Archive for October, 2016

Big Red rocks!

Posted: 23/10/2016 in Uncategorized


We ran out of bread. What finer reason to get out Big Red and cycle to the shops? A bit of finicking with the Apidura bar pack and I had it nested amongst the cables and ready to go.

It rained. A lot. And more. I got wet. Quite wet.

Down to the Derwent Walk and I headed towards Swalwell. I didn’t realise, but the mud had started to build on my back – luckily it was raining, so I had my waterproof on, so a layer of funk built up without it being too bothersome.

Hang on, that’s not the shops, that’s the way to Evans (the bike shop) and I need a spanner to get the old gnarly downhill pedals off so I can put on some clippers pedals – reckon it’ll work so much better now I’m used to SPDs on the road bike.

Bang! Spanner bought – it’s interesting that when I got to Evans and asked for a pedal spanner the guy pulled one out from under the counter and handed it to me, and I had to explain I wanted to buy one. That’s got to be a good thing, right?

Along through Blaydon to Morrisons and I got some bread – sour dough and a small French stick – thin bread, so it’ll fit in the bar pack.

Right, task complete, it’s time to head home, and what better way than up the Blaydon Burn path? It was easier than I expected – granny gears are pretty cool, and I barely notice how massively heavy the bike is with a gold-rated lock and bits of kit hanging off it.

Off the road and on tracks up towards Barlow – a bit wild through the mud, but it all worked out, no need to walk up the big hill.

Home, and at 14 miles, that was a canny trip out – I was gone about 1:50, but cycled about 1:20 of that – takes time to buy bread, you know.

As this is my winter option, wondering how long it would take to get to work – will have to give it a go at some point…

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Big Red rolls again!

Posted: 09/10/2016 in Uncategorized

A couple of axles, a quick release, two gear-removal tools, six new spokes and hours of messing on with stuff, trying to sort me cones.

And that’s it – Big Red is rolling. There was a moment when I was going to buy a new wheel, and one where I was seriously considering a new bike, but I plugged on like an ignorant repair man and finally figured it out. The man in Halfords gave me the clue, and that did the trick – rear axle is officially changed and bloomin’ works too.

It’s only been a few years since I rode the heaviest mountain bike ever produced, and after a good clean up it worked surprisingly well. I might replace the cables and the inner tubes just for good practice, but all went well enough on a nimble round the woods this afternoon.

Big Red is officially my bad winter bike for commuting in – once the roads get ice on them I’m not risking it, and this fella will work better on the cycle paths than the little grey road bike. All my swanky Apidura bags should fit on fine, so. I worries there. I’ll probably pick up some SPD pedals as it was really odd cycling without being clipped in.

All of which goes to show you, a relative lack of bicycle maintenance skills combined with a bit of northern bloody-mindedness will see you through.

But how long will it take? I reckon an hour and a half in and mebbes two home, I don’t know – have to find some off-road routes.

What’s it all about?

Back in the early summer you couldn’t cycle anywhere without seeing poor flat rabbits, and sometimes not-so-flat recently-dead rabbits. 

Later in the warm, warm days of summer their was an abundance of pigeons, seemingly all of who had decided to end their days in the cycle lanes of Newcastle. For sheer weirdness, they also seemed to have decided to decapitate themselves on the way out – as themes go, it’s more than a little disturbing.

Now, as we speed through Autumn and on to winter, the rats have decided to head off – perhaps abandoning the sinking ship of Brexit in the most final way they can think. Seriously, I might have seen one or two rats in my entire life , but in the last couple of weeks there’s been maybe a dozen of them – scattered along my route to work. They can’t just be heading to my locality in a concerted effort to give me the willies – it must be happening elsewhere?

What will deep winter bring? Will there be squirrels? Might it be marmosets? I’m voting for unicorns, it has to happen sooner or later?As long as it’s not snakes, I bloody hate snakes…