Thursday, 29 October 2009

Bloody roadworks!

Despite my shoulder still being pretty sore from previous rides I still got out for a pootle as I really didn't want to stay indoors on such a nice day.

I wanted to get to my cafe via an alternative route that I haven't ridden for a while - one that pretty much goes in the opposite direction for quite a while before coming back on itself. It'd be a nice easy, recovery ride type thing. Or so I thought.

As I know don't head into Manchester City Centre for anything other than meeting friends every now and then, I have no idea exactly where the metrolink roadworks are int hat direction. However, within the space of 0.69 miles I had ridden at speed through 3 YES 3 traffic-lighted contraflows. Mmm, so much for an easy start to the ride.

Out alongside Philips Park, through Newton Heath and into Failsworth was a nice easy pootle with only minimal climbing to do, with the worst bit of it being the climb over the M60 on Cutler Hill Rd. I turned off onto Coal Pit Lane (no sprinting along it this time) and headed up it to the Ashton Rd junction. As I neared White Bank Rd in Limeside I spotted roadworks signs saying the road was closed. As I was seeing traffic still coming down it, I pootled on around the bend by the golf course and found the roadworks were right at the far end at the Ashton Rd junction.

About turn and I found myself in unknown territory as I followed the diversion notices through Limeside and the climb up Hollins Rd to the Park cakes junction on Hathershaw Rd. Here, I got stuck at the lights for several changes as way too many hgvs tried to get in or out of the bakery, blocking the junction and preventing people from turning right (like I was trying to).
Eventually I got round and loved the descent through Bardsley and through to Daisy Nook.

In the cafe, chatting away to Lesley I got a phone call from work asking me if I could work the afternoon as the new epos till was going live and they needed someone to help with a stock take and cover the old till until it was all sorted with the epos. As I was close to home I agreed to go in at 1pm. Nothing would stop me from chowing down on my bacon butty I'd ordered!

Stats -
Miles: 13.68
Average speed: 14.2mph
Climbed: 478ft

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Tepid Tuesday

Wow! This is so not October weather! What is going on with it; it's way too warm to be nearing November. So warm in fact, that I wore a summery top for work!

This meant that my night ride was not a winter clothed one. The arm warmers still went on, but the leg warmers stayed off. As it was, I was still too hot, but that is way better than being cold.

I set off along my usual route through Daisy Nook up to Ashton Rd, down to Cranbourne, up Smallshaw and onto Lees Rd in Hurst. Snuck over a bollarded section onto Kenworthy Ave and King's Rd to climb up Gorsey Lane to the Ashbourne junction. I took a photo on my mobile of how dark it was here, but sadly it just looked like a big black thing so not posting it on here!

Fabulous descent to Mossley Rd and then down to the Queen's Rd junction where I, again, sat in the middle of the road waiting for the traffic to pass and let me turn right. Had to wait until the lights were changing to red before I could turn. Back up through Hurst and another great descent down Broadoak and swooping round the roundabout and along Wilshaw before heading into Ashton town centre and a section of Park Parade and on towards home.

Excellent ride with perfect night weather.

Stats -
Miles: 13.93
Average speed: 14.7mph
Climbed: 458ft

Monday, 26 October 2009

Mad and muddy

After Sunday's chaotic ride, I wanted to get a bit of order in and do some hill climbing and some sprints if I could manage both on the same day. My shoulder was still sore too, so I wasn't holding out much hope on the hills.
As it was, I needn't have worried as the weather made my decision for me.

Thanks to the metrolink roadworks I couldn't take the immediate left once I'd left my crummy road so I had to tweak it a little to get onto Edge Lane and round through Fairfield, Daisy Nook and onto to Lees New Rd by Lily Lanes.
On the way up St Alban's the weather got a bit crap with drizzle and by the time I'd got to the top I couldn't see Hartshead Pike anymore due to mist and storm clouds. That was my mind made up; I wouldn't be going up that climb, so I focused on sprint training instead.

I carried on until I reached Alt Lane and swooped round by Alexandra Park to Hathershaw, around/through Limeside and to the start of Coal Pit Lane where I was going to practise my sprinting. Having no turbo yet and unable to afford the track sessions, this is the next best thing for me in preparation for the next club track championship in December.
The road is just over 1.03 miles long, little traffic and with approx 70ft of climbing along it's length. My LBS owner uses this road too for his sprinting, so I knew it'd be a good road to get top whack on.

I was, however, completely blown away by what I did mange to achieve.
I rode up it 4 times, each time sprinting as hard as I could for as long as I could. Granted, I know that the track sprint is only 200metres, but with the 1k TT and the 2k pursuit also ahead of me, I wanted to push myself.
The stats for the sprint are included in the usual stats below.

After nigh on wiping myself out to the point of nearly falling off the bike by the end of the sprinting (must've been doing it right then!), I carried on to Bardsley for my lovely off road route to the cafe where, due to the rain, I arrived very, very muddy, rather wet and knackered!

Stats -
Miles: 18.34
Average speed: 26mph (thanks to the sprinting)
Maximum speed: 37mph (top whack! PB for max speed too)
Climbed: 619ft

Sheep's Arse!

Sunday was the day of Middleton CC's October club ride.

I wasn't looking forward to this ride too much due to the amount of climbing I thought would be involved. I set off towards the meeting point at Heaton Park and met up with my bro Paul along the way. We travelled through Philip's Park and onto Alan Turing Way and Queen's Rd before heading through Cheetham Hill to the meet point at the bus stop by Victoria Ave.

Crimmy and Mike were already at the meet point with Pantani Pete arriving not long after myself and Paul did. While waiting for John W to arrive the rest of the boys looked at the map to decipher the route while Mike and I discussed the Manchester 100 that we'd ridden (not seen or spoken to him since then) in September.

After John W arrived we set off up towards Bowlee and its steep climb towards Birch where we turned off to take in a section of the MCC Jean Keith Award route before heading left round the roundabout at junction 2 of the M66 and then right to take us to the A56 Walmersley Rd - a nice drag of a climb.

Several times the ride leader Joe was at the rear of the group and didn't shout out directions. The two impromptu leaders then took it upon themselves to squabble about the directions to take. Usually we'd end up at lights while they squabbled and more than once we were then told to turn right (while in the left hand lane of a 2 or 3 laned road). Weaving in and out of traffic isn't my ideal ride to do. All this messing about ended up leaving me less than amused and in some considerable pain due to the impromptu leaders choosing hillier roads - my pelvis was throbbing a fair bit, knee was beginning to hurt and my shoulder was killing me. At one point I couldn't really hold on with my left arm.

The climb was rewarded right at the top with amazing views then the best descent yet: a 12% drop into Ramsbottom across the level crossing and left to a mobile catering unit.

After noshing on bananas Crimmy and Pantani took in the Rake, a notoriously steep, evil git of a climb approximately 20% gradient. They came back full of enthusiasm for it, saying it wasn't that bad. Erm...that'd be hell for me!

We split into 2 groups for the route back - Mike, Crimmy and Pantani heading back a hillier way and myself, Paul, John and Joe heading back a slightly flatter route.
I had bike problems immediately after leaving the car park with my chain dropping off the front chainrings. I put it back on and thought nothing of it. However I had to put up with problems all the way back home as the chain kept jumping and skipping gears regardless of whether I was on the inner or outer chainring at the front. Mmmm. Not good as I either had to really twiddle my way up hills or grind my way up them. It refused point blank to get into the gear I needed or stay there when it did go in. At times I was having to slam the brakes on or ended up jerking the bike around as Joe kept weaving about in front of me (not intentional I don't think). Around this time I discovered that Joe hadn't been wearing his hearing aid either, so no doubt couldn't hear me behind him. Rather dangerous though as it also meant he couldn't hear the traffic either.

The route back through Greenmount, Bury and Whitefield wasn't easy with the gears arsing about, but I made it back to near Heaton Park where Joe and John W headed off in their respective directions to get home. Myself and Paul carried on to get back home the way we came out to the Park.

On Bury Old Rd at a huge junction with traffic lights I sat behind a black Merc with a First bus behind me. As the lights turned green for us we all set off. As soon as I'd clipped in the Merc slammed his brakes on, forcing myself and the bus into emergency stops on rain slick tarmac (so close to being squished with the bus up my arse). Black Merc let a car cut in front of him to turn left then proceeded to turn left himself without indication. I have to admit to a huge amount of road rage at that point. That incident on top of everything else that'd happened just meant that sadly I didn't enjoy the ride much.

When I got home I took Everest straight round to my LBS where Neil took the rear derailleur apart, put it back together again and she's now all fine. Thanks Neil!

Stats -
Miles: 33.29
Average speed: 12.9mph
Max speed: 27mph
Climbed: 1428ft

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Tour de Tameside

I arranged to meet Gaz at 8am for a nice easy ride of the Floop and then my Park Bridge route. Last night he asked if we could drop the Floop and concentrate on Park Bridge. Not a problem!

Bang on 8am as I stepped outside Gaz had just pulled up on his sexy Ribble, we discussed saddlebags for a little while (I put on the Topeak wedge to show him, usually have my Scicon on Everest) and we set off.

Out through Fairfield past a heritage area (Moravian Settlement) and out to Littlemoss/Daisy Nook and the first 'climb' of the day to Oldham Rd. i could have carried straight over the crossroads but as gaz wasn't feeling 100% I opted for the easier and flatter route to save killing him. So, up Smallshaw past the evil Vicarage, then onto another longish gradual climb to Alt Hill Lane and the start of the ace descent through Park Bridge. I'd forewarned Gaz that the going would be treacherous round here due to the rain slick tarmac, extreme leaf litter, cow shit (several farms along here) and the field run-off. Boy, was it lethal! We took it real slow which took the edge of the greatness of the descent, but it did mean we got to live another day!

I pointed out one of my hill rep hills to whimpers from Gaz and a huge sigh of relief from him once I'd said we weren't going up it. Onto Daisy Nook where the sexy Ribble got dirty (poor Gaz) and round to the cafe. After being there for a few minutes an MTBer on a sweet full sus Trek arrived and after asking us where we'd been, he proceeded to regale us with tales of his rides and his mates steeds (even telling us that his bike was nearly 2k and on one ride there were 20-20k worth of bikes). At this point gaz disappeared into his own world (don't blame you!) and I just abouts managed to keep up with the chat. Bit strange though that an MTBer would just blather on at 2 roadies like that. We than got bearated by him for taking the roadies along the singletrack/canal path. Why? the beasts are more than capable of handling them!

Anyway. Up Joby's 'mountain' which Gaz seemed to make it look like hard work (soz Gaz), while I pootled up it. Back up to Oldham Rd and down through Ashton town centre to the huge (and often lethal) Lidl roundabout where we went our separate ways: Gaz straight on to climb up through Dukinfield; myself turning right to Park Parade and sprint training alongside a police car.

After beating the cop car from a standing start to the stupid one way system I swooped and swooped some more before another sprinty bit to another stupid one way system. More swooping followed by sprinting meant that I was getting in some good training for the track champs in December (can't afford to get on the track at the moment to train).

Final mile to home was taken as a sprint for me; tucked up swooping through the contraflows was a little scary at times, but I made it safe and sound.
Stats -
Miles: 13.92
Average speed: 13.2mph
Max speed: 185.9mph (apparantly!)
Sprinting max: 23.8mph (thanks to the pc balls up I had to keep looking at the pc. It was most likely more than stated above.)
Climbed: 459ft

Monday, 19 October 2009

Team 100k ride again

After imbibing alcohol at L&J's reception on Saturday night an early morning ride on Sunday was very welcome to clear out the cobwebs and wake me up.

Joby and Emma (2 other members of Team 100k) met me at mine to ride the Floop and were easily persuaded to add on one my loops to the mix. After Joby arrived really early on the club ride he rode on, and after Gaz and Emma were bang on time for our pootle t'other week, I expected them early so waited outside for them. 9 o'clock came and no sign of them (was beginning to think they may've chickened out cos it was bloody freezing outside!), a text confirmed that they were running a little late. Rather than disappearing back upstairs to my flat I began to hop about on the spot to keep myself warm and no doubt made the passers by chuckle. I even endured a 'Hoy! Race ya!' from 2 scallies.
No sooner had Joby and Emma arrived and Joby was already making demands(!) - he needed a top up of his water bottle already. Either that or he wanted to try the borderland water.

I promised that the route would be easy and a nice slowish pace seeing as Joby was recovering from Swine Flu and Emma had ridden the night before.

After refreshing Joby (ooer) we set off towards the start of the Floop and I was greeted by a grumble from Joby about the gravel beginnings. Pretty soon, he was appeased by the remainder of the route which he'd ridden before as part of the return of the last MCC ride. Emma hadn't ridden all of this portion so it was fairly new to her. Pretty soon we were all on new turf as we crossed Wilmslow Rd to get onto the other portion of the Floop to head to Chorlton where the route ended by Corkland. We headed back the way we came as far as Abbey Hey before getting back onto the roads for my add-on.

Entering Ashton Old Rd opposite a beautiful church, the route headed through Fairfield and Audenshaw before passing the Snipe and entering Ashton town centre. Sadly, here, Emma headed off to go be with her chap leaving myself and Joby to ride the rest of the route.

Up Cranbourne and Smallshaw and soon I was pointing out Hartshead Pike on the right perched on top of the hill with the sun shining on it. Joby begged me to tell him that we weren't riding up to it this time. I could have been evil and said we were, but I thought I'd be nice, told him the truth and we swung off into Alt Hill Lane where the fabulous descent lay ahead of us: swoopy, stunning vista, narrow lanes. It's over way too soon sadly.

At the bottom Joby was again begging me to tell him that we weren't going back up the hill. As we were beginning to freeze our feet I told him we weren't and that we'd soon be able to warm up in the cafe in Daisy Nook. Strangely Daisy Nook seemed to be full to the rafters with hounds and owners. I'm thinking that there may have been a dog class on and we encountered them on their way out. Either way we got to the cafe where tea/coffee and hot radiators warmed us up.

I promised Joby that we wouldn't be going back via any huge hills, but failed to tell him that to get to the main road from the car park involved a very short but rather steep climb before the gradual climb of Newmarket. As I reached the top of this climb I heard the bellow behind me 'You said there'd be no hills, that was a bloody MOUNTAIN!' - it wasn't that bad, just ridiculously steep for it's length (it's about 13 or 14% and about 20ft of road). He didn't complain about the rest of the climb!

Just past Ikea we both went our separate ways - to opposite ends of Tameside. I decided to book Everest into my brand spanking new (and opened by Jamie Staff) ridiculously close local bike shop for a service. I ended up staying in the shop talking to the owner and his mate for close to an hour and half before walking around the corner and up the stairs to home. I get Everest back on Thursday,s o I'll have to find something else to do until then.

Stats -
Miles: 28.09
Average speed: 11.2mph (nice and easy pace)
Climbed: 656ft

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Weddings 'r' us

Tonight I was at the wedding reception of my dear friend Andy's brother and sister-in-law John and Liz. I know Liz from a previous job of mine at JD Williams, so I knew she'd be inviting people from there. I was amazed at the amount of people I knew who were there (I left there in 2007). It was good to see them all again. As you can see from the photo Liz had a blast tonight. This is the 2nd wedding bash: they actually got married in Cyprus, but obviously couldn't invite us all over, hence this reception party. A good time was had by all. Liz looked gorgeous, John was handsome, the best man (and my dear chum) Andy looked dapper and a great time was had by all. They're probably all still partying the night away right now.

Friday, 16 October 2009


My legs decided they'd be kind to me today and let me get out for a ride with some climbing involved.

I set off on a deviated route to Droylsden centre avoiding the roadworks and contraflows and headed through Littlemoss where I got stuck behind a very slow moving hgv - I could understand it being cautious on the bends etc, but it was uber slow on the straights too. It decided to pull over before the M60 crossing so the huge line of traffic behind managed to get past before we all had to stop at the temporary traffic lights heralding another single laned section of road (they're breeding rapidly I tell you!). On passing through the narrow section the car in front clipped a roadworks sign (you know the one with the little man opening his umbrella to the ground, lol) and sent it careening into my path. I had two options: stop suddenly getting a car up the ass and maybe falling off, or ride over the thing. I chose to slaughter the sign and rode over it; it was a little noisy and lumpy but it beats a car up the butt any day!

On the gradient up to Oldham Rd the afore-mentioned slow moving hgv now got stuck behind me, although I was going quicker than it was doing on the flat straight road earlier. Somewhere along here it turned off, dunno where but god help those narrower streets with that beast driving down it!

Over and past Hartshead Sports College I made a quick decision to head to Hartshead Pike for a climb I haven't done in a while. Round two sides of Oldham Golf Course and the climbing keeps on coming until I'm at the top where the glare from the hazy sun is a nightmare and the wind has gotten chilly. A rapid descent and I'm in Mossley and ascending Under Lane into Grotten, along Thorley and across Abbey Hills Lane before getting onto Alt Lane.

At the Alt Lane junction I came across this rather sad sight:
Welcoming? Not likely!

Alt Lane began as a normal suburban street with a hump in the midst of it. Once over the hump however things change quickly. It becomes a narrow single laned, twisting, steep (9%ish) effort. Partway down this descent my brakes decided to play up and not actually slow my bike down much. When I did manage to slow down enough, I decided to walk the longest and steepest bit to be on the safe side until I got to a level(ish) section where I could tweak the brakes. When I got them working again I continued down Mill Brow and onto Park Bridge Rd and it's cobbled speed humps and it's final long cobbled section. Juddering about on these cobbles with a painful pelvis and shoulder isn't the best of practices, but I had actually forgotten they're as bad as they are - they're pretty spaced apart with some completely missing in places and with deep ruts between some of them. I came off the other end unscathed if a little tender.

The route home from here wasn't really thrilling as it's a route I do on a regular basis and there was nothing to write home about.

Near home however was a different matter. As I rode along St Andrew's nearing Eastwood a moronic driver in a mushy pea green metro decided to ignore the stop signs, white lines on the road and the fact that a rider was nearing and chose to just swing out into my path, just metres away from me. Come-uppance came when a car did the exact same to him at the next junction. I tried to not laugh, but it was hard not to.

Miles: 19.7
Average speed: 13.4mph
Climbed: 1073ft

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Evening ride

Seeing as Tuesday day passed without me feeling any worse I decided that I would get out for my evening ride. So, while watching Hollyoaks (I know, at my age it's sad) I clamboured into my kit (bizarrely the kit of a club to which I am no longer a member!), mounted my lights onto Everest and hoicked her downstairs. Dodged a muppet van driver as soon as I got out the door - there're 2 working garages on my crappy street and one of them works quite late; the morons who drive the cars back into the compound think they're rally drivers (my road is gravel and railway sleepers), doing handbrake turns and wheel spins. All without any of the lights on the vehicles. if it wasn't for my bins being either side of my front door, the vehicles would literally be on my doorstep.

I digress, apologies.

As the metrolink works have now reached my junction and have added several more contraflows to the mix I had to immediately alter the route out to Ashton and set off through Openshaw and Fairfield to get to where I wanted to be (a nice sprinty section of road leading to the Snipe and on through into Ashton. Past the splatter zone and onto Cranbourne before Kings and Gorsey Lane. Then came the great descent back towards Ashton, only diverting off at the rubbish five-way junction where I sat in the middle of the road waiting to turn right as there seemed to be an endless line of cars heading up towards Mossley. Personally I think there should be a filter at these lights, but there isn't and most likely never will be.
Back through Hurst, Daisy Nook and Littlemoss, whizzing round a mini roundabout at yet another five-way junction and the final sprint to home.

Given that my left knee was really aching in work I was expecting some problems. However, none occurred and all went well without real incident or accident.

Stats -
Miles: 13.69
Average speed: 14.6mph
Climbed: 500ft

No oink!

Well, after Monday's querying with Joby, Gaz, the NHS and other peeps I've come to the conclusion that I may just have a very mild form of oink. Several people agree with me. As I'm not sneezing or coughing then I'm certainly not infectious so I carried on with life as normal.

Tuesday began with a nice walk to work in the clear crisp air and a shop that looked like it'd been hit by gremlins. The new till refuses to go into training mode so nobody knows how to use the system and the media shelves have huge empty spaces in them. I knew I was going to be very busy sorting them out.

Maybe not as busy as originally thought as I got stock out and onto the shelves in double quick time, interspersed with stints helping the customers and chatting away with the boss. It was quite funny when I told her bout my chats with the nhs on Monday night, and she agreed with me and went on to say that if I infect her it doesn't matter as she has next week off work anyway!

On to my appointment with JC and despite them running late everything went according to plan and I came away relatively happy and with some thoughts on potential. Back to work and the rest of the day passed by real quick as it usually does.

Monday, 12 October 2009


Three friends of mine have been diagnosed with swine flu. Three people I've been in contact with recently. After 2 of them were diagnosed today, I took a look at the symptoms and compared them with how I've felt recently. Now, the symptom list says ANY 2 or more symptoms and you've probably got the illness. Running nose? Yep. Diarrhoea/vomiting? Yep. Any aches or pains? Yep. Headaches? Yep. Ok, so that's 4 symptoms. At risk category such as asthma, diabetes, pregnancy etc? Yep. So, that adds a risk to the symptoms. I phoned the NHS. First question: do you have a fever? I answered truthfully that I don't. I rarely get a high temperature with any illness and never had one when I actually had flu several years ago. Due to the lack of the apparantly compulsory fever I supposedly cannot therefore have swine flu. These are the same authority who said I hadn't fractured my pelvis...yet several hrs later I was diagnosed with a fracture that was due to take 6 months to heal. My faith in the NHS is waning rapidly. I'll take their advice, go into work tomorrow, go to my appointment with JC. If I infect you world, I apologise, but the NHS told me I'm not ill at all. Must be all psychological then. Can psychologists diagnose swine flu.....? ¤ sent from my mobile device ¤

All present and correct

I think! Finally got all my elevation stats correct. I was using mapmyride for the maps/elevation etc, but found that it lied massively after completing the mcr 100 and it stated I'd only done about 700ft of climbing. I knew that this wasn't correct as it felt more and also Joby's Garmin was saying otherwise. Since the mcr100 I've been using bikehike which is much more realistic, and I have been spending some time converting the elevation stats from one to the other.

It is now complete. Finally. I can't quite believe that I have done quite so much climbing, especially that in January, but I have. All this from a hill-hating, non-climbing whiner like me!!

Can it be...

That I am truly made of lead? The reason I ask is simple. The photo shows Hartshead Pike on top of its hill. This was my intended destination for a ride today. The reality? I didn't even get as far as the place the photo was taken from (photo taken a few months ago). I'd eaten some readybrek before I left the house, travelled roads I'd done many times before, even took a gel with me which I don't normally do on rides as short as this would be. I knew my legs would take a while to get used to the chill air so took it easy up the first portion of not-quite-flat road and took a hump bridge as normal. At the top of the road by a roundabout I knew I wouldn't make it the way I'd intended as my average was way down on what it normally is and I hadn't even headed skywards yet. I slurped my gel and was heading towards the longer albeit less steep route, my legs feeling no better. I couldn't even manage to get above 19mph on a sprinty bit. I had to face facts: the bug I caught on saturday (and which I presumed had passed through my system as I felt 100% yesterday) is obviously still lurking somewhere deep within. My ride home felt like Everest and I were made of lead. I managed a very paltry 7 miles and am now rather grumpy about it. Humph! ¤ sent from my mobile device ¤

Sunday, 11 October 2009


Well it may not sound much to some of you mad cyclists out there, but in the 6ish months of this year that I've been able to ride (and since updating my stats after calculating elevation on bikehike instead of mapmyride (for only half my rides at the moment)) I have now climbed more than twice the height of Mt McKinley in Alaska and am well on my way to twice the height of Everest. Not bad going considering most of the climbing has been done AFTER my pelvic fracture and while still in pain from it!

I wonder what I could do if totally free from the pain the fracture has left me in.......

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Devil's Hill

Early this bright, clear, cold morning I set off to enjoy the roads as I took Everest out for a ride along the Fallowfield Loop and beyond.

I set off towards the Floop entrance on Falmer Close and decided by the time I got to Debdale that I wanted to ride Hyde Rd (not sure why) and then over and up Devil's Hill. Getting off the Floop by McD's a woman with suitcase decided she'd walk right into the road as I was flying towards the junction, silly woman. She was obviously too distracted trying to do multiple things at once - on her moby and hauling a mammoth suitcase behind her. Still we didn't collide and I carried on my merry way to Hyde Rd.

Once on there, I tucked down and sprinted along past the golf course and to the gorgeously deadly Denton Roundabout. Now at this point most people (with sense) would probably get off the road and go over the footbridge. Now, as that involved trying to get to the other side of the road, which by this point was 6 lanes wide, then hauling ass up and over the bridge then trying to get back onto the right side of the road, I just decided to ride the thing seeing as it was miles easier to do.
Riding in the draft of a car with a motorcycle at the side of me I made it round the enormous roundabout with ease and without a hint of the danger that Joby and Gaz seems to encounter every day.

Down the one way system on Manchester Rd (it's a strange road with the M67 slap bang in the centre of it and the normal road either side) and to the lights on the bus/cycle lane. Now Gaz and myself find that these lights are never on red. Except now. And for a stupidly long time. So long in fact that I ignored them after a while and joined the main lanes. There was sod all coming in any direction yet these stupid lights were still saying 'stay put you cyclist you'. Maybe if I'd pretended to be a bus and go 'Beep Beep!' they may have changed. I shall never know.

Anyway, after hurtling down the road and over the Tame and it was time to meet the Devil; although he didn't seem very mean to me as I practically flew up the hill. Maybe he'd not woken up yet? Into Hyde, round into Dukinfield and they're putting up the Christmas lights. Already. It's only October!!!

After greeting another roundabout and encountering calf cramp halfway round it (so not necessary) I was on the lookout for a safe stopping point, found a fence and threw myself at it to stretch the cramp away. Five minutes later and the smile was back on my face as I headed up and round to Daisy Nook for the obligatory bacon butty and to make friends with some spaniels before the sprinty route home.

Stats -
Miles: 13.8
Average speed: 13.9mph (slow but still happy with it)
Max speed (?): 71.3mph (!!!!!!) that was up devil's Hill too!
Climbed: not much 340ft

Dunham desires

On Monday morning myself and bro Paul got in the Fabia and drove to Dunham to spend the day taking photos of the autumn gorgeousness and hopefully many shots of the deer before rutting.

The day proved warmer than anticipated and both of us were rather warm as we'd overdressed, but we couldn't be bothered removing various articles as we'd no room in our bags what with our camera kit and picnic in them. Oh and Paul's tripod that looked like it was trying to strangle him when he carried it!

First port of call was the sawmill and the stunning reflections of the barn and clock tower in the moat. Whilst Paul was taking shots of the moat I wandered off to a tree stump and it's lovely collection of fungus where I got to practice macro before returning to the moat for some shots myself.
Onto the main house and for once I managed to get a shot of the listed building without any body, buggy or bloody idiot getting in the way and with the nice sundial central to the building. Paul was also taking multiple shots here and I got mine over his head while he squatted down to take his shots from a lower angle.
After the Hall we wandered over to one of the lakes where last year we saw a massive orange Koi Carp. He'd gone from the lake now, hopefully he's been moved into the larger lake. There weren't many swans, coots, or moorhens here either so the wildlife shots were thin on the ground, but I did get some gorgeous shots of the lake and the trees reflected in it. Again while Paul was taking shots I wandered over to a fallen tree to take some 'arty' shots (I like quite bizarre architectural type shots). While here I heard a cricket 'singing' looked round and found him on one of the fallen trees where he seemed happy to have his picture taken and slowly wandered over to his mate who, again, seemed happy to just stand still while I took multiple shots of them. Paul cursed himself when he saw what he was taking as he'd left his macro lens at home and couldn't do any close-ups. Tsk. Still, all better for me as I need the macro practice.

Wandering about and over to another lake, Paul began taking glorious shots of the lilies and swans while I set off looking at the ground in search of more macro possibilities, and came across a good few things. And a stunning view across another lake with beautiful skies and colours in the grasses.
We finally found a stag (in the whole day we only saw 4 deer (2 stags and 2 females - pretty sure they were the same stag/female on both occasions!) and I managed to get a good picture of him lay down in the grass. Not as good as I'd have liked though as my camera is only a compact and therefore the zoom isn't as great as Paul's SLR, but still, it is one of the best pictures of deer that I've taken.
After the stag got bored and wandered off we set off in the opposite direction and came across the old slaughter house in the woods, where I found my nice architectural/arty things to shoot and yet more macro!
Last port of call was back to a lake and the woods behind it where we watched several squirrels frolicking in the sun and leaves, while one was busy burying his findings for a possible harsh winters lunch,and while we got bombarded with beech nut cups as it seemed that every tree had multiple squirrels in the canopy stuffing his tummy and little cheeks and dropping what he didn't want onto the floor. After we both got hit several times we decided to head off back to the car as we'd managed to spend about 6hrs wandering around!
These and more photos are on my photo blog avixpics

Sunday, 4 October 2009


Myself, Gaz and Emma decided on Saturday night that we'd ride the Fallowfield Loop this morning. Partially as they'd not ridden it before, but also because Joby and Gaz have been looking for somewhere to do their 100 miles of nowhere ride. that, and seeing as they didn't have a clue where it was or how to get there, I'd come in very useful. I'd planned to ride anyway and decided to meet them and then ride my own loop afterwards.

At 8:30ish Gaz and Emma hurtled into my street and we all set off with Gaz doing a few wheel spins on the 'interesting' road surface before getting onto the roadwork area that has now appeared right at the end of my street.
We set off towards Wright Robinson College and got onto the Floop at its gravelly first quarter/fifth and set a good pace along the cycleway passing a fellow cyclist with extreme ease: well, he was on a full sus mtb that squeaked like an overgrown mouse, so the passing was done with ease.

As we neared the Kingsway bridge Gaz got a text from his misses saying his daughter was ill and could he come home. We turned tail and set off back towards Debdale Park and the Hyde Rd exit. Once on Hyde Rd I promptly adopted the tuck position and pelted along until I drew alongside Denton Golf Club near the fantastically lethal Denton roundabout. No RLJers as there was very little traffic thankfully: it's not the best of roundabouts to ride round, but ride it we did.

Into Denton Crown Point and while Emma and Gaz headed up to Devils Hill and Mottram Rd, I turned off to begin my own loop of madness. Up Shepley, through into Dukinfield, then Stalybridge, Ashton/Mossley and up Wilshaw to Lees Rd and the gradual climb up to Park Bridge.
Coming down the descent into the valley I got stuck behind a Jeep behind a horse rider who was in the middle of the road. Once the Jeep was passing her safely she acknowledged the driver, but when i said 'morning' to her I got a bit of a sour look from her and what sounded like a grunted reply. Hmm, so much for being friendly to other road users who are just as vulnerable.

Back in Bardsley and along through Daisy Nook and I was avoiding branches that'd been blown off the trees with last nights gales. Luckily the visitor centre was open (that early on a Sunday, I was surprised) and the warden was told about the branches while I waited for my bacon butty. Making friends with a beagle pup, very cute, I began to feel the cold despite being wrapped up warm, so pretty soon I was on the move again descending and climbing various parts of Oldham and Failsworth before heading back through Ashton towards home.

Stats -
Cold, crisp gorgeous day
Miles: 32.89
Average speed: 12.4mph (fairly slow, but happy with it anyway)
Climbed: 1217ft