Sunday, 26 June 2011

Ian's Not Cycling Across America days 4/5

Thursday was 30 miles in very cool conditions. Friday (Prineville to John Day) was my 33rd wedding anniversary so me and Mrs P went to Glasgow for the day (to collect some rare signed Royal Doulton vases from an auction). Our trip was hijacked by Kathryn and Chris who decided they would like to come along. After driving 165 miles and collecting the vases, we headed to Glasgow city centre to park and explore.
Our first sight of interest was a young lady piper.

Not bad at all and the same applies to her piping skills.
This is a nice building in Buchanan St - Glasgow is full of buildings like this.
Don't know how to turn it around unfortunately.

We went into a Wetherspoons pub for lunch. I had haggis neeps and Tatties and a pint of dark Island, a heavy bitter beer from Orkney. All delicious.

From there, we boarded an open topped bus and had a grand tour of the city.
I think this statue might have preferred to be on the bus!

Here is another lovely building at Merchant Square.

Doulton Fountain

Kelvingrove Museum.

We then visited the new Riverside Museum and saw an old Bentley.

And I tried my hand(leg) at a bit of pole dancing on an old tram!!

They had some interesting old bicycles.

Might these once have belonged to Elton John?
On the way home we passed this delightfully named village. If you are from the United states and you can pronounce this, you can come and stay at my place.
No, I was not talking about 'The South' or 'Carlisle'. The other one.

Day 4.
KahNeeTa to Prineville - 60 miles
Ian's Mileage - 30 miles.
Day 5 - Prineville to John Day - 117 miles
Ian's Mileage - 330miles. (by car so doesn't count).

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Ian's Not Cycling Across America Blog - Day 3

I didn't think I was going to get out at all today due to heavy rain. My friendly mechanic came to my house and tweaked the rear mech of my new used bike then centred the rear wheel
My new used bike is a very light LeMond Buenos Aires carbon fibre machine with a mix of DuraAce, Ultegra and 105 components. I have changed the racing crankset to a compact and the rear cassette from 12-25 to 12-27. I also had to change the wheels which had 24/20 spokes before they exploded to ones with 32 spokes.  I must say that despite the weight on top of the bike, the fact that it is about 10lbs lighter than my steel framed bike really does make a difference. I got out at 6.40pm last night and did 28 miles at an average speed of 14.1 mph where before I would have averaged about 12mph. On that basis I would have done Prineville to John Day in nearly 2 hours less. On the other hand, that would have meant 2 hours longer in the worst hotel in NorthWest America.
Here is the bike.

Todays Mileage
AAN Welches to KahNeeTa - 65 miles
Ian's Mileage - 28 miles (-4.5 to make up)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Ian's Not Cycling Across America - Day2

The forecast was for heavy rain today with winds from the West. I knew I had 38 miles to do to hit my 50% ABB target. I had an early breakfast at 9.30am which consisted of  two small slices of toast with low fat butter and low sugar blackcurrant jam. There was only one other person in the breakfast room and they weren't in cycling gear. I immediately realised that I did not have any sense of Deja Vu whatsoever. Nobody sang 'Oh what a beautiful morning' or shouted random remarks outside the bedroom windows. I didn't feel the need to do anything with my suitcase and didn't really care where it was or what it weighed.  There wasn't a queue anywhere to be seen. I ambled into my garage and debated whether to pump the tyres up or not. I did them yesterday and they still felt ok so that was good enough for me.
I was first onto the road. I didn't have a route sheet so decided to follow my nose, wondering what I would find. Could I get to the SAG without being overtaken? I figured that since even I didn't know where I was going, there was a good chance of success.
I headed West up Gosforth High Street which is a direct route into the centre of Newcastle (which is 3 miles from where I live).
The Hoppings has arrived on Newcastle's Town Moor. They advertise themselves as the largest travelling funfair in Europe
I strated to climb a bit up the side of the Town Moor until I got a decent view of Newcastle United's stadium (which seats over 60000) which is in the city centre.
Here is Bob, fully recovered form last year's damage and sporting a full set of 64 spokes.
Today was actually quite interesting for me as I went out trying to focus on some of the hsitory of the area for a change. As a result, I stopped and had a much closer look at things I have previously passed by.

These two pics are of the original city walls of Newcastle which were built in the 13th Century to keep out my ancestors. (Waste of effort?)

I then cycled over the Tyne into Gateshead via the High Level bridge and came upon an old pub, The Central Bar which has been sand blasted and looks very nice now and seems to have had a storey or two

Itook this photo of the Swing bridge, Tyne bridge and Millennium bridge.

You may notice more than a passing resemblance to theSydney Harbour bridge.  I then
swung down to the Tyne river and Newastle's Quayside. This used to be a rough old place with breakers yards etc lining the river.
This is the Millennium bridge which swings across to allow taller vessels to negotiate the river.

This is the Sage Gateshead which is a music and wedding venue, conference and music education centre.
The Tyne was famous for it's 5 bridges in close proximity.

This is the Baltic Art centre, a converted flour mill. I really must go one day.

And a shot of our nice modern Quayside.

I then travelled on part of our National Cycle Network which is a network of quieter roads and some very nice tarmac cycle paths.

I stopped for a bite to eat just before Tynemouth.

Then climbed a steep hill to be rewarded with views of Tynemouth Priory.

The original Life Brigade Watch House built in 1864 is still standing.

And this is the reason for it's position.

Lastly, a pic of Tynemouth Village Main Street.

Tynemouth is quite a wealthy area with some nice pubs and restaurants and a nice beach.
After that, I headed back home with a stiff headwind all the way.

AAN Mileage - 75
Ian's Mileage - 38
Spokes broken - 0

Ian's 'Not Cycling Across America' Blog Day 1

I decided that I needed to lose the weight I have gained and what better way to do it but to cycle lots and not eat so much. My plan is do cover at least 50% of the daily mileage on AAN, weather permitting. If it is pouring with rain, I will not be going out because I don't have to!!!.
 Today, (Monday 20th), I had to deliver a small porcelain figure to a business partner in Ashington so I cycled there via Stannington, Stannington Station and Bedlington till I reached some cycle paths. I returned via Blyth Beach where I stopped for a coffee and sat in the sun for a few minutes. I then went South to Seaton Sluice and turned for home going through Seaton Deleval and Seghill. 38 miles in all, with the wind at my back on the final leg which is most unusual.
It wasn't till later and reading all the ABBers emails, particularly Margot's respons,e that I thought I could do an alternative blog. I will take my camera with me on future outings and give you a taste of Newcastle and its surrounding area, Northumberland and maybe some of Scotland as well. That's my Summer sorted!!!

AAN Mileage - 69
Ian's Mileage - 38
Spokes Broken - 0

Ian's 'Not Cycling Across America 2011' Blog

Well, I kind of wish that I was but then when I think of some of those climbs, maybe not. It would be nice to recreate the camaraderie though.
I am not sure that training for it would have been easy this year with the poor weather conditions and of course, the event of the year for me, my daughter Kathryn's wedding which was on 29th May came at what would have been peak training time.

Here are a few snaps to start things off.

This is us coming down the stairs for the ceremony.
Phew! Made it without falling over.

The train was on time. Do you think there is a bit of a resemblance to the gent in the red jacket??

He is a lucky young man.

Proud parents and sister.

2 Best Men, 3 Ushers and 5 Bridesmaids!!

A fantastic comedy routine by the Best Men and Ushers

Followed by an hilarious episode of 'Mr and Mrs' with Chris and Kathryn in crown and tiara in memory of the recent Royal wedding
Cutting the cake.

Then dancing the night away.

I think Lorna enjoyed herself!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Broken Bicycle

I knew that the rear wheel was damaged but when I got to my local bike shop this morning for an examination, it was immediately noticed that the front forks were out of alignment (explaining the stiff front wheel) and the guy was unsure about how straight the frame was as well.  I should know the full extent of teh damage within a day or two but it is looking as if a complete new frame may be required.  I don't think Air France will be too happy about that so if anyone has any experience of these things, I would be grateful for any assistance.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Day's 51 and 52. The Return of the Wanderer

I was up early on Tuesday morning and we were whisked to Logan airport in Boston, arriving there before 9am.  This was unfortunate as my flight was not till 5.30 pm.  There was nowhere to store luggage so while I waited to check in, I hid my bike behind some chairs to facilitate visits to the loo and to get food and coffee.  I tried to blag an upgrade on the basis of my trip but failed miserably.  It was an uneventful flight which saw me deposited at Charles de Gaulle in Paris at 6am and I had to hang about yet again for my 10:15 to Newcastle.  I declined to fork out $6 for a small bottle of coke! As we walked to the plane, I saw my bike in its big poly bag being lifted into the hold so was relieved about that.  I was so tired by this time that I slept pretty much the whole 90 mins of the flight.  Mrs P was on hand to collect me but when I got home, I discovered that my rear wheel rim had been damaged.  It looked as if it had been run over by something heavy so a claim is in progress.
I slept like a baby last night and got up after 11 hrs 30 mins in bed this morning still feeling a little fuzzy.
As promised to the other participants of the ride, here is my poem.

The View From The Ass End Of The Pack

It started with the Cross Country

Reading Andy Perry's blog

I hankered for adventure

And thought 'retirement's just the job'.

I bought a bike and did some miles

It was good exercise

The uphills hard, the downhills great

My waist it dropped in size.

Then came the day, deposit paid

But I didn't give proper thought

To all those miles and all those climbs

Some advice I should have sought.

I trained as hard as I thought I should

Tho' the weather turned me blue

Then there I was in Astoria

A cyclist without a clue.

As we set off on our first day

It soon became patently clear

Having been passed by all other riders

I'd be spending my time at the rear.

I'd gone out of my way to cycle some hills

But nothing prepared me for

4 hours in the saddle into a headwind

At a miserable 6 miles an hour.

I didn't mind getting up early

To be front of the long luggage queue

And setting off first always gave me the chance

To say Hi to each one of you.

On lovely mornings I was there in my shirt

Enjoying the fresh Summer air

While everyone round me was wrapped up for winter

And I looked forward to my helmet hair.

I learned about pelotons, pacelines, 3 P's

As cyclists kept passing me by

They shouted 'I'm Slowing', 'I'm Stopping', 'On Left'

And pointed at danger or signs.

The warnings were helpful and timely and good

They saved me from mishap, that's right

But most welcome of all came the shout from the rear

'Watch out, there's a man in white tights'.

I've found some real odd habits here

Like cycling on the right

Your beer's too cold, you use too much ice

and the air con's on all night!

Who's ever heard of baysil?

It's tomato not tomayto

At home it’s pronounced lessure time

At least a potato's still a potato

The USA is so diverse

But some things are the same

The huge food portions never change

From Oregon to Maine

There are fatties wobbling everywhere

Eating at a frantic rate

They should be made to cycle up Joe English Road

Now that would help them lose weight.

There's affluence and poverty

Sometimes living side by side

And it seems that Native Americans

Have lost much of their pride.

The contrasts between this land and mine

Are many and they're varied

But the thought of so many having guns

Now that is really scary.

I've seen bison, cattle, soya, corn

Fields as far as the eye can see

But I'll not be eating cornflakes again

Now I know where you go to pee.

Now Phillip he was one cool dude

He rode a Surly Trucker

He hurt his arm and has gone home

Unlucky m’man

We have some fast folks that's for sure

You'd think they were at the races

That foolish lot always get in first

Then have to unload all the cases

And so to all the riders here

We've achieved something special it's true

To friendships made and the laughs we've had

I raise my glass to you.

But we couldn't have done this on our own

So again I raise my glass

To give a toast to Mike and Team

For making this a blast.

Mike Munk thinks that he's in charge

We know that's not the case

But Barb just goes along with this

So that she can save Mike face.

Mike likes hitting balls in fields

and taking photo's too

If your case weighs more than 35 pounds

Barb will be gunning for you.

The staff do a fantastic job

Pandering to our every whim

and if you need your cycle fixed

You'll be met with a big smile by Jim.

Karen is in charge of SAG

And supplies the foods to burn

She fixes flats and does route rap

She knows every twist and turn

Jeff's been known to tell a fib

I recall before Rushmore day

He said the road that went to SAG

Was easy all the way.

Debbie seems to get dirt lots

Without any facilities

She doesn't mind, she always smiles

At least I can find a tree.

So now we're nearly at the end

I can't believe we're here

That gives me cause to celebrate

I think I need a beer.

Tomorrow we go to the beach

Escorted by the police

Back to friends and family

Normal life is within reach.

The emotion of tomorrow's ride

Has nearly got me choking

You ask would I do something like this again?

You must be bloody joking!

This poem is copyright.  You can print it off to your hearts content but if you want to publish it anywhere at all, please make a small donation to my charity.