Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Elterwater 2nd January

Nige and any others out there

Might be interested in this run but I don't have any 'phone numbers and I don't want to make a trip up to the frozen north only to find you guys have hit the snooze button and are still in bed.

Could someone give me a call to confirm that the trip's still on.


01484 602288

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Burn off some christmas calories with a lake district mountain bike ride on Friday 2nd Jan. Steve Barker has come up with a low level route,meeting in Elterwater at 09-30 and taking in the trails of Grizedale forest.Steve assures me it wont turn into an MTB marathon!
Happy New Year! Nigel.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

long causeway - Tuesday 23 Dec 08

I'm reliably informed by Steve Barker that we are meeting on road bikes at 9:30 in Hebden Bridge on Tuesday 23 Dec 08 for a ride over log causeway to Whalley and that sort of place out west. I hope to see you there, Ian.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Interesting report from the Guardian that suggests, despite years of marginalisation, we were right all along!

Win gives cyclists momentum to move into the mainstream

The spotlight afforded cycling by the Sports Personality Of The Year could propel the sport firmly into the public consciousness

Members of the Great Britain Cycling Men's Pursuit Team train at Newport Velodrome. Sunday night was the first time this year Chris Hoy has not started a race as favourite, but it made no difference. Hoy thoroughly deserved his win in what he termed "the big one", for his attributes as an all-round human being as well as for being a great champion.

Watching Britain's Olympic track team at work day after day in the Beijing velodrome, it was obvious that he had assumed the role of moral leadership. Occupying the same seats at every session, he and Victoria Pendleton shared jokes and, when necessary, silences with the rest of their colleagues as they prepared to go out and conquer the world.

But Rebecca Romero would have deserved it too, for her astonishing and sometimes almost spine-chilling focus on the ambition of going one better than the silver she had earned as a rower in Athens. So would Nicole Cooke, whose Olympic gold was followed by victory in the world championship road race a few weeks later, a double that no cyclist, man or woman, had ever achieved. It was she, after all, who struck the first blow in a campaign that made this a year of unprecedented success for the sport in Britain.

When the entire squad won the team award, and their performance director, Dave Brailsford, was named coach of the year, no one could be left in any doubt of the scale of their achievement. But will cycling, which has always struggled for mass acceptance in Britain, reap the rewards of the publicity, or will it go the way of curling, which won the hearts of the nation for about five minutes when a quintet of Scotswomen performed amazing feats during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City? Six years later, you don't see kids racing out of the house on a Saturday morning for training at the local rink.

For cycling, there ought to be some encouragement in the identity of the man who finished runner-up. Lewis Hamilton trailed Hoy by a sizeable margin - 283,630 votes for the cyclist against 163,864 for the new grand prix world champion - and even allowing for the fact that this was an Olympic year, that the Olympics are covered by the BBC, that the formula one season was broadcast by the rival terrestrial network, and that the audience perhaps acted on the understanding that Hamilton will have further chances, it was easy to conclude that a message was being sent.

At the end of last week British Cycling, the biggest of the sport's governing bodies in the UK, announced that its membership has reached 25,000 for the first time, and that 13,000 cyclists now possess racing licences - increases over the past five years from 15,000 and 8,500 respectively. All sorts of events now encourage people to take part, from races for folding bikes around the grounds of Beaulieu to the large British participation in the annual Etape du Tour, when amateurs take on a mountain stage of the Tour de France. On the roads of British cities, more and more cycling commuters are challenging the assumption that cars and lorries rule, with pathetically little support from central or local government.

And for the internal combustion engine, the current global financial crisis looks like a death sentence. A US government bailout for Detroit's big three automobile makers, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote last week, is the equivalent of putting money into an improved typewriter on the eve of the invention of the personal computer, in CD manufacturing just as the iPod was being dreamed up, or in the mail-order catalogue business at the time of the birth of eBay. What they ought to be doing, he suggested, is investing in the inventor of a new electric car network, whose vision might just represent the future.

This doesn't devalue Hamilton's success in the slightest. In 10 years' time, he might be winning world titles at the wheel of an electric car. In the meantime, with luck, more and more people will be following the example of a group of self-propelled sportsmen and women who looked pretty good in Sunday's spotlight.


Monday, December 08, 2008

7 Dec - The white stuff on Top Withens

After a cracking mtb ride last week it was back to the muddy bikes again this weekend with Robin & Steve. We met in Hebden and climbed through Hardcastle Craggs up to "poo farm". Lower down the surface was frosty but gave good grip. Higher up and we began to slip and slide a little on patches of compacted ice, higher still and we had to work hard through some deep snow. By the time we descended "the field" to walshaw it was more like cross-country skiing!
The tyres made a great buzzing noise crunching through the thick snow. There weren't any tracks to follow but our own - so it was a choice between forging a new route off-piste or trying to follow EXACTLY in wheel of the bike in front (and steering, leaning, turning at the same time they did). Synchronised bikeing didn't work and I quickly went for the off-piste option.
We then headed up over the hill to Top Withens ("Bleak House") for more great snow-fields of fun. Then it got deep. Really deep.
In some places the snow had a hard icy crust and was like riding on tarmac. Then about ten feet later there'd be a footprint or weak spot that wanted to swallow my front wheel. So a mixture of riding and falling off ...
Which brings us to the photo here of Robin standing on a drift. This bit was like the cresta run - hard crust over deep snow lining the sunken track. One of the best sections of the ride. I was (almost) dissapointed to get back to the black stuff.