June 11, 2007

6 days of riding and about 1700 miles on some awesome roads. Staying in Fort William we took a few daily blasts out including Skye and Loch Ness. Round trips of anywhere between 200 – 270 miles each day. Sunshine and blue skies and fantastic scenery and light !
We even took a day off to walk up Ben Nevis – still had snow at the top !
Of course riding / routes / info will appear on as soon as I get the time. Literally hundreds of pics – will be hard to choose the best.
Oh and finaly, I can only apologise to the locals in the pub in Fort William for the kareoke attempts last thursday night, it’s your own fault for making whisky.


Kent, Surrey and Scotland !

June 3, 2007

This is what w/ends are for !

Friday afternoon and I joined a mate for an afternoon motorbike blast. We decided to take a run into Kent and follow the route of the Tour de France when it visits next month. Bits of it are still being re-surfaced and some of it is pothole central. As the route traverses Plumstead and Dartford, I can only see the riders thinking “This is England at it’s best” Oh, maybe that’ll come later when they get out to some real countryside, part of the stretch out towards Tonbridge is a good fast A road, with some very fast sweeping downhills ! But a couple of hours and we were beginning to hit the start of the friday rush hour, so that was that for a late afternoon excertion.
Saturday – mountain biking on the North Downs. After a week of rain there was plenty of mud. But a good roue, known only to James, along Bridle paths and lanes got us out in the sunshine and fresh air. Looking down over the countryside had us both thinking “Brixton used to look like this” (I work there which is why it features in the forefront of my mind) – but that was a long time ago before it turned into a shit pit. Work was removed from our thoughts. James hasn’t done much mountain biking it would appear. He started off stopping at the puddles worried in case there was something hard in them. At the second one, I showed him how to navigate the best path – sticking to the edge, to ease him into it. And after a few miles he was well into it with us both arriving at the pub caked in mud and the landlord overjoyed that we were sitting in the garden. James theory only worked once as I hit a mud patch and as the bike sunk in and wheels stopped in the sticky stuff. Very deep, but not having clips on shoes / pedals is a bonus sometimes. But a great afternoon. Apparently there is a dis-used rainway line which runs through East Grinstead – supposed to be very good for biking. If anyone knows where it is, best place to join it? Please let me know ? Or of any canal / river paths arounfd NW Kent or Surrey ?
Sunday – more countryside – watching the Biggin Hill Airshow from a field past the end of the runway, no crowds, sunshine, camera and an hour saved from not sitting in the traffic trying to get all the way there.
Tomorrow morning, (I have the week off) me and the motorbike are off to Scotland. Highland and Islands, here we come. Another chapter to add to

Motorbike video

May 12, 2007

My mate Steve just uploaded a video he took of me following him through Dorking.

Not what dreams are made of, and we speeded it up to fit the music – didn’t actually drive that fast, officer.

Oh – Steve – it’s the 853 engine, not the 955!

Shamed by a 4 year old.

January 23, 2007

There was I criticising my nieces’ lack of updates on her blog so I can keep in touch with what she’s been up to and the tables were turned. Mine has not been updated for considerably longer, but that’s because no one reads it. The “family” all look at my nieces to find out what it is that she’ll be going on about. We’re now all familaiar with Numberjacks on CBeebies. If you Google Numberjacks, guess whose site comes up so close to the top, that most companies dream about being rated so highly. You’ve guessed it. Pippy’s. Now Uncle Bens’ website is doing considerably worse. is unlikely to have me handing in my resignation at work just yet. However, thanks go to my brother for helping me update, polish & get some links set up. The dream is still there, even if the forecast is snow and feezing temperatures. It won’t keep me off the bike. I’ll be on it for the commute in the morning but it’ll just keep the tent and pleasure at bay for another few months. I’m now buying red by the box.

GPS co-ordinates for Wales

October 25, 2006

In yesterday’s post, I promised that I’d give you some GPS co-ordinates for the places I went biking at the weekend.

The forest was the Coed Llandegla Forest (note the Welsh double L) on the A525 about 7 miles west of Wrexham. N53° 03.767 W003° 08.120 should put you in the middle of the car park.

The campsite is at Llyn Rhys Farm – continue west along the A525 for a couple of miles, turn left at the 1st set of lights (very hosptable pub on the corner, good food but only until 9pm & very much cheaper than london beer) & the farm is about 100m on the left. Great so long as you don’t mind sharing the field with the sheep. I don’t know who was more surprised, the owners of the farm finding two people who wanted to camp in October of the sheep – very strange looks from them all. £3.50 pp per night & an extra 50p for use of the shower in the farm house. N53° 03.388 W003° 11.939

Top mountain biking in Wales

October 24, 2006

Having been an urban mountain biker, although I’ve been told I own a hybrid. I got dragged off to Wales to get it wet & muddy for the first time. What a hoot !

Some forest near Coedpoeth (GPS coordinates to follow) purpose built tracks through some managed forest just like your ski runs, green, red & black, all signposted out through the woods & free ! Decent car park, top cafe that’s just won an award for bacon butties, but the full english breakfast was better. Found a campsite (farmers field with toilet & shower at £3.50 a night just a couple of miles down the road & 150 meters from a pub)

The green run took us about an hour. The red run took 1 3/4 hrs & made the legs work harder. Hybrid urban tyres just about coped with the red run. I didn’t try the black as I think my tyres weren’t up to the job. Proper chunky jobs are required to keep grip on some of the hills. Enough there to keep us occupied for a day or two.

Then we used a book called Bikefax for Wales to try a longer & more challenging route along lanes & bridle paths. No bike, regardless of tyres, would have kept going through the puddle & peat bog that was that deep. My friend with fancy clip on shoes, found that as the front wheel sinks into peat bog, you can’t unclip your feet fast enough to stop you from an inpromptu cold bath. Urban hybrid wins again, although I would have liked chunkier tyres.