riding through the smog

Went for a road ride last night over to Macclesfield to meet Deb. The weather was grim so I decided against going the long way round (via Hayfield) and instead went straight through Manchester and through Cheadle. It’s a good route this, there’s plenty of mad drivers in the City Centre to shout at, loads of traffic lights to race against and plenty of ups and downs to provide a bit of a challenge.
The traffic in some places was a nightmare. Normally no problem on a bicycle, but everyone seemed to be crawling along in their cars as close to the kerb as possible. I was on the pavement a few times just to get safely to the front of the queue. The fumes were pretty bad too – there was no wind last night so I was riding slowly through a thick mist of carbon monoxide. That can’t have done me much good.
The parts without traffic jams though were pretty good. Ride as fast as possible, sprinting through each green traffic light until legs and lungs are saved by a red light. As soon as it goes green, sprint, sprint, sprint to the next set. Once in Cheadle, there are less traffic lights, less cars and less mongy looking people, so it’s a bit more relaxed. Then I hit the road to Prestbury that hasn’t got any street lighting. I’d fitted an LED cluster to my Lumicycle lamp last week and this was the first time I’d used it. It’s fine in well-lit areas but on this road it’s utter pants. I could hardly see anything at all and predictably hit a small pothole. A bit further on my front tyre burst with a loud POP and HISSSSSS.

Luckily, I was only a quarter mile from Deb’s mum’s place so just walked. I wouldn’t have been happy about that happening earlier on though – fixing a tyre at the side of the road in Burnage isn’t my idea of a good ride.

Ramsbottom Rake hillclimb

I rode up to Rammy this morning to watch the hillclimb. On the way, I rode through a massive puddle of cow shit and spent the rest of the morning stinking like a farmyard. 😦

The Rake is a brutal hill and some of these lads were cleaning it in about 2 and a half minutes. I’ve no idea how long it takes me on a mountain bike but it’s nowhere near that. There’s a direct correlation between the strength of the facial gurn and the speed of one’s bicycle. The faster ones were pulling the daftest faces. Here are the top three extreme gurners:


Bradley Wiggins didn’t show up.


I collected the trailer this morning from Sideways Cycles. I’d never been over to Sideways before. It’s got to be the smallest bike shop ever, it might even be the smallest in the world. I also noticed that all the bikes appeared to be muddy, like they were in someone’s shed. The bikes in my cellar, in contrast, look like they’re in a shop. Anyroad up, we got back home with the trailer, put it together and hitched it onto the Surly. I went for a quick ride on my own first and flew down a few bumpy/rocky/rooty bits to check that all is well – to be honest it’s quite easy to forget it’s there apart from the odd “tug” from behind on flat trails. It’s really stable even though it’s light and so well made too. Not bad for a second hand bit of kit. Tim and his family have obviously looked after it.


Rachael was soon strapped in and off we went (Michael’s on his bike at the side, shouting “yay’s” and “woohooo’s” the whole time). Even though her helmet kept slipping down over her eyes, she loved it. RESULT.  I was a bit worried that she’d hate it or be really scared. We rode some good stuff too and I wasn’t hanging about 😉

 We’ll go over to Llandegla soon and go round the red. Trailers are ACE. 

crash and you die

Had a “three hour ride” that to Deb’s dismay took 4 hours this morning. I knew it was a big one, seems I was right. The weather at the moment is fantastic. No wind, loads of sun. What’s going on? Its the end of the world, I’m tellin yer.

The last part came down Rooley Moor road, which I normally climb. WOOP! I’m doing that again, in the dark preferably. Miles of bonkers fast gravelly riding. Shame it ended in the scabby Rochdale council estate.

Saw Dave and his mate coming down Gin Croft Lane. Hi Dave!

Had a chat with Shaun at Cooksons yesterday. He’s building a wheel for me this week so I was congratulating him on his second place at Sleepless in the solo cat. One 10 minute chat and I’m already thinking about a solo or two next year….