Sunday, 18 October 2020

Coffee, cake and donkeys

tanhouse farm donkeys

I have been out on the mountain bike during the week, the roads are so rough, it isn't pleasant on the road bike.

On Wednesday the oven partially packed up. The fan heater failed and tripped the main house circuit breaker. I reset it and the oven appeared to start cooking again. I returned thirty minutes later to find cold food; the fan was working, but no heat. I cooked using using normal, slower, mode. This meant I went out for my ride later. Less traffic but very dark in some parts. I went a bit off-road to really test my light (Cycliq 12). 

The lowest power setting was just enough for me, but not for the camera. Just a dull circle of light was picked up by the sensor. Under streetlights it was better, but the quality was still poor. It was set to its lowest resolution, for the next ride I changed both settings to high.

I think it did pretty well, to me it seemed brighter, certainly enough to see the path ahead.

Saturday was a return to the road bike, with Oxted CC. It was lead by a pair on a tandem. It may be slower going up hill, but it quickly picks up speed going down.

tan house farm tandem

We went to Tanhouse Farm; they have donkeys. Food and drink was served from a small cabin, and a barn had been converted to provide very spacious seating.

Phil arrived at the Tatsfield bus stop to meet Matt and I on Sunday. He spoilt us again; revealing homemade French fancies. Not made by him, I must add. His daughter had been inspired by Bake Off. Very tasty they were.

French fancies at tatsfield bus stop

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Where have all the people gone?

Where have all the people gone
My photography is going in a new direction.

I feel I am moving away from portraits and people photography in general. This year I did a family commission, a studio shoot in March, and one in August.  

A project with Janice and Saskia is moving along, and a plan for a shoot with Eddy motorcycle consultants is in its early stages.

I have focused instead on the photography for my posts. I think of an idea; type away at it during the week and the challenge is to produce an interesting picture to head the page. And maybe some from the rides I have done, this is getting more difficult. A limited number of locations and routes is testing my creativity. A positive spin would be that it's also pushing me to ride to new places, and think differently.

I might investigate the genre of architectural street: gritty black and white, light and dark, shapes.

I find it hard to translate the vision I have to the camera. It will come with practice.

A colleague at work - Xavier - is also an avid photographer; we are now challenging each other to become more creative. I set the first subject, the title of this post. His reply was colour contrast. I haven't found the target for my camera yet.

Would my readers like to suggest a topic?

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Gone cycling

Gone cycling

I watched the last episode of Gone Fishing with Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse last week, and I thought of Matt and I sat at various bus stops, churchyards and cafes. Drinking tea is our angling.

We don't really care what people think of us, or if they understand the simple pleasure of meeting every week. 

Sometimes we talk serious subjects, almost nothing, stupid topics, or laugh with and at each other.

We have differing views on somethings, agree on others, change our minds or just agree to disagree.

I hope we never take the meetings for granted. 

I must admit it took a little time to readjust after they started again, I was use to solo bike rides. Stopping and talking was unusual.

At first I couldn't settle down, I don't know why but I was eager to get on the bike again. I think maybe because I always had in my mind needing to get back for Marcia. The carers are visiting again, so I can slow down.

I'm not sure if we'll go back to meeting at the green and cycling together to our tea drinking location, or if it will be solo rides to the designated place. Either seems to work, and doesn't feel odd.

Doing our own thing feels okay, Saturday we ride alone most of the time, coming together on Sunday. 

Lining up group rides give me extra to look forward to, life is still fairly solitary. 

Two bad days this week.

dormant farming
Phone got wet and died during this ride.

into the woods 
Fell off bike after this pic was taken, causing a stiff hip
coffee at the velo barn
A cafe and a bike shop.

Avoided the worst of the rain on Saturday, for a coffee and slice of cake at the Velo Barn near Westerham.

The storm stepped up a level on Sunday, Matt and I decided to ride routes local to our houses rather than meet as arranged. I did just over ten miles of the circuit I do after work. My hands were freezing, hopefully the gloves I have on order will be the last piece of the puzzle needed to make winter riding comfortable

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Show me the money

I use to watch most motorsport, gradually it left my schedule, F1 being the first. It is all about money, with less dependence on the human element. Other four wheeled racing followed, finally the two wheelers no longer interested me. When human frailty is removed from the equation it becomes a race to spend the most. 

So what do I watch now?

Cycling; more specifically road racing. There is a lot of money in the top flight, if you are a mens team. It's very different for the women's side of the sport, that really needs to change. They don't have so many live televised events, or the same length of races. This is wrong; why don't the organisers do more to promote it? More screen time will mean more sponsors, it's a little chicken and egg at the moment.

The top teams spend big, up to around £40 million. This could sterelise the sport, as it does for the motorised genre. The better funded teams generally lead the races, but the winner is never certain. The recent Tour de France for example; Ineos with Egan Bernal were favourites. I think they have the biggest budget, he pulled out due to injury. Anyone from any team could crash, become ill, or just have a bad few days, especially in the mountains. That's all it takes for any hope of winning to disappear. Three weeks, 3,484.2 km (2,165.0 miles) with only two rest days. This year it went down to the wire, with a mammoth effort on the last stage from Tadej Pogacar to win.

I must admit to imagining myself in those races, testing my determination against whatever the course throws at me. I also think about some of the endurance events, how great would it be to complete them with friends?

And now for the regular feature; pics from the daily rides.

caterham view 
The weather was still great at the beginning of the week, starting to see sunset colour during my ride

Surrey Hills
The nights are getting darker.

My after work route is only twelve miles but it includes four steep hills, two of which I first ride down, turn around, and then ride to the top again. On Wednesday night I passed the same people on both hills as I rode in both directions. I wondered what they might be thinking. They gave me a half smile, half laugh the last time our paths crossed.

I also got a puncture on Waller Lane, the camera caught the moment, with sound.

I hope the evenings will be as nice as the one on Thursday. It was wet all day, I did got dirty, but the sunset was worth going out.

Caterham view sunset

The wind made a big impression on Saturday. I went out with Oxted Cycle Club in a faster group than previously, it was okay at first. As we neared the end I ran out of acceleration; if I needed to catch up on a hill I had nothing left. It felt like there had been a headwind most of the time, not too bad if I was in a slipstream. A few feet further back I lost that help, and could not regain my position, the gap increased quickly. It was a weird feeling, I wasn't out of breath, my legs just didn't have any extra push. 

Matt and I met at our winter residence on Sunday, the Tatsfield village bus stop. It's covered location is less exposed to the weather than our summer locations. 

Tatsfield village bus stop yorkshire tea

During the week Matt had discovered an off road route from Redhill to Caterham. I knew some of it, but there would still plenty to explore for me. A ride to a cafe and back, what's not to like.

Friday, 25 September 2020

It's okay to talk

I have never been affected so deeply as the the guy who made the video.

The message is to talk, it's hard at first, but it gets easier.