Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Commuter indecision

Commuting was iffy monday, nothing really bad but on the way in a car passed too close then stopped at lights, I went up to driver window, a young lady all dolled up, I said calmly "that was too close" for a second she looked like she was about to ignore me but then turned to face me, mouthed "sorry" then gave me a big smile. Non-plussed, sorry but a nice smile isn't gonna cover it, rode off shaking my head, she did however give me a wide berth when she next passed. On way home in almost stationary traffic a car pulled out from a side street right in front of me, I slowed then when I went to undertake the driver pulled left cutting me up, I was expecting it tho so slowed and as the car came across I rapped the rear bodywork with the back of my hand to let them know I was there (and not happy) turns out fiat puntos are made of tinfoil and there was a massive thunk sound. Oops. I passed on the right and bloke in passenger seat had got the driver (his mum?) to wind her window down and he was hurling abuse at me, I switched to the right hand side of the line of traffic and put the power down, (and spent the rest of the ride looking over my shoulder) different route home for a few days I think. Rode route 55 again on my pompino yesterday, it's a very gentle downhill most of the way in which is fine and full guards on a car/traffic-light/junction free route (well ~70% of the route) is lovely. Gearing is just a bit too high for the way home tho and will have to see if guards survive or if they get rattled to death. Still unsure whether to change the pompino tyres and gearing (slightly gimping it's road capability) or try to fit full guards to my inbred. Or buy a 29er and run cx tyres with full guards. Or buy a pometamine for xc use. Or.... Or..... Hmmm.

Moonlight sonata

Tuesday nightride was moved to monday this week, suited me, weather was looking better and boy did we luck out. Set off wrapped up warm it was pretty cold out. Got up on to Burnt Edge and I could see mist heading down the valley. As I got into the mist it was illuminated from behind by the floodlights on the big house/farm on scout rd, peripheral vision was all lit up, pretty weird. Was running late so sped down Hole in't Wall, was a certain amount of "floating" going on, skimming over the top of mud not much grip, if I'd had to swerve or avoid something I'd have been in trouble but made it down ok. Down wildes and along the path to top barn. Met Si and johnnie, all the mist above looked disconcerting but I assured them it'd be reet. We climbed up and sure enough as we got to georges lane the mist started to thin, we got to the top of the pike and just had to stop switch off lights and go "WOW". Full moon, mist sweeping over the hills, winterhill mast, 2 lads and a couple of other peaks were peeping out of the mist. Absolutely stunning, we stood and oggled for a while, pretty mild up there too. Dropped down off the pike, pretty sketchy in the ruts, I did some more "floating" reckon I could have a crash on the way at which point I'll slow right down but so far winging it and staying loose is keeping me rubber side down. Went and did the rooty wildeswood trail, slippery! Si hasn't done this so tried to get him to follow us blindly off the drop at the end (worked for me and johnnie first time we rode it) but with the dark and mud we were going slow enough for him to see ahead and he slammed on the anchors. Refusal I'm afraid, maybe next time. Chatted as we climbed up school climb, shedded a layer or two due to the temp, lovely evening. ICR next, I followed Si's line down and was doing ok, thought I was going to pass him after the last corner too but hit a few big rocks and got well off line. Split at the bottom I started climbing rivi again, the full moon was so bright I decided to try riding by it, silvery light over everything, couldn't see a lot of surface detail but could see see bumps well enough for a chunky tired mtb with suspension forks. Upto and along georges lane, looked up and the view was fantastic, moon shining seeming to burn a cone of light through the clouds, this it the closest I could find on google and it doesn't even come close. Chickened out and hit the lights as I sped down passed the woods, went home via the golf course. As I descended into bolton it got colder and colder pretty sure there was some sort of temperature inversion going on, Johnnie confirmed he found the same dropping into chorley. Thoroughly sorted nightride, nice weather, decent trails, good company, no crashes and views to die for.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Bung some tunes on while you read. Not been upto much as I've been suffering from lurgy since last tuesday's nightride, still not right but been ignoring it and doing a bit of gentle riding when i can. A thread on STW got me thinking more about my commute, I want an offroad lite version, away from cars but no muddy mess when it's wall to wall rain. NCN 55 sounds a good start bolton to eccles. Did it on my pompino but road gearing is a bit high and the gravel and teensy bit of mud isn't great on 23c slicks @100psi, so........
last monday night I dug the inbred out from the back of the shed and knocked it up in the kitchen, I was waiting to be interrupted by the mrs with "isn't that yet another bike?" but she never said owt, phew. Finally got it cobbled together a proper mish mash, mismatched brakes, odd bar grips, duck tape rim strips, just used what I had lying around. Was getting on by the time I finished so threw tools into cupboard and went to bed, then jumped out 20mins later when I remembered I hadn't tightened the stem bolts and would no doubt forget by morning. Here it is

nice huh?

Tuesday was very wet but the ride in wasn't too bad at all. This is how mountain bikes used to be, in fact this bears an uncanny resemblance to my old kona lava dome. Long stem and skinny bars good for a stretched out pedalling position, rubbish for wheelying/hops tho. Bar ends are great, wider grip further forward just where you want it for climbing I do kinda miss these, 44x18 is a good compromise might play around a little maybe 44x16, tyres are at 50psi so slightly bumpy but there's nothing too rough on the NCN and they're fast for the road sections. Old pedals are a bit clunky to get into and crudguards aren't great when it's proper wet.
Overall not bad, I reckon a cx bike with full guards would be better but dunno if it's doable and I aint go the cash for that just now anyway so we'll see how this latest incarnation of the inbred lasts. Might not be very long as it happens, freehub isnt freewheeling very well and BB is making some crunchy noises, it'll do to test the route tho, see if it's doable daily over winter, it's an extra couple of miles and not sorted out a car free route from eccles to manchester yet. Will see.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Welcome back Si

Si was out last night, first ride since he broke his leg. Doesn't appear to have slowed him down much (either that or I've gotten lazy/slow lately), I put a bit of distance into him on 2 lads but wildes and ICR he was right behind me. Similarly climbing he was doing pretty well, the golf course is a tough opener for anyone who's been off the bike but he was fine with it, school climb and AICR up to the pike was no hassle for him either. Chilly but clear-ish night, pretty damn wet underfoot led to some amusing handling a few times but not bad considering all the rain. A nice run out, good to have Si riding again.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Pics n stuff

Oops, pretty sure this must have happened on the ice cream run on Tuesday night, heckler and etsx both have (not as bad) dents in the same place, seem to recall inbred had one too, maybe it's time to start padding my downtubes.

This years superb bike video full of dirty tricks and cunning stunts with an awesome soundtrack. Makes me go "ooooh" and want to ride my bike, just a pity it's winter and awful weather :-( Bump it up to HD and enjoy.

A very grubby Alex, he's been chewing (kids) paintbrushes aswell as his picnic lunch and Charlie at the back being a robot with only the aid of a cream cake box, see we did have 1 or 2 decent days in summer

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

I'll have a P please Bob

Just been doing some calculations, been pretty lax with riding totals so far this year. While my total mileage is still in the "not bad" region the offroad total is rubbish, about 500miles behind the usual for this stage of the year, the awful summer and messed up trails mean there's far too many "P commute" entries over there >>>>>>>>>
sad face
Not even been managing many offroad commutes which normally perks up my XC mileage, it might not be proper mountain biking but it's fun and a lot more enjoyable than road commuting, so I'll make the most of it when I can. Trouble is, the way they trails are I'd be covered in mud head to toe by the time I got to work and while work are pretty chilled about me sneaking my bike in, leaving a mud trail behind me and mud dripping off my bike during the day might lead to problems. Hmm see what I can sort out the next few weeks, definitely need to get some more xc miles in....

It might not rain

About the best weather prediction for riding I've heard in a while. Busy weekend, I was hungover saturday, mrs on sunday so no riding, eager to do a decent night ride then. Johnnie had checked the weather and also convinced Danny to come out. Not ridden with Danny in yonks and this would be the first bona fide night ride (you know darkness, lights needed, mild hypothermia) so I was looking forward to it. Dragged my bike out of the cupboard and the cranks would barely turn whoops no time to change bearings so set off, climbing up barrow bridge was interesting, legs and lungs still not up to full working order. The light was fading as I rode up winterhill and had to put my lights on for 2 lads, bit of faffage to get light position sorted and I still struggled, I'm not used to nightride tunnel vision. Down wildes getting darker, dropped into the trees and whoosh total blackout, proper night riding. Pinged my way down there then headed for the barn, we met up, danny on his new 5 with some proper bling bits nice! Up to the pike pretty damn cold up top, we all struggled a bit in the ruts off the pike and met a slightly eccentric guy at the bottom. He said he was just up there star gazing, we reckoned the bag he had was probably contained his trusty axe and the heads of of some lone unfortunate ramblers/bikers. You know the mad axe murderer who chases you when you're out on your own in the dark? This was him. Puncture stop on george's as johnnie had picked up a massive thorn, got pretty cold waiting, set off again but within minutes his tyre was flat again, he'd pinched the tube with his tyre lever, oops. New tube, tyre fitted by hand this time, we set off up winterhill all of us freezing by this time but the climb soon warmed us up. At the top of 2 lads we compared lights, Johnnie has a new trouty number, not as futuristic looking and at first wasn't the "turn night into day" effect that I expected. However once we did a direct comparison it was obvious it was atleast twice as bright as my hope 4s, jealous! The downhill was despatched easily enough, a bit quicker for me this time, danny managed to get well off course somehow, ended up missing the gulley and came round the very top of the hill at the bottom. Next we hit ICR, I got a bit sketchy on the last corner, I had to dab then couldn't get clipped in as i was getting bounced around, but I survived. We split then, I rode back up AICR to george's lane, I'd forgotten my MP3 player and it was eerie riding up on my own in the silence, fortunately the axeman had gone. I was shattered by the time I hit chorley old road so took the easy route back home on road, quick bite to eat then off to bed and out like a light. Sleep of the righteous (righteously knackered)

Friday, 5 October 2012

Nasty man

Spent most of yesterday upsetting people, what can I say, I'm bad. Got up and took the youngest to the docs where a nasty lady nice children's nurse gave him 3 injections whilst I held him down, he was not impressed. Walked to nursery with him on my shoulders, battering his bonce off a door lintel on the way, left a red mark but it didn't seem to bother him, he's hard, gets that from his mum. Back home and grabbed a spot of lunch before taking the bike out for a long overdue "proper ride" Last nights curry leftovers does not make a good preride snack however the resulting indigestion (see i upset my own stomach!) does disguise the burning in post cold lungs, so not all bad. Pedalling up a very quiet back street my gears were making a lot of noise, I looked down to see what the problem was, glanced up "SHIiiii..." car pulling out of a junction right in front of me, we both slammed on, driver (and his wife) scowled at me as I rode passed, I scowled right back, you pulled out infront of me mate don't give me that look. Upto winter hill down 2 lads, fun got a bit of an unintentional two wheeled slide going on round the dip/right/left a quarter of the way down, weeee.

Onto wildes stormed down there and down the dirt road where a dog nearly ran out in front of me, I saw it started to brake, saw it was on a lead (woman walking out of her drive) so let go and kept on. Lady took offence to this and started shouting at me but I ignored her, if me getting a bit close to your dog upsets you keep the lead tighter when approaching junctions, it is a road after all (there was a car behind me too). Sorry not very good for biker/walker relations but I have a very low threshold for dog walkers. Upto the pike where I met a guy in Team GB outfit on a cross bike. Was going to ask if he was a proper team GB member but as he got off to walk on the rocky corner before the pike, I guess not. Fun and games coming off the pike then went up the winter hill access road, mini bus came down the narrow road I held centre of the road until he slowed and moved to his left I slowed moved to my left, we passed each other waving thanks. Cool. Next came a silver 4x4 same again I held the centre he slowed but moved over to my side of the road, eek! I had to swerve off the road and called him a naughty name. He stopped and after I had passed reversed to follow me. Oh dear some anticyclist nutter. I got back to the centre of the road and hoped he wasn't psychotic enough to run me down, we eventually got to a wider bit of road where he could turn side on and shout at me "It's no cycling". Well for starters this bit where we are is still 20meters from the No cycling sign, where we passed was on a perfectly legal road section and I'm pretty sure even if I was in contravention of a RoW you're still not allowed to run me off the road with your 4x4 you odious little man! Unfortunately I didn't have this response lined up in my head I was just trying to get on with my ride without idiots trying to bring me down so I ignored him and rode off.

San marino cheered me up, proper cut up and now some interesting wheel traps, I nearly came off when I did a 2' drop off and my wheels sank upon landing almost stopping me dead, I slithered off in a rutted section and some more wheel grabbing wet grit bogs nearly got me, survived tho. Headed over to darwen next via WWW, did the river trail down slipper lowe and hit the sweetspot of gradient rockyness and bravado where I could leave the brakes alone and batter over the trail at a manageable terminal velocity. Upto the tower and down the access road weeeeee, so fast, could do with clipping the trees/bushes at the trail edge to open up visibility and go even faster, as it is some blind corners mean you have to slow right down and the last big water bar now has a whopping great ditch infront of it so mucho speed and massive bunnyhop or mince over it, ashamed to say I took the latter option. Home via turton res and tower again managing to upset some sensitive soul in his car, how? Well not sure TBH, just by me being on the road on a bike I think.

Despite all the people I upset I managed to enjoy myself, got very muddy, tired myself out and scared myself, 36miles, not bad considering all the time off the bike lately.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The *@#! ride

This is the inclusive caring sharing hippy site remember, if you want swearies lowey will sort you out :-) Sunday we went riding, called johnnie in the morning to confirm when he started into a coughing fit which sounded like he was hacking up a lung, I wasn't feeling great either. Oh dear. It was poo weather turning even worse as we hit the first climb, all the trails were boggy, visibility was nil, driving incessant rain, headwinds, technique was rusty, distance was a frankly embarrassing 9 miles, 3 ups, 4 downs on slimy slippery rutted trails and by the time we'd finished I was soaking wet and covered in mud. What a great ride, big smile on my face on the drive home. Magic. Good to get out when you can. Still want this bloody rain to stop tho, grrrr.