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Now retired but busy still living..

Thursday 27 August 2009


Regular visitors to this blog will be aware that amongst my pet hates are cyclists who feel that it is ok to cycle along pavements when there are perfectly good roads that we can all cycle on.....So it was of some interest to me today when I saw two police officers with a radar gun measuring the speed of vehicles travelling along a straight and wide residential road close to my home.

What I had noticed was a cyclist (male/about 20yrs old/mountain bike) riding his bike towards the officers along the opposite pavement. He hadn't noticed them as they were partially obscured from his view by a parked van.

I wondered if he would be stopped or ignored by the officers so I decided to watch for a bit. As he got closer to where the police were standing one of them spotted him and crossed the road and stopped him. The officer appeared to explain to him the error of his ways and after telling him to ride on the road allowed him to carry on his way.

In my view that is the problem -NO PENALTY. Riding along the pavement IS an offence for which a penalty CAN be issued but penalties don't seem to be given out all that often.
A couple of months ago cyclists were being stopped for breaking the 10mph speed limit along the promenade-again no penalties issued- just a warning.

Now this is interesting because I believe that until cyclists start getting fined for these offences thay will continue to stick two fingers up at the law and carry on cycling on the pavements-jumping red lights etc etc..
Is it any wonder that vehicle drivers seem to get uptight about cyclists when there doesn't appear to be any fairness in the application of the law.

Sunday 23 August 2009

Tourist Season

John Hee was certainly right with the advice he gave me in the comments section of my last posting regarding staying out of Bournemouth over the few days of the Air show. I made a point of only going out today and that was inland to the countryside in the Shaftesbury area and very pleasant it was to. Green fields and fresh air as well as lots of peace and quiet-Wonderful.

Yesterday was very different as I stayed at home. One of the drawbacks of living just a five minute walk from the beach is that during the summer all the local roads get choked up with parked cars and yesterday they started parking up from about 0900hrs. When all the road space was used up they then started trying to jam their wheeled tin boxes in to every nook and cranny. Two 'moron' drivers in their panic to find a place to park before the airplanes started whizzing overhead decided that my drop kerb didn't exist. They saw nothing wrong in parking across it- I mean lets face it the people that lived there would not want to use their drive would they? So securely sealed in anyway I was then subjected to an afternoon of planes whizzing overhead and all the noise that goes with it. Not so bad for just the one day in isolation (and we do have a superb viewpoint for it here) but I had already had it for the Thursday and Friday hence my trip inland today in search of peace and quiet and away from tourist overload.

I kept thinking of the words of George Carlin regarding tourists:

''Why is it called the tourist season if we can't shoot at them?''

Wednesday 19 August 2009

I should have known better..!

Last nights weather forecast was a good one so I decided that I would go for a bike ride in the Purbecks today.

That was a big mistake and I should have known better.......

Within one mile of home I came across nose to tail traffic- it was well stacked all the way to the chain ferry. Not content to block up the roads the cars and vans seemed determined to make certain that a man on a bike would have major problems in passing them by swinging to one side of the road and then the other in what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to slow my progress even more than they already had.

I arrived at the ferry (eventually) and I should have bailed out of my ride at that point. But no-like the fool that I am I bought my ticket and crossed over to the Studland side of Poole harbour.

Off of the ferry and what did I find? More traffic. Cars parked both sides of the road (access to the beaches) cars trying to squeeze in tiny gaps to park - more cars trying to get past on their way towards Studland village Corfe and Swanage. A couple of miles along the road and everything ground to a halt again while cars coming from the opposite direction were trying to find places to park etc..etc..etc I seemed to spend all of my time in and out of the cleats-stop start-stop start.

I'd had enough!

I saw a shady tree set back from the road in a pleasant grassy area. I leaned my bike against the tree sat down on the grass and had a nice doze for over an hour.

On my return trip the traffic was almost as bad-never again! The Dorset coast on a bright very warm August day is not a good place to go for a cycle ride if you want to avoid traffic.

I should have known better....!

Sunday 16 August 2009

From Broom Wagon to Saddle.

In a previous posting I mentioned that Team 219 'Broom wagon' driver Dave Vaughan had acquired and old MBK bike that he was going to do up and that he was going to show us all how to ride a bike. (And how not to fall off in my case.)
This morning I looked out of my window and this is what I saw on my drive- Dave with his MBK MISTRAL steel framed race bike. Yes it's true -Dave is now out of the broom wagon and on to a saddle.
It won't be long before he is out riding with the rest of the team and he even mentioned this morning the possibility of riding with us up the 'Hill of Death'.
For those of you who do not know- the 'Hill of Death' is a hill in the Purbecks that each prospective team member has to conquer before they are allowed to join the team. It's exact location is a closely guarded secret so that prospective members cannot practice on it before their first official attempt.
I will keep you all informed of Dave's cycling progress.

Saturday 15 August 2009

Fixie V Roadie

Following my last posting when I mentioned the 'Fixie ' craze I came across this short video that is currently doing the rounds of the cycling sites. Being a bit of a 'Roadie'I can laugh at myself from this as it is really taking the mickey out of both the Roadies and the super cool Fixie riders.
Very funny and worth a look.
Go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn29DvMITu4

As I said to Anne recently when she asked why my latest bike was so expensive - 'It's all about PERFORMANCE !!'

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Repackaged but just the same.

I saw it happen with wild camping-backpacking-tarps-etc...etc......

Find something that people have been doing quietly and skillfully for years and then repackage it (with in some cases a different name) and then relaunch it as if it is something that is a brilliant new idea - something that is not only new but 'cool' and exciting. Before you know it there is almost a sub-culture built up around it - you have only to check out the various outdoors sites and blogs to see what I mean.

It now seems that this is happening in the world of cycling. We have had the 'Fixie' craze - that is the craze for the fixed wheel bike that is so popular with City based couriers. Well it now seems that someone has decided that 'light touring' or 'fast touring' as a term is too old fashioned. They have repackaged it with an acronym and it is now reborn as 'S24O' or 'S48O'. These stand for 'sub 24 hour overnight' touring or 'sub 48 hour overnight'touring. It is no longer deemed 'cool' to have a weekend fast cycle touring-next time some one asks what you are up to on your days off you can tell them that you are going on a 'S24O'-just think how impressed they will be..!!

Sunday 9 August 2009

A Proper Ride.

32.67 miles / Cycling time 2hrs 15min / Average speed 14.4mph / Max speed 30.4mph / 1907 Calories burned.

The above figures are the results of my first 'proper' ride since the accident. By 'proper' I mean that I cycled further than ten miles.

Today I met up with Jason (Team 219) and we went out for a circular route. It was just a leg spinning exercise but vital for me on two fronts. First- it was another important step in helping to build up my fitness and recovery. Second-I needed to get out on a reasonable ride to help with my confidence. Although no vehicle was involved in my accident I have found that I now seem to be very wary of motor vehicles to a point far in excess of the way I felt before the crash. As I don't even remember the accident it seems a very odd way for me to be feeling-on the other hand perhaps it's a normal reaction. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has experienced something similar.

We had a good ride in great weather and I am sure it did me a lot of good.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Well - It made me smile.

When Anne went off to work today she left me behind a small badge to wear.
I don't know where she acquired it from but it gave me a smile when I read it.
I must say that compared to the courtesy shown us by the French drivers on the roads in France I do feel that we have quite a few psychopaths behind the wheel on UK roads.

Saturday 1 August 2009

Where the ACCR ended.

This is the spot on the road near Budleigh Salterton where our ACCR endurance trip came to an abrupt end. We were travelling down hill and had just swept around the slight bend in the road as can be seen in the first picture (looking back up the incline). From what I am given to understand when my front wheel hit the first of the yellow rumble strips as shown in the second picture it caught the small pot hole that you can just see near the cars front wheel. Each of the strips has a small pot hole and then just past the strips on the solid white line of the hatching there is a sunken manhole cover. It seems quite possible that after the pothole threw me off balance the manhole cover finished the job off. I vaguely remember the yellow lines but it is almost like a dream. Looking at these pictures what is very clear to me is how lucky I was. The road is pretty narrow and if I had not fallen to the left -away from the on-coming traffic I could just as easily have slid into the path of a vehicle coming towards me. I was also lucky that the driver of the car following me had given me enough space and himself a large enough gap to allow him to stop before hitting me. As I said I was very lucky. Looking at the readout from the Garmin cyclo computer I was travelling at exactly 27mph when I came off. Unfortunately a lot of the recorded data of the entire ACCR was lost in the accident. According to Jason the accident caused quite a tailback of traffic not helped by the narrow width of the road.
There was a positive outcome from the accident. While I was in hospital I had to have a couple of blood tests. These produced a number of abnormal blood results. This has meant that I have now had to see a number of consultants to set in motion treatment in order to sort these conditions out. As I had not had any symptoms of these health issues prior to the accident I see the accident as a lucky break. Hopefully these other conditions have been caught in time- I will keep you all posted.

Six weeks off.

 The visit to see the Consultant went quite well really ...   My ' numbers' have started to creep up again so I am going to be given...