New Years Resolutions

Rather than end the year on the previous negative post I thought I would try and end it with a positive one.
Throughout the year I’ve had various comments about this site being inspirational to others. 2007 was a challenge year for me, to see what I was made of. It was a truly fabulous year for me in that respect.

So if your looking at a New Years resolution for next year all I can say from personal experience is don’t set your goals too high. I didn’t have a target at the start as I didn’t know how far things would go.  All I can say is don’t put the decision off, the sooner you get started the better.

It’s all about self improvement, once you start seeing an improvement it is important not to let up. The diet is the first thing to get sorted, without sorting your diet  out your not going to get anywhere. I really mean this, for me the British Heart Foundation plan was a winner from the day I started it.

Next up is the 30 minutes a day of exercise you should be doing five times a week. This could be walking (not strolling) but it is important to do it come hell or high water.
Perspiration is the key, if your not breaking into a sweat your not going hard enough.

I’ve been to enough followup classes now to realise that the exercise is the real key to the sustained weightloss. The diet will stop you gaining weight and give you a pound a week weightloss but coupled with the daily exercise this will turbocharge your results.

Don’t be under the illusion that weights and exercise is just a bloke thing. The likes of Slimming World and Weight Watchers  promote dieting but only encourage exercise.
This is because the consultant is not trained in exercise.I’ve been told that the Rosemary Conley classes may be different. ( the instructors are trained to run a fitness class, geared towards women. I’m getting in the neck about the geared towards comment. If it is wrong tell me.)
The difference is marked. If I go to Ron with a fitness problem it is sorted all care of the NHS.(Ron is my mentor and it all rings true)

Now for the hard bit you have to want to do this 167 hours a week. The other hour will be spent in a weigh in  or other form  of class. For gods sake don’t cheat on yourself, this is not rocket science. Just  burn off more calories than you consume.

Now it is a lifelong  mission not  to go back to the way I was, I’m sure I was for shortening it by decades the way I was.

Have a great 2008


Do I deserve decapitation?

I don’t know who has rattled his cage  but I don’t think I deserve decapitation for riding two abreast. As a Northender week in week out you get continual abuse from motorists  whose journey has been slowed for a couple of seconds. Usually in Wales for some reason which is not usually noted for busy roads.

I don’t litter the countryside but have committed the crime of wearing Lycra and wearing a ludicrous helmet, ride in pairs. Have yet to find a Carbon fibre bell for the high carbon footprint Trek. I’ve yet to see a cyclist drink Red Bull, let alone throw the can into the hedge. As for Lucozade I had a bottle for nearly a year unopened because I read the label.

He just got himself in the black book under the idiot section.

Been reading the comments (now up to 71) including one from Barry who went out on a ride with me on Wednesday (Boxing day) The thing was Barry thanked everyone that let us by, pulled their dog over, the horse riders by the Thatch. We passed at least 50 with no agro. This story is going to run by the looks of it.

Now up to 77 mostly reasoned posts which was more than that pricks Parris  post was.  I carry a spare gear cable  that  between  two sticks  would be just up his street.
Anyway after considering yesterdays events I posted the following to the Times comments section.

On the day Benazir Bhutto gets assasinated  for wanting political freedom we have Matthew Parris wanting cyclists decapitated for dropping litter and wearing Lycra.
You must feel a proud man Matthew Parris.

Hasn’t made it to the thread yet but his writing really mucked up half a day of my life, I went to the cinema with Val to see the Will Smith movie and came out to the news that Benazir Bhutto was dead. Pretty ironic that on the day he takes a pop at the likes of me a political leader gets assasinated.

Just had an email from the CTC about writing to the Times editor rather than the Letters page. The comments are now up to 110 which makes it the most commented section of their site.
28 Dec 07
Went out for a ride today, my last of the year and although I had a torrid time with three punctures it wasn’t a bad day. No piano wire and no loons trying to take me out. 41 miles and enough time to get myself sorted a good end to the year.

“I offended many with my Christmas attack on cyclists. It was meant humorously but so many cyclists have taken it seriously that I plainly misjudged. I am sorry.”

Thanks for the apology Matthew not easy say sorry when you’ve been getting away with it for years. Say something decent about us and you may even get your name taken out of the black book. 04 Jan 2008

Weekending 30 Dec 07

Monday: Last minute Christmas shopping
Tuesday: Christmas day, rode around to my mum and dads on the toy but had to put a new tube in the rear tyre. Last time it was used was on Jacks funeral. Did about 5 miles  and coming back home the roads were empty.
Wednesday: Went out on a 40 mile ride with Barry from the North End. Eureka closed and going down Woodbank there was a club coming the other way. We ended up at the Blue Moon Cafe on the Dee at Chester. Route went around the Roodee racecourse. One puncture at Parkgate didn’t deter us. The route back was back on the cycle track coming off at Upton to give the A5117 gap a try. It means cycling about 100 yards up the road to where the gap is.The Woodbank side has been tarmaced for access to the farm and is wider than the old cycle crossing.
route back was via the Missing Link. The tide was high going to Chester and it was still rising when we were sat outside at the Blue Moon Cafe. The river upstream of the weir was rising and the pontoon that the rowing club had set off from ended up being submerged.
Barry has entered for the Dave Lloyd mini challenge, I’m still toying with the mega challenge. The mini is a challenge in itself but you’ve got to have a dream. I’m still working out what I want to do but the Ventou has already come up in conversation.
I’ve a feeling I should work my way up the list but I do want to do Alpe D’huez and a couple of other classics.
Mind you from some one who never ventured outside the Wirrall on a cycle the UK still has a lot to offer as I discovered last year.
Link to Google Map of ride

Barry it is worth looking at the map in hybrid mode, you can see where we crossed the A5117, cut the corner in Upton and rode around the race course.
Thursday: Jumped on the scales and didn’t  like what I saw, time to get back into it. Time to sort out the punctures, fettle the bikes and get back to the gym.
Went to Tesco,s for Cycling weekly which wasn’t in so bought the Times and had a cup of tea. I don’t know who has upset Matthew Paris be he’s suggesting decapitating us with piano wire for among other things riding two abreast. I’ll put a link in. Another anti cycling piece from a Times writer, I may be taking anons advice and switching newspaper.
Booked in for a spinning class at West Kirby and sorted the punctures out.
Spinning class went well, only half turned up and I’d missed out on the morning class.

Barbara,s Thursday Class.JPG Spent 10 minutes warming up and the final sprint shows the three sprinting stages to the final track.
Friday is step class and I don’t do step yet!
Friday is my last day off before I go back to work so I’d like to make the most of it. I’ve wasted a lot of time on the Parris post but it’s probably worth it in the long run.
Friday: My last day off. Intend to make the most of it. Booked in for a spin at West Kirby but want to get my last ride of the year in. What a year it’s been, finally got the work/life balance sorted.  Fitness is good but could be a bit better, at this rate I’ll see 50 where two years ago it was marginal. I wouldn’t have seen 55 which is a pensionable age for me.

Went out for a ride and as it blowing a gale the wind direction dictated it was going to be another Wirral ride. Cake stop at Ness Gardens then on to Parkgate, Wirral Way coming off at Lower Heswall. The cycle path by Church Farm has had the hedge cut and this was my undoing. After a 30 mph blast down Thurstaton cutting I ended up with a puncture at Caldy village or should I say three. I was taking my time with the first one and used my last patch on it.
Puts the wheel back in only to find the front flat  too. Sorts that one out only to find the rear has gone soft. Pumped it up but only got as far as the boat club in West Kirby. Used my last tube on it  and limped to Morrisons. Didn’t look like I get a place in the cafe so pressed on to the Bike Shop in Moreton for a tube and 2 repair outfits.
Then it started to rain. Time to put the Altura overtrousers on. I had my Altura Hi-Viz Jacket on too and with the sleeves over the Aldi winter gloves I remained pretty dry.

Changing three tubes meant my hands were filthy and the next stop was Woodside for a clean up and a cup of tea. I must have spent an hour on the punctures so I was running late. The toy had a flat too so I’ve still got a problem with the tyre, I’m having a bad time with punctures at the moment and kevlar belting in the Conti that I fitted the other week didn’t work for me. Home down route 56, 41 miles and the end of my riding year.
5220 Miles, 214,228ft of climbing 317,418 calories burnt, Max pulse 192 BPM !!!
What a year.
Spinning class at West Kirby only about 8 of us for the last one of the year. Not intense as yesterday, I spent it at a whole heartrate zone lower than yesterdays class.
Saturday: First day back at work this month right in to the thickof it, no exerise.
Sunday: Much the same as Saturday but did some chinups. They only confirmed what I’ve been feeling for a while, that I’ve lost form. Used to rattle 10 off no problem now it is 5 or 6. So thats the new year resolution, do more weights in the gym and regain what form I had. When I kept a log I could see if I was improving, once I stopped logging it was too easy not to that extra rep to beat the last score. At least I know what is required.

The Year in review.

What a year this has been. I’ve had some fantastic rides with the CTC culminating with the Wild Wales. This has been my most memorable event  as it was the event of legends. I didn’t ride it as a Northender as I wasn’t one at the time but rode it as a CTCer. It was a great event, i rode it with people I knew and we didn’t get lost thanks to the Garmin Edge 305.
These were not at race pace but at a pace an average cyclist could maintain.
Think 13 mph and you should be OK.
The Audaxes and Ray  taught me a bit of discipline. Pacing is what it is all about in audaxes. A group suffers at the controls as the individual dosn’t hang around. 

I’ve had some great moments on the Audaxes on 2007, Ray,s sense of balance meant we all finished what we had started with no one left behind. Numbers are set to increase for 2008. This is all good stuff as the group is more powerfull than the individual. Unless I am on the front trying to maintain 13 mph into a 26 mph headwind (Poynton to Chirk).  From coming from nothing it was a groundbreaking year.

The Tour de France Prologue was amazing and I was glad to have been there. Red Ken deserves the credit, a tribute to cycling.

Highlight of the year was the TLI Roadraces at Oulton Park,  following 1 Brimtage 8.75 mile TT I deceided to take on Britains  Best amateurs. This was perhaps  a step too far. Lapped after 6 laps was hard enough but at least I wasn’t dragged off the track, that was to come. A great series and something to look forward to for 2008.

I also had a great time plotting out then riding the Steve Cummings training rides from Cycling Weekly. I was between groups at the time and this was the chance to see what I was made of on my own.  Done solo there is always enough interest in the route to keep you occupied. Do you have the nerve not to brake down Dark Arc Lane or how much speed do you have up the switchback. I was at a peak around this time and riding for the fun of it.

Weekending 23 Dec 07

Monday: Plan to do some exercises out of Mens Health magazine and a spinning class.

17DEC07Spin.JPG Turned out to be a hard class as I took my heartrate up to 180 BPM on a climb, final spin was good as I kept feeding in very small amounts of tension to keep the heartrate from falling. It’s been a while since I pushed myself up into zone 5 and there was more left. I’d had my Tesco Finest pizza before the class so it was well burnt off by the end. Pressups (20) at home and some crunches on a fitball but nothing drastic.
Tuesday: Thinking about doing a morning spin class. Maybe another afternoon ride with Val as last weeks didn’t go too badly but she needs to sort her gear changing out.

Turned up at West Kirby expecting a half empty class but it was full and I only just got a bike, same bike as last night so it didn’t need setting up. Twas much the same as last night with a good go near the end. There is a bike floating around that has the cranks set at 90 degrees instead of 180 that inadvertently got put out there where that many in the class. Shower then home for breakfast.
Bit of a faf around day so booked a second spinning class at Europa Pools. The scales say I am below 83 kg  which is good. Two of the women at the Europa class turned up with reindeer antlers for the class which brightened things up.Louise had mince pies and wine for us at the end of the class and they were really good. So good that the second class was still outside waiting to get in. Beforehand I’d done some weights in the gym, a bit of rowing and 10 minutes on the crosstrainer.
Wednesday: Christmas dinner ride to the Ice Cream Farm for the Northend.
Turned out to be a good day with good turnout for the ride. Boy it was cold and there was an eerie mist that the sun was trying to burn off.
DSCF3506.jpg I’ve a couple of pictures of groups leaving the Eureka. The Chester Road Club and the CTC were also leaving at around the same time. Around this time last year I took the same set of photo,s with Mel Vasey on  them. The ride was at a medium tempo. Since the loss of Jack no one seems to take contol of the group.

We had a split in the group when les punctured after the roundabout and once repaired it was past the zoo and down the hill at Backford. Then the fun starts as it’s a quick ascent with riders taking a turn on the front. I’m on the back of all this trying to get back on as Lionel starts to fall off the back so I pass Lionel who is doing 27 MPH. the Garmin has it at 28 MPH and it’s not until after the Penguin roundabout that It starts to come together again. Big ring stuff this.
Back to the Eureka for a flapjack and a drink.
I’ve kitted the Iceni out with battery operated christmas tree lights and got the chance to use them on the ride home via the Missing Link . They look really good in the dark and they do seem to have stopped the motorists from trying to take me out along Brimstage Road.
Just learnt of a incident that The Chester Road Club had. Fractured collar bone in two places but was fortunatley wearing a helmet. Thanks for that Ray. I’m not here to ram safety down peoples throats but a bit of foam on your bonce is really par for the course these days, it weighs nothing and if you go for something designed for the purpose it is going to funnel air around the scalp.

Lifestyle and Weight Management followup class same time same place.
Three of us turned up which is not too good.Agreed to do some publicity article for the course, we’ll have to see how it turns out. Next followup class is  9 Jan 2008 at 5.30pm.  Once you have missed on followup class it is very hard to get back into it if the timetable has altered. Ron reckons I am doing 10 times what most are doing. I don’t doubt it but it seems normal to me now. My year finnished last Febuaruy/ March  but what can a guy do to repay those who have given him so much but keep going back. It’s an hour a month out of a schedule that looks forward to it rather than dreads it.The last year has been an unbelivable year for me and I owe so much to others for it. I’m going to reveiw the year as I saw it  so it’s going to be a long post.
Thursday: Better do some Christmas shopping. But before that I have booked into the 10.15 spinning class at West Kirby.
Not a bad class considering I had to rush my breakfast, I wouldn’t have been able to do the class on empty. Took two Lucozade sports into the class (with caffeine boost) but only drank one. Took the heartrate up to 180 BPM twice then eased off. Been a good week so far.
Went shopping in Chester and bottled out of the Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3 decision. Mind you no seems to have the 60 gig PS3, plenty of deals on the cut down version.
Another Spinning class at West Kirby, good job I’ve got plenty of  Discovery kit as the washing machine is taking a battering doing two classes a day.
Front Mech for the Colnago Carbitubo arrived through the post today. I’ve been active on Ebay for bits and bobs. The 5Watt 192 lumen LED came from China yesterday, that is serious illumination if I can get the thing working.
20DEC07Comparison.JPG Just uploaded the data from the second class as you can see it remarkably similar. I did push myself for the first class and it shows on the chart. I’d say it was an uncanny match. You may have gathered by now that I go hard in these classes and get through 750 ml of water in a class.
Friday:  No spinning in the morning, may take a ride in the -4 weather to freshen up.
Boy it was hard going getting to the Eureka and bitterly cold.  I was only the second one there but a few others came in as I was about to leave. A round Wirral circular ride got curtailed at Moreton but it still ended up at 35 miles which wasn’t bad. At times I was down to 8 mph and the heartrate was 150 bpm so it wasn’t much fun. I felt like a right plodder turning the pedals.
Need to do some weights as my arms are loosing bulk by the look of things.
Spinning at Europa Pools for the last time this week.

Barbara and Sheilas class compared.JPG  This is a snapshot of the two classes compared. There is no comparison between the two classes really. The tempo of Sheila is never constant always throwing me out of sync. I’d say they were more for for the women and keeping them toned. Weights beforehand and a couple after, nothing big but enough for now. The parking wardens were inside keeping warm. Don’t take a chance with the pay and display at Europa Pools it’s their last port of call before they clock off and easy pickings for them.
Saturday: Ride day. Not as bad as yesterday but still not the best of days. Ten of us led by Tempo headed off to Wales. Wales only means one thing, hills. Today it’s the Halkyns. Once through the lights at Northop it was a steady climb at a fastish pace.
The shout goes out to turn left at Afon Conwy. This is the first steep climb of the day and does split us up, the climbers of the group have stopped at the top at a Tee junction that leads us off to Halkyn. There is sheet ice across the road at one point so you’ve got to be wary.
One of the descents nearly had me wearing out a set of Dura Ace brake blocks, the lever was getting a bit to close to the bar and had to be adjusted. What goes down must go up and boy was this lane steep, it peaked at 26% and I should know as I was walking at the time. I think this is only the second time that I’ve got of and walked. Maybe another day for this one but Iwas walking as fast as Dave Large who was struggling on a 39 tooth ring.
They really like Northenders in formation in Wales, not. Had another prat shaking fist at us to get into single file on the drop down to Shotton.Must have impeaded his progress by all of 30 seconds.
Gridlock at Connars Quay had us riding through the traffic. a lad in a car asks us how far we cycle, 50 miles was the answer.
Then it started to rain, it was cold enough for it to snow but it didn’t. The Aldi Winter cycling gear was getting a real testing. None of it claims to be waterproof, the jacket is water resistant and so it proved. The Discovery Channel winter shirt stayed dry. The bibtights took a good soaking and did resist it fairly well, I should have stopped and put my overtrousers (Aldi) on.
The only problem was the BBB cloves I was wearing got soaked and I had to ride home from the Eureka with cold hands and feet as water had also got into the Sealskinz socks too.
Mulled wine and a breakfast at the Eureka then home through Willaston, Thorton Hough. Bike got plastered in crap by the Thatch and needed hosing down when I got home. 52.8 miles and another good day out.
Link to Google Map of ride 
Sunday: Northend Freewheel but I’m out visiting the grandson. Eureka Closed, someones bound to expect it open. You’ve been warned.
Icy out and saw someone on a bike go down on it while I was going out for a paper. Glad I got my ride in the day before as it was it turned out to be a nice bright day but I don’t want to take the risk of riding on ice. Tomorrow is the aniversary of my crash and cracked shoulder. It took a long time to get back into it.

The Peoples £50 Million

I cast my 1 vote for the Sustrans Connect 2 bid because it was going to improve cycling across the country.
Picking up the Times today there is another anti cycling piece in it.

I received the email from Sustrans via the CTC and it has around 50,000 members. Paul from the Northend was encouraging everyone with a phone to vote last Sunday so it wasn’t just Sustrans email getting everyone to vote but fellow cyclists networking. The quote from David Bellamy and others rings of sour grapes.

There is a distinct anti cyclist ring in some of the Times reporting. I’d don’t know if it’s because they have staff writers like Jeremy Clarkson, Paul Kimmage and David Walsh writing for the paper but you never see anything with a positive outlook in the paper.

Rant over, I’m off to Jacks funeral and boy is it cold out today.

On the positive side we’ve a new bridge over the River Dee to look forward to.
For those that used the gap to cross the A5117 the good news is that we are back in business as the contractors have reopened the gap.

They may have reopened the gap but Lodge lane is still fenced off with a climb over a wire fence needed to get through. This was today Saturday.

Homebrew Led Headlights

For the last few weeks now I have been toying with the idea of building a set of LED headlights to see myself through the winter. The Audax UK site has some good links to some good lighting articles but the technology is changing that fast a lot of it is starting to look dated.
I’ve already got some 15 degree lenses from Hong Kong and I’ve got some 3W and 5W LEDs on the way too.
I paid 45 pounds for a Cateye EL530 light and although its bright I’m not happy with it.
A LED torch rated at 5W from Hong Kong but more like 0.5W has a similar output but a wider beamspread. Take off 17.5% Vat and the shops markup and your looking at prices that are quite cheap as the component value is minimal.

At the top end of the market things  are a bit different but the savings are higher. From what I can gather it is a blend of light output versus battery life. I bought 5 lenses for $3 which should see me OK for a while. There is a whole home brew community out there I might as well add my 2cents worth.

The thing is that things are changing as we speak, higher output LED,s are coming on to the market all the time. Li:Ion battery technology is increasing all the time too. It’s just a matter of where you source your components.

I have no problem with buying from the far east on Ebay it has all turned up if a little slowly.

To be continued with links, pics, articles  and whatever.
The LEDs are taking some time to come through but it’s early days yet.
16 Dec 07 I’ll be buying some LEDs off Farnell or RS components as I don’t think these far east ones are going to turn up. At least I will know what I’m getting from a UK supplier. I’ll be using an off the shelf LED driver for it as the allow you to set different currents and incorporate flashing modes too.  I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel just get a setup that is cheap and bright enough to ride in the dark.

The first 3 watt led has turned up from China with a 5 watt 192 lumen on it’s way. The fun starts now with driving the 3 watt one. It is a Luxeon star from Lumileds and the lens fits tightly over the emmiter. It is now a case of mounting the lens and led on a heatsink sorting out a current source. The 3 watt LED is rated at 80 lumens. More to follow.

Had a spot of bother with the first test of the 3 watt Led. I ended up blowing the thing up playing around with driver currents while monitorin the forward voltage. What is apparent with the 3W Leds is that twice the current does not mean twice the light output. I’m looking at throttling the current back and maybe doubling the battery life.

What is also apparent is they are operating right on the limit. Go over the limit and it is the worlds fastest fuse. Also they need a good lens or the light is just wasted. It was with when I was playing around with a torch reflector that it went pop. 

Weekending 16 December 07

Monday: A potter around day sorting the bike out. New Dura Ace pads for the Iceni after yesterdays ride the old ones on the rear had picked up some aluminium off the rim and were chewing away at the rim on the descents.Bought a 52 tooth Ultegra chainring off Ebay for a fiver posted. I keep loosing Ebay auctions on various bit of kit for the Colnago but I don’t want to go over the top just to win the auction. Booked in at Europa Pools for tonight’s spinning class. Probably go the gym beforehand to do some weights. I know I need to do more if I’m to stay sorted.

Gym10dec07.JPGThe first part of the TrainingCentre screenshot was the gym session which comprised of Rowing for 10 minutes followed some weights. The next spike up was a run at 10 km/hr for 1 km, no mile run heroics tonight. Followed it up by 10 minutes on the crosstrainer. This was OK and the chart doesn’t lie, it just wasn’t intense enough. 
Only 7 in the class tonight, I’m usually on bended knee at reception trying to get a bike but not today. Went back in the gym put 60Kg on the Lat Pulldown machine and did a set of 10, first time I’ve done 60 Kg. Still didn’t do enough weights.Shower, home.

Tuesday:  Going to update the Bikes page probably with a few pictures. It’ll mainly be about winter bikes as it’s important to just get out there and ride. Haven’t been out on the Toy for a while now but the difference between the Iceni winter bike and the Trek aren’t that great at the end of the day. A couple of pounds heavier maybe but once your out there you soon forget the difference.

Spent the morning cleaning the Iceni for the pictures that are now up on the Bikes section. Went out with Val for one of the few rides she has done on the Trek 1000 WSD. It was a trip to Ness Gardens for a cake stop. Allan came the other way as we were turning in. I was freezing as the pace was a lot slower than normal. Val had to relearn how to use the Sora shifters and all about being in the right gear.
The objective was to keep her in the middle ring and learn how to use the lever and downshift button on the righthand shifter.

Bumped into a retired work college from Octel at Ness Gardens. Retiring at 50 can’t be bad as he said he hasn’t worked for eight and a half years.

I had planned to go down to Parkgate but we were held up behind the church at Neston by a lorry delivering a skip. The climb out of Parkgate might have been a bit much too on a first ride. Once around Gayton roundabout it was big ring time and 22.5 mph back home.

Barbara,s spinning class at was notable in that it started early and Heidi came in for her normal last minute arrival. Logged it on the Forerunner 50 and it was a fairly steady class with the heartrate around the 150 bpm mark for most of it.

11dec07.JPG Shower, home.
Wednesday: Ride day. Might as well make the most of it while I can.
A cold ride out to the Eureka for breakfast with a healthy turnout of NorthEnders. The ride today was to Rose Farm and at one stage there were 20 of us on the ride. The two guys on the front didn’t know this and twice we got into bother with motorists on the Strawberry roundabouts. Things calmed down a bit once we got into the Cheshire lanes.


We lost 6 crossing the A51 and another four turned off at Huxley for the Ice cream farm. So then we were down to 9. The pace was slowed a bit on the hills as someone was starting to drop off the back. These were Jacks rides and I suspect things are going to take a while to settle down. 

The trip out went to Bunberry and Beeston and we passed the Chester Road club having their Christmas dinner at CoteBrooke.

Pictures open up to full size when double clicked twice.

Link to Google map of ride. 
65 miles.

Spinning class at West Kirby, went for it but forgot to take a towel no wonder the floor is uneven. I was a bit early and was spinning away when the woman on the next bike asked how far had I been. Silly question as the reply was 65 miles. Not a bad class but Barbara does need to get a grip and get on the bike. I could rattle a class off with my eyes closed.
Heidi was late and got ribbed for it all class.Mind you she was right about Tuesdays class starting early. It did by 4 minutes according to the Garmin HRM. For those that don’t know Heidi she is registered as blind and her Labrador is usually in the cage at West Kirby.

Sustrans won the peoples £50 million I’ve just found out so that’s a new bridge for cyclists over the River Dee. I voted for it and I’ve seen Paul from the Northend pushing them to vote for it. Good news and a vote for common sense. I’ve been to the Eden project and they really don’t need more money throwing at it. A lot of the plant species are dying off in the domes as you can’t get that much diversity in such a small space.

Thursday: Replaced a headlight bulb on the Renault, had a punctured tyre replaced and took the Iceni,s rear wheel to WheelBase to get a spoke replaced and a new tyre fitted. On the ride yesterday the rear of the bike felt skittish on wet roundabouts. It felt like I was going to go down a couple of times. I’d fitted new brake blocks to Iceni so knew it was true when I set them up. The Vittoria Rubino pro,s have served me well and I’ve put a fair few miles on them. When Colin looked at the tyre it had a lot of cuts in it but the profile was square. That explained why if felt skittish when banked over the contact patch must have been minimal. The replacement tyre is a Continental Ultra Sport that has a slight tread pattern but a smooth crown.

Updated parts of the site replied to a few comments and picked the wheel up.
Went to the gym ran a proverbial mile did those weights I keep avoiding and then did Louise’s spinning class which was half empty despite me being third on the waiting list. I’m leaving the class and Louise asks me where I’m going? Home is the reply, two classes on the bounce is too much to do without an energy drink of some sort.

Friday: Jacks funeral at Landican Cemetery. Bitterly cold today, the service was well attended with Brother James (a Northender) doing the service. Frankby for refreshments after the service and it was the usual suspects at The Fox and Hounds where a few tales were told. Daves roller story you couldn’t make up beats my falling off a turbotrainer with a shoulder into sling into a cocked hat.

Spinning cancelled.

Saturday: Ride day for me. Coming to the end of the year and I’m starting to reflect on it. What a year it’s been, there have been many highlights that I don’t know where to start.
Rode out to the Eureka for breakfast and then rode out with the Northend to the Ice Cream Farm. It took the cycle route through Chester and then on to Chrisleton Waverton and then on to the Ice cream farm. Turkey Baguette for me and a pot of tea. Weather was cold and there was a headwind out that slowed me to 13 mph at times.
Peter wanted the run done at 16 mph and his wish was achieved later on when the wind had died down. Relaxed ride 58 miles including 5 miles logged on the funeral.
Came back via the gates avoiding the A41.
The loop home included a trip down Denhall Lane and up through Neston cross following what looked like Steve Cummings in his GB kit. Paul and Maxine shouted me at the cross as I turned off to do the loop down to Parkgate.
Sunday: Restday no riding, a feed the ducks with Jack day.
done nearly 5000 miles with the Edge according to the TrainingCentre  it was 189 miles this week it all adds up and the bike doesn’t ride itself.

Weekending 09 Dec 07

Monday: Not the best of days when I found out Jack had died on Sunday. I’d booked into West Kirby and Europa Pools and ended up doing both classes. The run between the two sites is just about possible. Logged both classes on the Forerunner 50 which doesn’t want to upload for some reason.
Did a bit more to the Colnago Carbitubo, at this rate it will be on the road before you know it. It won’t be kitted out in the latest bling but it will be a bike that I’m happy to ride.
It’s a bike I’ve built up with bits I’ve acquired over the last two years. Two years ago a double was struggle and there are times now when it would be too, especially in Wales.

Barbara,s and Louises classes Monday.JPG Finally got the data out of the Forerunner 50. I’d put a lot more into the first class and it shows on the second class. If I’m going to muck around like this the water is going to have to be replaced by an energy drink. The comments on the graph are put on with Paint, they are not part of the new version of TrainingCentre.
Tuesday: Downloaded new firmware updates for the Edge and also a Training Centre update. Got to take some of Saturdays clothes back to Marks and Spencer. The shirt is way too baggy and the trousers need an inch on the leg. This brings me on to the subject of clothing sizing. There has been a fair bit about in on TV and in the press recently mainly about some of the womens chains downsizing their ranges. Well it’s  true in mens ranges too. Marks and Spencer are generous with their sizing in the mens ranges, this was why I always had to go back to them for clothes. When I was struggling to get 46/48 inch waist trousers the reality was I was approaching 50 inches but wouldn’t face the fact.
When your at that size they start building in things like elasticated waistbands. You start looking for these because when you sit down there is nowhere for your gut to go. £35- £40 for a pair of trousers seems like a bargain when they are the only thing on the highstreet that fit you. 
Changed the trousers got a refund on the shirt and spent the afternoon looking for a shirt that matched the trousers and fitted. Ended up spending £39 on a Jeff Banks shirt at Browns which is the most I have ever spent on a shirt but it is the business.

Booked in to Louise,s first class as fifth reserve and went the gym for 20 minutes before the class. Managed to get on the class with one bike free. Had a good class and had considered doing the second class. Well I got as far as the first hill climb and thought I’m leaving myself really short on time, energy and goodwill considering what is coming up. Given that I had  already done two classes on Monday and the second wasn’t as good as the first I didn’t see much point.

This is near the anniversary of my crash and I lived to tell the tale. My head hit the deck at  16 mph  according to the GPS. I wandered around the road and then tried to get back on my  bike. Jack had no protection and 24 hours ,  later had his life support turned off. It’s a lot like smoking, a smoker doesn’t give two hoots, as the pressure of compulsion gains ground the feeling of resistance to authority increases.
The fact that they have been swinging the lead for all their lives has no part in it.
The only solace I can take from any of this is that I am in a position  to to take a hold of my life and what seems to be the majority of the population can’t.

We all ride with riders weekin  weekout that don’t wear a helmet for one reason or the other. I wear mine religiously  purely for the fact  that I will have no control when my head  hits the ground. My accident deformed one side of a Bell helmet to such an extent that I will NEVER ride a bike without one again.

There are enough rules unwritten or not that mean a helmet should be compulsory on club runs. In the short time that I have been riding with the Northend it is obvious that riding in a group has dangers of it’s  own. Motorists are incensed by us riding in pairs for whatever reason. Until the law is changed that means a motorist goes to jail for killing a cyclist through death by dangerous driving, I’ve no real need to be that guy on the righthand side on  the back. I’d rather be off the back than some motorists pathetic excuse.

Hence my use of flashing rear lights in broad daylight. Countless the times I have been told I’ve left them on now. But with rechargeable batteries there is no cost. Mel got mown down in broad daylight on a dual carriageway by a driver that got fined a weeks wages these days and got a six month ban. The prat should have been off the road for a year at least with an unreported medical condition.

Wednesday: Ride day, there are going to be a lot of gloomy faces at the Eureka tomorrow but come what may Jack was never one of them. Jack led these rides on a Wednesday so is going to be sorely missed.
Got to the Eureka early as I ride out on empty for the breakfast, it turned out to be a good turnout and not a bad day. Clive updated us of events on the day for those that that wanted to know.
As for the ride they actually used the cycle paths as far as Cheshire Oaks which must be a first. The odd thing was cars stopped to let us cross the road. This never happened on a CTC ride, it must be the majority riding in  club colours intimidating motorists. The pace was relaxed and we suffered one puncture before the destination, the world famous Ice cream farm.

The first picture didn’t really turn out as all I shot was a picture of my shoulder, this would have been a good on bike shot if I hadn’t been in the way.

Here the group split as as we moved off slowly two were left still pumping up the tyre. They were nowhere in sight when we made the turn and we did stop. Lionell went back but there was no one to be seen. Nearing the Ice Cream Farm we split again as  the Boardman ladies took the direct route at Huxley along with Sally and co and as I was at the back I duly followed. Then the wind turned nasty for a stretch before the Farm. Rain held of just, but looked like it would be bad if it if it had caught us.

There was a lighting problem at the Ice cream farm cafe and the lights went out twice while we were there. The chef doing the Christmas dinners is one of the Birkenhead club oldtimers that was recently on TV. From what was said I think he was a chef in the Merchant Navy. The Northend Christmas Dinner there on the 19th looks in good hands from what I saw.

I had a baguette again and when you look at what you get it is remarkable for what you get, most places charge double what the Ice cream farm charges. I should have took a picture of Lionel,s baguette as it did look the part. The cheese would have sent me overboard on my fat content but  I wouldn’t  hold it against anyone for having an off day.
The fact is you could eat almost anything on these these rides and still be up on the day.

Lionel had the difference between Routes and Courses explained to him but I suspect it hasn’t quite sunk in as you have to own one of the these devices to appreciate how fickle they are. Mapping gets brought into the equation too.
Link to Google map of ride. opens in a new window.

Did a spinning class at Europa Pools too. Logged it on the Forerunner 50 and by the look of things it was a fairly level class.

Sheila,s Wednesday class.JPG

This class was fairly unusual in that the work rate throughout the class was remarkably level. Play around with these graphs to your hearts content. I’d just done a 58 mile ride before this if your interested. Such is the world these days I got asked if I was retired again today, no but it does feel like it at times.  A good day considering Jacks death was hanging over it.
Spoke to Lionel at length about  Routes, Tracks and Courses and the difference between them all. Needless to say  a site like this wouldn’t exist if it was that simple. The above thumbnail shows the level of detail available in the TrainingCentre if you use a Garmin map compared to the Garmin base map. I’m updating the Edge 305 page as a result.
Shower, home. Another good day and it’s only Wednesday.

Thursday: Booked in for Louise,s first class. I could get used to being off. Got asked if I had lost anymore  weight by one of the girls yesterday. I’ve been at this weight for nearly 10 months now, + 2 kg. It’s been in a band between 82 and 84 Kg all that time. As I jump on the scales daily it never gets out of hand. I’ve been called obsessive over this but it is a small price to pay at the end of the day.
If you’d never met me and I’d said I was in training for whatever, things might be different, as it is most wouldn’t realise I was 21 stone at one time.
Spent a lot of the day updating the website  as all the Garmin map products that I have bought off Ebay are now working.

Thursdays first class.JPGThursdays second class.JPG 
Posted the two thumbnails up as I missed 15 minutes off Loise’s first class as I was late. I opted to stay for the second but I hadn’t booked it as I was fifth on the waiting list. As it was there were only 3 of us in the class at one stage but a couple more turned up at the death. The class was only half full but that doesn’t stop it being a good class. This is the second time I’ve written this article and the traffic wardens get a reprieve in this version. Had the bottle filled with an energy drink for the first time.
Shower, home.
Friday: Just about to go out to the Eureka for breakfast. Wirral loop after that and then over to Liverpool with the lads from work. No spinning class tonight.
What a ride, the weather was atrocious. When you have bad luck you get it in spades.My luck ran out at the boating lake at New Brighton. I’d been blown along at 30mph at Hoylake and then picked up a puncture. It couldn’t have happened at a worse place it was blowing a gale and the only shelter was the sea wall. After a load of faffing around including a new tube not holding any air it was just about done. Then I got pelted with hail, it was time to put on the Discovery Channel Windshell as it wasn’t looking too good. A camper van stopped to see if I was alright. Throws the wheel on the bike jump on it still getting battered by hail only to find the back tyre flat as well.
Nowt for it but to find some shelter, pushed the bike as far as the Amusement Arcade at New Brighton and took shelter in a doorway while repeating the process. A woman walking into the gale fell over right in front of me. Blown most of the way home but riding uphill into the wind was a struggle.
Went out with the lads from work around a couple of pubs in Liverpool.
Saturday: Paul sorted out the wireless router and the new laptop when he came over with Jack, the grandson so no ride today. Weather is terrible so I wouldn’t be missing much.
Sunday: Ride come what may. After Friday nothing comes as a surprise any more. I’m going to be updating the Bikes page with some pictures as a fair few get the impression you have to spend a lot of money to get started.
Don’t get me wrong I like bling bikes and kit but it doesn’t make me go any quicker. At this time of year you really do need a winter trainer with mudguards. I rode down the Wirral way for the first time in a long while on Friday and you do need mudguards for the wet bits that are still left.
It’s all about getting out come what may, with a decent of waterproofs you can tackle anything that is thrown at you.
Sealskinz socks are what you need at this time off the year if it isn’t cold enough for overshoes.
I’d thought about buying another pair of shoes as the MTB shoes that I have are a bit bulky. I started looking for a pair with a sewn in tongue to no avail only to find the ones I have a sewn in tongue. They were £40 a couple of years ago when I first started. Coupled with a pair of bibtights with a double water resistant layer on the front means your not going to get a soaking. Damp maybe but some of that will be sweat according to how hard your working.
More when I’ve been out there and done a bit.

Turned out to be a good day. The bad weather didn’t affect us and it proved to be a fruitful day. We had the first puncture out by Deeside Industrial park  and the second was once we had dropped down the other side of the Halkyns.  It was a question of what to wear when I set out as it is easy to be over or under dressed at this time of year. Aldi BlackAdder kit again for me.

Link to Map of Ride

Two climbs on the way out had me near my max. We had another angry pensioner in the passenger seat shaking his fist at us while the driver was doing his best to see Peter also off the road. I’ve developed this feeling that there is a section of soceiety that sees One Foot in the Grave as a lifestyle rather than a comedy TV programme. We were doing about 20 mph having just got over the top of Halkyn Mountain. There was no call for it at the end of the day especially from someone of his age.
First stop was a tea and cakestop at Afon wen craft centr. We were all around one table as the rest of the place was reserved for Christmas lunches.
Next section of the ride had us ending up in Cilcain for a pubstop. We just about fitted in the place and Peters gloves didn’t end up on the fire either. Witches whatever it was went down well.
Once out the pub it was a quick descent to London Bridge and then a granny ring climb out of it. We went down some rough roads today and it was not a ride for your best bike. We even came back via the track to Shotwick which is always muddy at best. Another stop at the  Yacht for 5 of us and then off home in the fading light.

The lights got put to good use and I passed a group of Merseyside CTCers by the Missing Link. Used the full 15watts on Brimstage Road which is what I would consider one of the most dangerous section of road that I ride on.

Been a good week, got three rides in went the gym and got my ration on spinning classes in.

Jack McAllister

On Saturday while out on a ride with the North End Jack fell from his bike and died from his injuries in Hospital the next day.

Wednesdays rides are going to be a lot quieter now Jack has gone. He allways had a quip for the walkers and horse riders we passed on the rides.
One of his rides got a write up and there are a couple of pictures of him in the group and on the rides dotted about in the pictures.
He’s going to be missed by many.


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