Christmas ride


Loads of us descended on Llandegla yesterday for a Christmas ride / catch up with mates kind of thing. We finally all arrived and did some “off-piste” riding on a recommendation by some Singletrack forumites, up to the mast, down the rocky trail to the road, back up to the forest on the railway sleeper boardwalk. This is a really nice diversion, a gradual climb then becomes a fast, narrow, rocky downhill that then becomes a slippery, muddy slope that’s obviously going to be much better in the summer.


The climb back to the forest on the sleepers is good too – just narrow enough to have you holding your breath once or twice (especially with ice all over them).

Michael was recovering from a cold, which was bad enough for him, and then he crashed on some ice at the first fast, jumpy bit of the Llandegla trail. He went down hard. Unusually for him, he was quite shaken but we persevered. It was getting more and more obvious that we just needed to get back to the car as he was in a fair amount of pain despite Andy’s kind donation of 2 Ibuprofen. We left the others to complete the ride and off we both went, down the fireroad back to the car. Except we were not headed for the car park. Despite asking for directions, we found ourselves at the same point we were at an hour ago, obviously getting a bit frustrated by this point.  We re-joined the red route and allowed it to lead us back to the car. I felt sorry for the lad. I hope it’s not put him off.

Thanks to all our mates for waiting for us (although Simon had no choice cos we were giving him a lift).

Merry Christmas to everyone!


minutes of fun for all the family

I bought a DIY gingerbread man kit from the supermarket last night. Bit of an impulse buy, but one of my less costly ones.

We created a gang of aliens earlier. Hope you like them. (what did you expect? Santa and his elves?)


The one at the bottom is in a post-alien autopsy condition.

frozen half ton

It was our work’s night out last night and it left me feeling like crap this morning, despite me only having a couple of beers and a couple of glasses of wine. I just can’t take the stuff these days. After a couple of drinks I start babbling like an idiot and I don’t cope too well with the aftermath the day after. I set off this morning anyway, as planned, on the roadbike over to Macc via Oldham, Stalybridge, Glossop, Hayfield, Whaley Bridge and Bollington. I took an accidental detour to Chinley and ended up a couple of miles down the A6 dual carriageway. It was freezing cold and I just couldn’t get warm, despite sweating loads. Bloody hangover.  The climbs hurt more than they normally do, and going downhill gave me a feroucious windchill-induced headache – the like of which I’d not experienced since Winter Tough Guy.. There was plenty of ice on the roads in the Peaks, keeping me twitchy the whole time, especially with the amount of traffic there seems to be at the moment.

Not a great ride, but good prep for the ride to the Lakes in a few days.


Winter has arrived and last night it gave me a slap. Another late night (after the kids are in bed) road ride on the cross bike-cum-touring bike, up the hill through Walshaw and towards Affetside. The council clearly hadn’t gritted the road up there and as I approached the summit I could tell it was getting more and more icy, until it was a sea of ice and slush.

I stopped to check with my feet for ice. I thought there wasn’t any. I pressed on and within a few seconds, SLAM. I found the ice – several metres of it. I hit the tarmac, twisted my wrist and listened to the crunching of road meeting metal. I’ve scratched my rear mech although I didn’t bend the hanger this time. I’ve also managed to smack the STI’s into the ground and taken big chunks out of those too. Why did I pay the extra for Ultegra? They look like they’ve been shotblasted and kicked around a car park after 12 months use and abuse, but at least they still work.

Warp 5, Mr Sulu.

It was still wet today and I’ve been putting off riding the new road bike until it was dry. What a muppet. So out I went on the shiny new, white bike, in the rain and filth. I’m impressed. It’s light, so it goes like a rocket. It’s got carbon stays and fork and nice wheels so it’s comfy on crap roads. It’s new, so everything works as it should…except for the rear mech that started complaining after an hour or so. This is the first time I’ve bought a complete “off the peg” bike so at least I had someone else to blame this time. Poor lad probably had 50 bikes to assemble that day and he couldn’t test ride it up and down Deansgate so I’ll let him off. A quick twiddle with the barrel adjuster and it was fine anyway.

It was an eventful ride. At least 3 thick women decided that they were going to turn across my path from the right, the last one got a right gobful of abuse. Which isn’t like me at all 😉

On one other occasion I looked down momentarily whilst scorching down a main road (I’ve noticed this bike doesn’t do slow or even “medium cruise” – only full-on scorch), looked up and happened to notice that the road was blocked by a car turning right and the car following it had stopped, waiting. I was heading for a crash into the back of it. SHIT. Hard on the brakes (very impressed with 105 brakes), locked the rear wheel and felt it sliding out to the left underneath me on the wet tarmac whilst I was still heading quite quickly into insurance claim and broken bone oblivion, now sideways-on. Everything had gone quiet and like the old cliche, time stood still…I’m going to hospital and my bike will be trashed…then I stopped. Nothing to worry about, I had at least a foot to spare. I turned around to see the bloke in the car behind me grinning and shaking his head in a kind of “you were lucky but that looked exciting” way.

I activated one of those “you’re going too fast” signs that tells you your speed. 35mph down Turton Road which I thought was impressive.