Sunday, 31 December 2006

2006 Biking

I've only started 'logging' all of my riding for the last few months, but I figured out the other day that I'd done abour 1700 miles this year. Of these, about 1000 were getting to work and getting to places for work, all of them done on my singlespeed Kona on 32:16 and at a decent pace. I didn't do that many other rides, really:

* a couple of local on-/off-road rides (Local road/off road New Years Day ride and On-and off-road through Bolam, Bishop Auckland, Middridge and Aycliffe again) in January, on my own on the Inbred
* Swaledale - Moresdale Road and Fremington Quarry in February, my first ride with the Hamsterley Trailblazers, on the Inbred
* A HTB Sunday ride round Hamsterley (Riding in a winter wonderland) in March, on the Inbred
* A local booze cruise (HTB Booze Cruise) in April, with the HTB group, on the ss Kona
* SSUK 2006 at Hamsterley, in June. I rode there and back, as well as doing the race, for which I won the Spirit of Singlespeed prize, a custom bike frame from Solitude Cycles, all on the ss Kona
* June saw me do 65 miles on the road, riding from Darlington to Barnard Castle to Hamsterley to Darlington on the ss Kona (my first metric century ride - 100km)
* In July, I rode from Darlington to Hamsterley then did a HTB group ride and got soaked on a solo local ride, both on the Inbred
* In August, I rode the 80 miles from Darlington to Tan Hill and Back on the road and did a local guided ride, both on the Inbred
* In September, I completed my first century ride, The Hell O' The North, on the Inbred, and came in sixth in The Great Milk Stout Ride 2006 (pictures), on the ss Kona
* In October, I rode from home to Hamsterley, rode the 50km Hamsterley Hill Rush and then rode home again, on the ss Kona
* November and December saw no biking, other than to (and for) work, all on the ss Kona

So, only 14 non-work rides all year, but averaging 50 miles per ride.

2006 saw my first metric and imperial century rides, both over hilly routes. The Hell O' The North was both the longest ride I've done and the hardest; the weather was the worst anyone could remember for that ride, with an awful headwind for the first 60 or 70 miles - I did the last 40 miles faster than the first 40, I think. Considering my preparation was almost nil, I think I did ok, but want to do it faster next year.

All in, a pretty good year. I did a few 'firsts' and made some new biking friends. I carried on commuting by bike and discovered that I like long bikes rides and I like singlespeed bikes. In fact, I like long bike rides on singlespeed bikes.

December Biking

No riding at all in December, other than getting about and ‘business miles’ (for the second month running).

Business miles: 26 miles
Commuting: 70 miles (14 days riding to work and back)

Total: 96 miles

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Secret Worlds

I don't know what lies out your back door, but I know that I find something new each time I roll out mine with rugged tires and vague intentions.

- Secret Worlds

Here's to rugged tyres and vague intentions.

Friday, 22 December 2006

Thursday, 21 December 2006

(Not) SSUK 2007

The 2007 UK National Singlespeed Championships are taking place on Monday 27th August, as part of a full weekend of racing at the Belmont Estate Mountain Bike Festival, according to the British Cycling website.

Update: It's not SSUK. Ignore me. (See comments.)

Sunday, 17 December 2006

If beer is heaven, coffee is faith.

No one without hope ever drinks coffee. If you put a cup to your lips, you’ve made a tacit acknowledgment that you expect life to get just a little bit better.

- The Truth of Diner Coffee

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Ways to win elections

Ways to win elections:
* reduce adult illiteracy
* support landless farmers
* use oil profits to provide money for single mothers, subsidise food for the poor and fund six extra universities

Well, it worked in Venezuela...

Thursday, 7 December 2006

Maybe capitalism does work?

After reading some of the writings and archive on Rob Newman's site earlier this evening, I was going to denounce capitalism and start a worker-controlled cooperative. The I discovered that McDonald's forced to shut from lack of patronage in healthy town.

Or, maybe I'll still denounce capitalism.

Monday, 4 December 2006

November Biking

No riding at all in November, other than getting about and 'business miles'.

Business miles: 52.8 miles (20p a mile, baby!)
Commuting: 105 miles (21 days riding to work and back)
Extras: 10 miles

Total: 167.8 miles

Friday, 1 December 2006

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Benedict Allen

I went to to see a talk by Benedict Allen (author, explorer, TV presenter-filmmaker and public speaker) at Darlington Arts Centre last night. A fantastic talk and well worth going to see if he's appearing somewhere near you.

He talk was based around his unsuccessful attempt to make a solo dog-sled crossing of the Bering Straits, which I'd seen on TV the other year, but uses this expedition, and other near-death experiences he's had) to consider what we humans need to keep them going, whether in extreme situations or in our everyday life.

Belief and a purpose where what Benedict considered were needed. The purpose being underpinned by the belief. The belief could be in anything (your parents, a god or whatever), but without it humans just give up.

Interesting stuff.

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Buy Nothing Day 2006

Every November, for 24 hours, we remember that no one was born to shop. If you’ve never taken part in Buy Nothing Day, or if you’ve taken part in the past but haven’t really committed to doing it again, consider this: 2006 will go down as the year in which mainstream dialogue about global warming finally reached its critical mass. What better way to bring the Year of Global Warming to a close than to point in the direction of real alternatives to the unbridled consumption that has created this quagmire?

In the UK, this year's Buy Nothing Day is on Saturday November 25.

Buy Nothing Day [via Swobo's How To Avoid The Bummer Life]

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Just a parent

The Times chief sports writer Simon Barnes describes life with his five-year-old son Eddie, who has Down’s syndrome.

I am writing of love not as a matter of grand passions, or as high-falutin’ idealism, or as religion. I am writing about love as the stuff that makes the processes of human life happen: the love that moves the sun and other stars, which is also the love that makes the toast and other snacks. Love is the most humdrum thing in life, the only thing that matters, the thing that is forever beyond the reach of human imagination.

At the hospital, when they discovered on the scan that Down’s syndrome was a possibility, they very kindly offered to kill him for us.

- I'm not a saint, just a parent [via Pickled Hedgehog]

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

October Biking

Business miles: 42 miles (20p a mile, baby!)
Commuting: 90 miles (18 days riding to work and back)
Jotting about: another 10 miles, maybe
Proper rides: 66 miles (just one ride)

Total: 208 miles

All on my Singlespeed Kona, 2.25" tyres and 32:16 gearing. Only 26 miles off-road.

(Reminded to do this by Tom's post.)

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Darlington - Hamsterley Hill Rush - Darlington

Ash is in Training for the TransRockies next year and asked on the Hamsterley Trailblazers Froum for a 50km training loop within the forest, all on fireroads and with no crossovers or riding the same track twice. Rift came up with a route and The Hamsterley Hill Rush was born.

With a free day today, I had to try it out. Obviously, I couldn't just do the ride, I had to ride there and back too. Here's my write-up from the forum:

Well, Wood'n'Wheels to Wood'n'Wheels in 4 hours dead. I did however, skip the second of the inward loops, arounf Penningtom Rake, which I think cut off about 7km, so I only did around 43km. When I got to the crossroads at the start of that loop, I'd already been riding for 3 hours, so I decided to cut the ride short, since I also had to ride home. I'd not realised quite how quickly I'd get to the Grove, so I did do all of the rest of the ride.

I think I made the right decision to cut the ride short, since the heavens opened as I got back to Hamsterley village and I got rained on for the hour and a half it took me to get home from there; not helped by the jockey wheel on my chain tensioner unscrewing itself on the approach to Darlington, requiring a 10 minute roadside repair.

* Ride to forest: 32km (20 miles) on the road
* Most of "The Hamsterley Hill Rush" (Ash's Loop): 43 km (26 miles) off-road
* Ride home: 32km (20 miles) on the road

- a total of 107km (66 miles)

In hindsight, setting my personal best time for riding from home to the forest (1:35) wasn't a good start, leaving me pretty tired. I had to push up some climbs that I made easily on the GMSR; I was trying to make up for setting off late.

I left home at about 8:50 and arrived in the forest at 10:25. I took a ten minute break for some food and drink and set off on the loop at 10:35. Had a 10 minute snack at 12 o'clock (here: and another ten minute break at 1:00 somewhere on the first of the two inner loops. I reached the start of the second loop (which I skipped) at 1:35. Reached the end of the Grove link at 2:25 and legged it back to the visitors' centre to arrive at Wood'n'Wheels at 2:35. I had another ten minute break then set off home, finally getting home at 4:50. A straight 8 hours door-to-door, roughly 50/50 on and off road.

Without map reading and the road riding, sub-4 hours would be doable. 3 hours was over optimistic

Distance: 66 miles (107km)
Surface: On- and Off-road
Time: 8 hours
Weather: Cold and foggy, turning to cold and rainy
Bike: Kona Singlespeed (with 2.25″ tyres)

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Sheldon Brown Health Problems

Sheldon Brown, font of knowledge on all things bike, has been experiencing health problems which mean he's now unable to ride his bike.

Acorn Coffee

The Howies blog has adetails on how to make acorn coffee. Might have to give it a go and feed it to someone unsuspecting...

Monday, 16 October 2006

This Man can Move Anything

Wally Wallington has demonstrated that he can lift a Stonehenge-sized pillar weighing 22,000 lbs and moved a barn over 300 ft. What makes this so special is that he does it using only himself, gravity, and his incredible ingenuity.

This Man can Move Anything

So many causes, so little time

Unless you have permission, it's illegal to demonstrate near the Houses of Parliament. But that wasn't going to stop Mark Thomas, who set out to make a record number of protests in one day.
- So many causes, so little time

Sarah and I went to see Mark Thomas at Darlington Arts Centre last week. He mentioned this series of protests during the show. Nice to see it go ahead.

Saturday, 14 October 2006

Running the world

Ever wonder just who is running the world?

(Warning: Jarvis Cocker has a potty mouth.)

Thursday, 12 October 2006

Probably a mistake

Posting this is probably a mistake, but it is genius.

Line Rider

I may never work again...

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Wet, wet, wet

Got my first soaking of the season on the way to work today. My arse has almost dried out now. A reminder to get my act together and sort the bike out for winter (full-length mudguards and skinny tyres), and to keep spare pants and trousers at work.

Friday, 6 October 2006

A relative?

The latest guest on Webcameron is John Timoney, Miami police chief. The surname being so close to mine must mean he's a relative somehow, surely? Anyone see a resemblance?

(Found via Tom Watson's blog.)

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Darlington Bike Commute Video

Darlington Bike Commute Video

I videoed my ride to work this morning. The quality's appaling, but if David "Dave" Cameron's videoblogging, I should too!

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

The Hamster's Dragster Crash Video

The Hamster's Dragster Crash Video.

Solitude SSUK Prize Frame

It's here!

The blue's a bit darker and less glittery in real life, but probably even lovelier; though Alex says it's different in sunlight. It balances perfectly on a finger under the top tube just in front of the seat tube, and makes a lovely tinging noise when flicked.

Just need to find the cash to build it up now. What's the going rate for kidneys?

Sunday, 1 October 2006

September Biking

I don’t have a bike computer or GPS, so I have to either guess distances, trust the distance given for an event or measure it up on a map or Gmap-pedometer.

So, I think my September total is about 275 miles, made up of:

  • Hell O’ The North = 105 miles (road)

  • 19 days commuting = 19×5 = 95 miles (road)

  • 5 trips to another school to teach = 5 x 9 = 45 miles (road)

  • Great Milk Stout Ride (pics) = 21 miles (off-road)

  • plus another couple of trips = 10 miles (road)

(Originally a comment)

Thursday, 28 September 2006

Be careful on here

I've been getting loads of spam comments over the last few days. If you see a comment with obvious filth in it, please don't click the link - you'll only encourage them. I need to upgrade my WordPress installation; could someone arrange some 28 hour days for me?

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Solitude Frame - first photos

Here are the first photos I have of my SSUK prize frame from Solitude Cycles. Alex writes about the frame on his blog. I'd got a bit muddled - the frame was being delivered to Alex today, not me.

Here are the photos (click for a bigger version):

SSUK Frame


Pretty, isn't it?


Advice for Friends of Cyclocross by Eugène Christophe

Old cx photos

Monday, 25 September 2006

Parcel Stress

I got an email this afternoon to say that my Solitude Cycles frame should arrive tomorrow! Woo!


stem comparison

I can't get foks with the length of steerer tube I need for the bar height, if I have a 100mm 35deg stem. Alex drew this up to see what diference it would make going for no spacer and a 120mm 40 degree stem instead.

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

The Great Milk Stout Ride 2006 - Pictures

Me on my bike

There are a couple of photo collections from The Great Milk Stout Ride 2006 now online.

Me riding into the distance

Monday, 18 September 2006

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas is playing the Darlington Arts centre on October 5th.

Sunday, 17 September 2006

The Great Milk Stout Ride 2006

Took part on this charity ride at Hamsterly Forest today. Felt really good, especially considering last week was my biggest week of commuting for a long time. Climbing, the ss has to go fast, or you just stall, so I was climbing the hills fast, getting off to walk when it was ust too steep, by which time the geared riders were in such a low gear that at times I was gaining on them while pushing the bike.

I caught up with a couple of riders in the second half of the ride and we were told by a marshall that we were 4th, 5th and 6th places. They dropped me towards the end, when I was spinning out on a long decent, but I don't think anyone passed me, so I probably finished 6th. Maybe 7th.

Distance: 21 miles
Surface: Off-road - long 'fireroad' climbs, technical singletrack
Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Weather: Warm and sunny
Bike: Kona Singlespeed (with 2.25″ tyres)

Thursday, 14 September 2006

A computer is like a bicycle for the mind

Interesting post at Presentation Zen looking at the way we use computers. An analogy that I can relate to:

does a personal laptop in the school function as a bicycle for the mind, amplifying the student's own capabilities and new knowledge or is it more like a car with pre-packaged formulas that allow the student to become soft in the head while appearing to really go places?

Is a computer like a bicycle for the mind?

Saturday, 9 September 2006

Thursday, 7 September 2006

The Internet is a Series of Tubes

Just testing putting YouTube videos on here...

Tuesday, 5 September 2006

Hell O' The North 2006

On Sunday, I did my first century ride on a hilly route through the Pennines (Darlington - Richmond - Redmire - Askrigg - Hawes - Kirkby Stephen - Brough - Middleton-in-Teesdale - Egglestone - Staindrop - Darlington (map)). The ride out to Hawes was wet and into a really strong headwind, which was knackering, but the ride from there was much nicer as the sun got out and the wind was a bit more of a tailwind. I was expecting the ride to be about as difficult as my ride to Tan Hill and back, since I thought the extra distance would be cancelled out by the thinner tyres, but the headwind made it harder.

I carried too much kit, because I wasn't sure what shops would be open on a Sunday. As it happenned, I needn't have worried, because there were loads open. I could easily have left the extra two litres of water that I carried to Hawes, then poured down a drain... I had a coffee and teacake in Hawes, but could have done with eating a bit earlier than that, and then having some more in Kirkby Stephen. I had a small bag on the bars, which was great for keeping Tangfastics, dried fruit and Geobars in for snacking as I rode.

There was some fantastic scenery on the route. The road from Brough to Middleton-in-Teesdale is stunning. Gunshots from the MOD ranges added a nicely surreal touch, as did the huge bearded guy wearing tartan plus-fours...

I was absolutley knackered by the end. My knees hurt, rather than my leg muscles which is odd, and I had sharp pains in the back of my shoulders. Once I'd signed out, it was like a switch had been flicked and I just had no energy left; the ride home from the town centre seemed to take ages compared to when I ride home from work. I think I got round on stubbornness, rather than fitness. I think I was slurring my speech when I got home, and I was shivering while wating for a hot bath to run.

I'll be doing it again next year.

Darlington - 8:45
Hawes - 1:00
Kirkby Stephen - 3:00
Middleton-in-Teesdale - 5:00
Darlington - 6:45

Distance: 100 miles (approx)
Surface: Road
Time: 10 hours
Weather: Wet and windy, but warm
Bike: Inbred (with 1.5" slick tyres)

Tuesday, 29 August 2006


everyday is a strangely compelling video; a stopmotion animation made using a photo of Noah K taken everyday for six years.

Cold Turkey

Can I tell you the truth? I mean this isn’t like TV news, is it?

Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey.

And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on.

- Cold Turkey, By Kurt Vonnegut [via CleverChimp]

I don't believe my kids (or yours) will drive either.

Friday, 25 August 2006


Ash from HTB is doing the TransRockies and is keeping a training diary online, I'm even mentioned in the first entry (the Swaledale ride I did in February).

Good luck Ash! The TransRockies are on my 'someday' list.

Sunday, 20 August 2006

Solitude build under way!


Singlespeed World Champs

The Singlespeed MTB World Championships have just taken place in Stockholm. Next year, they'll be in Scotland!

I went to the UK champs this year, as they were local to me, and did quite well out of it. I was planning on going down to Bristol for the 2007 UK championships, but if I can get to the Worlds' in Scotland instead...

I'll have to see how the dates fit in with work and choose based on that.

Monday, 14 August 2006

Salters Circular guided ride

Rather than going up to Hamsterley today, I went along to one of the local guided rides put on by the council. We rode most of the Salters Circular route, apart from Wildgoose Lane which is completely overgrown. Darlo Council have reported this to Durham Council, so it will hopefully be sorted out soon.

We rode slower than I usually would, as there were a couple of beginners in the group of 10, but it was a pleasant ride with nice people. We went on one track I've not used before, and in the opposite direction to some of the routes I usually use.

Distance: 11 miles
Surface: Mainly off-road
Time: 3 hours
Weather: Warm but wet
Bike: Inbred

Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Darlington - Tan Hill - Darlington

A long ride, mainly on the road, but with a little easy off-roading in at the end. I'm pretty tired now. I had a 45 minute stop in Barnard Castle on the way out and another 30 minutes on the way back, and 20 minutes at Tan Hill.

map (might slow your computer a little)

Darlington to Tan Hill Map

I might write more when I can think straight.

Distance: 80 miles
Surface: Mainly road
Time: About 9 hours total
Weather: Warm but overcast, still got sunburnt though
Bike: Inbred

Wednesday, 2 August 2006

Soggy ridin'

Where were you at 2 this afternoon? Nice and warm at work? I was out in the pissing rain, getting soaked to the skin and cover in mud.

A very soggy ride around my 'usual' local loop this afternoon. It took me just over two hours, I think, but I was soaked to the skin and covered in mud by the end of it. But hey, skin's waterproof and mud washes off.

Using the dots on the line around the route in the post linked to earlier, I'd guess at a distance of 20km, which is only about 12 miles, in 2 hours. I was on the On-One Inbred, but rode the whole thing in middle-middle, so almost singlespeed.

This is only the third time in the last 4 1/2 months that I've ridden a geared bike, and I just couldn't be bothered changing gear! I'm starting to agree with Henri Desgrange:

I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!
-- Henri Desgrange, L'Équipe article of 1902

(I just found NCBC Fixed Gear, which has some great links including one to Cycling before Lycra which describes some great off-road fixed gearing from the days of yore. Need Less, Do More.)

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Solitude second design

Three weeks ago, Alex sent me the second draft of his design for my Solitude Cycles frame. He again sent two pictures, which show how the bike will compare with my Kona and On-One bikes. The drops look to be a little higher than in the first design, and almost exactly match the position on the grips on my Kona. Riding on the hoods, I'll be as high as the On-One but a bit more stretched out, I think.

Kona Comparison2

On-One comparison2

Colour-wise, I'm probably going to go for Caspian Blue, as used by Triumph on their Thruxton 900. With the black parts and silver decals, that should look sweet.

I should be getting the third (and final) draft soon, but I told Alex not to hurry and to ride his bike instead.

Saturday, 22 July 2006

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

The Big Here

You live in the big here. Wherever you live, your tiny spot is deeply intertwined within a larger place, imbedded fractal-like into a whole system called a watershed, which is itself integrated with other watersheds into a tightly interdependent biome. At the ultimate level, your home is a cell in an organism called a planet. All these levels interconnect. What do you know about the dynamics of this larger system around you? Most of us are ignorant of this matrix. But it is the biggest interactive game there is. Hacking it is both fun and vital.

There's a 30 question quiz, how many can you answer without Googling or asking for help?

  1. Point north.

  2. What time is sunset today?

  3. Trace the water you drink from rainfall to your tap.

  4. When you flush, where do the solids go? What happens to the waste water?

  5. How many feet above sea level are you?

  6. What spring wildflower is consistently among the first to bloom here?

  7. How far do you have to travel before you reach a different watershed? Can you draw the boundaries of yours?

  8. Is the soil under your feet, more clay, sand, rock or silt?

  9. Before your tribe lived here, what did the previous inhabitants eat and how did they sustain themselves?

  10. Name five native edible plants in your neighborhood and the season(s) they are available.

  11. From what direction do storms generally come?

  12. Where does your garbage go?

  13. How many people live in your watershed?

  14. Who uses the paper/plastic you recycle from your neighborhood?

  15. Point to where the sun sets on the equinox. How about sunrise on the summer solstice?

  16. Where is the nearest earthquake fault? When did it last move?

  17. Right here, how deep do you have to drill before you reach water?

  18. Which (if any) geological features in your watershed are, or were, especially respected by your community, or considered sacred, now or in the past?

  19. How many days is the growing season here (from frost to frost)?

  20. Name five birds that live here. Which are migratory and which stay put?

  21. What was the total rainfall here last year?

  22. Where does the pollution in your air come from?

  23. If you live near the ocean, when is high tide today?

  24. What primary geological processes or events shaped the land here?

  25. Name three wild species that were not found here 500 years ago. Name one exotic species that has appeared in the last 5 years.

  26. What minerals are found in the ground here that are (or were) economically valuable?

  27. Where does your electric power come from and how is it generated?

  28. After the rain runs off your roof, where does it go?

  29. Where is the nearest wilderness? When was the last time a fire burned through it?

  30. How many days till the moon is full?

Ride: Darlington to Hamsterley, plus a HTB group ride

Rode from home to the forest by a backroad route, to avoid the A68; took a little longer, but some of that was navigation and it was a much better route. The ride round the forest was cool, rode some of the SSUK route in the proper direction (Goat Track), plus the bottom half of the Rabbit Run and the old Downhill Course. Plus, I rode my first bit of North Shore on the Skills Loop!

I was feeling the extra riding by the end of the ride, but that was partly down to riding the first couple of climbs in the middle ring, because my mech has siezed a bit and needs a bit of help to shift to smaller gears.

Kiwi offered me a lift home, so I did some extra riding in the forest instead of riding back.

Distance: 37 miles
Surface: Road (38km) and off-road (22km)
Time: About 6 hours total; (2.5 hours from Darlo to Hamsterley on the road)
Weather: Warm, wet and windy
Bike: Inbred

Sunday, 9 July 2006

Riding tomorrow

I'm riding with the HTB bunch again tomorrow. In writing a comment on Tom Levell's blog, I realised that tomorrow will be the first time I've ridden a geared bike since March 12th and only the 9th non-utility ride I've done this year. Strangely, I'm probably the fittest I've ever been. Odd.

Monday, 3 July 2006

Solitude first design

When I got back from my ride yesterday, Alex had sent me the first draft of his design for my Solitude Cycles frame. He sent two pictures, which show how the bike will compare with my Kona And On-One bikes. Riding on the drops, my hands should be marginally (maybe 2cm) lower that on the Kona, which should be about right; my neck was a little stiff after yesterday's ride, but there were a lot of occasions yesterday when I would have been riding on the hoods anyway.

Solitude Cycles design: comparison to Kona Hahanna

Solitude Cycles design: comparison to On-One Inbred

Solitude Cycles design

Sunday, 2 July 2006

Ride: Darlington to Barnard Castle to Hamsterley to Darlington

Well, despite getting to the Market Place with 5 minutes of registration time for the Darlington 70 mile tourist trial remaining, there was no-one to be seen. So, I went home to collect a couple of maps and rode to Ingleton, where I joined up with the Sustrans W2W route to Barnard Castle. Had lunch in Barny, when followed the W2W to Hamsterley Forest and then back to Darlington.

About 65 miles, including the faffing about in the morning, which makes it my first metric century! All on the ss Kona, which was great until I blew out the rear tyre near Archdeacon Newton, meaning I had a very slow last five miles or so (I wore right through the tyre, so there was a 1.5 inch gash right in the middle of the tread; I could have bodges a repair with a crisp packet or something if I'd been further from home). 55psi leaving a tyre in one go is loud!

Distance: 65 miles
Surface: Road
Time: About 7 hours with the slow last few miles
Weather: Hot and sunny
Bike: Rigid singlespeed Kona Hahanna, with Panaracer Cinder on the front and semi slick on the back (32:16)

Thursday, 29 June 2006

Great Divide Race

The Great Divide Race is ongoing at the moment. A couple of thousand miles, off-road, down the line of the Rocky Mountains, from the Canadian border to Mexico. Unsupported. On bikes.

Three guys even set off on fixies, but only one is still in the race at the moment.

"...and yeah, this fixie thing, um, it's pretty bomber"
- Matt Chester

You can find out more about the race at the official Great Divide Race website and follow the race on the Great Divide Race Blog. There's a thread on the MTBR forum discussing the race and equipment, with a post by Matt Chester explaining why he had to quit the race.

The fixed gear bikes being ridden my Matt Chester and Rudi Nadler are similar to the set-up I'm going to go for on my SSUK prize frame from Solitude Cycles.

Monday, 26 June 2006

Solitude Build

As I mentioned earlier, I won a custom built bike frame at SSUK2006 from Alex at Solitude Cycles. I finally got round to filling in the build sheet tonight. Here are my replies to some of the questions. Caution: I ramble.

WHAT SORT OF RIDING WILL YOU BE DOING? (Track? Off-road? 24hr races? Down the pub?)

"Most of my riding is a mix of off- and on-road. I generally ride straight from my front door, on local field-edge bridleways, farm tracks, minor roads and bits of Sustrans routes. I've ridden these with my 1.7"" slick commuter tyres, so I'm sure I'd be fine on a 'cross bike.

Once a month, I ride with the Hamsterley Trailblazers in Hamsterley; I'd probably take my Inbred to these rides, but it'd be nice to be able to take this bike too. I like being the only rigid+Vbrake rider in the group so it would be fun to ride there on this bike for a couple of rides per year. The trails at SSUK are easily the most technical my riding gets and these are the trails we ride in the forest.

My first off-road riding was in Swaledale with my dad and brother. I don't get up there very often, so I'd love a bike that I could ride the 20 mile each way on the road to Reeth and then could handle the old mining tracks.

The Hamsterley and Swaledale riding is what's edging me towards a drop-barred 29er, rather than a cross bike. Possibly somewhere between a Monster Cross and a 29er :)"

WHAT SORT OF EQUIPMENT WILL YOU USE? (Bars, brakes, hubs and gearing…)

"On-One Midge bars set up a la Matt Chester, so I can use the tops and hoods for longer road climbs and cruising, and the drops for off-road.

Canti brakes. I've just been trying to set up a mechanical disc brake on my Inbred; I don't really understand it and wouldn't like to have to try and repair it out on a ride. V brake pads seem to wear out really fast. I understand cantis I'm slow/light enough that they stop me.

Stronglight Impact cranks, with a 36t Surly ring (from HubJub). I rode 32:16 from/at/to SSUK (51.5"" on 26""x1.9), which is equivalent to 36:19 on a 700x35 tyre, so I'll probably make 36:18 my starting point for a fixed gear on this bike, but I'm open to suggestions. I'll probably start with a 35c tyre, but having clearance for about a 2.1"" tyre would be nice.

I'm thinking of either Surly or On-One double-fixed hubs, laced to Mavic Open Sport rims. 18t-fixed and 19t-free (?)"

WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM YOUR NEW FRAME? (Let me know what you are looking for )

"I'd like a bike which is simple and timeless. I don't ride fast or hard, and I'm pretty light, so most MTBs are overkill for me; I don't think I've even come close to pushing the limits of my Inbred or Kona (other than in the load I've put on them with heavy things on the rack). I've always liked that fact that the bikes I've owned could do most things ok, from forest singletrack to loaded up roadwork. I'd like the new frame to do the same.

I'd like to be able to ride a 70 mile road 'tourist trial' one Sunday and then ride on the road to Hamsterley to do a group off-road ride before riding back again on the next Sunday. I'm doing just that on my Inbred over the next two weekend, but I think I'll be wishing for a more road-oriented position on Sunday... I'd like to be able to load the bike up with camping gear, ride to a race, race, and then load up again and ride home :)"


"I like their versatility.

The Kona has a position that I can ride all day, but I start wishing for a change of hand position after a while. The bars were a bit too low for off-road use, but I raised them a couple of cm recently and they feel a lot better. I ride this Mon-Fri for getting to/from work (2.5 miles each way sprint through traffic each day, plus another 4.5 miles each-way journey to another school on a Tuesday afternoon). Riding with my hands resting on the ends of the bar, in what I imaging would be their position on a Midge bar, is really comfy.

I'm much more confident on technical off-road on the Inbred, but I feel like the position is too upright (or maybe it's just the wider bars?) a lot oif the time. Part of this might also be just being more used to the Kona."

Thursday, 15 June 2006

It's the end of the world as we know it...

...but everyone seems to feel fine.

He wants us to buy hybrid cars and compact fluorescent lightbulbs. He proposes many other things like that—including walking and biking “wherever possible�—baby steps in the right direction. Add up all the baby steps and, sure, it’s a tick in the right direction, sort of like getting people to move their beach chairs a yard higher up on the sand as the tsunami approaches. It’s a major political achievement to upset all those dozing sunbathers and make it happen. Think of the sacrifice: drinks will spill and hundreds of square inches of mayonnaise surface will be fouled with sand. But tens of lives could be saved.

A Convenient Lie at Clever Chimp is quite a depressing post about just how screwed we potentially are. Everyone who drives should be made to read this.

Today I had to take a heavy and awkward package to the post office for delivery to one of my out-of-town customers, at the same time I was watching my daughter. Juggling errands and child-rearing is one of the most commonly cited examples I hear for why the bicycle/car-free lifestyle isn't realistic.

While A Day in The Life at Oil is For Sissies is a bit more optimistic.

I'm not sure what point I'm making. Just read the links.

Monday, 5 June 2006

SSUK 2006

SSUK2006 happened at the weekend. Lots of great riding, with some cool people.

I rode up to Hamsterley from home on the Saturday morning, with all my camping gear on the rack on the back of the Kona singlespeed. I've no idea what it weighed, but I couldn't lift the back wheel off the floor. The handling with that much weight over the back wheel was 'interesting' with some nice speed wobbles when going downhill. The 32:16 gear and off-road tyres made it a little hard going in places but even having to push it up a hill or two I made it to the Hamsterley Forest in 2 hours. Once in the forest, I followed the hand-drawn map to the campsite, which was aimed at cars, and so got to ride a nice gravel climb and descent, rather than the flat riverside track tot he campsite; just what I was looking for after 20 road miles.

I got to the site and managed to blag possibly the last spot in the 'VIP field' away from the beer tent and near to the HTB crew. Once I'd got my tent set up, I took off the rack and rode the start and end of the race course with Kiwi and GhostRider, then had a ride along the Grove Link and a go down the Skills Loop, before heading back to the site to register. At registration, you had to select a card and have whatever was printed on it written on your arm in marker pen, this was the pass into the free beer and pizza later that evening. I had to "Make it more sensual..."

The free beer and pizza went down well, then I sat talking crap and drinking with the Trailblazers till a relativlely early 12:30 when I went to my very cold bed. Other stayed up much later.

After a rice pudding and flapjack breakfast, the race itself was three laps of the 6 mile circuit, with a climb of almost 3 miles to get everyone warmed up. The leaders lapped me on my second lap, so I finished after two laps. The descents were pushing the limits of my ability and bottle, with some really steep, tight, narrow, rocky, rooty stuff in there. Some people rode these on a fixed gear, which I'd not believe if I hadn't seen it myself. Nutters :)

After finishing, I hung around at the finish line for a while to cheer on some other finishers. The little kid with the "Skids are for kids" T-shirt probably got the biggest cheer. Then I went and ate more flapjacks and drank lots of water and High Five.

The prizegiving was a little surprising, with me winning the top prize! I was a little bit stunned, to say the least. The top prize is a custom-built bike frame worth £695, donated by Solitude Cycles for the "Spirit of Singlespeeding" award. Aparently, riding to and from the race with all my gear on a singlespeed is mad enough to be rewarded. TomL snapped the moment that I stood slighly shocked and recieved my prize. Expect a new blog category and lots of posts as I wonder about what to get and what components to put onto it. Alex at Solitude is a very nice man for donating it. Phil is a very nice man for awarding me the prize. I am a slightly shocked man at winning it.

After that all that was left was to pack up the tent, load up the bike and ride home. This was actually easier than I thought it would be and I made it back in 1 hour 45 minutes, with loads of cars with ss bikes on the back waving and beeping as they passed me, though I probably had a good 1000 yard stare going by the time I got back to Darlington.

Nick also has a write-up and links to a course profile and more photos.

Distance: 55 miles (Over two days: 40 miles on the road, loaded up with a couple of stone of camping gear, 12 miles in the race itself and another couple of miles with Matt and Chris)
Surface: On and off road
Time: About 7 hours total
Weather: Hot and sunny on Saturday, warm and overcast on Sunday
Bike: Rigid singlespeed Kona Hahanna, with Panaracer Cinder on the front and semi slick on the back (32:16)

Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Local Ride

Short local ride for an hour to check my bike before SSUK at the weekend. Bock o' Barmpton then Percy Lane, which was almost dry!

Quick update

I'm rubbish at updating this site at the moment.

Got a week off this week. Done some family and garden stuff so far, and swapped tyres on my Kona singlespeed ready for the National Singlespeed MTB (SSUK2006) race in Hamsterley Forest next weekend! I'm going to ride up on Saturday morning with my camping stuff on the rack, take the rack off and let some air out of the tyres for the race on the Sunday, before putting the rack back on and pumping the tyres up hard for the ride home. 60 singlespeed miles (20 of them off road in a race) in two days. Sweet.

I'm off out on the bike this afternoon for a local ride to check the new BB is in properly.

Tuesday, 25 April 2006

Need vs want

What does a man need, really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in -- and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all, in a material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.

-- Sterling Hayden, Voyage, 1976 [via Kent's Bike Blog]

Monday, 24 April 2006

HTB Booze Cruise

Went for a local booze cruise with some peeps from the Hamsteley trailblazers forum on Friday night. Local ride, out towards Barmpton village on a 'bridleway' I'd not ridden beofre, then back to Sweep and Shagga's house. Then out through Drinkfield and along black path to Faverdale BMX track, along to West Park, the on to Baydale Beck pub via Baydale Beck 'bridleway'. After some refreshments, we went back along the Baydale Beck, black path and through the denes to get back to Sweep and Shagga's house for chilli and curry.

I was on skinny tyres, but somehow avoided the double pinch flats two other bikes suffered on the way back.

Distance: 16 miles (guess based on Jo's computer, but she didn't do the first mini loop)
Surface: On and off road
Time: About 2 hours total
Weather: Warm and dark
Bike: Singlespeed Kona Hahanna commuter bike, with semi slicks (32:16)

Wednesday, 19 April 2006


Kyle MacDonald and I am trying to trade one red paperclip for a house. I started with one red paperclip on July 12th, 2005 and I am making a series of trades for bigger or better things. My current item up for trade is one year in Phoenix.

- One Red Paperclip

Sunday, 16 April 2006

Peak Oil

I just finished watching Robert Newman's History of Oil. It's quite scary watching; summed up, we're pretty much screwed. The Guardian Podcast interview with him is pretty good and sums up a lot of the points. The show was on More4, keep looking for reruns.

I may now be an anarchist anti-capitalist eco-warrior... If you own a car, fly short haul, work for The Man, shop in Tescos, use disposeable nappies or vote Labour, look out!

Saturday, 15 April 2006


Just got back from my first visit to the Rock Antics climbing wall in Aycliffe in more than five years! Managed to clean the overhang on my first attempt and flew up it as my last climb. Also climbed a few things on the first attempt that it took me a few goes at previously. Forgotten how good it was, I might have to make it a regular thing.

Wednesday, 12 April 2006

Easter Weekend

(Originally a forum post.)

Have you seen the 5 day forecast? Blimey! End-to-end sunshine!

I've got another week and a half off work, but have lost most of this one looking after the kiddies as my mother-in-law's been in hospital for emergency eye surgery. Hopefully, I'll get some riding in.

The NHS being as it is, the emergency surgery involved faffing about from Thursday to Monday; the machine breaking during the operation (after they'd knocked her out and removed the lens from her eye, but luckily before they started firing lasers at her retina!); a taxi ride to Middlesbrough (shared with some random bloke from A&E), a long wait in a cold corridor, being called a coward by a nurse for not just having a local so they could do the op faster (they were asking the people in the waiting room for volunteers to go for the local to get them done faster) and questioned as to why on earth she was going back to hospital in Darlo when she could just go home, on Tuesday; and a stay in the Memorial today while the specialist was in London. Hopefully she'll get home from her emergency surgery tomorrow, a week after being admitted!

In the odd bits of time I've had, I've stripped my commuter bike to bits. Oops. Hopefully, I'll get it reassembled in time for going to work again, otherwise I'll have to take the Inbred to work. Sweep, I may be bringing you some work... Smile

I'm hoping to get out on some local rides in the next week and a bit. On my wishlist are the bridleways out to Yarm and back, the bridleway along above the Tees from Stapleton to Croft, the bridleways from the west end of town round towards Coatham Mundeville which are potential long-ways-home, and my usual local loop up towards the Blacksmith Arms and back to see what the conditions are like at the moment. All these are potentially parts of my local uber-loop. I also want to ride to the forest and back sometime soon, to get an idea of how long it takes, so I can ride to the forest for the group rides.

I either need to fit new pads to my V brakes, or bite the bullet and fit my new/old disc brake, before I can ride any of these. I might go for the V brake option, as this needs doing before they get transplanted to the commuter anyway, and I need to keep one fully functional bike.

Wow, that turned into quite a rant. Too much white wine.

Monday, 27 March 2006

Long rides

Now is the time when the stubborn carry on. The rational have reasoned their way elsewhere. Randonneur logic is not the common logic of the masses, it is a rarer application of obsession applied to goals that few understand.
- Kent Peterson [via his blog]

Sunday, 19 March 2006

Kestrel in our garden


(Photo by Captain Chickenpants)

Standing in the garden this afternoon, talking to my daughter who was prodding things with sticks, I heard a strange noise. Looking up, I saw two birds flying really fast and close together over the road next to our house. They collided just above our garden fence, and came to ground just by our garage; about 20 feet from me. Standing there on top of the now dead bird was a kestrel. It looked at me for a second or two, then flew off, with the dead bird in its claws.

Thursday, 16 March 2006

Sofa competition

Sofa Search 2006
- What do you love about your current sofa?
- Alternatively, what do you hate about it?
- What is it about sofas that interests or intrigues you?

Tell us all about the sofa (or sofas) in your corner of the country,
and you could WIN one of three top-of-the-line sofa packages.

[via Bloggerheads]

In the last competition that I entered that Manic plugged on his site, I won a Swiss Army Card, whiich was fantastic, but I lost it when I lost my wallet. We could do with a new sofa...

Sunday, 12 March 2006

Riding in a winter wonderland

Had a great ride round Hamsterley with some people from the Hamsterely Trailblazers today. I've no idea how far we rode, or how long it took. It was great being able to ride some of the non-waymarked trails in the forest, rather than having to stick to the black route like I do when riding there alone. It may become a monthly occurence.

Riding in snow is ace!

Saturday, 11 March 2006

The Red Pill

Excellent post on the problems with cars: Clever Chimp: More Red Pills. Every day I get a little bit closer to convincing Sarah that we don't need a car.

Friday, 10 March 2006

Doh Boy

Add bread to the list of stuff not to buy at the supermarket:

Doh Boy from Howies.

His name is Doh Boy and his mission is to take the fat back out of bread. Doh Boy reckons ‘we don’t kneed it’. The only reason it is there is to help make bread quicker to make and make it last longer on the shelf. Doh Boy thinks this technique (called Chorleywood) has made fatter profits for those who make and sell it. But it has also made us all a little fatter as a result.

Stealth fat is a growing problem. These are the fats that we don’t know are there. We expect there to be fat in a chocolate bar. But we don’t expect 3 slices of some breads to have as much fat as that chocolate bar.

Three Day Weekend

Power cut at work at 10 this morning, so we all went home. Class.

Seeing the web differently

I just came across a website that looked really washed out, so I adjusted the angle of the leptop screen to try to improve it. I tilted it back much further than I usually have it and, wow!, the web has loads more colours than before.


Wednesday, 8 March 2006

Long freeform MTB 'races'

Caution: long, rambling post ahead! (This post should have more links, but it's late. I might put them in later. There's always Google (if you need a link to find that there's no hope).)

I've been reading a lot of blogs by people who ride long distances on their bikes (Matt Chester and Kent Peterson). The Great Divide Race last year sounded superb (Canada to Mexico along the line of the Rocky Mountains), and races like Trans-Iowa and Ride Across INdiana. There was a longish Scandinavian race for fixies too, Le Tour Retard(?). And I've read a bit recently about the early days of the Tour de France that makes the current race sound really tame.

A colleague of my dad's rides brevets, audax (audaxes?), randonees (basically long rides with checkpoints), like London-Edinburgh-London. Mad distances.

After riding some Sustrans routes, I've had a few ideas for long MTB 'races' (though I use the term loosly), across the North East. I was thinking of things like Barnard Castle-Bishop Auckland-Sunderland along the W2W Sustrans route with checkpoints along the way (or tasks, like noting down collection times from specific post boxes).

I just found a page with a set of ideas, all of which sound pretty cool, randoneé + alleycat. Great quote:

It's like a horrible auto wreck between a car driven by a French randonnée and one driven by an alleycat race. One part long-distance, self-supported fast touring, one part on-the-fly, all-out speed driven routing. A match made in heaven? A recipe for disaster?

Anyway, just rambling thoughts.

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

Riding in the rain

This afternoon, I rode out to Hurworth to teach a class there. It's only about 4.5 miles each way and I can't go too fast and get sweaty, but it's a really nice spin out on a work afternoon and it's 9 miles I wouldn't otherwise get to ride. 9 miles fitter. Total milage for today is 14 miles (map), all on the road.

Distance: 14 miles
Surface: Road
Time: About 1.25 hours total, in 4 journeys
Weather: Cold and damp
Bike: Singlespeed Kona Hahanna commuter bike, with 2.25″ knobbly tyres

Grow your Own

Firstly, add four pinches of insecticide. Two pinches of fungicide. And two measures of herbicide.

After picking, store in conditions that reduce the oxygen from 21% to 3% and replace with the corresponding amount of CO2 . This is perfect for stopping the aging process so the salad still appears fresh, but it can't stop the goodness being lost with each day that passes.

Keep in this state for anything up to a month.

Then take some chlorine, 50mg per litre should do it, a measure the equivalent of 20 times the strength of your local swimming pool. And gently rinse.

Then simply bag, ready for sale.

- From Howies

And that's why we'll be growing our own salad leaves this year.

We're also going to be getting most of our veg delivered by a local Veg Box company, Farm Around North. They deliver to our area on a Wednesday. We'll be getting a standard veg box and a standard fruit bix at first, then seeing how things go.

Monday, 6 March 2006

Darlington Farmers' Market

Darlington Farmers' Market is third Friday of every month:

Location: Market Place
Town: Darlington
3rd Friday Monthly
9:00 am to 4:00 pm

From NAFM.

Organic and local

We're trying to be healthier and wiser.

We're only buying meat from our local butcher; it's all locally farmed, well cared for, properly butchered and tasty gorgeous. We take our Ellie (2) to the butchers with us; she knows ham, pork, sausages and gammon all come from pigs, and that mince and beef come from cows.

At the supermarket, we try to buy organic where we can. Just about all of our meals are cooked from scratch, without even using sauces from jars. We're looking into a local organic box vegatable service, so we can buy even less from the supermarket. Even food that seems like a good choice at the supermarket is questionable; the salad bas and fruit are generally covered and washed in all sorts.

This summer, we're going to try growing some salad leaves from seed in growbags, and maybe some potatoes in pots, and tomatoes.

Ellie (usually) eats whatever we're having. When Libby (4 months) starts on solids, we'll be giving her selected bits of our meal blended up, rather than jars or preprepared food. We all sit at the table together to eat, and the TV is turned off. Sarah has started baking with Ellie every weekend, making things for our teas and my packed lunches.

Our car sits on the front for much of the week. It gets used occasionally on a weekend, and on a Monday; very rarely at any other time. We're going to get a smaller car next time, or maybe not bother replacing it. I ride my bike to work, Sarah and the kids walk just about everywhere.

I'm going to start putting up some links and things here related to all this, and photos of the veggies and food.

Thursday, 2 March 2006

I'm back baby!

Wireless internetting, with a fresh XP install. Fabbo.

Also, drinking a lurverly 15 year old expression of Laphroig single malt my dad brought me back from Scotland. Thanks, dad.

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

Swaledale - Moresdale Road and Fremington Quarry

Another quick post before I forget.

Last Saturday (18th February) I met up with a few guys from the Hamsterley Trailblazers forum, for a ride in Swaledale. Great ride, with cool people, in fantastic weather. Of the five of us, three were riding full-sus and I was the only one with rigid forks, but I didn't lose too much time on the downhills. The climbs were much easier than I remembered them being when we rode their every week; riding to work every day is definitly good for you!

Distance: 17 km
Surface: Off-road
Time: 2 or 3 hours (broken watch)
Weather: Cool, but dry and sunny
Bike: Inbred, with 2.1″ knobbly tyres

Tuesday, 31 January 2006

Home internet access problems

I currently have net access problems at home, which the nice man on the NTL helpline pinpointed as being a problem with my computer, rather than the modem. Unfortunately, I need a guaranteed working laptop more than I need net access at the moment, so I'm not fixing it till I get the current lot of marking done, which means no net access at home for a while (and I've had none for 2 weeks already). Plus, between kids and work I just don't have the time to get it fixed at the moment. As I'm now just online at work updates to this site will be even less frequent than they have been...

Tuesday, 17 January 2006

Site borked

Looks like my bookmarks include is broken and that's messing up the site. I might fix it at some point, if I get time or can be bothered. Or, it might fix itself.

Friday, 13 January 2006

On-and off-road through Bolam, Bishop Auckland, Middridge and Aycliffe again

Quick post before I forget.

Last Sunday (8th January) I rerode the longish local on- and off-road ride through Bolam, Bishop Auckland, Middridge and Aycliffe which I first did a while ago. It was a great ride again; muddy in places, but not massively so, untill I made the mistake of riding the bridleway around the old Fujitsu factory which has 14" deep puddles in places and was boggin'.

  • Distance: 30ish miles

  • Surface: Mixed on- and off-road

  • Time: 3 hours 45 minutes (a good 30 minutes of which were probably the bit round Fujitsu...)

  • Weather: Cool, but dry

  • Bike: Inbred, with 2.1″ knobbly tyres

Tuesday, 10 January 2006

Cycling in Darlington in the Guardian

There was a long piece about cycling in Darlington in the Guardian yesterday. It's available in text-only form online: Making tracks . I'm getting a copy of the paper to see if there are any photos.

In some parts of Europe, a quarter of all journeys are made by bike. In Britain the figure is 2%. Can anything persuade us to leave our cars and get pedalling? Perhaps the unlikeliest of towns - Darlington - holds the key.

Darlington is no more than four miles wide on its longest axis (east-west) - you could cycle end to end in 15 minutes. From the outskirts to the inner pedestrian precinct could never be more than a couple of miles, but 80% of car trips are into the city centre. The transport unit's research shows that 34% of car journeys could, theoretically, be done by bike (short trips with no passengers or loads).

They've got an uphill struggle: I've been cycling to work for the last 11 months and people think I'm mad for doing so; since September, I've been cycling to Hurworth for work one afternoon per week and that's seen as insane - it's only 4.5 miles!

The tragic deaths of four cyclists in Wales last weekend has made people percieve cycling as even more dangerous, despite the fact you're statistically more likely to die playing bowls than while cycling.

Tuesday, 3 January 2006

Local road/off road New Years Day ride

Went for a local ride mixing up road, field-edge bridleways and gravel roads/farm tracks in preparation/"training" for the Hell o' The North century ride and its precursers that I'll be doing in over the summer. Apart from one trip to town and back, I've not ridden my bike for a month due to flu and Christmas holidays so I wasn't sure how well I'd handle it, especially the day after New Years...

I did a variation on a ride I did a while ago, just riding the beginning, then following a main road home. You can see a map at Gmaps pedometer (ignore the distance, it's actually 20 miles, I cocked up).

  • Distance: 20ish miles

  • Surface: Road, bridleway, gravel road

  • Weather: Cold and dry, bit of a headwind at start

  • Time: noonish, 2 hour 15 minutes

  • Bike: Inbred, with 2.1" tyres

  • Comments: Nice ride. Lots of icy puddles still.

Anyway, it was a nice two hours. There are a load of bridleways in the Bildershaw area, anyone ridden any of them?

The elevation feature in Gmaps looks cool; if only Google would get OS mapping.

Possible problems

I've forgotten to renew the hosting for mactually, and it runs out tomorrow. I'm going to pay this afternoon, but I may disappear briefly. Not that anyone would notice.