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)