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 :-(