Thursday, 26 February 2009

Meeting strange men in remote car parks at night

I met up with the STW rivi niteriders last night, well I met with Junkyard, everyone else was busy. It was pretty clear and the views from the pike were fantastic, we got blown about quite a bit on winterhill but it was a decent ride out. Junkyard had a trout light which looked good and put my exposure to shame. Apparently he can get around 20hrs on low setting* too, must investigate getting one. Hopefully I'll be joining the niteriders a bit more often. Only my second social ride of the year, must try harder.

*which still blew my high beam away

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Fame at last!

Mike T posted up a few vids from his holiday with switchbacks year before last, I was there at the same time and he managed to get some footage of me (unusually) showing a modicum of skill.

And yes it IS steeper than it looks and thats a bloody great drop off the edge of the corner.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Let off some...

Steam, what a bag o shite, I finally got round to purchasing half life 2, greatest game ever made allegedly*. I've been put off buying it sooner cos of the damn fool method of installing it, you buy the game and disk and then you have to get online and download a load of stuff to actually play it, what gives, put the damn game on the frigging disk I pay for. At home I have an internet PC with OS updates and virus scanners and all that sort of stuff to slow it down. I also have a slightly better PC with XP-lite on it and that's it, just the OS and some games, runs faster, less complications. So steam is a problem, anyway I bite the bullet and decide to connect the PC just so I can install the game and to minimise time online I'll register and everything from my web PC. Sign up here choose a name, cool my moniker is free, give details blah blah, verify you are human by typing the characters in this here picture okey dokey. Uh Uh, please re-enter, try again, and again, why is this so bloody hard? case specific? try all variations, refresh pic until I get one easy to read no doubt about the characters nope. Grrr! After 10 minutes and lots of expletives I plug in my gaming PC and try there, yay you don't have to do the stupid picture thing. Uh Uh your name is not available. WTF it has been for the last 10 minutes, maybe it did sign up but the web end screwed up, try that. Uh Uh. Arrrgh, OK signup with a new name OK done, just getting files ready for install....5%...10% moving pretty quick.... 100% good...100% ....100% Hmm. I go for a sit down and a drink come back 10mins later still 100%. Just before I pull the plug it jumps into life again and finally after all this time the DVD I paid for finally sparks into action. Once setup the game still needs an internet connection everytime you start it up (the guy in the shop said it only needed web access for install - lying bugger) which is a pain in the arse as i have to re-enable all those services I disabled, it takes a while to authorise too but I still expect to lose many many hours playing it in the coming weeks.

*its gonna have to be good to knock FF7 off that spot

Amblekiller mk2

Wahey! First away game of the year and it was a biggy. I planned to go to ambleside on sunday but when I got up the weather was looking iffy and I wasn't sure but I went anyway. I shouldn't have worried it was a great day, bit of cloud and wind but no rain and it was pretty dry. Similar route to one I did last year but tweaked a bit, paced myself well early on, pushed a bit hard in the middle and started to fade the last hour. Few punctures too, 1 caused by doing and entire downhill with the forks locked out (idiot) and I got to try out the tubeless repair kit i got last year (i run tubeless on the rear to try and avoid pinch punctures), it worked but my god it was fiddly. I started losing it a bit at one point, I shouted at my bike cos the brakes were squeeking (I had to reset the pistons) and then I saw a sheep, I could taste roast lamb and was wondering how difficult it would be to kill and cook a sheep with just a multitool. I necked an energy gel and that sorted me out. Took a bit of wrong turn and ended up missing out a cpl of miles but I think they'd have killed me. I really like the route, loads of rocky tracks with twisty downhills, I will be trying again in summer with those extra couple of miles (and maybe a final detour up lingmoor fell if I'm feeling really suicidal)
43 miles
6:45 hrs

Monday, 16 February 2009

Dark Brotherhood

Rejoice fellow brethren of the commute, the dark times are waning and the light is almost upon us, for many months now we have toiled in the blackness with our ceremonial lights and (hi-vis) robes. The gloom has not discouraged us and we have persevered and with the help of hope, cateye and exposure we lit the sunless way. But now the lightening is upon us and motorists will see us and acknowledge our presence (yeah right).

Erm yeah, won't need my lights for much longer, home commutes are fine now still a bit dark in the mornings. Roll on spring and some drier weather.

Workshop weekend

Lot's of bike fettling going on this weekend, bolted new forks onto the inbred, bled the new disk brakes, swapped the old ones onto the maxlight, new bottom bracket on the pompino, replaced the sealed bearings (a first for me) in the back wheel, stripped and greased the freewheel, running smooth now. No actual riding got done and still got more fettling to do (like actually fit the new brakes to the etsx) but with a couple more purchases and a bit more wrench work I should have all bikes ready to roll for a full season of riding. Lets hope the weathers up to it.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

This is why I prefer xc

Baaad ride in this morning, well actually it was a nice crisp morning but other people are just such wankers, 4 arseholes in a 12mile ride. I'm overtaking the stationary traffic in farnworth and prick in a golf gets pissed off with waiting pulls out of line of traffic into right hand turn only lane, floors it passed everyone then cuts in again at lights (not the first time I saw someone do that this morning but the first to do it just as I'm passing him). Knob (or knob-ette) in a merc drifts left and cuts me up while I'm in a cycle lane then just a little further on a dick is in the mandatory cycle lane at the entrance to a big roundabout - and not just wheels a bit over the line, no, the pillock was an inch from the kerb! Then to top it all off just as I'm getting to the right turn into work (I'm in the right hand lane) complete wanker comes tearing up behind me to beat the lights and overtakes me while going round the corner cutting me up really feckin close. Grrr

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Here comes the pain

Went out last night to try to break myself, didn't have time for a proper night ride but wanted to put a bit of effort in. I went up to barrow bridge with the intention of climbing up to the golf course and riding back down, rinse and repeat 3 or 4 times. Its a third of a mile with 200ft elevation, hard work on a singlespeed, just right for interval training I reckon. Just as I hit the climb I noticed packed down ice all over the trail so what should have been a fast stomp up the hill became a slightly more restrained hover over the saddle and row* to the top. Just about do-able, pretty scary on the way down tho, front end started to slide a couple of times. Made it up ok twice but third time I dabbed, bugger! Then home quick. 1077ft of climbing, 9 miles in 45 minutes not bad.

*for those who haven't tried singlespeeding those loose, steep climbs where you need to hover just over the saddle don't give you enough leverage so you push the bike forward on the dead part of the pedal stroke and then heave the bike backwards and push down with your foot to aid leverage on the power part. It feels a lot like rowing.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Broken and buggered

Hmm having a few failures lately, my original Z1 bombers finally gave up the ghost last week, they'd been leaking oil for a few weeks and started to bottom out with a clunk last week. I'm going to retire them as one of the stanchions has a scratch and slight dent - they are only 10years old what gives? I nipped up to merlin at weekend to get some xc500s to replace them, I doubt they'll last 10 years.

The tread on the heel of one of my Northwave celsius boots has started to come off - not good, they are only about 12months old, will see if I can get a cobbler to glue it back.

Pompino, great bike crap bearings, the bottom bracket is rough as toast at the moment and the rear wheel is proper wobbly (rapid bearing wear possibly caused by me taking on a humvee) I've got replacements for the BB but rear wheel might be a bit trickier to sort.


Went watching benjamin button at the weekend, it reminded me of Forrest Gump and wasn't what I expected (i hadn't read any reviews) but I enjoyed it. We followed that up with a curry at Achari near the train station. They do some really nice curries but the naan breads are the highlight, I love the peshwaris and they're as big as bin lids.

More riding

More commuting cross country, a lot more tiring than on the road but more fun and less chance of getting smeared over the tarmac by idiot drivers. Friday I was really flagging, thought I'd just about be able to crawl home, but I tried the route on the other side of the Irwell and I saw signs for HTN 1.5 so I thought I'd have a quick go of the course. Looked pretty good, loads of singletrack with a few tricky sections and I was doing OK, legs kept going. The organisers didn't use much of last years course, there seems to be loads of riding round there, practically on my doorstep, I should try riding there more often. Lots of mud which made hard going on sections and when I got home and tried to clean it off the mud had frozen! A good end to the week.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Snow day

OK so we haven't had 3feet of snow that london and the south had but I did manage to get a snow ride in. I set out to meet up with a few people from STW (the meet had been cancelled unbeknown to me) up from barrow bridge as usual where the road was quite icey and slippery but once off road it was more fun, big drifts of snow going through the golf course, edge lane (steep tarmac road) wasn't so much a lesson in traction as a masterclass. I had 1 off descending to georges lane but a nice soft landing in the snow and a near miss when I was going down a trail that crossed a road, I was braking on the rear and wasn't slowing down too well, the rear started to slide and the jolt of that sent the front sliding too, all the while heading towards the road which a car was driving up, eek! Nobody to meet at the barn so straight up to the pike and home. Cracking ride, I've not ridden in proper snow for ages, I'd forgotten how badly SPDs clog with snow.

Monday, 2 February 2009


Watched the underworldwhelm double bill at weekend, I'm sure I read a review of the first one when it came out that said it was good. I've been after watching it since then, but what a let down, not truly awful I suppose but nowt special. The 2nd one obviously was pretty lame, anyway neither made me want to spend money on watching Rise of The Lycans.

Oh yeah severe weather warnings strike again, I opened the curtains this morning expecting 15ft of snow and rather predictably there was just a light dusting. Wheeled out the pompino and it promptly starting snowing again but riding in was ok. 2/10 for effort, must do better.