Saturday, 31 March 2007

Just call us Tom and Barbara

Had a brilliant family day today. We walked to the shops, with E and L riding their bikes, to get a WiFi adapter for the old PC I salvaged from work and a new toilet seat. When we got home, S cut the grass while me and L did some gardening and E slept.

We moved a couple of plants from the back garden to the front to make room for a small (2m x 0.7m) vegetable plot. I used a left over piece of wood to make it into a slightly raised bed, and laid down the cardboard box my Solitude came in as a weed-suppressing mat and covered it in 3 or 4 inches of compost from our composter.

The idea is that the cardboard stops the grass and weeds below from growing up through the new soil on top, which we use for growing veg. After a while the card will rot down, but by then the weeds below will also have rotted. I saw it on TV on It's Not Easy Being Green last year and looked it up online. S was sceptical, but it actually looks OK since you can't see the cardboard.

We've not planted anything yet, but will be growing peas, tomatoes, salad leaves and other stuff.

When E woke up, she helped for a while, then S, E and L made dough for pizzas and bread. We had the pizzas for tea, and will have the bread for breakfast tomorrow.

Brilliant day!

Friday, 30 March 2007

March Riding

Proper rides: 0 miles (again! No proper rides for two months running is pathetic.)
Business miles: 45 miles (five 9 mile trips, road)
Commuting: 105 miles (21 days riding to work and back)
Misc: 20 miles (a couple of trips to town)

Total: 170 miles

Some riding for work trips and having no holiday this month has helped keep the mileage up a little but work and preparation for Darlington Cycling Campaign stuff (the Symposium and being guest speaker at the Lib Dem's meeting) has stopped me getting out for proper rides on a weekend.

I have two weeks off work for Easter starting now, so I should get some riding in; hopefully at least one long ride. I need to cover at least 68 miles to make up for not commuting.

Update: That's actually the most riding I've done in a month since October. That either means it's not as bad as I thought it was, or that I didn't ride nearly enough in any of the last five months.

Update 2: So far this year, I've ridden 406 miles (650 km). That's an average of 135 miles (221 km) per month. At this rate I'll do 1620 miles (2592 km) in 2007, compared to 1700 miles (2720 km) in 2006.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Solitude build gets nearer to completion

Last night I put my tyres onto my wheels. I put the rear wheel and saddle/seatpost into the frame. I connected up the front wheel, forks, stem and handle bars. I couldn't join the front of the bike to the rear, but I got Sarah to hold them together so I can get an idea of the finished product.

It's going to be one beautiful bike; I can't wait to get it finished.

(Pushing a wheel around, connected to some bars could be the Next big Thing in MTBing. I'm so niche it hurts.)

Monday, 26 March 2007

Solitude build a step closer

On Saturday morning the stem and chain i ordered from Wiggle arrived. On-One are currently processing my order for brake levers, canti, innertubes, sprocket and lockring.

If I use some crappy Wilkinsons 700x35 tyres I have in the garage and take the saddle and seatpost from my Inbred and the cranks/chainring off my kona, I only need a headset, BB and brake cables to get the frame built up!

Update: My On-One order arrived today!

Friday, 23 March 2007

Massive Westminster security breach - Won't be on mainstream media

yesterday afternoon, a lone protester drove her car through the main gates into the westminster compound, her aim to perform a citizen's arrest on tony blair. this was a massive breach of security, but police are anxious to keep it quiet for all sorts of reasons, so i doubt you'll hear about it on mainstream media.

- Indymedia: Massive Westminster security breach - Won't be on mainstream media

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

I've turned into one of those people who write letters to their local newspaper

I've just sent a reply to a letter in today's Northern Echo, which was about a photograph of me in Monday's paper. Last night, I was guest speaker at a local Liberal Democrat meeting. On Saturday, I was speaking at a meeting of 50 people I helped to organise.

How did this happen?

Tuesday, 6 March 2007


I'm here. Suffice to say that I have not been well since October + I'm sorry again for prolonged waits. I am building bikes & 700see does exist...although I opted to start over after major anxiety looking at the original issue #1. The new issue #1 is more like a novella in length (same # pages, but different layout resulting in much more content). More soon.

Brilliant news from Matt Chester about his 700see bike zine.


Matt's added a preview of some of the zine:

The universe sits floating within us. It vibrates and resonates, tones and overtones crescendoing in great expositions of supposed clarity - always influenced by boxes of radiation under control by keyboard and keypad like so many fingers over the holes of a recorder. Maybe an open note is in order, a great powering down, an end to detachment by external means, an end to isolation by pulling out the earbuds and letting the screen go black. A softness. A release. A hazy focus. Who knows?

Maybe one can know all when one feels small.

Friday, 2 March 2007

Babs To Brisbane


My aim is to travel from the UK to Brisbane for one of my best friends' wedding. Plane travel is so environmentally damaging so I am looking for another way. I also think that by travelling over land and sea I will be able to understand our world better as I will connect with the people and landscapes and not just look at the departure board in the airport. Any tips gratefully received!! Departure date 1st September.

From STW:

She is now heading back towards the UK and due to a couple of complications has chosen to fly from Oz to Bali. In order to offset this she intends cycling the final leg of her journey, South France to Wales.

Plan is to take 2 weeks, starting 7th April.

"..... South of France to Wales. If anyone has any advice or tips, lives along the way or would like to join me/put me up along the way then please let me know"

Possibly a bicycle in south of France, suitable for av. height woman (read short, but im 6'0, so 5'4"/5'5")
Accomodation - anything between the Med and the Channel.
Company, support, like minded cyclists.

Can anyone help?

Red Noses Illegal! (near Parliament)

Click here to find out how to avoid arrest on Red Nose Day

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Off-road Fixin'

There's a new out today.

Highlights of this penultimate issue include Martin King's voodoo-free how to on converting a computer to measure cadence, and an extract from a new short story by Michael Stenning, along with the usual slew of interesting bikes and ride reports.