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 :-(