Time to call it a Day

Just had notification that its going to cost $99 to keep the blog going and frankly it a cost that I’m not willing to bear anymore.
Why blog when you have awesome stuff like Google Stories.
If you trust Google, and why wouldn’t you, enable auto upload and autoawesome on Google+ and take pictures of what matters in your life.
Google does the rest and the results can be spectacular.

Garmin should be ashamed of the level of the support they give for their devices but they have been surpassed by the likes of Google Maps. Get a smart phone and enable it. Live traffic data, if your in a jam turn to Google Maps to find out why. Sally Traffic on Radio 2 should be made redundant.

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Tour de Frank 2014


By the time I post this I will be into the last week of the Tour de France 2014.  What a roller coaster it has been. I bypassed the Yorkshire stages and went straight to London and we plonked ourselves on the Mall at 300 meters to go.

A journalist interviewed Val and I with Val noting his name.

Screenshot 2014-08-10 at 07.21.20Next day we were in the Financial Times!

I think I made the right choice to stay out of Yorkshire even though millions made it to the stages.  London did what it does best with a stage finishing on the Mall.

The Chunnel had a fire in it so the crossing on Tuesday was delayed by an hour or so, but we made it. Then it was straight to Arrenburg for the cobbles wildcamping for the night. Two stages were cancelled due to bad weather right next to us

No pictures at the moment. Plenty to come when I get back.

Now at the base of Hautacam waiting for the stage in 2 days. Two weeks in I have enough of the road, the final week will be here. Stunning views a trip to remember, as for the race there is on Nibali left.

11 July Epernay to Nancy stage.

The day before the stage I decided to go for a ride and rode 3 Kms on the wrong side of the rode.

Straight roads as ever. There was a french family parked up on the part that the Tour wasn’t taking.

The French Cycling Federation were busy giving the local kids a trial of BMX and other events.

This came through after the roads had been closed.

With that it was time to get back to the campsite through one of the nicest villages we had passed through.

Google Camera Compilation

Google is now processing your photographs in the background giving shots like the above or panoramas.

 

Screenshot 2014-08-10 at 07.21.20

 

 

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Screenshot 2014-08-09 at 21.08.48 Just to prove your tracker works abroad with no data roaming. Say bye bye to monthly tracking costs.

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Can’t fault the Snooper 9500 other than the fact that France does not do DAB very much. I could have done with the race radio frequency but the app was just as good. It’s nice to know the tracker is there working away in the background. From the start other than Crystal Palace there where only 3 sites booked and that was at last minute with a few complications.

Be advised French IT systems may not accept your phone or Ipad for booking online, that was the biggest learning point this year.

It was a monumental trip and a lot will not make it into this post each day was an adventure. At one stopover I gave the woman that ran the site the Yorkshire Tea we picked up in London. It was one moment of many.  We arrived late to what was a restricted entrance. It didn’t stop her  bollocking a waiting driver saying that we were on “holiday”.

Campsites
Name Arrival Nights Stars Cost £ Cost € Mileage
Crystal palace 05/07/2014 3 4 £58.00 9152
Orchies Wild Camping 1 0 €0.00 9327
Ribemont 1 2 €10.00 9430
Camping de La Pelouse 10/07/2014 2 2 44.32€
Camping les Cigognes 12/07/2014 3 3 55.38€ 9798
Camping Les Merilles 15/07/2014 2 46.52€ 9944
Camping St James Les Pin 18/07/2014 2 3 44.40€ 10214
Camping Du Mas De rey 20/07/2014 1 4 €33.10 10432
Camping Du Lavedan 21/07/2014 5 186.20€ 10743
Camping Nontron 26/07/2014 1 2 17.24€ 11016
Camping Mamers 27/07/2014 1 2 11.00€ 11285
 £58 €448.16

 

There is another night of wild camping to add to the above. If I knew what I know now it will be a lot less next year.  Two star sites were half the price of 3 and 4 star ones with the only difference being entertainment being laid on and a pool.

Week ending 11May2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First off the motorhome has been if for an upholstery upgrade at Regal Furnishings at Ilkeston.

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It involved a trip down on wednesday for measuring up with the job being completed on the Thursday. We were shown how the bed was made up and discovered we were missing a piece of foam.
It also meant an overnight stay in the carpark on the electric hookup.

A nice touch were the matching cushions that we wernt expecting.

It all went well the only downside was returning to the storage to find the road flooded.

Mayday ride to Ice Cream Farm

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Decided to ride out to the Ice Cream Farm on May bank holiday via Cheshire Oaks Cycles. As you can see the place was heaving so much so that I left for Old Ma,s Cafe.

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Seacombe Panorama from The Ferry
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Dee Marsh crossing panorama
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Southport Caravan Club site
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Southport Caravan club upgrade.
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Titanium at Old Ma’s Cafe
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Titanium at Old Ma’s Cafe
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Titanium at Old Ma’s Cafe
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Titanium at Old Ma’s Cafe
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Titanium at Old Ma’s Cafe
Disc front fork
Titanium at Old Ma’s Cafe
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Titanium at Blue Moon Cafe
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Chester Racecourse Panorama
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Dee Marsh Cycle crossing

 

Think there was an Audax calling in at Old Ma’s cafe as there were 6 titanium bikes propping the walls up.

I’ve been playing with the panorama feature of the Motorola Moto G which is a great smartphone for only £100. It cost less for the new phone than to repair my Galaxy S3.

I bumped in to Dan on the Dee Marsh crossing and ended up talking to him for a couple of hours. We started our apprenticeships  on the same day in August 1976. He has retired  now at 55 and it’s something I have been looking into seriously.

It has got to the stage were I have been for financial advice which proved fruitful the only spanner in the works being the recent pharmaceutical mergers means the site is being divested.

Week ending 20 Apr2014

It’s been a while since I posted so the following is in no particular order at the moment. I’m still getting out on the bike but not as much.  The receipt below was for 2 Subs and 2 coffees at the NEC  caravan and camping show. At first I thought it was for £11,000 no wonder I now need glasses.

A fair bit has been going on behind the scenes and I will fill in the blanks later.

I’ve been playing around with blog themes again and getting in a right knot at times as you can probably tell

2 Subs and 2 Coffees
Catastrophic Wheel Failure

If ever you get the chance to test ride a high end bike, take it. I took two of the Storck bike out for a test ride that was at Eureka Cyclesports and was really impressed by them.

With each pedal stroke you could feel the effort being transferred  to forward motion.

CTC ride to the Shire horse Centre

It’s been a while since I rode with the CTC and it turned out to be a lumpy one. The weather was fine and it was time to bring the bibshorts out. Led by Janet who has a Contador style when climbing , I was near the back with Roy and his Saggan descending style (sitting on the cross bar). The stop above is where the group had a double puncture. I departed at Queenferry to come back via the Dee cycle crossing, a great days cycling

Things have been moving on the motorhome front with a few trips to local Caravan club sites. It was at Cheshire Oaks on a ride to the Eureka Cafe that the Sabbath rear wheel collapsed.

Worse was to come with the news that Dandy Storage and Truckstop was closing and we only had 3 weeks to move out.  It meant a trip back to Zone 1 Storage which was filling up fast, about 10 people had been down that afternoon. A few calls to other local storage sites were not answered or they were full too.

At least the road has been done and the topsoil mountain next door has been leveled.

 

Liverpool waterfront

Sabbath at Harrison Drive

Pubstop at The Ferry

Ridewise  I’ve been doing the Wirral Coastal trail a lot, which features a lot of traffic free cycle routes and paths. Anywhere midweek is a quiet ride if you stay off the A roads.  Liverpool looks good from the Seacombe side and you could get a good 60 miles in if you wanted to take in the Dee cyclepath to Chester.
Finding stuff like the Birkenhead Drill Memorial makes it an interesting ride.

CTC Spring 50

Panorama from Borras Head

Things didnt quiet go to plan on this ride as I arrived late after cleaning the chain with the Lidl chain cleaning tool.

The panorama picture above was the MotoG £100 smartphone working out I was taking a panoramic shot, stitching the pics together and uploading it to my Google Cloud with no intervention from myself.

Lunch stop

The Edge 800 got thoroughly confused by the figure of 8 Course that had the lunch stop at the start/finish. I should have just followed my nose as it’s not like I haven’t ridden it before.

I was getting false directions in Fardon about half a mile in. At Kinnerton it said I had finished and that was last years route! After lunch it proceeded to send me around Carden Park golf course, retracing to the gates where i met Chester Tri ladies doing the short route. It found itself back on course a mile or so after the Carden Arms.

Pub stop

Weekending 02 Feb 2014

I’ll start with a picture from last Saturdays ride were a fair few were caught out by the freakish winds and hailstones.

Hail at Cheshire Oaks Cycles

I’d ridden out to Steve Webb Models in Frodsham for some bits for the latest thing to divert my attention, mainly getting Pauls 20 year old radio controlled car back on the track. More of which in a later post. I took a trip out to the Ice Cream Farm with the grandkids on the Sunday and it was totally devoid of cyclists. Given the weather I don’t blame them.

Today was my first Sunday ride for a long time, with an early trip out to the Eureka. It was standing room only with large groups of Northend, Sunlight and Century packing the place out.

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This was after the Northend had already left for their ride.

Todays ride was with the CTC to the Grosvenor Garden Centre via Burton Point and the Dee Cycle path, which incidentally has had all the washed up plastic cleared.

Along with the tidal bore the Guppy was landing at Broughton for some more A320 wings.

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The phone camera doesn’t do it justice. You can’t see the screen to compose the picture so what you get is really pot luck in these conditions.

I ended up having a really good day saw some new faces and a lot of old ones.  The pace was relaxed but it still ended up as a 40 mile ride.  I split from the returning group at the end of Greenway continuing on to the Dee cycle crossing where I picked up a slow puncture.  Another stop at the square at Parkgate and again at Heswall golf club where I was diverted off the Wirral Way onto Well Lane and then home.

It turned out to be a 58.5 mile ride and would have been a fair bit more barring the slow puncture. I had planned on doing the Wirral circular to give the new light a try out.

On a different note  The Armstrong Lie is at Vue , Cheshire Oaks. 1 show a day  it’s going to be a short run by the look of things.

One is a Churchill victory salute the other is what English longbowmen waved to the French

Weekending 05 Jan 2014

Black Pearl Sunk

First ride of the year with this picture being the highlight of it.

New Brighton had crowds watching the waves break with the worst of it over by the time I arrived.

Helmet damaged in my only crash to date.
Helmet damaged in my only crash to date.

Just to add to the helmet debate again in the light of Michael Shumacher accident. My crash was at only 14-15 mph and happened that fast there was no chance of me avoiding my head hitting the ground. It cracked the foam and depressed the plastic shell over a fair size. I had a twinge from my chipped collar bone last week just to remind  me of it.

Thatchbirds at high tide

Had to stop to take a picture of the birds at Harrison Drive, quite interesting to watch them flocking as a wave came in.

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You normally cant get a road bike past Harrison drive due to drifting sand but the council seem to have done a good job and cleared it all. This section past Leasowe Castle is not part of the cycle route.

 

 

 

 

 

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Had to revert to the mobile phone for the pictures on this ride except for the  Sabbath picture.
Interesting ride, other things going on was a cheque in the post that I wasn’t expecting. This had to be paid in and brings you up against Birkenhead parking charges, the street parking having empty bays where they would be full in the past.

I ended up jet washing the bike after this ride which is a first, the sand in the brake blocks sounding like coarse grinding paste.

Went the van only to find it much as we left if before christmas. Polished the acrylic windows with perspex polish as the upper ones tend to mark with twigs brushing against them. Did a damp check after the habitation service and found the reading is coming down which is all good news.

The return trip from Dandy past Burton Point must have had half the northwests twitchers there.

As for the new year nothing planned yet but a spring classic would be nice to see.

Charging your Garmin Edge on the move

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This post is to address the issue of charging your Garmin Edge on the move. It’s been an ongoing problem for the long distance cyclist since the days of the 305. Battery life for an 800 is about 12 hours from 100% charge.

I resorted to trying to charge up my 305 in Audax control points with mixed results. As you can see an Edge 800 draws 440mA whilst charging a 50% discharged edge.  You can’t get blood out of a stone and whatever system you use your biggest enemy is going to be time.

The charging port on an 800/810 is on the bottom edge as above, this precludes the use of K Edge and Garmin Barmounts20130403_155632[1]

So for an Edge 800 it has to be the stem mount, conversely for an Edge 705 a bar mount may be the better option. On a 705 the charging port is on the bottom and an oversize stem may interfere with USB plug.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultra-Compact-Lipstick-Sized-Sensation-ThunderBolt-Blackberry/dp/B005QI1A8C/ref=sr_1_20?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1388695578&sr=1-20&keywords=power+monkey

Do an Ebay or Amazon search for Power Bank or Power Monkey. There is a vast choice.

https://buy.garmin.com/en-GB/GB/shop-by-accesories/batteries/external-power-pack/prod86599.html

£70 is too much imho, bear in mind it has to charge on the move and the battery needs mounting somewhere. It needs to be robust.

Your Edge shutting down 100 miles is not something you want to see on a 120 mile ride.

The cheap emergency phone chargers are not up to the job for todays devices, like I said you cannot get blood out of a  stone. They are designed for a Nokia and who uses them these days.

The same applies to smartphones perhaps to a greater degree as battery life is hopeless with all the bells and whistles on.

If your already using something that works let me know what it is

In the near future I will be making a charging regulator designed to make use of the MagicShine battery pack.  The pack is rated at 8800mA/hr and will power the light for 3.5 hours.  It will consist of a 7805 regulator and plug for the battery.

Advert Free

Made a few changes to the Blog , it should now be advert free. For whatever reason there has been a marked reduction in site traffic and hence advert impressions.
I’ve paid for the premium upgrade so there should be no adverts on the site. I had no control over what type of  advert appeared , which was annoying me and I expect you.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Weekending 15December 2013

Tour Test Video

Been in work all week with the news that I will be going back on 2 days 2 nights in Febuary 2014.


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The plan was to meet up with Paul in London but thats gone out the window.

Another Caravan Club site that has parakeets among the local wildlife. Trip down here was quite relaxed and now I am here It seems a better location to watch the London stage of the 2014 Tour de France.

No bike this time as it’s only a short stay. Writing this in the van while watch BBC Sports personality of the year. Wiggo seems to have smartened himself up for the occassion for once.

Cost of 3 nights in London for Tour de France next year £58.

I’ve gone to premium for the blog to get the page width wider.  At the same time I’m getting comments trying to bypass the filters and link to an advert. Most are harmless , just stop, it’s annoying.

http://pixori.al/96a97

Weekending 08 Dec 2013


Back to the old form of posting, hopefully it will be little and often.
Sunday 01 Dec 2013.  Picked the van up and collected the grandkids to take them to the ICF.  Past a group of the CTC near Newton Lane and parked up in the car park. We were met by a queue that seemed to stretch around the block. Santa,s grotto was open and they had baby reindeer to boot.

Managed to get into the playbarn at the right time and settled down to read the Sunday Times. At the food counter who should I meet but Brian and Roy from the CTC. I did mention it’s called Crazy Daisey,s for a reason, it can get pretty crazy in there.

Things settled down later and after an Ice Cream the kids got to stroke the baby reindeers nose. +1 to Cheshire Ice Cream Farm.
I’d bought some Christmas lights for the van from Maplin on the Friday so they got a try out to amuse the kids and me. Spent hours trying to get things sorted out on ChromeBook with mixed results. It was a long day.
Monday 02 Dec 2013  Had booked into Tex,s spin class at the Oval only to find it being taken by Angie.  Sweated a bucket, finished the class as headed for the showers only to find no change from 2011, a disgrace. Spotlights don’t work and are hanging out of the fibreboard.
A trip to Aldi for noodles for lunch and some fruit then home.
Washed the car and booked another spin class at the Oval.

It gets busy in the evening but this class was one spinning class too far, I promptly blew up about half way through it as a bowl of noodles isnt enough for two classes like these. Coasted to the end, headed home for  a shower where I wont pick up an infectous disease.

Netflix is the new Blockbusters in this household and ouce you have it you can see why BlockBusters had no chance. Work in the morning.

The Garmin needs an update so it’s back to Windows in the near future.
Tuesday 03 Dec 2013 First day back in work.
Wednesday 04 Dec 2013 Caravan Club site is now taking bookings for 2014. this means Crystal Palace Caravan club site will take bookings for the Tour de France dates.
The golden hour approached and nothing happened, repeatedly. When I finally got in to the booking site I was logged out so had to go through the whole process again. I’ve booked three nights as the logistics of getting down there in good time meant I wouldn’t see much of a stage on Saturday even if I could find somewhere to park the van.

The recent WRC round in Wales showed me just how narrow our roads are. Next thing is to book Eurotunel , It was a huge relief to get the London booking now to try and plan the rest of the route.

Saturday 07 Dec 2013

 

Rode out to see how the van coped with the tidal surge.  Called in at the Bike Factory and Cheshire Oaks Cycles on the way back and gave the MagicShines a decent trial after the repair.

 

 

 

 

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I gave the MagicShine 808 a trial run during the week and it got that hot I cooled it down under the tap. Unfortunatley the waterproofing wasnt 100% and the clicky switch failed with it stuck in whatever mode it felt like on powerup. Maplin supplied a new switch for £1.39, it meant cutting the legs down do size but the result was a working light again.
These lights are £18 on ebay these days and give enough light to actually see where you are going. 

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The Dee cycle crossing shows just how much the storm surge travelled up the river Dee.
I was surprised how much plastic it washed up along with large CalorGas bottles.

20131207_140914[1]This is the cycle path just by the racecourse. Cycling along the path from Queensferry the tide mark was about a foot from the top of the path. If the bank had burst a lot of people would be under a few feet of water.

 

A weblog offering firsthand advice to the overweight looking to improve their health and lifestyle through cycling. A link to a pdf of the diet I am following is on the Diet under the About menu.

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