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

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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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Nightmare in Berlin

I am sure it has happened to many before – after checking in and waiting for a flight home I have been told it has been cancelled, as has a flight to Paris, with no idea of what comes next and a massive queue of people in front of me with thecsamecquestions; how do we get home, where are we staying ……this wasn’t on my bucket list – not quite so EasyJet tonight.

Update: a hotel has been booked by the airline :). Luckily it is on a bus route and the busses hadn’t stopped running, but it doesn’t look like there are flights tomorrow. 

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GPS tracking?

Extreme Cycling

Did I really cycle through this house?

A few weeks ago I changed  from the MapMyRide App to Strava, and have now been comparing the results with those from my CatEye Stealth.  What can I report? Well the ascent “calculated” be Strava is  considerably less than that by CatEye, while the distance seems fairly close, however they can be caught out occasionally – see above – I really don’t recall riding through or over this lovely house! I am sure I came down the white path to the right! Riding through house would have been memorable tho’ 🙂

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Riding again


After a few weeks where getting out and off-road on my bike has had to take a back seat to “life”  I have been out 3 times in 4 days – twice on the South Downs and once, with Patrick, up into the Surrey Hills.  The weather has been so kind since last Thursday and the ground, for the most part, has dried up and is reasonably fast rolling –  I just had to make the most of it. There are still a few very clayey claggy sections  and some very dry and dusty sections in the sandstone. Whatever the conditions though the riding has been good – and for some stupid reason I keep wanting to challenge myself with steepish climbs and sections requiring increased skill.

Thursday’s afternoon ride seemed unreal in warm bright sunshine, only 14 hours after walking in the cold and rain along the canals of Manchester after seeing Bruce Sringsteen at the Ethiad Stadium. Saturday’s ride was pure fun and exhaustion, and yesterday’s ride was very slow 🙂

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