After 4 weekends of living in the van I was happy to have a weekend at home, time for some local riding, hot showers and my proper bed! I love my van and am planning on converting a bigger one for future bigger plans, this will have a fixed double bed rather than the foldable one this van has, as much as it is useful it would be nice to have a bed that is always ready and has a proper mattress if I am using it on a more regular basis.
Home is Glasgow and with lots of local hills we have loads of trails, we really are spoiled rotten. The Kilpatrick Hills are my most frequent local haunt now but there are some official and unofficial trails in Pollok Park which is a short pedal from my front door so I will be investigating this more, Mugdock Country Park has lots of trails hidden in the trees, Cathkin Braes is home to the Commonwealth Games tracks and Carron Valley has some nice fun hardpack trails that are a blast in all conditions. Spoiled. Aside from this super local stuff there is a load of riding within short driving distance such as the 7 Stanes Glentress and Innerleithen, Laggan Wolftrax, Cambusbarron and Dumyat near Stirling and loads more. This is why I love Scotland and why I love living in Glasgow.
The last few weeks have been great fun off the bikes too, my other half is also an outdoorsy type but not a mountain biker so we took the van and went away for a weekend to the Knapdale Beaver trial, where they have reintroduced beavers into Scotland as a trial which ends this year. Though we didn’t see any beavers we saw lots of beautiful flowers and insects and some amazing views, including taking a walk to the end of a peninsular where it felt like we were at the end of the earth, it was so isolated it was wonderful.
My sister graduated from Glasgow University with an honours degree in Italian and English, so she has a degree in reading and I have a degree in colouring in! I got the chance to dress up in my new suit, full three piece job with matching tie and pocket square, brilliant fun!
As our parents were visiting I wanted them to see more of Glasgow, the bits that I like, so we took them to Pollok Park for a nice walk and to see the Highland Coos, was a lovely sunny day, typical the day after Rebecca’s graduation but at least there was some nice weather during their visit. After the Park we visited the Kelpies, two massive horse head sculptures a short drive from Glasgow, they are really awesome up close, full of character, well worth seeing.
As an eternal bike tinkerer I rarely go more than a few weeks without getting the tools out, this time I was upgrading my Dartmoor Hornet hardtail bike. The bike was originally built on a jump bike frame using parts bought in various sales and from mates, the forks were old school heavy ones bought faulty and repaired by myself. Having seen a mate selling a much lighter fork I decided I may as well upgrade the Hornet to the new trendy wheel size to match my big bike and get the forks and some new wheels too. I still need to change the white cranks but am loving the new updated stealth hornet and it weighs loads less than before. No I did not weigh it before or after, I don’t care about numbers just how it rides and it rides amazingly and feels super light now and thats what matters to me.
I have a friend, we all have one, who is a bit nuts. Stevie comes up with mad ideas and loves making things almost as much as I do. Having just bought a shed / manacle he asked me to make him a table for it, just for general use, a coffee table really but for a shed. I made the table from the cut out left from the sink in his new kitchen installation, some tongue and groove I had lying about and some wood left from the floor braces in Stevie’s house. Whilst I made this the madman used a bucket BBQ, some canes and foil and made a DIY smoker to cook a joint of beef, chicken and ribs. For the most part it worked, the beef was well smoked and very tasty. Funny enough the support structure for the ribs being made of canes was less of a success and burned to death once the fat from the meat started to create flames. oops. Still the ribs were almost cooked so a bit longer lying on the coals and they were perfect.
Cabaret. Not something I have been particularly interested in, I always thought it was for old people and cruise ships, but a night a Wild Cabaret in Glasgow last weekend was great fun. Lovely food and great acts with plenty of drinks made for a fun and different night out. I can’t say I was keen on the host but the dancers, rope guy, bendy ladies and hula hooper were all brilliant fun to watch. Gratuitous photo from the night – check out my bike bow tie!
After work on Wednesday was my first chance to try out my new and improved bike, needing to be back for 7.30 I set off just after 6 from my front door, cycled to Pollok Park and did a couple of laps of the red and blue loops. My second lap was pretty slow as my rear tyre was starting to go flat, I had set it up tubeless but was impatient and left the dodgy old tape on and only had half the sealant I should have used, so it was my own fault. I managed to complete the last lap and get halfway home before it was really too flat to ride on so walked the last mile. The wheels were my saviour, I have never had tubeless specific wheels before, only used ghetto systems, there is no way a non-specific wheel would have held up as long as these did and even though it is now totally flat.
Now I am off on holiday to Gibraltar, bye!!