Monday, 31 December 2012

A Happy Downhill New Year!

My last purchase of 2012 and hopefully my last bike purchase for a while! In this age of austerity I seem to have been conducting a one man crusade lately to keep the bike industry solvent. This is my answer to my slow downhill descents, a Rock Shock Reverb 125mm dropper seatpost. Time will tell if this helps or that in reality I'm just crap at going downhill!!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

A wee bit o' snow!

An impressive bit of track standing (at least Baz thought so!)

At the top of Maidens Cleugh and its bloody cold!

Baz doing his Ranulph Fiennes impression.

It started off sleety this morning when we set out but dried up and the temperature fell to -2.5 C which had disastrous effects on the roads back home when we returned, Baz coming to grief in Roslin then the roads in Loanhead being un-rideable and also un-walkable  they were so icy. Just over 24 miles today to take my weekly total to 119 miles.

Friday, 28 December 2012

The mishap that never happened..........

The mountain biker coming down the way's being encouraged by Clive to cycle through the flooded part of the track in the hope I'd get a good picture of him falling off! (Not very sporting we know...but it would have been funny!)(To us)

Damn!! He's coming through no bother at all, now we'll have to go the other way to save face!

Clive decides against trying to cycle through this bit of the track.

Out with Clive to do the winter loop and to see what the sudden thaw had done to the small river up from the Howe. We weren't disappointed  with our struggle up past the Howe into a strong headwind, the normally placid burn was now a raging torrent and the track was un-cyclable (is that a word?) in bits. Amazing what a little snow followed by a quick thaw and heavy rain can do! 25 miles though and even though the feet were soaked at least they weren't frozen stiff this time.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Freezing rain, freezing feet, freezing hands...and a few other freezing things as well

Baz came along late yesterday afternoon determined come whatever may that his new dropper seat would be tested out. So regardless of the fact that the rain was tipping it down we set off to do the Pentlands Winter Loop. The climbs weren't too bad as we were kept warm just by the effort we put in, but I discovered that while Baz had invested in waterproof clothing that had cost a bit of money (and worked) my bargain basement clobber wasn't to prove so successful. The dropper post was duly tested on several dodgy sections of track by both Baz and myself and found to be very good, so good in fact that I'm seriously considering one now! By the time we'd reached the 18 mile mark my second rate waterproof clothing was leaking badly, I felt as though I had a gallon of frozen water in each shoe and my gloves were full of water as well. The temperature was at freezing but it stilled chucked down with rain, it would have been warmer if it had snowed! To cap it all Baz had a puncture with about 3 miles to go, somehow he managed to run over a tack of all things, but the hole must have been pretty small and we limped home by blowing up the tyre a couple of times. 24.5 frozen miles ridden and the pain from my feet and hands when I showered later was something else!!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

This must have been the most miserable morning yet!

The flat tyre before everything went haywire....

Everything's haywire now! The spare tube presta valve's come to bits, its pouring rain and it feels like our fingers are made of ice, the world's definitely coming to an end!!

I needed 5.5 miles for my hundred miles this week when we set off at 6am this morning. By the time we'd gone half a mile it was chucking it down and Baz was contemplating an about turn, but ever the optimist I managed to keep him going and it actually eased up on the rain for a spell. We eventually turned for home when the wind got really strong and the rain got a bit heavier again and made our BIG mistake.  Instead of the slightly longer and muddier route home we took the shorter but more puncture likely path where the hawthorn hedges had been cut. Needless to say Baz had a flat and with little shelter and hands that were frozen we changed the tube..........only for the spare tubes' presta valve to fall to pieces. After about six attempts at fixing it and with tempers getting shorter by the second  I set off for home to get the van to come back and pick Baz and bike up. I thought I'd set a smartish pace home but when I came back to pick him up       I was questioned why I'd gone the way I did (some folk!!)
That's not the first time that's happened to us with prestas, I've changed mine to shraeders and I think Baz will be as well. At least I reached my 100 miles though, in fact I reached 112!!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Baz's amazing blue flashing rear light........!!

No pictures as yet, I've not been lucky (?) enough to have a shifty at Bazs latest purchase in daylight but he proudly displayed it last night when we were out on the bikes. This attachment he's bought clips onto the spokes and displays a blue light which to be perfectly honest is a bit off putting if you're riding behind him, and even more so if he puts into flashing mode!! It's a bit like a miniature police car driving along on its side. Actually he's bought it in the interests of safety for night riding on the roads near his house, and it certainly catches your eye, though I begin to wonder how many cars will end up in ditches when confronted by this low flying alien spaceship! Pictures to follow at the first opportunity.....

Monday, 17 December 2012

Innerleithen, Minch Moor, Three Brethern and Yair Forest loop.

There were 8 of us who set of from the car park at Innerleithen at 9am , the usual 4 of us plus another 4 who got wind of our cross country mid winter foray into the hills and came along as well. We never actually made it up to Minch Moor as the route is closed for tree felling just now, so in the interests of speed and time we missed out the diversion to it. There's some steep climbs included in the route we did take and it was interesting to see that the Pentlands cycling we do comes to the fore in the climbs.(In my case, not in the descending though!)

A rather blurry photo taken with the self timer at the Three Brethern, by the looks of it 2 of the gang are somewhere else!

After about 20 miles there were only the 4 usual suspects left to face the killer 2 mile climb back up through Yair Forest and Mark declared himself an inch from death when he reached the top, he did however manage it, though how he did it with a jacket and about 3 base layers without melting away was a mystery to the rest of us!

The end of the trip with over 26 miles in greasy muck a lot of the way, over 4000 feet of climbing, in my case burning over 1900 calories and a total of nearly 5.5 hours, its hard to say if we look pleased or relieved.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

It's hedge cutting time again, that means thorns and punctures.......

It's that time of year again when tractors with hedge cutting machinery are let loose on the countryside to blooter every hedge they can reach and spread broken branches and multiple thorns everywhere. I've virtually given up trying to patch up one tube, after 5 patches it's still not holding air. I'm definitely voting for the first political party that outlaws these pieces of machinery!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Going for the 100 (miles that is!)

It was -2 c at this point and I was trying to look as if I wasn't shivering.

Wow!! That's made the ride worthwhile!

After missing out on my weekly target of 100 miles last week by one mile I am determined that this week I'll reach it by the middle of the week as the forecast ain't too good for the next few days. That's twice this week I've done the Gladhouse Reservoir loop and it adds in 30 or so miles at a time so come the weekend I should be well up on last week. Out again tonight up into the hills with the Ice Spikers, and since they're twice the weight of my usual tyres it looks like a hard night!

Friday, 7 December 2012

More ice and some snow....... but no offs!

The new bling handlebar grips, the bike's sure to go better with these!!!

Its cold and icy up them thar hills!

This section of the track was just pure ice........but the ice spikers made it easy going!

A 17 miler up into the hills to try out the new " bling " handlebar grips and also get used to the ice spikers. The tyres are amazing and it takes a bit of time to have the confidence to go where I'd never have ventured before on some of the icy sections, having come off  quite heavily more than once. the next purchase for the Anthem is a rear mudguard, I got home today with a wet backside after going through one or two slushy puddles!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Ice Spikers in abundance and a new addition to the stable

The "new" addition, a Giant Anthem built from an 08 frame off ebay and bits and pieces I had lying around, well I did have to buy some new bits!

A inch or so of snow when I went out on the "maiden voyage" on the Anthem.

Back out again at night with another three bikers, Mad Mark (well named) Dougie (who's reasonably sensible) and Dave "Drookit Nipples" Hodgson who sounds suitably mad to be going out with us up into the Pentlands at night in sub zero temperatures. Three of us were equipped with Ice Spikers (studded tyres) Dougie being the odd man out and braving the elements on his super tacks Maxiss High Rollers. The temperature did in fact fall to below -8c at one point resulting in frozen derailleurs and in Marks case a frozen freewheel hub, unfortunately no-one could summon up the courage ( or the desire) to pee on it and defrost it. As we hadn't far to go and it was mainly downhill Dougie pushed Mark a fair bit of the way back to his car. 23 miles done and only one off for me which considering my back tyre was self studded wasn't bad. Good news is Baz has said he'll give me another one for Xmas .