Sunday, December 30, 2012

What's in your blood?

The following writing may turn self-indulgent and the very opposite to the self-effacing nature I usually live my life by. No apologies just a polite notice.

So far I have had a very Family themed Christmas, and then last night we had a family-reunion type party with those who we sometimes don't get to see outside of the usual formal occasions that happen once or twice a year. By and large we all get on well, there are the standard family relationship dramas playing themselves out but no-one ever starts throwing punches, yet.
What struck me last night is how we celebrate new life - as a family we had two babies born in 2012 and at least another two on the way in 2013. We are not ashamed to get down on the floor and crawl around playing with toys, the youngest are not put away to amuse themselves - we all interact together.
At the same time, we have lost family this year and we never forget that. This was the first Christmas where a couple of big personalities have been absent and were sorely missed but it is not our habit to dwell on death. I suppose as farming families we get exposed to the now very Disney term of 'Circle of Life' quicker than most, also having a large family means there is always someone at a different stage of their life who we know.

This somehow sits differently to my regular day to day life. Katherine and I have an excellent family life in our own little house but outside of that it can feel quite lonely. Our friends are spread far and wide, and we all suffer from the modern disease of thinking internet interaction is a replacement for face to face contact. Also as we all get more responsibilities in our lives it gets harder to organise regular meetings. On the work side of things a couple of happenings have served as a reminder of who my friends really are and my riding has developed a bit more of a solo theme, as well as suffering in regularity due to some injuries.
This all can add up to a slight feeling of being alone and lost - especially when the weather turns and I feel trapped in the house. Like I said at the start, living in a modest fashion isn't the done thing these days, so my achievements can feel belittled just by being exposed to the grand plans of those around me.

So in the spirit of New Year and as a reminder of 2012, here is my positive reminder of the best things I have done this year.


Obviously the best thing I did this year (and maybe my whole life) was to get married to Katherine in June. It took a while but I'm now completely used to wearing my titanium wedding ring.

Like a natural.

Getting married means having a Stag Do. For mine I got to shoot a shotgun for the first time and then a week later some of us went on a (quite hard) bike ride.

Stag Ride.

Also a wedding means you get a honeymoon. San Francisco and New York for a month.

Tour stop one. Easier by bus than bike I imagine.

That Bridge and The Park.

Off of the movies.

I became a Godfather to my Cousin's son Isaac, we had a few little travels around the UK and I relearnt a few skills I'd forgotten about;

Couldn't get more in the centre.

I got to ride a lot and where I wanted rather than to anyone else's schedules.

One of my top ten favourite roads.

Finally, I got a small addition that hopefully reminds me of Good times, who I am and who I want to remain.

 Fugazi for life.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Out and about.

A steady mornings spin round the defrosting lanes with a flask stop near Cattal bridge. Just out for an hour but it stands as my longest ride of the past month and nice to say it was pain free, apart from near the end when the cold made my mending bones ache.

This mornings ride: avoid the ice, flask of hot tea and 42x16.

A reminder of what not to take for granted when it comes to riding.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Read this,

"Price is only an issue in the absence of value"

Then decide what you really need and what you really can afford.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Who you listening too?

Not in a musical sense - more in a real, honest words idea. I've been listening to some new voices and seeing another side to the coin, it's refreshing but not necessarily the path I am going to follow. Mainly I'm trying to listen to that inner voice to guide me in the right direction, maybe our paths will cross or maybe not.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Think on.

It's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're an idiot than open it and confirm the fact.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stop and Ride.

What is it about the internet that makes people so entitled and judgmental? Who cares if someone else’s bike is set up differently than how you prefer yours. It’s their bike, not yours. I’m sure if your bike was featured, others would point out the nuances that you actually prefer, as faults. People are so quick to point out the negatives, rather than lift up the positives.

All these symptoms are the mid-week stir-crazies. Just stop being so critical and look forward to the times when you can ride with others.

Just stop being an asshole and ride your fucking bike how you prefer.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cultural Divide

I had pork pie and mushy peas and she has a steak and kidney with mash. Can you get more North or South stereotypical?
 Pork Pie and Yorkshire Caviar (aka mushy peas).

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Found myself with some unexpected spare time so sorting through my honeymoon photos.


Monday, November 05, 2012

Sit still.

On a quiet Sunday morning ride yesterday, we had a series of unfortunate events that involved a car traveling too fast on a narrow country lane, which resulted in me leaving my bike at speed and meeting the road with a heavy thud.
What happened after was more like a soap opera and not fit to describe on the internet here but thanks to the kindness of the people around us, we made it back to safety and eventually I found myself spending my Sunday afternoon in York A+E.
To cut a long story short, I find myself with a couple of broken ribs, a nice bump on my head and holes in my knee and shoulder. I wasn't the only one involved but I'm happy to say everyone is fine. My bike (hopefully) just needs a little fettling, Rich wasn't so lucky and will probably need quite a bit of work to get back on the road.
So for the next few days I will be sat here, as still as I can manage - trying not to laugh or sneeze. On the positive side I'm on some rather strong painkillers and plenty of home-baking too, so it's not all bad.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I neither forgive or forget.

Although, it has been a fair while since I have been tested on that particular character trait. It has been lovely not to have take on other peoples problems or to be cast in the middle of decisions, which ultimately I have no power to effect.
Everything is finally showing signs of settling down. I have less anger, less disappointment in the behaviour of those around me and little to no care about what they say on twitter, MyFace or the like.

I could be better but then who can't say that?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Thursday, October 04, 2012


The first lap of the Elite race looks like it's on fast forward.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Home, with stories to tell.

I'm not the sort to kiss and tell though.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Almost time....

to leave San Francisco, just a couple more days left before we move on.

Here are a few points to remember;
  • Fresh Air Bicycles followed by MASH are the best bike shops in SF.
  • I drunk the most Blue Bottle Coffee on our trip but my favourite was Trouble Coffee. I would actually kill a man with my bare hands if it meant a regular supply of coffee and their cinnamon toast back home. Four barrel came a close second just because you can see it being roasted in the same building you are drinking it.
  •  Baskets on bikes are bang on trend.
  • A breakfast burrito sounds unusual on paper but in real life it's awesome.
  • Americans use the word awesome far too much.
  • I am addicted to pizza.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Monday, September 03, 2012

And out.

We've been waiting so long, endured so much stress and finally ticked off the last thing on our lists.

We're ready (I think), see y'all in October.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rage On.


Sat here eating a Sunday lunch of apple, Wensleydale cheese, crusty bread and pickle, not sure my next door neighbour likes my choice of vinyl soundtrack, as since I put on Jurassic 5 the sound of football from his TV has increased in volume.

Have been 100% alone today. Katherine left for work before I'd even opened my eyes. Taking the chance to have a full recharge of the batteries, done a lot of riding this week, a lot of stress been put on me too - now time to drop it and focus on the next two weeks before we can unplug completely.

Again, continually surprised by how rude 'people' can be, perfect phrase to sum it up is; "Squeaky wheel gets the grease". Well not in my world, I'll give respect to those who respect me, I don't pander to the needs of others who have the power to help themselves, I also don't have time to listen to (or read tweets) about how great your life is - I'm not envious, I'm not happy for you - if I don't care about you I don't care about anything to do with you.
That sounds pretty horrible but when it comes to those who I do care about I would give whole days listening to them talk and bend over backwards to help them when needed - I just have a very tough selection process and not many people pass the test.

One a related subject I'm fiercely proud of where I come from and my upbringing, I have my values and they won't ever change.
Perfect example of what I'm talking about.

Could say so much more but who listens anyway.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012


from Dunc

6400 Miles with Ruben Alcantara from etnies on Vimeo.

Classic Joe Rich/T1 filming. Another tick in the box for the Terrible One 'inspired' tattoo in SF.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

I used to be a lot like you but now I'm only me.

We all change. Sometimes it's forced upon us and other times we act for ourselves. I am currently trying to make a change for the better, returning to the past but knowing what I know now I am armed with knowledge to make it even more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Again, sometimes it takes the voices of others to make me realise that sometimes I get carried away. Hearing others unhealthily obsess over tiny details can snap me back into reality and stop me doing the same.
On a shopping trip today it struck me how so many products are covered in useless 'logos', who's only purpose is to impress, usually on others a perceived level of quality or value. In fact, it was hard to find anything that suited my taste.
My method tends to find a quality product that will last as long as possible and I will be happy to use for the entire span of it's useful life.
There are a few material possessions which tick all these boxes (I admit most of them have logos or brand names but in the main they don't shout about it):

My black Mark IV VW Golf. (7 years and counting)
The brown leather wallet I got at age 17, it's been round the world with me as well as everywhere day to day.
The pair of black Levi 501's that were still going strong after years of service until getting shot at my Stag weekend.

And a new one to add, my wooden handled Opinel picnic knife. Fast becoming a daily favourite, I even 'labelled' it up with my usual choice of fruit-based snack.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

A nod is as good as a wink, to a blind horse

Had a classic Sunday, after a full on week. An early start on the best bike for a coffee in the sun, before visiting a friend for a chat about a few things and then a serious headwind ride home. Now sat watching the day's breakaway smash each other to bits.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I'm thinking we should hire a car when we're over there and try to recreate some of these moves:

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Look what you could have won

Couldn't get more in the centre.

I swear this isn't faked.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

We've had some weather.


Lack of writing on here generally means life is being lived else where. Let's see, in no particular order;
Having more responsibility at work has a few perks, being a key-holder means after werk wrenching sessions. At this time of year thoughts will always turn towards the coming cyclocross season, I won't be racing much this time but that doesn't stop me helping others do so. In this case a handbuilt tubular wheelset finished and ready to be glued.

Enjoying planning my next couple of bike builds, even already gathering parts despite the build date for one still almost a year away. This time going Dura Ace but not totally in the traditional sense. The hardest decision is always what colour to get - still not 100% sure on either build.

Our big trip is basically all booked and done, now just to enjoy the Summer before jetting off. On the subject of the weather, I still can't believe people who constantly complain about our Summers. We live in Northern England, it's always going to be like this - deal with it, I don't mind the odd bit of rain and all these people do is complain about being too hot when the sun does come out. Not bothered.

Might be time for another of these:

 Elitist Belgian Beer Drinking or Wifebeater?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


A lot of my photos look the same each year from these races,

Otley town centre races

still wouldn't miss it for any reason.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


So much happened.

Half Man Half Biscuit live.
Having the perfect fucking wedding.
Unbelievable generosity from our nearest and dearest.
Seeing the people we love.
Getting on to one of my favourite frame-builders waiting list.
Spending time together as a married couple.
Getting on the iphone bandwagon.

And Campag bloody corkscrews!


Thursday, June 07, 2012

Be careful...

...not to take for granted the things you would have died for yesterday.

I'm taking a few days off from the internet world, got some important business I need to attend to.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Stag Century.

Well over 100 miles door to door. Bacon Sarnies to start. Round Masham, over the moors to Pateley, up and down dale to Ilkley before along the valley bottom to home. Fun times out on open road. Pint of Theakston's Best in Masham. Before leaving Chris who still managed his longest ride ever. Unbelievably hard climbs past reservoirs on tops. Incredible descent to Lofthouse - almost unimaginable to climb it. Greenhow - bottom gear, seated all the way. Rewarded with the views. Beautiful roads in Wharfdale. Managing to score bbq food at ADF's sister's street party in Otley. Every rise getting a little harder to ride as miles tick by. Kearby cliff being a kick when we needed it the least. Finally getting home to a couple of Stellas, laughing about it already and planning the next one.

Photos to come.

Friday, June 01, 2012

What if....

we were all honest, all of the time. If all communication was face to face and all lessons were learnt though experience rather than reading opinion.

What if bragging and envy didn't exist? What would we say?

When we organise something we take responsibility for other people, yet at the same time aren't we all adults? Does ego overtake our self-protection instinct? I don't think I'm particularly different from anyone but I have less of a problem with being different than many of my peers. I also refuse to suffer for anyone's ideals other than my own. Why should I, being your own person gives you choice, sometimes I choose not to go along with what other people think.

I've been getting an insight into road racing at both ends of the spectrum this week. From those who make money from it and are good enough to be at the sharp end of National races to others who in their own reluctance to race choose to make fun of a few people who do. In choosing not to race this year I've lost a level of fitness I had last year, that said I feel better this year than last. From January to May last year I did at least three turbo sessions a week, on an evening after a day at work and often after commuting 25 miles too. This year I'm riding because I want to and loving it because it's less serious, less structured and has gone back to the release it has always been. The turbo hasn't gone and it will be back, just not for a while.

I like the sounds in this video.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Definitely too early to think about cyclocross

Niels Albert one of the many 'crossers I've been enjoying watching ride the Tour of Belgium on my lunch breaks this week.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012


Another wonderful weekend. Family party for my Godson's first birthday, followed by a busy Saturday in the shop. Then I got to achieve a dream I've held for a fair few years - fire a gun.

For my stag do I organised a trip clay pigeon shooting at a range near Masham for some of my closest male family and friends - it was an amazing experience for us all. Half of us had never even touched a gun before, yet after a couple of hours we were hitting more than we missed (almost). At the end of the day I scored the most points in the shootout but still had to do the Stag forfeit - take my trousers off, hang them on the nearest tree and let everyone fire off a round before slipping them back on with a bit less material than before. The looks I got all night in the pub later was worth it, plus I don't think anyone actually believed it had happened.

Today I managed to sleep off any thick head I had then relax in my parents garden with the dog, before having the afternoon with Katherine, a lovely tea then catching up with the weekends MotoGP. Number 46 is back on it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Right about now.

I just gone and turned 28. Just come back off a bike ride, been on phone to best mate and now have a cup of tea in hand. Crackin'.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Knowing is part of it.

I want to be as smooth in my new role at werk as Magilla is on dirt.

Saturday, May 05, 2012


Style for miles.

When you change from a bike rider into a cyclist? Tonight, on the return leg of my daily commute, I passed through a small village I have come to know well. The drag up through the houses that means staying in the big ring is a feat not always achieved. The section at the church, which is the steepest, comes directly before the top and with it usually a sudden increase in speed or maybe just a chance to coast before the upcoming junction. Instead of focusing on the next stretch of road I found my mind wandering off into a time not too far away when I didn't even have a big ring or brakes for that matter, when I mostly tried to ride just on one wheel and the phrase going riding usually meant just hanging out with friends not mileage that meant walking up stairs was a challenge after. I'm not sure I miss those days or just see them for exactly what they were; great times and a stepping stone to where I am now - a place where I'm happy to be.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Start Today.

It's perfect weather for me today, exactly what I needed, something to wash away cares of the last couple of weeks and at the same time allow me a few hours to alone time to sort out some much needed jobs. A second pint-sized mug of Yorkshire Tea and a reminder of how to ride like you stole it;
A free listing weekend on ebay means unneeded 'stuff' can get gone. Surfing the web - finding inspiration to pick up my camera again. Shoot black and white film, get high off chemicals again and see what appears on the paper.
On the surface sometimes it feels like I'm almost interested in too much - jack of all trades but master of none - but actually when I dig deeper all my 'hobbies and interests' are linked by being hands-on and having a D.I.Y ethic. Another key issue for me is having quality not quantity, it doesn't always work out that way but I always strive to do my own thing as much as possible.
Now Moto-GP and reinstalling an eMac operating system in the hope it can be of a use or maybe raise some cash.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lessons to learn.

Make the most of what you've got.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I bet you think I'm boring, but just wait till I get old.

What a strange but beautiful weekend. Leaving negativity behind for a change and embracing a three day weekend, meetings with family, catching up with old friends, Roast dinners and generally taking some quiet time.

 Bill Strickland, cementing himself as one of my all-time favourite writers; "I like it that I never have to ride, not really. I like it that even when it feels I have to ride, it is still a choice."

Wonder what I will choose tomorrow.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hold on, there's a break in clouds ahead.

Remember a time when information was harder to come by, when we were all just happy to be doing what we wanted without the press of responsibility guiding our thoughts and desires? Yeah me too, never gonna be the same again but at least we had it. This reminds me of something I used to know;

Monday, April 16, 2012

Out of the blue.

A fair few ups and downs recently have been washing over me. The worst of it hits you unexpectedly and pins you under the surface. Losing a close family member is truly awful and a sobering reminder we have less time than any of us think. The better times serve to lift you back to the surface and act as a kick to get started again - never forgetting what's happened but not to dwell for too long. A good bike ride with friends goes a long way.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Now we know where to go.

Had a quiet reflective day - then finally awoke with the making of Yorkshire puddings and fresh bread. Also catching up on Henry Rollins' radio show, the latest episode has Ian MacKaye guesting and selecting the music. Two of my all time favourite people and amazing tunes too. Listen here.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

No-one else in the photo

Boonen put the finishing touches to an amazing Spring by winning in style today, couldn't believe what I was seeing as he dropped his team mate with about 50km to go but he obviously knew he could hold it. A little bit of a shame to see the rest fight for second - thought Boom was going to solo for second after he jumped on his 'cross bike but sadly not to be.

All inspired we took Katherine's new bike for it's maiden trip out straight after the finish, we're working on speed but the style is already there in buckets.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Secret muscles

I'm a lot like my Dad in many, many ways. One recent addition to the list is developing what I once called secret muscles. Neither my Dad or I are particularly 'built' or work out but a big childhood memory for me was his ability to lift, throw or generally control anything. Being farmers I'm talking about lifting bales of hay or straw and controlling a head-strong bull, for an quiet unassuming man he was stronger than I could even imagine. Another distinctive memory was watching him trounce the other Dads in a school sports day, welly boot throwing contest - again a quiet, competitive streak, another thing on the list.

This week I have;
-noticed the effect my recent riding has been having.
-found out one of my all-time favourite bands released another album.
-stood up for myself and what I believe, even when fools have been testing me.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Ooooo La la la la

Boonen doing the new course justice with an amazing win - not sure what Ballan was trying, maybe trying to lead out Pozzato to get an Italian win? Who knows, at least it proved Tommeke can put in the work needed and finish it off too.

Again it gives me a massive buzz to see the roads we rode last Autumn play such an important part in one of my favourite races of the year. Can't wait for tomorrows ride now.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


Custom double chainset for customer 32-22 on new touring bike. Done.

Solving the noise that has been making an appearance on the cross bike for a while. Chainring bolt spacers - who'd have guessed.

A ride home, which was more an exploration than a commute.

Sunday brunch with the most beautiful girl in the world - who I definitely don't spend enough quality time with.

Fucking Flanders.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Woolly boob

It's funny what you talk about on rides. We had a lot of fun on the fountain's Audax on Sunday - not such much the usual, just a few friends enjoying beautiful surroundings. Then on an evening ride things went off in a whole other direction but still was a great ride.

Not even been touring.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Your tomorrows are losing time.

Who knows what we all think when no-one else is around. It's crazy to see ordinary folks turned into some kind of idols for actually having the motivation to get off their arse and complete a task. It's always the quiet ones. It's not right, this need to have the world accept you based on your preferences.
Concern yourself with what's going on in your own world.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

A beautiful experience

Insider knowledge: we stopped and took in the view on the same bench that Chavenal is sitting on at the top of the Paterburg way back in October. I for one am looking forward to the new finish - can wait to see the Pro's big ringing up the same climbs we rode.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Is It.

I've moved on a step. It feels right and I will give it 100% to make it a success. Got to get shit done, as they say.

“It is very easy to feel smaller, to feel less than, when you see people with an advantage walk where you struggle, who have ease of motion where you are constricted, it can be a real shot to your moral, like, it can be flummoxing to a degree where you’re almost paralytic. You’ve got to keep picking yourself up and reach for it. And that’s the long and short of it. ‘Cause if you don’t, it won’t get done.”

— Henry Rollins

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Big Change.

I have decisions to make.
I know what I'm going to do but my habit of running through every possible outcome to every possible choice is leaving me running out of headspace.

Whilst I'm thinking, do yourself a flavour and visit superouleur, Duncan knows what he's doing.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


The Hope hub and Mavic Open Pro combination.
Custom touring bikes.
Two sets of Campag Record hubs coming in for building.
Riding to work.

Getting out and about.
Fittings and getting custom.
Loud music.
Laughing till crying.

Aging hipsters.
Proper fresh bagels.
Not listening to those people.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


600th post on this here thing.


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Friday, March 02, 2012

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

If only...

I could build a time machine, go back and tell my 16 year old self I should see this band by any means necessary.

The best band in the world. Full stop.


This is exactly what I think. Not really sure why other people have any problems with it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

While you're capturing the zeitgeist, they're widening the motorways

Solo fifty miles. Embrocation on toes. Spinning 38x15. Flask of tea.

Spam, double egg and beans. Buttered toast. Pint mug of tea.

K-B-K. Seeing roads I've ridden. Always going to be a sprint.

Good things - done well. Nothing special just living exactly how I want.

Saturday, February 25, 2012



I've been discussing the difference between snobbery/elitism and simply knowing the right tool for the job.

I've been wondering why it's so difficult for people to let me just ride my bike.

Am glad Lars Boom can laugh about it, after getting dealt with by Boonen.

Chris King hubs and cx-ray spokes.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Duncan is killing it with these videos.

Monday, February 20, 2012

All change.

A Sunday ride with friends.
Got rid of one bike and modified another.
Ordered my wedding ring.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sunday, February 05, 2012

What she said.

We'll have to see what happens from here on in.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


It's a shame someone has to buy into being cool or shout about the latest and greatest things they have bought to be appreciated by their peers. I'm not sure where I'm going with this train of thought, perhaps it's just an observation.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

'appen as maybe

Taking time off training

A Sunday lunch of fish finger sandwich and Duval.
"the legs were very good today"
Belgian top 7.

Missing a Sunday ride. Think that should change.
Kevin Pauwel's red legwarmers.
Plans need to be made.

Follow the leader.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nice words.

Well written.

Do I need to know.

There are some people in this world that you can actually have a conversation with. One where it doesn't feel scripted and you respond to what you hear instead of what you have been thinking while the other person is talking. Mostly people want to talk to you or at you. Blasting you with their knowledge, perhaps not even caring if you're listening. The subject matter will be something they think they know a lot about even if most of what they are dishing out is regurgitated opinion.

Nothing else matters. I held my Godson in my arms last night and thought of nothing else other than him. I think children have a very healthy way of making everything else in you life insignificant.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Say What?

I've heard so many of these but still so funny.

Run up.

I held my tongue.

The subject of style keeps cropping up in my life recently, in everything from cycling to our wedding. I have a few thoughts I would like to write down on the matter.
For me style is not just about looking good but more about the attitude and appearance an individual has almost without choice. In simple terms;
Your 'style' is who you are when no-one is looking.
Being stylish is a compliment but an almost unachievable goal to those who chase it. When it comes to clothing it's very easy to make a fool of yourself by trying to be something you're not in an effort to impress.
I had my first suit fitting earlier in the week for what I will wear on my wedding day. The only other time I have been measured for something was my Bob Jackson, so I was interested how a tailor would differ to a frame builder. As it turns out they are more similar than first thought, my point of view is I want to trust that this person knows his craft, so while I have an outline of what I want I'm prepared to be guided to the best outcome. This worked perfectly with the bike and I have a feeling it will for the suit too. By allowing the 'crafsman' to be in charge they do it their way rather than fitting their way to your demands - the simple way to get what you want is to choose the maker who produces the goods you like the best. No point going to Mercian and asking for a Brian Rourke or going Saville Row and wanting mass-production.
It's not a case of high quality or brand names being the best either. The phrase "fit for purpose" rings true - you shouldn't get married in a hoody or wear the 'Sunday Best' for washing up.
If style is being yourself then this also raises the problem of punching above your weight. This one is more obvious in material possessions rather than clothing. The ill-advised sports car or the bike scared to be ridden in case it get's dirty or scratched. In my circle of friends we all do (and always have liked) to have 'nice' things and it's good to have people around you who share similar ideals. But most important of all is to have folks near at hand to remind you of who you really are, mostly this is done by friendly ribbing. If this banter has no ill effect and the decision was quick and felt right - it's usually right, fitting as it were.
I experienced this first hand a couple of times this week. Once when I opened the box revealing my new 'disco slippers' aka cycling shoes and then later the same day when guiding a customer through speccing his custom build on one of our Condor touring bikes. In the latter, I was the playing the trusted expert who was being allowed to do his job to provide the best possible service, while the customer added the personal touches to make it exactly like he had imagined. We both walked away happy.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It seems like everything is an advert these days, or people are talking as if their only aim is to sell/endorse/big up a product or company.
A shame but not something to dwell on. In the shop we've had a couple of down to earth days - busy but quiet enough to think. One of the benefits of working in a bike shop is the lunch time service on your own bike. For me today it was tyre swap, new brake pads and a quick fettle for the cross bike.
We don't get paid the most, don't have a lot of holidays and we have no ladder to climb but being a bike mechanic is the best job I've had. We get to create, solve problems, see things from the inside and trade price usually beats any 'online' best deals. Knowing what works and what is just hype is the first step to stepping off the 'consumer super highway'.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This is here.

Rollins was on fire last night - he hardly stopped for breath in two and half hours, keeping everyone in the audience hanging on every word. Nothing was off limits, Black Flag, his constant touring and the inability to say no all got the treatment. It was massively motivating and thought-provoking.
It ended a really busy day that included wedding plans, talking suits and probably a quick trip to London in the near future.

Love the speed of this and the tease of one of my favourite songs going.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sunday, January 08, 2012


Nys riding away from everyone in the mud again and Aurelien Duval playing it smart to win in France.
Boom wins again - can he win a Classic this year? I think so.

Looks like Ian Field won over here so the National Champion skinsuit with be getting a bit more 'euro' action next season.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Tickets in hand.

It's not always the one's who are talking the most that you should listen to.

PEZ: OK, but after all the mud, how do you keep your gear and kit so clean?

BW It only looks clean from afar! If you hold it up to the light, it’s not that clean at all!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Sunday, January 01, 2012