Saturday, 20 December 2014


 It's that time of year, the time when it gets increasingly harder to take a picture on a ride, there are only so many christmas light displays to see and low light photography of moving objects such as cyclists is challenging, especially when you are on your own, so tonight, just doing road circuits on the mtb to keep the legs moving I've had to resort to a dangerpanda. Still, riding and taking a picture of yourself, not looking where you are going with both hands off the bars in very gusty conditions is hard enough I reckon
Ride 170
12 miles
Total 3327
commute 938

more christmas lights madness

Rumoured to have cost up to £1500 these lights seen on tonights ride certainly are spectacular but i can't help but feel they are purely for showing off, in a "i've got more money then you" type way, certain less taste anyway. There's no collection for charity that I could see so they can only be for personal gratification. It takes all sorts i suppose
Ride 169
21 miles
Total 3315
commute 938

How times have changed

It's only a short time ago when the "no horses" sign at the entrance to this subway was a "no cycling" sign. These days, when cycling is suddenly the in thing an encouraged it's fine to ride through this. I'm not complaining as it's a very safe way to cross this busy road but why is it ok now but not been ok for the previous 30 years??
ride 168
21 miles
Total 3315
commute 938

Saturday, 13 December 2014

light fantastic

riding after work this time of year does bring it's bonuses. Clear nights where the stars shine out (imagine a classical music track playing in the backround) or the moon is full and shining enough to almost negate the need for lights or (classical vinyl scratched to a stop) an obscene amount of christmas lights bright enough to blind or dazzle passing jet aircraft!
I'm all for celebrating your chosen religious or pagan festival with a few pretty lights but I do wonder what these people are like in real life, actually I really don't want to know at all
Ride 167
12 miles
Total 3294
commute 938

round and round in circles

It's funny, actually it's not, it's agony but on the bike my back hardly hurts at all, just the odd twinge if i twist the wrong way. Off the bike I'm walking like an old man needing a hip replacement. So today I stuck to the road, riding a circuitous route so as not to be too far from home if things got too painful and \I needed to get back. It's not the most stimulating thing to do but it also wasn't stimulating my back muscles either so it was the sensible thing to do. Sensible is never fun is it? the rain wasn't fun either, or the head wind. Thankfully the bonus of a circular route is that halfway around at some point you are going to have the wind behind you pushing you along, see I'm trying to make the best of it!
Ride 166
12 miles
Total 3282
commute 938

not exactly to plan

the annual NWAlps  christmas ride just happened to coincide with global fat bike day, or maybe it was planned, we planned it so long ago I can't remember, lots of people showed an interest in joining the ride, I mean, who wouldn't? Bikes, easy ride to a popular christmas market that sold German beer, wurst and stollen, not to mention waffles, schnitzel, frites etc and then an easy ride back or maybe resort to the train. As i said, planned for ages, with lots of "are you still up for it/don't forget" reminders. Usually this doesn't mean lots of people drop out 24 hours before but hey, I'm kind of getting used to it. I just assume they are as enthusiastic about cycling as I am. From now on I'll plan for myself and have no expectations of others.
Those that did join in, Dan and Nick, met me at the Bittell canal bridge on a very frosty over cast morning for the first leg into the big city. I was worried my still healing back injury was going to be a problem, but up to then it was tolerable. We pedalled along to wast hill tunnel and the short sharp climb to the road. As i stood up and placed weight on the pedal the rear wheel locked completely. I dismounted expecting some debris to be stuck in the rear mech or chain but it seemed fine. Then I noticed that the tyre was jammed against the chainstay. the wheel had been pulled out of the drop out. I undid the quick release, repositioned the wheel and closed the QR again, nice and tight and remounted, pressed the pedal and..same result. Same result every time I put the wheel back, Hardly any pressure on the pedal forced out the rear wheel. The combined minds of the three of us couldn't figure it out. the only thing for me was to limp home and swap bikes. The guys would carry on, I'd jump on a train and meet them at a station very near the canal to resume the ride.
I got home, swapped bikes, swapped lights on to it and set off for the station. I got half way there and got a flat tyre! The riding Gods certainly weren't smiling on me to day and my back was beginning to grumble so I took the sensible but upsetting decision to pull out of the bike part of the day and just go into the city by train on foot.
I'm not going to describe the rest of the day as I didn't use a bicycle but it was fun but not as fun as it could have been
 Ride 165
8 miles
Total 3270
commute 938

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The agony continues

I should have know yesterdays ride was too good to be true, I also should have listened to my body, I could barely swing my leg over the bike and this time it felt uncomfortable to pedal. Still, maybe my back would benefit from the exercise, the stretching and getting warm? No, it didn't, If I thought the 1st 4 miles were agony they were nothing to how the last four felt after i rode across a root, the rear tyre kipped out and my body twisted automatically to compensate. This is a perfectly normal thing to happen when riding, it counter acts the slide to keep your balance but add in an already damaged back and it was not good. I had to stop, i couldn't dismount by swinging my leg over the saddle in the normal way it was just too painful. I had to walk the bike whilst still straddling it until i got to firmer and more level ground. I managed to remount and carry on, every small bump or undulation just seemed to pound into my lower back. It was suggested that the ride be extended to a longer route and, This is not like me at all, i opted for the shorter more direct route home. I was going slower and slower and the final roll back to base came as an enormous relief. So, back to square one and I'm sad to say a longer period off the bike :-(
Ride 164
8 miles
Total 3262
commute 938


After my mid week test the back ride I felt confident that I'd be ok for a short ride today. my back was still very sore and off the bike I was still limping but pedalling didn't seem so bad so I thought I'd give it a go over some gentle trails. It was very wet and muddy but i managed to avoid slippery roots which could have meant the bike skipping about and potentially twisting and jarring my back, even climbing standing up didn't pull on it too badly, overall I was pretty pleased and the weather was cracking for the very end of November.
Ride 163
11 miles
Total 3254
commute 938

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

testing testing....

 I hate being broken, it's been two days without a ride and it's killing me. Tonight I thought i'd test my back with a short tarmac only ride. It hurt as first but as my back stretched into the cycling position and warmed up it felt ok, certainly no worse than before i swung a leg over anyway. Getting off the bike and i was shuffling like a pensioner again proof positive that cycling is the best
Ride 162
7 miles
Total 3243
commute 938


After the bone shaking experience of the forest of dean I needed a gentle ride back in familiar territory and thankfully the overnight rain had abated. The woods though were thick with mud and greasy roots, no problem for the fat bike. The only benefit of the heavy rain was that it had washed channels down the trails clearing the mud from a singletrack width section of them leaving harder packed soil and stone behind, if you picked your line carefully the rolling became much easier.
There’s a particularly tough route with big roots surrounded by deep mud all slightly uphill which is tough to conquer in the dry and is an area we use to test a bikes (and riders) prowess. Today even though conditions under tyre were as bad as they will probably get all winter I managed to clear it with out a foot down!
Buoyed by  this I then got a bit cocky and spent a while trying to capture a wheelie picture for this blog. Inevitably my enthusiasm overwhelmed my talent and a splt second after the above picture I was sat in the mud!
Unfortunately with Saturdays jarring and todays tumble I seem to have injured my lower back and am writing this suffering from a bout of sciatica. Hoping for a quick recovery, I’ve not ridden for 3 days and it’s killing me
 Ride 161
10 miles
Total 3236
commute 938