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Saturday, December 15, 2018


Following on from the last post the rain is still coming down even as I write this there are yellow warnings out for the wind and rain and even snow.  So its a "confined to barracks" day.

But last week there were a few clear days so we went over to Bristol in the van.  Bristol has so much history  as its  wealth as a port and city was built upon firstly by ships involved in  transporting slaves  and then sugar from the West Indies. In later years its growth was due to the tobacco industry and then the aircraft industry.

As a  this wealth there was much building with many of them still remaining.  Its has far more historic buildings than Cardiff   as Cardiff as a city only grew with the coal in the early 19 Century.

As is nearly always the case the best way to see things is to walk around.  

These photos were taken on a walk up to Clifton and across the Downs.

Clifton Observatory.

Its well worth visiting just to use the Camera Obscura  and the walk down through the tunnels to the Giants Cave and the views of the gorge.

This is the iconic Clifton Suspension bridge built by Isombard Kingdom Brunel.

My favourite memories of this bridge is from 1970 when watching the SS Great Britain being towed underneath it when she was brought back from the Falklands.

It was an emotional scene as the SS Great Britain was returning to its home berth for the very last time.

I haven't posted a picture as there are copyright issues but the link shows them.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018


From the end of November we have had lots and lots of rain, with only a few clear spells.  So not much cycling.  

These were from a wet night in Cardiff.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Deep Country

A friend lent me this book.

For 5 years Neil Ansell lived alone in a remote Welsh cottage with no modern day conveniences.   He doesn't give the actual location of the cottage and I suspect many readers will have spent time pouring over OS maps trying to locate it.  Me included.

The story is not so much about his life there but more about the nature and wildlife that he sees on a daily basis .  He describes the wildlife and their behaviors in great detail. 

Its an easy read and particularly enjoyable if you're interested in birds.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Ghost Soldiers

The Wire Soldiers at Slimbridge Church.

 Each sculpture by artist Jackie Lantelli stands at the foot of a grave where a serviceman from this parish is buried or commemorated.

Image: Rosemary Watts

More here

Monday, November 05, 2018

My Grandparents

My cousin recently discovered these pictures.  
We have no idea of the date or location but I think Grandad was in the Lincolnshire Regiment and was in France, luckily he survived.  Hopefully my cousin can find his service record.  Like many who had experienced the war he spoke very little about it.  I only know that being a farm boy, and used to horses, he worked with the horses in France and I remember him telling me about driving the gun carriage and going too fast and overturning it.

The red cross picks him out. 

In this picture he is with a French soldier.

 My Grandmother.

This is her at work,  my cousin thinks it was a flax mill.

It was fantastic to receive these pictures as they are new to me.

Friday, November 02, 2018

New forks........once the seed of doubt has been sown!!!!!!!!.

This fork changing project came about whilst on a club ride, when they were discussing the pros and cons of carbon forks.  I had read articles about carbon forks having a "shelf life" and then the discussion turned to riders changing them every two or three years and the durability of steel forks.  So  once the seed of doubt was sown I decided to thoroughly check mine out, as they have been on the bike for over three years.
I dropped them out of the bike and checked them over with a torch looking for hairline cracks especially around the steering tube.  The only fault I could find was where the mudguard had rubbed a groove into the left hand fork, but this was mainly paint rubbed off, but there was a groove.
 Hence the seed of doubt........... I temporarily remedy this by cutting away a section from the mudguard under the fork crown.
So after a couple of weeks of thinking about it I decided to change them for steel ones. and ordered  some replacement steel forks from Genesis. The forks are the same as fitted to the current models. 

The first job is to fit the crown race ring.  There are specialist tools for this but You tube always comes up with an alternative and this was  to use a bottom bracket spanner and a chisel with a heavily padded head to tap  and seat the race correctly. 

The bottom bracket spanner and a hammer to tap it down 

and the padded chisel to makes sure its fully seated.

Tapping gently evenly around the edge ensures that the race isn't damaged.

The next job is to cut the steerer tube to the required length.  I used a 30mm pipe cutter.

Always measure twice and cut once,  and allow space for the star nut to fit inside the cut tube to give a firm fixing on the handlebar stem.


As I'm older and dont want a racing position when riding, I prefer a longer steering tube for the handlebar stem, so plenty of spacers.

All finished, and the most fiddly bit is getting the mudguard stays even.

Was it worth it,  can I tell the difference?.  They steel forks are heavier, but then it was never a particularly light bike in the first place.  I've ridden it a few miles and its as comfortable as it always has been and the steering and feel from the road seems much the same.  

But probably the main difference is that now the seed of doubt has gone..

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Time to get a new one......

..........a saddle that is.

In 60 plus years of cycling I've never had a saddle sore, until recently.  Initially I put it down to different cycle shorts, maybe the saddle had been knocked slightly out of position, perhaps my legs had got shorter with age.  None of these so I tried another Brooks saddle from my other bike and it was much better.  So time to get a replacement.

The old one on the top was maybe 15 years old and was well worn into my shape and was so comfortable it was like sitting in a favorite chair.  The leather had stretched so much that I needed a longer tension bolt at the front.

I bought the new Saddle from Chain Reaction who had a good deal going and it was delivered by Yodel, well not exactly as I ended up going to the depot to collect it.  Yodel dont have a good reputation but the people in the depot were very pleasant and helpful......maybe to make up for the delivery drivers??

I put the two saddles on the workbench initially to proof the new one but also compare, the new B17 is 1cm wider so maybe the old one was a narrow B17.  

The hammock?

After fitting it I went for a little ride as I knew there would be some adjustments needed and as the old saddle was more of a hammock I had to lower the seat post to take into account the height of the new saddle. 
It'll take a while to break in but thats the joy of a Brooks saddle.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

London by bike

Well not exactly the whole of London just the bit from Victoria to Hampton Court and back.

If you asked someone to drive you and your bike 280 miles to London and back for £10 , well you can guess what the probable answer would be.  But Megabus will do it, and so thats what cycling club friend Ivor and I did last Thursday. 

We took our folding bikes and as long as they are bagged and below a certain size there's no extra charge.

So from this.

to this

It was a cold morning [6C]  cycling the 7 miles into Cardiff but the rest of day in sunny London was cycling in short sleeves.

Cycling in London is not as bad as you may imagine, yes you have to be alert, but then thats the same for anywhere when riding in traffic, and there are now many dedicated cycle lanes and routes and surprisingly the drivers that we encountered were  friendly and often gave way for you.  So thats always worth a thank you and a thumbs up.

This was our route to Hampton court, its about 30 odd miles, allowing for a few wrong turnings, but generally the the routes are well sign posted.  The route out was part of NCN Route 4 which goes all the way to West Wales and the route back was mainly on the London cycle route the A3 Parallel, which is a cycle path adjacent to, but well separated from the  South Circular A3. A relatively straight and easy to follow route, as it was time critical, but not as interesting as the outward journey

As the time was limited by getting back to Victoria coach Station  I didn't take many photos, so I borrowed the next two pictures from the Thames path website .
Lots of good information on this site.

This is riding through Richmond Park, such a huge area, but we didn't see any deer.

Finally our destination and a welcome lunch in the Tiltyard cafe.

The two intrepid "old" explorers.

The only downside of Meagabus is the time spent travelling but thats down to the volume of traffic, especially in and out of London. It took 3.30 hrs to get there and 4.10 hrs on the way back.  But whilst the train journey is quicker it would have cost over £80 even with a Senior Rail Card.
I rest my case.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

A trip on the Waverley.

Once a year the sea going paddle ship The Waverley, the only sea going one in the World,  visits this area and runs a series of day cruises in the Bristol Channel, and if we're around we  go  as its a good day out,  not only for the joy of the boat but also its a great place for people watching.   

These trips usually appeal to a certain type and age group and I would guess that the average age of the passengers is between 60 to 80 plus.  

Arriving at Penarth Pier with the Channel pilot as escort.

Not many on yet.

Sometimes the lulling motion and the sound of the engines becomes too much!

and talking of engines.

There is a large viewing window for those passengers who are interested.

Many more getting on at Cleveden

From  Cleveden its down the estuary and then under both of the Severn Bridges. 

This is the Second Severn Crossing Bridge.

In the middle of the estuary is Denny Island with the remains of a medieval church, said to be visited by pilgrims.

and then under the original Severn Bridge.

After turning around and heading back to Cleveden it was down the channel to the islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm,

before returning to Penarth Pier.

and maybe a trip next year??