Metric century.

5~7°C, grey, dank and a S breeze

Slow but long. 4h 40′ and the headlight lasted (though the orange warning light came on). Better still, the phone’s battery (a Motorola g6) ran down to 87%. My old phone (a Samsung S3) could run flat in less than 3 hours and I had to carry a booster at all times.

A good outing. Good figures and a good feeling afterwards. There was a time when a metric century was the normal for a Sunday ride.

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Commute: moonlight, windswept and cold.

5°C, strong SE, dry and clear, moonlight

I love it, the blackness and a probing circle of light to ride into. Potholes and ripples in the tarmac are in sharp relief in the headlight. Either side, wet fields and distant streetlights. This is such a nice route. Nobody in sight and a light tailwind. I got home with hunger setting in and cold fingertips.

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Was it a good ride?

…not really.

11°C, W wind with clear sky. Dry of course.

Broken valve.

Not the ride I wanted. The canal section was spoiled by a fishing competition and then a puncture. The self-sealing tubes failed to seal the leak. I blew the tyre up and rode as far as the pressure allowed and then inflated it again. Eventually the valve broke off inside the pump (see above). That stopped everything; no longer was there a possibility of swapping the tube or patching because there was no way to pump it up. The walk home was 2 miles. The sun shone.

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Cross the chase, December.

11°C, sun and cold wind. Rain to finish.

Besides that, here’s an anecedote. The bike got quite muddy on this outing so normally I’d hose it down. Today, I have no access to a hose. Instead, I used a watering can and.poured it from height. Soon it stopped with a blockage. In the nozzle was a little face poking out.

The can was stored near the bins along with another one so I swapped them. The face was a field mouse that must have drowned. A sad and sorry end. Worse though, the other watering can also had a mouse’s corpse. I think we should store the cans inverted I told mum.

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Towpath in darkness

8°C, clear sky with brisk W wind and cold.

Here’s a first, an off-road ride in the dark . The hard contrast from the light make ruts and pits easy to spot. Last night’s rain made the surface quite squelchy, that back wheel didn’t always follow the front. I did not fall.

It’s been a fun day. First thing, I visited a geology muse in Birmingham, The Lapworth Museum. This fossil as a cast, you can see that in close-up. Bits of white plaster show between the grey. I think the grey is graphite powder that was rubbed in.

Anyway, Lapworth us a well laid out museum with plenty of interesting exhibits. I highly recommend it. There is a rock wall made of samples and a key. I played the game of guessing and then looked up each type to make a score. I got about 1/3 correct. Clearly, I need to read up on peridotite.

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DIY: Plumbing, a leaking radiator.

6°C, becoming greyer but still dry.

Much as I hate DIY plumbing, this one job has to be done. The kitchen radiator has left little puddles beneath when I get home. The system pressure would drop enough to shut down the boiler by the end of the the week.

After trying loosening and re-tightening the nuts on the valve for no improvement, I bought a replacement valve. This is a basic thermostatic valve and looked like the right size to fit onto the same nuts and olives.

Here is the old valve without the thermostat. Water leaked from the centre of the black top

Now that the heating system is a closed loop combi-boiler, draining didn’t take long.

The pipe looks scruffy but I can clean it up when I decorate. Perhaps Emery paper then varnish it to keep the copper colour.

Cost of repair? Just over £6.50. Boom!

At the same time, I have put together an emergency pipe repair kit: some pipe, compression joints, PTFE tape and a pipe cutter. Oh and a flexible pipe, that should be enough should the worst happen this winter.

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Dank Sunday gravel

11°C, some rain early, brighter later on, brisk SW.

A sluggish ride but that doesn’t matter, it’s December. The fitness miles don’t start until January. Winter miles lead to summer smiles, as they say without cringing.

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Atlantic storms by bike

8°C, short sharp showersh.

Battered in blustery showers. Apart from some dramatic skies, there were no great events to report. The Arrow bike has a new lease of life currently. I’ve taken the rack off and it handles very nicely. It’s the best bike for these winter road rides.

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Heavy wind and strong rain

5°C, stormy return in headwind.

The idea was to ride to the beach machines and drop into the bank. Actually, that went to plan but the rain arrived early. Then the return was a slog into the wind and rain where speed dropped as low as 7mph. The route was flat too, a-hem. Both hands and feet were cold by the finish, more because of the wet despite extra layers.

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That heron

5°C, grey but calm.

A short outing, a circuit around Southport today. I’m really enjoying riding the Arrow. It’s happy on the muddy roads and the gears are close enough to get the right cadence.

This, I think, is probably the culprit. This bird’s regular visits explains why I have no more frogs in the pond. dammit.

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