Sunday, 23 December 2012

Palefish Cycle Club Christmas bimble

I can't believe a year has passed since the big Christmas ride from Vita last year. It certainly has been a busy year, but I think I'll save those ramblings for another post!

This years Christmas ride started at the 12th Man in Greasby. On the club Facebook page 17 had signed up, a great number for this time of year. Also great seeing as the weather had been atrocious all week with rain and floods dominating the conversations.
When I woke up, the rain had stopped, but there was quite a strong wind. When I checked my weather App is showed 50kph gusts!!
Anyway, There were  eventually 16 of us who left to go to Eureka for Mince pies and Mulled wine. ( with the unfortunate absence of Badders today after a date with Mr Guinness the previous night!)
The First few miles were challenging, most of the time riding into a strong headwind, but once we were in the lanes after Heswall the going became a little easier. But with the shelter of the wind from the high hedges, came the risk of puncture! After some biblical rain this week, there were a few large lakes to traverse, I must say I was impressed with Stubsy's feet up style, and just to add to the debris and water the hedges had recently been cut, spreading tyre piercing hawthorns all over the road.
We all made it through the lanes onto the Chester high road, where I became the first victim to the Hawthorn! Just as we were pulling away from the junction, I got the distinctive "loose" feeling from the rear of the bike, and with just a quarter of a mile to go, had to get off and walk! On inspection of the inside of the tyre, in the Eureka Cafe yard, I had indeed succumbed to the mighty hawthorn! In fact it wasn't that big, but it was big enough to  put a hole in the tube.
After replacing the tube, and cleaning up, as the bike isn't in the best state it could be,(instead of cleaning thoroughly after each ride, another dose of oil on the chain is about as far as it goes. But this leads to an extremely messy tube change!) I had a chance to join the throng of cyclists in the cafe.

Busy in Eureka today (we took up three Tables!)
I forgot to mention that there had been a suggestion that we should Christmas up our bikes for the ride.
Tim won the Gold medal for effort, as cycling with a beard seemed to be a little difficult at times, especially when looking over your shoulder, and breathing, apparently! Jon also has to get a mention, for wearing his Santa jacket all the way round, not very breathable material I believe.

Santa Tim

Most of the Gang, Thanks to Anne from Eureka for taking the Photo.
Getting ready to head home.

After a mince pie and some mulled wine, we headed off home. We rode down the High Road and then turned off towards Willaston. People started to leave the group from here. The weather was on our side now, and with mulled wine fuel on board, the miles sped by. 

Spinning through the lanes

Jon and his Santa Suit!

The Second puncture of the day came just after Thornton Hough. Rob was the Victim this time, and whilst we were waiting for the repair, Graham "David Bailey" got all arty with his photos!

Mirror Mirror on the road.......

Graham decided to ride ahead to get some more photos, he had taken the ones at the rear of the group, and now wanted some of us riding towards him. To say things didn't go to plan are an understatement. First off, he rode ahead, only for the camera not to work quickly enough, then after riding ahead again, we rounded a corner to find Graham walking back down the road searching for something. First of all we all thought he had  fallen off, but once we stopped we could see the distraught look on his face, as he was looking for his phone which had fallen out of his unzipped pocket as he raced ahead to get "the shot!" Unbelievably he found it, and it still worked! So off he sped again, with his pocket zipped this time, and managed to get a great action shot of Owen climbing out of Barnston Dip. 

However, one rider, Pauric, didn't make the photo area, as he had become the third rider to suffer from a puncture! Once fixed we all headed back to the 12th Man without incident!
The ride time for today was only 2 hours, however the total time out was nearer 4, and for once not all of the time was spent in the Cafe!!!
Anyway it was great to have a nice social spin, even if it was a little eventful, and sign off the year with a great group of lads. 
Back at the 12th Man

I'm not sure when the next ride will be for me, but I know some of the lads were talking of riding later in the week. Keep your eyes peeled on the club facebook page for details.

Finally, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a fantastic New Year.

Festive bike!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Mince pies and Mulled wine anyone?

Tonight was my first ride in a couple of weeks. All the best intentions to keep riding regularly through winter seem to have been scuppered by poor weather, Mrs Palefish working retail hours, School Nativity and Carol concerts and friends and family visiting. To be honest, it has been quite nice!!
To welcome me back to the saddle with a bump the weather tonight was quite atrocious. It wasn't to cold, but there was quite a lot of fog around, extremely thick in places. Seven of us ventured out for a quick spin, looping round the north west corner of Wirral. It was a great way to get back into the routine.

Thick Fog Tonight!

With Christmas literally just round the corner, it is time to plan a festive spin to Eureka for Mince pies and Mulled wine.
Last year we had a great turnout, over 30 riders heading out from Vita Cycles. 

This year we will be meeting at The Twelfth Man in Greasby on Sunday 23rd December. Depending on numbers we will either head for Eureka via West Kirby, Heswall then through Park Gate and Puddington, or we will head over towards Birkenhead and then out via Eastham and back round to Eureka. Which ever way we go, the total ride will be less than 50 miles, and we will aim to be back by lunchtime. 
If you fancy joining us, we will be leaving at 8.30. 
More details can be found on the club facebook page (click the link at the top of the page)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Revolution at the Velodrome

This week I left the weekend ride to the professionals!
I have not been to a race at a Velodrome yet, and I thought that the Revolution series was a great excuse to go and see what all the fuss is about riding the boards.
Seeing as it was my birthday, I treated myself to VIP tickets. Basically this gave us access to the track centre, and a few other benefits (including a drinks voucher!)
It was a great night, with some very close racing, and in our VIP position we were treated to a great view.
I also had an opportunity to have a quick chat with Alex Dowsett, who if his racing calendar allows, will be back for the Ten Minutes of hell Time trial in 2013. I did warn him that I was a little quicker that last year! I also spoke to Edd Clancy, and thanked him for putting a link to this blog from his website!

For all the results and details of the series pop over to the Revolution web page
So instead of me blathering on, here are some pictures I snapped during the night.

The BBC Breakfast Crew on a secret mission!

Marianne Voss and Lizzie Armitstead head to head, again

The advantage of VIP tickets, getting close to the riders.

Preparing for the Madison

The Madison Sling 

Sky on the prowl

Three world Champions in a row!
A great spot to watch the racing

I took a small amount of video, just to illustrate how fast the riders are moving round the track. (I think we were stood next to Andy Tennant's Mum or one of his biggest fans!)

Also yesterday was the launch of Spin Cycle magazine. I have added a page link at the top of the blog, The mag is written, edited, photographed and generally created by cyclists for cyclists. Everyone involved has given their input voluntarily, so why not put the kettle on, make a brew and indulge yourself in the best that the North West cycling scene has to offer! 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

On the way to Lapland.

The first frosty roads of the year met me this morning as Dave and I headed up to the 12th Man for the start of the Club ride today. Even though the roads were glistening, I decided to take the carbon bike today, as the forecast was for dry weather, and I like the saddle more than the one on the winter bike. If you missed last weeks blog, the reason I needed a comfy saddle was that the club was taking part in a charity ride with a difference today.
The Charity Northern Lights takes seriously ill children to Lapland for the ultimate Christmas experience. This year they are taking twice as many children as usual, and to help them raise the funds to achieve this, they came up with the idea to ride from Neston to Kittila in Lapland, 2235 miles, on Turbo's!
Anyone who has used a turbo will know that this is a daunting task. I personally hate turbo's, I'd rather ride in snow and gales than get the turbo out and sit in the kitchen spinning. But this was for charity so worth the effort.
 Dave and I met up with Jon, Andy and Carla at the 12th, then headed off to Bromborough to meet Tim and Ken. We then rode on to Cheshire Oaks, where the event was taking place, and although we got a little lost on the way (I blame the Garmin) we were there ready to start just after 9am. 
The previous day, the first of 3 days, the riders had amassed a stunning 1200 miles, so the pressure was on. 

The seven of us got set up on the turbo's and then it was time to get spinning. Luckily we were warmed up after the 15 mile ride to Cheshire Oaks, so I was quickly into a rhythm and getting the miles in. And thankfully, the generous shoppers, surprised to see seven Lycra clad cyclists at the outlet village riding but going nowhere fast, started to fill the collection buckets.

Spirits were high, and we had a laugh as we encouraged the less generous shoppers to part with their hard earned. It was a different kind of club ride to the usual, but good fun all the same.
After an hour though, it wasn't as much fun! Sitting in one position without the usual interruptions we face on the road, legs start to tire, and even the most comfortable saddle starts to hurt! I had originally agreed with the organisers that 6 of us would ride for one hour, then 4 would ride for a second hour, but with only seven of us and an extra turbo, when the 10 o'clock riders turned up, only two of the lads had to get off and the rest of us carried on. One of the new riders was another Palefish CC rider Paul, who had opted for a later slot to get some beauty sleep!
I set myself a target of 40 miles, which I achieved in just over one and a half hours, so I had a chance to have a coffee and get a bit of sugar on board before the return journey!

In total Tim, Dave, Carla, Andy, Jon, Ken, Paul and myself racked up 285 miles. Not bad for two hours work.

If you would like to donate to the Northern Lights Charity please follow the link to their website or you can text a donation via your mobile by texting NLCC25 and your donation amount to 70070 e.g. NLCC25 £5, or click on the following link to donate using your credit or debit card via –

We only suffered one casualty today, unfortunately Carla's tyre decided to split on the side, but luckily we were only just up the road from Cheshire Oaks cycles, so we nipped in to see the lads there to get a new one fitted. We then headed back across the Wirral this time via the lanes. In total I rode just over 77 miles today, the furthest I have ridden for a while, and my legs certainly let me know! However congratulations have to go to the Turbo King Dave (Badders) who with his Turbo 60miles rode 101 miles in total today. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

It's been a while!

I haven't written anything for a couple of weeks, mainly because I have not been out on the bike! I have not had "Man Flu" but I have not been well enough to ride. To be honest, it has been a tough couple of weeks. I didn't realise how much riding the bike helps get through the daily challenges we face. A couple of hours in the saddle, chatting with friends, and even sometimes pushing the limit a little, all help to clear the mind and refresh the body. I think not cycling, when I want to, reminds me of the many times I tried to give up smoking. Even down to the irrational moody behaviour and craving! Maybe all bikes should come with a health warning.

Anyway, whilst I have been off the bike, the club has continued to ride on a Tuesday, Thursday and at the Weekend. We have some new members, and our first Mountain bike rider has join us on club rides. Phil is fast on his MTB, and I think he would be definitely be quick on a road bike. We now have 75 members of the Club page on Facebook, and there are regularly between 10 and 15 riders out on the club rides.
The second order for club kit has been placed with Bio Racer, and we are hoping to get it before Christmas. I have gone for some thermal Bib Tights and a winter Jacket. Much needed now the Temperature has dropped.

In my last post, I mentioned that we were helping a friend with an exciting new project. Well I can now tell you what it is.
On the 1st of December (coincidentally my birthday!) a new free Digital cycle magazine will be published, called Spin Cycle Magazine. It will focus on all aspects of cycling in the North West. The Club will feature in the 1st issue, which is why James was taking photos of us the other week. There are also interviews with local (North West) Racers, cycling personalities and race reports. I have written the article about the club and hope to help with the articles in the future. I will put a link to the Magazine site when it is released, but if you want to keep up to date before the launch why not follow @spincyclemag on Twitter

This weekend we are helping a local charity achieve their target of Riding to Lapland! check out this link to find out more about the charity 

Its good to be back!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

What happened to Autumn?

It seems that the seasons are rolling into one! we didn't have much of a summer to be happy about, and there doesn't appear to be an autumn to enjoy either. The clocks have gone back, and the mercury in the thermostat has dropped to single figures in a week. Well, to be fair, I am commenting on the weather at the times when we are stupid enough to go out for club rides! Tuesday and Thursday night's spins were peppered with heavy cold downpours. Both nights I returned home soaking wet and freezing cold. Despite the weather we are still enjoying larger groups than I expected. 
This weekends club ride promised to be a little different. We met at 7.30 at the 12th Man and rode over to Birkenhead to meet Tim, Mark and Ken. We then rode round to the Seacombe ferry terminal to meet a friend of mine who is working on an exciting project. After Chris repaired the only puncture of the day, We rode round to Moreton via new brighton and Leasowe. Along the way we assisted James with his project of which more will be revealed in a couple of weeks. We then rode up to Heswall via Irby and enjoyed a blast along the Chester High road to Eureka. We usually ride through the lanes, but sometimes it is nice to ride along the straight High road in a group, at pace. 
When we arrived at The Cafe we were welcomed by lots of comments about the new club kit. There were 10 of us in kit today, so we did stand out a bit. Everyone was very complimentary and some even said they would check out the club on Facebook and here, on the Blog. 

Whilst we were there, we agreed to help with a charity bike ride. Not your usual kind, but an attempt to ride the 2235 miles from Neston to Lapland in 24 hours! The charity Northern Lights raises money to take seriously ill children to Lapland each year. To achieve the distance, without leaving the country riders will be riding an hour each on one of 5 turbos at Cheshire Oaks Outlet village on November 23rd ,24th and 25th. We will be helping out on the morning of the 24th. If you would like to support this charity you can donate via this LINK or by texting NLCC25 and your donation amount to 70070 e.g. NLCC25 £5

We headed off back towards Birkenhead,this time meandering through the lanes, and as usual, lads peeling off to head home along the way. 

Palefish CC spinning in the lanes

 We dropped Ken off at the station in Birkenhead and the last of us headed back over Ford hill and into Greasby.
We were lucky with the weather, the rain and wind held off, but the temperature didn't get much above 8 degrees. In this kind of cold weather a few of us wear a Buff to keep the cold air out, this is especially important if, like me, you suffer from Asthma.
Graham has found a great style of Buff to wear, an ideal piece of kit to intimidate errant drivers!!!

Palefish CC Stig?

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Wet and Windy Welcome back to Wirral

I'm not sure how many times this has been said, but the weather in Scotland last week was fantastic! The sun shone every day, and the wind and rain stayed away from the West coast so that we could enjoy the stunning scenery.

There were some great roads around the area too, which led me to think about the possibility of a possible Palefish CC cycling holiday there next year.

Anyway, enough about my holiday and on to this weeks club ride!

The weather forecast for today was not good! Wet and Windy which ever forecast site I looked at! I remembered to reset my alarm clock back an hour, and even with an extra hour in bed, I wasn't too keen on getting up and out into the rainy morning gloom. I rode up to the Twelfth Man expecting to see a couple of other there, and was surprised to find the car park bereft of other Lycra clad madmen. I wasn't alone for long, Dave B joined me and after we waited until 7.15, with no other riders appearing we set off towards Birkenhead to hopefully meet up with Ken. 

When we arrived at the mouth of the Tunnel, we were pleased to see 3 Palefish CC members, Mark, Richard and Derek, sheltering under the toll booth canopy. We considered doing a Tunnel run, but decided against it, and also to rearrange the route to keep away from the North Wirral coast and take a more direct route to the Mills. After receiving a text from Ken to say he wouldn't be joining us we set off in the now torrential rain. We took the usual route through the lanes, at a more sedate pace that usual due to the conditions, which suited me as I hadn't been in the saddle for 10 days, and had maybe overindulged a little whilst on holiday!
We arrived at Eureka in good spirits, if a little damp, and were surprised to be the first there, even though it was nearly 9. By this time usually there is no where to sit and a big queue waiting to be served.
Richard shot off before the rest of us, as he had a date at a football ground to keep. The rest of us headed back towards Heswall via the lanes. Mark and Derek headed back towards Birkenhead, and Dave and I continued on to complete a loop of Wirral via West Kirby, and Moreton, with the wind behind us for a bit, but no let up in the rain.

It was good to be back out on the bike, and even strangely enjoyable being out in winter conditions again. As we always say, no bad weather, just bad clothing!!

Damp Palefishers!

Monday, 15 October 2012

The First outing in the new Palefish CC Kit

It has been a hectic week this week. Well it seemed that way by the end of Sunday, which is why I am writing this on a Monday night for a change!

After a couple of weeks off the bike due to other stuff and the typical October cold, It was back to business as usual, even though I still have the remnants of the cold, sniff sniff!
Tuesday nights route was devised by Graham, who also led the ride, which was nice as I could sit back and let someone else take the front. The only issue is that I think I may have created a Strava monster! It was a pretty quick first section out to New Brighton and then a steady pace back through Claughton over the hill and back up Beryl* and down again before a loop round Irby and back to the 12th Man.
(*Beryl road climb)

Thursdays ride was the first really wet one of the season. It rained from start to finish of the 23 mile loop. I was surprised to see 6 people waiting for me and Tim at the 12th Man and even more surprised to see a new rider wanting to join us in our foolhardy session in the rain! Although the pace was slightly slower than usual, we still managed a good average and a few climbs. The only casualty of the rain was Laz who took a corner a bit too fast and lost traction with his tyres but gained it with his thigh! I am happy to report that he got straight up and carried on. I also have to mention that I am very impressed with my Sportful hot pack no rain jacket, which kept me bone dry from the downpour. I would highly recommend this jacket, well worth the money.

The big event of the week, and one of the proudest of my life, after kids, wife etc etc, was getting the message from Ken at Onimpex that our new Bio-Racer Club kit was in the country!

To say that I was excited is an understatement, I was like a kid at Christmas. Friday morning I arranged to meet Ken and collect the kit, I couldn't wait for the great British postal system! As always it was great to see Ken and we had a great chat about all things cycling and how Palefish CC was growing fast.
It was really strange to actually see the kit in the flesh.
The Palefish brand has been in my head for years, and to finally have it in physical form, in this blog, the club and now the kit, it feels fantastic.
I would like to take this opportunity to once again say thanks to everyone who has helped get Palefish to where it is now, Mrs Palefish, Ken who got me started road cycling, Paul and Tim and all the riders in the club, Laura from Lime 26, Shaun and Ade the Wirral Mamils, Ken at Onimpex and all the cycle shops that support us, and I now look forward to the next chapter.

Anyway, back to the kit! Palefish HQ was a busy place on Friday night and Saturday as the lads came to collect their kit. To be honest, I got a real buzz from seeing their faces as they opened the packaging and smiled as they liked what they saw.

Sunday was a busy day for the club, Three of the lads headed off to Hebden Bridge for the Mills and Hills Sportive, a great opportunity to show off the new kit.

Mark, Mal and Rich
Closer to home  Dave B, Dave C and Jon were running the Liverpool Marathon. I'm not a very enthusiastic runner but I have massive respect for the lads in taking on the challenge of running a marathon. Well done.

For those not partaking in Hilly Yorkshire rides or pounding the Streets of Wirral and Liverpool, there was the Sunday club ride. It was the coldest start of the year so far, and I was a little worried that the new kit wasn't going to provide the best protection against the temperature, as most of us had chosen the lightweight Cool Max sub 100g jersey. I am pleased to say that with a good base layer, and the excellent Gillet I ordered, along with some arm and leg warmers, I was toasty! It was great to see 6 other lads all kitted out in the kit, something we have all been looking forward to.
It was great to see Phil from Cheshire Oaks Cycles, one of the shops that supports the club, for his first Palefish CC ride. We also picked up a new member along the way to Birkenhead. Giles had spotted us on Facebook, after a Strava interaction with another club rider. We met up with Ken and Neil in Birkenhead and then Dave on the way to Eastham where we were joined by Tim. Phil was impressed to see so many riders out early on a cold Sunday morning. It has been a while, but we managed to get lost on the way out of Eastham, I blame local knowledge overriding my Garmin instructions!! As I mentioned before it was quite chilly, Phil's Garmin showing 1degree, and unfortunately Dave L was feeling the cold quite badly. Luckily Steve had some mechanics latex gloves in his saddle pack, which were green, so not only did they keep Dave's hands warm, they matched his new Palefish CC jersey!
To add to the getting lost, and Dave's mild hypothermia, we also had our first puncture in a while. It always comes in threes!

We progressed event free for the rest of the ride to the Eureka Cafe, where we all rolled into the car park resplendent in our new kit. It was great to have an Identity at last at the Country's best Cycle Cafe.
We had a good reception to the kit and it was great to catch up with the aforementioned Wirral Mamils.

Dave L and his Latex glove, Owen Andy and Dave F With Graham Neil Chi and Paul in the Background
There were too many of us for one table so we had to spread ourselves out in the Cafe!

Phil and Tim
After our brew I decided to take a team photo outside the Cafe to mark the club kit's first outing.

Palefish CC at The Eureka Cafe

Spot the Mamil?
I wasn't surprised to find a certain Wirral Mamil posturing in the background as I got the lads lined up for the photo!

We headed straight up the Chester High road, as time was now against us for some of the group, and as we reached Heswall we started to split off in our different directions. Before the majority left I managed to convince the lads in new kit to pose for one more Photo.

I hate to say it but it was a bit too sunny to get a great photo, I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities in the future for Club kit photo's!
It was also a fateful decision to stop as things seem to happen in four's now! As we were preparing to set off, Chi missed his footing on his pedal and fell off onto Steve's back wheel, which didn't stay too round! It amazes me how easy it is to buckle a wheel, especially as we tend to put them through some tough conditions on British roads. After a bit of cogitating about what to do, Chi called for a lift and took Steve and his bike home. the rest of us headed home ourselves, via Birkenhead to drop Ken off at the Station. And that was the First Club Kit ride done!

I am away again next weekend, but Zel is doing a ride on Sunday and some of the lads are going on that, and I'm sure the rest will get together at some point too. 
The most exciting thing is that as I was dishing out the kit to the guys on Friday and Saturday, they were giving me new orders for more kit, and on Sunday those who missed the first order run were telling me they wanted to put an order in. I think that by Christmas we will have a lot more riders in Palefish colours in the lanes of Wirral, Cheshire and Wales!