Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Int snow brilliant?

It's like all white and sparkly, you slide around on it and can go sledging or skiing, you can have snow ball fights and build snowmen. Oh and it's a complete bugger to ride a bike through. Brilliant!

Commute home yesterday was really hard work we'd had another load of snow and was hard going but when I got to moses gate it was a nightmare, ended up pushing anything slightly uphill was so tired when I got home. So perfect prep work for going night riding after :-) Set off at usual time along the slushy roads to the trailhead at barrow bridge, I rode about 20 feet of the climb then ground to a halt, had to push all the climb and most of the "flat" bit through the golf course. Georges lane was interesting, that really mushed up snow that's been flattened down by cars and looks OK but both wheels slip and slide all over the shop. Came down wildeswood cautiously was fun tho plenty of snow and just as I got to the stud farm 3 deer ran across the track! Awww, dead christmassy. Got to meet point quite late but fortunately so was Johnnie. Rode up to the top car park OK but AICR was 'orrible, had to push so I got my hipflask out and we had a little tipple as we walked, pretty much all the way to the pike. Sat at the top, the views were brilliant.
Feeling a little tipsy we saddled up Johnnie really didn't fancy riding "the cliffs of imminent death, destruction and wholesale slaughter" as he calls them (something like that anyway) but I just set off, what a laugh! Sliding all over the shop, no idea where the deep ruts were, a few nearlys but no offs and was giggling by the time I got to the bottom, Johnnie did similar and by the end he knew it was the right choice. Across to wildeswood and down there, this time with more speed and hitting the deep snow at the edges for really drifty cornering including one massive front wheel drift that I only just managed to ride out. Got a little too giddy at one point but made it down laughing all the way. Top bit of riding. We split at the bottom I went home via barrow bridge - a lot better going downhill :-) Finally rolled home absolutely shattered, just walking to the train station this morning was hard work. Probably the last night ride of the year but what a corker.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009


Quiet morning at work so what have I been doing with what eh? (so far)
2468 miles in 95 rides (25.9 mile average)
Reliable workhorse for commuting, I've only had to change BB+rear wheel bearings, tyres and brake blocks (and 1 chain link) not bad.

1135 miles in 47 rides (24.1 avg)
My other much abused work horse has had a whole new drivechain (SS so cheapy cheap), rear wheel, new forks, rear wheel, tyres, a few disc pads, switched to magura brakes and got through just 1 pair of blocks so far. I treated it to a new pair of grips the old ones were very worn and the bar and stem have also been upgraded to OS.

840 miles in 33 rides (25.45 avg)
Play bike, built up from my parts bin, lots of fun to ride and for the most part all I've had to replace is a rear tyre and BB. Ran into trouble last week so converted it to SS drivechain (temporarily) new rear mech and hanger soon.

239 miles in 8 rides (29.8 avg)
Big ride bike, trouble free this year as it should be only doing a paltry 8 rides

307 miles in 15 rides (20.4 avg)
This bike always makes me smile, again a dissapointing mileage but mostly lakes rides some bloody good routes. I should try to ride it more but it always feels a waste taking round rivi. The minion ST/spesh enduro tyre combo has been superb. Cracking bike, keep thinking about putting it on a diet tho.

239 miles in 8 rides (29.8 avg)
Feeling very neglected is my road bike, never really fancied going out on it much to be honest.

Road 2707
XC 2501
Longest rides 53m road extended commute, 50m mary townley loop.

A decent year for rides and maybe a couple more to come.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Snow day

Seeing as how Friday, Saturday and Sunday were taken up with works do, hangover and Christmas shopping today was my first chance to play in the snow* and the first proper snowy commute (snow from door to door) wow that was hard work, the snow is pretty lumpy with a thick crust to break through. I'd only been going 15minutes pedalling along on the flat and I was overheating, good resistance training but I'll be suffering on tomorrows nightride if it's the same in the morning. There were a few sledging spots that cut across the trail, tempted to buy one tonight and have a go. Got me thinking about snowboarding again...maybe next year :-( Can't believe how many roads are still ungritted (or not gritted enough) even in the city centre. Managed to ride into a bridge, going under the motorway at clifton there was a big patch of ice while avoiding it I got too close to the wall and there must have been a bit sticking out cos I twatted my shoulder a good one, grazed and a proper lump on it by the time I got to work. Fortunatley it doesn't bother me while riding so no worries :-)

*not counting razzing the wife's car round toysRus car park yesterday :-)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


Night ride last night was one of the best ever, a proper good laugh. Simon, Johnnie, Giles and Trio We met at the barn and headed for winter hill and the banter began, Johnnie's awesome mud tyres, cushions, BMIs, pisstaking of gears (and singlespeeds), incidents of velophilia, golden showers, dogging, polar bears, the usual. Up and down to the pike and along georges lane to winter hill tarmac climb, 1st mechanical. Somehow Simon's chain had popped out of the rear derailleur cage, never seen that before, had to remove lower jockey wheel and put it back in. Up winter hill and Giles and Si were chatting and began pulling away from us. Si has only been up there one or twice, Giles never and neither knew where we were going so obviously Johnnie, trio and I backed off and switched all our lights off :-)
The steep descent off the back was fun, very rutted, very slippery and chaos ensued. I went over the bars (ran it out) Johnnie crashed right infront of Si and Si mounted him and we all got out of shape and sideways at some point. The track over to lead mines was muddy too but we made it down then I tried to ride the slab bridge, down the 2 big steps over the slab but then no chance of getting up the other side. I stalled and tried to put my foot down but there was nothing there and I nearly fell the 8 feet down to the stream. I just managed to cling on to the hillside. On the climb from the stream my gears exploded, rear derailleur in the spokes job, so I had to adapt a singlespeed (hey I'd been meaning to SS that bike anyway) Sorted that while trio handed out the mince pies (superb!) set off again but it wasn't long before trio got a flat. 9:30 and we were at the furthest point from home, a late one then. Trio got out her dinky pink pump (not a euphemism), it was smaller than her tyre levers, I didn't wanna be there all night so I had a go with mine - will pump for mince pies :-) Down the steep bit at the end which everyone managed, some with more drama (and screaming) than others. We cut the ride short after all that but it had been a lot of fun. Fortunatley I managed to limp home without further incident. Out till 11, on a school night too!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Come dine with me

I decided to be all posh and have a dinner party - sort of, we invited burk and his mrs round for a curry at weekend, their son is just 3 days older than Charlie so it's good to compare notes every now and again. They came in and I went to get them some drinks then the noise started. What the hell are you doing to that poor child? My ears were almost bleeding from the noise. Turns out they were just taking his coat off and actually he wasn't being that loud, I'm just used to Charlie and how quiet he is, even when he is crying. Perfectly normal baby crying comes as a shock compared.
I'd curried a lamb leg which was pretty good, not my best but I was pretty happy with it fortunatley so was everyone else. Burk had brought dessert, chocolate brownie chocolate cheesecake, mmmm. After a rest from the curry I went to get the cake "shall I just quarter it?" that got a yes from everyone. Ah bit bigger than I expected, bloody huge in fact. Only two of us managed to finish (yes I was one of them) I checked the box later, 1Kg of cake (over 1/2lb each!) and apparently it serves 10 normal people! Yes I am feeling a bit of a glutton now.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Cheeky monkey

Charlie is getting bigger (12lb 12oz now) and louder. He was a pain last week when his mum went on her works do, he was content all evening but later on he got tired and cranky but I couldn't get him off to sleep til the early hours. Still not getting much response from him, he seems like just someone to look after at the moment, can't wait for him to start interacting with us properly. Mind you the other night he looked me straight in the eye and said "eh wo" (yes I know he wasn't saying hello but it was still cute) He smiles a lot and is mesmerised by flashing lights of his playmat thing bet he'll love the christmas tree when its's up! Nights are varied, he alternates between sleeping through the night and waking every 2 hours for feeds but his mum normally takes care of all that - for which I am eternally grateful, no doubt this will change when her maternity leave is up. Still don't feel like a dad tho, don't feel old or mature enough. However while I used to ride along with songs from radio or tv running through my head now I've got kids rhymes/songs rattling around in there..."we know frogs go shoobidoobydoo..."

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Shepherds delight

Walked out of work last night and for the first time in ages looked up and saw a pleasent view, long drawn out weird shaped clouds, rippled and all pink from the sunset, lovely. Oh yeah "red sky at night" should be right for riding in tomorrow then. Shepherds delight my arse, it pissed it down in the evening but I got up this morning determined, I must get some xc miles in. Was bloody wet on the trails, not boggy but a cm or so of mud or water above hardpack most of the way. Got to work filthy dirty, head to toe and there's a pile of mud where I stripped off. Cosy warm and dry underneath tho so not too bad. Nearly ended up in the canal tho, whoops.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Night riders

Back to regular night rides now, still miserable weather but just as I was leaving I decided to ditch the full on wet weather gear (jacket longs overshoes etc) and go with windproof top and shorts (with knee warmers, I'm not suicidal!) Got upto rivi in reasonable time and met Giles, he's up here on business so may be riding with us for a few months. He says he's into big mileage and isn't fast but he certainly wasn't slow last night on his singlespeed 29er rigid. Jonny got there later and we set off. Weather closed in, some rain and lots of mist, nothing visible from the pike. It was a cracking ride tho, I was riding well, right clothing choice, no mechanicals* and everything just flowed. Upto pike, wildeswood, school climb then ICR. Giles cleaned all the climbs blind and didn't mind ICR which still scares me occasionally, kudos. Night riding back on form woohoo.

*not on the ride anyway, Johnny got flat+mechanical on the way to the meet and I got a slow pucture on the way home.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Feeling pretty tired right now

Got home from work last night and no one was in so I grabbed my singlespeed prayed there was enough juice in my lights and went off to get a quick ride in. Nowt too tech just a run round the jumbles again and a chance to try out my new gear. Altura waterproof shorts, nice, kept my bum dry and I didn't really notice them very good. Altura Reflex windproof, seems pretty good so far £70 still seems a lot of money for it tho. Shimano MW80 shoes, good feet nice and dry and a better design for the ankle cuff means less water ingress. Definitely smaller than previous (same size) shimano shoes I've had but thankfully not too small. Ride wasn't 100% success tho, mid ride I was musing on the amount of stress shoe cleats get whilst gurning your way uphill singlespeed. Sure enough later on my right shoe/pedal developed an unnatural amount of float, loose cleat bolts but it was all downhill on road to get home so I kept going, a few minutes later there was a scuffing noise from back wheel, I stopped and got off (right foot still clipped in) and had a look. Rim brake surface has worn away and tyre was pushing the rim apart. Oops! I unhooked the rear brake and carried on home, where I had serious trouble getting right shoe unclipped. New wheel needed and cleats need sorting out but a fast 20mile ride done and I was back before 7. Only 235 more to go.

That's not supposed to look like that.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

1 month to go

Only 29 days of the year left so how are my aims looking?
MTL - done, finally, not a bad ride.
100mile hilly road ride, nope not done any big road rides this year - ah well nevermind.
More rides with other people - Lots!
4500 miles - Done
2500 offroad miles - not looking great, I've only done 2245 so far, not helped by the pitiful (worst of the year) 81 miles in november. So I need to manage 255 this month, not likely to be honest, I need a big freeze (or just stop fricking raining!) so I can get some xc commutes in, otherwise it's some silly long weekend rides. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Looks like I won't be there, I didn't receive and invitation :-(

Monday, 30 November 2009


Morrisons sour cherry and chocolate brownies, gorgeous, a top post ride refuel option I reckon, can't be sure tho as I haven't actually ridden anywhere this weekend. Pretty good post playstation refuel anyway :-)
Still not been offroad since the crash, I'll be losing confidence as well as fitness if I'm not careful. Feeling pretty grotty this morning might be a cold on the way :-(

Friday, 27 November 2009

Attention People of Salford...

More specifically drivers of salford, even more specifically drivers on salford precinct and the height roundabouts. When on a roundabout you indicate left immediatley after the exit road before yours, not after the entry road before your exit and 0.01 seconds before you swing left. If your on the inside of a big 2 lane roundabout indicating right don't be surprised if I enter the roundabout to take the next exit - Tools. And stop driving on the mandatory bike lane approach! Grrrr.

Thursday, 26 November 2009


So I brought my ageing Z1 bombers into work to have a go at stripping and replacing the seals, I've had them 10years and only got them professionally serviced once so about time for another one, amateur this time. I'd heard seals were a bugger to get out but the first leg I had no probs at all, stripped down, seals levered out easy, popped the new ones in with a 30mm socket as a drift, piece of piss. Second one again no probs fitted the new seal had a look inside whoops forgotten to fit the bushing, carefully lever seal out fit bushing seal back in, hmm thats gone too far, damn I forgot the spacer, lever seal out, fit spcaer push seal back in. Repeatedly fitting and removing seals doesnt damage them does it? :-0
Saw this pic on trios site it reminded me a long time ago me and my mate were riding round there and it was in a similar state, he bet me to ride in the river I accepted aslong as I used his mountain bike (I was on a racer he had a nice purple and green peugot anaconda i think - mmm slack!) I had a right laugh, he took a pic, all you could see of the bike was the bars and saddle. River riding is cool - aslong as you use someone elses bike I think every bearing on his bike died soon after

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

More shiny things

Had to nip to Merlin to pick up my 9 month old bombers with a blown oil seal. Fixed under warranty thank you very much, see how they last this time, fingers crossed. Whilst there I took a look at the fox float RL 140s they had at a silly low price (for fox) Nice. Too nice. I now have another set of forks, I now own 7 mtb forks and only 4 frames. They are QR15s so I'll need a new front wheel. They're also post mount and the 2 bikes I was thinking about putting them on (heckler and etsx) have IS brakes. Ho hum, new brakes too then. Doubt they'll see the trails till spring, EdO reckons use your best gear in winter when you need it most, I say trash old stuff in winter save shiny stuff for long summer rides. Might singlespeed and slap some old forks on my kinesis for winter too.

Oh and my legs stopped that burning thing so I'm finally getting some decent sleep again. Yay.

Friday, 20 November 2009


I've got some amusing shades of bruise on both legs, left thumbs still dodgy, got a wierd hard lump in my calf and oh yeah my leg burns. Whenever my leg is still (ie slobbing on the couch) the next time i move it my calf burns, the longer I'm still the more it hurts so changing position at night during sleep means it burns like buggery and wakes me up. It's a weird throbbing burn, like really bad lactic acid and it's doing my head in losing sleep. Went to the docs and he confirmed it's not thrombosis (which is nice) but he shrugged when I asked him what the burning sensation was and what to do about it. Hope it wears off soon.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

I am a mountain biker, hear me roar whimper!

So, later than advertised I made it back onto 2 wheels. I rode in on friday, pedalling wasn't too bad walking is a major pain tho. I think I my pedal twatted my calf in the crash, there's a big lump and it's seized up. Standing up straight with feet flat on the floor is tricky and I can only hobble along. It's not much better today, I can stretch my calf out a bit and then I can manage to walk properly but it soon tightens up again and moving my foot much causes a burning/throbbing sensation in my calf. As I said pedalling is OK but bumpy ground is most definitley not. Going over some broken tarmac in swinton the other day caused me to swear quite a lot and I've been avoiding that patch since. So I'll stick to the blacktop for another week or so and try to keep stretching my leg. Not a happy bunny, only myself to blame - bloody stupid idiot hitting stuff so fast in the wet. Worst crash since spain in 2007 (that was me being stupid too).

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


You know that fast sweeping right hander before you enter the trees on wildeswood descent? The one with the little gulley you can drop into and use as a berm to rip round at speed? Well you can't anymore. I noticed too late last night that it's just a muddy mess now. Front wheel slid out of gulley, bike got all out of shape and I hit the ground pretty hard. Head, face, shoulder and knee hit the ground and I got bike tangled up in my legs. When I finally dagged myself of the ground I noticed with satisfaction that the rear wheel was still spinning - sign of a proper crash :-) I'd snapped the peak of my helmet and my right knee and calf were pretty sore but I carried on, met up with Jonny and Si and set off up rivi. Made it to the top but legs was hurting and head was a bit swimmy so I decided to split, it's mainly downhill all the way from there but my leg had started to seize up and every bump caused my calf to jolt and hurt a lot. Painkillers, ice, elevation etc when I got home, bit of trouble walking this morning, but not too bad, back on the (road) bike tomorrow hopefully. There's a chain of thought that says if you're not crashing you're not learning, that quite frankly is bollocks! Crashing hurts I'm not intending to make a habit of it.

Oh I should also mention it was jonnys debut singlespeed ride, he loved it, he has nothing but praise for monocogs :-)

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

progeny update

Charlie is doing fine, he still sleeps well at night and doesn't cry very often or loudly. He's even got used to having a bath, it was one of the few things that made him cry but he's dead chilled about it now and takes it all in his stride. He's also started to smile, despite the fact that he's pretty stupid* he still manages to sense when there a camera anywhere near him and promptly stops smiling, so as of yet no one has managed to get a picture. Turning into a proper chubber too.

*sorry but he is, when he's hungry he sucks on his blankets/clothes and if I pick him up with my hands under his oxters he'll clamp his gob round my thumb and suck for a good few minutes before he realises there's no milk.

False promises

I'm disappointed, got up yesterday looked out the window and saw the frost, cool nice frozen trails. Nope very wet and sloppy trails just a lot colder than normal. Got to work pretty filthy but it was kind of picturesque with the mist down in the irwell valley, nice start to the day. There was mist on the way home too but this wasn't nice it was horrible. It was dark, I only had my head torch and it was reflecting off the mist, it was like riding through a snowstorm, millions of tiny sparkly particles rushing towards my eyes. Very off putting and seemed to be messing with my balance too when the clouds of mist flowed left or right. Ended up having to hold the light while I rode along.
Also my mud proofing acquisitions haven't been a success, the bombers I got have sprung an oil leak, only 8months old and not done a lot of miles, bombers are supposed to be indestructible. The Maura's are proving difficult, fiddly to setup, if you want to take a wheel out you have to remove a caliper and when you refit it chances are you'll have to faff to get them in the right place again. Not too bad for the back wheel which stays put but I need to remove the front wheel to stash the bike in the house. The TPA (moving the pistons in as the pads wear) doesn't work properly, the pads never centre properly, looking on trials forums this TPA thing is a well known issue. Power is reasonable, pads wear faster than normal but I don't shred them in one ride like I was doing with discs the last couple of winters. Time will tell whether I'd have been better off spending the money on lots of disc brake pads instead.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


Stupidest thing I've heard in ages, guy just came into our office,
guy "is the server down?"
colleague "which one?"
guy "the one I'm trying to access"

Very very frightening

No night riding planned this week but as we were leaving work last night Si suggested a night ride, he's got a pimpy new orange 5 to break in. I was 50/50 cos of the weather but I only got mildly damp on the commute home so I thought the night ride would be fine. Quick change of bike then back out, met up with Si and we climbed up winter hill, aren't these waterproof jackets great eh? We were doing OK warm and dryish in the light rain, then it started to rain harder and as we got to the top lightning lit up the sky! Belmont down hill was very wet and the best line was along the stream of water. We were soaked by the time we got to the bottom, gloves, shoes, shorts/longs all water logged and it started really belting down. Another ride cut short, we went up scout road and did a new route through smithills (educated guess but it worked out ok). Not a bad ride but my hands and feet were freezing when I got home, getting my keys out of the camelbak and opening the front door took ages. Wetest night ride ever.

Monday, 2 November 2009

There was an...

old woman...young bloke who swallowed inhaled a fly I don't know why he inhaled a fly perhaps he'll die. Or perhaps he'll spend the rest of the ride coughing/heaving/wretching trying to get the little bugger back up.
I'd wussed out of going on the STW lakes ride but don't feel too bad about it, sounds like they had a similar ride to me. Got wet, got puncture, got cold, went home early. Difference was I didn't have to drive over 150miles for the privilege, no cameraderie either but I'll live. Def need some better winter gear, if I had gone on that ride and been waiting for others getting up hills, fixing punctures etc I'd have been freezing and got really cranky. Quick ride round the jumbles, nowt too taxing but I kept out of the wind and still a few power climbs to work the legs a bit on a SS.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

A man has needs...

...and currently those are
Winter shoes (on order stock "expected soon")
Winter socks (nice merino ones I think)
Mud tyres (on order)
Windproof jacket (to replace my aged aldi jacket, altura reflex?)
Winter gloves (errr..)
Better fitness and a healthy dose of MTFU :-)
Royal mail strikes won't be helping with obtaining some of these items but I've not got time to physically go shopping.

Tonight's gonna be a good night

Weather was decent yesterday and I was looking forward to the planned night ride, cracking night for it, clear and mild and rivi was heaving (well for a weekday night) high powered lights everywhere. Nice little route including down wildeswood twice and back up it once and some cheeky stuff I've not done in ages. Was a bit wet but nowt too bad, the kennel run had mud but not too deep and not too slick, just thick enough for comedy handling, good practice :-) Wildeswood is standing up as well as ever, just some mud on the high speed corner before going under the trees to give you a bit of a scare. Only 23miles, felt like more, legs were achey afterwards, it's taking a while to get used to commuting again.

Monday, 26 October 2009

That Monday morning feeling

Got up and out on time this morning, chain was clunking a bit, thought it was the freewheel bearings getting sloppy and the chain not meshing properly but on closer inspection it turned out that an outer chain plate had broken - ah, not good. Back home then, pinch a couple of links of new chain and sort it. Quick fix but all the messing about delayed me by 45 mins by which time the traffic was a lot busier than normal, good job it's half term or it would have been even worse. Still not managed to get my hands properly clean.

Oh yeah and I'd forgotten but my pompino is over 12months old now. It's been OK, new brakes(cos I can't be arsed setting up cantis), tyres and BB is not bad going (Yes that humvee destroyed my back wheel too but thats hardly "wear and tear" is it?)

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I R Big Jessy

When Charlie was born he was too lazy to feed so he became jaundiced, this required an extended trip to the hospital and quite a few blood tests, this involved cutting his heel then depending on the nurse doing it gently coaxing some blood out or bending his foot so far up towards his shin I thought his foot would break. Anyway thanks to this I now know the most gut wrenching thing in the world is listening to your child cry from genuine pain (as opposed to crying cos they are hungry, hot, cold, dirty or just plain bored) Anyway I was trimming Charlies nails last night, he keeps trying to scratch his face (can you see where this is going yet?) as I clipped his thumbnail he started crying, looking down I saw I'd caught a bit of skin and made a small cut on his thumb. Aaaargh! He stopped crying pretty quick but that didn't stop me feeling like a crap dad for the rest of the night. Kids are painful - oh and I'm never cutting his nails again.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Back on the horse

Rode into work today for first time since fatherhood began, lovely way to ease me into it again, bit wet but not bad and cold enough so I could actually wear my wet weather gear but more importantly NO murder attempts, which was nice.


Awesome my fave online game ever* now available to everyone with just a browser plugin, not actually got chance to play a match yet but did a little of the training and it looks like the real thing.

Not so awesome Ti 456s for only £800, on one are tempting me with their top dog hardtail again.
Want? very much so.
Need? erm...?
Must resist.

*well ok the only one I've ever played much

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Ride, rest, ride, rest blah blah

Out for a night ride last night with Junkyard, Si and Trio, wasn't bad despite it being nice all day and raining as soon as I left the house. Was very mild so we were all a bit hot, but thankfully no wind. Misty at the top of winter hill, we had planned (OK I had planned) to do belmont descent then back up and down the steep bit to belmont old road and lead mines clough. A few flats on belmont and nobody fancying riding back up mean't backup the road instead and as it was getting so late no LMC either. Decent ride tho, good laugh. Have done a few more rides but to be honest nowt spesh happened and it was same old rivi/winterhill/darwen so nothing to write about, not sure I can even be bothered to map them out. Back at work now so normal service should be resumed shortly :-)

Sunday, 11 October 2009


Don't kids pull funny faces, Charlie looking very photogenic :-) I do seem to spend a lot of time laughing at him.

Ooooh!, originally uploaded by D0NK.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Pain is just weakness leaving the body

Cool! In that case I just got rid of a metric shitload. Got out for a few hours today, did pretty much the same route as my solo nightride a few weeks ago but added the ice cream run and the rocky singletrack downhill on darwen moor we did on the STW route way back in spring, no wonder it was carnage, it's pretty tech. Ice cream run was a lot smoother today, dry trails, daylight and being on my kinesis meant it was something to enjoy rather than just hang on and get down it in 1 piece. Bonked pretty hard on the way home, was expecting my usual pre-ride big bowl of porridge to get me through, I didn't take any food, bad move. Necked a gel on darwen moor to perk me up but when that ran down I slammed even harder. Pedalling back home was really quite painful. Time to gorge on tea and cake :-)

Saturday, 3 October 2009


Wednesday saw my first proper offroad ride since Charlie put in an appearance, I was quite excited about it, was suffering from ride deprivation, last week a fellow rider (who will remain anonymous to save his embarassment) text to say the trails were dry and in a good state, I had to resist calling him and in a premium rate phoneline style asking, "how dry are they? Are they hard? Are they dusty? Do they...*whimper*...flow?" Ahem, anyway wednesday came and what an awful day, was miserable raining all day. I set out to meet the lads at 6 and it was chucking it down so I was pretty soaked by the time I got to the barn at 7. Oh yeah and I was dying on my arse climbing barrow bridge and winterhill, 2 weeks is a long time to be off the bike.
Simon, Junkyard, Grumm and me set off from the barn, Simons first night ride and Grumms first ride with us. Trails weren't actually in back nick at all. Rivi and wildeswood were cool then the track down the back of the houses to school climb was ace, perfect nightride trail, mediocre in the day but the limited light and no speed limit with 0% chance of running into walkers makes it great. Back up rivi and then ice cream run to finish. Me and Si stopped halfway down with Grumm and jonny no where to be seen for quite a while, Grumms light was dying so Junkyard knowing the trail well swapped lights with him and edged slowly down the trail, fortunatley we were close to the cars so didn't take long. Pretty good despite the weather, hopefully Si and Grumm will be back for more.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Kids eh?

A while ago whilst talking to some (mainly female) work colleagues I described kids as expensive little bundles of pain and misery and I was pretty much lambasted for it. So now I have one of the little bundles of my own what do I think, well lets see. Expensive, you betcha, have you seen the price of "travel systems" and baby furniture? Not cheap. Charlie certainly caused his mum a fair amount of pain during birth and the amount of emotional turmoil we've been through since could certainly be classed as suffering. So spot on I reckon. Highly reccomended tho :-) Kind of like climbing big hills then, slag them of all day, nowt good to say about them but the results magic.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Even more gorgeous-er

Charlie @ 5mins, originally uploaded by D0NK.

Yes he's got an odd shaped head, he's got flaky skin, one eye is lower than the other, one of his ears is folded over and his cheeks droop down like a sullustran but he's mine and he's beautiful. World meet Charlie, Charlie this is the big wide world (web)

Thursday, 17 September 2009

A few hills before bed

I was kicked out of the house saturday evening cos my sister-in-laws were coming round, now I could have done the blokey thing, gone to the pubs spouted endlessly about a bunch of obscenely overpaid guys kicking a pigs bladder around, drank 10 pints of gnats piss and had a kebab and a fight on the way home, but I'm not a blokey bloke so I went for a ride :-) Had been painting in the house allday with one eye on the window looking at the gorgeous weather I was missing, so there was no way I was staying indoors, plus I had my new spangly hope 4's* to try out and they were fricking awesome, had them bar mounted with my joystick on my helmet. A massive flood from the bars gives much better shadow and definition on drops and stuff, most of the time the joystick wasn't illuminating much as the 4's flood was so good but it was a nice extra. Most stuff could be taken at pretty much downhill speeds, the 5modes is a bit of a pain to cycle through, low medium high ultra and flashing, either scrap the flash or take it out of the loop. Did winterhill, rivi, winterhill, tockholes, Darwin tower and Whitehall. I was seriously considering going up to Peel tower for the full set but it was getting late and I wasn't sure my legs would hold out so I went home via turton. Superb night ride - probably cos the trails were so dry (normally nightriding=winter=muddy trails) Sat in the takeaway in town covered in mud waiting for my kebab (ok a bit blokey) I was watching the usual saturday night crowds, smug in the knowledge I had had the better night and I'd still be feeling pretty good in the morning too. Top ride top lights looking forward to more night rides.

*I was going to get the maxx-d but I saw a group buy on the 4's quite a bit cheaper.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Drop dead gorgeous

Up in the lakes again on friday, driving down the side of derwent water and saw the view, absolutely fantastic, perfect reflection of the hills over the lake. Fantastic!

Was a brilliant day, started out riding borrowdale bash, well after trying to get Johnny's front brake to work we set off. Birketts leap and Frith wood are proper steep so he did pretty well with only a brake brake and a minimal bit of friction from the front. One of my fave bits of trail steep and rocky - a donk trail as Johnny calls them, too steep to ride up too steep to ride down :-)
The climb to castle crag was nice loads of cheery walkers for a change. Mental rocky downhill followed.

We cut it short after grange, went back to the car and went up to latrigg and did blencathra loop, another cracker with fantastic views. The climb up is long but do-able until the last steep rocky section to crest the top of the lonscale path, it's always defeated me before. This time tho with water running down it looking proper slippy I just seemed to float up it. Dunno how I did it and probably won't manage it again but I was well made up and the descent to the car was a cracker. Smoking hot brakes by the time you get to the bottom.

Ride ride ride

Been getting out plenty lately. STW ride last weekend round rossendale area. Met up at Lee quarry and did a few moorland bits then joined up with the mary townley loop again doing cowpe at the end, corking downhill. Was a good ride decent weather bit damp under tyres but not too bad. Saw a few offs but did ok. Afterwards we went round lee quarry, I nearly stacked it on a jump and decided to call it a day. Before that me and junkyard had been to the lakes, did the ambleside and elterwater ride, weather not so good that time, rained quite a bit and we got soaked, didn't do the longmoor loop, did a different route up Iron Keld which started off with a drop along a stream but it had swelled quite a bit with the rain and was about 6" deep and deaqd slippy, good fun tho. Jonny went over the bars and I had a near miss when we both hit sandtraps, looked like hardpack grit but front wheel sank right in. We were lucky a couple of lads from Darlington who we ride with sometimes did a lot worse when they hit some sandtraps (also in the lakes), one broken shoulder and one knocked unconcious - ouch!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

There's a ferret in my front room what am I gonna do?

ferret, originally uploaded by D0NK.

Nice day today, had the backdoor open while I was decorating. I heard the Mrs shout "Urrrrr what the hell's that?" assuming it was spider or sommat, I went in and this thing was running round the front room, under the telly and units. It didn't want to leave, I had to chase it out and shut the door but it stayed there for a while and when I went out later it tried to get back in! Proper random. what the hell is a ferret doing running round my front room?

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Mountain biker inside

Saw a brilliant thread on STW this week, "signs that a house belongs to a mountain biker". I identified with a lot of stuff said on there eg
Mud on garden path from washing bikes*
Bike clothes drying everywhere
Shower trap full of mud
Piles of old bike mags
Camelbak hung up in kitchen
Kitchen cupboards and drawers full of bike parts
Pedal/tyre/handlebar scuffs on doors/walls
Always a bike in the hall (unless I'm 100% certain I'm not riding for atleast 24hrs)

Other stuff that people pointed out that my house features made me realise, "oh that's not normal" -
More bikes than people
rear car seats permanently folded down
Dirty marks on doors from greasy hands
bike and fork boxes around the house
Small bike parts/bolts/allen keys on window sills

I may apologise to the wife later for being so oblivious to what is and isn't normal. (apologise but not necessarily change my behaviour :-)

*remember that bit in saving private ryan where the sergeant gets a tin of soil from every country he's been to - I do something similar :-)

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

August and everything after

So my biggest offroad mileage this month, not bad but could have been better, several weekends wasted spent doing house/couple stuff. A few good rides including the 3 passes and finally checking the mary townley loop off my to do list, lot's of offroad commutes which has been nice. September has not got off to a good start, crap weather meant a switch to the black top and bike/car confrontations have ensued but I'm trying a new tactic not to get wound up by it all, the adrenaline spike you get during near death experiences is a hard one to fight tho. (TBH these latest have not been very near but have included plenty of profanity and gesticulations)
Lightwise I've gone with the Hope4s for a very reasonable price from a random stranger on the internet. I mailed the guy to tell him I'd transfered the money and he responded with "Thanks dave, thats perfect! Muahahahahahahaha!"* hopefully this is all kosher and the lights will actually arrive.

*ok maybe he didn't add the evil laugh

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Decisions, decisions

So the nights are drawing in, I've been caught short on 2 evening rdides already and I envisage that in the coming months most of my riding will be in the dark so I'm thinking about supplementing my little joystick with some beefier lights. So do I spend an obscene amount of money on one of these 2 powerhouses?

Or just a rude amount on sommat like these?

And hope or exposure? Exposures are cable free, nice tidy units, hopes are mountable on your helmet - I'm not very likely to as I have my joystick but a useful option. I may go and ask this on STW but chances are half will say buy Hope, Exposure are rubbish, other half will say the complete opposite and a few will say "neither are worthy to illuminate the contents of my fridge, buy the Daylight 1250xp with the power of a MILLION candles, only £800".

This week I shall mostly be aching

So I finally went and did it. I was going to review it as "mleh, there's a couple of good bits", but that would be unfair. It took me an appalling seven and a half hours. I got lost and went the wrong way 3 times, mainly caused by the map I'd taken, it didn't match the actual route. Eg near blackshaw head my map said turn right (up the hill) so I did, climbed to the top, no sign of the trail I wanted but that's coz the map route met the road a lot lower than the proper MTL route which I was on. Back down the hill take the left turn and sure enough found the trail, which took me to the top of blackshaw head again, bugger! Stuff like that really pissed me off and put me in a mood but a nice downhill would soon follow and cheer me up again, like the one from blackshaw head into charlestown, brilliant. The Shepherds Rest pub right next to the trail was shut(!) so I had to make a detour into walsden a bit further on for water and food, time consuming but it was nice and sunny as I sat in beer garden necking coke. After that it started raining and pretty much didn't stop, the section from summit to watergrove was nice tho, twisty turny undulating and well drained. The cobbles at spring mill res were treacherous, they had me off and I had serious trouble just walking up them. The climb to top of leach was 'orrible I was really struggling, one of those head down don't look to the top just sit and spin. Rooley moor road was worse tho, cobbled, a proper bone shaker not good for my tired aching back and by then I was soaked through, I was getting pretty cold too so I peeled off a couple of wet layers and put on my other jacket and gloves (never underestimate the power of fresh, dry gloves) and had an energy gel. Sure enough 15 mins later I was spinning the pedals like a dynamo and soon made it to cowpe and the last downhill, brilliant way to end the ride.
High lights, the downhills to Widdop res, charlestown, broadley and cowpe.
Low lights, getting repeatedly lost, rain, cobbles, stupid maps.
I actually ended up doing 50miles and in the region of 7500ft climbing, I think I could realistically drop and hour off my time just by knowing the route and not getting lost, with dry weather and no detours maybe get my time down to 6hours, not sure I can be bothered tho :-)

Monday, 24 August 2009

I am Nick Craig...not

So we went to the peaks and lined up to have a go at cleaning Jacobs Ladder pfff! yeah right! My first attempt did not go well, got about 15metres up the trail, frontwheel slipped round something swinging it right where it hit a rock pushing it further around a full 180 degrees throwing me off. Ouch. So I picked myself dusted myself off and went back down and had another go. Still nothing scintillating, I made it about 2/3rds of the way to the switchback before having to stop. I tried to ride all of the rest of it in sections just to prove I could clean it if I was a shedload fitter. Was ok up untill the very top section, I rode nearly all of the fixed cobbles right up to where there are a couple of big steps (where I collapsed in a heap) There is a line up those too but I had no chance of getting started again and my legs were turning to jelly. Nice rest at the top, it was a lovely, only slightly marred by the clouds of massive flys, dunno what they were no the usual bluebottles. The rest of the ride was great, me, Burk, Junkyard and JXL, roych clough and rushup edge were great, the drop into edale has huuuuge waterbar drops and the last descent past spray house farm was loads of fun despite me nearly stacking it. I hit a spot of sand, front wheel drifted badly, I just managed to save it, Burk behind me was pissing himself until he realised he was going to run into the back of me and had to slam on. Really good day out, caught a bit of sun and was too tired to do the intended road ride when I got home, pretty achey on sunday. A harsh 19miler.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Proper commuting

Wow a full week of off road commuting, well 4 days which is a week to me :-) Trails were dryish, no dodging idiot car drivers, all round a nice way start and end the day. Not all perfect mind, serious overgrowth meant getting soaked from dew in the mornings and nettle stings twice a ride on average, I really need to get down there with a strimmer and sort it out but can't really be botherd plus wouldn't fancy explaining it to a copper in the unlikely event I got stopped. Over a hundred miles already for the week and more to come tomorrow as we have a peaks ride planned, jacobs ladder here we come.
Couple of mishaps, the tight left, steps, tight left section I've mentioned before had a huge puddle of sick halfway down the steps and a big old turd at the bottom right in the middle (human or animal not sure) Thats enough to put you off your line! Wierd thing is that whole mess wasn't there in the morning just the evening. On weds I went exploring a bit and found some pipes, think it's for TA training or something, just some huge piles of dirt with big concrete pipes going through, I thought it would be fun to ride through. If I leaned the bike over and ducked down I could squeeze through. Well I could fit untill the middle where the guage of pipe changed and I couldn't go any further. Couldn't turn round either, had to back out of the pipe pushing the bike - muppet!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Home invaders, lethal violence and explosions...

...well ok explosion - singular. Sounds like a recipe for a film don't it, but it was just my weekend, a lot less fun than it sounds. Got round to working through the punctured innertube pile mountain friday night, fixed a few and swapped the pompino's tatty front tyre for a new one, bugger to fit, eventually got it on started pumping it up got to 80odd psi when BANG! tube exploded, must have been caught under a tyre bead, damn apologies to the neighbours. Went in the kitchen later on hit the lights and found a couple of slugs that have been leaving trails on the floor, salted and binned them. Saturday night I was up late on the playstation, in the dark, on screen I was getting attacked by a giant spider when out of the corner of my eye I think I see something but carry on battling the spider then I definitley see something scuttling along the arm of the settee towards my head - eek! I'm not normally bothered by bugs but when they surprise me like that I freak a bit (big girls blouse that I am) jumped up and battered it to death with a magazine, looked like some sort of ear wig but without the pincers. Finished watching series 4 of The Wire, been buying my dad the box sets over the last 12 months or so christmas, birthday etc, finally got round to borrowing them off him a couple weeks ago and motored through all 4 - he's still on series 3. Excellent stuff, bit funny bit, sad, bit of social commentary and just bloody good entertainment. Will have to buy him the 5th series for christmas - tho the sellophane wrapping may not be intact when he gets it :-) No riding and not very rock and roll but it was a decent weekend.

Thursday, 13 August 2009


Just had to share this

Dead legs

Dunno how Matt does it, a couple of days on the bike and my legs aren't fit for owt. Legs were feeling a bit sore yesterday after the A&E ride, I'd taken it real easy on the way in and going home was going proper slow, a guy I've seen before on a nice but really creaky scott road bike came passed me, I resisted the urge to chase and watched him slowly pull away from me. Five miles later just before I got home I caught up to him, he'd got stuck at a load of red lights, more haste less speed and all that. Went out up rivi with Johnnie later, felt fine sprinting up leadmines clough and round anglezarke but the race home (got stuck without lights again) legs didn't feel too hot. Was considering not riding in this morning but can't miss weather like this so dragged myself out of my pit and rode in offroad. Just mapped out last nights ride 27 miles no wonder my legs are fooked, 19 hilly miles on tuesday, 52 yesterday and I'm now halfway through another 25 today.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

A and E

Nice day for it yesterday, me and burk went to the lakes and did an Ambleside and Elterwater ride, started looking very gloomy all dark skies and low, low cloud but halfway up the first climb we were shedding layers and an hour later the sky was clear and the sun was beating down. Good day out. Last time we did this ride I came off and trashed my mech hanger, I didn't escape unscathed this time either. Before the ride even started I had to bend Burks disc rotor back into shape, must have been a rock strike at the end of the 3 passes ride, we both got 1 flat each during the ride then on the downhill into elterwater my back wheel seems to hook up on something. Quick inspection at the bottom showed it was my bash guard and chain ring that had caught on a rock I think, writing off the bash guard and bending the chainring. I bent the ring back and carried on but thats gonna cost me.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Wasted days

Thats 2 sundays in a row that have been good weather for riding that I've missed. Last week was due to me being a tart, not signing up for the STW ride so ended up going out on saturday getting tanked up on dirty, dirty cider and being too hungover for a local ride. This week I just could not motivate myself. Come winter when I'm trudging through the mud and slop I'll be regretting these missed opportunities!

3 passes

So I went back to Nan Bield on Friday with Mark, weather was looking good and I guess it was, clear blue skies but it was uncomfortable, not that hot and didn't feel humid but as soon as you put in any effort at all sweat pored out of you. Different route to last time, parked in kentmere and went straight up stile end cutting out green quarter, loose rocky drop into Sadgill and first big climb up gatesgarth, nasty. A "bit" of pushing ensued, but was dispatched without too much unpleasantness. Gatesgarth was said to have been sanitised which had me worried but it seems rather than turn it into a tame boring downhill it's actually harder. On the switchbacks they've cut a run off ditch out, so as you get to the corner your stuck in a ditch you have to climb out of as you corner - tricky. Anyway pretty good downhill. Quick break at the bottom before the 'orrible climb up NB. An hour of pushing carrying swearing and cursing followed. The downhill was worth it tho, bloody brilliant and no offs this time. Coasting back into kentmere we ignored the car and the easy way out and instead headed up passed kentmere hall going for the hat trick, garburn pass too. About 10 minutes from the car I ran out of water, damn, 2 litres in just over 3hours, ah well I could scrounge a bit of Burks 3L only for him to announce a few minutes later he'd run out too. Ah. The route round to garburn was OK, and the climb started off easy, despite being bloody thirsty. It soon steepened up tho but was mostly rideable and is probably 100% rideable on fresher hydrated legs. Garburn was a decent downhill, fast rocky bit of tech just not quite as good as the other 2. Was pretty knackered by the time we got back to the car and needed a caffeine boost at Staveley before the long drag home. Legs didn't feel too bad Saturday but my back and arms were aching from all the carrying. Good route tho, well recommended.

Monday, 3 August 2009 cyclists a bad name...

Been making a mischief of myself of late, last week on salford crescent a guy on a boardman bike came flying passed me, I was taking it easy. On friday much earlier in the commute I see the same guy infront, I'm going quick that day so I closed the gap and sat on his tail for a while, we were motoring along pretty quick, I took a decent turn up front then coming into swinton I waved him passed for another go in lead - which he did. Not much later at the Height roundabout heading for the east lancs slip road he slows and looks back at me, wanting me to take the lead again I guess, so I say OK and overtake him, go down the sliproad and put the power down. Look behind me and he's nowhere to be seen. Hmm. Oh damn, he wasn't waving me through, he was going right and was checking for traffic at which point I overtook him, he probably thinks I'm a right cock. I guess he skips the east lancs section and joins the crescent later on. Will have to apologise next time I see him.
This morning on my way in I'm coming to a right turn, there's a guy (facing me) crossing the side road I'm turning into, he's already crossing so I lazily turn ready to pass behind him, bloke sees me and bricks it, starts to step back (into my path), I slow, he steps back more til he's back on the pavement he came from, I turn the corner, him mouthing off. Oops, bit late to apologise, that's another bike hater. My bad.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Multiple choice

Your names Debbie Donaghy from Rochdale, you find yourself to be the registered keeper for a very expensive Hummer behemoth of a motor vehicle. You let some fucktard of a driver loose with the keys to your beloved shitemobile and he goes on the rampage driving like the cock he is and running into cyclists.
Are you?
A. An imbecile who loans their vehicle to someone claiming to be Mr M.Mouse of Disneyland, Florida?
B. Girlfriend or other close personal friend of said fucktard and don't want him to get into trouble with the police, so say Mr M.Mouse was driving?
C. Some junkie who agrees to sign vehicle registration documents and take any flack for your dealer so he can drive around in his big orange wanktank?

Answer correctly and you win 8 points on your license and a £350 fine.

Mince factor 9

Went out with Jonnie round rivi last night, woah how slow? The down from 2 lads was awfull handfuls of brake all the way down, sliding about and generally not "ripping it" Wildeswood was better, climbing was fine, drop from the pike was another mince fest. I was surprisingly controlled down ICR, much more than usual but I guess thats cos I was travelling slower than normal. Another go down wildeswood and then decisions, which route home? I wanna get home as fast as possible, do I take chorley new road fairly flat but I'll be spinning out my 32:16 @18mph-ish all the way or push it pretty hard up chorley old road and then freewheel all the way into town 20-30mph? I went with the latter no idea if it's quicker or not.

Donk the cleaner

Me Mark and Simon went off to the peaks last weekend, had a go at cut gate, me and Mark have done this a couple times before but they've sanitised it since then and to be honest so far so good. They firmed up the 1st steep climb from langsett, I seem to remember it being a lot looser with big rocks, cleaned that, after that it's been dumbed down a bit but mickledon edge was same as ever, cleaned that for the first time. The start of cut gate has a rock field which they've picked a line through with a narrow ribbon of agregate or sommat. Again it's tamed but not ridiculously so, then a previously unrideable section has had rough slab steps put in and slabs across the boggy section, now cleanable uphill :-) After that the riverbed section has been pretty much untouched, dunno whther they are moving on to do that later tho. Loads of different lines through it, great fun. The drop down to ladybower was fast and fun and I managed to ride the (cheeky) steep nadgery stuff right at the end. The long schlep to Fairholme was boring but the plan of a quick cake stop followed by a steep climb and blinding descent spurred us on. Cakes were nice but the climb not so, this HAS been sanitised I could drive my car up it, used to be a cracking descent I heard (never ridden down it) it certainly used to be a bitch of a climb. This did not bode well for the downhill, if they'd done the same to that I'd have been well dis-chuffed. Fortunatley Lockerbrook was untouched if a little wetter than I'm used to and all three of us made it down without punctures. We were fading fast tho and every little rise on the lakeside path felt like a huge climb. The climb back up to cutgate was as bad as ever but going back down to langsett - wow superb, still a great trail. Si managed to go over the bars into a bog but aside from the mud was OK. Mickledon and hingcliff were taken at lightspeed, we got to the bottom with big grins. Good stuff.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Dave's on a singlespeed, lets punish him!

Went out on thursday for a ride round the Lee Quarry area, Graham had kindly offered to show us some natural stuff in the area so Simon, Lowey and myself met him there. After all the rain I was expecting a bogfest so I took my singlespeed but it was surprisingly dry. A quick once round the LQ red route, then off on the natural stuff, we went over to 'Kymes brew' a proper steep tarmac climb was bloody hard work on SS and my legs started to feel the toll of a weeks riding. Tarmac turned to dirt road, the climb continued but we veered off before the steep top section, going through cragg quarry was fun, whoops and stuff. Merging breifly onto the mary townley loop we went downhill by cowpe lowe where simon had to split as he'd lost a cleat bolt. We carried on backup to kymes brew and this time right to the top of rooley moor road, none of us cleaned it, my legs were shot but what stopped me was my arms, nothing left in them to heave back on the bars and get the power down. Bit boggy on the tops back over to LQ but not too bad, then down the red run and home. Good ride, I was completley shattered at the end, sore legs, sore arms, even my hands were sore from throttling the grips! I slept well that night.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Knocked up

So I've had my inbred a few years now and it's getting a bit battered and bruised, heres the obligatory chain damage, mostly from when using gears bit of chain suck and flappy on the downhills. There's a massive great dent in the downtube, no idea how I managed that, only noticed it whilst cleaning my bike one day.
Anyway on monday I rode into work, I'm lucky enough to have showers and a place near my office to stash my bike but when it's wet/muddy I used the workshop, coz a bit of water/mud don't bother them. Whilst in there a whacking great bit of pipe fell over and twatted the seat tube. Thats a health and safety issue right there but I guess I can't moan too much or someone might ask what my bikes doing there. There was quite a dent, it was below the seatpost so I pushed the post right down and it popped the dent out a bit. Hopefully frame should be fine but I was lucky, if it had been my xc120 or canondale road bike the frame would be a right off, dont think the pompy would have fared to well either. Might not leave my bike there again :-)

Monday, 20 July 2009


What with one thing and another I haven't done an offroad commute for a while (6 weeks) and the last few weeks haven't been kind to the route. Lots of puddles, quite a bit of mud and over grown vegetation. I was a bit of a state when I got into work and late, mincing through those puddles slows you down but it was a trade off of punctuality vs getting to work looking like a swamp monster. Hopefully a couple of dry days will clear the worst and it'll be back to summer speeds. Finally got my act together and ordered some bike stuff too, a new lid, it's white with pink trim - I'm hoping I won't look camp wearing it, a new saint front mech but the main thing is some maguras for the inbred. Disc pads simply don't last round here when its wet (just ask matt) V brakes last longer but the parallel action ones get rattly, standard ones need adjusting as pads wear and the cables get full of grit so I'm giving hydro rim brakes a shot, pads cost a bit more than Vs but a lot less than discs, I'm working on the premise that back wheels are disposable, rims and freehubs get trashed in the mud but I can pick up a whole new wheel for £40ish, bargain. I'm hoping this gives me the best £££vMaintenancevFunction.

Gisburn Night ride

A few people off STW were going to gisbunr the other night, Simon and I went along. A decent sized group was already there, Lowey was running late so we tagged on with the group, should have waited for lowey but he easily caught up so no probs. The first 15minutes was all a bit ho hum, fire road and a bit of narrow trail winding through the trees, nowt spesh and I began to have my doubts but this was the original stuff, soon we got to the new and it was great. Some proper twisty stuff through the trees, bars scraping bark in some places if you weren't careful. The quarry was fun and later the optional black stuff was ace. The slab is indeed steep but rideable by most, Si went up for a go I went up to offer advice on line but by the time I got there he had just ridden straight off 1st time. The gulley was great HUGE bermed corners 10ft I reckon maybe more followed by some proper big G-outs, unfortunatley the troughs had some soft earth/mud and all of us had some sketchy moments. Si had a flat at the bottom so I took the opportunity to charge back up the fire road and down the gulley again. Some more boardwalk and then the finest bit of 'blue' run I've ever ridden, really flowy. It wasn't all top notch, I had a comedy dismount over the bars in the muddy section after the gully (see below) and nearly crashed a couple of times. Some of the berms didn't seem the right shape, getting sharper halfway round but that could be pilot error. Worth a visit anyway, bit of a bugger to get to for me but give it a go.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Nan Bield

Ooh big mountain passes, gatesgarth and nan bield, been wanting to do NB for a while and Lowey organised a trip so I just had to tag along. Weather was iffy, it had pissed it down all night and was very overcast. Set off from staveley and the climb up the fell was very damp, summer shoes may have been a bad choice. Descent to sadgill was fun grassy to start then rocky and loose at the bottom. The climb to gatesgarth was not. Loose energy sapping rocks to startlong slow grind then it gradually got steeper and steeper Then switched to grass edged slabs at a stupid steep gradient, it briefly levelled off then got silly again with more loose stuff, my climbing mojo had gone AWOL and I walked most of the last section but DJ, lowey and Jacqui were climbing well. The descent to Haweswater was loose, steep, sketchy, brake boiling, goodness. A spot of lunch then the hard bit, an hour of carrying. It was hard going but I mostly managed to not let it get to me, then 2/3rds of the way up it started to rain, grrr! A quick rest at the top and we set off with a decent gap between us, Ton got about 5 yards before he got off and started to push, jonnie went next and as he passed Ton he made a comment about riding technique, unfortunate as 10 seconds later he was on his face, a step down into a switchback had him off and he smacked his cheekbone dizzying him and got a deep cut on his cheek, lots of blood. Wors patched him up and we picked up his bike, when he was ready to go we got going again, it certainly piles on the pressure when you try to ride a section thats had your mate off and is still splattered with his blood. I made it down all the tricky stuff, sketch-tastic then on the flatter section I suffered a loss of concentration, the trail went left I went right, over a rockfield which had me off and as I went down I saw a rock that my face was heading for - eek! I missed the rock, just bruised shoulder and cut knees, picked myself up and carried on. We had to wait a while for everyone, poor Jacqui and Mel carried their bikes all the way up and most of the way down, I doubt they'll be back to nan bield. A bit more fun up and down and we were back. nice day, crap weather, bit of carnage, think I'll be back in a few weeks to show Mark.


Mark and I went out and did the 'classic' Back O Skiddaw last week, not so impressed myself, 30 mile ride 11 of it on tarmac and another 3 on a pleasent enough but boring C2C link route. Thats 14 boring miles out of 30, but what really seals it is that the best bit (lonscale fell) can be done on a much shorter 8 mile ride, leaving you the rest of the day to do a proper route like borrowdale. Nice enough day out but not a route I'll do again. Oh and Tebay services Westmorland farm shop do fantastic pies, some posh individual ones and slices of westmorland pie, cumberland meat with cheese and pickle, mmmmmm. If your going up the M6 to the North lakes call in, pricey but the best mid-ride snacks I've ever had.

Oh yeah I forgot to mention, I met Samurai at the singletrack weekender, I've been reading his blogs/STW stuff for ages, pinching his ideas for local routes and generally been inspired by him to ride further and faster than ever so it was cool to finally meet him.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Singletrack classic weekender

Wahey what a cracking event! Really good atmosphere everyone was dead friendly, chatted to loads of other riders, weather was brilliant (during riding times anyway) and the courses were spot on. Downhill was a bit longer than I expected it to be, as I was running late I gave my 1:40 time for the seeding then I noted the longer route....oops. Didn't shame myself in the end, a couple of little mistakes on the run slowed me down a little but 1:41.19 got me 8th spot. The trials was fun a nasty little climb then the stuff up in the practice area, 2 skinnies, the seesaw, a curved skinny and the stepped climb. I managed a clean sweep so would be starting on time. I was going to hang around till the entertainment started but I couldn't sit still, kept going back and riding the trials and other stuff, proper tiring myself out so I left after watching some of the second lot of downhillers. It rained just after I left but all the riders had got down safely before it started.
XC race day was not as good for me, we started at 11 sharp, about 12 of us with 0 time penalty. I set off too quick, was in 5th up the first climb and my throat was red raw by the top, I eased off slightly and a couple of riders came passed me, couldn't get my breath back but held it at a steady 'completely ragged' state which I thought I could maintain. Donwnhill sections were a bit sketchy so out of breath but I made it down and across the line 17m15s for my first lap, get in! Having checked the results I was in 8th at that point but I was hurting, thinking my short racing career should be put to an end as it's bloody hard work and not massively enjoyable. Halfway round the 2nd lap I flatted arrrrgh. Checked the back tyre it had ripped, about an inch gash in it, oh dear. Tried to patch the inside of the tyre with a 1cm patch, didn't have a plastic tyre 'boot' I sometimes carry for this sort of thing so bunged in a business card (also good for spacing your disc brake pads) hoping it would help, while I was at it I patched my original tube (good job) So that cost me about 10 minutes, not long after that I passed Si who had come to watch, he clocked my time, I finished that lap and started another, coming passed Si 18minutes later, pretty good, then on the downhill back into the arena I flatted again, grrrr. I pretty much knew it was over then, as I was fixing it the leaders came passed me so as I finished my lap I wasn't allowed out for the final one. Gutted about the punctures, with 17/18minute laps I could have been top ten.
Really good event I will definitely going to the next one.

Pic by Dave Haygarth

Friday, 3 July 2009

Day before the big race

So singletrack classic weekend tomorrow, looking forward to it but not for some reason as much as I thought I would be - maybe cos I'm not camping out on-site. Went up yesterday to have a bit of a practice, did first lap of the course (or as near to it as I can remember) in 16 minutes, the next lap was considerably slower, I reckon there'll be a few racer wannabes (me included) blowing up big style halfway through the xc race. Also there's a nasty little climb at the top of the main drag, it's rideable (just) I rode it tuesday, but not after just hammering up the main climb but it should sort out the men from the boys*, or atleast the men from the racers, the racers will be the ones saving time and energy running up it. I then tried the downhill course 1min50 is either way off the pace or I started and finished at the wrong places. 'The ginnel' is scary, I've ridden it a few times no probs but Ed-O told us the race line but it's defo a commitment move, you basically take the huge berm too wide and cut straight down the middle of the S bends fast, trouble is there are big rocks on the edges which you pass bloody close to. Also managed to over cook the ditch hip jump, some doubles straight into a berm, hit it too fast and high and you end up going straight over the top of the berm.
Beginning to think my hardtail may not be the best bike for racing, I can't actually reach the gear levers from the grips and while its comfy and fun riding normally it's more of a handful when your going at 100% and too fecked to concentrate on your line. Lets hope the weather holds out.

*apologies to trio and other mtb laydeez

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

6months in...

Well thats half the year gone already, how am I doing with my 2009 targets? Not too bad on the mileage front, 1264 xc miles is right on target for my 2500 goal. Road miles are slightly higher at 1504, with the iffy weather last month I slipped into the easier road camp again. Plenty of social rides done and more planned, in a reversal I've gone from mostly riding on my own to pretty much only commuting on my own now. Mary Townley loop still not done, neither have I done a century but have plans for one in the dales with Gaz from work, see if it pans out. Year is going well so far, lets hope we have plenty more dry weather to eke out as much offroad miles (and smiles) as possible from the summer.
107 rides so far, mostly done on (obviously/depressingly) my pompino commuter 2nd place is my inbred, in total I've only done 33 rides with gears, singlespeeding seems to be taking over. Slightly worryingly my 2 'bestest' bikes (the most expensive) have only made 7 appearances each! Parts bin bikes rule, you don't mind grinding their compnents to a fine paste when it's filthy out.

A Trip Down The High Street

Oohoo, High Street epic, not done this ride in ages, start in patterdale, up (very much so) to high street over the tops to loadpot hill, down to the cockpit and back along the banks of ullswater. Classic ride, we started from martindale to get the busy ullswater bit done while it was quiet, techno-rocky-tastic. Took us and hour to do less than 5 miles, steep little drops and climbs over gravel, big rocks and base rock, my fave bit of singletrack, hard work tho and not flowy enough for some. The climb to high street was brutal, 2miles took 1hr15, a just* rideable long steep gravelly section followed by a 30min hike a bike, on the rocks by ullswater I wasn't so sure about my choice to bring the RM but carrying up the Knott, which is practically a staircase, I was glad I'd left the heavy heckler at home. Along the tops it tried raining but held off, the trail went on for ages, nice fast moorland descents with drops and ruts and easy ups, once at loadpot the downhill went on for ever, my calves were getting really tired from standing up for so long! The back into martindale, more down, fast dry bit jumpy bit twisty properly quick, finished up at the pub, I rode up the bastard road climb to get the car while burk got the drinks in. 4hrs is about an hour quicker than usual, nice work. Good weather again, superb route that seems longer than 25miles, you keep turning a corner or cresting a hill to be met wih a view of more great riding lined up for you.
Had time to get home, shower, eat, grab my hardtail and head up to lee quarry for the STW weekender pre-ride. Ed-O showed us round and pointed out the best lines. I ended up beasting myself, going up some killer power climbs and constantly going back for another go. Good fun again and the weekender looks like it'll be great aslong as I don't over do it and crash out on the first day.
I'm in a world of hurt today, sore everywhere, even the callouses on my hands are aching. Sore legs from all the climbing, sore arms and shoulders from muscling the bike around all day, sore back from hefting bikes up silly steep hills. I love it - reminds me what a brilliant day i had yesterday, I've earned this pain :-)

*just doable by someone better than me, I cleaned the first steepest part but was on and off the rest of the way as my legs and lungs couldn't keep it up.

Monday, 29 June 2009

More of the same

Yesterday was the monthly stw ride, we met up in settle with the weather looking promising. The first climb was a biggy, 1in7 tarmac from the town square switching to gravelly then grassy and it went on for a while. One really tricky section which I messed up, mixture of traffic and gear choice, went back for another go with the same result, by now a few were trying again cos it did look do-able, cleared it on my third go - yay. More climbing with some swoopy double track and a few grassy decents to follow, as lowey advertised it was quite "pedally" (as opposed to long slog uphill then freewheel down). Not too hot which was good with all the climbing, a super fast zig-zaggy descent got us back onto tarmac with a quick spin upto the pub at litton and the sun came out properly. 29 of us threw our bikes down and rushed the bar then sat out in the sun - lovely. A nice climb followed steep but not too steep, get the legs going again after the pub stop. Riding along the tops looking over to Pen y ghent I had to stop and take it all in, the view, the weather, the riding, top day. The downhill that followed was a screamer, a loooong gravelly track straight-ish super fast 30mph+, don't remember braking at all on the second half must have been nearing 40. A nice leisurely ride over to giggleswick scar and it was all done bar the cakes. Cracking day out.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Dust and sunshine

Night ride night this week was wednesday, I set off a bit early to try out a cheeky offroad route up to barrow bridge, not bad all rideable, 6 mainly offroad miles instead of the usual 3 on tarmac. Went upto 2 lads before meeting Johnnie and Laimonus, the last 2 nightrides I've been late due to punctures so I pumped up my tyres rockhard and did the downhill to the kennels then wildeswood. I pinged about all over the shop, not too scary but definitley on the edge instead of comfortably in control. Was feeling a bit tired, last couple of days have been a shock after the hols so got 2 Paris slices from the lower barn, mmmm. Met the lads and went up to the pike where we met with a few of laimonus' mates, so about 10 of us all together. I let some air out of my tyres so was much comfier dropping from the pike. We went down georges lane and up winter hill to 2 lads and did the kennel run which most people enjoyed, then on to wildeswood which everyone liked unfortunatley I got a flat in the woods and there were midges everywhere, at first people waited while I replaced my tube but soon said they'd meet me at the bottom - don't blame them i was getting eaten alive, I've about a dozen bites on each leg! At the bottom I split for home via scout road/barrow bridge and had a quick look at the amazing collapsing shop on halliwell road. Crawled into work this morning, bloody knackered.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


A last minute visit to the travel agents bagged me and the mrs 7 days flobbed out on a sun lounger, brilliant. Eat sleep and sunbathe was all we did, a very relaxing holiday. Skiathos is a pretty small island so my usual plan of just turning up with my cashcard backfired when I learnt there were no cashpoints in resort and the main town was a taxi ride away. Christakis who owns the self named apartments at Troulos was a nice chap and lent me a tenner for taxi fare. Skiathos is a nice place, normally fairly quiet but due to current cash climate is dead quiet, nice for us as we wanted a chilled hol but not for the local economy/businesses, hope they can ride it out OK.

Monday, 8 June 2009


Come on! What a fantastic weekend, was chucking it down on the drive over, stopped raining as I got to leeds but Dalby was nice if a little overcast. Parked up and pitched the tent quick and got out on the pub ride. Some swoopy singletrack from the off, down through the trees, a short sharp climb which had loads off and walking, more twisty downs a big climb and then a spin across the moors to the first pub on a village green, sun was out I was too hot in my waterproof but it was lovely. 60 or so mountain bikers sitting drinking in the sun. I met Mr Sparkle (from the STW rivi ride) there and we got chatting along with loads of strangers, a really friendly vibe. A pint followed by a fast road downhill got everyone giggly with some rash overtaking manoeuvres as we raced down but the hill that followed was a killer. Proper steep long tarmac, my head was pounding when I got to the top but I learned a useful zig zag technique for this sort of climb from Mr S. Another pub stop then back to the camp site. Rollapaluza was on in the beer tent, I'd decided to stay well away from it, legs already tired from the pub ride. Mr S agreed but after watching for an hour he turned to me and said "we having a go then?" yeah why not. We got strapped in and set off (after a false start by me) longest 25seconds of my life. As we pedalled like mad the commenter counted down the metres, "400", "300", "200" long pause "100", incredibly long pause "50" much longer?....more pause...."25" eh? what? why have I not finished yet? "Finished!" Agony, legs were jelly and I spent a while just hunched over the bars trying to breath. I just beat Mr S but was way off the qualify times. More drinking ensued with a few getting very wasted then having trouble riding back to their campsite.
Race day dawned and I got out the BBQ, bacon and brie butties for breaky mmm I offered one to the racer looking type in the tent next to mine but he turned it down cos he throws up if he eats before a race - oh yeah good point. Hmm shame to waste this bacon so I polished it off anyway. (That racey type was George who went on to win)
Before the start we rode to the trees and stashed our bikes then retreated to the start line for our Le Mans start, meanwhile organisers were busy hiding our bikes. As we started loads of people ran up to (not) find their bikes, there were a few piles of inbreds and as I stood looking at one pile a guy shifted a bike off another and handed it to me telling me to move it, I looked down to see it was mine - result! So I set off in the first 40 or so, pushing hard, after a couple of guys came past me while I was waiting for others to move at bottlenecks I decided to adopt a similar technique, I passed a few, riding out of my skin hammering the climbs and flats, it was a bit annoying passing people on the climbs then having to wait at bottlenecks and everyone catching you up. One or two who where fast uphill were getting phased by pretty easy rocky bits, I'd nearly run into them as they stalled then they'd charge away, ah well. I could taste my breakfast and was worried I was gonna blow (and/or throw) up, I had my second lap power gel halfway round the first! Got thrown off on a rooty section under the trees but no damage and after that it thinned out a bit. Second lap was better, no one in front or behind for most of the first half meant I could hit the singletrack fast and carry my speed better so despite not pedalling as hard I reckon I was going just as fast. I passed a few more later on, got covered in stella for not stopping at the beer stop (no cider :-( ) and finished my second lap 1hr 45 after we had started. No one was keeping finishing positions beyond 1 and 2 so dunno how I did, a guy I lapped said there were only "10 or 12" had passed him and a few who finished the same time as me reckoned top 20 looked about right so that'll do me. The course was ace, loads and loads of singletrack, some woodwork, some rocky gullys, a really nice switchback-y dusty climb, a killer fireroad climb and a few manmade rock features. A big rock drop onto the fire road was pretty scary, tight hairpin then very steep roll in, would have been fun on the right bike at a relaxed pace but not racing saddle way up and ragged breathing. First time round a guy stalled infront of me so I ran it, second time I went in too tight, had to endo and swing the back end round, the front wheel slipped and I ended up trackstanding right on the entrance to the drop, quick push of the pedals and I made it down, unintentionally unclipping one foot as I bottomed out on the fireroad. Sketchiest of sketch but a clean. Afterwards I even had a chance to play in the skills area with jumps, berms and skinnys, brilliant.
Overall a corking weekend with brilliant riding and great atmosphere, I'll definitley be back to Dalby and I will be at SSUK10 if all goes well. Pics shamelessly pinched from others:-
Inbred mountain by Ali via Trio

Me by Martin

Busy Busy

What a busy week! Bowderdale on Sunday then I went road riding with a couple of guys from work on Tuesday. Gaz is getting back into road riding, he used to race and stuff years ago since then he's been commuting but he got a spangly carbon bike and has started a training plan. He wanted to ride round north manchester so I took him and Si out through middleton/heywood, up ashworth res climb, over to edenfield, haslingden, helmshore, holcombe, hawkshaw, affetside, tottington, affetside again and into bury where we split. Good ride lots of climbing, I pushed preety hard on the climbs knowing Gaz would chase and he did. He stayed pretty close behind, Si a fairly new biker did well, going at his own pace. Felt guilty at the end when I had 6miles to get home Si a bit less, Gaz was still 18miles away! I thought it was only about 10 flattish miles but no he lives further away than I thought. He may get his own back when we go out to his end!
Thursday I went over to the north yorkshire moors, I had planned thursday off and asking around at the Bowderdale ride deejay offered to show me round the moors. I didn't realise quite what a bugger to get to they are but went anyway and it was a good day out. Overcast and chilly but good company and good riding, Craig and Jacqui had to leave early due to Craig ripping his rear mech off in the heather but Mel Deejay and I finished the route, moorland singletrack (very cut gate-esque) and doubletrack no idea what route we took but fryup dale was in there some techy downs and nice flowy moortop riding and of course tea and cake back at the cars. Mmmm. Thanks Deejay.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Bowderdale is pants!

Another singletrack ride this weekend so here's a report especially for lowey*
It was rubbish, crap weather, rubbish route, bloody awful company, 33 ignorant sods, I didn't smile once.
If you want to share in the misery the pics are here, here and here

*Lowey, one of the main organisers, broke down about 15 minutes from the meeting point and spent the day waiting for the AA.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Fater Faster

A couple of guys from work fancied a road ride so I planned out a route pencilled in for last night, anyway it got cancelled and it was raining in the morning so I was on the pompino, the route has some big steep climbs so I wasn't going to drag the singlespeed round there. Anyway it brightened up during the day and I fancied a bit of a ride on the way home so I ended up giving it a go. Not bad, just shy of 40miles and 3800ft of climbing mostly b roads once out of manchester. Legs were tired when I got home so I intended taking it easy riding into work today. A lovely morning so I grabbed the canondale, gears will make it even This bike isn't subtle, it doesn't whisper to you, it just shouts at you "faster, FASTER you bastard" and your legs say OK. I caned it all the way in and I was on a green wave most of the way to the city centre, it was looking like I was on for a good time but oxford road is all screwed up, I don't go down oxford road but they've screwed around with light timings on nearby roads so I had to stop at 4 red lights one after the other. Grrr. Still managed over 18mph average, not good for recovery tho. Lets hope this glorious weather lasts a while, bowderdale at weekend.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


It was our wedding anniversary yesterday, as we got married in Greece Mrs D and I decided going to a greek resteraunt would be nice. We had a meze which was superb but I'm feeling a bit rough this morning, thick head and that, I only had 1 pint so it's not the booze, pretty sure I'm suffering from garlic poisoning :-)

Sokrates in Horwich top notch food.


Lowey has put up some lovely pics of us see all of them here.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

I'll claim my hero biscuit now please

Phew Jonnie hasn't been on abusing me yet. Tour of coniston, what a brilliant day! Weather was gorgeous, blue skies, nice and warm, gentle breeze. We parked up above coniston at the bottom of walna scar road. A rocky, slippy downhill threw us straight into the action, very wet but good fun. Through coniston and up through lawson park, everyone rode to the top, a good start. Parkamoor was fantastic as ever, dropping down to high nibthwaite on the fast rocky track, you had to pick your lines round the bigger rocks and drops/ditches. A quick stint up the road to Blawith and away across the moors. Sat having lunch it was gorgeous, chilling in the sun watching the buzzards. A bit of navigational trouble followed but we quickly got back on track. A new (to me) BW up to broughton woods was much nicer than the road route and I thought it was a good climb (others may disagree) Juicy singletrack goodness through the woods and a quick rest at the river belwo stephenson ground before "The Ascent" A looooong climb to the top of walna scar, upto natty bridge was a nice leisurely ride in the sun after that it got steeper and technical and our tired legs protested but everyone pushed on. As we got to white peak while we regrouped I lay down, the sun on my face, listening to the birds, thinking there really is no better way to spend a bank holiday like this. We had a break before the final climb, walna scar side. 20+ miles in we were all feeling the strain, we sat discussing the climb, a clear wide track with a not too steep gradient twisting away to the top, it looked doable but our legs were indicating otherwise. We set off, I was in bottom gear and dispite never changing every couple of minutes I was clicking my shifter looking for an easier gear that wasn't there. I was doing OK and just about managing when it got steeper, I slowly winched up that untill it leveled of to its constant steep gradient but I could see another coming. I tried to recover taking this relativley easier section as slow as possible. I got to the steep bit not confident a bit of wandering side to side but I kept on keeping on. Then it got steeper, then came the (steeper) switchbacks. All of my mental effort went into breathing as hard as I could and eventually I made it, cresting the top I fell to the side and remained motionless (apart from my heaving chest) and tried to keep my lunch down. I'm quite happy with that :-)
The descent was sublime, absolutley fantastic fast rocky downhill, some big loose rocks for drifty cornering and the odd section where it got all steep and techy. Bloody brilliant, downhill all the way to the cars where we had cake waiting. Best ride of the year so far, no doubt about it.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Shoulder Barging With 2 Tonne Tess

Commuting in this morning was interesting, several people passed me in their cars then moved over to try and prevent me passing them on the left (they failed in most cases) so I was a bit nowty by the time I got to the city centre. Coming up bridge street not far from the (red) lights there was a HGV parked on the left so I started to move right when a big gold lexus came slowly passed me and again tried to box me in, there was plenty of room to the right but car was within 2ft of the HGV, suitably riled I decided to push it, 2ft i splenty of room so I kept going, car has slowed so I'm slowly passing it when it moves even closer in, eek. I actually end up leaning on the car both hands on the bars, my elbow against the rear window, both of us coasting along for a few feet till car has to stop but not before the driver points the nose even more to the left. I keep going till I run into the wing mirror and have to stop. Not sure whether driver has not seen me the whole time (despite having overtaken me) or has just been being a cock trying to push me around, but the driver finally see's me (or admits defeat) and moves right slightly. I called him a knob, then realise it's a woman, then get on my merry way. Funfilled way to start the day which admittedly could have ended in tears, partly my own fault for being so bloody minded (having the audacity to ride down the road) but mainly hers for being blind/being a knob
Ho hum.

Wet weekend

Was suffering from some serious lethargy all weekend, even the offer of a trip up Helvellyn on sunday did not stir me into action. Saturday was spent on the couch until the father in law rang to say he couldn't get the hang of his new laptop. "how do I get rid of the letters I've just typed?" and "I've got to confirm my password but I can't type on the confirm password line" (I kid you not) So a quick trip round there to help setup his broadband and show him keyboard basics. Virgin BB installation was crap BTW, the guy wouldn't setup the cable modem in the room where my FiL wanted it and the wireless router doesn't turn up till next week! Sunday was a little more active, after a long lie in and wha'd'ya know there are better ways of spending a wet sunday than storming down helvellyn.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Day off

Nasty horrible weather today but my wet weather gear did a sterling job again, just a bit damp this morning. This doesn't bode well for a ride tonight tho and weekend is looking like a wash out, we shall see. Me and burk went to Grizedale on wednesday and we struck lucky, sun and clear skies for most of the ride, a nasty bit of headwind ontop of parkamoor but otherwise lovely. Still got filthy mind you, loads of puddles about. The view from parkamoor was fantastic, I've never been up there when it was so clear, we could see the sea to one side and a lot of the lakeland peaks (most of which we failed to name) a good view of walna scar road gave us ideas for the next ride. We did the same route as the STW ride in March, it was even more fun in the dry(ish) and I did OK navigating, saw a few other bikers and the odd walker but it was pretty quiet. Burk had his new tyres on, Panaracer Fire DH, huge chunky tyres with big man-size knobbles, unfortunatley his chain keeps catching on them which is not great, but he was rocking on the downhills and no punctures so good stuff. The weather turned as we headed home tho and the car was getting blown about on the motorway. Nice long bath when I got home then chippy tea cos I couldn't be bothered cooking, a cracking day off work.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

High winds and low times

I've broken my legs again. Rode into work OK and apart from me not being able to trackstand for shit and a bus driver trying his best to run me off the road it was fine. Went out for a quick spin to test out the heckler before a lakes ride tomorrow after putting new bars and shorter stem on. Good job I did testride, the bottom brackets on its way out, I had to tighten it a few times. On my way to meet up with Junkyard and Lamus I did the kennel run off winter hill and then jons 200. The kennel run was ace and I was quick so I thought I'd time myself on Jon's 200, a few years ago I was trying for quite a while for a sub 2 minutes time but I've not bothered for ages and just enjoy it instead of pushing myself. Anyway I hit it pretty hard, nailing the corners and sprinting whenever I could get the power down. I've got the sharp righthander by the stud farm sussed finally and then just the long sprint down the dirt road. I hit the bottom and slammed on the brakes, checked my watch, 1:57 come on! I was proper made up. I guess the new bar/stem configuration will be staying :-) and now I can finally cut down that stupidly long steerer. Met up with J and L and went up to the pike where it was stupidly windy. Then we went down to jons 200 where we tried a few new lines and the dropin to the woods. Down the backs of the houses to the school and up the bridleway where I split as it was getting late, I put the power down as it was getting dark quick. A full on headwind all down georges lane and chorley old road was murder, once I'd dropped into barrow bridge it was better but by that time I was cold, shorts were a bad choice in that wind. My knees were killing me when I got home and legs were toasted, bit sore today.

Friday, 8 May 2009


Well my gloating about lack of flats the other day has come back to bite me on the ass. I had to get cross town yesterday to do an exam, 10min ride no worries, inside the first couple of mins I can hear a sss sss sss, is that my brakes rubbing, no it's a slow-ish puncture, keep riding see how far I can get. I got about another 100yards. Bugger, but still got a spare and spare time. Fix flat (thankfully its front wheel so I don't have to fanny about with chain tension when I put it back on. Fixed I set off, drop off the kerb and Fffsssssswwwssswwww big old flat on the back. Buggeration! Sat outside an office block in the sun fixing my tube cursing glass, thorns, nails and screws lying in the road everywhere. I was only a little late and the exam went OK so I head home, went via bury and walshaw near tottington. Lots of very nice houses round there, they also have a decent 2mile/500ft climb, bit tiring on the pompino, specially after a few days riding. Then a nice swoopy downhill, well it would have been nice if it wasn't for the chewed up road and all the grit and gravel meaning corning was a bit hairy but after a week of duff weather it was a nice afternoon ride home.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Hitting the sweet spot

After years of commutiong and waiting at red lights I can trackstand a bit, most commutes I clip in as I leave home and unclip when I get to work, if I hit a red light jam on the brakes, left pedal at 9 o clock slightly turn handlebars and freeze, or in most cases wobble about til the lights change. Fixie riders do it differently, they pedal back and fortha little and for the first time ever I managed it too. Theres a steep bit over a bridge on salford crescent, I had to stop at the lights and I tried letting go of the brakes, with the hill I could push the pedals a tiny bit then roll back, pedal, rollback. Front wheel only moves a teeny tiny amount more of an oscillation than a back/forth but I'd got it sussed, I was so impressed that when the lights changed I just kept on balancing - til I realised there was a bus behind me and I was blocking the lane. Only really doable on a slope with a freewheel but I shall try it again.

Another nightride last night with junkyard and lamus (I think, apologies if I misheard/spelt it wrong) went up rivi then across to lead mines clough, not been there for a while, back via the resers. Good little run out and I was cleaning stuff pretty well on the singlespeed. I've been riding SS for quite a while now and I'm still surprised at what you can get up with a 32:16, a good rear tyre, some determination and a devil may care attitude towards the health of your knees! A fast spin back home for a properly balanced recovery meal - fray bentos boozy pie with bread and butter, a bacon and melted cheddar buttie (red sauce obviously) and a couple of southern comfort and cokes to knock me out, it's what all the pros have on the TDF :-)