47 on the 51st.

Fresh but mostly dry. 6~10°C, some showers on a fast moving wind.
My head of dept. called me into her room this morning. Then her 6th form group burst out with ‘Happy ‘Birthday’. I stood there, feeling slightly awkward but uplifted. My year 9 overheard it and rang the same when I returned. They also thought I should get a birthday badge. They’re difficult to find for numbers over 30, so here’s an idea.


Get a 15 Today badge and wear it upside down.

Yes, it has been a good day. I left early to get some miles on the bike. Nearly 50 in all today; should have ridden 51 but that wasn’t practical. Most of the ride, I didn’t know how far I’d gone so far. At various crucial turn points, there was no light to see the clock and I didn’t want to stop in the rain to check.

I rode with MapMyRide+! Distance: 37.37mi, time: 02:41:28, pace: 4:19min/mi, speed: 13.89mi/h.
Plus the 10 mile commute this morning.

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Fifty, non-stop.

4°C, fresh and reasonably dry. There was rain in the night.
I rode Fixed with MapMyRide+! Distance: 50.47mi, time: 03:23:13, pace: 4:02min/mi, speed: 14.90mi/h. Fitted the orange winter wheels.
The only notable point about this ride was that I didn’t stop. Fifty miles in one sitting. It felt fine too. Even after getting home, I had enough energy.

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Walk the bike.

6°C, light NW. Rain to start and clear later.
Commute with MapMyRide+! Distance: 14.99mi, time: 01:48:39, pace: 7:15min/mi, speed: 8.28mi/h.


Sketch in the margin of my planner.

Set out in rain but full of energy. At 9 miles front tyre lost pressure on an awkward stretch of road. Soon, all was lost and I had to walk about half a mile to a brightly lit pub. The new tube only lasted another mile or so. I can’t keep putting tubes in so decided to walk the remaining 3 miles.
At least it was dry by then. It’s so difficult to reliably fix a tyre when there is dirt all over the road. That dirt includes thorns. Also, I need tyres I can trust, so both will have to be replaced with something more resilient.

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8°C, clear, calm before the gales.
Do women generate their own body-heat? It’s a problem that caused conflict with my ex many years ago. She wanted the house hot, I didn’t want to open the windows with the heating switched on. Sometimes, I had no choice. A little voice inside tells me it’s wrong to wear shorts in the house when the heating is on. That tells me the heating is set too high.
This house has gas central heating, as most modern houses do. It’s insulation is not, however; the best.
To set the scene now, I have two lodgers: both young, one male; the other, female. Both have said they are not cold with the house temperature as it is.
However, this troubles of a little:


This picture is the smart meter at 7am this morning. Those pulses of electricity ran all night. It’s probably an electric heater. So far this month, the electricity consumption is double that of last year.


The solution is to ask for a supplement for the heating bill (as agreed in the contract). It seems a shame to ask both of them because the guy is quite frugal with power consumption.

Let’s see whether it’s the same tomorrow morning. It’s quite easy to forget to turn a heater off, especially those that do not have a built-in timer.

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Earache, and storm Kate.

8°C, strong SW, heavy long showers and some sunny passages.
No cycling. Not well enough to ride today. It’s doesn’t seem so bad when the weather is this bad.
Here is a sketch from Friday’s training day


Meeting minutes.

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Autumn storm chain.

12C, wet and showery, brisk SSW.
I rode Fixed with MapMyRide+! Distance: 28.99mi, time: 01:54:37, pace: 3:57min/mi, speed: 15.18mi/h.
Only a short outing today. Dark skies threaten heavy rain carried in from the southern approaches. Those threats were carried out, but it was never cold.
Everywhere you look, some days, there are little inanimate characters.

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Review: Finisterre.

12°C, wet start and strong wind building.
Ted Baker Finisterre is a digital radio and Blutooth speaker..


Ted Baker are a fashion house, why they sell radios is anybody’s guess. Whatever the reason, they have designed a gem.
It looks great, stylish and well made. But even better, the sound is as sweet as a nut. Straight out of the box, the music is smooth and detailed. Overall there is a healthy balance between bass and treble with a tonal range extending widely enough to do justice to most types of music.
The product is better than radios made by Pure or Roberts. It’s probably about level with Bose. I may add a comparison in a later section.
They’ve obviously decided to use a good quality driver mono-player instead of placing a pair of stereo-looking speakers immediately adjacently. There’s never been any point attempting stereo unless the speakers are at least a metre apart. An astute decision it turns out.
After some shopping round, I have a few opinions on where this radio is in the marketplace. It beats the Pure brand, it makes Roberts sound dull and restricted and it is probably best compared with Bose. In which case, price may make the decision for you. I got a bargain at a quarter of the list price in Ted Baker’s catalogue.
There are no equaliser controls, or bass boost or anything like that. Like genuine hifi, TB seem to have decided that the sound is correct so why adjust it.
DAB reception is good enough to sound clear from stations that care about sound quality, most notably BBC Radio 3. Bluetooth reception works well with decent recordings saved at higher bitrates.
The whole unit looks great in my opinion. At 2.4 Kg, you get an immediate impression of quality. There is no attempt to resemble wood with vernier, the metal grille really is metal and the switchgear offers a quality sensation in use.

Even the user manual is a conscious reflection of the ‘retro’ theme- it looks like a 7″ Single. There is no laughable translation inside, just a clear set of hints written in plain English.
Negatives? It’s a kitchen radio, so although it has a carry handle, this is no portable radio. There is no battery, rechargeable or replaceable. You won’t be taking this out to the garden while trimming the roses. You do get tonal enhancements to play with, there is a set of acoustics to select. In my opinion, there is no need, the sound is already right. If you get any bloom or reedy thinness, then try re-position the unit. Solid surfaces sound best but it is quite tolerant of a site in a room’s corner.
Opera, even for a non-opera fan, is listenable. You probably won’t get that warbling shrill sound on massed highs.
You’ll enjoy it, I say.

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Fog and mud.

I rode CX Jake with MapMyRide+! Distance: 35.67mi, time: 03:14:03, pace: 5:26min/mi, speed: 11.03mi/h.
Woke to very dense fog; and a choice of Fixie or cyclocross bike for today’s ride. CX gets me away from the traffic in poor visibility and to safety.
I picked a familiar route and took a diversion in the last leg. Along Southport seafront, a few cyclists pedaled northwards, and I steadily passed them.
One guy was on a Fat Bike so I asked him about it. They’re intriguing machines, and bizarre looking. Anyway, an odd thing happened moments before- I got told off! It happened on filtering though a small group of less experienced cyclists. (See below)
The Fat-bike guy showed me a route thorough gravel roads to get me close to the return leg by canal. Excellent route, but the ‘Private Road’ signs were offputting. Maybe I made a mistake somewhere near the start. I never did find a level crossing.

Continue reading

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Another short spin.

12°C, light S  breeze. White stratus.
I rode Paddy Wagon, with MapMyRide+! Distance: 24.09mi, time: 01:33:27, pace: 3:53min/mi, speed: 15.47mi/h.
This short ride felt normal. All I want to do is build back some form.

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Back to life.

13°C, grey, warm and dry.
Those numerous symptoms are largely gone. Fizzy legs are back, mouth ulcers gone as has the malaise.
Which bike today?


Laurie Anderson, USA live.

Meanwhile, an LP plays in the background. Here is one I have not given a whirl for many years.
Continue reading

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