Tag Archives: Rides

Sad Loss, Happy Beginnings? New Bike Bought

A Sad Loss…

I’ve been agonising for a while about my lovely old Haro.  She’s been complaining and displaying all the signs of her old age.  A couple of months ago I took her wheels in to be trued and they couldn’t do it.  At that point I began to accept that her days were drawing to a close.

So, it is with a heavy heart and a much lighter wallet that I have to tell you I’ve ordered a new companion.  This weekend’s ride will be my last on my trusty Haro.

Haro Escape 7.0, My companion for the last 10 years.

RIP My Faithful Haro Friend, Out To Pasture After 10 Years

The frame’s still bombproof, but the wheels, brakes and bottom bracket are knackered.  I’ll pass it on to some deserving soul or put it on Freecycle, unless anyone has any better ideas…?

…A Happy Beginning?

I’m a bit scared.

I’m a bit scared of how easy it was to spend my money with Wiggle.   I simply used the affiliate link from Fight Bad Driving and was logged into my Wiggle account automatically.  The bike I’ve chosen was already on my wish list so, what seemed like 4 nanoseconds later, I was looking at the “Thank You From Wiggle” screen and experiencing early-onset-post-purchase-dissonance.

Here’s the beast:

My new pearly-white steed.

Focus Fat Boy 2010, My New Steed

Why A Mountain Bike?

I thought long and hard about getting a road bike, but I need a family-friendly ride.  We live alongside a canal so we ride as a family along the towpath, regularly.  Everyone else has an offroad-style bike: even the young girls have fat tyres.

The roadie option was to buy a decent road bike, then get my Haro updated with some inexpensive new wheels and a new bottom bracket for the family rides.  This would’ve cost the wrong side of £100 on top of a new roadie for sure.  Shed room would also have been an issue.

So, the MTB won the day this time.

Why The Focus?

I’ve read reviews on Focus’ road bikes and MTBs, from last year and this year.  Focus bikes are German, and those Germans are pretty good at engineering, whatever you say about their sense of humour.  Wiggle are selling a lot of their bikes (which must be a good sign, surely) and the more recent reviews have been very good.  On the 2009 models, it seemed that they were trying to cut costs by providing lower-priced components.  OK, this year’s Fat Boy is £100 more than last year’s, but the components are good.

Oh, and I loved the paint job.  How cool is it? Really? I mean, How Cool is THAT?  I’m a sucker for a nice white frame, me. 🙂

Let me know what you think … and if you know any good cause that’d benefit from a Haro Escape 7.0 which squeaks a bit, let me know.

Cycling GPS Test

As you might know, I got my shiny new HTC HD2 last week, and promptly installed some of my favourite applications on it.

Possibly my favourite app is the GPS Cycle computer. I downloaded a new version (for free!) and installed it easily.

On Saturday, I spent the afternoon tinkering with the family’s bikes:

  • Bottle holders for the girls
  • A kickstand for one of the girls, since the other already had one pre-installed
  • New, lighter & shorter bar ends for my boy and myself
  • Towbars removed from Other Half’s & my bikes

This took me a little while.  Just long enough for it to start raining. Pah!  Nevertheless, I was already wearing my eco-ninja cycling gear, so I decided to set off regardless.  I switched on the tracker, zipped it into my pocket and off I went.

It was only a swift pootle along the canalside in the fading light, following some of the route taken by Rooley earlier that same day with his daughter.  With hindsight, it’s a shame I didn’t bump into them, that’d have been a nice surprise.  For me anyway, maybe not them 🙂

I’ve just got round to uploading the kml track that the computer recorded and I’m most impressed.  The accuracy is far superior to what I had got used to with my old Vodafone V1615 (Kaiser; TyTnii, whatever they call it) and I’ve had to do hardly any editing of spurious tracking points.

So far, I’m very happy with the new phone and this is just one of the reasons.  On the other hand, my Trusty Steed, she’s struggling.

I love ths bike, butshe's 10 this year and knackered.

My Faithful Haro, 10 this year.

She’s spending most of her last days languishing in the shed, but I don’t want to draw out her farewell, so in the interests of palliative care, I’m looking at replacing her with a newer model.  Watch this space…

Here’s the map as recorded by the phone’s tracking software on Saturday:

View Smithy Bridge First new GPS Track in a larger map

Personal Goal Setting

Goals, Not Resolutions

As a marketing manager at Utility Masters, I’m quite used to setting business goals.  I don’t subscribe to the notion of New Year’s Resolutions because they seem to be used most commonly to rationalise failure later in the year.  They are also so woolly as to be useless – how exactly do you define sucess against your “be a better person” or “get fitter” resolutions?

Instead, I decided to set myself some personal goals instead this morning, using good old-fashioned business cliches.  Objectives have to be SMART:

  • Specific – stating exactly what you intend to achieve
  • Measurable – so you know what defines achieving it
  • Achieveable – so you actually have a chance
  • Realistic – make sure you can do it – it can be hard, but you’ve got to get there
  • Timed – when will you aim to do it by?

So, the box that’s been published in my sidebar this lunchtime is my own measurement of how I’m doing this year.  My main goals are two events I intend to complete this year, plus a fundraising target for the Hospice where my Mum was so wonderfully cared for.

I’ll also be tracking my cycling and running this year, for you all to poke fun at by way of encouragement.

Please let me know what you think, and offer any additions that you think will help me in 2010. Thanks! 🙂

Bikes For Girlies – A Review

Before Christmas I posted an article about Bikes For Girlies, in which I highlighted the two machines that I’d asked Santa to sort out for our ladies. Well, here’s the verdict:

Happy Christmas Customers!

Happy Christmas Customers!


Both bikes arrived flat-packed, which is sometimes a cause for consternation. No need to worry though: both were very easy to put together.  The Bumper Sparkle is the most complicated of the pair, with extra girly attachments like a storage box over the back wheel; bag on the handlebars; mudguards and so on.  Even so, it was road-ready in about 45 minutes.

The Falcon Cherry as an altogether simpler proposition.  Stripped down and designed to look fast & mean, this one was all sorted in  easily less than half an hour.

Don’t think that you get the tools you need though: you don’t.  You’ll need a couple of screwdrivers; pliers and an adjustable spanner; allen key and a little bit of grunt to assemble these bikes and to make final adjustments to the brakes etc.  If you already have a bike and some tools, you won’t need anything new.


One reader expressed a concern over the weight of these steelies.  But I’m glad to say that the absence of suspension (unneccessary on bikes so small?) makes them both very manageable.  I dont expect any issues loading them both onto our Witter cycle carrier – along with our other 3 steeds – when the weather improves.


Both of these 18″ wheeled bikes are strong, well-built units, which I expect to see the girls through the 2 years or so that they’ll fit them.  Then, as I usually do, I’ll wash them and donate them to some other child to spread the joy – it’s like my own personal FreeCycle scheme and I love to see the face of a local bikeless kid light up, moments before their first serious crash sends them crying and running for home! 🙂


At less than £200 for the pair, delivered from BikesAndPrams.co.uk in Pemberton, I’m very happy with my choice.  The girls are too.  I used these people after a colleague recommended them, and I’d happily add to his praise.

Tell ’em Phill sent you.

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