday as on the same night it was my team’s project celebration meal, my friend Simon’s leaving do and the Sports and Social Committee free beer night.  At the meal several of us were drinking wine and we got through the first bottle quite quickly, so I ordered a second bottle.  Unbeknownst to me, everyone else was driving, so I had most of the second bottle to my self.  I was gone!  A couple of pints with Simon and I was well away.

Saturday was spent at Jayne’s Mum’s.  Sunday we had an easy ride out to Great Ecc.  Neither of us was good, I had my ribs and Jayne was recovering from a cold.  We took it easy, arriving at the cafe at lunchtime.  Soup, cake and tea/coffee later we headed out into a very cold afternoon.  The sun came out just as we got home.

Miles for the week – 86

Miles for year to date – 4412

Still on target for 5000.



Sunday, 10 October 2010

Easy/Hard Week

Its been a fairly easy week mostly.  I’ve got a cold and haven’t been up to riding much.  I rode it Monday to Wednesday, Monday on the Pompino, Tues/Weds on the Hewitt, cos I wasn’t feeling so good.

I was away Thursday and Friday, which was a real shame because we are enjoying a fabulous Indian summer, temps in the high teens and even early 20’s.  I was at VMWare on Friday and had a 260 mile drive home on our wedding anniversary.

Yesterday we had planned an MTB trip.  The original plan was to do the Whinlatter course as Simon is doing this in a Duathlon in a few weeks, but on the day he couldn’t make it.  Instead, we decided to do a long, but not especially technical route out from Keswick, round the back of Blencathra and back up Whitewater Bash and past Skiddaw House.  In the end there was just me, Joe, Karl and Alison.

The weather forecast was good, I only took a short sleeve shirt and a light rain/wind proof.  As we waited for Karl and Alison Skiddaw disappeared into cloud and the temperature dropped a bit.  By the time we got going I was worrying about extra gear.  On the run out to Threlkeld along the railway path, we soon warmed up.  We were in and out of cloud for the rest of the day.  The run up to Blencathra Youth Hostel was wind assisted and not too difficult.  I had a working 22 tooth inner ring so could twiddle up the 1 in 4 climb.  At the top we came upon Paul unloading his bike from his van.  He’d been up the previous day camping in his van and was about to start the same route as us.

Out to Skiddaw House is a great little route, enough up and down and slightly tricky sections to make it interesting but fun and fast.  The really tricky climb had been resurfaced and I shot off up it, only to die as the improved surface gave out.  The others soon passed me, but on the rolling section I caught up again.  The drop down from Skiddaw House to Mosedale and Mungrizedale is a grassy, boggy track interspersed with short rocky sections.  Karl and Paul took off and I chased.  Then I was on the floor, winded and with a big graze on my thigh and a couple of cuts to my knee.  I wasn’t sure what had happened, but I think my front wheel went into a hidden rut and pinged me off.  After that I took it easy for a while, the trail very rutted and boggy in parts.  But I soon got my eye in again and we were flying.  We stopped for lunch at a small clearing, sheltered from the very strong headwind.  After my mishap, Alison was taking things very easily and Paul had to get back, so he headed off on his own.  We followed a while later, whizzing down the gentle valley, the surface a mixture of good gravel track interspersed with occasional jaggedly bed rock sections.  I lead through a section of rocky path which was also a major drainage path, with two or three inches of water.  It was a blast, and I waited at the road junction for the rest.  Eventually Alison appeared, saying Joe had crashed.  In the middle of the wet rock garden section, he had just slid out and crashed down on his right had side.  Even though his elbow pads he had lost a lot of skin on his arm and several bloody spots, his leg was a mess of lost skin.

We carried on climbing back over the low northern fells until we got back to the bottom of Whitewater Dash.  Here we had a choice of either off road over the Dash, Skiddaw House and a fantastic downhill, or on the very scenic road back to Keswick.  We chose the off road route and set off up the valley.  The wind howled down making a hard climb impossible.  It was demoralising, Alison wanted to turn back, but the great descent later urged us on.  We struggled on, it has incredibly hard.  We were met by some guys from the North East who we’d seen earlier in the day.  Once up to the Dash proper, the gradient eased and Skiddaw gave us some respite from the wind, we plodded on up.  The clatter down to the stream was brilliant, Karl tried and failed to cross the stream, Joe and I succeeded.  The Geordie guys didn’t try apart from one on a Ti hard tail, who came a cropper mid stream.  Up the last hill to Skiddaw House got us back into the late evening  sunshine.  From here it is mostly down hill through  some fantastic double and single track.  The final stream crossing felt a bit rough, I had a pinch flat.  After quick tube change we carried on down the final twisty bermed drop into Keswick.  My brakes were really acting up and I took it fairly easily. 

A long ride, 30 miles and 7 hours.  We talked very little on the way home.  My ribs were hurting.  After a bath and a beer I counted two cuts on my left leg, plus serious grazes to my left thigh, and two gashes on my right leg that I didn't even know I’d done.  I thought it was mud at first.  Today my ribs really hurt and my cough has got worse, aggravating the rib pain.  We had an easy day today, cleaning the bikes and doing some easy maintenance.

Total for the week – 71 miles

Total for year to date – 4326



Sunday, 3 October 2010

Wet & Windy

The weather has turned wet and windy.  Typical Autumn weather here, with fronts coming in off the sea.  I rode to work Monday to Wednesday through some horrid weather.  Thursday my boss was up so I had to drive in, it was the nicest day of the week by far.

Friday I had started to go down with a cold, so I drove again.  So very poor road miles this week.

We did get out today and do some mountain biking.  I have finally got the P7 back on the road.  Karl gave me some cranks, but unfortunately they were octalink and the BB he had was too wide.  The local bike shop didn’t have one and reckoned on two weeks to get one in.  I did a quick trawl of the on line shops, Wiggle didn’t have them, Evans were special order £40, SJS were similar, but Chain Reaction had one for £5 including postage.  It arrived Wednesday and was soon fitted.  I had a spin up and down the road yesterday and everything seemed fine.  This morning, the ride out from Staveley was OK then at Ings, we turned up hill and I dropped into the granny ring.  Immediate chain suck, with the chain coming round and jamming in the front mech.  They are old rings, but didn’t seem too worn.  I was wrong.  Under heavy load the granny sucked constantly, the middle caught a bit but was useable.  I was stuck in the middle ring for the rest of the ride.  It was a wet day.  When the path leading to the stream crossing is under deeper water than the stream, you know its wet.  The P7 was great though, climbing was easy, apart from being stuck in middle.  I was pretty please with my fitness as well.  Despite having a cold and no low gears I rode practically everything, just some of the steeper, wetter rocks beating me.  On the downs, I wasn’t as fast as Ian (on his new Ibis Mojo SL) or Mark, but kept up with Joe and Karl OK.

We were filthy when we finished.  We hosed the bikes and ourselves down at Wheelbase, then I went in for a shower.  I still need a bath!

Miles for the week – 57

Total for the year – 4255


Sunday, 26 September 2010

Back to decent mileages

After a poor week, I’m back to some decent mileages.  Just work and back in the main.  I had a migraine on Thursday so missed the Thirsty Thursday ride.  Friday Karl was away, so no ride then.

Yesterday Jayne and I went out to the Courtyard Cafe at Great Ecc for a tea cake and a coffee.  It was a bit cold while riding, Autumn is definitely here, but really nice and sunny outside the cafe.

This morning was the Fleetwood triathlon.  I usually volunteer to manage the bike course.  This basically means riding the course constantly, making sure all the side streets have marshals.  We got off to a poor start with turn points only marked on the ground, no marshals or bollards/signs.  This was soon sorted and the majority had a good ride.  The real work for me started once the adults have finished.  Tim (the organizer) runs a youth and kids event as well, with 5 different age categories doing different distances.  My job was to make sure the turns were manned, sweep the previous wave and  get the marshals home and the roads opened.  These are not always mutually achievable tasks.  In the first two hours I rode about 12 miles.  In the last hour and a half I did another 25.  All on a 3 mile course!

We rode out to the Villa for a well earned pint tonight.

Total for the week – 133 miles

Total for the year – 4198 miles#


Monday, 20 September 2010


A very poor week mileage wise this week.

I rode to work on Monday but there was a howling gale and pooring rain. By Tuesday it had got worse, with 30mph winds gusting up to 50. I decided to drive. wednesday wasn't raining but the wind was still very high, so I drove again.

I was off Thursday and Friday to go up to Glasgow to see Wilco. My sister and her friend Kirsty came up on Wednesday. I cooked them lamb steaks in red wine, very nice. I was texting Ian with a pick up time for the next morning when there was a traffic bulletin on the radio. The Pope was in Edinburgh and driving to Glasgow for a mass on Thursday afternoon. All sorts of roads were closed. I quickly texted Ian with an earlier departure time. Ian's response F#@king Pope!.

We drove up Thursday morning and had no problems with the traffic, getting there nice and early. The drive up the M6 and M74 must be the nicest stretch of motorway in Britain, skirting the Lakes, the Howgills and the Borders. We checked in to the hotel and got something to eat. Then Jane and Kirsty went back to the hotel to freshen up and Ian and I headed across town to find somewhere to eat later and scout out the venue. After walking all round central Glasgow, we eventually found the venue and a nice looking Italian to eat.

If you are in Glasgow, the Fratelli Sarti restuarant on the corner of Renfield St and I think Bath St was very good. Their pre-theatre deal of two courses for £10 was great. Two courses plus two bottles of wine was £80 for 4.

We staggered out and walked down to th Barrowlands Ballroom. The support act was Phil Selway (SP?) from Radiohead. A bit samey, but highlights were a saw player and the finale where they gathered round the drum kit and all played some form of percussion.

Wilco came on about 9ish and played a blinding set. Nels Kline is the most demented guitar player I've seen in quite a while. Think Animal from the Muppets. They played a good mix of the new album plus stuff from right across their previous ones. Highlight had to be synthesiser Patel!

We wandered back to the hotel for a final drink before bed. Next morning we found a nice cafe that advertised Hot Porridge which Ian needs in order to function properly. Kirsty and I had the full fried, although I did make the mistake of asking for a full English, much to everyone's ammusement. Then it was back in the car for the 200 mile drive home.

This weekend has been rain and more rain, so apart from nipping up to the Villa on Friday, I've done no more miles.

Total for the week a dismal 19 miles.


Monday, 13 September 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

47 today. Don't feel a day over 50

Poor mileage this week, just 81. Most of the guys were away mountain biking in Switzerland, and the weekend weather was poor.

Went to Mancheser on Saturday and got some new gloves and a Gore cap. Also bought Neu! and Neu! 2 on vynyl, white vynyl even. Very good,

Miles for the week - 81
Total for the year - 4046


Thursday, 9 September 2010

4000 miles!

I passed 4000 miles on my way to work yesterday. Split roughly 1200 fixed, 1200 tandem, 1400 Hewitt and the rest MTB

Monday, 30 August 2010

Quieter Week

A steady week of riding this week.  No big miles, just riding to work.  Our Thirsty Thursday ride was just me and Ian.  we were both tired and so we just did a gentle ride out, not quite straight to the Plough, but not our recent spins over Beacon Fell.

I seem to have a lot of Allen keys.

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I got my Pace forks back from Tim at Fork English on Wednesday. Aug-2010 052

I was a bit worried that Tim had left the steerer too long, but it was just OK.

Got them fitted to the P7 and started the final little bits of assembly.

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Came to do the pedals and found that there was no thread left on the drive side crank.  Years ago Joe had borrowed the P7 but wanted flat pedals on.  So I gave him some really nice Campag off road pedals, which he proceeded to put on the wrong side, only noticing when he couldn’t get his feet in.  Those pedals have been on ever since, kept in place only by dirt I think.  Anyway the crank is trashed.  Hopefully Karl will have a set lying around.  If not, back to retrobike I think.

Mile for the week - 92

Total miles – 3857

Not many more to get to 4000, but I am off to Switzerland tomorrow.  Hopefully back for Thirsty Thursday.



Sunday, 22 August 2010

Back to Work

After two weeks off, I’ve been back to work this last week.  Its been busy, 600 emails to respond to, that’s after I’ve filtered out the crap!

Mileage wise, its been OK.  We move buildings which adds a few hundred yards to the journey, more if I forget we’ve moved.  I rode all week, getting 68 commuting miles.

Continuing the theme for the last few weeks, we went early on Thirsty Thursday and did Beacon Fell.  This week just me, Ian and Nic.  Karl and Alison are off to the Hebrides this week touring.  It is Alison’s first proper tour and they decided to use the run out to the Plough as a full dress rehearsal.  We were  expecting a dour mood when  we got to the pub.  It had rained all evening.  But when we got there Alison was quite up beat, pleased with her performance and looking forward to their trip (!!!).  We got a soaking 30+ miles in .

Saturday evening was supposed to be the Rapha Nocturne criterium in Blackpool.  Nic and Ian both said they might go depending on the weather.  We got up to blue skies and decided to go to the Lakes walking.  As we pulled out onto the road Ian texted asking if we were going to go to the Nocturne.  We replied yes and would be at his for 7 ish, i time to see the support race, the folder race and the pro race.  He replied saying be at his for 5 and he would barbeque before hand, aiming to get there for the folder race.  We rapidly changed our plans and went for a walk over Nicky Nook. 

We rode out on the tandem to Ian’s calling in at Nic’s on the way, but they weren’t in.  We got to Ian’s about 5:15 and they plied us with wine.  We tried to get Nic and eventually he turned up sans Elizabeth at 6 ish.  They’d been to Ingleborough and struggled to get home.  Elizabeth was knackered.  Nic came on his own.  Ian’s barbeque was excellent, as were the three bottles of red.  We eventually staggered off and got to Blackpool just as the folder race finished.  By the time we’d got a spot on the barriers the Balckpool bike-hire race, using bikes from the bike hire scheme, had just about finished.  I chatted about tandems with a drunk Scottish guy, Ian talked Independent Fabrications with a guy from the Dahon stand.  Jayne and Nic got us coffees. 

The racing was very intense, eventually won by Russell Downing, who nearly lapped the field.  We rode back through the Blackpool traffic.  Jayne wasn’t happy riding at night but we eventually got out of town and headed to Lytham.  Ian and Nic stopped of at Ian’s to admire his Parlee frame that had just arrived.  Jayne and I headed home.

As we headed into Moss Side, along unlit roads, Jayne yelped, followed by a loud crunching noise behind us.  A car, coming the other way, had come round the bend on the wrong side of the road.  It missed us by quite a way, but side swiped a taxi coming up behind us.  We stopped when we heard the crunch, I thought maybe our pannier had come off.  We saw the taxi stopped in the road.  The car that had hit it didn’t stop.  We gave the taxi driver our details and made sure the 4 elderly ladies in the taxi were OK.  The driver was pretty shook up.  Jayne had reinforced her fear of riding at night!

Today we did a gentle 25 miles out to the Courtyard Cafe in Great Eccleston.  Tea Cake, coffee etc and away. 25 miles of easy pace.

Total for the week – 156

Year to date – 3765



Sunday, 15 August 2010

In Other News

It was Jamie’s 17th birthday on Saturday.  We went for a meal at Zio Carlo’s

Jamie wore one of my old suits.

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Some Milestones

I passed some milestones this week.  Last week ended just short of 3500 miles and I hoped to quickly overcome that milestone.  The week started poorly, with rainy weather.  We were pretty tired from the weekend’s activities and had a gentle ride Monday.

for Tuesday we had arranged to meet Ian and Catherine for a trip out to Beacon Fell, with a further loop out over the Trough if we felt like it.  This would be Catherine’s longest rides for a long time, due to a recurring back problem.  We got out to Beacon Fell without too much trouble.  Jayne and Catherine decided to head home for a 35 mile ride.  Ian and I would press on to Chipping and back through the Trough and over Boundary Hill.  We decided we would stop at Dunsop Bridge for lunch, but when we got there they were only serving drinks and cakes, no bacon butties etc.  We decided to head on to Marshaw and the tea wagon there.  Unfortunately that meant we faced Boundary Hill on a full stomach of Bacon & Egg Buttie and a mug of tea.  We survived an flogged on into a tremendous head wind for a 60 mile round trip.

Thirsty Thursday was a short trip out to the Burley Arms on the tandem.  Karl, Ian and Nic were all away.  After another short spin on Friday, it was time to get ready for the Beer Tasting!  This is a semi regular event where a number of work colleagues get together at our house.  We have half a dozen belgian beers, gradually increasing in strength, with tasting notes and pizza and garlic bread.  This time round only John, Chuckie, Mike and Andy were free, plus me, Jayne and my sister Jane.  It rained, so we couldn’t sit out round the Chiminea, but a good night was had.  The schedule was: Bruges Zot,6%;Witcap Tripel, 7.5%; St Bernardus Pater, 8%; Maredsous Tripel, 10%; Rochefort 10, 11.3%; Skaldis, 12%.  We also managed to get the chiminea going as well.

Saturday, a bit hung over, we headed out to the rather excellent Courtyard cafe in Great Eccleston.  Paninis and coffee saw us on our way to 25 miles. 

Today we headed out to Scorton, going over Wyre and a flat route.  The weather was the best we’ve had all my two week holiday.  We rode out to the Barn cafe before heading back to meet Karl and Alison at the Villa for a pint.

As well as topping 3500 miles in total, we also topped 1000 miles on the tandem.  Jayne probably has a bout 1800 miles under her belt for the year, pretty good!

Miles for the week – 186

Total for the year  -   3609



Monday, 9 August 2010

Back to Big Miles

For me anyway.

I’ve been on holiday this week.  The weather hasn’t been great but we’ve got out for a few rides.  Monday Jayne and I rode out to Beacon Fell.  Beacon Fell is a small fell about 18 miles from home.  At nearly 900 feet, it isn’t a huge climb, but that is from sea level and most of the height gain is in the last few steep miles.  A 35 mile round trip

Tuesday we went walking.  Wednesday we went to the Weird Fish on the solo’s and Thursday out to Bonds on the tandem.  Thursday evening was our regular Thirsty Thursday ride, but we extended again out to Beacon Fell.  This time I was on the Hewitt and fared much better on the 40+mph descent.

Friday I went mountain biking with Ian, only my 6th or 7th mtb ride this year.  We had planned on doing Garburn, but the rain was heavy and the cloud layer very low.  We did the normal Stavely/Kentmere route.  Fortunately Wheelbase has free showers so we got warm and clean before coffee and cake in Wilf’s.

Saturday was supposed to be the Rapha nocturne in Blackpool, but it had been cancelled.  However people had arranged to come up for the weekend and we planned a longer ride.  In the end 11 of us set out for Beacon Fell and onward to Oakenclough an the Trough.  Unfortunately Steve broke a spoke coming over Oakenclough.  Pete was on his longest ride ever, predicting 50+ miles before he got home and he agreed to guide Steve back to Lytham.  The rest of us set off over Boundary Hill and bacon butties in Dunsop Bridge.  Then home via Little Bowland and Chipping.  We were pretty tired when we got home. 65 miles for me, up to 80 for the Lytham contingent.

Nic and Elizabeth put on a fantastic barbeque on Saturday evening.  We rode down on the old tandem, leaving it there for Nic and Elizabeth to try.

Sunday was another mountain bike trip, up to Grizedale with Simon, Catherine, Karl and Alison.  Some of the Saturday gang said they might come, but never materialised.  It was a good hard ride, with some of the nicest weather for ages.  I was pretty pleased with how I rode, but could feel my thighs burning, particularly on the rocky down hill sections.  20 miles

So my mileage for this week was:

Tandem – 35 miles

Mountain Bike – 34 miles

Road bike – 159 miles

Total for the week -  228 miles

Year to date – 3423 miles

Given a bit of decent weather, I should top 3500 by the end of this week.



Friday, 30 July 2010

1000 Miles of Trash Talk

We were set up for our usual Thirsty Thursday ride this week, when Karl announced that he didn’t have yoga and could go early.  Ian had to see to his horses, but reckoned he could catch us up.  We would spin out over Beacon Fell before hitting the pub!

6:15 came round and neither Karl nor Ian were here.  I asked Jayne if I should swap my lights and bag over to the Hewitt audax bike.  The dead pan reply was “Alison can ride Beacon Fell on here single speed!”. Fixie it was!!!

In the end Ian and Karl arrived at mine within two minutes of each other.  We set out at a brisk pace with a following wind.  After going under the M6, it was 5 miles of climbing, culminating in 1/2 a mile of 1 in 4.  I struggled up the first climbs, keeping pace sort of with Ian and Karl.  The final climb was a killer and they left me for dead.  Oh for the artifice of the derailleur.

But worse was to come.  After getting to the top of Beacon fell, there is a choice of two or three very steep, very fast descents.  On a geared bike we try to keep above 30mph for the whole 5 miles.  I managed to get to 27mph before my legs went and I was bouncing too much.  But I’d made it up the hills.

Today, I passed the 1000 mile mark on the fixed. 

Proper update on Sunday (maybe)



Sunday, 25 July 2010

3000 Miles!

I finally got over the 3000 mile mark.  I thought I would get there last week, but circumstances left me 32 miles short of my target.

This week has been my normal commuting week and I should have topped the 32 miles by mid week.  On Thursday, I was 1/2 a mile short when I got to work.  Ordinarily I would have ridden round the car park a bit, but I had what I thought was an important meeting.  Turned out not to be an important meeting after all.

I have had an ordinary week otherwise.  Thirsty Thursday was the normal ride out to the Plough.  I had Friday off, so Jayne and I rode out to the Weird Fish.  Ian said he would meet us on the way, but in the end got there just after us.  We’d raced, thinking he was ahead of us, he’d waited thinking the same, but in fact we were just ahead.

Friday night was eventful, leading to us staying up all night, so Saturday we took it easy.

Today we’ve been out for 20 odd miles on the tandem, just to Bonds for a tea cake.  Still only a mediocre week though.

Miles for the week – 107.5

Miles for the year – 3075.5



Tuesday, 13 July 2010

P7 Build Up

I got round to putting the P7 back together at the weekend.

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Decided to put the rigid forks back on until I can get some suspension forks with a 1” steerer.

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XT V-brakes on the front

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Stem and seat post were a bit rusty and needed some attention

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Rear brakes are a pair of Dia Compe canti’s

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Club Roost bars and XT brakes/shifters

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A old rear mech and a Suntour XC top swing front mech

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Old San Marco Rolls saddle

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New BB, this was a pig to put in

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Very good rear wheel from Karl, chain needs shortening

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Front is the old one from the Marin

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Just need tyres, gear cables, grips and the chain shortening


Sunday, 11 July 2010

Mixed Fortunes

My working week was pretty much as usual riding wise, 56 miles for the week.  Weather was a mix of threatening and 60-80% humidity, difficult to dress for but not unpleasant.  I missed out on the usual Thirsty Thursday ride.  Ian had his sister over from the States, Alison had to do an emergency mercy dash to her Mum’s and Karl was in Italy, doing things like the Stelvio, Ghisallo, Mortirollo, etc.  Poor him!

I had arranged to camp overnight with Simon, up in the Lakes.  We have had the driest 6 months ever recorded, so what is the forecast for the weekend?  Yes rain and more rain.

Simon picked me up at 9 ish and we headed up to Bassenthwaite village, getting there for 11 ish, we got the tents set up, then headed out to do Skiddaw.  We didn’t have a map that told us how to get to White Water Dash (the start of the ride from this side), so we asked a local for directions.

We climbed gently out of the valley up to the moors and turned left as instructed.  We were looking for a right turn into a glacial valley  and with a view of the waterfall.  Wee didn’t see it. Simon recognised some of the houses, but wasn’t sure.  After a couple of miles, we accepted that we’d gone wrong and turned around.  When we were almost back to the T junction, we could see the waterfall and realised if we’d gone right for 100 yards we’d have been right on the route.  6-8 miles of wrong turn, then we were on it.  The first climb is a slog up a series of steps.  Simon steadily pulled away.  After the final gate was a steady off road climb leading to the drop into White Water Dash.  The stream was very low and easily crossed.  Not like when one of us endo’ed and came up 20 yards down stream, sans bar end and with a deep gash in the knee.  We climbed easily up to Skiddaw House and down towards Keswick. Puncture!  I don’t know how, because we weren’t going hard, but I’d pinch punctured my rear.  After mending it we whooped down into Keswick and onto the railway path into Threlkeld and the climb up past Blencatrha Youth Hostel.  After that is was a fast ride back to to Skiddaw House.  Back though the Dash and climb up to the brow before 6 or so miles of down hill to Bassenthwaite. The rain started as we approached Skiddaw House and didn’t stop til we’d got back down to the village.  We were cold and wet.

That evening, we went to the SinnInn and has an excellent meal of mushroom soup followed by chicken stuffed with cheese and mushroom, wrapped in bacon for me and gammon steaks for Simon.  A couple of pints of Cumberland Ale and we were in bed for 9:30.

Next day started damp and drizzly.  We packed up and headed for Hartsop to meet Tony and Paul.  It got warmer but wetter.  When we parked up at Harstop it was 20 degrees and heavy rain.  By the time Paul and Tony turned up, High Street had disappeared in the mist and cloud.  We debated an alternative lower level route.  We still got soaked, but it was a nice ride.  The big descent was long and loose.  I crashed several times.  I’ve twisted my knee and got bruises on both thighs.  We got to the bottom in one piece, just!  Then it was along the Ulswater lake side, an up and down track of wet rocks, roots and drop off into the lake.  We were rubbish. I can’t remember how many times I crashed, but it was lots.  Eventually we made it back to Hartsop and dry-ish clothes.  A great weekend

Sunday, I can hardly walk.  Every move out of a chair is torture.  I’ve spent the bay putting the P7 back together, more on that later.

All in all a fantastic, if fairly low mileage week,

Miles for the week – 107 (subject to change after we’ve measure the mtb routes)

Miles for the year – 2885

Only 115 miles and I’ve topped 3000!



Sunday, 4 July 2010

Wet Wet Wet!

I went out with Ian today, round the Trough.  The weather forecast was not good, rain and wind, lots of both.  Quite warm though.  We set out towards the Cartford Bridge with the wind on our backs and had a pleasant spin out doing 18-20mph with ease.  After crossing the bridge, we ramped our speed up a bit and were doing 20+mph all the way to Scorton.  Whipped through Scorton without stopping and approached the hills.  The rain started, just a fine mizzle at first but got steadily heavier.  As we made the climb over Boundary Hill, it got worse and worse.  The descent down the other side is usually a 40+mph adrenaline rush.  Today it was 20mph with stinging rain lashed into our faces and a sketchy road surface.  I kept my sunglasses on just to keep the rain out of my eyes.  Once down into Marshaw, it didn’t let up and we arrived at Dunsop Bridge very wet indeed.  I squeezed half a pint of water out of my gloves.  Whilst we feasted on bacon and egg butties, soup, tea cakes and fruit loaf, the weather got worse.  The run down the valley to Longridge was into the wind and rain.  We were cold and very wet.

After Longridge, it started to improve a bit and we made good time into Broughton.  Not long after, we picked up the stragglers from the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride.  They were in a worse state than us, tired and wet but also on supremely unsuitable bikes.

Eventually, after 60 miles I was home and could get in the bath.  Bliss!  Ian had another 10 miles or so, but at least the rain had stopped, not like Thursday.

We did our usual Thirsty Thursday ride out to the Plough.  Ian and Alison met me at our house and we had a fairly pleasant ride out.  Karl met us later.  After the usual pints of Bomber and garlic chicken on toast, we set off home.  It threw it down.  I only had alight Gamex top over my gillet and shirt.  By the time I got home, I was soaked.  The others had 5 and 10 miles more to do.  I was probably in the bath with a glass of Chimay before Ian was half way home.

The rest of the week has been pretty normal.  All in all an OK week.

Miles for the week – 174

Mile for the year to date – 2778



Monday, 28 June 2010

Joe’s Bike Build

As part of the deal for getting my P7 back from Joe, I agreed to build up another bike for him to keep at his place in France.  I have an old Claud Butler frame in the garage, one of two my sister had.  It was my first mountain bike, bought in about 1992.  I had already overhauled the headset and put a newish bottom bracket in.  The cranks from the P7 sat too far out.  The front mech was also a top pull one.  So I put some cranks off one of the boys old bikes and the mech off the original Claud Butler.  Rear mech was the old XT one from the P7.

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The front wheel needed the hub re-packing and the rim is a bit worn, but it seems OK.  The rear hub seemed OK, but I just couldn’t get it tightened up properly, it was either too tight or too much play.  Also, the dropouts on the CB seem to be a bit narrow and the quick release wouldn’t engage properly until I’d put a thicker washer in the stack.

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Front brake were STX, rear LX, canti’s.  No idea where the STX brakes came from, out of my parts bit, but only one set.

The rest of the kit pretty much swapped over from the P7.  I still need to do the rear gears, I didn’t have a long enough cable.  So nearly finished

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Sunday, 27 June 2010

Poor week again

Despite the beautiful weather, it has been yet another poor week.  I was in Switzerland Monday to Thursday.  We did a bit of walking, but no riding.

I got back Thursday afternoon and we had our normal Thirsty Thursday ride, although it was just me, Jayne and Nic, the others were away in the Alps riding.

Friday was normal ride to work day.  We were busy most of Saturday, but got out for about 16 miles in the afternoon.  I did get on with Joe’s replacement bike and have finished all but the rear mech cos I didn’t have a long enough cable.  Should get it finished soon though.

Sunday we had arranged to take Jayne’s bike to get its one month fettle.  So we drove up to Kendal and dropped it off.  I tried some shorts on but we went over to Wheelbase and Wilf’s.  I ended up buying a pair of Altura Pro Gel shorts from Wheelbase and a pair of Northwave shorts in Evans.  Jayne got a nice Fox shirt on sale as well.

We did about 16 miles again this afternoon, out to Daryl’s and back via the villa.

Not a bad week considering I was away for 4 days, but not great.

Miles for the week – 70

For the year to date – 2604



Sunday, 20 June 2010

Another mediocre week

Despite glorious weather, its been another mediocre week.  I rode in on Monday but had to go to Bristol Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday.  I did get out briefly on Wednesday.  I rode out through the docks and down the Avon gorge, then very foolishly for a man on a fixie, decided to ride up and over the suspension bridge.  Not only that, but after riding up, missed the turn and rode down into Clifton Village and had to ride up to the bridge again!  It was a very nice evening though.


Nobody was out Thursday, so Jayne and I rode out to the Plough on the tandem.  It was a beautiful evening.  I rode in on Friday, but my mileage was poor.  I had hoped to top 2500 mile last week and was struggling to achieve it this week as well.  Jayne and I went for a short spin yesterday but I was still a couple of miles short of the required total.

Today we planned to go out to the Weird Fish, and if I was back in time, to also meet up with Simon for a spin.  In the end, we didn’t get away on time, the service at the Weird Fish was worse than its usual appallingly slow, so I texted Simon to say we’d maybe see him on the road.  We met up with him near Myerscough and decided that the two of us would head up round Inglewhite for a bit of a climb and try to catch up with Jayne on the way back.  Well we never caught up with Jayne.  It was Simon’s first long ride in quite a while and he was paying the price for his fast start.  But I did get the necessary miles in.

The rest of the weekend has been spent on a special project.  I used to have an Orange P7.  When I got my Marin full suss in 1999, I sold it to Joe, who was just getting into mountain biking.  Joe subsequently also bought a Marin full suss and consigned the P7 to being a baby seat bike at his place in France. Karl and Simon and a couple of guys at work have all recently bought new P7’s and I was getting a bit nostalgic.  I asked Joe if there was any chance of getting it back and last week he brought it back from France for me!

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The agreement is that I build up another frame as a replacement.  I will swap most of the parts over, but some won’t go, like the Suntour XC top swing front mech.

I spent most of Saturday stripping it down.  It is a disgrace!  I am not very fussy about maintenance, but his goes way beyond anything I would suffer.  There was about a centimetre of play in the bottom bracket, same again for both wheels, play in the headset.  It took me 15 minutes to wrestle the seat post out.  The bottom bracket was a nightmare.  I bought a new bottom bracket tool and even with it bolted in place and Jayne steadying the frame, I had to stand on the wrench to get it to undo.  It was a mess of rust.

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Eventually I got it stripped down.  Today I started swapping the bits on to an old Claud Butler frame I had (remember the most expensive free bike ever?).  It is going well.  I’ve got cranks, mechs and bars fitted.  I’ve overhauled the front hub and need to do the back.  Should be good in a couple of weeks.

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I’m off to Switzerland tomorrow, working unfortunately.  So it won’t get any attention til Friday.  Nor will my miles be very good next week either.  I need to plan to take my bike with me in future.

Anyway, it turned out to be an OK week and I did top 2500 miles well ahead of schedule.

For the week – 101 miles

For the year to date – 2534



Sunday, 13 June 2010

After the Good Week …

My poorest mileage since March, 57 miles.  This was largely due to having a cold and therefore not riding in to work.

I had Monday off because it was Jayne’s birthday.

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We had decided to go up to Arnside in the car and ride out from there.  As we drove up, there were spits and spots of rain on the windscreen.  We thought we might get wet.  I had swapped the little Barley bag for the bigger Nelson so we could carry rain jackets and leggings.  As we set up, the rain eased and we wouldn’t see it for the rest of the ride.  The route had us going out on quiet back roads, over to Kirby Lonsdale.  It was quite hilly, but not too extreme.  The first big climb into Burton in Kendal was a killer and Jayne very nearly beat me up it. 

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From there is was a series of rolling climbs to the top of the crags near Hutton Roof.  This is an area of limestone pavements and the crags support a unique ecosystem.  Off the crags was 5 miles of down hill into Kirby Lonsdale.  This is a pretty market town and tourist honey pot just on the edge of the Dales/Pennines.  We stopped at the Mews cafe for soup and a sandwich.

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We set off sans tea cake because we new there was a steep climb back up to Hutton Roof.  Once off the busy A road, we climbed on very quiet single lane roads.  The occasional motorist happy to pull over and let us struggle by.  Once past Hutton Roof, it was a rolling, mostly down hill back to the A6 then more smaller hills over to Arnside.  All in all, 28 miles and a deserved pint in the pub.

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Looking out over the estuary to the Lake District (apologies for the poor pictures)

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We packed the bikes up and headed home.  We immediately ran into heavy rain and were told when we got home it had rained on and off all day.

I rode in on Tuesday, but my cold was getting a grip by then so I didn’t ride the rest of the week.  We did our normal Thirsty Thursday ride.  I was on my fixie for the first time in ages.  We took it really easy on the way out, but a bit faster on the way back.  I was first up Carr hill, first time ever I think.  But I was knackered.  Good job I only had a mile or so to get home.

I’ve not ridden other than this.  I had hoped to top 2500 miles this week but it wasn’t to be.  Jayne’s parents came up Friday and took us out to eat on Saturday.  It was also club day here and Liam was in the parades with scouts and beavers.

57 miles for the week

2433 for the year



Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Big week

My best week so far this year, and I think probably my best week for years.

205 miles !!!!!

Yes, 205 miles last week. 

It was a bank holiday on Monday and Karl and I were going to go up to the Lakes to meet some of the others.  But the traffic was mad so we decided to do something local and headed for Chipping.  The route appeared on paper to be fairly timid compared to some of the Lakes routes, but it turned out to be a bit of an epic.  The ride out of Chipping was up through a parkland farm then up onto the fells proper.  Several traverses and a long grassy decent got us to Hereden and the big push.  I was knackered.  But at the top we were faced with Ouster Rake.  This is effectively a foot wide rut running down a peat and rock cliff face, at about 30%.  It took nerve.  Nerve it turned out I didn’t have.

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I have a big bruise on my hip and 20+ miles under my belt.

The rest of the week was the normal commute and Thirsty Thursday, although only Ian could make it, Karl was away mountain bike guiding.  We got away early and did a few extra miles.

Friday is usually pub day, but with Karl away Jayne and I went on a slightly longer ride out to the Running Pump for plaice and chips and a couple of pints.

Saturday Jayne and I went out to the Weird Fish for a tea cake and a coffee.  Sunday I did a long ride through the Trough with Ian.  Ian has a broken rib and is ten years older than me and still beat me up all the hills and towed me home when the wind got up.

Today Jayne and I drove out to Arnside and did a 25+ mile ride to Kirby Lonsdale, Jayne on her new bike!

205 miles for the week

2376 miles for the year

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Jayne’s New Bike

Got Jayne a new bike for her birthday.  Its a Specialized Dolce Sport.  27 gears, additional brake levers, mix of Sora and Tiagra gears.

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Monday, 3 May 2010

Isle of Man

What a fantastic week.  I did a few days riding into work, but easy paced, and we missed our usual Thursday pub ride in order to be ready for our weekend.

Friday morning we set off fully loaded for the Heysham ferry to the Isle of Man.  The plan was that we would set out on our own to the Cafe de Lune and meet the others for second breakfast.

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We arrived just before Ian, Joe, Nic, Karl, Alison, Graham and Jemima.

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After soup and a sandwich, se set off again for the last 12 miles to Heysham.  We were first on the ferry, waved to the front of the queue of cars and motor homes by the ferry crew.  Isle of Man 019 Ian was horrified to discover that all 8 bikes would be propped against each other and a large metal barrier, then lasted together with some rope.  Ian’s shiny, expensive Independent Fabrications tourer was in for a rude introduction to ferry travel.

The four hour crossing was eased by several beers, bacon butties and constant micky taking.  We arrived in the Isle of Man, relieved to see no damage to Ian’s bike and warm sunshine outside.  The climb up to the house was a killer with full panniers.  the last bit was 1/2 a mile of 1 in 4.  We unpacked and sorted rooms and Karl and Alison prepared food.  End of a good day.  37 miles for the day

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Next day we planned to go through the scenic valley of Tholty Will.  After two kilometres and 150m of climbing up the TT course to Creg-ny-Baa, we decided the gradient and the traffic were too much, and pulled of to reconsider our route.  We headed off again towards Laxey, planning to turn off and head to Windy Corner.  After most of the group missing the turn and forcing us to chase up a steep gradient, we got on the right route.  This route was described as “difficult” in the official guide.  We had sort of dismissed this as the usual over-stating by non cyclists.  NOT!  The descent required full drag brake and rim brakes to control, then a steep leg ripping climb.  Then, when we got to the turn to Windy Corner, it turned out to be an unsurfaced track.  A very steep unsurfaced track.  We decided to stick to the bike route and head for Laxey and the big wheel.  This “difficult” route proved true again with the climb to Ballaquine.   100m of climbing in 300m.  Another metre and we would not have made it.  But we did. Just.  We met an old guy in his 80’s, still working his farm, telling us about his heart surgery and Mark Cavendish (who lives down the road) was disqualified from the Tour of Romandy for gesticulating rudely.  The descent into Laxey was long and steep.  The disc brake was getting a good workout. 

Laxey Wheel is impressive, in continuous use for over 150 years.  But £4 to get in was too steep for a 20 minute visit.

The gorse was in full flower all over the island.  A beautiful vibrant yellow.Isle of Man 030






We headed out of Laxey on the coast road to Ramsey.  More steep hills as we dropped in and out of steep river valleys running down to the sea.  We looked like a Rapha photo shoot.

We stopped at the excellent Harbour Bistro in Ramsey for lunch.  Then set out to do Tholty Will in the opposite direction to our mornings plan.  It was the right choice.  The initial climb up the valley was stunning, as the landscape slowly changed from lush meadow to heathland to mountain moorland.  Then came the stonking climb.  100m height gain in 300m from the valley bottom to the reservoir, another 100m in 500m to the cattle grid then a further 200m in 2Km to Bungalow and the TT course.  We didn’t walk any, but we had to stop three times.  Some motorbike riders coming the other way were shaking their heads and saying “rather you than me”.  By the top, I agreed with them.  It was hard.  Our reward was 7km of downhill back to the house.  We had the drag brake on pretty much all way.  Our speed topped out a 32mph but we could easily have done 50+.  The TT guys do 150mph and struggle to keep their front wheel on the ground.

Back to the house and Jayne and I were on very tired cooking duty.  But with plenty of wine and beer flowing, it went down well.  No left overs.

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We did manage to get through 8 bottles of red, a couple of rose and several beers between the ten of us.  Nic realised he had to be up early to get the ferry home in the morning, but we all stayed up til well beyond midnight.

Next day we wanted to head out to Port Erin.  I had heard that you could sometimes see whales and porpoises in the harbour or off the coast.  The weather wasn’t too bad considering the forecast, 3/4 tights, short sleeves and a gillet for me.  We soon went wrong, with new roads that weren’t on the map.  Once back on route, we got onto a rolling set of hill, the worst of which was the Millenium way road, 100m climb in 500m.  The Isle of Man is very pretty but very steep.Isle of Man 040

At the bottom of the climb, we discovered that Dens’ tyre had a bit of a bulge on it.  Not good.  Worse when we took a side road that turned out to be a mixture of gravel and cobble.  The name should have been a give away, “The Rocky Road”.  Dens walked to save her tyre.

We set off down a steep straight road, Jayne and I with the drag brake on, the rest streaming out ahead.  Then we lost touch.  At the turn, we could see Jemima and Alison ahead, no sign of Ian, Nic and Dens.  Joe went chasing after Alison and Jemima, who had realised their mistake as he met them, but didn’t know where the others where.  Joe shot off down the road in pursuit.  We waited.  Then Ian and co appeared from up the right road.  They had been waiting just round the bend, wondering where we were.  Still no sign of Joe.  After a bit of a wait and a look at the map and no sign of Joe, we decided we had to follow him and find him.  We set off down the road at quite a pace.  Our top speed inched up to 35mph.  Graham caught us up, Dens’ tyre had finally failed and the tyre burst.  Isle of Man 041 Isle of Man 042 Eventually they came gingerly down the road.  And Joe appeared from the opposite direction, having decided to give up looking and head back.  We rolled down to Castletown hoping to find a Halfords or some similar big chain that might be open on a Bank Holiday Sunday.  As we came into Castletown there was a garage where we thought we could ask about bike shops.  As we approached we realised it was a bike shop.  However, the bike side was closed, the woman behind the counter didn’t know if she could get us a tyre, whether they were priced, where she could find them, but with some sweet talk from Karl and Dens, she went to look and came back with a tyre.  Dens’ trip was saved.  By this time the sun had gone, the wind had picked up and it had gone very cold.  We shot off to Port Erin.  On the cliff top we were met by two other cyclists.  Karl wanted a cafe tip and asked if they were local.  The broad aussie “no” gave the true picture.  It turned out that they were working just up the road from where we live and renting a place where Ian, Joe and Nic live.  Ian invited them on our Thursday night ride.  After a chaotic lunch in a very nice but poorly run cafe, we headed over the very steep cliff road to the southern end of the Island.  We had to walk one section, it was just too much, 80m in 250m.  After a gentle recovery over the cliff tops, we dropped to Cregneash and the road down to the Calf on Man. Some discussion ensued as to whether we would go.  Then Jemima realised that it wasn’t an alternative route round to Port St Mary but a drop down to a dead and then turn around and come back.  “F*@k that!”. Isle of Man 051 The rest headed down, Jemima, Jayne and I set off to Port St Mary.

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When we regrouped, we headed off on what we hoped was a fairly flat route home.  The descent to Union Mills again had all three brakes on full.  By the time we got to the main road, we realised it was only 1/2 an hour to Sunday closing time, the beer and wine stock was alarmingly low!  The fast guys decided to shoot off into town.  We followed behind.  When we got into town, we had lost the others and just Jayne and I and Jemima and Graham were left to pick our way through town.  We eventually ended up at Tesco’s.  No sign of the others.  I rang Karl.  They had got 4 bottles of wine from Spa, but nothing else, Ian and Joe had headed to Co-op, hoping they’d still be open.  I said I would buy some beer.  I bought all the Duvel and all the Leffe they had out.  Jemima bought some additional stuff they needed for their cooking turn that night.  We only had a small pannier to carry 13 bottles of beer.  We managed! 

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The climb back up to the house was excruciatingly hard.  We had to walk the final 100m.  The final haul from the three expeditions was 9 bottle of Duvel, 4 bottles of Leffe, 4 cans of San Miguel and 8 bottles of various red wines.  Plus the bottle and a half of white still left.

Graham and Jemima’s lentil chilli was fantastic.  I had hoovered mine of the plate before Ian had even started and was in for more.  We had to be up early the next day, but demolishing the wine and beer stock became a challenge for some.  There were some bleary eyes, delicate stomachs and tired legs the next day.  We were almost left behind on the way to the ferry.  Dens was on a later boat to Liverpool and very kindly agreed to finish off tidying up.  We slogged up the first hill, I had to tell Jayne to ease up as I couldn’t match her pace.  4 Duvel and 2 Leffe were taking their toll.  We eventually caught up with the rest at the ferry terminal, where Karl was sorting boarding tickets.

On the boat, things were a little less fraught stowage wise as the sea was very calm, especially calming for Ian.Isle of Man 061

We waved goodbye to the Isle of Man and set off back to Heysham.Isle of Man 065

Back in England we were grateful for the more gentle rolling hills.  Cafe de Lune was packed so we set off for the Weird Fish.  Soon we were questioning the lack of hills compared to the massive increase in traffic..  The Weird Fish was good but the weather turned again.  We got our only ride in a very brief shower between Great Eccleston and Elswick, eventually arriving home tired but pleased with our long weekend.

Thanks to Karl and Alison for organizing things.

Miles for the week – 171

Miles for the weekend – 172

Total miles for the year – 1725