Monday, 23 May 2016

Bored tonight so been Tiggering with Baxter

I was especially bored tonight so whilst listening to music on the TV I thought I would try my running blade on and see if my old check socket kind of fit.

I haven't ran in probably a year as my chemotherapy last year put a temporary hold on my goals and aspirations. I am now awaiting to have a new check socket made with Paul Richardson my prosthetist over at Pace Rehabilitation and then hopefully I can concentrate on getting my technique and much needed fitness back on track. Running is so far the hardest thing I have attempted as an amputee. Not so much the whole motion of the prosthesis, no more that I'm a relatively old fart and my cardio sucks lol.

Anyhoo tonight I as I say I popped my running blade on and me and the Baxter had a little bounce around our sitting room, hence the 'Tiggering'.

Phewwww! a few minutes of bouncing and I had a sweat on, but it was quite a laugh and we both had a bit of fun.

Ooh I also got to try my new GoPro out. GoPro were fantastic when I reported the problem I was having with my camera. Even though it was 2 years old and out of warranty they replaced my camera with a new one and it looks like it is working great, so very happy.


Thursday, 12 May 2016

Out for a bimble with John

I am feeling quite energetic at the moment so when John got in touch to say 'hey do you fancy a short ride out this afters' my reply was 'yeah can do'. 

I am not quite back in my regular routine of riding, truth be known I am just enjoying going out when I fee like it and the days I do not instead of beating myself up for being lazy I now think of them as days where I recharge my batteries and can just chill. Life does not have to be a continuous fight against ones self. I have learnt I have nothing to prove either to anyone else or more importantly to myself. It is good just been 'Me' and having fun doing it.

This week I have ventured out on my road bike for the first time this year. I completed just over 11 miles and I really enjoyed it. Normally I do not like riding the roadie. It quite often feels uncomfortable and well I hate all the plonkers in cars who cut you up. My biggest 'Not Like' is turning right, especially if it's on the approach to a hill. Drivers just don't give you time and I feel really vulnerable.

I also went for a swim this week. I did a nice warm up, then practiced swimming 400metres at my race pace. I am trying to get as fit as possible for when I attend Arctic ONE's Tri-festival on the 30th May down a Eton and Dorney Lake. Gutted I cannot run again this year, but I still have not got my running blade sorted following my chemo and going up and down in volume. Next priority is to get in touch with Paul at Pace Rehabilitation and spend a couple of days being measured,cast and fitted for a new socket. I can then hopefully go on to get a final socket which will enable me to start training and re-learning to run.

Anyhoo back to today, John came down just after 2:20pm and we set off on one of our regular routes. Along the Font to Craghead and up past the Wind Turbines. We then went to one of my favourite haunts, Chapman's Wells and once out of the nature reserve had a quick chat where to go next. I suggested heading towards Burnhope and taking the other back road past the other Wind Turbine Farm. Going this way meant we came out at Sacriston. It was cold up on the tops as the wind seemed to pick up and the sun vanished behind a big dark cloud. Not to worry I had packed my base layer so popped it on. As we rode along passing the trees on our leftside I got my eye on some rather pretty looking flowers. I decided to take a few pics and as normal ended up getting nettled. This means I will be itching for days to come as it always has a lasting effect on me lol.

The Old Girl
Before heading down past the scrap yards at Sacriston, John and I passed a number of fields with sheep and their new born lambs. I got my eye on this cute little fellow and was amazed when I made a 'Baa Baa' sound and 2 of the  lambs came right over to the fence. Awww the little black friendly one was so cute but he/she had a poorly eye. It seemed happy enough though and had John and I bad laughing when it did a little lamb spring as it ran away. It was bouncing all over.
Awww bless this friendly lamb had a poorly eye
Out on the Old Girl

Not a bad day got a bit chilly on the tops

John admiring the view
My Old Bern Lid, phewww it was hot with this on

As we went down into Sacriston I got my eye on a back trail around the back of the houses. So John and I turned around and we ventured along the trail until we came to this fantastic wooded area. We have not been here before and the riding was fun and very scenic. I love being out on new trails exploring and it just shows you do not always have to go far from home.

Discovering new trails
 John and I had a bit explore around and eventually after riding up the hill then going all the way down we came to a dead end and a fence blocking our path. We then had to climb back up and discovered another fence, this one electrified  with a warning sign on a post. As we pushed our bikes up one particular dodgy bit of trail which was un-rideable John noticed a Bumble Bee just sitting on the fence post. On closer inspection the little fellow just looked knackered so I thought it would be a good idea to give him/her some Lucozade and offer some words of reassurance and encouragement. Not sure if this worked but the Bee began moving, it then fell of the post and I went to try and catch it on a leaf, when John shouts out 'Dude that fence is electrified'...Oh Crap I had forgot about that. John's a good mate as if it had been me I wouldn't have said anything as I think it would have been quite funny to see him get a 'zap'

Poor Little Bee

Come on dude you can do it
We then rode along to Edmondsley and down Edmondsley bank 'Wheeeee'. When I got o the bottom and went to change gear I discovered my front mech was not working. On closer inspection I saw that the tensioner for my gear cable has snapped off at the rivets, this is on my Carbon Ibis Mojo. I think it's a relatively easy fix so will get Ern on the job.

From Edmondsley it was a nice ride to Blackhouse and then along and up to come through Craghead again and then home.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

A Broken Tango and a Surprise local loop

I awoke early this morning, way before my alarm went off, this gave me ample time to scoff some Crunchy Nut Cornflakes before I set off for work. Normally our back gates are left open on a night, so I can just reverse out into the back street and be on my way. Well this morning the gates were closed so I had to go open them so I could get Tango out.

After opening the gates I just happened to notice my rear valance was melted slightly and I could see the tip of my exhaust. Strange I thought. On closer inspection and a bit prod of my exhaust I discovered it was loose and just flopping around. Ahhh dammit so that is maybe the noise I have been hearing the last few weeks. I put it down to my car being so small and all these stupid speed bumps, which for my little car are like dropping off a cliff each time. I cannot avoid them like in a big car and most are very vicious, yes even when going at a relatively slow speed.

Anyhoo I had to borrow Ern's car and my dad said he would have a look at Tango for me.

 On my return from work Ern gave me the bad news my exhaust had snapped. Bloody hell I could do without that. Short story, kept short it has just cost me almost £200 for a new exhaust. Ah well the joys of motoring I guess. At least Tango is now sorted and I still love her lol.

Now to this afternoon and my very nice surprise of heading out to ride a local loop. My friend Lee called around as he was going for a short blast. I haven't seen Lee in what feels like ages, what with his shift pattern and well just life in general. So it was lovely that Lee thought of me and came around to see if I fancied a catch up and a bit of a look out.

Over at these ruins

I haven't had my Ibis out since Ern fitted the new Sram Guide brakes and my Rockshox Reverb dropper, so I decided to treat my oldest bike to a ride out. Le suggested we head off up the Farmers Trail. As we approached the trail it was water logged and very muddy. Me being me decided 'Oh I will go down the little steep gulley at the side of the gates and up the other side. My Ibis had other ideas and snagged it's front wheel on a piece of wood that was hidden in the puddle and I proceeded to fall off, with the same words I almost always use when things don't go according to plan 'Ahhhhh shit'. I fell to my Bartlett Tendon side, so nothing I could do. Clipped in with a leg that is not my own, well you get the picture. I just laughed about it with Lee, especially when Lee said 'I think I will just push my bike over'.

Lee checking out bivi spots

This afternoon was a glorious afternoon. We headed through No Place and along to Shield Row taking the back trails. From there we headed to Red Row and called into the Aston Workshop as I wanted to show Lee all the amazing cars. There were quite a few DB5's, you know like the original 007 Bond car. Lee and I commented on how cars just are not the same these days, not so much character and all made of plastics. These old cars are classics and beautiful to look at.


From the Aston Worshop we headed over towards Tanfield Railway and down the trail to these old like ruins. Both Lee and I are not sure what used to be here. It's a pretty area and Lee in typical Lee fashion commented 'Hey this would be a canny place to bivi'.

Glorious weather
All the pretty flowers in bloom
Enjoying the afternoon
Lee chilling with an apple

A few photo's nabbed and then we were off again, using the Tanfield Railway path and having to cross the Causey Arch Bridge. To think before I started riding again I had never seen the Causey Arch bridge. Once at the end of the Railway path, we cut through the factories at Tanfield and were soon on the C2C and on our way home. Only around 12 miles or so covered, but we did take in some canny banks, one of which I showed Lee. It is the footpath from Barn Hill at Shield Row and it takes you up to Stanley, coming out at the indoor market. Phewww granny gear all the way up.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Longest walk with Baxter so far

Well today I had my longest walk out with Baxter so far. 7.82 miles to be exact according to Map My Walk.


Baxter did really well only pulling on a few occasions, one of which he pulled me off my leg and I fell. It was a horse and cart went past. Baxter is such a friendly dog and very curious. So if there are sheep in the field he wants to go and investigate, if there are cows he wants to go and investigate and if there are horses again he wants to go investigate. I just think he thinks everything wants to play with him. He craves attention, so when ever anyone passes he expects a pat. This can be a problem as not everyone likes dogs, especially  Bull Terriers. Quite a few people get the wrong impression so try avoiding him as they just assume he is vicious, quite the opposite actually.


Saying hell to the Moo Cow

Baxter is very powerful and slightly bonkers, he is boisterous so can come across as being a bit rough. He is the first Bull Terrier I have owned that cannot catch to save his life. Anything thrown to him, hits him on the head and then he picks it up. He is however the first Bull Terrier I have owned who will gladly play fetch. Baxter loves nothing more than bringing his  plastic toy Mouse affectionately named Mike. So if you call 'Mike, Mike,Mike he bounds around our house looking for either Mike 1 or Mike 2, he has two of them you see, both in various states of chewed'om...  
Mmmmm a load of dogs

Here we have Baxter checking out the sheep. I know people would think he would terrorise them, however I just think he thinks they are dogs like him. He is fascinated by other animals and just wants to play.
What a good lad
Baxter always looks good in a photo
Baxter that's a bit close m8
What a Handsome Boy
Resting his head, think he was getting bored
Awwww I love my Bax x
I really enjoyed my time out with my best friend today.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

'I have something to Show You'

On the 14th of April, two days before my birthday I received a very special email from my friend Brian. It was short and to the point saying,

'Hey Glenn, sorry for the long delay in response. I have been travelling and working non-stop... I have something to show you!'

Brian then went on to say he would be flying in to the UK as he had some work to do, however he had a few days open and would I like to hook up with him in London.

BTK Crossover, Brian Bartlett and Glenn Johnstone, LondonWell of course my answer was yes, however I had to firstly go into work the following day and excitedly ask my boss Annie 'Please can I have the 25th, 26th and the 27th of this month off, Brian is coming and I need to see him'. Annie knows the whole story of Brian and I so she was only to happy to check our Physio diary and say 'Yep book the days in and get yourself away'.

 'Yay I am off to London to meet my good buddy Brian' I was so excited.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

A lovely little stroll out with Wor Baxter

Just a shorty blog for today. Nothing out the ordinary or exciting really, just a short stroll out with wor Baxter, then meeting up with my dad 'The Ern' over by field near  'The Black Path'.
Glenn Johnston Amputee and English Bull Terrier
Through South Moor Park, come on Baxter

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Seemed like a nice day just to play

I really did not want to get out of bed for work this morning. Not because I do not enjoy my job I. love it. No I just felt really tired. This feeling of tiredness stuck with me all morning, right up until I finished work at around 12 Noon. As I drove home I was in two minds 'Mmmmmm, whether to have a extensive nana nap, or head out for a quick blast on my bike'. I decided heading out on my Fat Bike was a little more proactive so that is what I did.

It has been a lovely afternoon. I was able to ride in just a short sleeved jersey. As I was feeling a tad wiped out I did not go far and just headed to one of my regular haunts and Chapman's Well. Once there I decided to have a little play around on my Fattie.
Glenn Johnstone riding my Fat Bike In the Woods
In The Woods

Oh I almost forgot before commencing play I shot a very small video using my GoPro. I think I have mentioned my Hero4 is encountering some problems. It is making a horrible noise when ever connected to the WiFi on my mobile phone. I have been in touch with GoPro and the next stage in the 'sorting it out' process was to take a small video. All I was asked to do was connect my GoPro to my mobile device somewhere quiet. I then had to start recording leaving the camera on for 5 seconds, then say Testing 1,2,3,4 and 5, then leave for another 5 seconds, before switching the camera off. I then was to send the unedited file to GoPro, which I have now done, so just awaiting a reply.

I used to be able to wheelie good when I was a nipper. It's a lot harder with one leg

Anyhoo I only rode 7 miles today, most of which was spent goofing around as well as some me time to think things over. Why I need to think things over is beyond me as truth be known my mind never switches off. Inside my head there are constant illuminations, fireworks and various light shows 24/7.

I have been informed by a reliable source I need to try and meditate. I am just not very good at sitting still and I am easily distracted.

Chapman's Well

Sunday, 10 April 2016

I may possibly have invented a new sport

It's been a lovely day weather wise. I awoke this morning in good spirits, which is always good, especially after having a terrible nights sleep. From time to time I find myself having panic attacks. They come along without warning and I do not have to be feeling particularly stressed about anything. I tend to have lots of panic attacks when I have a cold. I think it's the whole breathing thing. Anyhoo as I could not sleep I decided to jot down my thoughts. No they don't make much sense on reflection and anyone unlucky enough to read them would think I am a complete wack job, so rather than share them here I think it's enough that I tell you, yes at times I am slightly 'cuckoo'. I don't care I think it makes me 'Special' lol.

So upon waking I decided it was a canny day to wash and hoover out Tango, my little Smart car. I love my little Smart. I know I get some funny looks from time to time when driving her, but I don't care she suits my personality. Bright orange, so draws attention...Oooh how I love attention, Fun, yep I like fun and reliable, yeah that's me. The good thing about having a little car is she doesn't take long to hoover and wash, hey presto done, what to do now?

I decided to watch a movie just as Ern came back in. It was called 'The Finest Hours'. It's based on a true story about a oil tanker that breaks apart and the 4 brave coast guards who set off to rescue 32 souls from the tanker in the fiercest seas imaginable. A very good flick and better than a lot of crap I have seen lately. Though I do have to say 'Dead Pool' was right up my street and I thoroughly enjoyed the film and humour. Ryan Reynolds plays a class part.

Movie finished I noticed a beautiful ray of sunshine shining through our front room and across our hardwood floor. 'That's it I'm off on my bike I thought'.

Surprisingly enough I actually managed to find everything I needed to just head out. Usually I plan an outing and I am on ages as I always can't find something or another.

I decided to venture over by Fox Parrot wood near Craghead. I took my GoPro. I didn't intend to ride far I just wanted to be out as it was such a lovely day.

As I got over to Fox Parrot I started taking a little footage. I had chosen to nip in alongside the allotments. I recalled last time I came this way getting slightly lost and venturing down a sort of hidden trail which was actually quite dangerous as there is a huge drop into the burn below down the hillside. 'I'm going to avoid that though' I thought to myself. Well my thoughts didn't exactly go to plan as I dropped further down the trail I inevitably found myself on this familiar trail which proceeded to get narrower and narrower. Omg my sense of direction is crap. Not this again... Last time I had to hike with my bike, crabbing along a trail which was no more than 6 inches across. In fact is this even a trail, which idiot would attempt to even come along here, let alone one with a bike and a prosthetic leg. 'Owww, Ouch crap, crap' Oh great and there are loads of brambles and those nasty thorny bush, tree things. 
I was listening to some tunes
There is a big drop behind me
The bank side was strewn with wild garlic, which was very slippery. So this made the going even more precarious. It took me ages to get from one side of the bank side to the other. Having to walk side ways and keep my bike as a sort of  support . My Bartlett Tendon kept getting snagged as well it was straight with the tendons attached. I began thinking for any 'normal' person this would be the equivalent of walking along the trail with a bike with their leg in a cast.

As I eventually reached the end my heart rate finally got back to normal I was buggered and at some point adrenaline must have kicked in as I hate heights lol. I began thinking this is more of a 'walk than a bike ride'. It was a Hike Bike, maybe a new extreme sport lol. The rules being you firstly have to have no sense of direction, be a bit thick oh and either be so stupid that you cannot see it would be safer just to go back the way you came, or so stubborn that you just continue on regardless. I like to think I am just stubborn.

I even tried taking some GoPro footage of me pushing my bike along the trail , but it is way to shaky as I was trying to hold on to  my bike with one hand , hold the GoPro with the other and watch I didn't fall off the trail and down this huge drop. The footage actually looked like something out of the Blair Witch all shaky and lots of noise as I jostled my camera around.

Well I have decided I am definitely not going that way again, not even with wor Baxter as he is bonkers and would end up at the bottom of the bank side in the burn way,way below.

I am now just typing my blog up before retiring to pop some cream on my scraped good leg. Those brambles don't half get you...

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Out for a walk with Papa Bear and a slightly bonkers Bully

Eeeeeeeee! it's been quitesometime since I last Blogged, this is usually a sign of depression or low mood on my part, however in this instance that is not the case. In reality I have either not had time, or I have decided to keep the fairly interesting stuff to myself lol

Me and The Ern
Anyhoo although today's little 2.12 mile excursion was not what you would call particualrly interesting, for me it was lovely just to spend sometime with my dad and our slightly mental English Bull Terrier Baxter. I find in my job role and the people I meet I am constantly reminded just how fortunate I am. So many of us just take the simple things in life for granted. At times I do myself, however I always try to stop and think abut the importance of being mindful, considering all that I have and all that I can do.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Sunny Easter Bank Holiday Ride

John got in touch on Thursday saying 'dude it's supposed to be nice the morra, but the rest of the weekend is supposed to be pretty crap,  so do you fancy a look out the morra morning'. I replied back 'Yeah sure I have no real plans'. I am really lucky in a way as although I do get kind of bored from time to time I have a canny free schedule to do what I want when I want. Really I should appreciate this as so many other people are tied down, have commitments or as just plain to busy in the old rat race that life passes them by and before they know it the things that are really important in life seem to have passed them by.

A little selfie of the two of us
When John arrived I was on looking for a pair of mountain bike shorts. It wouldn't be a proper outing if I didn't at least loose one item of clothing or had a technical issue. I don't think I have ever just got up and headed out, even when I prepare the night before. Never mind sure they will turn up.

'What you fancy doing and where too' I asked John. John didn't seem fussed so I suggested we could head out and maybe shoot a little video. So we took one of our usual routes over towards the turbines and the lonely road, better known as Wagtail Lane. Before long we were at the entry point to head into the nature reserve, Chapman's Wells. 

We had a little discussion about where to shoot from and just set about messing around, me doing ride in and ride out's and John using my mobile to operate the GoPro. As we got further down the trail this is when we spotted a geet big pile of rubbish. Some complete Twat had just dumped it there. Excuse my language but this sort of thing really annoys me. We have a tip not more than 10 minutes ride away and yet people purposely drive up a lonely trail, into an area of natural beauty and tip there crap all over. I mean this stuff was a health hazard, dirt nappies for starters and that's just what I saw lying around. The council are aware because the rubbish had warning notices saying they were investigating the rubbish. I really do hope the muppet who dropped it off has left some form of evidence in his shit and gets a huge fine.

There is a tip 10 minutes away
Hope investigation proves a success
John is not taking this seriously
As we were near the location of the fly tipping incident both John and I spoke to some locals who were out walking and we all agreed how disgraceful doing something like this is. It can have an effect on the environment as half the stuff does not degrade, then there is the risk to animals and not to mention the health risk to people.

Anyhoo the sooner we got away from the rubbish the better for me as it was annoying me. I think one of the things that annoys me the most is when we are out on a trail and someone out walking says 'Hoy you are not supposed to ride here'. Most cyclists take better care of  trails than anyone else, most cyclists know to give way to people walking or on horseback and most cyclist are amiable and will help anyone in need. Yet you always get some cock who thinks 'I pay my poll tax and you are a hooligan on a bike'.

Gotta Love Puddles
Ooooh and Mud
Ahh well each to their own... John and I continued to shoot a little more footage then after visiting the pond decided to head over towards Beamish way. As I was riding along merrily going from the Morrison Road Ends towards Stanley a flume of dust suddenly came up from my front wheel and I almost went over the bars. My tyre had only gone and come off the rim. Thank god it didn't happen last week when I was doing about 30mph down my bank on Durham Road. Wheel and tyre sorted we headed over to Beamish using part of  the C2C route. I suggested to John we could go and visit the tea rooms at the Causey Arch, grab a bacon sandwich and then heave a nice casual ride home so this is what we did.

Could have been disastrous
Proper nice pace this, lovely friendly staff