Saturday, 29 October 2005


I've got really bad at blogging regularly.

I got a 'new' bike - a knackered black Coventry Eagle Nevada that Andrew had sat in his garage. A little TLC truned it into a shonky singlepeed that'll be fine as a spare (possible main) commuter bike. Possibly, it'll end up fixed and odd-handlebarred. (Older photo below - now it doesn't have any stickers which actually makes it look quite cool.)

Coventry Eagle Nevada 8

New baby is due on Wednesday (4 days)! Ellie was 9 days early, so we've been poised to dash to the hospital for the last week or so. Hopefully it'll arrive before the end of the weekend so I can tag my one week paternity leave onto the end of half term. I doubt I'll manage to blog during labour, like last time, but I'll post as soon as I can...

[Updated: fixed typos and added link to Andrew's website.]

Sunday, 23 October 2005


When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.

—Arthur Conan Doyle

From Ben Saunders' blog

Thursday, 20 October 2005

Fame, I want to live forever...

Today at work I was watching video footage of myself, which has been sent out to all ICT teaching departments. When I got home, there was an answerphone message from the local radio station asking to speak to me about news that Darlington has been awarded a grant as a Cycling Demonstration town. I've just sent a press release (not written by me) to the Northern Echo.

Of course, last year it was The Times and BBC, so I've gone down in the world...

Wednesday, 19 October 2005

Spam, spam, spam, spam

I'm getting too many spam comments here (which you don't usually get to see, because they're held in a moderation section from which I delete them) so I'm ramping up the spam protection; comments which look like spam, smell like spam or taste like spam are spam and will get deleted automagically. Avoid using obvious spam-words in your comments.

Sunday, 16 October 2005

Yet Another Local Ride

Another ride of my local loop yesterday, though I tweaked it a bit to have a look at a new route just to the north of the one to Brafferton that I usually take; the bridleway from East Ketton to Brafferton. The first little bit was just along field edges, but from the stream to Brafferton is a nice little track.

Unfortunately, I noticed my front tyre going flat part way along the 'new' track. When I stopped, I pulled a small stick off the tyre and then all the air rushed out. Before I put the new tube in, I checked round the tyre and ended up pulling out a total of six thorns. I thought I better check the front as well, and found another three thorns. This is why I carry three spare tubes...

I wa running a bit short on time so from Brafferton I crossed the A167 to Coatham Mundeville and rode along Percy Lane to get me back to town. I probably rode it the wrong way, as it would be a really nice long singletrack descent heading north. Last time I rode this, it was really boggy in places, but the track seems to have got better defined along a narrower line and some extra vegetation has grown either side of it, which seems to have helped the drainage. It looked like it there had been very little use by horses and more by bikes, which must help too. I probably won't ride it again until late spring now, as it was getting muddy in places and will get pretty bad soon.

Anyway, a nice ride, but shorter than I'd have liked bacause of the punctures. I'm gonna go have a tube-mending session now.

Tuesday, 11 October 2005

Some links

Some links:

  • I love maps. I'm going to watch last night's Map Man before I go to bed and Andrew is lending me a DVD of the whole series once it's finished and he gets it off Sky+. Anyway, Radical Cartography has some cool maps. I might make maps with The Small One when she's older.

  • I'm an arch-procrastinator. At work, I get one-hour-long free lessons but waste a lot of the time. Merlin Mann's (10+2)*5 hack sounds like just the thing I need!

  • The best way to buy nothing is to have no money!

Sunday, 9 October 2005

Local loop ride

I rode my usual local loop today, minus the little mini-loop at the top, because I was short on time. Went round with my little brother, so took it fairly easy. The trails are all in amazingly good condition still, Darlington bridleways are usually horrible mud fests, but they seem really dry still.

Friday, 7 October 2005

Darkness is here

Today was the first morning that I've had to have light on my bike for the ride to work. Looking outside, it looks like I'll have them on for on the way home too. Winter draws on.

I have a flouro waistcoat for riding to/from work now. Sarah saw me out the window putting the rubbish out on Thursday and thought the bin men had arrived early...

A (short) discussion on bike lights took place on the Bike Darlington blog. Discussion! People posting comments on the blog; a first, I think.

Monday, 3 October 2005

On identity and anonyminity in an interconnected world

When I first started using this domain name it was because I'd decided I wanted a slightly more anonymous blog, because my students had found my old site way too easily and, while there wasn't anything dodgy on my site, it linked to some sites that linked to some dodgier stuff.

So, I created this site, mothballed my old one, didn't give a forwarding address and started again. I even deleted old usernames for various forums, which were linked to the old site and used my full name, to make it less likely a student would stumble across this site.

But, it's been very difficult to decide when to use my "real identity" for things, or my Mactually ID. Some areas have merged and blurred, so a blog I started to talk about cycling in Darlington became a blog for the Darlington Cycling Campaign, which was all done under my real name. I registered with the Hamsterley Trailblazers forum, using my Mactually name and email, but not linking to the site. I registered with the North East Cyclo Cross League forum as 'Mike', using my Mactually email, but not linking here, because some students also went to the races. I felt like I shouldn't link from here to the results, because that used my full name.

I set out to make something completely anonymous, my proxy blog for Alan Milburn MP, and ended up with my real full name printed in The Times! (I still haven't found out how the journalist made the link...)

Being completely anonymous on the internet doesn't work, when there's crossover between the real world and the 'virtual world'. Someone at the cyclo cross asks me if I'm Mike; does he know me from the Trailblazers site, the NECCL site, the On-One forum, the Bike Darlington blog, a friend of a friend? Should I comment on my friend's blogs as Miketually or with my real name?

There's too much crossover between the real world and the internet and Google sees all so I'm no longer going to try to keep everything separate. I was probably being a bit over-paranoid anyway, since there's not really anything here I would discuss with my students anyway.

Google sees all:

After that, there's various blog comments and spam links (including some for penile enlargements worryingly). Perhaps it's best my students find this site first after all...

My name is Mike McTimoney and this is my blog.

Sunday, 2 October 2005

I done it

Well, my second ever cyclo cross race went well, apart from an horendous stitch for a couple of laps. The weather was much nicer than last year; no horrible headwind to contend with this time.

I have no idea how many laps I did, or even if I officially finished. I passed the finish line a minute or so before the bell started being rung for people (I could hear it as I left the first wooded singletrack section). On that lap, I got passed by the leaders, who finished their last lap before I got round to the start/finish line again. When I got there, no-one rang a bell, so I assumed I was done and didn't get another lap because the leaders passed me on theirs. I'll see when the results are published.

I'm also not sure if my first lap got counted, as someone overtook me as I crossed the line, obscuring my number from the officials, and I'm sure I heard them say "44", when I was number 54. Again, I'll find out when the results are published.

Wherever I place, it was a great race, with an excellent course, and seemed really well organised, though I've not really anything to compare it against. I'll be back next year...

[update:] Results are up, and I came 46th out of 50 finishers, with 6 who Did Not Finish (DNF). I did the same number of laps as last year, but think I should have been able to do another; I've asked on the race's forum. The winners only did 8 laps this year, compared to 9 last year; I got 6 both years, so that may be an improvement. Next year: middle third on the table...

[update 2:] I shouldn't have been able to do another. Anyone crossing the line after the winners is finishing the race.