Catching Up

Ok ok, time has been a big issue for my lack of posts. Combine that with the horrible image uploading on the wordpress iPhone app and its not been motivating for me.. (also the resizing of pictures on the web version is TERRIBLE!!-can anyone help? I use the % scale and it completely distorts the original dimensions)
Edit: the pictures are also uploaded in a random order and when i try move them to the correct order and the captions stay behind or merge with another caption!!

Anyway, what have I been up to?

Well, had a few larger rides – 60km (only packed one flapjack..) & 70km (learned from my mistakes and pack a whole packed lunch!)

I’ve also had a birthday in the middle so got a few nifty things:- Crank Brothers multi tool (a bit disappointed as there’s not much leverage), Cat-eye Velo 7 (very impressed!) and some SPDs (complete with 3 humiliating falls and a nasty ankle injury)

I’ve certainly been putting in the miles and, hopefully, this will pay off for the charity ride.

I’ve also been buying myself all the rest of the gear for my ride. Things like a pannier rack, bags (pannier & frame) etc. I’m yet to buy some bib shorts, a new helmet, some better fitting shoes (my old ones were Aldi £15 ones) and some new glasses. I bought some glasses but broke the frame trying to change lenses!! Hopefully the warranty will cover it

Finally, I’ll leave you with a selection of images taken over the past couple of weekends



I love making new friends


I also love lunchtime..


Half way point- the top of a looooong climb (we climbed for about 20km!)



We followed the canal a long way


Jordan took the first fall, I turned to look at him and laugh-causing me to fall


Planning the next step


As i say, we followed for a long way


There were many manual rail crossings


Enjoying the rare sunny day


We found a bench to rest my phone camera on


Making another friend


Friday / Saturday

I’ve been a little too busy to post a blog this weekend I’m afraid.
I’m going to Edinburgh for a few days so when I’m back I’ll go into more details. I also have a couple of pictures I can put on.

Friday – went on a small ride on some VERY technical trails. Nearly too technical as I came hurtling downhill at full speed, feet off the pedals and barely enough time to brake to save myself from crashing straight into the river. Killed my confidence a tad.

Saturday – did a very long ride similar to last weekend. (Conditioning the many hours sat on a seat.) Then I had a walk to Cusworth Park and fed the ducks and enjoyed the evening.

More to follow..

Friday in more detail (I’m coming back to this post 1 1/2 weeks after the events so my memory is a little rusty..)
Finished work half an hour early. A family friend and my regular riding partner somehow convinced me to go out – I had a LOT of work to do.
Anyway, it started off well. Doing our regular shortened route of the local wildlife reserve. Down one side of the River Don where the most technical / hardest parts were a sharp thin descent, and a very steep climb. Then on to the next side of the river. The side that has been carved through many years of downhill bikers. You know the sort that you can stand in any place and see so many drops, jumps and winding trails. Now, DH biking is not my thing, I do a handful of the technical bits, but I stay clear of the dangerous stuff. I’m not interested in damaging my bike (its more a XC-come-single track bike. For lighter use), not interested in smashing my shoulder and the likes and I get enough adrenaline rush, for now, on the ‘baby’ bits that I do. That being said, I approached a section I thought easy, it was a pretty steep bowl, but no roots or rocks protruding that would throw me off. Off disappeared Jordan, then Mark, then my turn. Made the bowl fine, then to my horror, there was a very technical area with a fast jump and the works. I had to be committed or I was going to hurt something. I was hurtling over roots to the jump and my head was screaming, lean back and pull up! I cleared it- awesome! Then I was all over the place. Completing the last corner through shrubs, and a very short stopping area before heading straight into the river. Safe by 2 foot!
Time to head home.. but there was still a lot of tricky hazards to pass. Nothing I hadn’t done before mind, and I made it home in one piece.
I was definitely ready for the pub that night

A relaxing day compared to Friday.
Did the long ride which I’ve come to enjoy, exploring the other regions of Doncaster in the sun. Still got home pretty tired, but the more tired I am the better prepared my body will be for the Trans Pennine Trail Charity Ride.

Had a quick shower and went to my girlfriends house. She’s very lucky to live right next to a brilliant country house called Cusworth Hall (I’d recommend checking that link)
We like to have evening walks there and feed the ducks. It’s great because you can spend as much time there as you want around the grounds for no cost (and the museum inside is pretty neat too!)
When the weather picks up I plan on taking the guitar there for a ‘location’ YouTube video.

So that what happened.
I’ll upload some pictures tonight when I’m home from work


Action Packed Weekend

Man oh man! What a bank holiday weekend.
I’ve crammed a lot in and my little legs are sore this morning. But that’s good.

Lets start off with:

My regular riding partner (Jordan) was still in Center Parcs so I decided, because I had a few hours to kill, I’d go a bit further than usual. Out of my depth to a place I didn’t know.
I followed the Trans Pennine Trail but in a direction opposite to my usual one.

I did a bit of exploring and came to a beautiful spot that a picnic would fit in nicely.


Stopping for a quick bite and a slurp

Deep enough for a paddle

Deep enough for a paddle

I must remember where this is for a picnic

I must remember where this is for a picnic

After stopping for a quick drink, a few snaps, half a flapjack and to clean the mud off (note: The bike I was using has V-brakes and perhaps about 3/4mm of travel on my forks..) I ventured back out exploring.
The sun was just poking out for the first time this year and before I knew it I was in an area I pass on the way to work. A beautiful little pond and park with a council building at the top (it’s hard to see in the distance but it’s there)


The sun reluctantly came out

I did a loop of the pond and continued on ‘a’ trail (there was two to choose from and I didn’t know which one lead where)
After a long, long climb (you know the kind, those you can see approaching that go along forever and the top takes ages to reach) I had a rest for more drink and the other half of my flapjack. Because I didn’t know where the trail led, I turned back on myself and came back where I’d come from.
Just before I got home Jordan called me saying he was home and wanted to know if I was ‘coming out to play.’ I agreed to a short ride with more technical skills. I’m glad I did! It was so much fun because my confidence keeps rising.


After the last climb

Happy to be back on the trails

Happy to be back on the trails

There were more trees that had been felled. To clear for the summer or illegal logging is anyones guess.


More trees in the way

Making the most of the day

Making the most of the day

The overall ride: ~ 37km


Something a bit different today, me and Jordan went to Doncaster Races (The Lincoln -Rescheduled). It all was going well after the first two races.. and then we lost quite a bit of money. We just got carried away.
We also went on a hike after in the local nature reserve.
Being on my feet all day combined with Fridays ride really took it out of me.


A great change of pace

A family friend asked if I wanted to go on a ride with him. He had a skiing accident which badly injured his Achilles, so he’s been biking for a bit of rehabilitation. He was a keen cyclist before but went with a group rather than alone.
We basically did the same route as I did Friday, but instead of turning back on myself we carried on for an extended run. My gps on my phone lost signal but it was likely over 40+km maybe 45+km.
Didnt get any pictures because we just powered on.
The sun was out all ride and it felt great!

So there’s my weekend.
I’m now lying on the sofa resting.
Going to my girlfriends house to watch the football (family get-together) and eat and drink. A great way to finish a bank holiday!


Midweek Madman

I feel I’ve gotten’ to a stage where I’m no longer classed as a Weekend Warrior but now a Midweek Madman (or whatever the opposite of Weekend Warrior is)

It feels good. I’m not a fair weather cyclist either – I’ve been out in heavy rain, heavy winds and freezing temperatures. Tonight, it was cold. A pretty thick & sticky mud but boy was it cold!

Anyway, about 1.5km into my stride I came across this momentum killer! I havent a clue how it happened as the winds havent been near as bad as I’ve known. None the less I had to get off and carry my bike (so I thought I’d take a few photos whilst I’d stopped)


This thing was a puncture minefield!



The rest of the trail was pretty beaten up by the recent weather. But I thought because I was going slow through it, I could use this ride to show you what my local tracks look like.

Note: This track is the easy track. All the drops and advanced skills trails are for my longer rides when I have more time to reach them


I had a rare moment where I could safely take my feet off the pedals without being up to my ankles in mud and water


Just a wintry look back across a nearby field. Hopefully the last bit of winter we’ll see for a while!


As always, camera images don’t have the right depth to show a climb / descent but, believe it or not, that path on the left is a mammoth climb! The one on the right isn’t an easy one either


Testing out my iPhone panorama function. Another look at the two paths. These are actually part of the Trans Pennine Way


In the Summer you can get incredible views from the top of this Viaduct. It’s a good place to stop and rest after the large climb too


Again, testing the panorama function. The light was getting pretty low by this time so the ISO on my iPhone bumped all the way up (hence the noise)

I’ll be taking more pictures when the weathers nicer and I can get something a bit different from the viaduct, mud and the footpath.


A Hobby or a Chore?

Whilst on my brief ride yesterday I had a thought spring to mind, which I’ve purposely given its own post for.

I first took up cycling properly in the Summer of 2012 to be in ‘the outdoors’ and because Jordan got me out on the trails all the time. It was a new thing for both of us and quite exciting.

He then mentioned this charity bike ride, and then my time out and about turned from something to do – to fill a bit of time – into a purposeful adventure. Whenever I was out I was working towards something and it was beneficial. I was waking up on weekends and I wasnt grumpy. I was happy and excited about going on a ride. 

I’m fortunate enough for it never to have been a chore to be out. Even in the high winds and blistering cold I enjoy the time out. Either alone with my thoughts or with others sharing thoughts.

Also, cycling is a great social activity.. just like walking. Its a repetitive motion that becomes something you stop thinking about and just do it. You can chat away and before long you’re miles away.

What I’m saying is, for me, getting out on the bike has never been a chore, but more of a joy. And I find that great!


“Every Little Helps”

When I got home from work I managed to squeeze a half hour session in. The purpose wasnt to build my stamina, but toughen up my bum and just get used to being out and about. Despite only being out half an hour, the route I took had 2 mammoth climbs to train on!

I now expect (and I think you frequent readers do also) to get caked in mud, so I went bare skin – it’s easier to wash! That also meant not wearing my padded trousers, so there was a bit of soreness at the end.


Things are still a bit muddy on the tracks..

I made the effort to consciously push hard in the high gears and keep up the RPM. Condition my legs into working hard until it becomes easier and I can keep getting faster and faster across flatter ground, which will help on the Trans Pennine Way cycle.


A bit of mud

I cleaned my bike yesterday and less than half the way around I look to see this


Brill. My chain and gears kept slipping.
Note: Always Carry a small bottle of water to wash mud and cuts.

I did the same route as yesterday, there wasn’t an ounce of rain and I was a bit quicker- bonus!

I think the washing machine will be taking a beating this afternoon