Category Archives: Rides

Free Stuff – Gotta Love It

Free Cycling Jacket

A few weeks ago I subscribed to Mountain Bike Rider magazine.  I could pretend that it was for the pull-out route maps; the skills advice; the workshop articles… but to be honest, there are two reasons for me subscribing:

  1. 10% off the cover price.
  2. A FREE Altura Nevis cycling jacket.
I love free stuff, I do.

Smug Man in Free Altura Nevis Jacket.

The jacket’s last year’s model I believe, but it’s a cracking windstopper, and waterproof too.  The reflective bits on the front (as you can see here) and on the bumflap will be helpful and this used to retail at more than £50.  It cost me less than hat to subscribe to a magazine I was going to buy anyway, so I’m a winner! Hurrah for me.

Check Out My Cherries!

While I’m on a cheapo tip, look at these babies:


Virtually Free Cherry Tomatoes-In-Waiting

Regular readers will know about my £7-greenhouse-£25-base exploits.  Well, this propagator is full of seeds we dried out from actual cherry tomatoes, stolen from a salad.  They’re growing, actually growing and everything, which is cool.

They should be ready for transplanting outside before too long, then later in the summer we can have lots and lots of cherry tomatoes.  Salads; sauces; pizza; barbecues; soups… I’m going to be heartily sick of cherry toms by autumn but it’s pretty cool for the kids to witness.

Next year I think I should try to grow amusing-shaped vegetables. Any ideas what’s good to grow?

Target Update – Not Great News

Time for Some Honesty

At the beginning of 2010, I wrote a post which aroused a fair bit of interest.  In it, I said I was going to train and complete the Great Manchester Run this weekend.  Well, to cut a long story short, I’m not running.

I broke a rib earlier this year and missed 5 weeks of running.  After the 5 week break I realised that I wasn’t going to get fit enough to do 10km this Sunday, so I’ve bottled.  The only silver lining is that I’ve raised an extra £20 for Mum’s hospice by selling the ticket on.

So there you go. I’m not proud, but I know I can’t run 10k on Sunday so I’m not going to try.  Running’s never been my forte so I think I should stick to the bike from now on.  I won’t belittle my fail, it’s a big one.

Back To The Bike

Number One Son did his distance running PE lesson on Thursday, so his little legs were aching over the weekend.  Nevertheless, we headed out for a ride.  All I can say is that exactly 10 miles later I was very proud of his efforts.  We used almost all the gears but he didn’t stop once (except for our tea break and a pee).  Top riding, sunshine. 🙂

Our Weekend Bike Ride

Nice loop around Hollingworth Lake and through Milnrow.

i-gotU @trip GPS Device

I bought Number One Son the i-gotU device for his birthday and this was its first trip in anger.  I have to say I was well impressed.  It’s a simple little GPS point marker but it also allows you to waymark points where you take photos, to load those photos to a page on the @-trip website when you load up the track data.

The beauty is in the @trip software that comes with the device, and the web page where your trails are stored.  He can now save his trails, share them with his mates and show off accordingly.  We have a little learning to do but on first impressions I’m impressed.  Check out his first tracked ride here.  Sorry about all the bogus photo points: it was in his pocket – must sort out that mount properly…  The 3D view is great if you’re 12!

I might head out to get those final 1.8 miles towards the 100 mile marker tonight.  Fingers crossed…

Cycling Kit Haul

Yesterday, Joby stuck a big Aldi advert on his blog which saved me a fortune.

I’ve read a few blogs by the ladies where there are regular posts following uncontrolled shopping expeditions.  These “Haul” entries seem to exist primarily to ease the inevitable feelings of post-purchase dissonance and to garner positive reinforcement of ill-considered decisions from internet friends…

.. so I thought “Brilliant! I’m going to do one of those!“.

My Aldi Haul.

After picking up my little girl from school, I reminded myself where Aldi was (I get them and Lidl mixed up all the time) and dragged her along as my unwilling accomplice.  This is what I got:

That little lot cost me £33.00 !  How’s that for a bargain?  Not bad considering, as has been pointed out, that a new top at Evans is about £40.00.

I’m chuffed.  I suggest you get down to your nearest Aldi and see if there’s anything decent left, this instant. Tell ’em Phill sent you! 🙂

Pfffffft! Blame The Almighty.

Ever Had One Of Those Days?

On Sunday I awoke from a short night’s sleep nursing a headache that I’d paid for.  I’m not one to complain about hangovers so I won’t: I’ve got better things to moan about today.

We went to Mass on Sunday morning.  It was parade day so off we went, and I even got mentioned (briefly) in the sermon.  It’s not a good thing.  The Vicar mentioned me because he needed an example of somebody he didn’t know in the Church!  At this point I should point out that I’m not actually C of E: I should really be in the Church on the other side of the road.  Anyway, my point is that a little Sunday Worship should really stand you in good stead for a good day, shouldn’t it?

Lost Tools

When we were at Gisburn the other weekend, I noticed that my tool pouch wasn’t on my bike.  I’d assumed that it was either in the shed or the car, but yesterday I checked and no; it was missing.  This is an important detail.  I made a mental note to buy a new one this week, before my son and I headed out for a quick ride before tea.

Lost Time

We’d got about 3 miles.  We were talking about how good the new surface on the canal towpath was.  It’s a combination of bitumen and pea gravel.  Some of the pea gravel has been split by the whacker (Technical Term: A “whacker” is a pneumatic device for squashing aggregate surfacing into place), leaving a number of fine rock shards.  You know what happens next don’t you?

Yep.  That unmistakable sound. “pffffffftt!“, followed by “Dad, you’ve got a flat.”  Bugger.

Lost Temper

Well, not quite.  At that moment, the rain subsided (did I mention that it had started raining as we’d set out? No? Well, it flippin’ had), the sun shone through and we were treated to a gorgeous rainbow as I grumpily dismounted and knelt down to extract the stone shard from my Racing Ralph.  This rainbow stopped me losing my rag, in addition to the puncture repair kit I’d already lost.

We resolved to walk it up to Hollingworth Lake for a cuppa, make a phone call and await our fair rescuers.  So that’s what we did.  I have to be brutally honest and say that it was nice to get out, clear the cobwebs and have an experience with my son.

I didn’t even mention the random guy with the “Always Rejoicing” badge who emerged from the pub at Hollingworth Lake to hug me, tell that he loved me and comment on my pot belly, did I?  Well, I’m not going to mention him, other than to say I wasn’t rejoicing with him, as I pushed my bike towards my tea and rescue stop.  The random, drunken, joyful idiot.

Anyone know which multi-tool and puncture kit I should buy?  It must have tools for a day’s trail riding and be small enough to strap to my headset.  Suggestions welcome. 🙂

Friday Ride Damned By Diabetes

The Best Laid Plans…

Yesterday someone told me off a bit for not using my bike more.  It got me thinking about how I could use my bike more.  “How can I use my bike more?“, I thought.  On four days a week, I wear a suit for work.  I’m also fortunate enough to have funding towards my car from my wonderful employers, so if I was to ride to work questions would rightly be asked.  However there’s nothing to stop me going out for a quick ride in my lunch break on Fridays, the one day each week when we dress down.

So, I resolved that today would be the first day of the rest of my life.  I’d put the bike in my car this morning, along with a change of clothes.  At lunchtime I would simply get changed into my bike gear, get on my trusty Fat Boy, head away from work for 15 minutes, then head back, get changed back into my casual work gear and get back to my desk.

But of course it never happened.  Kids’ homework, getting ready, sorting out breakfast and other things conspired to make it impossible to get the bike plus change of clothes packed in time.  So here I am at my desk.

Ruddy Diabetes

On top of that, my blood sugars dropped to coincide with lunchtime today.  This hypo meant that I’ve been sat through my lunch break, staring through pinholes in a cold sweat and avoiding talking gibberish to anyone whilst my unusual lunch (below) took effect and put me right again.

My Hypo Lunch

Tip To Cure Hypo: Eat Everything Here, Right Now. I Said Now.

So maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t get the bike in the car.  I would have checked my sugars before setting off, but if I hadn’t been careful, the hypo whilst I was out riding would have been bad news.  Maybe the Gods of Cycling were smiling down on me, really.

Every cloud, and all that.

So…. Next Week…

… I plan to put my bike and change of clothes into the car on Thursday night.

On Friday, I’ll ride out for 15 minutes, turn around and head back to work.  Then each week I’ll see how much further I can get.  It’s only once a week so I’ve got no excuse.  Maybe with enough time, I’ll work out a loop I can TT each week, but for the time being a simple there-and-back ride with no route will meet my needs.

And now I’ve published it here, you might ask me how far I got.  No pressure then.

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