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