2013: Albums of the Year

In no specific order. . . . 

Chvrches – The Bones Of What You Believe

The National – Trouble Will Find Me

Julia Kent – Character

Laura Mvula – Sing To The Moon

Ólafur Arnalds – For Now I Am Winter

Daughter – If You Leave

Blue Rose Code – North Ten

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady

Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience

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L’Eroica Britannia

Logo

Having completed two 100 mile century rides over the last two years and feeling, well, slightly out of place on my 1980’s steel frame bicycle with (only) 10 gears and shifters positioned on the down tube, I know, can you imagine. . . ?   I came across L’Eroica Britannia which will be taking place in June 2014 in the Peak District in England.   This is the very first time this exciting event has been in the UK, and I fully intend to take part.   In fact, I just recieved an email informing me I am one of the first 500 to register and so will be able to qualify for the early bird rate of £55.    Its very exciting, and I think it will suit my bicycle, and myself a whole lot more.

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.

British Cycling National Road Racing Championships

I decided to get out to photograph the British Cycling National Road Racing Championships today as they were in Glasgow.    I pedalled over to Byres Road through the light wind and soft rain to try to capture some of the fastest cyclists in the world as they passed through the closed streets of Glasgow.    Firstly I got them on the first lap at the turn on to Byres Road, and then decided to catch the second lap as the riders grimaced up Great George Street as they headed back into the city centre.   It was a great atmosphere and plenty of people were there cheering the riders on as they pedalled through the streets, a good day for cycling in Scotland.

 

Tally Ho!

If the idea of riding around the city of Glasgow in a group of around 150 well dressed, finely groomed, Harris Tweed wearing eccentrics fuelled on fine food and even finer beverages, then read on. . .

It was around 12pm when we set off from the Blythswood Hotel, only after registering to receive our fine Harris Tweed badges and route map.   We began the festivities with some beautiful shortbread and delicious freshly ground coffee as we then made our way on the street for the introduction to the day.    Once waved off following the lead of the large gentleman on the penny farthing we were all downhill to George Square, where we had some bloody mary’s and a little yorkshire pudding treat.

It was a short ride then over to Cafe Gandolfi in the merchant city for some fantastic fish & chips, we hung around and had a chat with some of the other riders and managed to take some photographs.    It turns out that it was a good mate of mine from high school that made the previous video for last year’s Tweed Ride (see above), and he is also doing this one too. .

After Gandolfi, we travelled through the wonderful green space of Glasgow Green to have some of the great beer on tap at the WEST Brewery.   This was a great stop and we all relaxed as we sipped our delicious beer in the Autumn sunshine.   It was leaving Glasgow Green that we rode around the roundabout, again and again for some of the photographs.   All good fun!

Next up was the trip down along the River Clyde on the cycleway to the SECC where we entered the tunnel taking us over into the westend of Glasgow to sample some oysters at The Crabshakk and then for some drams over at The Finneston.  This turned out to be one of the longer stop, and I was delighted as they were serving Old Pulteney by the glass.

It was over to Byres Road and into the new Hanoi Bike Shop for some vietnamese noodles, into The Hillhead Book Club for some mojitos in the splendid surroundings of this great restaurant / pub.  Quickly moving on, we made our (now merry) way down to The Big Slope, this was to be a dinner stop and we had some rolls in shredded pork and Joni and I had a few drinks and a wee Laphroaig as we chatted and laughed with two young African gents before moving on to catch the rest of the crew back at the Blythswood where it all started. . .

After some short speeches and some music from a local swing band, there was some dancing and romancing.  I managed to win a delicious bottle of Talisker (wrapped in a beautiful Harris Tweed sheath) and a lovely little Harris Tweed Bag.  I should also mention that I was shortlisted as one of the best dressed men, was in the top 3 but never won, can’t win ’em all.

All in all it was a fantastic day out on the bikes, we had great fun and would definitely do it next year!

Here is the Video

Tally Ho!

Enjoy the photographs below. . .

Here are links to the Facebook for the ride, and the Twitter page.   It was even in the Evening Times.