Saturday, 19 May 2018

How many beautiful messages the kintsugi technique conveys

I discovered this rather interesting topic and page on-line. The art of Kintsugi can convey many beautiful messages about resilience and how even though we can become damaged throughout life, it can make us more beautiful, unique and precious.

Upon reading various pages on the subject of  kintsugi, or kintsukuroi, literally golden (“kin”) and repair (“tsugi”). It has made me think of my own journey and the adversity I have faced. From an amputee point of view many of us go on to display our limbs, as a kind of badge of honour. I believe the psychology of this could be as a result of us just trying to say "Yeah I may have lost a limb, however look at how I am overcoming this situation". Of course many people suffer from hidden disabilities, this can include mental health problems. A daily struggle with one self and the world about them.

Hopefully by sharing this, once read it will bolster some people and give them a little room to reflect. What ever they have or indeed are facing, should be with the knowledge that they are unique and although they may feel broken, they can be repaired and are unique as well as beautiful. We can only really receive love and respect from others when we love and respect ourselves. Those that do try to bring us down are generally insecure about themselves.

Hope you enjoy the read...


Wednesday, 16 May 2018

A couple of articles about my journey.

Hi guys...

Silverback Synergy Fat with BTK Crossover
Out on my Silverback Synergy Fat with BTK Crossover
A few weeks back I was approached by Silverback Bikes and their Brand Communications Specialist Temarah Galant. I recall mentioning this in an earlier blog. Well today I got an email notifying me that a couple of articles had been released about my journey. From taking ill to the years of pain and misery and finally electing to have my leg amputated. Both articles are just a short time lapse affair, however for those interested they are a canny read.

I hope there are some people that can take inspiration and discover that you do not have to be super human to find the support you may require in wanting to achieve your goals. There are genuine people and companies out there that are willing to offer support for the ordinary guy or gal in the street. Of course you get nothing for nothing. You have to prove you are not a quitter and that you are tenacious, motivated and have the ability to accept your failures, learn then move on to your successes.

I cannot thank everyone mentioned in the articles enough for their support, as well as quite a few people who are not mentioned, but who have helped me achieve my victories along the way.

Anyhoo hope you enjoy

Friday, 11 May 2018

Blowing away the cobwebs

Went out for a little bimble on my Silverback Synergy Fat this morning. Man it was colder than I anticipated. I wouldn't care I even checked the weather and it said "sunny" with temps around 13 degrees. Upon checking my Go Pro footage it looks very muted and at the start quite dark. The sun did not really burn through this morning and so the sky looked dull and grey.


Really all I wanted to do was head out and get a bit of fresh air. Due to this long standing cough I have had I really struggle on a morning. You would think I was a 40 a day man. 

Ern has tried sorting the top edge of my socket out, however after only 10 or so minutes of riding I could feel the socket biting into the top of my thigh and hip. I am now sporting a proper red and sore stump, so will have to take it easy tomorrow so that I am in shape for work on Sunday. Unless you are an amputee I guess it is hard to understand the constant battle, along with frustration of having to try and make the best of a bad situation. Of course everyone has their own personal battles, some of which I will not have any comprehension of.

Anyhoo rather than focus on all the negatives, it's good to be able to say "I got out".

I bumped into one of our old neighbours whilst out. It is so long since I saw Karen, that I actually got her mixed up with one of the community nurses who used to come and see me, back in the day. We reminisced and I reckon the last time I had seen her was when I lived over at South Moor. We left there when I was 18 so that is roughly 32 years ago.

Oh almost forgot, a little challenge I am doing this year is for my friends over at Arctic ONE. It's called Arctic ONE's Summer of Fun. All you have to do is donate £10 and then over a set period record your activity and achieve the goals set by Arctic ONE. This can be running, walking, swimming or cycling. To find out more information why not visit  Arctic ONE on Facebook or go to their website to see the fantastic work they do. All funds will go towards the grant system that Arctic ONE provides. A very worthy cause indeed.

Wearing my band with pride
Arctic ONE

I only got a few pics with my mobile phone today, have to say I am very impressed with the camera. I have not edited any of the shots, they are just as they came from the mobile camera itself.

Silverback Synergy Fat

They have cleared all the beautiful trees :(

Saturday, 5 May 2018

A little ride out in Grandma!

Wow I was up early this morning, around 6 am, however at the time I did not realise it was so early as I never checked the time. It was not until I came in from washing both cars, Tango my little Night Orange Smart car and my new ride the VW Beetle GSR,which for the moment I am calling Grandma. Yeah I know Grandma is a weird name, but there is some thinking behind my bizarre name for my Bug. It's not weird to name your cars, or is it...who cares?

VW Beetle GSR
Out in "Grandma"
Anyhoo after watching an episode of Jay Leno's garage on Youtube I noticed during Jay's review of the new Beetle he said "This car is a bit like a wolf in sheep's clothing". Man that is what I thought the first time I set the car away. For some reason I immediately thought of Little Red Riding Hood and the Big bad Wolf who dressed as her "Grandma", hey what can I say, maybe I have too much time on my errrr brain. "My what big exhausts you have", all the better to expel those exhaust gasses and "My what big wheels you have", yeah well they do look pretty dam fine... All I need to do now is lower my car as she is sort of showing off her knickers and sitting a tad high. I may have a bit of a dilemma when it comes to lowering the car, as I found out just the other day.  You see the alloy wheels that are fitted are what's know as staggered. This basically means the fronts are narrower than the rears. To get the look that a lot of VW owners go for, smaller tires are stretched over the wider rims. Looks great, however it makes kerbing an alloy very easy as the rims have no rubber to protect them. I was hoping popping new tires on all round may solve the problem, for instance going from a 235/30/R20 to the correct size of 265-275/30/R 20, however this may make the tires way too big to fit under my arches when the car is lowered. Plan is now to seek some more advice and maybe even see if a friendly tire place will pop a larger tire on so I can see what the alloys look like. I just want some rubber protecting the edge of my rims. Worst case scenario is a complete set of alloys 20 x 9's running 245/45/R20's.

VW Beetle GSR
VW Beetle GSR @ Tunstall Reservoir

VW Beetle GSR
The Ern such a cool cat
VW Beetle GSR
Whey Hey
VW Beetle GSR
Loving the Bug
VW Beetle GSR
Beautiful over at Tunstall Reservoir
VW Beetle GSR
VW Beetle GSR
VW Beetle GSR
VW Beetle GSR
As for suspension thinking of popping KW Variant coil overs on to give the car a much better stance...

Ooh back to this morning. After washing the cars I detailed "Grandma" and The Ern and I had a blast out. Intending on heading up towards the moors, but then deciding to check out Tunstall Reservoir. I pulled in over towards Castleside and popped the name of the reservoir into my Sat Nav. The friendly lady behind my dash, found the location very quickly. The new updated Sat Nav disc I purchased on-line appears to be spot on. It's the first time both Ern and I have visited Tunstall Reservoir, boy it sure is beautiful in that area. The roads up towards the reservoir are a bit skinny like and my car feels FAT so I was a bit on edge.

For sometime now I have been... what's the best way to describe this? I suppose dreaming of purchasing a house up in Scotland. This is ever since my visit to the Isle of Mull. Now when I say house I probably mean mansion, country retreat or huge bolt hole. Hey you can afford what you want in your dreams right? Anyhoo each of the houses I have seen on-line, even including small islands at one point, have been sold or taken off the market. I have now got my eye on a house way up in Inverness. I cannot give too much away as one of you may head off and buy it just out of spite, well if you had £800,000. So just a heads up if I win the lottery any time soon I will be heading to Scotland and you may not hear from me for a while. I have it all planned in my head, even have my own family Tartan LoL

Johnstone Tarta

Friday, 4 May 2018

Baxter's Birthday and a little tootle oot on the bike

My little lad is three today, needless to say he got spoilt.I picked up 2 toys for Baxter last week, man pet stuff is expensive.  A Kong jumbo bone and a Kong cone, both in large came to £30, never mind he is worth it. I gave Baxter the bone this morning and he went mental, he even pulled poor Ern all the way around his walk so he could get back home to his new toy. The Kong cone I filled with biscuits and some peanut butter then froze it. Just gave Baxter this about and hour or so ago and he has been quite happily lying in the sun licking his make shift lolly.

Birthday Boy
Mmmmm I love peanut butter

Yum Yum

Friday, 20 April 2018

Been asked to take part in an article for Silverback Bikes

On Tuesday I was contacted by Silverback Bikes Brand Communications Specialist, Temarah. You see I am an ambassador for Silverback Bikes, having got my Silverback Synergy Fat Bike way back in 2016. Temarah went on to explain that she had seen some footage of me riding my bike using my prosthetic sports knee, the BTK Crossover and she wanted to know would I been interested in doing a short feature for Silverback's Media Centre.
Glenn Johnstone Silverback Synergy Fat
Love the Silverback Synergy Fat design, carbon front triangled frame
This involved answering a few questions to get a background, things like when I started riding, how I came to become an amputee and the journey I have been on since. Including how I came to start off on the Bartlett Tendon and involving the tremendous support I have had along the way. Of course when writing a blog such as this I have to mention my Good friends over at Pace Rehabilitation, Brian Bartlett, Fabtech Sytems and The Arctic ONE Foundation. All of whom have played a part in my life and adventures.

Glenn Johnstone BTK Crossover
BTK Crossover, just needed aligning
Temarah, also asked would it be possible for me to get some new footage that Silverback could use upon their media centre. So I decided to do that today. I explained to Temarah that I am just starting to get back out there. As many of you who enjoy reading my blog will have noticed I have neglected it somewhat. On reflection I can look back over the last couple of years and see I have had a bit of a nightmare health wise. At first when I started my cancer treatment I thought "hey there is nowt to this", however as time progressed man I was feeling more and more wiped out. Like proper chronic fatigue. It's funny it wasn't until just the other day when one of my good friends and work colleagues Jennifer said in general conversation "Glenn you have been really poorly for sometime", that I actually took it in. You see I tend to be one of those people that beat themselves up and won't give myself a break. I didn't think of myself as being ill, more like I was being lazy and I had lost motivation.

Never mind I turned down my last treatment and have had good news today from my cancer specialist nurse, she rang me whilst I was riding up our bank, so I was quite out of breath. I grabbed my phone and she informed me everything looks good on my CT scan.

I continued up the bank to John my mates house and after he got his bairn sorted with her Gran, we set off. Continuing up the bank and heading off towards East Stanley, with the plan to head down to Beamish woods.

Once in Beamish woods it didn't take me long to figure out my Crossover was all out of alignment. I had had to swap my new socket out for a much bigger old one, the other week as my residual limb has gained so much volume, another word for getting fat. Anyhoo I didn't have the best tools in my backpack so had to ring Ern to get assistance. 20 minutes or so later Ern rocked up with some decent allen keys and we were able to align my knee and foot a tad better. Only problem being the bolt for my pylon and foot wasn't the best so my foot was still out of skew a bit.

My bud John
Glenn Johnstone Silverback Synergy Fat
Coming down the trail
Glenn Johnstone Silverback Synergy Fat
Cracking day

John and I rode up through the woods chatting as we went. Finally we got to where we thought would make a good start. The video only had to be around 1:30 long. Got some nice footage as the sun was out and it didn't take long at all. Bit gutted as the final bit of recording didn't appear on my memory card. This was the bit where John and I were acting like little kids playing in the ford. Tell you what it was proper slippy and we both almost fell off.

Off the back of the bike with the Crossover
Close up of the Crossover flexed
John playing in the stream
John having a right hoot
Man it was slippery coming across the ford
Splish Splash
Where we come from
Managed to grab a few pics today. The ride home was torture. When I say ride I will admit I cheated a little and had to push my bike up the Shepherd and Shepherdess bank, even when I am fit that bank is a killer.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Out for a blast on little Nelly

Wow where has this weather appeared from? Not complaining in fact it gave me the opportunity to head out and finally test the new brake and clutch lever set up on my little Benelli TNT. I have had the bike for quite sometime now, however not really had the chance to head out. In fact the bike had only covered approx 15 miles, then had been sitting at the bottom of our stairs in the hall.

Glenn Johnstone
Boys and their Toys
Originally I paid a small fortune for a Brembo master cylinder thumb brake. However working alongside Ern we just could not get the thumb brake in a comfortable position, plus the feel of the combined brakes was awful. I struggled to not only stop, but also in actually trying to pull in the clutch, whilst using the thumb brake. Ah well back to the drawing board.

One of my mates, Des sent me a link to Youtube of this kid who had incorporated what is know as a stunt clutch on his Grom. Essentially it is a small clutch lever that can be actuated by a single finger. I researched the levers and discovered there was no way I would get one to fit with the original brake levers that were on the bike. This meant ordering some new radial type brake levers from Aliexpress. This would allow me to use one lever on the left hand for my rear brake and the one on the front as normal for the front. Plus I ordered a (RSC) Righteous Stunt clutch lever, medium length. It was rather expensive, however appears to have done the job. The fit to get all the levers and switch gear is tight and as I will go on to explain requires a little tweaking from a comfort/ use point of view.

Glenn Johnstone
RSC Stunt Clutch and Adelin radial levers
Ok so like I said earlier this is the first time using this set up. It takes a little getting used to. I have discovered I am automatically going for the rear brake, which is now on my left handlebar thinking it is a clutch lever. This means at first I clunked a few gears. It also meant I slowed down quite dramatically as I pulled on the lever. Then I got comfortable using the small clutch lever and the opposite happened I mistook it for a brake and instead of slowing I just disengaged the gears. Also set up wise the levers feel as if they are in the wrong position. It's totally different going out for a ride compared to just sitting on the bike in the back garden. Due to the lack of space on the bars it can be difficult to adjust the position of the levers on the left hand bar, they are just so close together. Luckily there has been a little room for movement and on returning home Ern gave me a hand to adjust the levers. The radial brakes also have screw in/out adjusters for lever travel and this has helped a lot as the levers are now within reach.

What's it like riding as an above knee? Errr scary, well for me it is. I have not spoken to any other above knees, but what I am discovering is I am perfectly confident turning left, but I do not like turning right at all. It's weird as normally when you ride you wouldn't put a foot down and you use the power of the engine to pull you around or through a corner. Maybe it's psychological. I have noticed the same thing when I am out on my mountain bike. Left turns are fine, however rights can prove tricky. It would be interesting to hear from fellow above knees on this.

I covered roughly 50 miles today, heading up to Smiddy Shore and around by Stanhope. I pulled in at the petrol station at Lanchester to fill up...When I say fill up I put all of £4.08 in my tank. I felt so guilty and was not sure if the attendant would accept anything under  fiver that I bought a bottle of water. I then discovered I had no where to carry it so stuffed it down my jacket. It kept falling down and I almost lost it a few times.

Glenn Johnstone Benelli TNT
Learning curve today
Little Nelly
Benelli TNT
Over on the moors
Benelli TNT profomance exhaust
Bike is canny loud with pipe on
All in all I had an enjoyable ride out, the weather has been ace. I figure if I can work out how to get to somewhere purely by doing left hand turns I will be fine LoL. In reality it's just a case of building up my confidence and learning this brake/clutch set up. Another reason it was scary today is a lot of where I rode was hilly and well I am running my bike in. It's not good when you have a bloody huge artic up your arse as you tootle along at 40 to 50 mph. Plus when he passed me I thought he was going to suck me under his truck. The only thing I managed to pass today was a tractor, mind you he was doing 32mph as I looked down at my clocks.

Broom Broom!!!
Over at Wagtail Lane
A big part of why I can get out on my bikes, both motorised and push is down to Pace Rehabilitation. Paul Richardson my prosthetist designed me an everyday socket and it just shows that having a decent socket can enable you to do a lot more and just get on with life... The only thing I am really disappointed with after today's outing is that my socket has rubbed a small hole in my seat. To be honest the material used on the seat is not very thick or of great quality. It's just another small challenge to sort out. Hopefully if I get the seat re-upholstered in something harder wearing it should resolve the issue.

Monday, 16 April 2018

A birthday treat to myself

Well I am the big 50 today, half a century no less. How have I celebrated my birthday? By getting up nice and early and continuing with decorating the house. Oh yeah all rock and roll me. No birthday wishes from Ern or Kyle this morning, even wor Baxter didn't pay particular attention. My aunty Claire and Uncle Dave called in yesterday like, bringing along a delicious home made chocolate cake, em-blazed with "Happy Birthday". To be honest I prefer to fly under the radar when birthdays come up and kind of pretend I am not getting any older. I am sure I had my date of birth hidden on Facebook, however I have had a number of birthday well wishes from old school friends and other friends and family. Lovely people one and all and thanks to everyone.

Glenn Johnstone,VW Beetle GSR
Awesome Birthday Treat

Sunday, 17 December 2017

man I feel worn out...

As the title to this particular blog post states "man I feel worn out". It's not just a case of being or feeling tired, nope I just feel completely fatigued and no amount of sleep appears to do the trick. I go to sleep at a reasonable hour and awake feeling wrecked. 

As I have viewed my blog seeing if anything needs tweaking or I can add anything interesting I noticed my blog posts had dwindled over the last couple of years. I mean it's not just a case of not having anything interesting to write, as there is always something or other to tell you. I mean isn't that the whole point of a blog, allowing people snippets of your life, or I guess in some peoples cases "their whole life"...."Today I ate a Jaffa Cake" sort of thing.  No I can see a down turn, both in my interest to write about my adventures and also in how I have been feeling. Basically things have just not felt great since having chemotherapy back in 2015. 

Now as far as chemo goes, the 6 months treatment I had whilst I was on a drug called bendamustine was not too bad. This particular drug, meant I had no hair loss and apart from a dicky tummy now and again I was pretty much ok. I mean my bloods did drop to 0.5 at one point and I became neutropenic, which basically means I was very susceptible to infection as I had a real low immunity, however I did not catch any nasty bugs, meaning I did not require any hospital over nights stays to be monitored.

The combination of bendamustine and rituximab has been very successful, as my non Hodgkin's lymphoma appears under control and the horrible large nodes I had in my neck have shrunk right down.

Following the chemotherapy I was informed I would get 2 years treatment of the rituximab, this is called a maintenance dose. The treatments are supposed to be given every 2 months. Unfortunately I have been experiencing some issues and this can really only be put down to the rituximab. Things like a low white blood cell count, more infections and picking up bugs easily and the biggest one to date for me this lingering feeling of fatigue and just not wanting to do anything.

It has taken me ages and I mean ages to put my finger on why I have been feeling so crap. I mean most people think "Yeah I will feel shit during, then after my chemo, but give it a few months and once I am in remission I will start to feel a lot better". Yeah I thought this, so to be 2 years on more or less following my chemo, well I just thought "Glenn, you are a right lazy sod, who needs a kick up the arse"...."Come on pull yourself together".

Anyhoo after going in to work today and feeling absolutely wrecked and asking if I could take a half days annual leave. I came home and researched the drug rituximab. My findings are from the Cancer Research UK site and you can follow the link if interested. The top 3 common side effects I have had, which are feeling sick, being at a higher risk of getting an infection. I have had a terrible couple of years picking up stuff and the biggest one for me fatigue and tiredness.

I now kind of realise that may be I shouldn't be so hard on myself, as it just piles on additional stress. I have just had my treatment on the 7th December. I will now wait 3 months before my next one which I am pleased to say will be the end of my course of treatments. There have been a few delays so I have crept into my 3rd year. From there I hope I will start to get my Mojo back, recover my strength and start living again.

Never sure who reads my blog, but hope anyone reading this who may be going through the same thing can take something interesting or informative from the information.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Not a great day to try out the Buzzraw and yet proper enjoyed myself...

My dad Ern, has been feeling rather unwell the last 3 days...Man Flu it appears. He has been in bed 3 days now, so I have been handed the duty of walking Baxter. As an amputee it is not the best weather to be out walking, or should I say attempting to walk. Baxter doesn't help as he has four paw drive and has a tendency to not just go in one direction. This means it's a constant battle trying to pull him back and also stop him from tangling the leash around your legs. Then of course add to the mix all this ice.

Kotz68 Buzzraw
Out on the Buzzraw

Friday, 1 December 2017

My Buzzraw has arrived

"Buzzraw" You may be thinking, "what the hell is a Buzzraw". Well it's a unique, funky, somewhat retro styled bike, some may even say a scooter (How dare you)  I prefer the term bike, as a scooter to me is one of those little things that you kind of push along with one foot and I once had a bad experience as a kid, on one of those when I face planted and got gravel rash.

Glenn Johnstone Buzzraw
Coast Cycles Buzzraw in Coast Blue

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The 3 Amigos Ride Again

As the title to my blog says "The 3 Amigos Ride Again". I cannot tell you the last time I had a ride out with both John and Lee. Put it this way it has been way too long, as this mornings local trail adventure was sooooo much fun. According to Strava we covered 14.1 miles the majority of this being off road, on either farmers trails, parts of the Chapman Wells nature reserve or in the local wooded area surrounding Chapman's and Quakies. As I still do not feel 100%, being able to get a little off the beaten track and yet stay close enough to home, so that I can bail at any point is spot on.

The 3 Amigos

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Had my new drone all of 10 minutes and crashed it Oops!

An exciting afternoon, as my big boys toy has arrived. It is a DJI Spark drone. Upon opening the box I was greeted with this very cute little blue drone.

DJI Spark
Everything you get in the combo bundle
I eagerly got everything out of the box and began charging him. Thank god for Youtube as the instructions came in 7, yes that is 7 small booklets. Even with my gigs on I couldn't read them. Mind you not that I am one for reading instructions. I figure if something doesn't work straight out of the box, well it's broken isn't it? I have therefore left Ern reading the vast manual which he has printed out from online.

So Cute, but very angry
Appears well made and has loads of features
So far following the Youtube guides I have managed to update both the drone and it's controllers firmware. I have also managed to get the drone started and hovering, well before I crashed it into the wall of my bedroom and thought I had broke of a rotor blade...Ooops!

Whilst in firmware mode, it makes some weird tunes
Rotor Guards in Place
Second attempt was much better ( I put the rotor blade guards on this time). I could get the drone to go up and down, and circle left and right 360 degrees, however could I hell get it to fly left or right and could only get it to come towards me by flying backwards, ie the camera facing away from me. Mmmmm more practice required and must get Ern reading faster to get me up to speed.

Apparently my little drone also thinks it is in China according to the on screen display, so that needs sorting. I certainly do not want it returning to base in Beijing. Batteries only last around 16 minutes per flight I think so it would be pushing it anyhoo.

So far I have just had a little bit play around in doors in my bedroom, man this little thing is loud, it kind of sounds like it's pissed off when you fly it around. I swear it had a go at poor Ern and buzzed him, wasn't me!

All batteries on charge now and I will try and figure out how to use it and get some footage, so watch this space.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Just messing around in the woods

Today's adventure out with John on the bikes was a short one. I am having a few problems with socket fit, kind of changed shape once again so my socket feels rather tight. Not to worry everything is in place to get sorted by the amazing team over at Pace Rehabilitation. Really don't know where I would be right now without the support of these guys. Definitely not jumping around and acting like a teenager in the woods that is for sure.

Man why do I have to live in such a hilly area. No matter which direction I go, here in jolly old Mordor there is a hill. Hey Ho back up the farmers trail we go.

As John and I set off up the Farmers Trail we were followed by a
combined harvester and two tractors one of which was pulling a large trailer. We pulled over to the side and let them all get past and they headed up to start work in the nearby wheat field.

John heading up the Farmers Trail
Silverback Synergy Fat
Mid way up the farmers trail
Silverback Synergy Fat
Beautiful sky
John had been talking of seeing one of our friends on Facebook, Mark Peterson and all the cool pictures Mark had been putting on. Saying "I would like to go somewhere and have a play at maybe jumping off some stuff". Although we have beautiful surroundings, like woods and countryside I couldn't really think of anywhere to errr "Jump off stuff". I then remembered this little place down Beamish woods. Funnily enough it is where I actually attempted my first little jump on a bike after receiving my BTK way back in 2009.

Checkout the facials LoL
I had been loaned a Transition Blindside and man I can remember having a wide range of emotions going on. Everything from being real excited to absolutely bricking it. I mean I had never jumped anything since I was a nipper and as I was just getting back to cycling and the use of the Bartlett Tendon at the time well it was very nerve racking. It's kind of a weird feeling strapping what is essentially a bucket with an artificial knee joint and then relying on 2 elastic bands to be there when you take off and land. Obviously the BTK and especially the latest incarnation the BTK Crossover have so much more technology and design put into them, but never the less it was and in a way still is a leap of faith. No matter what you pop on to replace a lost limb, there is still the fact there is nothing quite like your own bits...So look after them and appreciate them people.

BTK Crossover
BTK Crossover

Knee in hyper extension, not good

Anyhoo we arrived at Beamish Woods and I showed John the little jump. "Ok you go first" John said. Yeah I could see what he was thinking, "you have a go and if you fall off I think I'll pass lol". So we set up the GoPro and just started messing around.

Silverback Synergy Fat

Silverback Synergy Fat

Silverback Synergy Fat

Silverback Synergy Fat

Silverback Bikes

Eventually John says "Ok I'm ganna have a gan". He pushes his bike up the hill and gets to the top and says "Bloody hell it looks steeper from up here like". I tell John, "you might want to drop your seat down. I mean you don't want to catch your nuts if...ahem! I mean when you land". John is cautious his first time down the hill, but enjoys it so much he attempts it a good few times, gradually getting faster and gaining confidence. We probably stayed there a good hour and had a blast, so much fun.

Silverback Synergy Fat
Coming through Beamish woods
Following on we rode through a bit of wood I had never been through until we came to this massive steep hillside that was proper rooted and gnarly. I couldn't see all the way down through the tress so wasn't sure what it would be like to ride down. There were 3 young lads at the top, so I said to them "What's it like going down?" Too which I got the reply "It's canny steep like mate". "Mmmm decisions, decisions"," Awww screw it" I just went for it. Fuck me it was steeper than I thought lol At one point I felt I was going to go over the bars. Just when I thought I was at the bottom, the trail turned and there was an even steeper bit. No stopping now, arse hanging over the back wheel, thank god I had put my Rock Shock Monarch on the highest  flexion resistance, as this allowed me to fully flex my Crossover and control my bike. Last thing I wanted was to be too far forward with a hyper extended knee, recipe for disaster. Once at the bottom, man did I feel like the cat that got the cream, a big grin all over my face. I know for an everyday mountain bike rider this would just be a walk in the park, however for me when I think back to when I first had my amputation I couldn't keep my balance on my bike and would fall off on the flat, in my garden. John congratulated me on my descent after deciding it was way too steep for him to have a go at and he pushed his bike cautiously down the trail.

A grand morning playing
My mate John
 As we rode on the trail became more familiar and I knew we would have an epic climb back up towards home. Once we started climbing out of the woods, coming up the back of Beamish on the road towards the South Causey I could feel my stump feeling like it was going to explode. Man so fatigued and my hip was killing me. I had been riding today with more resistance in my tendons as Paul my prosthetist over at Pace  had relocated my receivers, as well as me putting my old tendons in place and then around 40psi in the shock. It's like riding, then doing a whole separate work out as you ride. I should probably have thought on and reduced the pressure in my shock and put the cams on an easier setting for the rest of the ride home. It's weird after all these years riding with the BTK and now the Crossover I am still learning what are the best settings for what ever I am doing. I had never really used the Highest flexion resistance setting, until chatting to another user and friend Jude. Jude does a lot of Down hill and I was interested to hear about how he sets up his knee, using the Shock on max resistance and to my surprise a relatively low amount of pressure in the can.

So only 7.1 miles or so covered today and lots of pain, but man it was so much fun and for me that is what it is all about.