Jesus on the Mainline – Ry Cooder


Fyling saucers – mmm no it is the dome at the Royal Albert Hall 🙂

On Wednesday night there was news that a rare appearance of the lesser spotted Ry Cooder would take place. And it happened on the stage at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.  As soon as Ry came on the mood changed in the hall and I think is fair to say everyone was spellbound.  I was sat up in gods and hence the poor photo – but I have added a link to the performance on the BBC web site – the 2+hour concert was worth it just for these 4 or so minutes – a master at work.





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Time to sit down and create a plan

It feels as though I have used up all the quick wins on  the “timed” sections in Friston Forest and around Holmbury that I have been riding this summer. My times decreased as I leant the routes and got fitter as the year progressed. And I have been pushing harder and braking later. But now I feel as though I am at a plateau. To go quicker I must be more analytical and critical, thinking about where I loose speed and momentum and what I need to change. I  need a plan for each bend, drop, climb and awkward root if I am going to make further gains.  And I need to be fitter – when I was at school (over 40 years ago) I never managed anything further than 100yds sprint – now I need concerted effort over 2 to 10 mins and 100%  concentration, and a bit of faith. Why I ask myself? What drives me? Good questions…………



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STATISFACTION – a mistyped word? or does it mean “statistics that give comfort”?

My cycling has changed a lot this year – moving to singletrack and now singletrack that is knarly, twisty and downwards in forests and woods.  This has caused me to become quite  competitive with myself – enabled by switching to Strava and checking my times after my ride.  I know I am never going to be the fastest – a lot of the MTBr’s I see must be half my age and younger – but I can still push myself and try for PB’s – a concept so alien to me just 12 months ago.

So as well having good fun and strenous exercise I get Statsifaction (for the time being).

I hope I never get as far as SATISFICTION – statistics with no basis in reality 🙂

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Heading to Wales

After years of thinking about it ……


I made it to two of the MTB Trail centres of South Wales – first up was Bike Park Wales, and then


it was Afan.

And then we were worn out 🙂


100% Concentration 100% FUN




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an English summer’s day


Hello again!  While I have a backlog of blogs in my head it seems hard to write them down but for a starter here goes…

Inbetween decamping Lucy from Uni after 4 years study and attending her graduation last week (massively proud Dad now both “girls” have achieved great degrees and found work) we took a short hol in Cornwall. This allowed us to catch up with some old friends and take a break from the usual and try things we don’t normally do, like shopping at a  car boot fair and visiting a country show.

I must say I was impressed with the Stithians Show (near Truro). After a almost two hours watching several equine events, culminating in a Jumping competetion, I felt I could easily become a judge 🙂 – only joking. After a half an hour admiring  many different chickens I realised how narrow my interests and knowlege are – some of the birds were absolutely stunning while some just plain weird. And then there was a Brass Band, goats, funny looking sheep, some massive bulls, local foods, expensive tractors and ………  All in all it was a very interesting day and yet another reminder that it is good to try things that you wouldn’t normally do because you might really enjoy the experience.




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Strange happenings in Friston Forest


Er – shouldn’t the crank arms be at 180?

At just before 9 on Saturday morning I met up with Retro and Paul. The sun was burning the clouds away and for once I was following, being shown some of the delightful singletrack paths Friston Forest has to offer.

The start  was up the SDW to the top of the Downs (no gain without pain) before cutting back down to the edge of Lullington Nature reserve – so far so good – I knew where I was.  Then the fun started; into the woods for a varity of paths; trees spaced just far enough apart for my handlebars to squeeze through, ground perfect, bumps, roots, down, down, down, twisting and turning, then into the open and back up a fire road, then another dip into the woods and down again.  I had a vague idea where I was but that was all, and after the third path I was lost. Luckily Paul and Retro knew where they were.

Then suddenly Paul stopped – the brake pads on his front wheel had absconded – PING – gone. After  riding back uphill for a ¼ mile and much peering around Paul found them  – phew – they were reinserted with a zip-tie as the restraining bolt.

Not long after, I managed to knock a stump with my pedal and my crank arm rotated slightly. At first I didn’t realise what had happened and was looking at my gears while slowing down. I then cracked the arm again while being over-taken and then they were only 90 degrees apart. Nothing I could do would remove the plastic retaining plug to enable me to take the crank arm off.  So by a combination of single leg cycling and pushing I caught up with the others who were relaxing in the sun. In the end there was nothing we could do to repair the situation and I had to call it a day and make my way back to the cars some 4 miles away.

So I had more practice of single leg pedalling – and then the crank arm rotated a bit more and they were now opposite each other. This was somewhat easier to manage. It was a bit like being on a stand up rowing machine but with a rotational movement – boy it was tough on my abdominal muscles, looked hilarious and felt ridiculous as I got up to speeds of 15mph 🙂

11 Jun 16

Just over 17miles and 2500ft of ascent

Continue reading

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Welcome home?

It seems it is the era of industrial unrest is messing the travel market at the moment.

Opening the Evening Standard on page 42 it read “EasyJet cancellations rise as French Controllers strike”. 173 flights cancelled in May – what a lot of disruption.

After a few days of Germanic train timetable precision I arrived at Luton to find the first direct Brighton train cancelled.

Checking the National Rail App all seemed good leaving London so I crossed London on the tube, instead of taking the Thameslink Route, and headed to Victoria. 

Sat on the 19:30 for 15 mins before being told the driver would not arrive for until about 19:50. The Southern GVT dispute still seems a long way off resolution.

Only about 22 hours later than planned – at least I have a good book to read 🙂

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Every cloud has a …

I really like the saying every cloud has a silver lining. 

I hadn’t planned to be in Berlin again today and hadn’t anything planned.  Schlosspark or Potsdam had caught my eye flicking through the guidebook but I thought they were too far out.

I was wrong and luck was with me. 
I left the hastily arranged hotel after breakfast. I had thought I was in the middle of nowhere, but I was wrong. There was a Railway Station just about 10 mins walk way. 

I jumped on the first train northwards and found it went all the way to Westend where it terminated. Westend looks like the closest station to Schlosspark. 
The park was just what I needed – serenity on a beautiful warm June morning – perfect to erase the anxiety built up over the last 12 hours.

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Another day

In the grand scheme of things last nights confusion was nothing compared to the atrocities of years gone by in this area of Europe and those still perpetrated by  the perverse behaviours of Dictators and corrupt officials around the world, for which I am grateful that I am not directly affected by, but saddened for those that are.

 What the last few hours has shown me is how reliant some things are on the “smart phone” – I was sent a text to tell me my flight was cancelled – albeit probably hours after it was realised – I got my hotel booking by e-mail – was able to follow my bus journey to the hotel on a mapping app – and now booked a return flight through the Internet – now I have to find a printer (I didn’t think of putting it into my backpack as a weekend essential).  I guess this is all common place for many but I can just imagine the trouble I will have explaining this to my aged mother who still struggles with remote controls.

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