Algoz – Disaster (almost) Averted

We are just back from a short 5 day cycle-based break in Portugal and 4 nights in London: Very different experiences, but both very good for us.

Sunshine in Silves - meantime!

Sunshine in Silves – meantime!

We retrieved the Scott bikes from the loft at my sisters and gave them their usual extensive mechanical check over – 5 minutes each and a squirt of WD40 and they were declared good to go.

We headed for lunch in Silves, about 15K from our start in Algoz, adopting our usual time-trial mode along the main road, hence the dayglow tops.  We came home over the hills and into the Orange Groves – a more demanding, but much more scenic route.  After months off the bikes, of course, everything hurt – wrists, necks, shoulders and of course, bums, but we expected nothing less.

Day two saw us take to the coast on a round trip taking in Gallé Beach and A. de Pêra.  Thesis one of our favourite short day runs and we were blessed again with light sunshine and calm conditions.  A real pleasure, albeit short-lived.

On day 3 we were due to transfer to a hotel in Alvor, but the weather fates decided otherwise.  We spent the night listening to torrential rain and woke to find it still lashing down, as it continued to do for the rest of the day.

We will cycle in all sorts of weather, if we have to, but this time we could see we could not venture out safely and so had to call things off.  Algol was soon under unprecedented floods.

Algoz under water

Algoz under water

Reports then started coming in of vehicles aqua-planing on the roads and extensive and severe floods all along the coast and so we decided we just had to stay put and wait out the storm.

Albufeira, less than an hour away on the bikes, fared even worse it turned out, making git quite clear we had taken the right decision.  We hate giving up on cycling adventures, but on this day, this one would have been just daft.

A day after we were able to get out on the bikes with almost no sign of any problems as we headed into the hills again on a lunchtime outing to Messines.  Amazing!



Getabout in Aberdeen City and Shire

When finishing my run in the Duthie Park yesterday I spotted this lot and went in about to investigate.

Can't Start Too Young!

Can’t Start Too Young!

It turned out to be an introduction to cycling event organised by Getabout – A to B in Aberdeen City and Shire. I have to be honest, I had never come across Getabout before, but I am pleased to find them.

They had a range of goodies on offer, bike bells, mugs, maps, leaflets, pens, reflective strips and vests and were very keen to chat to existing or would-be cyclists.

Cycles of all sorts and sizes

Cycles of all sorts and sizes

It turns out they have a whole suite of Travel Tools to help us get around by sustainable transport in City and Shire  – mostly alternatives to owning and using cars.  Best of all to me was information on a new smart phone app for the Complete National Cycle Network – I’ll need to try this out and report back with a review, but in prospect its an excellent idea.

You can find their website via this link – Getabout Aberdeen and Shire

Threadless Headset Adjustment

It has been so long since I posted here I am shame-faced. Worse, we have not been out on our Thorns since we returned from our tour of Spain and Portugal in October 2014. But, hayho, cycling is a part of life and sometimes life gets on top of you. No point in beating up on yourself – learn and move on. Show yourself some compassion. :-)

So, when I came to check the bikes over before setting out on our first day trip, needless to say there were some mechanical matters that needed attention. In order to box them for the flight home I had needed to remove the headsets and turn the handlebars through 90 degrees. Once reassembled it was clear all was not well as on both bikes the headsets showed way too much play and the forks seemed loose under braking.

Now this turned out to be an easy fix, but it was anything but while I was labouring away in my complete ignorance of headsets and their operation. The more I adjusted, the less success I had: all sorts of fears began to rear up in my head – each involving a more expensive repair that the one before. Who came to my help?  Well, Jacqui of course! Have you tried YouTube she asked?  Of course – silly stressed me had lost touch with my watchword – if not YouTube the Google will know what to do.

So it proved to be. I was lucky enough to come across “Wheelie Pete” and his YouTube channels. His bicycle repair videos are a delight: not only do you learn what to do, but also why you need to do it.

I watched his headset adjustment video a couple of times and headed to the bikes knowing what to look for, what to do and how to test that all was well after the adjustments.  Brilliant tutorials – clear, comprehensive, well-paced and delivered with an easy to listen to voice. Perfect! Needless to say, I checked out some of his other offerings and subscribed on the spot.

Here is the headset video I used:

Needless to say, after the job was done, I strutted my stuff for the rest of the day. Man fixes Machine: machine works properly.  Cue the sound of fists beating on chest!

Tandem Two Head for the Hills

With the wind and rain lashing against the window as I type, I guess I can be excused doing more surfing than cycling at the moment.  In this spirit these two young Australians – the flying cyclists – caught my attention.

This video shows their honeymoon trip on a Bike Friday tandem on the Leh-Manali Highway over some of the world’s highest passes.  It makes for great viewing.  A true case of ‘ in sickness and in health and through triumph and disaster’. :-)


Inspiring Nicaragua tour video

I have had this video linked from my desktop for a good few weeks now. Caught in the worst of the winter weather as we are around here, its nice to remember that better and warmer days will come.

This is a very well put together video that nicely catches the routines, ups and downs of a day touring in Nicaragua – but to be honest it could be from a tour almost anywhere.  Ah the joys to come!

Thanks to Roberto Sordillo for the posting on YouTube.

The Delights of Seville

Thanks to the CTC Cycle Clips mag for putting me onto this Guardian article on cycle friendly Seville.  We spent a glorious 3 days in Seville while touring from Alicante to Algoz on the Algarve last October. We were cycling into the city from the East and were quite worried about it, but in fact entry proved to be a delight as quiet roads took us to the canal side to the north then all the way to a fine, safe cycle way that circled the inner city, making navigation to our central hotel much easier.  Mind you, nothing else about the city was easy to navigate, but that is another story!

Danny Macaskill – astounds!

In a word – astounding!

In two words – beyond belief!

In three words – lost for words!

In four words – not on your life!