Monday, 14 April 2014

STW to the rescue

Just found this in my drafts, wrote it last April, dunno why I didn't publish it. Here you go:
Si was up for a weekend ride, Ryan injured, Johnnie unavailable, we figured we hadn't done the peaks for a while, but we've done hayfield and Edale valley lots so fancied a change, google to the rescue and found a route around the Goyt valley. I thought I'd run it passed STW first, nbt said yeah that's ok, but you could change it here and here or, tell you what, just come with us instead, so we did. Met up in marple, nbt his better half, Ian and Steve (I think), we dropped down to roman lakes and started the first climb, Steve on a pretty sprightly looking canondale was off like a shot, speedy. Rode through the golf course and down a bit of dirt road where one of steves spokes went ping, fortunately he had another 27 so removed it and on we went. Up passed mellor hall, across a field, tarmac climb then down Gird lane, fun! Started unassuming rocky dirt road then went round a corner and turned a bit more slabby with extra rocks and ping went another of Steve's spokes, oops. Climb back up to the hall and some more tarmac and dirt road got us to broadhurst edge or "zigzags" Steve rocketed off again seemingly unconcerned about his below par spoke count, dunno if reality hit soon after but I passed him halfway down, he then left us and rode home before any more damage was done. Quick snack stop (fig rolls for me) then a bit of road and a short climb got us to the bottom half of the lantern pike descent, nbt obliged by going on ahead to open the gate and we all pinged down to sett valley, was busy on the valley trail but soon got on to the hard 23 trees climb up to middle moor, tough start which I only just cleaned (and thankfully got to rest on gate duty) it eased off after that, Si broke out the jelly babies halfway and we slowly winched our way to the top. Stunning views at the top as we girded our various loins for the descent ahead, heather edged rocky sandy moorland singletrack that flows just right. Different lines to choose from, following nbt but often taking a different line, great fun and I was told in no uncertain terms to do the water splash at the end and not the bridge, yes boss :-)

I regroup on the grass soaking up the weather and atmosphere then a tough pull up out of brookhouse farm, scooted around the other side of lantern pike then dropped into rowarth, another nice rocky slabby downhill I started out first but nbt took me on a flat pedally section, I've gotten lazy recently, pedal more dammit! Bunnyhop had a bit of trouble, one of those stall n fall spd moments and ended up tangled in her bike but unscathed. We then climbed up hollinsmoor and back onto the top road again, whilst saying au revoir to Ian nbt spotted a tube bulging out of a slash in Si's tyre, sit down for a faff, I then noticed a link on my chain very close to falling apart, oops, more faff. Next was a fantastic bit of trail, started with a choice of singletrack or rocky double track, me and nbt went for the former but Si came passed us on the rocks, as ever soaking up the fast big hits with aplomb - all that practice kicking my arse on the ICR. Still not finished we rolled onto the fox inn, reminded me of a uk version of back of bar in Spain, starting from a pub, a lovely bit of track, not as twisty steep or tech as the Spanish version but on the plus side not as dangerous and no razor wire vegetation hanging from the trees. Just a really good track wending its way down to the railway bridge, proper floated my boat that one. A couple of climbs and some more swoopy riverside tracks brought us back to the roman lakes, just a steepish climb between us and the car (and some pub based refreshments)

Not our usual peak ride in that it was all rideable (!), with slightly more civilised gradients than Edale offers, a different side of the Peak District. I like it.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


For when singlespeed just isn't stupid enough! This lot are quite frankly mental. Took the long way home again, this time with more proper climbing. Took the outwood trail all the way to Radcliffe then jumped onto the bury canal, cobbletastic! Rattled my way out of town and then lo and behold more towpath upgrades, lovely. Spun up towards Elton, trail went a bit wonky there but got across Bury town centre without much trouble and joined the totty trail section of NCN route 6, some highly dubious signage sent me off course twice but eventually got on to some pristine tarmac that takes you from bury to greenmount traffic free, just the one ubiquitous busy road to cross with a pelican crossing that took an age to change. Through tatty tho it was lovely, lots of houses backing onto the trail and the majority of owners seem to take care of the scrubland between their house and the trail, was even a guy shovelling and sweeping winter run off and windfall from the trail. Nice! In greenmount, as so often happens, the dashed black lines on the map that looked like a straight route wasn't visible on the ground, road around to holcombe then i rode up the helmshore road, my legs grumbled, turned onto the bridleway too early up a silly steep cobble section, ouch went my legs, eurgh went the rest of my body as I rattled my way up. I ignored the bridleway straight up to the tower and back onto the road, not much further along I finally turned onto moor top. 63" is way too much for this stuff but I muscled and thrutched and swore my way up, finally got to the switchback and the gradient eased as I rode to the tower. Some nice views so decided I'd better stop and get some pics, got back on the bike and almost immediately found (and surpassed) the limits of the lateral/off camber grip of my tyres. A slick layer over a firm trail base meant my tyres slid for a hella long time before dumping me on the deck, covered in cold wet mud, nice.
 Down the steep hill road and off around the moor, tough going on my tired legs but doable, rode around to quarleton heights, had to push up the two stepped sections then ground my way up and around to the body farm. Fast downhill past crowthorne and down to entwistle, hit the tarmac climb from the res to The Duck with a lot of speed which disappeared very bloody quickly and I was using my whole body to eke out enough power to keep the pedals turning, around turton res, a carry up some steps at the far end, around the roller coaster (no chance of climbing the 2 steep sections) I hit greenmount road as a road club came passed so I jumped on my bike and rode the dirt track to turton tower with a notion of catching the club with my shortcut. Puddle infested section plus walkers meant I had to slow to a crawl at the tower so I got back onto the road just behind the club, the climb to the kings head got me pretty close behind (must be the club's easy paced group) got right up behind them in time for the downhill to turton school and drafted them down. Onto the chicken run at the bottom then home via the valley where more towpath works were in evidence, I'm liking this new push for upgrading traffic free paths, just wish they'd stick to urban stuff instead of also steamrollering sections of the lakes.

Had to hose down my burning legs when I got back, seems to have worked, just feeling a little tired this morning. Another long commute and i managed to ride more than I expected to, really would quite like some gears on this bike now tho please....

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Long road home

Not been out on a nightride for a few weeks, or weekend ride either so decided I'd better get one in on my way home, Friday I warned the mrs I'd be very late, had a very rough idea of riding canals and old railway tracks and end up at the pike for sunset. Set off, bridgewater canal to start, round deansgate basin then on towards old Trafford, got kicked off the canal at united ground, not sure if its temporary or united or flexing their might and not letting ROWs under their ground.

Diversion was advertised but none existent once off the canal, managed to get back on not too much further down the line. Towpath got really muddy near the Trafford centre but not for long, works afoot, gravel surfacing, will be nice when bedded in but a bit loose now. Was nice to be riding down the quiet path, only the odd walker once out of the city, no doubt surrounded by thousands of commuters desperately trying to get home through the traffic while I spin along the serene canal. Upto Monton and onto route 55, the old train line through worsley golf club, spun up there for a while before getting kicked off, short road section then back on all the way upto Ellenbrook where I could see quite clearly the trail stopped there. The trail ahead was a right mess, torn up for the new busway some seriously easy machinery in there, ripping the trees down and tearing up the ground, costing a small fortune, hope it's gonna be worth it. (is doubtful)
So onto the road (becoming a common theme) through to tyldesley the final back onto the old line, through Howe bridge, onto the Wigan line, screwed up in Hindley, the main trail ended up under 6" of water and further on 6" of mud, done this ride once before years ago, seem to recall there was a longer route which avoided this bit, bit of navigation trouble at dangerous corner but got back on track and onto good surface around Lowe hall park and onto the Wigan cycle way, whoosh high speed all the way upto the canal and up to top lock and onto the Leeds Liverpool canal. Was pretty tired by now  but managed to keep up the speed, was getting late and rivi still looked a long way off. Surface was mixed but mainly ok, after red rock it got a bit slow going then some more surfacing work but some of the wonkiest I've ever ridden along, got battered. Rolled into adlington pretty whacked, took the road to get upto rivi, snack above adlington, seriously needed a refuel.

I struggled up sheep house lane to top car park, was still just ahead of the sun, whoop, but could I climb AICR? As it ruined out yes, somehow made it up to George's lane, no chance of getting to the pike tho, rode upto the switchbacks then this being a cx bike, picked it up and ran up the steps to the top - ok, ok you got me, I actually walked wearily up to the pike.

Couldn't believe I had lucked out and timed it perfectly (quite by accident) took in the view for a while, a few snaps then down off the drops, obviously rode the full on mince line and easy does it down the ruts but cleaned it, impressed. Shifted down George's, had planned to do wildes but light was fading and I was pretty tired so gave it a miss, did drop into Acron village tho, was a wild ride down then sprinted through the village, whoop, cx bikes are awesome. Finished off dropping into barrow bridge by the dim light of my joystick then spun into town for a hard earned kebab (chicken obviously, my body is a temple) 43 miles in 4.5 hours not very quick but less nav stops next time should be quicker, 13 miles in the morning gets me my longest ride this year I think, hopefully will do this route again soon.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Five oh oh

Hmm. Is it possible to do 500 proper mountain biking miles in a month? From a thread on STW, just been thinking it out, would need nice weather, understanding family and a shed load of will power, 2 big nightrides (35+ miles) and either 2 decent rides or one epic 50miler at the weekend. Would probably just pick a thirty day period not bother with 1-30th of a single month, sounds like a challenge...

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Another quality forecast

....except for where I'm riding obviously. Weekend forecast seemed to be gloriously sunny all round, now maybe I wasn't paying attention or maybe they just messed up again but as we rolled into glenridding sunday morning it was overcast, cold and raining, grrrr. Me and Si togged up, the original plan was stakes pass followed by silver crag, ullswater, boredale loop but as the hillsw ere covered in cloud we figured we'd start with ullswater loop. Off we went, bit of a push upto the BW, forgot how tech/thrutchy the path was so a bit more pushing, finally got to the start of silver crag warned Si "it gets a bit tasty around this corner" about 20 meters later I had my heart in my mouth going down a rocky step section, gulp! Turned back and Si had just ridden straight at it and cleared it good going! More of similar and worse followed go tto the bottom shaking like a leaf, bit early in the day for rocky tech fests, hadn't got into my flow yet, took a good 5 mins to calm down, not helped by the hard work that is ullswater lakeshore, either direction it takes a lot of leg and upper body muscle to make progress. Puncture stop meant we could chill out for a while. Didn't meet another soul on this normally walker heavy path. As we rolled passed sandwick we could see the sun illuminating the northern shore, no such luck for us and as turned into boredale a headwind hit us and that was our pretty much constant companion till we got to boredale hause where we just got blown every which way. Decision time stakes or the other hartsop angle tarn loop, Raise was still covered in cloud and a fair few snow patches suggested it's be damn cold and I was worried about car suck so decided on hartsop. Fast downhill then, weeeeeeee!

I'm sure I've described the climb out of hartsop before, hard work, still not had my talas forks serviced so are running at full length only, couldn't keep the front end down so didn't even make the second gate.
We pushed and rode our way to Hayeswater and then pushed some more towards the knott untill we hit the turn off, a newly refurbed bit of trail, bit being the operative word, once it got to satura crag there were the usual mishmash of lines and the wind ratcheted up several notches meaning you couldn't actually pick a line and stay on it, more pushing. Finally the trail levelled and the wind eased and we rode down to angle tarn, nice easy gradient decent surface for the most part and a few stone pitched sections near the end to get you going.
A sit down by the tarn for choccy flapjacks, cheers Si then on to boredale hause again from the top this time. Starts with a narrow trail clinging to the side of the hill with a few dodgy rocky step downs. On one the trail was just over a foot wide, the drop to the left wasn't sheer but you'd be rolling a hell of a long way and probably hurt yourself a lot if you went over, the step down was steep and sent you to the left, pretty bloody hairy, I wasn't sure whether Si would be riding it but got the camera out anyway and sure enough he did ride it and the result?

Rubbish, proper dodgy bit of trail and in the pic it looks like a bloody garden path, pics never do trails justice. Anyway on we went, I really like the bit after stony rigg, had a few "not sure I'll make it" moments with some steep rock steps and broken up sections, lots of fun. After boredale hause Si took the slightly easier left track while I took the right, after managing to get down a well dodgy cut out overhang step section I thought I was on for a clean run so was whooping until I spotted the massive rock jump, "oh maybe not then, forgot about that". Still more fun to go tho with plenty of rock kickers to get some air off and finally rolling into patterdale knackered but buzzing off adrenaline, great stuff and oh look the sun has come out for our drive home, lovely.

Monday, 3 March 2014

What Winter?

Well that's it then, winter passes us by with nary a frost let alone a deep freeze or "winter wonderland" dump of snow. I love proper winter days, trails are frozen to practically summer dryness, wide open cloudless blue skies, wrap up warm and your set for good day out on the bike. Snow would have been nice, not had chance to get the sledges out with the kids this year. Boooo. I know there's still a chance for the weather to give a last minute kick, was nippy this morning but barely any frost, but I doubt it. Winter 13/14 just a load of wind and rain, bleurgh.

My cold is entering it's third week, hoping it'll abate now, we'll see, is March going to be my first proper month of riding? 371 in Feb is not exactly stellar performance and only 2 none commute rides ffs, taking me up to a grand total of 4 for the year, piss poor. Hoping 2014 will not turn into a year to forget riding wise.

Monday, 24 February 2014


My first puncture free week of 2014, probably due to giving "Flat Friday" a miss, I've had a cold so only did 3 days commuting and no night ride. Sorry best I could do, not a lot happening riding wise at the moment, hopefully hitting the lakes at weekend, tho we shall see....

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Illusions of winter

Got blasted by horizontal snow on the way home last night, thunder and lightening too, not very frightening but kinda started to put me off the nightride. Got home to find Si had family stuff so couldn't make it, everyone else seemed to be busy too, skies had cleared so it seemed a shame to waste an evening, grabbed the blinglespeed and set off to destroy myself. Up the usual route, been a while since I SSed up there, gold course was breathless but ok, edge lane started ok but as I was "dancing" on the pedals halfway up the rear tyres started spitting traction, ICE! At the corner a 4x4 came down the road passed me, I tried to warn the driver but he just gave me a funny look and didn't seem to listen.  Onto the tops, light smattering of snow everywhere and damn chilly but nice clear skies. Went down hole in the wall gingerly seat up, then the top half of wildes, cut across back up the Rake and did the rooty section of wildes (with my forks locked out duh!) then all the way to the bottom and up school climb, this is not a nice SS climb. Upto the pike the wind had picked up, not as bad as last week but still a bit of a wandering line around the switchbacks (where I was reminded how good light wheels are for mid climb acceleration) and a battle to the pike. Straight down the slabs, very cautious over the drops but the ruts were pretty firm so not too bad. Along georges constantly on the look out for ice, up the access road (gurn) and over to the shooting hut descent. Again, snow everywhere, clear skies, really cold above ground but below the snow the trail was still mushy, boo. Descent wasn't bad fluffed a stream crossing and when I dabbed ankle deep in water I was very thankful for my lakes keeping my feet warm and dry. Down coalpit road and home through smithills. Out for just 3 hours and I had toasted my legs, grrr rufty tufty singlespeeding.

Still not cracked it

Another commuting week, another failure, did ok with the slippery slopes, monday I had an explore and did the usual route then scouted out another which is steeper to begin but less slippery and then slackens out so I'm not right behind the saddle when trying to thread my way through/around ruts. 2 cleans on the first day, cool. Tues and thurs got me a clean so I'll take my 4 for the week, friday wasn't so great, argument with a dogwalker that turned into a discussion then ended up with me fixing a puncture and them offering sympathy for my bad luck. Took looplines to my mums and got lost, ended up on the leigh line after the detour, got back on track soon enough but found I had another slow puncture on the front, topped that up a couple of times then 2 blocks from my mums rear tyre started hissing too, 3 flats in one trip! Sat in my muddy gear patching tubes at my mums, lovely.

So still not managed a full week without a flat, grrrr.

Elementally tough.

Last tuesday we finally opened the 2014 nightriding account, met Si at the park was going to catch up with johnnie up top but he's managed to injure himself whilst riding with showing off* infront of the kids again, he text to say his knee was not having it. Set off up the hill, out of practice on the golf course climb so felt tough work. Up onto the tops and we skipped two lads and dropped down hole in the wall, slippy, a few moments with the back tyre sliding down a different rut than the front. Wildeswood next, wet going through the tree's and the backs of the houses. Up school climb and around the gardens to georges where the wind had picked up a lot we headed up to the pike, on the bumpy switchbacks we were wandering about all over the shop getting pushed off line and blowing a gale on the final climb. We didn't hang around and dropped down the slabs ASAP, wheels down, no popping wheelies off the slabs. Headed back down georges to climb back up hole in the wall, nightmare. Fluffed the narrow chute before the stream and dabbed but after that determination set in. WInd was so bad I was zig zagging across the trail, off one side and then the other, lumpy rather than knobbly back tyre was spinning and fishtailing aswell, near the top I was knackered but grimaced and kept on. Reckon I probably pedalled twice as far as the actual climb length. Looked behind to see Si's head torch bobbing, could tell whether he was digging deep or walking, the latter unfortunately. Over to the mast and down san marino, was a bit muddy, no need to brake on the first quarter due to strong headwind but after that we sped up and by the corner we were getting up to silly speeds. Legs and calves burning by the end. Si had a full body dab on the muddy ruts near the road oops. Skipped the quarry, straight up scout rd and down through smithills where we hit a load more mud. Hard ride for the meagre distance but we finally got a nightride in.


Monday, 3 February 2014


...start to the year, 263 miles is pretty damn poor but with no guarded up commuter bike for half of it and bloody awful weather for pretty much all of it what can I say? There were one or two OK days but family stuff meant the days it wasn't appalling I was busy and the days I was free it was. Lurgy affected play too. Got in a few runs and a couple of games of 5aside at work so my muscled haven't completely atrophied. Will do better next month!

Oh yeah the new bike, that's going OK, feels very like the old one but a couple of pounds lighter and a bit stiffer, front doesn't feel too bad after setting the tyre pressure properly, there's some give in that carbon fork, rear, hmm we'll see, reckon my backside could take a beating when I try a long bumpy ride, we'll see. Finally got around to hopping the canal wall at the end of the first week commuting so I must be reasonably comfortable on it. Tensioner is holding the chain well, the chain is still wearing rapidly, I can see the tensioner is a lot lower than it was when I set it up, looks a bit clunky but no need to take up the slack and faff with disc/hub alignment once a week :-) Might post a pic or two soon but no I'm in no hurry, it's not really finished yet.


Another week of commuting and sod all else, nevermind. Wasn't bad, hadn't punctured all week and had cleaned the slippery slope of CX gnarliness twice (third day I went a different route home) so friday was looking like I might get a clean sheet, nope, just as I was getting to the bottom of the slope the back end went, I unclipped to dab and my rear wheel caught again just before I put my foot down, wasted dab, no clean run. Also by friday night my front tyre was looking awfy soft, grrrr, try again next week. Atleast the weather is looking a bit better so fingers crossed we may get a night ride in and shhh, whisper it.....maybe a weekend ride (shock horror)

Monday, 27 January 2014

Week one

Sorry long post where not much happens.
Belatedly I finally managed my first proper week of 2014, that is commuting (yay) admittedly in bloody awful weather. Mixed week really, Monday was damp, very damp, moses gate is now a right mess, they are doing a load of treework and the machines are churning the place up. "Damned inconvenient of them doing it midwinter" then I figured they may well be shifting windfall/storm damage, duh, of course. Met a fella commuting on a panniered up 29er, caught up with him on the outwood trail which he had joined earlier than me got me wondering on his route, didn't get chance to ask him tho, brief chat, he told me he commuted from smithills to manchester, then he went unexpectedly left as I went right. Minor incident while overtaking a parked HGV, a bmw driver squeezed past me so he got the finger, he pulled up further on, expecting a load of abuse I merely road passed saying not very sensible passing there. Turns out he didn't just want to shout abuse he wanted an argument. He was an experienced driver I'll have you know, but bugger all experience at being a cyclist I'll wager. Anyway apparently it's my fault people hate cyclists so sorry about that. Ride home ended early, a flat in darcy lever which turned out to be 3 punctures all at once, was fun fixing them seeing as I oly spotted them one at a time, patch replace pump, damn , remove patch replace damn etc etc.

Tuesday was even damper, looked out the window to check the weather and saw mr 29er from monday riding passed my house, small world. Figured he may be using the bury canal so thought I'd give it a go, muddy, also when I got to the irwell sculpture trail bridge it was bloody closed, proper fenced off too, grrr. Detour into radcliffe then. Riding home I decided to look for a different route around moses gate, up the road at nob end, little lever appears to be ginnel tastic, prospective route for drier times. Absolutely lashed it down as I approached home so nightride was cancelled again.

Thursday was proper wet, I'd been scoping the maps and found a new cut through to little lever, bit of mud, a few horse stiles then a grassy (saturated at the time) path, again possible route in future but no better at the moment than my usual. Got to work pretty wet, one of those shoes on the radiator days. Ride home was marred by an audi driver, he pulled out of a side street right infront of me, I remained calm, dunno if he wondered where the hell that frowning cyclist in his rear view mirror had come from (assuming he did at some point check his mirror). Saw at the junction that he was on his mobile, grrr, but it's a nice night (so far) I'm on my bike, I shall remain calm. Next junction he went into right turn lane and subsequently bombed across the junction to jump the queue for straight ahead. I caught up at the next set of light, as I was right next to his window (me going right, him left) I decided to have a chat, suggested he put his phone down and concentrate on driving, didn't end well, got a bit shouty, ah well. Got to the outwood trail where the dire weather kicked in again, heavy rain and hail, there are times when I really miss having a peak on my helmet, hail bouncing off my nose can be added to that list. Shoes back on the radiator when I got home.

Friday started badly pulled on my trusty supa poohbahs and the right sole decided to part company with the rest of the shoe, oops, looks like radiators aren't kind to aged (15ish years) footwear. Rode in, got wet feet, had to dodge a lad on a bike with no light riding no handed down a road weaving all over the place (added for balance incase anyone thinks I'm too anti car :-). I've decided the extra 0.8 mile road route through little lever is probably a good bet for the moment for dodging the copious mud in moses gate. OK ride in, ride home was ok but again turning to heavy rain halfway home, spinning along the outwood trail I passed 3 guys on mtbs, said Hi then not long later peeled off down the steep muddy hill that CX bikes are seemingly made for, sliding ddonw the lads obviously saw me heading down and stopped to whoop and cheer, I did dab but was pleased with myself and the crowd appreciation made me grin, shouted thanks and rode home smiling, I love cycling.

Thursday, 16 January 2014


Yes that is a picture of one of my bikes at work, a very rare occurrence these days. Dry-ish roads meant I decided to risk a ride in without mudguards, got covered in road grit but made it in OK. Ride home was dry, put the power down and soon hit the limits of my fitness, so coast sprint coast sprint, thought I'd make good time as I didn't do too badly with the lights but checking the clock when I got home, no nowt special, ah well felt better for it anyway. Replacement commuter is nearly done, just a couple of parts to finish it off, hopefully back to fulltime commuting next week.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Hills 1 : Dave 0

A lakes ride and as per usual the rollers do things a little differently, meet point was wilf's cafe for a fry up, then on to Windermere, park up gear up and set off to...the ferry, good job really, wheeled out my hemlock still covered in Spanish dust and as it turns out not built properly, ferry ride gave me a chance to put my bars on straight. First climb was a biggy up belt ash coppice, was feeling good despite not having ridden figured with no Simon behind me I wouldn't have anyone breathing down my neck, wrong! Ian's lad Alex turned out to be a fit bugger, I was doing ok but ran into trouble, I could hear Alex behind me so I didn't want to stall and mess up his line, kept going til I pretty much collapsed chest heaving and air rasping my throat. Awesome ****ed myself up on the first climb, everyone passed me and I pushed and struggled up at the back. By the top I was feeling well rough, throat red raw and a bit nauseous. Oops. We rode across Claife heights and did colthouse descent, lovely but wet but he hit it pretty quick Colin fist ride out on his Bronson nearly came unstuck in front of me but we all made it down. Over to hawkshead and up vicarage climb I realised I'd have the chance to clean this for the first time as there were riders ahead to open the gate, no chance I was trying it today tho, I was just nursing myself around this ride. So as I followed mike through the gate and kept going cursing my stupidity, wasn't too bad as it turned out. North face trail is in a mess, loads of fallen trees only got to ride some of it, I showed the lads suicide drop which everyone liked.
Cafe stop, big cream tea and a chinwag, we were a bit chilly as we geared up again but soon warmed up on the boat opposite the visitors centre, I don't really rate this as a down, steep, babies head rocks and slippy slabs, so as you can guess I didn't appreciate going up it, ah well suck it up buttercup. Photo op at the fox and then down the trail named after it, nice! A 4x4 track, a bit wiggly, a bit rocky a few drops, nice. The usual road climb to near sawrey and on to far sawrey a bit of fire road climbing got us to the top of the first climb, this is more like, rooty, off camber and steep to start gradient easing off and speed increased, watching out for the slippery slab, I only spotted it as it appeared around a corner me going too quick. eek! slam on for half a second before I was on it, smooth thoughts no braking or turning, phew, over it, shout a warning to those behind and keep on. A second slab further down nearly had me but I kept it together and big smiles all round at the bottom. Ferry back across and an easy ride back to the car for a Christmas cake refuel (courtesy of my sister) A bit damp, a bit cold and my body not really working properly but not a bad way to start the years riding.

Thursday, 9 January 2014


Not checked the numbers or done the breakdown yet but I'm quite happy with that, the majority of which was offroad, reckon 5000+, very happy actually. Shame I haven't actually gotten off of the blocks yet this year - lurgy and my commuter being a mangled bunch of tubes :-(

Edit- bum only 4833 offroad miles, too many lazyday road commutes

Monthly totals

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Structural integrity is fine

I'm quite happy with the structural integrity of my character thanks, it tends to stand up to the elements prettu well ta, no need for more work here thanks can we have some nice cold dry wind free weather now please? My last ride of 2013 with Si (on proper knobbly tyres) started well, weather was pretty mild, bit of a breeze but nowt too bad. Kitted up for cool weather and brought some extras. The climb up barrow bridge was ok, chatting away, on winter hill we decided to do a "proper" ride rather than just fanny around on rivi :-)
Climbing to the mast the wind had kicked up a bit, at the top we dropped our saddles and started San Marino whoosh, down we went, launched my front wheel off the first drop and got blown sideways and nearly crashed, oh yeah wind, kept the front end down for the rest of it. Slippery and very rutted I steamed down, not very elegantly but pretty quick if I do say so myself, giggles and burning legs at the bottom. As we dropped through the trees the rain started on the road it was raining hard, looked for a smokers shelter at the namesake of the previous downhill but the resteraunt a clientele mustn't be very smoky so on we went, eased off as we climbed out of Belmont village, around the res then onto Wilton weavers, this turned into a death march, wind opened up from our left blowing horizontal rain at us all the way along. We got to tockholes rd soaked on one side and the next hour or so looked bleak, up the road a bit then up cartridge hill onto Darwen moor, I'd stopped at the bottom for a change of gloves my hands frozen so when I saw Simon ahead stopping and messing about with his pack I feared he'd flatted - nightmare, luckily as I passed I noticed he was only putting his showerproof on, stupidly I ride on, turned the corner at the top and nearly got blown off the bloody hillside, mental windy. I plodded on leaning over into the sidewind at what felt like 45degrees and told around at the top like a muppet waiting for Si, ended up hunkered down trying to shelter behind a gate post! Si came around the bend and also had trouble staying upright, we got out of there quick and went over to do the rutted technical descent. Pretty fun, just about stayed on til the last section, the turn in caused me a dab but good final the same. As I said to Si normally this being winter and crap weather I'd have been on a hardtail mincing down but as I'd ditched it I was attacking it on my heckler, whoop whoop!
We dropped into Darwen and did the track round the backs to Whitehall the rain not relenting and we were getting cold, the easy climb out didnt warm me up much, then onto the road where I started thinking about bailout opportunities. At greenarms we ignored the lure of the rollercoaster and took the tarmac then Wilton weavers to turton tower, even with my last and thickest pair of gloves on my hands were shaking trying to call the mrs check she wasn't using the car. Right plan made, descend home get warm and dry then drive Si and his bike up to his car, easy peasy. The rather large flaw in that plan was windchill, 20mins of downhill on tarmac already chilled, we were bloody freezing by the time we got back, my hands and feet really numb. My mrs supplied warm towels and cups of tea, fantastic. A chilly way to end '13, mmm character building.

Get back on it

So not much riding in the run up to Xmas, certainly no commuting, so was off the bike for a couple of weeks, needed to get back out there and definitely didnt want the crash to be my last ride of 2013. Couple of days free, tentative arrangements to ride the second but the firsts days as nice weather and I didn't want to waste it, family stuff meant I only had a small window so grabbed the road bike. Mrs gave me puppy dog eyes and said "you're not going out on the road are you?" "Yep sorry, now where's the baby wipes? I need to clean this dried blood of my cycling specs", gulp! Set off feeling ok but no idea where to go, headed out to harwood, along to ainsworth, turned back up col du Bastid to affetside setting a pretty slow pace. Roads were quiet and drivers had been mostly behaving but I was still nervous and I was painfully aware of the, by now, low sun. Headed over past edgeworth and up blacksnape towards hoddleston. Decided I'd gone far enough and turned back at the top, pedalled like buggery back down constantly worried about cars passing me but I was going so fast no-one did. Dropped into edgeworth and turned for turton bottoms and got a proper facefull of sun, couldn't see diddly and I was bricking it about cars approaching behind me. Got down safely and wasn't until tonge moor rd that i got a repeat of the full sun in your face effect, another sketchy few moments but again drivers seemed to be behaving around me. Got back home after only two and a half hours but legs had taken a hit and I'd gotten back in the saddle, job done.

End of days

An auspicious end to my commuting year, speeding home on wet roads, it was dark but clear, overtaking a load if stationary traffic, a slight right bend on the road meant I had a good view of the road ahead, an oncoming car is waiting to turn right ahead, there didn't appear to be a space in the traffic for him to turn so I slowed but kept going, plenty of space to pass and I was well lit and in a bright reflective jacket so he's seen me, right....? Idiot (me not the driver, I've got much more inventive names for him) just as I was about to pass he started to make the turn, I had time to slam on shout some expletives before my front wheel hit the corner of his front bumper and I went down, hitting my face on my bars as I went. I lay on the tarmac, looking up I was level with his face, I shouted for him to get out of the car (along with a few swearies) having initially stopped wondering wtf the bang was dufus in the driving seat presumably  having still not worked it out and also it seems STILL not seen me proceeds to make the right turn the crunch of my bike not far at all from my legs overrode the pain and I jumped up wrenched the guys door open and told him in no uncertain terms to stop the car and get out. By this time a couple of guys had turned up to assist, helped me drag my bike out of the road and got me and the driver out of traffic. 1 cyclist, 1 driver, really appreciate them stopping and offering to be witnesses for me. Driver was an old guy, I apologised a bit for being quite so sweary. By this time I'd noticed blood dripping from my busted lip and the shakes had kicked in. Got everyone's details then pushed my mangled bike to the nearby train station, guy in the ticket office must have thought I looked a sight, offered my tissues to clean myself up. On the platform checked the damage and text some people letting them now I'd be late/not riding - and promptly missed my train, doh.

So erm yeah, no more day one :-(