Friday, 30 December 2011

That's It

2011 mileage is done.  Weather for the last few days has been pretty poor, rain and gales.  I had to go in to work on Wednesday and it was hard work, even dangerous.  We hoped to get out today but again rain all day.  We did go for a walk but got soaked.

Anyway, my 2011 mileage topped out at 5117 miles. 4424 miles on solo road bikes, about 1000 of which were on the fixie.  648 miles on the tandem.  The tandem miles were seriously cut short by my elbow break in the summer.  It is still more difficult to manage the tandem than solos.  My MTB mileage has been particularly poor, only three trips, again the broken elbow effect.  I’ve not been on the MTB since my accident.

Highlight of the year is the Isle of Man trip once again.  This is already booked for 2012, but due to other commitments it will be a quite different group.

Riding up to Scotland at the end of May was also great and has given me the touring bug a bit.  Hence my ride down to my Mum’s which was a different kind of ride, being on my own, but enjoyable in different ways.

Next year I hope to do a bit more touring.  As well as the Isle of Man trip, we have an extra bank holiday in June so a long weekend trip, probably up to Scotland, is on the cards.  I would also like to do a couple of short solo tours like I did this year, maybe get the train out somewhere and ride home.

Happy New Year



Saturday, 24 December 2011

Nearly There

All the pressies are wrapped and under the tree.  I’m sat with a glass of wine listening to some Neu! on the turntable.  Ready for Christmas

Monday was wet and windy.  There was still some ice about and I went to work on the Pompino with the Schwalbe winter studded tyres on.  I’m not sure how effective they are, I didn’t crash on the bits of ice, but would I have crashed without the tyres?  I think I need some really icy conditions to be definite.

Tuesday was our work Christmas do.  I didn’t stay late which was a good job.  Some people were wrecked.  The rest of the week was warmer and wetter.  I rode in yesterday for a short day and got soaked.  I had all my gear on the radiators but still didn’t get it all dry before I had to put it on again.

We got some disturbing news on Thursday that Ian’s daughter had had a riding accident and was in a bad way.  Ian came out to the pub Friday afternoon to tell us what had happened.  His daughter, Lizzie, is a very good dressage rider and was schooling her horse on Sunday prior to a competition.  It seems the horse stumbled, either due to the claggy icy conditions or just poor footwork, and fell forward and over.  Lizzie stayed on his back and was crushed underneath.  At first they thought she’d broken her back, but after being air lifted to hospital, she was diagnosed with a broken femur and a badly bruised back.  She’s had an operation to insert a rod into the femur and is now back home, battered and bruised but able to recover.  Ian has aged 10 years!

He was able to get out today.  Unfortunately I had to go and get the Christmas turkey so wasn’t able to go.  I rang Alison who had also missed the early ride and so we agreed to go out to Beacon Fell together.  I was knackered.  It is the longest ride I’ve done in 4 weeks, 35 miles.  The wind on the way back was very strong and the roads were under water in several places, but it was good to get out and ride.

Not sure how much I’ll do before year end, but its a respectable total even if I failed to reach my target.

Happy Christmas


Miles – 102

Total - 5104

Sunday, 18 December 2011

5000 miles

Illness, weather and work have made the last three weeks pretty meagre mileage wise.  I did pass the 5000 mile mark this morning, no way am I going to get near 6000.

I spent most of last week in Winterthur or Bristol.  The week before it was very windy and wet, with hail.

we set out for a short ride this morning but as soon as we got out of town, the roads turned quite icy.  So we headed back towards the coast and The Beach Terrace Cafe for a cooked breakfast.  We saw Joe out on the Lytham Fancy Dress 5K and Joe’s son Ben waitering in the cafe.  A short trip back to Ian’s to pick up my car and we were done.


Monday, 21 November 2011

Still not right

Third week and I’m still not right.  I’ve got a chesty, phlegmy cough and I’m still knackered all the time.  We did a very gentle 13 miles on Saturday, just to Bond’s and back by the shortest route.  Sunday we went a bit further, but as we left Bond’s I was cold and never really warmed up til I got in the bath later.  My legs ache far more than the 16 miles should make them.

I’m going to try to ride tomorrow, see how it goes.  I think my 6000 mile target is unachievable now though, I’ll be over 500 miles short by the end of this week.


Monday, 7 November 2011


Been laid up with a cough/cold/sore throat fluey thing since Wednesday.  Just starting to improve but I don’t think I’ll get many miles in.

Mile last week a measly 28.

Total – 4809



Sunday, 30 October 2011

Week Off

I’m aware I’ve been very lax in updating here since my big trip.

The tour down to my Mum’s was great.  I got lost on the second day and ended up doing lots more climbing than I intended.  I was really lucky with the weather, only really getting rained on at the end of that second day.  Unfortunately I was straight down to Bristol on the following Monday, so failed to capitalize on any increase in endurance.  By the following weekend my legs were knackered.  I went round the Trough with Ian and Ross

Last week was half term and Jayne and I were both off.  Jayne was not well at the beginning of the week, so I went out on my own Monday.  The wind was horrendous and I ended up doing a bigger loop than I intended as I tried to find a route home sheltered from the wind.

Tuesday we went into Manchester to do some shopping in the morning and then went to see Wilco in the evening.  Wilco were really good, a bit less frenetic than last time.  Unfortunately as it was a no seater gig, Jayne didn’t see too much, but enjoyed it non the less. 

Wednesday was nice and we got out to Bonds for a short ride and a tea cake.  Thursday morning I rode into Preston to see if I could get my fountain pen repaired but the pen shop no longer do repairs.  I rode home in the rain, quickly changed and went out again with Simon to do a quick spin out to Beacon Fell.  Simon hasn’t been out for ages and after blasting his way out, struggled on the way back.

Friday was cold but sunny and so we headed up to the Lakes to do a ride we did back in the summer.  This time we started at Levens and rode up through Witherslack and Winster to Wilf’s at Staveley. 

October 176

As we came into Stavelely I noticed my rear wheel was a bit flat.  By the time we’d eaten, it was obvious I had a puncture, so I took the wheel off and the inner tube out.  The tube looked more abraded than punctured and when I found the corresponding place on the tyre there was a half inch patch where the tyre casing had disintegrated.  I suspect that a stone or piece of glass had got embedded under the outer rubber and the casing and worn it away.  I could push my finger through.  Fortunately Staveley is home to Wheelbase cycle shop and I bought a new tyre.  It was a pig to get on, but I managed, only to see the tyre immediately deflate.  I’d pinched the tube getting it on.  Much cursing and a second tube later, I could not get the tyre on.  I was at it for 40 minutes before admitting defeat and taking it into the shop, where it took them 10 seconds to get it on.  By this time it was getting late so we headed back through Crook and Underbarrow and down the Lyth valley back to the car.


Yesterday the weather was poor, strong winds and heavy showers.  Simon and I headed out to cafe de Lune.  The route back was once more a circuitous one to avoid a head wind.  I got another puncture, different bike though.  A quick swap of the tube and remount the wheel only to discover that the valve was not long enough to come through the deep rims I was running.  Fortunately Simon had a spare and we were away again. 

Jayne and I went out to eat last night at a local Italian restaurant.  Unbeknown to us they’d just reopened with a new chef.  The owner told us all about her trails and tribulations with the last chef, who was stealing, the temp agency chef, who was rubbish, the interviewees who either didn’t turn up, never worked in a restaurant or had run away with a travelling circus.  The food was OK but not great.  We won’t be rushing back.

Today Jayne and Karl and I had a gently ride out to Barton Grange.  They are now in full Christmas mode and it was heaving.  We had a quick drink and a cake then left.

All in all its been a pretty good week.  Weather hasn’t been unreasonable for the time of year and I’ve got some good rides in.

Total for week – 220 miles

Year to date – 4781 miles

Shortfall – 164 miles



Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Short Tour

I'm heading off for a short tour through the Peak District, down to my Mum's then on to Jayne's Mum's. Hopefully I'll do a daily diary here

Not sure how far it will be, about 350 miles I think.



Sunday, 25 September 2011

Mixed Week

Its been a bit of a mixed week.  I had to go down to Bristol mid week, so didn’t get a full week’s riding in.  To top it off the fire alarm in the hotel went off  on Wednesday night.  By the time I’d woken up and got some pants on, it shut off.  Then, by the time I was back in bed, it went off again.  Repeat four times in the next hour.

I then had to drive home Thursday.  I was knackered and there was an accident.  What usually takes 3 – 3 1/2 hours took 5.  I didn’t feel like a ride Thursday evening.

Yesterday, was wet and I spent most of the day fitting STI gears to my Ribble.   I got some second hand Tiagra Shifters from Karl.

Ribble 001Ribble 002

I’ve re-wrapped the bars in the original tape.  I’ve got some of that fancy Fizik tape, but I’ll wait til I’m sure the shifters are in the right place before getting Ian, who is a whiz at bar tape, to do it for me.  (see below)

I’ve got some cable stops attached to the downtube bosses.  I’ll need some frame protectors on the headtube though.

Ribble 005Ribble 006

Finally, the rear cassette is a Taigra 9 speed mounted on a 7 speed freehub.  To do this, I’ve missed off the last but one cog, so it is an 8 of 9 on 7.  ie an  8 speed cassette that works with 9 speed shifters.  Its a bit clunky in one or two gears but otherwise great.  Need to try it out.

Now bar tape!  Earlier this year my friend Simon was entered for the Paris-Roubaix Sportive.  Unfortunately a few weeks before the event he had a massive crash, bashing up both himself and his bike.  I went round one weekend to help him fix it up and amongst other things we re-wrapped the bars with gel pads and new tape.  It took us ages, wrapping and re-wrapping until we were OK with the results.  Simon went of to Roubaix.  The bikes had to be scrutinized before being allowed in.  Our brake, gear, amateur headset pressing etc all got the OK, but not the bar tape!  The mechanic insisted on re-doing it and in about 30 seconds had unwrapped and rewrapped the tape to a far higher standard than I have ever seen.  I was shamed.

Today was Fleetwood Triathlon, which my friend Tim organizes.  I am roped in to manage the bike course again.  This means making sure the roads are closed and the junctions all have marshals as well as keeping an eye out for drafting and for riders in distress.  Its quite a tough day in some respects, especially towards the end when we are trying to open part of the road, but still keep the short course for the kids closed.  Some people can be very difficult.  All in all it went off OK and I managed to ride 42 miles on he 4 mile course.

Not my best week, only managed 92 miles, but still OK.  Does mean my shortfall increases though.



Monday, 19 September 2011

Well on the Way

I’m definitely getting better.  Went to the fracture clinic last week and, although he said 4-5 more weeks before I’m back to normal, I can resume all activities.  Think I’ll lay off the MTB for a bit though.

Got some decent miles in at last.  The week before last was very windy and wet but I managed to ride most days and we did a couple of rides at the weekend.  We hit the best weather window on the Sunday, riding mostly in sunshine and a strong breeze.  By mid afternoon the wind had picked up and the rain started.

Monday was supposed to be the Tour of Britain stage into Blackpool.  I decided, despite the strong wind, to ride out to Oakenclough for the King of the Mountain spots.  I was blown out at an easy 20mph on the back of what turned out to be 40-50mph winds.  Getting to the first KoM point in plenty of time, I watched the marshals set up for a minute then decide to ride on to the Harris End KoM point about 4 miles up the road.  By the time I got there these marshals were busy tearing down the KoM signs and said the stage had been cancelled!  I carried on over the fell and chatted to some other spectators.  Those with suitable technology had been checking the blogs and twitters and yes, the stage was cancelled.  I rode back into the fiercest wind I can remember for a long time.  I think they made the right choice, it was hard to keep straight and riding in a bunch would have been a nightmare.  It took me twice as long to get home as it did to get out.

The rest of the week was the normal commute to work.  I did a brief spin on Thursday but the core team are still out in Verbier.  We struck lucky again with the weather on Sunday and rode out to Scorton in the best sunshine all week. 

All in all two good weeks

124 miles and 157 miles

Year to date – 4255

Shortfall – 488



Tuesday, 6 September 2011

That’s More Like It

I’ve actually got some proper miles in last week.  Just riding to work in the main.  Monday was a public holiday but the weather was awful.  I did a quick 25 mile ride in the pouring rain with Joe and Simon.  My first fast-ish ride for 4 weeks.  It was OK but my arm ached by the evening.

No-one was up for the Thirsty Thursday ride, so I did a short spin on my own.  Met up with a guy with a knackered front mech, helped him fix it and rode for a bit.

Saturday was a wash out, but Sunday was a glorious sunny day, one of the best all summer.  We went out with Karl and Alison and their young neighbour who had just got a new bike.  His longest ride previously was about 5 miles.  Our 30+ miles was quite an expedition for him, but he managed.

Total for the week – 111 miles

Year to date – 3486

Shortfall – 539


Monday, 29 August 2011

On the mend

I’m slowly getting better, I can now bend my arm up pretty much as far as I could before.  I can straighten it in some planes but not in others and I can’t rotate it or put too much pressure on the muscles in my fore-arm. It still hurts and I still need to be careful.  I have been able to get out on the bike at last though.

Monday, Jayne and I rode out to Bonds for an ice cream.  It ended up being the nicest day of the week weather wise and about 16 miles was just right for my first proper ride.

Tuesday we went up to the Lakes, just mooching around the shops.  Wednesday I had to stay in to get new faster broadband switched over.  Waited in all day, they finally did it at 3:30.

Thursday we did a lot.  Jayne and I rode out to Barton Grange in the morning, stopping for a nice cake.  26 miles covered.  Then in the evening me and Jamie rode to the Plough for me to initiate him into Bomber and Garlic Chicken, which he enjoyed.

Not done much since, mostly reading.  Just finished Embassytown by China Mieville.  Very weird and hard going in places but always good.  I’v also just finished Simon Morden’s Theories of Flight, second in the three part Samuil Petrovich series.  Set in a post apocalypse London of the near future, it offers some thoughts on science, society, AI and politics.

Miles for the last 4 weeks:





Total for the year so far 3375

Shortfall – 535



Monday, 15 August 2011

Still Healing

My knee is healing pretty well, just the deepest of the cuts still scabbed over. It still hurts if I kneel down, but otherwise OK.

My elbow is also much better. I almost have full movement back but it aches. On Saturday I tried to do some DIY and while trying to push a cable back into a clip, my arm spasmed and locked up for a second. Apparently I went white for a bit. Afterwards it was OK though. My little finger and ring finger go a bit tingly if I do too much.

I rode out to the pub on Sunday evening. It was OK apart from the right turn into the pub when I tried to look over my shoulder and only had my left hand on the bars. It seems I can't control the bike with my bad arm.

It was Jamie's 18th birthday on Sunday. Can't believe my youngest is 18! Got him an xbox and guitar hero. Spent most of Sunday trying to get xbox Live working through my router. How non-IT people cope with these things I don't know. It took all my knowledge to get it going.

Anyway 5.5 miles for the week. At least its something.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Zero Miles

Still recovering. My arm is much better, although it did lock up completely on Saturday night. I can now bend it enough to be able to touch my face, so I can almost eat normally. I can't put too much pressure on it still, so cutting food is a bit of a problem, but manageable if I take my time. I thought my knee was healing nicely, a lot of the scabs are already coming off. However, the main deep cut feels very tight. I did some DIY yesterday and couldn't kneel down without it feeling sore. This morning I managed to open up the worst bit getting out of bed. It didn't start bleeding, just cracked the scab open. I'll have to see how it goes. Probably another week off the bike though.

Sunday, 31 July 2011


My mileage target will slip for the next few weeks.  I think I may have broken my elbow!

Me and Simon plus Ian, Ian’s nephew over from California, Daniel and Ian’s future son in law, Ross went up to Grizedale yesterday.  It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm and perfect mountain biking conditions.  We decided to do the Fox, Greythwaite etc. to get away from the busy areas.  The first few descents went really well.  The tricky bit through the wall had filled in a bit and was rideable. Dan struggled a bit, using SPD’s for the first time.  The drop down to Satterthwaite was fantastic twisty singletrack through the bracken and grass and occasional bramble.

Ross and Dan were knackered, so we decided to head for the visitor centre and maybe do a bit of the North Face back to the car. 

On a not very tricky but quick section, I tried to duck round another bramble across the trail.  I dropped my front wheel off the path, pinging myself over the handlebars and slamming into the ground on my right knee and left wrist.  It jarred me up my fore arm and I felt my elbow go funny.  When I tried to straighten it, it wouldn’t move, then suddenly crunched  into place.  I could bend it but occasionally it would lock out, as if the tendons were in the wrong place, before returning to normal.  We carried on back to a fire road where we decided to call it quits and head home.

Simon’s wife and family were nearby with their caravan, so we headed there.  The cut to my knee was far deeper than it first looked.  Simo9n, and experienced first aider, cleaned me up and steri stripped the cuts. 

I was OK to drive home, but ached and only had limited movement in my arm when I got home.  Jayne said I had to go to A&E to get it checked out, so off we went.  4 hours later the doctor told me that the x-rays were inconclusive but showed “some degree of fracture”!  The treatment is the same regardless, arm in a sling, rest and ibuprofen.  So I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself.  Today the elbow has swelled up quite a bit and is quite achy. My knee is much better, the cuts are still a bit weepy but seem clean and healthy and knitting together.  Be a week or two before I’m back on the bike. Crying face

july 2011 hurt 001

july 2011 hurt 002

Miles for the week – 133

Running total – 3304

Shortfall – 146



Friday, 29 July 2011

Week Off

I’ve been off all week.  Its been a mixed experience.

Sunday, I went out with Ian and Joe, to Chipping and back via the back of Beacon Fell.  The wind coming back was horrendous but we made good time.

Monday, Jayne and I rode out on the tandem to Garstang.  We needed porcini, proscutto and papardelle pasta for a recipe we were going to make.  Booth’s in Garstang were bound to have these.  They had none!  In the end (Wednesday) we used ordinary dry mushrooms, lardons and snapped in half lasagne sheets.  It was great.

Tuesday I was supposed to ride round the Trough with Ian, but only got 10 miles up the road before being recalled to home.  the home stretch was done at an average of 20mph though.

Wednesday, Jayne and I drove pout to Chipping, then set off for Scorton.  This was several climbs and quite hard, even if only 30 miles.

Picture 004

Picture 011

Thursday was a bit damp, so we had a stay at home day.  Jayne went bowling in the evening and I went out to the Plough with Karl, Alison and Ian.

Today we' drove up to Stavely and rode out to Levens and back.  Considering it is the busiest part of the Lakes, it was surprisingly quiet.  A good 30 miles of country lanes

Lakes July 2011 001Lakes July 2011 005Lakes July 2011 016Lakes July 2011 022

Off mountain biking tomorrow!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

OK but not great

I’ve had an OK week.  Only OK, not great.  Work has been difficult, looks like \I’m going to lose my best contractor and my best permie.  I can’t compete with what they’ve been offered but it will leave a massive hole I’ll struggle to fill.

Mileage is mainly just work and back, not even every day.  Friday I satyed in to get my hands free kit fitted in my car.  This has been a nightmare to arrange.  I put the order in Christmas!  First of all they sent me a Parrot kit.  I rang up to arrange installation only to find that it wasn’t certified with my phone.  It would work with it and Parrot recommended it but Vodaphone didn’t certify it.  So I couldn’t have it.  So I ordered a different kit and was sent a Berry Uni-8 kit.  I rang to get that installed.  Sorry you need a de-install as well as an install voucher to take the old kit out.  Another order for the de-install, for which the voucher eventually arrived.  I rang again.  Sorry the separate de-install and install vouchers are only valid if you’re taking a kit out of one car and installing in a different car, you need a combined de-install/install voucher!  Eventually I got sent what should have been the right voucher, I rang again.  Have I got all the necessary parts?  Well I think so, I’ve been sent a box load of stuff.  Not so!  When the engineer arrived I handed him the box and he asked where was the rest of the stuff!  I said that’s all I’ve got, so he told me to ring the installation order line.  The woman there was really snotty, saying that I’d confirmed I had all the kit when I booked, I said I had a box of stuff, how was I to know it wasn’t everything I needed.  The engineer took the phone off me and said “Just sent the stuff” and hung up.  He could use some of the existing kit and all I needed was a snap in cradle I can fit myself.  6 months and I still don’t have a car kit fully working.

Jayne and I had a lazy weekend, we went out on the tandem yesterday, just into St Anne’s to go to Apple.  Liam got me a £20 voucher for fathers day, so I thought ‘d get a new rear mech for the Ribble.  I’ve put the compact double from Jayne’s Boardman on it, but the 105 rear mech doesn’t quite have the capacity, so I bought a Sora long cage mech.   Fitted it this afternoon and went for a couple of short trial rides.  Seems pretty good.  I was worried that the 9 speed mech wouldn’t work well with the 7 speed chain and cassette, but it seems fine.  Need to try it out over Boundary Hill.  When I first bought the Ribble it had a 21-12 block and 42/52 front rings.  I could get over Boundary Hill on that without much trouble.  Now I’m wondering if a 34 front and 28 rear are low enough?  Old age!

I’ve not reached my weekly mileage target again.  Need to do better next week, but I’ in Bristol for 4 days so probably a poor week again.  I need to go and do some long days, 70-100 milers to get back on track.

Miles for the week – 101

Year to date – 2973

Shortfall – 132



Sunday, 3 July 2011

Looking Better

I’m gradually clawing back the missed miles.  Last week 175, this week 164.  There’s no secret formula, just getting out more and for longer.  I should be at 3000 miles today.  I’m not!

My regular crew are all out in France, cycling from the north down to Carpentras, spending a week there, then cycling back.  I would love to have gone.  Karl has sent me some envy inducing photos.  I have had a good few weeks though.  Last week I topped up my commuter miles with a couple of trips out to Beacon Fell.  This week,a colleague was up from Bristol so we took him for a spin through the lanes, again to Beacon Fell.  Jayne has had a cold for the last few weeks and is just getting over it so we’ve done a few short miles,out to the pub and back this last week.

yesterday Simon and I went up to Gisburn Forest and rode the MTB trail there.  It was really good but I bottled a couple of sections, especially the north shore type stuff.  We did ride hully gully though, which was amazing.  Those berms are 30 ft from the bottom of the dips.  It took some nerve for me to do these but I really enjoyed it once I got over the fear.

Last night we went to Simon and Catherine's for a really nice meal.  Moule Mariner (SP?) followed by pasta with smoked kipper and then lemon sponge cake and  strawberries.  Delicious.

Today Jayne and I have done 30 miles of fairly flat lanes out to Barton Grange and back, then down to the pub.

All in all, I’m raking back the deficit and with a couple more weeks like these should get to a point where I am over target and can afford to miss a week or so, as long as work doesn’t get in the way.



week – 164

To date – 2872

Short fall - 118

Sunday, 19 June 2011


Since my Scotland trip, I’ve been pretty poor with my mileage.  This week I was away in Bristol.  I took my bike but only rode it once.  I was catching up with my shortfall, but have fallen back to over 200 again.  Not sure how much I’ll make back in the next few weeks.  My regular cycling partners are cycling through France for the next three weeks, Le Havre to Carpentras this week, a week around Carpentras, Ventoux, Alps etc, then a week riding back.  I really wish I was there.  Karl has promised to send envy inducing photos as often as he can.

Miles for week – a dismal 41

Running total – 2533

Shortfall – 227



Monday, 23 May 2011

Scotland Trip

Karl and Alison have a place in Moniaive in Scotland.  Its about 150 miles from here by the most direct route.  We decided to cycle up there.  The plan was to ride to Alison’s Mum’s in Arnside on Thursday afternoon, Arnside to Penrith on Friday, to Moniaive on Saturday and then to Lockerbie to get a train home.  Then Karl and I both had to work till five on Thursday so we decided that he would drive up and drop me on the way so I could ride a bit of the route.

I packed on Tuesday which was fortunate because I spent two hours on Wednesday night bailing out the scout hut where the main water supply had burst off the stopcock.  We bailed about 700 gallons of water.

Karl picked me up on Thursday and drove me up to Milnethorpe.  I rode the 5 or so miles along the estuary to Arnside.

Scotland Trip 002

Friday dawned wet and windy.  The wind fortunately was a tail wind and the rain not too heavy.  Karl had planned a route on quiet roads through Milnethorpe, bypassing Kendal, then up over Shap and down into Penrith.  We were soon out on the back lanes.

Scotland Trip 005

Alison’s chain came off.

Scotland Trip 007

We stopped by this…

Scotland Trip 008

The weather cleared a bit, but it wasn’t great.  The scenery was stunning though and we rode all the way to the bottom of the Shap climb on roads like this.

Scotland Trip 010

The climb up Shap was made easier by the howling tail wind but it was still a long slog up to 1350 feet.

Scotland Trip 012

The rain started again on the way back down.  The stopped in Shap village for something to eat and a warm drink, then off again to skirt round the Lake District fells.  Haweswater is the easternmost lake.

Scotland Trip 015

Round the edge of the Lowther estate…

Scotland Trip 020

And into Penrith for 46 hilly miles.

The forecast for Saturday was heavy rain and windy.  The wind was there, but the rain stayed off til the afternoon. We headed out of Penrith heading first for Carlisle.  It was mostly flat or down hill into Carlisle.  We got a bit turned around in Carlisle but eventually got back out to quiet lanes at Rockcliffe.

Scotland Trip 025

We crossed into Scotland at Gretna, which is famous for people eloping there to get married under Scottish law.

Scotland Trip 028

We stopped to get supplies, thinking we still had 70 miles to go to Moniaive.  At the rate we were going it would be a late finish.  The next section was down tghe coast of the Solway Firth heading to Dumfries.  It was more into the wind than we had been up til now and the wind was really whipping in off the sea.  We ate our butties sheltering in an old churchyard.

Scotland Trip 030Scotland Trip 031

After lunch the rain started.  And didn’t stop all the rest of the ride.  Fortunately Karl had mis-programed his Garmin and included a number of little circular loops when he’d tried to move off the main roads.  That meant we had much less distance to go.  We stopped in Dumfries for makings for tea and set off cold and wet for the last 20 miles.  We eventually rolled into Moniaive just before six having done 80 miles for the day.  After a quick shower and turning the heating up to max, I made chicken dijonaise for tea.

Next morning was bright and sunny.  This is the view from the garden…

Scotland Trip 032Scotland Trip 033

By the time we were ready to set off the rain had returned

Scotland Trip 036

Miraculously the wind had turned and was still a tailwind despite us now running 90 degrees to the previous day.

Scotland Trip 038Scotland Trip 040Scotland Trip 042Scotland Trip 043

We got to Lockerbie in plenty of time to catch the train back.  The original plan had been to go to Preston and ride home from there, but Karl had left his car at Arnside, so we got off at Oxenholme.  The sun was shining and the wind had dropped, but it wasn’t to last.  We were soon being lashed by stinging rain.  The final drop into Arnside was  back along the narrow hedge lined lanes.

Scotland Trip 046Scotland Trip 047Scotland Trip 048

You can see the road steaming. 

We eventually got back to the car after about 45 miles.  It was a fantastic trip despite the weather.

Total miles for the trip was about 170.

Miles for the week 208

Year to date 2190.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Very Poor Riding Week

I’ve done very little this week.  On the plus side I’ve still got a job.  I had to go down to Bristol Tuesday/Wednesday.  I did go for a run for the first time in ages while I was there, but it isn’t riding miles.

This weekend was forecast sunshine and showers.  We were looking after Simon’s dog while Simon and family went to Harlech to do the triathlon.  We decided to rebuild the shed.  The shed started life as a 8’ x 10’ potting shed 15 years ago.  Since then it has been dismantled, moved, cut down, rebuilt and moved again several times.  A few weeks ago we got another 8’ x 10’ shed through freecycle.  It wasn't in great shape but gave us enough wood to rebuild several sheds.


After dismantling the old shed, we started on the rebuild.  The idea was to cut two more feet from the width and get rid of any rotten bits, replacing them with stuff from the donor shed.


By close of play Saturday I had the base and two sides done.

Sunday was very wet, but we needed to crack on to get stuff under cover.  So we worked through the rain.


Eventually it was done


I was knackered.  My thighs and hamstrings were killing me.  I could barely walk on Monday.  I’m slowly getting back to normal.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Home Again

we got back from the Isle of Man on Monday completely knackered.  We’d done fewer miles than last year but it seemed much harder, probably due to the phenomenal wind.

Tuesday Jayne and I went for a short 24 mile spin, very slow and easy.  The wind was still strong, but we could coast down the slight drop from Roseacre that we had to pedal hard down the day before.  Usually the tandem will coast down at 20-25mph.  Shown how strong the wind was.

Wednesday and Friday were normal ride to work days.  Thursday we found out if we still have jobs, fortunately I still do.

We’ve had a fairly lazy weekend, I felt I needed a weekend off, so nothing yesterday and just 10 or so miles today.

Total for the week – 104 (including 40 from Monday I recorded last posting)


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Isle of Man

After killing Jayne on the Sunday, I killed myself on Monday.  Ian asked if I fancied a spin, he wasn’t feeling too good and didn’t want to do any big hills.  I decided to take my recently rebuilt Ribble.  I’m glad I did – 52 miles in three hours, big ring all the way out to CafĂ© de Lune, Scorton and back.  I was knackered.

Our 2nd annual trip to the Isle of Man was planned for Friday and Nic and Elizabeth had expressed a desire to ride out with Jayne and I earlier than the rest, to meet them at or on the way to Conder Green.  I rang Nic Thursday morning to confirm details and he said he was off in the afternoon did we fancy a ride. After a bit of humming and hawing, Jayne said yes and we headed of for a windy 25 miles out to St Anne’s, via the deli for some chorizo that they were cooking Friday night, and on to the Villa for a quick pint.

Friday morning we set out later than planned, Jayne and I on the tandem, Nic carrying most of Elizabeth’s gear and Elizabeth on her ancient but reliable Austrian MTB.

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We were caught up by the rest at Little Eccleston and headed out into the increasingly strong wind to the cafe.  Unfortunately it was closed til 12 for the Royal Wedding.  Then the proprietor came out and said she’d be open in 10 mins, so we waited.  And waited. IOM2011 007

Eventually we decided we should press on to the ferry just in case.  We stopped in Lancaster to grab comestibles then on to Heysham.  Once again first passengers on.  It was interesting and amusing to watch the ferry crew loading new cars destined for Isle of Man garages.  They flew on, not sure if I would ever buy a car over there after watching them.

The ferry crossing was the usual 4 hours of beer, food and boredom.IOM2011 008

Eventually, we got to the house on the island at about 7 and Nic and Elizabeth cooked up a fantastic Spanish dish of peppers tomatoes chorizo and poached eggs.  Washed down with plenty of wine, we were setup for day two of our trip.

Saturday dawned with clear blue skies, warm sun and 40mph winds.  It set the tone for the weekend.  We headed of on a circuitous route to Peel.  On the first steep climb, Jemima was dropped.  When she finally got to the top it was to heap abuse on her husband.  She couldn’t change into her small chainring.  After some joint faffing, we realised that the extra bottle cage Graham had fitted for the trip was stopping the front mech from moving far enough.  Removing it, we discovered another botch of Graham’s.  While fitting the bottle cage, he had cross threaded the bolt, breaking the boss and making it turn freely in the seat tube.  His only recourse had been to saw off the bolt head and secure the cage with glue!

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After that, we had a fairly easy drop down into Peel.  This is a small picturesque town with a large castle guarding the harbour.IOM2011 015

It was exceptionally windy, the tandem was blown over.  Some of us had fish and chips, others had locally caught and smoked mackerel sandwiches.  We also met up with a couple from Frodsham on Hewitt’s like Karl’s.  They recommended that we go to Niarbyl as it was quite pretty. 

They weren’t wrong.  It was at the end of a very steep hill though.

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You could just make out the coast of Ireland.  honest its in this picture.

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It was a slog back up to the main road.  And straight into the wind.  On the map there looked like a short cut, but it was not marked as a proper road and we weren’t sure we’d get through.  At the start of the road it was marked as a dead end, but there was a parking and picnic sign as well.  We gave it a try.  At first it was a narrow road into a steep sided valley, then it became a path, then singletrack and we started to worry.  However, after a mile or so it turned back to a narrow, roughly tarmacked road through the trees.  It was very pretty and sheltered from the wind.

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Soon though, it climbed back out if the head of the valley and into the full strength of the wind.  It was very hard work to get to the old lead mines at the top.

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From here we retraced our steps from the morning, only to be confronted by a closed road.  There was a junior cycle race on and the detour would take us miles out of our way.  We waited.  Ian began to fret over cooking the evenings meal, a moussaka.  Eventually the road was opened and we headed home.  It was a gruelling battle into the wind all the way.  Hills that seemed inconsequential that morning had us in the granny ring.  The faster guys headed off to get tea ready and we limped in behind.

Our reward for 40 miles of slog was buck fizz!

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Then lashings of wine and moussaka.  Followed by apple pie.

Sunday was once again sunny and windy.  The previous days effort were telling and Jamima decided not to ride, as did Nic and Elizabeth.  The ride out on Friday had been Elizabeth’s longest ride since childhood and she was concerned about getting home on the Monday.  Jayne and I also decided not to go with the main group, who decided to head out to the Calf of Man.  We thought a smaller trip round to Laxey and back might be a better bet.  On the map there looked to be a route from near the back of the house to a reservoir and then on to the Laxey road via a public byway.  When we got to the reservoir then route was a footpath.  We decided to give it a go anyway as it was only a mile to the byway.  We pushed some but road most of the way to the end of the path, only to be face with this on the byway.

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Not rideable at all.  I pushed for a further mile or so to the road, which fortunately had been relayed recently and was super smooth.

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The lumpy stuff in the distance isn’t all sea, some of it is the Lake District.

A fast drop took us to the edge of Laxey and an exceptionally steep descent into the town.  We only just managed to keep upright and brake had enough.  At the Laxey wheel we saw that as National Trust members we could get in for free.  Unfortunately our membership cards had expired the day before and we didn’t have our new ones.  So we headed down into town to look at the remains of the lead ore processing plant.

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It had its own wheel, all the mine workings and associated industry had been water powered as there was no natural coal on the island and few trees.  It was quite a pretty place for a former heavy industrial landscape.

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From there we headed down to Laxey Harbour where we met Nic and Elizabeth, who had come out by train.  They were heading up Snaefel on the railway, but stopped long enough for a pint and something to eat.

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Then it was home again on the rolling main road.  We had to walk the last steep bit.  Once back to the house we realised there was no wine or beer, so I borrowed Jemima’s bike and went down the steep hill into town.  Coming back up with 6 bottles of wine and 12 bottles of beer was hard work.

The others had been out to the Calf, but realising the time and the strength of the wind, got the steam train back to Douglas and stopped for a well earned pint.

By special request Jemima had made vegetarian chilli and a sort of Eaton mess, which was wolfed down with little ceremony.  We had to pack that night as we had an early start for the 8:45 ferry the next day.

Monday came too soon and at 6:45 we were dressed and breakfasting.  After tidying up, Karl and a few others headed into town to get us booked on the ferry.  we stayed and tried to stuff all the wine bottles into the recycling bin.  Eventually we all headed out to regroup at the ferry.  The uneventful crossing was punctuated by endless rolling news reports from Pakistan. 

We got back to England and finally got some benefit from the wind, getting tailwinds from Lancaster pretty much all the way home.  we tried several times to stop for ice cream but everywhere was really busy.  we had to press on as several people had long drives and train journeys to get home in time for work on Tuesday.

In all another great weekend of cycling and friendship.  Hopefully we can do it again next year.



Miles for week – 220

Total – 1835