A thousand miles of Skye

Ok, another stop gap post.  I’m on holiday.  And have no bike.  But that isn’t a problem.  Mrs AB and are are awy with the in-laws on the Isle of  Skye for a week and that week is almost up.  Weather has been mixed but nothing has stopped us, not even the evil Higland Midge!  A fuller post next week but till then, keep piling on the miles for me and I’m not thinking of how many more I’ll need to do to get rid of the extra pounds from the fine foods, great ales and, of course, the obligatory whiskeys.

Slangiva!

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Dream a little dream

I came across this article this morning on Cyclingnews.com.  I’ll let it speak for itself but it made just made me think that of all the excuses I have put in the way doing more cycling, these guys have done it without any of the resources I have and yet still enjoy cycling.  It just goes to show that cycling is a simple pleasure in life, all you need is 2 wheels, a frame, some handlebars and some open space.  Enjoy the read.

(For those unable to click on the above link, here it is in full: http://www.cyclingnews.com/blogs/cycling-in-benin/dreaming-of-the-champs-elysees)

Desperately seeking roadmen

This is not meant to sound like a lonely hearts ad (I am very happily married to Mrs AB before anyone asks or reads anything into this!), more a lonely cyclist ad.  Following up my post, Riding with the Breaks On, I got some encouraging comments about joining a cycling club.  Needless to say, I’ve not done anything yet though still have great intentions to do so.  However, I’ve decided to take a 2 pronged attack.  Therefore here is my plea:

30-something male cyclist seeks other cyclists for long bike rides from Wolverhampton to help with riding further and (maybe) faster.  Must not be too fast but shouldn’t be too slow. GSOH and interesting converstation a definite prerequisite.  Must be in the Wolverhampton area as I want the travel to be the ride.

If you fit this description then get in touch.  If you know of someone else who might be interested then pass it on and tell them to get in touch.  I thank you all in advance for your help, support and (hopefully) responses.

Waiting for the train that never comes

Right train, wrong direction, wasted time.

If only!

Tonight I had the pleasure of fully understanding how Andre Greipel feels this season.  You wait in vain for that train to take you home and it either takes you too far or never comes. In my case a bit of both.

It’s a regular story for those of us whose commute takes in the stretch of railway between Wolverhampton and Birmingham – The Tipton Boys had been out again stripping metal and in the process leaving a trail of travel chaos as signals fail to work, points stick and, as tonight, there is a major power outage.  Usually this means a detour past the delights of Sandwell Valley Park and Bescot (one of these is recorded ironically) to arrive in Wolverhampton delayed but still there.  But not tonight.

Tonight the 16.57 to Manchester decided to miss out Wolverhampton all together.  An announcement after we had left Birmingham informed passengers the first stop would be Stafford. I looked up. The bloke opposite me looked up. A vague expletive was uttered and then the train manager appeared.  The train manager’s name was Paul. He wouldn’t give his surname when asked but he did remind me of Blakey from On the Buses should you ever come across him on Cross Country Trains.  And the Blakey similarities don’t end there.  When asked how I would get back to Wolverhampton I was told I couldn’t. When asked why the was no indication that the service would not stop at Wolverhampton he told me he had – and he had 102 witnesses down the train. OK, so I was late joining the train but there was no indication at New Street, no announcement that the service would be diverted so drastically.  But Paul seemed to be having a bad day and almost picked a fight. It was a sad sight to see (though secretly I was hoping he was going to throw me off the train which would mean diverting back to Wolverhampton – case solved as Motty would say!).

What I noticed about this was 2 things. Firstly, Paul’s reaction was the nought-to-nuclear reaction I used to display, and if I’m honest can still be prone to.  Flying off the cuff at the slightest feeling of criticism and pushing blame onto someone else.  But secondly I noticed how I managed to deal with this inconvenience.  No, I didn’t want to be in Stafford on a Tuesday evening with no known train back to Wolverhampton, particularly as the Stafford Arms is no more so no pint of Titanic. But hey, I got home and it only took 2 and a half hours – surely a new record Norris McWhirter?

And the reason for this story in what is also my cycling blog? Well, It almost cost me tonight’s ride. But it didn’t.  Another 20 miles and after that escapade I’m pretty pleased with myself.  But you have to agree waiting for trains that never come is total Madness.

Progress

Well that was the week that was – quite literally.  Mrs AB is away visiting some of my in-laws and I’m at home on my tod.  Its strange, whenever I get a few nights on my own I have grand plans and then end up frittering it away.  Take tonightfor instance – I’m sat with the football on in the background and reading articles on Wired about what would happen if (the scariest one so far has been what would happen of a Tsunami hit the Severn Estuary – read at your peril!) having rushed between TV and kitchen like a yo-yo to fit in tea and the highlights of the Dauphine Libere. I’m not even really interested in the football this time around.

But enough moaning, this week has been good if slightly hectic.  Last weekend I travelled down to Bristol to see one of my best friends from University. We removed a ceramic tiled kitchen floor and managed to fit in a few beers, some political reminisences and sang along to indie favourites from times gone by and possibly mis-spent. It was great and thanks to Jay for a great few days – I’m told the new floor fits perfectly.

A train journey home, an evening down the allotment, a Sunday partly frittered away and then into the week proper.  And that has flown by. Some mundanity which is par for the course, plenty of coffee but a growing sense of feeling that something is coming together. Watch this and other spaces hopefully in the not to distant future. So the recovery on that front is taking new shape and I’m liking where it is heading.

And to add to my positive mood I have managed over 80 miles this week on the bike courtesy of 3 different rides. Sunday morning I had a nice long trek through South Staffs and up to Penkridge. Yesterday I did a briefer but similar circuit – a ride spoilt only slightly by the wind and the need to don the late spring wear again.  And I’ve topped it off today with a good solid 25 miles over a rather undulating route – and that wind still hasn’t gone away.  I’m starting to feel good on the bike, both physically but importantly mentally. I’m exploring routes again and even adding on bits as I’m going along.  None of this I could have done 6 months ago.  Whilst I couldn’t have got here without the help of friends, family and a great counsellor there’s also a lot that I have had to do myself.  This week feels like one of those milestones and I’m pleased to have passed it.

Now back to my boy’s night in. To read my book or watch some trash TV? There are some lessons I’ll never learn.