“…and this is where the nipples are made…”

Yesterday was a pretty good day. I had a component-geek-tastic tour of the Hope factory in Barnoldswick. I own a lot of their gear, brakes, hubs, headsets, skewers, etc and regard it as among the best you can buy.

Anyway, we’re doing some work for them so I jumped at the opportunity to meet them.

It’s a really old mill, full of amazing CNC milling machines that cut and mill a billet of ali into a component. Did you know that they’re all then polished with a compound made from walnut shells? I didn’t.

Hopefully nobody saw me dribbling.

I went for a ride last night too – the first one since the duathlon 2 weeks ago. It was tough. It’s incredible how quickly a break from training has an effect. I didn’t feel less fit, just lacking a bit of strength. The rest has done me good though; I didn’t have that niggling pain in my left thigh at all.

I was riding the new singlespeed. I’ve finally sold the Kona and built up a SS-specific frame. It’s cromoly steel so good pound heavier than the Kona but the horizontal dropouts mean that I’m not relying on the tensioner any more.

It does look a bit like a 50’s shopping bike with that high top tube though….

I’m out for a long ride with Phil tonight. Hipflask and mince pies…

Walt’s big plastic castle

We’ve just got back from a weekend in Disneyland, Paris. If I’m honest, I was a bit cynical before we went but after spending a few days there my attitude’s changed. Ok, it’s really expensive and you do get annoyed from time to time after the 10th hour of queuing and being shoved around by ignorant French folk, but the kids absolutely loved it. Rachael’s only 8 months and she just smiled and laughed all weekend.

Michael broke his rollercoaster duck a few times over.

I got some great photos and went on Space Mountain a few times.

The hotel was nice.

BUT. The fabled “Gallic Shrug” tends to wear thin after a bit. Whatever you’re complaining about (and there was a few things to moan about. “Room for improvement” you could say), this bloody irritating expression seems to be the only response you’re ever likely to get from one of the locals. Grrr.

Debbie got food poisoning on our last day there, which sucked big time.

Anyway, here’s up close and personal with Tigger: