Saturday, 14 July 2018

Bringing Blog up to Date

If anyone out there is looking or even cares then you will know I am nearly up to date with the blog.
Wanted to put everything in one place from different forums etc. Not all my rides of course but some that matter whether it was the ride, the company or the scenery. Just thought I'd share.
All the best


Thu Jul 06, 2017 - Kinlochewe/Torrindon midweek Randonneur recon ride

Yesterday I seen that the forecast for today was quite good compared to the rest of the week so I told them at work I was 'well', as opposed to 'unwell' and that I wouldn't be in today as I was going riding in the decent weather. They agreed which is unusual and signed off on it :)
I rang Brian and suggested if he was available to ride that we head down to Achnasheen and head out towards Kinlochewe and Torrindon to recce a route and try and find a decent camp spot for a randonneur road ride type camping weekend next month, that I have been trying to get sorted for a few weeks now. We weren't going to do the full Sheildag, Applecross, Torrindon route but more the middle section looking for a suitable campsite. A very hard thing to find now that a lot of this route is now on the north coast 500 route.
I picked Brian up just after lunch and we drove down to Achnasheen and parked at the station, unloaded the bikes and set off into a nice warm afternoon. It was quite cloudy in places but still not much breeze, which was nice for a change.
First bit of fun was the long downhill run into Kinlochewe, while the scenery up in the high ground on the first part is nice, I always like that section where you can start to see that you are about to drop from on high down to Loch Maree unfolding below. We stopped briefly at the lookout and then tucked in for the couple of miles down to Kinlochewe. We were both tucked right in hunched over the bars and I had no gears left very quickly, a big wide road made it a fun ride for sure. I had forgotten my computer so have no idea how fast I was going but with no more gears and spinning like I had no chain, I can only imagine it was pretty fast. We then had a stop for a coffee before heading towards Torrindon. This bit of the singletrack road is part of the NC500 and what an absolute shit fight it was as well, cars everywhere, hardly anybody giving any consideration to anyone let alone two slow bikes. Dangerous is the word for sure. After a while we turned of onto the Culin estate, or Torrindon estates as some signage said. This is the site of the Macretro Torrindon off road ride several years back and it brought back some memories for sure. We went along the footpath for a good distance looking for somewhere we may be able to camp, but I don't think we would be able to, especially on the lower ground as the estate has its own bunkhouses and lodge, that are well out of our price range :shock: But I do think a macretro revisit to do the loop again should happen soon.
Anyway we had a good while there before deciding it was getting on time wise and we headed back to Kinlochewe for a coffee before hitting the climb back up the fabulous descent. Nothing too hard but not that easy either, just a long steady slog. Pick a cadence and work away. Once back at the station we watched a Pine Martin playing under a car before running into someones back yard, while we were packing up.
A great ride out and have several options for the ride. I will stick details up this weekend both her in Retrobike and also on a couple of other groups but it's really a ride on Saturday with a campout Saturday night and then the second half of the loop on Sunday. Distance is not too far so is doable for all and bikes can be modern or old, road, randonneur, bikepack etc. The emphisis is on the ride being social, it's not a race or a gravel grind, it's a ride with a campout, open to any and all. Possibly now looking to start at Achnasheen as you can get the train there from Inverness.
Anyway here is some photos of a fun day and the sort of roads and scenery that will be part of the ride in August.
It sure beat going to work anyway :wink:


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Sun Jun 25, 2017 - Big Dummy ride and new free Radical bags with new bars and grips for Caleb

Weather been rubbish up here over the weekend but I managed to fit my 'new to me' secondhand Xtracycle cargo bags along with Calebs new bars and grips. Had to dismantle the back end to slide on the bags but all went together nicely. A few rides between showers to adjust the boys bars and all was good. Set up now so that it's a lot easier to load the tent and sleeping bags etc. We also have a small coolbox that straps onto the back of the platform.
New wheel build is next in line but that can wait for now.


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Sun Jun 18, 2017 - Big Dummy with Caleb to John O'Groats for an ice cream.

After having to postpone plans for a run down to Torrindon due to the weather yesterday, fathers day was thankfully spent with my little man. We got some stuff sorted after a very casual breakfast and catching up with Le Mans before we thought we would load the Dummy, brave the weather and head out to Groats to meet up with mum, have a coffee and cake for me and an ice cream for Caleb.
Weather was really hit and miss with showers early on and the clouds looking worse as the morning went on. Thankfully it held off and actually got a bit brighter later on, though did darken just before home and then had the usual rain showers not long after getting in. The wind was virtually non existent on the run out, though the wind picked up on the way back and as per usual it was a direct headwind :) On the way out we stopped for a couple of pics and the midgies were bad, very bad. We rode a good few miles back with a couple of older guys who had ridden up from Preston and were now heading home. They had had 2 days out of 12 without any rain!
Groats was heaving but managed to get a nice scone, jam and cream and large coffee with the family. Good couple of hours out and while it was only about 35klm with detours, it was a solid workout pushing it into the headwind.
We used our front Ortliebs as we thought we were going to get wet and they are waterproof compared to our old ones we normally use. This week we did get our new bags for the Dummy and hopefully I will get these fitted this week and we will get away for a solstice campout next weekend. I will put a separate post up about that as hoping to get a few along on a family friendly ride campout for the solstice, was thinking maybe Aviemore/Rothiemurchus.
Hope everyone had a good day as well.


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Sun Jun 11, 2017 - Mercian ride out Sunday

Spent the morning doing family things around the house and garden while knowing that if I wanted a ride I had better do it before the forecast rain was due in the afternoon. The forecast was for a good bit of rain coming in slowly just after lunch. Originally I was going to head to Strathcarron to recce a camping spot for the randonneur/camping ride in late July that I am trying to organise. The weather forecast for down there was hellish looking, 5.9mm rain at 1pm and raining through until mid Monday. So a relaxing morning was had and it was a nice morning too but it did start to cloud over so after sitting out in the garden having lunch I thought I better get the Mercian together and get going.
There was no real plan just a rough route of heading out towards Groats and maybe doing a loop back towards Wick way, just a few hours out and about sticking to quiet, mostly single lane roads.
I grabbed the Mercian out the loft, put the wheels in etc and decided to adjust the handlebars slightly, just rotate them slightly. When I cobbled it together I have mounted the brake levers slightly lower than I normally have them and as I am going to fit the new Nitto bars and stem I wasn't going to dismantle the tape etc just to move them. I rotated them slightly last ride as it felt like I was hanging over the front wheel, like a low front crit bike, which is the polar opposite of this bikes build target.
Headed out and thought something isn't right, I feel like I am pushing myself back in the seat, must be the bars. Then I remembered last time I came back from riding it with Brian I proofrided the Brooks saddle before I put it away, but then didn't rub it down the next day, completely forgot :lol:
Oh well nothing for it now, my backside will polish the proofride away.
I was out towards Groats and decided to take a back road across to Lyth, this road has a couple of small rises and a little kick up at the end, single track and very straight, one uphill long sweeping bend and then its at least 5klm straight as an arrow, had a slight headwind but nothing to slow me too much. This left me with a choice at the next junction, I turned to the right as by this stage the weather to my left was bright and gathering clouds and to the right, towards home was very dark and stormy looking. I had already just ridden through a heavy downpour that while cold was a welcome cooling from the warm day and while I had been stopping and taking a couple of quick photos I was motoring on. I was trying to make sure I got home before the storms really came in.
The road was dry and quite quiet so had a good run back. At one stage I could see it raining just in front of me and thankfully that was when I turned right once again about 4klm from home.
A couple of hours out and about keeping the legs spinning. Route was only about 33klm, but still nice for a quick run. A very triangular shaped route that never seems to be boring, not that I do the Lyth road very often. While it is very open and exposed so there is no hiding from the weather, it is due to the constantly changing weather that it always looks slightly different whether it's the weather or the light, and this route points me east then south west and then north, so you see every perspective as it's so open.
Anyway, again just thought I would share a nice ride. Hope everyone else has had a good weekend, whether that involves a ride or not.


Heading out

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Sat Jun 10, 2017 - Big Dummy cargo hauling Caleb and his bike to the school for him to ride

Loaded up the Dummy this afternoon as Caleb wanted to ride his bike and maybe have a shot without his stabilizers. Weather had improved greatly from this mornings rain.
As we are pretty rural and there is nowhere that is tarmac for him to practice on other than the singletrack road outside, we tend to head to his school and while it's a small school it does have a good size tarmac playground and a track road the building.
So Dummy was loaded with a pannier with bits and pieces and his bike was hooked into the U tubes that run down the side, perfect fit for the little 16 inch wheels. Then it just tows behind nicely.
He had a ball with me chasing him round and later his friend Joe joined us for a while. He had a good go without his stabilizers and while he most likely do it, he just lacks any confidence. So I don't push him, he'll get it when he gets it. Otherwise he flies round the place, but it just makes me nervous the speed he goes on those stabilizers :lol:
Anyway, that's a few hours today and hopefully tomorrow I will get a good few miles in. Though weather forecast was rubbish.
Hope it's a good one where ever you are.


loaded! pannier one side and little bike the other.
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Sat May 28, 2017 - SSEC - SingleSpeed European Championships - Evanton Scotland

Some more photo's from SSEC 2017
These were taken by Tom Winterbottom and the side on one of me riding was by someone else whose name I have mislaid.
This is the macretro crew in fine form at SSEC 2017.
We missed Jimo, but there is always next year in Holland 


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Bringing Blog up to Date

If anyone out there is looking or even cares then you will know I am nearly up to date with the blog. Wanted to put everything in one pla...