Friday, 18 August 2017

Short stroll out with Ern and wor Baxter on the BTK Crossover

I am due to head down to Pace Rehab's new HQ in Manchester next week, so that Paul my prosthetist can have a look at my current BTK Crossover socket. So this morning I thought it maybe a good idea to convert the Crossover into ambulation mode, so that I could give Paul a little bit of feedback on how the socket and knee are working together. Converting the knee from sports to walking mode is as simple as removing the tendons the tendon receivers and cams and replacing the protective shells on either side of the knee. Oh and then not to forget to adjust the Rock Shox shocker, both the pressure and rebound so as to be able to walk on the knee. It only takes a few minutes once you get the hang of it.

Out with Ern, Baxter and the BTK Crossover
Have to admit it has been sometime since I walked on the Hybrid BTK Crossover as I have been using it mostly on my bikes. It is a lot different to walk on than my Ossur 2100 Total Knee. It doesn't take long to get the hang of it, however it does feel like a bit more work in that the BTK has more resistance. I think with regular use it would be like anything else you would just become accustomed to how the design works and adapt accordingly.

Baxter such a good lad
Having a little gargle in the stream
Ern (aka me dad) decided we would go for a tootle up Quakies (Quaking Houses) and up past the fell, taking in a small part of Chapman Wells nature reserve, before looping back through the woods to Quakies again. Wor Baxter is in his element when he is off the leash. Ern lets him off regularly, me well I always keep him on as I cannot exactly run after him if he buggers off. Not that he really does. Baxter never seems to go too far, well unless he spots a deer or a rabbit. I guess I am more cautious as I always worry some other dog sets about wor Baxter and he gets the blame as he is classed by many as "one of those dangerous breeds" I say "Poppy Cock" this is what is wrote on Wikipedia about the Bull Terriers Temperament

Can you spot the ickle wee Ern

Such a Poser


 "Bull Terriers can be both independent and stubborn and for this reason are not considered suitable for an inexperienced dog owner. A Bull Terrier has an even temperament and is amenable to discipline. Although obstinate, they are particularly good with people. Early socialisation will ensure that the dog will get along with other dogs and animals. Their personality is described as courageous, full of spirit, with a fun-loving attitude, a children-loving dog and a perfect family member. A 2008 study in Germany showed that Bull Terriers have no significant temperament difference from Golden retrievers in overall temperament researches".

My 2 best mates
We were originally going to call Baxter Vandal
Leave, Leave
Determined to carry a stick

Managed to get a few pics using my GoPro whilst out with Ern and Baxter and although the walk was just a short one with a few stops here and there, really enjoyed being out with my dad and Baxter.

Usually likes saying hello to horses, but today had a stick
Such a handsome boy
Happy Lad

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A canny ride through the park

I am back, well never really been away, just been neglecting my blog. Not really much interesting going on...All "Rock n Roll" ... NOT!

Had a few short yet pleasurable rides out over the past few weeks with my mate John. Nothing to strenuous, more just getting out and sharing a bit of craic, that's "craic" as in banter, not as in we light up a pipe and get shit faced. Oh and plenty of laughs. Playing in puddles at almost 50, well you are never too old really are you?

Now decided after editing my photo's and video to write a short blog. It's going to be short as I am dying for a wee and cannot be bothered to hop through to the bathroom and back, yeah got my leg off you see. Also need to grab a shower as have not been in since coming in off my bike and I am hacky of said puddles.

We had a lovely ride through South Moor Memorial Park this morning. Lots of new path ways, bridges and signs being put in place. It's all to do with funding for what is known as the Heritage Trail. 


Oh there is also lots of dog shit. John is very good at discovering this. Come on John it's no laughing matter it's every bloody ride man. 

John on his Fattie
John with Poo Stick in hand
I am surprised this bloke is not the luckiest man in the world

Bimbling over one of the new bridges

Lovely morning
I have been Tango'd

Playing down the park
On my Silverback Fat Bike
Love just messing around

I think wor Baxter wanted to join us this morning. As a pup he could squeeze under our rusty yard gates. Now he is older and a bit of a porker he can just get his head under.

I still have dreams of winning the lottery and buying a place on the Isle of Mull. Somewhere with a bit of land all fenced off so wor Bax can run around till his hearts content. Hey everyone needs a dream right?

Add caption
Been a canny morning weather wise, did not start raining until we were on our way home. John has been a star, acting as director and cameraman for today's bit play about. Have to say not too impressed with my little Panasonic Lumix today. It usually takes a cracking photo, yet last few outings the image quality has been lacking. Very blurry shots. Of course blame the camera, nothing to do with my camera skills. It is a typical point and shoot when I have it, as nowadays I cannot see if the picture through the lcd screen looks blurry in the first place as everything looks blurry without my glasses on.

John avoiding the mud
Me attempting a track stand

And failing lol
Tried my new Race Face cycling under shorts today, still got a dead sore arse. Decided to order a SDG Bel Air 2.0 saddle as I think I owned one a few years ago and it was ok. Really what stops me riding more and further is the fact I always get a sore butt. Must have spent hundreds on various saddles over the years. Even been for my ass measured, but no joy.

Ok must wee so will let the pictures and vid tell a kind of story....

Friday, 7 July 2017

A memory of a pup, a hospital visit wearing a new limb that makes me go Ouch and a meet and greet with my Cuz

This morning when I switched the old puter on and visited Facebook I was greeted with a lovely memory from 2 years ago. It was wor Baxter when he was just a wee pup, sporting an Arctic ONE buff. He looked so cute and very clean and white.
Awww he was so cute

Monday, 3 July 2017

Irepressible Me, bouncing back

Wow just looking back it has been around 3 months roughly since I last posted. The reason, well without going into it too much I just have not felt well. To be honest this year so far has been an extremely tough one for me. I mean in many a persons eyes it will not seem too dramatic, but for me and how I have been feeling both physically and mentally it's just been...Mmmmm what word comes to mind... how about  Turmoil.

Out and about listening to  a few tunes

Sunday, 16 April 2017

You know when something is up, but you just cannot put your finger on it?

As the post title says "You know when something is up, but you just cannot put your finger on it?"... well upon my first ride out on my Silverback Synergy Fat I put my finger or should I say fingers straight on the problem. Omg the brake levers are the wrong way around. Now after a few rides I find I am continually  going for the rear brake and confusing it for the front. It does nothing for your street cred when you are trying to show off and do a skid and whip your bike around, when in reality each time I almost go over the bars lol.

Just some of the Peterson clan. I love these guys
This immediately brought back memories of my trip to Ogden Utah in the US of A to meet up with my awesome friend Mark Peterson and of course his absolutely fantastic parents.

You see upon my visit Mark had arranged for me to get a loaner bike. A Trek Stasche 29'er from a very kind gentleman named Matt Howard who runs The Bike Shoppe. The bike was practically brand new and was fitted with a dropper post. This was my first go using a dropper and it converted me, so that all my bikes run droppers, yes even my road bike.

Here is Matt and da man that is Mark Peterson
Anyhoo for those of you in the know you will know that not only do American's drive on the wrong side of the road, but also their  brake lever set up is slightly different to here in the UK. The left lever is the front and the right is the rear in the US, whilst we are the other way around. I wasn't aware at the time and even when I had discovered forgot. Now yeah you will probably think "It's no big deal", however imagine flying down a trail trying to keep up with your good buddy who happens to know the trail and coming to a tight right hand turn, then grabbing for the brakes. "Oh crap" you confuse which is which and  your front wheel starts to wipe out. Mark's friend Lance was following close behind and he found it hilarious when I shot off into the brush. Thee stuff I went into reminded me of those tumble weeds you see on the old western movies. It was a case of "agghhh" "oooooh! and as I came to a stop in the middle of this scrub a "phewwww!". Now that could have been so much worse.

The following day I was recounting my near miss to Mark's dad Cliff and he said "you do know there are rattle snakes in them there hills". Really well I had no intention of going in there again. Saying which as I recall whilst out on a steady upward ride up into the hills I encountered a switch back which was tough to manoeuvre due to my prosthetic side. Luckily there was a tree to grab on to so I could stop and hold myself up. Unluckily when I pushed off, "ahhhhh"  not enough momentum. I can't unclip whilst riding with my prosthetic side so ended up tumbling down the side of the bank. It was funny as I was more worried about Matt's bike so as I fell I tried to hold it out and protect it. Mark immediately stopped and shouted "Hey are you ok dude", once he got my reply "Yeah I'm good" he burst out laughing.

So getting back to the Silverback Synergy. At moment it is fitted with Shimano Deore's with 180mm discs. To be honest even if the brakes were the right way around I would have thought about changing the set up, the Shimano's just don't seem to have enough power or bite. 

Silverback Synergy with wonky brakes

Last year I bought a set of Sram Guide CR's for my Ibis to replace the old Elixr's which snapped at the master cylinder on two occasions. Anyhoo the new Sram rear brake has been sticking from the start so this has put me off going for that brand. Now my Hope's on my Sandman, they are another story. They have never failed, plus you can pretty much buy every component separate if you need to replace something. So I have decided to opt for a pair of Hope Race Evo 4's along with 180m floating rotors. They don't come cheap, coming in at just under £180 per unit, but at least I know I won't be grabbing the wrong lever and going for a trip over the bars and that the Hope's have great stopping power.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

A Ride to The Hub on Newcastles Quayside.

It's been another 3 weeks since I last rode. I am feeling pretty crap, it's being going on around 3 months now. Another trip to the doctors last week and I was put on more  anti-biotics to try and combat this chest and throat infection I have been suffering with.

Baxter with Silverback Synergy
Baxter, he is such a good lad

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Work no rest then play

It was my first full day back at work today, after my 2 week phased return following being ill for 5 weeks with that nasty strep infection I told you all about in a previous post.

I am now going to use a word my boss Dan uses a lot to describe this morning as I awoke and looked at the clock or should I say clocks and that word is  Discombobulated. I mean my alarm on my phone went off ok, correct time and all. I was not late, however when I went down stairs into our kitchen the kitchen clock was an hour slow. The Oven clock is always wrong so that was not helping matters and the Microwave, well it came out the Ark so it no longer works. I just thought 'Ahh the battery must have died in the clock'. I then had a quick cup of coffee from the Tassimo, a nice Latte and some sort of coffee yogurt  thingy that Ern sometimes get in. As I went into the living room to check out the mornings news I noticed that that clocks battery had also died...D'oh no it hadn't obviously the clocks had gone into some other time zone, backwards or forwards or whatever. I checked the news as surely they would know the right time. 

On Sundays I can spend a little longer in the house as there are no annoying numpties on the road and it's a canny drive in. I hate driving in during the week because as well as numpties, muppets, cocks and bell ends, there are also with all intensive purposes buffoons just waiting to cut me and Tango up, beep at us for not going fast enough or make it there mission in life to get in front of the bright Orange Smart car and get one place ahead. I mean that morning coffee will be getting cold.

As I got in to Tango I was thrilled to see that when I turned the ignition key and my radio sprang to life blaring out some group I had discovered just the other week, that my clock was reading the correct time. I was not so thrilled when I had to adjust not only the dash mounted clock but the digital one, especially as all three clocks now read a minutes difference and my OCD kicked in. 'Ahhh bollocks' what do I care I am not the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland and I was not late, BBC One's news had told me so.

Anyhoo a full shift at work 8am until 4pm. By the time I got home, it was approaching either 5:45, 5:46 or 5:47. Clothes off, leg off, mountain bike gear on and BTK Crossover on. Juice in bottle, GoPro in backpack, grab bike and I was off. I mentioned in one of my other blogs I was going to start riding the bank up to Wagtail Lane as a means of gauging my fitness. It's a canny click and once up it the lane continues with ups and downs past the wind mills. I definitely found the bank easier today. Not only that after I adjusted my saddle yesterday evening and Ern had a look at the cleats on my shoes I am happy to say the medial pain in my knee appears a lot better. I forgot I did not tell you about the pain I got from Saturdays ride. After 22.5 miles when I came in my good knee was absolutely killing me. I honestly thought I had damaged something. It's not great having a bad leg when you have your own two legs, but it is even worse when you only have one and it starts hurting. Saturday evening I could hardly hop whilst using my crutches. As I sat at my computer I did some research into the cause of knee pain and came across this great article which I have taken advice from and it appears to work.

Again just a short tootle out tonight. I have an idea of roughly how far 9 or so miles are and at the moment I am happy just building up my fitness, not over doing it, yet pushing myself where I need to.

Silverback Synergy Fat Glenn Johnstone
Coming doon the farmers trail, no not that farmers trail lol

Silverback Synergy Fat
I'm balancing here...honest!!!

I managed to get a few shots with my GoPro  whilst out, so all in all a canny little ride out. Mind you not sure just wearing a short sleeved jersey was a great idea it was a lot cooler than I thought.

BTK Crossover Glenn Johnstone
BTK Crossover
BTK Crossover Glenn Johnstone
BTK Crossover in flexed whilst out of the saddle
Silverback Synergy Fat Glenn Johnstone
Coming around the corner at the bridge near Qukaies
Silverback Synergy Fat Glenn Johnstone
Over the ickle Stream
Once back, oven straight on and 3 Southern Fried Chicken breasts along with a packet of Uncles Ben's Rice. I am a poor eater, something I should really sort. I can kind of go all day then binge. Been in shower, full tummy and Ern has just brought me a nice cuppa whilst I finish off writing my blog....Cheers Ern!

Friday, 24 March 2017

A little tootle out on the Silverback Synergy Fat

With my new job I am now working more hours, 30 over 4 days. This means I get Thursday,Friday and Saturday off. Yesterday even though the sun was shining through my bedroom window when I awoke I just  felt 'nowt flash' as they say. So it was a relatively boring day lounging about.

Silverback Synergy Fat
Great to be out
This morning again the weather did not look too bad so I decided to go for a short tootle out on my Silverback Synergy Fat Bike. As I went to get my bike I thought 'Ooh there is still a nip in the air', so I popped my old Royal Racing soft shell jacket on top of the 2 base layers and my Royal jersey.

I manoeuvred my bike past both Ern's new car, he has been getting a 64 plate Citroen Multispace and my little car 'Tango'. I then pushed my bike through our garden intending on going out at the front of the house. Yay all set to go, as my bike was outside on the pavement I pressed the lever to drop my saddle and 'Grrrrrrr' the bloody thing had gone wonky again. The seat post, which is a Race Face Turbine dropper did the same thing just last week. I am now regretting not going for a Rock Shox like on my Sandman and Ibis Mojo. The Rock Shox uses hydraulics and the only prob I have ever had is wear and tear, where the post starts to get worn and moves a tiny bit side to side. The Race Face is an air, plus cable operated system. For some reason the cable keeps getting stuck, this means the post just will not stay down when sat on. It will not lock.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Wow exhausted after todays ride out.

My friend John rocked up as arranged at 9am. John wanted Ern to have a quick butchers at his gears, after I had reattached his front mech cable on Thursday. The gears were just off so it did not take Ern long at all to get them working. John has not used his bike for some time so really the front mech just needed a little lubricant to free it up.

For once I was pretty much all ready and prepared to go, so we headed off towards the Farmers trail, intending on having a ride around about Beamish. It was quite blustery this morning so we figured riding some trails in the woods would be a good idea.

I took a few pics at the start of the Farmers trail of my new bike the Silverback Synergy and handed my camera over to John so he could get a few of me in motion. As we reached about the half way mark up the trail, it began to get quite muddy, with some large standing puddles of water and the trail had been worn quite a lot since our last visit when going this way. The trail was at a real angle as the farm traffic, walkers,horses and bikers along with the wet weather had eroded the surface.

Silverback Synergy Fat Glenn Johnstone
Ooh isn't she pretty
Silverback Synergy Fat Glenn Johnstone BTK crossover
Big Grins
Silverback Synergy Fat Heading up the Farmers trail
Heaing up the Farmers trail

On the way up I stopped at one point as I felt my cleat had come loose. I got off my bike and took a quick look, there was thick clarts on the bottom of my shoe, so I thought I must just not be clipped in correctly. I had another go and again as I set off and did a few crank revolutions my shoe felt wonky. Again got of my bike and this time took my shoe off to inspect the cleat. Nope it was solid, so shoe back on. As I attempted another push on the pedals there definitely was something not right, so once again I got off. This time I inspected the pedals and noticed it was my pedal that looked wonky. On closer inspection I noticed the pedal had threaded out of my crank arm and was sitting at an angle...Not good. My immediate thought was 'how the hell has this happened', followed by 'Awww crap am I going to need new crank arms' which would have been gutting as I have only been out once on the bike and new arms are quite expensive.

As we had rode up the trail, it was not so bad rallying down and heading home. I gave Ern a call to let him know what was up and he came with the car to meet us at the end of the estate. Once home Ern had a look at the problem. It appeared the pedal had wound it's way out. Luckily it had only just say caught the outer thread on the crank arm. So Ern wound a pedal in from the opposite side, cleaned out the thread then popped the original pedal back in with a spot of thread lock for safe measure. He also made sure the pedals, both sides were torqued up.

Silverback Synergy Fat Playing in puddles
Playing in the puddles
Now to start our adventure again, heading back up the Farmers Trail, wow it felt harder the second time around lol. Once we got up the trail and headed down the other side and into No Place, we turned Right and went down on to the New Road and continued down into Beamish. Passing the entrance to Beamish Museum and continuing down past the old farm which is part of the Open air museum. Once down by Beamish Hall, we turned right again and this is were we hit more off road riding.

As we rode along this section we again stopped and this is where I fitted the 20 degree wedge into my BTK Crossover. I had also put around 60 psi into the Rock Shox shocker. A little play around getting some pics by the stream and splashing in a puddle and we were off again, heading through the woods. At this point it was lovely the sun streaming through the trees and the wind be kept at bay.



A A 



BTK Crossover Glenn Johnstone
Wedge in BTK Crossover
Silverback Synergy Fat Glenn making a splash
Making a Splash
A little further along the trail and we came to the huge pond, again I grabbed my camera and got a shot of my bike on the edge of the pond, just before it toppled in.

Silverback Synergy Fat
Cooling her Tyres
From the pond it is pretty much an upward ascent and boy was I feeling it. By the time we got along to were the trail meets the road the wind had picked up and upon getting on the road and the ride along to the turning off towards Tanfield Railway it was windy as hell. The wind came at an angle that felt like it was pushing us back, but also a strong cross wind. It's times like this you have to be switched on as the road is a narrow country one and cars can come past way too close. It was hard to maintain a straight line I know I was weaving all over the shop.

I was pleased when we came to the turn off for Tanfield Railway. I had to have a bit of a sit down as my stump was aching right in my hams and around my butt. It is times when I push myself I realise just how much fitness I have lost. And I do not mean just riding I mean wearing a limb day in day out. Most people take walking for granted, however as an amputee as soon as you stop using your prosthesis as regularly it has a huge effect.

Anyhoo back on the bike and we come out at Tanfield railway. We just miss the steam train as I was going to get a picture. So head off back towards Stanley. Instead of going along the Causey Arch, which is a boring ride, we cross the road and go via Tanfield railway and across the Causey Arch Bridge. No complaints from anyone today.

By the time we reach Tanfield Industrial estate I am really flagging and we still have some canny climbs to get back home. We cut through the factories and try as i might I run out of steam on one of the hills. Time to get off and push. I hate doing this as it feels like a fail, but I reflect as I am pushing my bike 'Hey I am out and trying my best to get back into the swing of things'. I am still coughing lots and my chest and throat are on fire. John knows I am  struggling, so encouraged me on and congratulated me for doing so well on the hills and banks we have climbed today.

As we get onto the C2C John suggests we head up Barn Hill...Omg not another bloody hill. I managed to get just over half way up and again had to get off and have a bit of a push. John joined me to keep me company. A push up the back of the indoor market, yes another bank lol Then it was just a case of riding up Stanley Front Street and turning for home. Once at John's a quick 'catch you later' and I was off down Durham Road and home. I couldn't wait to get in, have a shower and fell asleep exhausted.

My phone went flat so no Strava result, John had his on and said we did 12.5 miles. Wow I was exhausted. I will no doubt be back out again next week and try and increase my stamina, fancy getting back to doing a spot of swimming too.