Monday, 27 December 2010

when you...

...just have to find that stabbing implement in a dark tent only the limited edition glow-in-the-dark Spork will do.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Monday, 20 December 2010

will walk for cake.

first big walk out since the 3 peaks weekend, how bad is that? we worked that out because I aquired the most orange boots ever way back then...  Salomon something or others. Bright, super warm, waterproof and the grip was surprisingly good even in the snow. We also took a borrowed Osprey Manta 25 and took turns carrying the soup. As usual no complaints with Osprey stuff. Loads of little stuff pockets and places to stash stuff. Comfy and adjustable too. We could have done with an insulated tube on this occasion though. Brrr.

As we didn't fancy moving the van from under it's blanket of snow we walked straight out of the front door and did the first couple of miles through the urban sprawl. Not so bad as it was early and nothing much about.

Proper winter wonderland or flippin' bleak. Depends on your point of view I guess. Not much to see once we got up onto the hill proper, even some virgin snow this late in the weekend as we got onto Marsden Moor. Once we started to drop onto the far side things started to warm up a little and our Buffs got a chance to thaw slightly. Quicker than we thought we were almost at the cafe, whoop!

Never has a scrambled egg bap tasted sooo good. We ummed and aghed over the cake choice and succumbed eventually before heading home, retracing our steps, hot bath was calling. Once back onto the Oldham side the skies brightened and the moon came out. Not before getting colder though, grrr.

One final pack swap before the last couple of miles in the dark. The moon shining bright behind us casting long shadows on the snow.

21 miles too far for cake? Don't think so. We're pooped though, great day out. Get some while it's still crispy...

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Sunday, 14 November 2010


A day of riding and running. Just had to get out on the newly built up Ragley TD:1. Recycled most of the bits from the old Superfly and pinched Shona's Bonty forks. A 9 speed set up with a 36t ring up front held on by a Gusset 1-er, seemed to work fine with a little fettling required to stop it rubbing in lower gears. 21lb dead before putting the pedals on, that'll do. No surprises in the handling - skips up hills quick enough, it's super comfy and goes where it's told on the downs. Sorry about the guards. Coincidentally the frame bag from my old Karate Monkey fits a treat so some bike packing might be in order. Thinking about it, wouldn't this just be the best bike to race the something like the GDR on? Might just be what I spend most of my winter on, at least until the Troll arrives early next year.

After 3 hours playing out on bikes we took a run round the local fields to see braying donkeys, vicunia and nibbling friendly horses, ouch.  Wash bikes, put a curry on, bish bash bosh, everyones happy.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Monday, 11 October 2010

we went up to the Dales and had some great riding fun for a couple of days

we slept and ate cake here Dales Bike Centre
they even provided sunshine.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

sunny days

even though it's been pretty good here for the last couple of days (bar the odd thunderstorm) I found some sunny pics from earlier in the year that I'd forgotten about.

not the best exposed or even technically good but they made me smile.

and to think at the time I was cursing this little camera.

all good though.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Last Sunday in September

3 Peaks weekend? Must be time to get the shiney cars out!  Around a dozen 3 wheelers in the pub car park. Moto Guzzi engines, yum.

Went for a walk to the cafe in Horton and met up with the forever fashionably late.

What did I learn this year? A lighter bike helps get to the top of Ingleborough quicker that's for sure. However, for next time I'll remember to,

  • not get a cold
  • refrain from going to Italy at 1am Thursday and get back to Manchester 5.30am Saturday
  • eat properly for the week before, lots.

My during the race stuff could've been better too. Getting into a higher position on the start grid certainly helped. A whole 6 minutes quicker up Ingleborough was a good start, sharper refuelling at Cold Coates too. Thanks again Shona. Got into a steady group on the road over to Whernside so held my position pretty well. Not too shabby coming down either and then on towards Pen-y-ghent where it all went pear shaped and fatigue proper sat me on my arse. Walked a lot more than last year going up. People passing me, that shouldn't happen either and the top couldn't come soon enough. That euphoria was short lived as I started my (very) shaky descent, scrounging a gel on the way down, cheers Harsh. Much slower here meant that I was passed by the top 3 ladies on the descent before getting back to the short road section. This is where I realised that I'd really totally ballsed up my feeding as I got calf cramps for the first time in my racing history. Anyway, head down, passed one rider on the way back and once through the timing tent proceeded proceeded to eat. Absolutely everything. Even the last mince pie. Ta Julie. So, realised that sub 4 hours is do-able for me on the singlespeed so long as I get the simple things right and don't just try and wing it along with everything else.  Arrive rested, well fed and hydrated. Roll on 2012. Despite everything I got wrong it was still a grand day out.

Boys winners, the same but slightly different.

A couple of pics found elsewhere.

More here -

Venice, Italy

okay first up.  had a little jolly to Italy for work the other week. I joined a bunch of other UK Bianchi dealers on the flight from Stanstead to Treviso to take a look at the range for 2011. Not much change from last year, brakes here, forks straightened there and not much else. That's not a bad thing they look great, this is the new Oltre in a custom stealth paintjob.

Bianchi had also been busy raiding the museum at the factory. Peeks at bikes that won a bunch of stuff over the last 60 years or so. Fausto Coppi's well used ride...

One of Pantani's...

Cheers Bianchi UK!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Don't Panic

Only two weeks til we head up to Yorkshire for the 3 Peaks Cyclocross race. Although I'm feeling prepared as in I know what's coming I've done almost nothing in the way of specific preparation, at all, eek. Though I do feel much more bike fit than last year after the last 6 months bike adventures. In the words of another participant, it'll be reet.

So, time to get the mudguards off, put on some fresh rubber, agonise over the state of the rear rim and change the bars to something closer to 50cm. Guess I should throw a bucket of warm water in its general direction too.

Out today to do 52 miles at the bottom end of the Pennine Bridleway and it feels okay. After the miserable rain and cold earlier on it all brightened up. As I death gripped the bar tape drifting round a loose gravel corner wondering if there was another water bar coming it was all good.


Friday, 10 September 2010

more Scotland, more bikepacking

Sheez, taken a week to get round to this. Those last 9 days left us a bit washed out and achey. All worth it though as this view over a relatively dry Rannoch Moor testifies.  We'd heard a lot about the West Highland Way recently. Mostly the challenge to do the whole 95 miles from Glasgow to Fort William and back in 24 hours. We certainly weren't going to attempt that. From our experiences on the banks of Loch Lomond on the first day I can't see that record being set any day soon. Chapeau to the rider who did one way in 14hrs but come on, it's gonna take one phenomenal athlete to turn around and head back up the Devils Staircase and back to Milngavie. Probably at night, eek.

 Our plan was to head up the West Highland Way to Fort William and onward to Loch Ossian. After 2 days getting just as far as Bridge of Orchy we decided to skip a Bank Holiday trip trampling walkers on the Devils Staircase and head straight over Rannoch toward Blair Atholl. The WHW starts off innocently enough through
 urban areas and finally into open country, some stunning fast swoopy stuff. Then we hit Loch Lomond and the path that runs along the waters edge. Starts off doable, in fact great fun fast tracks thru the woods but after that turns to a nightmare of dragging bikes around rocky outcrops. The tree on the track is lame by comparison. We were so happy to find this idilic camping spot.

As the trail left the side of the loch and the wheel swallowing water bars subsided we hit the road for a bit to grab some time and a rest on the way to Tindrum. We stocked up a bit here for a second night out and headed off towards Bridge of Orchy where calories awaited in the form of coffees and desserts, scrummy.  Ignoring the designated wild camping spots we headed straight out onto the track that heads to Kinghouse and found a lovely spot to pop the tent up. This is what we were here for...

It's a screamer of a descent down to Kinghouse, just enough to blow the cobwebs away.  Rannoch was far drier than we'd expected though finding a discernable path was hard at times. Was a long-ish day today all the way over to Blair Atholl. Winding lochside lanes eased the hunger pangs til we hit the first village and raided the shop for quick fix calories to sustain us to the pub. Good beer and food at the Atholl Arms.

Last year we'd ridden up to the iron bridge and waterfalls half way up Glen Tilt and now we pressed on to find some great riding further up that took us over towards Braemar. Here we found the grumpiest campsite manager in the history of the world so we left and headed for our one night of luxury at the SYHA across the road.

next morning we left in our only rain of the trip. Over to Balmoral estate where we found the most pristine tracks and fences, not too surprised given the local residents I s'pose.  Fast rocky decent to Loch Muick and a sweaty push out the other side to our campsite for the night. The push went up that almost vertical track at about 11 o'clock in that pic, how anyone drives anything up it is amazing but the obviously do. In the middle of the moor there was a building marked on the map so we headed for that and it turned out to be a stable and paddock. Obviously in regular use but why anyone would choose to stable their horse so far away from anywhere was a mystery?

Fantastic blue skies next day as we headed down into Glen Clova. Big slabby challenging rocky descent in blazing sunshine made for the morning of the trip so far. Well worth the loop if you're up that way. Now we were heading for the coast and Dundee to join the Perth Coastal Path. After a reasonable day in the saddle we found the first campsite on the map no longer took tents, grump. So after a bit of a stomp around and general unhappiness we headed a further 15 miles to St Andrews. To be fair it was a lovely evening, sunny and warm as we span along through Tentsmuir forest. Took a whole day off on Friday, looked around town, ate, drank and ate some more. Mostly ice cream.


Saturday was a real mix of beach, gravel tracks over farmland, roads through quiet seaside towns and a cracking bit of woodsy rooty singletrack. More sunshine, it was hell...  The coast path was very different and we enjoyed it's variety, lots of stiles though as it is primarily a walkers path. Everyone we met was jolly though, sunshine and smiles goes a long way.

After reading reports that the camping in Kinghorn was ropey, noisy and right on the road we found a small site tucked away in Largo just up the coast. Up and away early the next day saw us in a fairtrade coffee shop on the main drag in Burntisland, deserved to be busier than it was, good coffee!  Tearing ourselves away we had a train to catch. Never ending cyclepaths took us to Hendersons Bistro in central Edinburgh for a good feed before heading home.

This trip left us with more ideas for trips to come as usual. It was one of those that packs in so much that you forget by the end what you were doing a couple of days before. Perfect. A technical mix up left us carrying stuff on racks that should've been carried easier but that'll have to wait til next time. Many thanks to Julie's grandma's old sewing machine that patched the holes in the frame bag. From Revelate since you ask. Shona's Scandal performed a good as ever. We were left wondering whether it's just too 'bling' for dragging (literally) over, around and thru rocky obstacle hike'a'bike stuff. Things to ponder. The Surly 1x1 worked great as a 1x8 with an Alfine hub. It's got no squish up front though which in great 'most' of the time. Maybe a Troll?

Much more to come.