2013 : Moments

Well, that was 2013.   A quick year in our household, Amélie appears to grow a little more every day and in every imaginable way.   As I write this I’m battling a cold and have conjunctivitis.   So, not on the finest form, and pretty much feeling sorry for myself.    I thought however, that this was an ideal time to stop and look at the moments that shaped our 2013.   These simple moments that follow are in no specific order at all, except really the order in which they came to me as I thought of the past 365 days or so.

One of the great advantages of keeping a photo diary on great websites like Blipfoto mean its easy to look over your year(s) to see what you actually did and when you actually did it. .

  • We decided to visit our favourite little log cabin in Canonbie near Dumfries for the holidays at Hogmanay and New Year 2012.

one

  • We took Amélie to Edinburgh Zoo for her first birthday on the 6th January.
  • My good friends Chris and Jennifer had a little baby girl on January 7th called Simone.

two

  • I managed to get back to boxing training this year for a while.
  • I took my Dad to our first ever experience of a 5 nations International Rugby game, we went to Murrayfield to see Scotland beat Italy.
  • I had two whole weeks with Amélie in February as Joni had decided to work full-time for a month.
  • I was involved in filming a piece for Vito Dance Theatre called Withdrawal.
  • The Catholic Church has a new Pope, Pope Francis I.   Amélie and I watched the election on television live from the Vatican.
  • I was involved in a 5 aside football tournament as a fundraiser for Callum’s Cabin and managed to really damage my left foot in a tackling incident.

three

  • I finally had the opportunity to see Icelandic musicians: Sigur Ros and Ólafur Arnalds
  • Our garage was broken into and two bicycles were stolen, thankfully the police retrieved one and managed to catch one of the people involved.
  • I was lucky enough to have my first photograph placed in an exhibition in gallery.
  • Attended some bicycle maintenance classes as part of the Glasgow Bike Station.
  • Margaret Thatcher died.

four

  • I attended two stag parties: we travelled to Bolton to enjoy a day of hospitality to watch them play Blackpool for my friend Paddy’s and then had a day at Auchentoshan Distillery (2nd visit) and greyhound racing for my brother in law Liams’.  
  • We had a trip to Morecambe for Joni’s Grandmother’s 80th birthday party.
  • I visited Glengoyne distillery (2nd visit) with my good friend Sace and we spent the night in his hut in Carbeth.
  • I had my very first rides on a Brompton folding bike, a  Dahon folding bike and even a Penny Farthing on the Harris Tweed Ride.
  • My Dad retired.

five

  • I was asked to host the Refugee Week end of week showcase.
  • My brother in law Liam was married to Lyndsey.

six

  • My good friend Paddy was married to Nicola.

seven

  • My good friend Findlay’s had a daughter called Lucy.
  • We had our first family cycling / camping trip to the outer Hebrides, to Barra.
  • I toured Arran twice (by bicycle), once with my good friend Alasdair and once on my own.
  • We had plenty of time in the garden, eating outside, playing with Amélie and enjoying whisky by the chiminea.
  • I had a few experiences of up-cycling, I created a pallet bookcase, a pallet mirror, made a gate and also made some fencing around our plants.
  • We enjoyed another Harris Tweed Ride.

eight

  • My good friend and I had a tour of the Glasgow Velodrome.
  • The Clydebank Town Hall has a new exhibition space, so we enjoyed visiting the Jolomo exhibition and the Harry Papadopolis exhibition.

nine

  • I rode 110 miles for the Glasgow to Edinburgh Pedal For Scotland.  (3’350 miles this year)
  • Amélie got her very first passport and we had our first fortnight trip abroad to Kefalos, Kos.  It was Amélie’s first time on an airplane and she had a great time.

ten

There will be many many things I’ve missed.   Until next year!

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The Second Century

The somewhat more testing 110-mile sportive, sharing the same start and finish points as the challenge ride, winds its way through the Southern Uplands and, with a distinct touch of this year’s tour de France, will see participants climb the equivalent of the mighty Alpe D’huez twice.

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Its descriptions like the paragraph above mixed with the tail-end of a nasty little cold that had floored me that made me slightly apprehensive about the 110 mile sportive ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh last weekend.   It was my second ‘century ride’ and I had hoped it was of similar difficulty (if not easier) than the last one.   This was not the case, it was difficult.   Lots of steep climbing and long roads that at points felt completely flat but in fact were causing me to pedal frantically in my lightest gear, feeling that I was going nowhere.

I learned some very valuable lessons on this ride.   Firstly, it is extremely important to ride as a group whenever and wherever you can.   I normally enjoy the solitude of cycling and clearing my head in the silence of my own rhythm and the whirring of the pedalling, in a ride like this, you learn to rely on others when the going gets tough.   At points I had to rely on the person in front to give me legs the rest that they longed for, particularly on the category 3 climbs after the 60 mile lunch stop.

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Secondly, cyclists are nice folk.   I received countless compliments for my leather Brooks Champion Flyer saddle, and also my Reynolds 531 Raleigh Royal touring bicycle.   Both these items stood out among the brightly coloured Canondales, Pinarellos, Giants, Treks and Carreras.   It felt nice to have something a little different (although weighing twice the weight).

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So, that it for another year.  The Strava route is here.  Some money raised for Maggies Centres’ too.

Harris Tweed Ride, Glasgow 2013

Since last years’ excellent outing through the best food and drink establishments in the city, I was extremely excited about this year.    It came as a surprise that the organisers had announced the locations of the host restaurants and pubs beforehand as it almost added something to the mystique of the event that we in fact never knew last year.

Once we got started and met up at the Blythswood Hotel to have some coffee and cakes before setting off downhill towards the Merchant City to have Hendricks gin, and Stornoway black pudding at Cafe Gandolfi.    We passed on then over to West Brewery for some fabulous beer in the sunshine.    After this light refreshment we made our merry way to the Riverside museum for what seemed like a pointless exercise as no one seemed to know why we were there?

Pushing on (no against the clock it would seem) we entered the westend to visit the Crabshakk (for Oysters) and The Finnieston (for a beautiful Ardbeg / pineapple cocktail).    And, then we headed over to Brewdog for more craft beer and then further west to Siempre Cafe for oatcakes with mackerel.   By this point, personally I had already made my mind up that the previous year was better, more organised and a little bit more fun.   We seemed to be rushing around a little to much and the group was more split than the previous year.    Although we did have more stops and some more interesting ones; The Tall Ship, and then The Hillhead Bookclub, when we arrived at both these establishments there were no more drinks served, they had run out. . . poor planning, or just not enough poured?

Last stop was the Big Slope where we had a great bite to eat with generous portions and set off to the Blythswood for the finale and raffle.   All in all a great day, but as mentioned earlier, I feel most of the day was planned around a somewhat pointless spot at the STV building and then to make the Hillhead Bookclub for a gentleman ‘rapper’ who actually wasn’t very good.   However its more important that we look at the fun we had, the money raised for the charity and lastly the awareness of Harris Tweed.   Tally Ho!

The Weathered Cyclist // April Fool 900

I first met Ali Campbell at the very first ever Tartan Ride in Glasgow at the tail end of 2012, he and I have a mutual friend and I took some photographs at the event which I then sent to the organisers via facebook.   It was a fun event and a messy ride home through the ice and cold.

And then I came across this idea: April Fool 900, an idea dreamed up by Ali that involved a 900 mile ride, single-speed style.  You can read more about the ride here, and also enjoy the great video that has been made for the event.

Good Work Ali!