Wednesday, 26 August 2015



It may be August but it might as well be late october, the leaves are falling, it's windy and the trails are starting to get that distinct winter feeling, wet and slippery. I had to take off the summer tyre and go back to something with a lot more tread just to get some grip when steering. the front mud protection has also gone back on too and if things stay like this the rear will be back on soon too ride 110
11 miles
total 1971
commute 421

Fortuitous Puncture

I haven't ridden on a Saturday afternoon for ages but The Spaniard could only do Saturdays so it was time to see how busy the trails were on what was a very humid day. In fact, the woods weren't a busy as I feared and we were able to do some of the familiar trails without running into anyone. Conditions under wheel were also good, even dry in places!
The thing with humid conditions at this time of year is that the day inevitably ends in a thunder storm, today was typical. Black clouds rolled in and the distant rumble of thunder came ever closer. The ride in these temperatures was always going to involve a beer garden and we stopped at the crown for a pint. as we readied ourselves to leave i noticed my rear tyre was flat, we weren't going anywhere for a while! Fortuitously this coincided with the rain brought by the black clouds to start. It quickly got heavy and we had to seek shelter under the pub garden umbrellas. A tube malfunction (the replacement one also had a hole) meant we stayed longer, in fact until the rain stopped, trapped at a pub, how awful!
ride 109
16 miles
total 1960
commute 421

Sunday, 23 August 2015


Dan and I met early before the official night ride meet time for some illicit riding in the woods. This back fired in two ways for me. for one, it was incredibly hot and humid and I really seem to suffer in those conditions and two, I'd not eaten much all day so the early start meant I didn't have time for food. This was the cause of the bonking episode i had a couple of hours later and I had to beg an energy bar from The Spaniard. This also meant the beer I had at the post ride stop went straight to my head! Other injuries between us were numerous bramble lacerations and an eye-stinging nettle coming together. Still enjoyted it immensely though!
ride 108
14  miles
total 1944
commute 421

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Fat back

 Solo ride tonight, 1st ride on the fat bike for ages and my legs felt the extra weight. It did feel flippin' great though. a lot more sure footed than the skinny wheels I've been riding recently. The tyres were a little under inflated though which helped with the grip but not with the rolling resistance between trails, A couple of guys on road bikes commented on this very fact as they sped past me! still i suppose the shortness of the ride was compensated by the extra effort it took
ride 107
11  miles
total 1930
commute 417

Back to normal

canal, minimal hills, pedalling, beer. Somewhat missing the hills of Cumbria
ride 106
25  miles
total 1919
commute 417


Breakfast in Birmingham and then a ride from the big city back to the NWAlps via the Brum-Worcs canal, however it all went a bit to quick and in no time i was back at Kings Norton so I decided to deviate from the route and join the north stratford until Dickens Heath. It was drier than i expected it to be after heavy rain the day before, however it must have been quite moist though as i picked up a passenger. I didn't notice until i was well away from the canal. The slug was wrapped around my seatstay, unfortunately by it's guts. It was well stuck and i had to leaver it off with a stick! My bike is heavy enough without carrying passengers.
ride 105
28  miles
total 1894
commute 417

To Grasmere!

We'd popped into Ambleside and had a chat to the guys in Gyllside cycles who pointed us in the direction of the Grasmere bike path, "ignore the no cycling signs, they've not taken them down yet but it's ok to ride it" so ride it we did and it proved to be a great ride, cycle paths, quiet roads, lakesides (and in lakes) and the treat of enormous cake at the half way point in the lovely village of Grasmere
ride 104
15 miles
total 1866
commute 417

round the lake

While the others were swinging from trees I decided I'd ride around lake Windermere. I left the "treetops" site at Brockhole in a heavy rain shower and using the handy bike  path headed down to Bowness, suddenly the sun was out and i took off my lightweight waterproof. Within 2 miles it was drizzling again. This would be the pattern for the whole ride, infact on the short journey by ferry across the lake i genuinely experienced all weathers except snow! Once ashore (ferry trip well worth the £1 fee) i followed the shoreline trail to Wray castle. It was fairly easy terrain but the light grey gritty surface flicked up by my wheels meant i was soon covered in it. There were some stunning views despite the changeable weather and due to the conditions i had the ride to myself as everyone was staying at home. The ride took a lot shorter time than I was expecting and i was soon back at the car. I was plastered in the gritty stuff, my legs were grey and i even had grit in my hair. I had to very carefully change into dry clothes without getting any grit in my underwear! the last thing i wanted was to be walking round with stones in my pants.
ride 103
15 miles
total 1851
commute 417

Up Up Up!

This week we will be mostly...riding in the lake district. It has proper hills and we decided to sample one on this ride. It didn'y look too bad on the map, just a bridleway around a hill and down to Ullswaters edge in a town called Patterdale, easy!
So the bridle path started on the valley floor and was as easy as a bridle path at home, soon though things started to get a lot steeper, then more and more rocky and loose and eventually we had to get off and push. There were fewer and fewer ridable sections and lots of false flats where for a brief time we got excited that there might be a downhill bit, but it went on and on and ever upwards. In fact 908ft of climbing over just 2 miles! we reached a plateau but we could see that the bridle path then carried on up and around the next hill with more climbing. We opted for the footpath in a downhill direction instead, cheeky I know, but it was deserted. It soon became apparent that the chances of us cycling into a walker were very slim, This was because footpaths are very different beasts to those at home. It was rocky with narrow gullies and uneven steps up to 2ft high with a sheer drop on one side. at home footpaths are ridable but these were not and it took us 19 minutes to get down to the nearest bridle path where we could ride down into the town.
It was an eye opener but very exhilarating and a great sense of achievement even if we didn't complete the whole route. In hindsight a;; the riders we saw in the lakes on full suspension bikes had the right tool for the job and a rigid bike (and myself) was a little out of it's depth for this sort of route. I'd love to live up here and get the chance to learn how to ride it properly
ride 102
6 miles
total 1836
commute 417

Saturday, 8 August 2015

following the path

 Another after work ride, quite humid and there seemed to be a lot of people about including two dog walkers arguing over one another's dogs and the fact that one wasn't on a lead which was a novelty.
ride 101
15 miles
total 1830
commute 425