A Friday Bike?

There used to an expression for cars – a Friday car was supposedly one built lat on a Friday, just before the weekend when folk just wanted home. So it was prone to mechanical problems.

I think my bike seems to fall into this category.

Almost a year ago I bought a new Specialized Roubaix, with the front suspension.

I had got it home, been out a couple of times and found the gear change a bit tight. When I turned the bike over to clean it I saw the cable had been routed over the casing instead of through it. The shop I bought it from is away in Fife so I arranged with them to have it sorted at my local bike shop. Job done, bike running smoothly again.


Crossed cable, should be down in the grooves


How it should be

The next thing I spotted were cables rubbing where they entered the frame. A wee patch did the trick this time.


preventing cable rub

Next, a couple of months down the line, the seat tube has an insert of rubbery stuff to dampen vibrations. I saw it looked like a wee mouse had been having a nibble at it and quite a nibble at that. So back on the email to the Fife shop. They got in touch with Specialized and a new seat tube came winging my way.


The mice have been nibbling?

The rear derailleur design by Shimano seems a bit dodgy as cables tend to wear quickly, more annoying than anything else.


Not too good design by Shimano?

Then, just before Christmas, I heard the front suspension unit making funny grinding type noises. On close inspection the rubber boot surrounding the unit had developed some small holes and the salt & road chemicals had got in and rusted the unit. I got in touch with Specialized and they said I would have to buy a new unit, despite this being a manufacturing fault. However, the Fife shop came up trumps and managed to get Specializd to send them one and posted it to me. However, before it arrived I took the bike in for a service at my local and Colin said the headset bearings were exuding brown gunge as well. So tried to get new ones, but guess what? They’re a special size because of the suspension units and they were out of them, so just waiting for them to arrive as well.


Just a wee hole?


Lit up and rusty

So, what next?

Now, after all of this, would I buy another Roubaix? Despite all this carry on would I buy another one. The answer is yes. I love riding it. The roads round here are full of holes, gravel, farm muck, stones etc and the bike is so comfortable despite it all, it climbs well and we have steep ascents round here plus it just feels good. After well over 7,000 miles in less than a year on it, it does the job.

On a different note, as usual, I’ve been involved with our drama group in the village. I’ve given up acting as I’ve always found learning line bad and it’s getting worse. So I’ve been involved on the techie side with sound, lighting etc. This time it was lighting, so wheeking up & down ladders, mounting and setting lights, helping to programme the lighting board etc. Unfortunately for me it was a kid’s panto with 45 taking part. It was a huge, sold out success but . . . . several of the cast had coughs etc. and guess who succumbed? Yup, yours faithful. I was off the bike for 10 days, still not back to full strength after 2 1/2 weeks but gradually improving, though well over 300 miles behind my mileage last year. As I sometime say, “Ah Well!!”.

And here’s what makes it all worth it.

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 19.50.56

Winter sunset ride


Infamy, Infamy, the Deer have Got it InForMe!! 🦌🦌🦌

For those not accustomed to British Humour, this is a misuse of a quote from the Carry On film ‘Carry on Cleo’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvs4bOMv5Xw.

It’s felt a bit like this locally. First the ice and snow, then the deer started leaping out in front of me.

I’ve started recording my rides with my sports cam and there’s been some interesting footage. It has also reminded me (as if I needed it?) how beautiful and exciting our wee part of the world is. On the downside it has also shown how inconsiderate some motorists can be. First the beauty bit: Ride6Jan 18-00003Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 19.50.56Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 19.53.03Ride19Jan 18-00001Ride19Jan 18-00002Didn’t go this way that day!!

Ride20Jan 18-00003Ride20Jan 18-00004Ride21Jan 18-00005Blizzard, worse than it looks here

Ride1Feb 18-00001A friendly smile

Ride2Jan 18-00004Ride05Feb 18-00002Ride05Feb 18-00004Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 16.00.30Now for a couple of exciting bits

Deer3 weeUp in the hills, 2 deer (looks better in a new window)Ride13Jan 18-00005

Deer2 weeJust out of the village 3 deer, just one crossing (looks better in a new window)Ride1Feb 18-00009

And some of the nasties

Ride13Jan 18-00003Not as bad as it looks

Ride18Jan 18-00002Why wait for oncoming cars – close too!

Ride18Jan 18-00003Yup, save a few seconds

Ride18Jan 18-00004Close again

Ride18Jan 18-00005Another can’t wait!!

A Wee Ride with the Occasional Hill?

It was the club’s Sunday ride, up to the Humbie Hub, a delightful local cafe, post office, general store etc. I think 25 of us assembled beside the fountain with Samson, of biblical fame, on top. I had the day free of obligations so was determined to venture a bit further.

After stoking up on an egg roll, scone with jam and coffee, I set off with 3 companions with a vague route in mind, depending on how I felt. It was chilly (average 5°C), but I had just enough on to keep the chill away.

The colours were beautiful, a superb, sunny autumn day with the trees changing to brown and the odd carpet of leaves 🍁 🍁 🍁 to woosh through and scatter.

A few miles in, we went down to 3 of us and the first serious hill loomed into view – The Rigg. Luckily it was a northerly wind so we were ably assisted by the weather up to the moors!

East Lothian

Up on the moors, East Lothian spread out below


Terry arrives


John makes it up


The way forward, love the wee walker at the bottom of the signpost

At the top the others departed for a shorter route, I was feeling good and went onwards over the switchback hills bathed in sunshine and shadows into the Scottish Borders. I was warmed up on the ascents and then chilled on the speedy downhills, but still felt good. I reached the turning after 8 miles so onto a wee road across, a meeting with a couple of glorious brilliant looking peacocks and then some more steep ascents and descents. A quick dodge down the main road and then guess what?

Yes, more climbing and hurtling down with the pull of gravity, seems this was today’s theme. It was now into the wind as well, just to add to the determination.

This time nearing a summit I realised I had that empty feeling, I think this was about 40 miles in. So a stop, an Aldi paleo bar later and some slurps of water too, I was refreshed. I don’t feel the need to drink much water on rides, especially when it’s cold and I had drunk a large coffee at the Hub, so felt fine.

Another 20 miles on after bumpy back roads and many more ups & downs I was beginning to feel it a bit, but the sight of the sea and the feeling of getting near home territory, plus another slurp or two of water revived me for a good finish.

The North Sea

Looking down to the sea, Torness Nuclear Power Station mars the view

All in all, a glorious day’s cycling, grabbed from near the end of the October days.

Today was cold again, but a bracing walk in Dunbar cleared away the cobwebs.

Mirror light

An art installation at Dunbar Battery

Sometimes . . . .

The other week I woke up, which is not a bad thing.

It was a nice morning.

I stayed in bed and read a wonderful book I had been gradually working my way through, as I kept dipping into it too late at night when I went to bed. It was ‘Day’ by A. L. Kennedy, which I think is superb, though not an easy read by any means.

Breakfast appeared and I was still encased in sheets and duvet with propped up pillows. Scrumptious, munching between turning pages.

Eventually I got to the last page then upped and dressed.

The weather had done a downer. So, an easy day for me.

I haven’t done this for ages and ages. It was a real joy and a wind down.

Now I’ll have to wait for another excellent tome and that utter luxurious feeling of just being locked away in my mind between the pages.

📖 📖 📖 📖

It seemed a good idea at the time?

My niece decided to do a challenge – the Dunwich Dynamo. This is a 110 mile ride with a difference. You set off from London at 8 pm and ride through the night to arrive at Dunwich at dawn.
I suggested that it would be a good idea if my nephew & I joined in and we all started together.
The weather had been very hot down south, but I managed to meet up with nieces, nephew, partners and children which was magic.
On the evening we set off from central London. The huge Pride march was on so the road was packed with folk we had to wend our way round on our way to the start.


Pride comes through Piccadilly Circus


Meeting up at London Fields



The titanic trio?


Some of the multitude of cyclists

This is the most laid back event I’ve been to. Everyone turns up on the park (maybe 3,500 or more of us). There’s no entry fee.
When they’re ready folk move off, and we stream off down the road.
At first we all stayed together, with the pace being very, very low with a lot of stops.
Finally we were clear of the city and things picked up.
My niece Rudy had not done as much as nephew, so after 20 or so miles we left her with her pal and scooted off. As the pace increased we found several groups to work with and sped off towards the night.
As usual we waited for each other when separated till at 60 miles in, not long after dark and after I’d been whizzing down a hill, I waited at the bottom for Robert. No sign of him. I waited for a while, no show. I cycled back a bit – nothing! So I pulled out my phone – no service. After a long wait with masses of cyclists passing I decided he must have passed me and cycled on, scanning those who had stopped at food stops etc. No sign, so I carried on thinking I might catch him. I didn’t.
I kept checking the phone but still no service.


No sign of Rob


Through the night

I carried on to Dunwich through the night. The night ride was a bit weird. I read later that they reckoned over 3,500 cyclists had taken part. As we all rode through the dark there was a long snaking line of red lights, some still, some flashing. When we met a hill the distant lights disappeared, then reappeared over to the horizon, creating a hypnotic effect. Some bikes had multi coloured strings of lights and others sound systems, altogether very strange. Folk were on folding bikes, racing bikes, city bikes, tandems and elliptigos (a sort of stand up on platforms and push to propel the wheels).
A few miles out from Dunwich, as the sun rose, the mist descended in a layer over the fields and the temperature plummeted. So another couple of layers and on to the beach and the finish to arrive in time for the sunrise.




I had a bite and some coffee, dozed for a bit and went out to watch the folk swimming (brrrrrr!), with some skinny dipping.


Early arrivals


The early arrivals



Rob flakes out

Robert arrived a couple of hours later and Rudy about four hours after him. We had a wee doze on the beach, then caught the coach back to London, while the bikes traveled back by lorry.
As we set off from the drop down point, something immediately felt no right. A flat tyre! So after a quick replacement tube we set off back. The end of a memorable journey with over 120 miles under the wheels.



And what happened with Rob & I missing each other? Looking at the Strava fly-by later we realised we had been about 100 metres apart, both stopped. He had overtaken me on the hill and in the dark I hadn’t realised. By the time I continued on slowly he had gone to the loo, so with all the throng there was no chance of spotting his bike.
And my phone? Turned out the SIM card wasn’t connecting properly (maybe the damp?). This has happened once before a few years ago. I took it out, cleaned it, popped it back in and it’s been working fine ever since!
Was it worth doing? – most definitely YES!
Would I do it again? – most probably no, for me much better to cycle in daylight with more to see and away from the busy south.

A Right Royal Do

The invite arrived – we were invited along to the Queen’s Garden Party in Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. We know not why or by whom, so maybe that mystery will be revealed sometime, though the nominators are not supposed to disclose the info. We, of course, were not alone, a few thousand others were there to have a neb & share the occasion.

The temperature dropped to about 11º, with a steady drizzle and a wind cooling us down even more. But as we entered the grounds of the palace it reduced to a fine smurr. The previous day had been warm, and now it’s warm again, so once again the Scottish climate had triumphed.


Dressed half sensibly


Outside the gates with our pals


A couple of Royal Archers


An older Royal Archer


The sentry makes me feel ancient


More Royal Archers

Folk were dressed in their Sunday best so the high heels digging into the grass and soil was a rare sight. Once again a triumph of fashion over common sense (and I don’t exclude myself). Some of my cycling or mountaineering gear might have been more appropriate.

We had lunch at the Scottish Parliament before we came across the road, but once in the palace grounds, we headed to the marquees for a top up. All the usual pomp and ceremony was going on, with the Royal Company of Archers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Company_of_Archers) acting as a ceremonial  bodyguard, with lots of marching, lining up etc.IMG_4573


Royal Archers doing their stuff



Security up high


Holyrood Abbey


Not sure who these are!

After looking around the grounds the Queen & Prince Philip came out. Being an older sort of guy I was reflecting on how much things have changed, with the mobile phone cameras, selfie culture etc. rather than the reverence of yesteryear. No value judgement here, though no way could I be thought of as a Royalist.


The Queen and Prince Philip emerge


Prince Philip comes past


Security again?

Eventually, Prince Philip came past while the Queen went a different route. Then back for another top up, a listen to the pipes & bands and back to the car before the shivering started.


Different tartans for the pipers


Watching the band


And good they were too


Classics ancient and modern

Altogether an interesting day & some great people watching time.

And then I got home for the drama of the 4th Stage of the Tour de France on the TV – all go?

Testing new club gear, dry roads then rain, wind, 9º, drenched by car & flooded roads, ah well

It’s been a bit of up-and-down recently. It’s supposed to be summer, but no one has told the weather goddesses! But cycling just has to carry on, doesn’t it? My poor old bike has been having problems, maybe it’s mourning me getting a newer model? Or just becoming a bit too old. The bottom bracket (the thing the pedal cranks go into) fits into some alloy cups that are epoxied into the frame. Unfortunately these have come adrift & have had it. Colin at the bike shop has tried hard to get something to fit, as Specialized won’t supply anything as the bike’s 2nd hand, so for the sake of a couple of bits of alloy the bike would have to be scrapped. Luckily, one of my biking pals works in an engineering place and offered to try to make replacements, so – fingers crossed 🤞🏻.


Corroded cups, with the old bottom bracket bearings firmly stuck inside

Meantime my new Roubaix continues to delight, despite odd little things. Last week I extended the club cafe run a bit (OK then – quite a bit) and came home with 80 miles under my wheels, feeling energised and great despite strong winds out, but oh so quick returning, big smiles both ways too. We also had a club photoshoot for the Scottish stage of the Tour of Britain, all in our cycling finery.


Posing for club photo


Swollen head?


The race is on


Official Tour of Britain car


Official British Cycling car

Then the weather went nuts. The temperature, after being in the 20s, plummeted down till today it was around 9°. So it’s been back to almost winter gear for now. Today it started off dry but then steadily deteriorated till I got back with squelchy shoes, top and breeks. But strangely enough despite the wind, wet and cold I still enjoyed the ride and the challenge.

The rivers are in flood and so are some of the roads, plus being drenched by passing cars going through huge puddles adds a certain ‘Je ne sais quois’ to the whole thing.


Our local river, which has just been a trickle most of the year


Scotch mist? Just down from Fenton Tower and it’s disappearing.


My bike after ploughing through the glaur

Now, written two days later, some of the roads are still flooded, and there is loads of gravel, sand etc. washed down so despite a sunny (and very windy) ride my feet came back soaked after riding through the results of all that water.


Over half way up the wheels in the middle – soaked feet!!


Wet, wet, wet (very Scottish)

In just over a week’s time I’ve got an event down south I’ve signed up for. It’s the Dunwich Dynamo. It starts in London at 8 at night and finishes 120 miles up the NE coast. Why? you may ask. Well my niece let me know she was doing it, so I suggested my nephew & I come along for moral support to start with her. Hmmmmm! So there you are. I thought I would be immune to these challenges by now, but obviously not.

So the next time I post I should have a night adventure under my belt.

But before I go – please, please, please, if you are writing about the Tour de France don’t reveal results are names in the headlines. I, and I’m sure others too, watch the recording the next day and it really spoils the event if everything has already been disclosed.


Handy for the Tour de France? Spotted in Dunfermline museum.