Friday, 15 November 2013

Attempted Klunking this afternoon

After finding an ex-demo Transition Klunker on PinkBike, asking a few questions from the seller, about the bike I then decided to go ahead and purchase it and give it a go.

The bike arrived late yesterday afternoon, it looked like new, though I was a little disappointed in that the frame had been scuffed. I think this was done in transit by the courier to be honest as where it's marked, well you wouldn't normally expect to find paint chipped off.  When I looked at the bike box I saw that the rear spindle of the wheel was poking through the side of the box and I think what must have happened is the other side of the spindle had scuffed the bikes frame. Ahh well what can you do huh?

The bike is a really pretty Orange type of colour, sometimes appearing reddish depending in what light you see it in. I think what I'll do is have a scout around for some nail varnish that is of a similar colour and do a quick repair, there are only a few chips after all.

I got in from work around 12:30pm'ish, got ready, put one clipless pedal on the right side of my bike and a flat on the left and set off..."Oh crap this coaster brake is going to take some getting used to" I thought to myself as I approached the first junction of our street and went for the brake levers which don't exist on this bike. First don't stop well if you are trying to rally to a stop downhill and not pushing down backwards with at least one foot. A tad hard for me as I need my good leg down to balance me, yet can't push down and back with my prosthetic limb unless it's just in the right position.

Anyhoo I rode through our estate and headed over to South Moor Park...Next thing I notice, mainly because my leg and stump are killing me, working overtime is "My God" what size front and rear cogs does this thing have. I'm used to my Single Speed NS, yes it isn't exactly easy, but dear me I've only done about a mile or two and I'm wrecked.

At the end of South Moor park I get off my new steed and almost puke...Jeez that was hard work. If I'm going to persevere with trying to ride this bike I need to change the cogs, no kidding it feels like riding up hill all the time lol.

A quick few photo's and then I push the bike probably about another mile...It's up hill this bit honest. By now I am proper hurting. My stump feels like it's going to explode and I have the worst phantom pain in my imaginary foot. Maybe pushed it a little to hard.

Whopee on to a nice flat bit of road, this is more like it. I have made the concious decision, yeah think I'll maybe fit a front brake and definitely see about changing the gearing. My thoughts are interrupted and move onto other thoughts when I see this lass in front with the most spectacular rear end...WoW now that's nice. In the meantime I forget about the coaster rear brake, go to stand on the pedals and turn to look around to see if the front looks as good as the rear. That's when  I put the weight on the pedals backwards and this sends me to a sudden stop. The ground broke my fall... Ok just pretend like I meant that to happen.  I'm now nursing a huge lump on the back of my left ankle, the other legs fine it didn't feel a thing. Oh bikes ok too no more scuffs so that's good.

Got home, a bit sore and popped the bike into the bike stand and removed the front chain ring. It's a 44 tooth. Checked the rear it's a 18. So anyone reading this that would like to pitch in with ideas for something a little easier that would be great. I don't want to be spinning, however need to be able to pedal more than 5 miles lol

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Huge thanks to Kath N Kedan over at Bike Bag Dude for my new bike bag

 Firstly I have to say a huge thank you to my friend Ade for taking the time out along with his son Jordan to pop down our local mud covered woods to try and grab a few shots of me out playing and showing off my new Bike Bag which I received from Kath N Kedan and their company Bike Bag Dude.


 Ade had a few problems what with me wearing dark clothing, well I wasn't going to put my Sunday best on I mean the whole place was clarty as owt man. And with the Bike Bag being white, then the day was dull so natural light was cut out, well you get the idea, basically it wasn't the ideal lighting conditions and I think Ade did well to get any shots at all. Me I had tried earlier in the day and well mine came out shit! No literally I took a few photo's of my Sandman next to some horse manure lol.

Who is that masked man?
 Anyhoo I have decided to pop  few images on my blog, there's a few more over at Ade's Flickr page, it can be found here :

Should have gone to Spec Savers

Just Playing
Those Nate's look huge
Well Chuffed with my new Bike Bag Dude bag...
Sploooooosh! Well that didn't stay clean long
 So thanks Ade and Jordan, as usual we had a laugh. Oh and as for my Bike Bag Dude Bag it's awesome. I tried to keep it as clean as possible. I'm sure you will be seeing it featured in a lot more of my adventures, it's really handy as I can now carry stuff that's easy to get to, saves having to keep taking my back pack off. The quality of the bag, the fit,design,feel and looks are all awesome.

Thank you Kath N Kedan

Saturday, 26 October 2013

I need to win the lottery or something to feed my passion, relieve my boredom and keep me feeling young

I guess this is a kind of a wish list of bike porn, with me it's never ending I always see something I want, it's becoming an addiction. My problem like so many others is lack of funds...Ahh well I can dream and I may just have a flutter on the Lottery lol.

Holdsworth Professional Limited to 150 World Wide

 "Oh yes you will be mine"

  • Based on the classic Holdsworth Professional - retro looks with modern design
  • Limited to 150 for the world
  • Full, polished Campagnolo Athena groupset
  • Steel is real - but this one has a carbon fork too

My next play thing I saw a little while back. I have now got my son Kyle hooked on the idea of getting one of these rides. He wants a bike to do his local commute to Uni and back and this I think is the ideal cruiser. Not only that in your spare time you can head off "Klunking"

Kyle's after a Gangster Green
I quite like the look of Klunking Ain't Easy orange

Small outing, small Blog

Just had a quick blast out today, knew the woods I intended riding would be pretty hard going after the recent rainfall. I wasn't wrong. Good job I had my Surly Nate's fitted to my Sandman as it was pretty sketchy in certain places. On a normal bike I would have been bogged down and pushing the majority of the way. The area's where there was no natural cover like beside the farmers field and the breaks between the trees the mud was about 6 inches deep.

" Holy pile of steaming horse Shit Bat...Errrr Sandman!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

A visit to Hamsterley Forest...WoW it was Brass Monkeys

As I drove home from work yesterday I checked out the sky in the general direction of Hamsterley. Thinking to myself  "Mmmmm a session at the gym lifting weights and getting all sweaty" or a nice fun filed afternoon riding down trails surrounded by beautiful scenery. That was it mind made up.

I had spoken to my mate Ade earlier in the week and asked if he felt up to it did he fancy taking a few shots of me whilst out on my bike. It's always better to get someone who can actually use a camera and knows what they are doing, rather than me setting my camera on a 30 second delay then trying to time it just right for a ride by lol.

 I also wanted to try and get some nice shots to pass on to Brian and Pace Rehabilitation who have both been fantastic in their support of me. I know it's not much in the way of payment for all they have done, but at least they can see I'm putting their prosthetic components to good use.

So I called in to Ade's and he said he was up for a look out...Perfect. I told Ade I wouldn't be long and set off to get my gear ready. Well an hour and twenty minutes I was ready... Had a bit of a nightmare finding stuff.

My dad had decided he fancied a ride out so he came along, bringing Mr Hinks too, WoW family affair lol.

We had just pulled out the corner of our street when Ade rocked up along with his son Jordan and so  we set off for Hammers.

Inside the car the weather looked gorgeous, the sun was shining and there were blue skies. We arrived at Hammers and I opened my door and OMG it was FFFFFFF!!! Freezing. Very windy too. The car temp gauge read around about 8 degs C, however what with that wind it felt much colder. Never mind here now so may as well have a bit play. It was then I discovered I'd left my XC helmet...aww crap. Good job I'd brought my full face.

I hadn't rode up at Hamsterley for ages so just hopped on my bike and set off down the Red Trail. WoW his was totally different to what I remembered it, some canny drops and ups n downs. I got to the bottom in what seemed a matter of no time and rode along to the hut then turned left and headed up the steep hill. I was on my NS Soda, which is quite heavy and only has 10 speed gearing and was quite chuffed that I got 3/4 of the way up the hill. I even passed a couple of fellow bikers who commented saying "hey have you got a motor hidden on that thing" lol. I wish I was flippin knackered.

I then caught up with Ade and Jordan, my dad was off somewhere exploring with Mr H. We had a nice slow walk down the trail and picked some nice places to get a few shots. It was difficult for Ade as the sun was really bright and behind me in each shot as I rode down.

Finally as we were getting real cold by then I decided to have one last ride down the trail wearing my new WizMount. Again I think I've misjudged the camera angle, this is going to take practice lol Never mind will keep trying.

Hopefully Ade will have some canny photo's for me and I'll post them and add them to the end of this blog. Until then here's a short movie of me coming down the trail.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Out and about on My NS Analog SS

Mmmmmm what to do I thought... I know I'll reset my GoPro and go for a nice relaxing ride out on my Single Speed and see what sort of image quality I can get, as yesterdays footage was a bit pants.

I had myself a zig-zag up to my Aunt and Uncle's in Annfield Plain. I Hadn't seen them since I got back from my holidays. When I arrived my other auntie was there too . My Aunty Ann, so we had a right old gossip and a catch up. I even got treated to some fruit pie and custard, well worth the ride out lol.

I've decided to write less and basically let the video I shot show you my route lol

Oh and I made a cock up with my camera too shooting in 960 instead of 1080 so it was in 4:3 LoL

New friends,new places and unforgettable memories.

                           Well I'm back from my holiday's and what a holiday. Actually it's funny, as in weird saying holiday as my last one was when I was around 14 or 15 and that was only a school trip to London. This time around I ventured a little bit further afield and chose The US of A as my destination.

I'm going to try and write not so much that I bore you all, however enough to tell you about the fantastic time I had.

I took the 4th of September off work, this was my get everything sorted day, packing my new hard case and trying to get it under 23 kilo's was errrr interesting. I had already done a dry run a few days earlier and discovered that  the new size medium case I had purchased wasn't quite big enough after I bust the zipper... Oops! So I had to go out and buy a larger case.

On the morning of the 5th my dad took me to Newcastle airport. My flight was quite early and we got there in good time. I said goodbye to Mr Hinks and my dad came with me into the airport. I headed for check in. Everything went according to plan, which is quite unusual for me lol. And so I said bye to Ern and I set off up the escalator to departures.

I found my way around Newcastle airport reasonably well,finding where I would board my plane without incident and just waited to be notified when it was time to board. Boy I was nervous, though not as much as I expected. I mean this was a huge thing for me full of firsts. I've never been abroad,I've never flown (well apart from a quick jaunt in a helicopter doing some ariel military type manoeuvres) and I've never been away from home for quite so long.

My plane arrived I got on,stowed my bag in the overhead compartment,strapped in and prepared for my first flight, which was to be Amsterdam and Schiphol airport. The take off was scary yet exhilarating and after the initial buzz I soon settled in feeling comfortable and excited about my  adventure. It was a very pleasant flight over and the landing was nice and smooth, a slight bump as the plane set down on the runway. Hey there's nothing to this flying stuff I thought.

Newcastle Airport and me messing with my phone

Hedley Hall Woods, experimenting with my WizMount

Had a really fun ride out today. I didn't go too far just over to Hedley Hall Woods, thought it would be a good place to try out my new WizMount Backpack. I have to say whilst the day was fun I was very disappointed in the footage I got.Oh it wasn't the WizMount it was my new GoPro Hero 3. When I got it home and had a chance to look at the video it appeared quite blurry and washed out. I haven't experienced this with my GoPro Hero 2, well apart from when it used to get misted up, however I bought some little de-mist pads and haven't encountered the problem since.

I've read a few forums and they suggest updating the firmware on the GoPro, so I have done that tonight. Guess I will see how it preforms on it's next outing.
Back to today, the woods were great fun, mind you I should have had my Surly Nates on as I was slipping and sliding all over on my worn Larry's, guess it added to the fun in a way got some nice skids and kind of made me work harder on the hills.

Not a bad day for a bit play on the Sandman
 I managed to fall off twice today, once whilst stationary and not paying attention. I couldn't clip out and was over on my prosthetic side and once as I leant under a tree branch and my camera mount got stuck. It was canny funny really as it pulled me straight off my bike. No harm done to either rider or bike, Oh and my Bartlett Tendon stood up to the fall as well as being caked in mud.


 Got home around 2:30'ish I think and gave both my bike and BTK a hose down. I then re-lubed my Bartlett Tendon. Trying to really look after this one, not that I didn't with the other. It's just I think sand got into the main shaft of my other knee and destroyed the frame. Brian was good enough to replace my knee with one of his own whilst I was away so I can continue to ride and have loads of fun like on today's adventure.

Looking through my Oakley's

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A little video riding in Logan Utah with fantastic friends

I know this isn't the best video in the world, it wasn't planned. Basically my friend Mark strapped my new Hero3 on to his bike and we just rode and enjoyed the day and boy did we enjoy the day. This was one of those days that I will forever cherish, great trails,beautiful scenery and terrain and awesome friends.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Rode to Hedley Hall Woods and had my breakfast

I haven't been up to much this weekend the weathers been a bit pants and I've been feeling shall we say a little less motivated.

Anyhoo got up this morning and seeings as I'm off work and the gym is closed so I can't fit in my regular session I decided to head out for a short ride over to Hedley Hall Woods, take a spot of breakfast and try and get used to taking a few shots with my new camera.

Excuse the helmet hair...

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Neglecting my blog

It's been a while since I blogged, this isn't because I have been busy doing nothing, No it's more a case of I've been busy doing lots of stuff, however most of it I haven't got images of and well it's rather boring just reading.

My holiday is just about all sorted, off for a rather exciting trip to the U.S.A .I have a few minor things to do, stuff like getting my phone unlocked...well actually seeing if my phone is unlocked in the first place,as I bought it from the Carphone Warehouse and the nice girl I spoke to in the shop said 99% of their handsets are unlocked when you get them. I need my phone unlocked so that I can pop a US Sim card in and this will allow me to use my phone at a cheap rate. I'm useless with directions so will no doubt need Google maps to navigate around and the data usage can be ever so expensive. 

Looking forward to my trip away, all sorts of emotions going on, mainly excited, however also a tad nervous. Just hope my fitness level will be up to the demands of riding in the U.S with my friends out there. 

Completed a 47 mile ride to the coast and back today on my Sandman, boy I was wrecked when I got in. Just trying to improve on my fitness. I'm trying to ride as much as possible and I'm also attending the gym 3 days per week. I don't appear to be putting on much muscle, however have shed a few pounds, though from where I don't know. I still have more of a mini keg, rather than a six pack lol. Maybe it's off my stump as my bloody prosthetic leg keeps coming off. At the moment I have had to put some laminate flooring underlay inside my socket and it's stuck in place with Duct Tape lol.

Anyhoo onto something with pictures. Last week I met up with my friend Ade down at St Mary's and he very kindly took some shots of me out playing on the beach and splashing around in the water on the causeway. As usual my Bartlett Tendon was up to the job and preformed flawlessly.

Messing about on the rocky outcrop just before the tide came in
WoW the rocks were slippy where the seaweed was
It was a beautiful day, nice cooling breeze blowing from inland. Bonus, only fell off my bike once today, slight scuff on my elbow. It's murder when I fall to my prosthetic side as I just can't unclip to get my leg down and save myself. Worst thing is when I know it's going to happen. Usually you just hear me say "OH Crap"... then I'm off, falling on whatever lol. Actually fell off today when coming back from today's outing. My own fault I was too busy looking around to see where the ambulance siren was coming from and hit a kerb lol.

Splish Splash
This was so much fun Wheeeee!!!
More Fun
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside
On the causeway as the tide was coming in

Playing in the water
Huge thanks to Ade.the.Tog and his lovely wife Amanda oh and my support team (Ern my dad) We all  had a really enjoyable day.

Photo's property of Ade.the Tog

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Nice ride out on my Soda...

I must have done well over 30 miles today on my NS Soda. I've been having a bit of a nightmare with various gps cycling apps on my phone, problems with them not saving my workouts/routes. Strava being the most annoying app so far. It tells you to click save, however when you tap the icon the bloody thing won't save. So that got deleted for the 2nd time. I then gave Map my Ride a go and same type of problem. I had rode 13.33miles when I stopped in at my aunt and uncles for a nice can of pop and a little bit of something to eat. It was then I noticed the Map my Ride app had paused and when I went to restart it the dam thing didn't save my previous route. Needless to say I wasn't going to fanny on with it so just hit the trail without monitoring my mileage, who cares anyhoo I wasn't in a race, just out for a nice ride out and a spot of fun.


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Maybe I need to man up

So hey Hi there. It's been a while since I posted, not because I haven't been doing stuff, or because I don't love you all. No it's just I either haven't taken my camera or I've felt it wasn't terribly interesting the stuff I have been doing, well apart from my first experience at canoeing up in the Lake District  at Lake Ullswater on Sunday with friends. That was rather enjoyable and a real giggle.

I've also started back at my local gym after a pretty long lay off, when I say long I mean years. In fact I think I still had my own leg last time I visited a gym so it must be at least 8 or 9 years. WoW it was hard work going back. I'm definitely getting old as I ached for days afterwards, feeling better for it now and starting to get the swing of things. My aim is to trade in my mini keg for a six pack, so at the moment I'm eating healthy, visiting the gym regularly and continuing to ride my bikes at least twice per week, oh and of course doing my new job, which I'm continuing to love by the way.

And so we get to the title of my latest blog... I've been informed at work I need to think about putting some holidays in, before March next year. Now this is pretty alien to me I don't really know what a holiday is, the last one I had was a trip to London when I was like 14 or something with the school. I can remember getting terribly homesick lol. As I got older I found myself in a relationship quite young and had children and the whole having to pay bills and work so never got round to taking a holiday. And then as most of you know I was ill for a long period so just couldn't go away.

Now however I have no real ties and whilst I don't have a great deal of spare money I could treat myself if I really put my mind to saving for a little while. I have my passport and I dare say they would allow me to leave the country with my fake leg, so I could quite literally book a flight and be off. Now to the tricky bit, where to go and what to do. I'm a singleton who has never travelled. The only flight I have had was in a MOD helicopter which was doing manoeuvres at the time when I worked for a casualty simulation agency and that scared the hell out of me. Now I don't expect some Boeing flight Captain to be doing loop the loops, that's not what really scares me it's the fact I'm going to be going all by myself, yep that's right just little old me, on me todd, uno, yep 1, ALONE... Errr Hello. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a kind of walking disaster area and anything that can go wrong, well most probably will. In a foreign country I can't just ring Ern and get him to come pick me up. So maybe if I do decide to take a trip it will help me man up as it were,any problems I come across I will have to solve myself, well me and Google as I intend taking my phone of course.

Anyhoo really all I'm doing here is kind of talking out loudly to myself and letting you in on a few of my insecurities...This is just floating around in my head at the moment. Who knows I may find myself a brave girlfriend who will help me over come my fears and hold my hand on trip away... Either that or it's just me and Teddy off on a really scary adventure lol

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Ern's cunning and devious plan failed!!!

       I was in two minds as to whether to go for a ride on Friday, you see I haven't exactly been feeling motivated at all this week, no biking adventures or any other kind of adventures really, well not unless you count taking 2 wrong turns, one on the way to the Freeman hospital on Monday when I had to attend the Limb Centre and then another on the return back to work.Omg my sense of direction is atrocious I really hope I don't get reincarnated as a homing pigeon. I have just been coming in from work and lounging about. I know I shouldn't do it as it leads to me beating myself up over not doing enough and being lazy. I quite often feel like I'm not only letting myself down, but also all these people that have this perception that I'm always up to something or another.

Anyhoo I decided I was going to go out, it was Global Fat Bike Day after all and my good friend Ade had offered to very kindly take a few shots of me out riding.

Looking through my rear

Sunday, 16 June 2013

I ask myself why???

As the title says I ask myself WHY? ...Why when I go for a night out with friends do I end up drinking alcohol, when I know the consequences. I readily admit I can't handle my drink, after a few bottles I can start to feel the effect and inevitably theses effects then go on to stay with me for days afterwards. It's not just a hangover, oh no I always end up feeling like crap,dehydrated,feeling sick, lethargic and generally just Urrggghhhh!!!.

On Friday night I had been asked to a surprise night out for Annie a friend and work colleague. Now I know this will sound strange as the night planned was a hen do that wasn't a hen do for Annie. You see the majority of people I work with are female and I was asked to come along as it was everyone from work. It was weird, yet very entertaining sitting amongst this large group of women, who I have to say are all absolutely lovely, yet at times can be a little bonkers, in a good way of course.

Initially I had planned to be sensible and just drink coke. I mean I can have just as much fun without being intoxicated, however everyone else was drinking so I decided to let my hair down and cave in to peoples requests to get myself a "proper" drink. So off I trotted to the bar and bought myself something that though I don't enjoy the taste of I can tolerate and has the desired effect of getting me off my face and that was a pint of cider.

And so my downward spiral began. In the back of my mind I steeled myself and told my subconscious "don't give in to the temptation of hitting the shorts" as when I start on the Red Bull and Vodka's well that's it game over. I was very well behaved and actually managed to stay on cider all night. Well that's not strictly true as Alvin a very nice lad who joined us later in the evening bought us all a round of some absolutely terrible concoction. I think it was Absinthe,quail egg,chocolate liquor and some sort of stout...Omg it was pun intended on the quail egg. I necked it as quick as I could and held my nose whilst doing so, then had a quick swig of my bottle of cider. Within a few minutes I swear I could feel the effect of that yucky drink,as my head was swimming.

All in all had a fab night, really enjoyed meeting some new people and having some very interesting conversations. Oh and Annie's puppy Badger who she had brought along was so cute and I have to say very well behaved. I feel very lucky indeed to have been welcomed into my new job, my work colleagues treat me as if I have been there years and it's great being part of the gang.

Night almost over we all arranged our way home, phoning for taxi's, or in my case I rang The Ern. We said our goodbye's and I headed off down the pub's stairs. It was a kind of winding staircase and as I got to the bottom flight of roughly 6 to 8 steps I don't know what happened but I missed a step and ended up stumbling and then jumping around 4 steps, landing at the bottom. A quick look round to see if anyone had noticed my errrrr moves...Phewww that was close, got away with it. Well apart from the barmaid who was trying to keep her laugh in as she sat on one of the sofa's. A quick confident smile which was like "I meant to do that" and I quickly made my exit. Ern picking me up just over the swing bridge and off home and straight to bed.

Saturday saw me not getting up until around 13:30 and feeling as I knew I would like Poo. So just a day of lounging about.

Sunday which is today as I'm writing, well I got ready and headed off out on my NS Soda. Boy I'm struggling. I'm sweating like hell, have no real energy and though I have my camera with me I can't be arsed to really set it up proper. I have a little bit play down my local woods and try and use my Go Pro to take a few pictures, rather than a video. 

Not the best shot in the world, but hey you get the idea :)

The pictures come out about as well as I'm feeling. I then head off to do a short 7 mile circuit, taking in a few hills. 

Heading up towards the wind turbine on the top road at Craghead.

Some beautiful foliage and flowers about at this time of year

I get home and I'm knackered. You see this is what drinking alcohol does to me, hence why I usually only drink once or twice every 2 to 3 years, it takes me that long to forget how bad it makes me feel lol.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Riding through the pain

  I wasn't sure if I was going to manage a ride out today, you see for some strange reason I have been getting the most excruciating phantom pain. Usually I can deal with it. Yeah it makes me tetchy,grumpy, short tempered and snappy at times, however it always seems to pass in a few hours and I'm back to my usual self. Well not today, or should that be yesterday as I'm writing my blog at 01:25 in the morning as yes I still have dam phantom pain. The bloody thing just won't go away.

Anyhoo seeing as I was in pain I thought to myself this morning "I may as well go out on my bike and be in pain,rather than sit in all day grasping my stump, doing nowt and still be in pain"

So gathered all my gear, got the new bike out and headed for local trails. It was a bit colder than I thought this morning, "good job I brought that extra top" I thought. And so I headed down towards Beamish. As I approached the farm I got my eyes on a sign and thought I'd take a picture. It made me think of my friend Bruce who lives up in North Berwick and has been having problems of late with people bothering him at stupid o'clock when he has to be up early in the morning for his job. So this ones for you Bruce hope your feeling a lot less stressed mate and folk are giving you a bit of privacy.


WoW this Phantom Pain SUCKS!!!

     Ok so after working a long shift on Friday ( I owed some hours, due to taking time off going back and forth to the limb centre) I came home,did the usual had something to eat answered a few mails and messed around on my pc. I was quite looking forward to the weekend as it was supposed to be going to be quite warm and I had plans to head off early'ish in the morning to take some photo's, get some video footage and of course ride my new bike a little more.

Most Friday evenings I like to head off to visit my good friends Adrian and Amanda and their 3 lads. We generally chat about what's gone on during the week, have a whinge and a moan now and again as well as a good old laugh and basically try to set the world to rights. Amanda always looks after me providing me with endless cups of tea and biscuits and I enjoy their company for a good few hours.

Well Friday evening everything was fine, that was until around 10:30. I started getting the early warning signs that I was going to start having phantom pain. First thing is generally the "cattle prod" sensation. I know it may sound funny, however believe me it's not. After I had been "zapped" roughly 5 times in 10 minutes I knew I was going to be in for a long night. I said my goodbyes to Ade and Amanda and the lads and got in the car and drove home.

As soon as I got in the house I took my meds. I'm on a low dose of Pregablin I hate taking tablets, they kind of scare me as it's so easy to get hooked. I've had quite a few bad experiences with prescription drugs hence my apprehension. Believe it or not I blame Gabapentin for sending me slightly nuts and causing me severe depression when I tried and eventually came off it. Wow had a bad few months, just couldn't figure out what was wrong. I guess when you look at meds like Gaba and Pregablin they are made to have an effect on your brain, so really it's no wonder they can screw you up.

Anyhoo I was feeling quite tired so in between electric shocks I headed off to get washed, brush my teeth and get ready for bed. By now I was getting the usual phantom pain I have had before. I can only describe it as if my foot, (Yes the one that isn't there) has been left in a bucket of ice, like a numb, prickly sensation. If you think back to when you were a kid and you used to play out in the snow until you were soooo cold. Then when you came in and started to warm up it hurt like hell. Well that's something like the pain. That and of course my foot also feeling like it was being crushed. The pain was now up to my ankle. I could feel the shape of my foot and the ankle joint.

 I was now in bed and just thinking "go to sleep, go to sleep". The pain was increasing now, what the hell. It was very weird I could practically count when I was going to get a wave of pain and when I say wave that's the best way I can describe it. It started off as an uncomfortable pain in the bottom of my stump, however increased like a gathering wave, gaining momentum, before coming crashing down and then fading. When these waves struck it made me go ridged and tense up my stump and it was so bad I was growling out as well as using a few choice words like "oh dear", "Gosh that hurt" and oh yeah "AGGGGHHHH you Fecking Basket".

I was up and down all night and when I did manage to fall asleep for an hour or so I was awoken by the same sickly wave of pain and sat bolt upright in bed, Jeez it fairly gives you a fright. One minute your a sleep the next it looks like you have an enormous stiffy on as your stump is at 90 degrees pointing up to the ceiling under the duvet.

"This is driving me insane" I thought so I got up yet again and headed downstairs for a drink and more meds. A few more waves and "aww crap" I had woken my poor dad up I was making so much noise. He came down all worried as he thought I'd hurt myself, like falling over or something. There was nowt he could do so I just told him to go back to bed.

I tried again to get to sleep, but every time I was just drifting off  Bang!!! a sickly wave of pain. In the end I just gave up and lay in bed holding my poor ickle stump and tried not to break a hip each time I got the wave of pain.

Eventually I just decided to get up, get ready and head off on my bike. Maybe that would help, but hey that's a whole other story....

Phantom pain is a condition which affects some amputees. When an episode of phantom pain is experienced, the amputee has the sensation of pain in the missing limb, usually at the furthest point in the limb, such as the fingers of an amputated arm. The sensation of pain can be tingling, stabbing, crushing, or searing, and it can be a very intense experience. There are a number of ways to cope with phantom pain, and the problem is common enough that it is often discussed with amputees during the early stages of their recovery.
The cause of phantom pain appears to be a rewiring of the brain. When a limb is amputated, the brain is forced to remap itself to compensate for the missing limb, and sometimes this creates a situation in which signals in the brain may misfire. While the pain feels very real, it is in fact entirely in the patient's mind, although the perception of pain is the same as it is when the pain is real. A closely related phenomenon is phantom limb sensation, in which an amputee or someone born without a limb has the sensation that the limb is actually present.
Several things appear to increase the risk of phantom pain. If an amputee experienced considerable pain prior to amputation, phantom pain may be more common. Likewise in amputees with stump pain, or patients with prosthetics which do not fit correctly.
A variety of medications can be used to treat phantom pain, ranging from antidepressants to change the brain chemistry, to painkillers to address the sensation of pain. This condition can also be treated with spinal cord stimulation, nerve blocks, acupuncture, or the use of a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) unit. Neurosurgery may also be used to target the malfunctioning area of the brain, and some patients also experience relief by “exercising” the phantom limb to work out the pain.
Pain in an amputated limb is a very real problem, even if it is really due to misfiring neurons. Phantom pain can be debilitating and extremely frustrating, especially when combined with the psychological issues often associated with amputation. Feelings of stress and loss related to the amputation may be amplified by phantom pain, making the amputee feel even more distressed. Historically, amputees have also had trouble communicating about phantom pain, because their complaints have been dismissed under the logic that since the limb isn't there anymore, it can't possibly be painful.

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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Brian Bartlett "Backcountry Skiing with the BTK"

Hi guys

  I thought I'd share a video of my sponsor, a fantastic guy whom I'm sure you will have heard me mention before, his name Brian Bartlett.

Brian in Back country with his faithful companion Bear

Monday, 27 May 2013

First ride out on a bike in around 50 years...Dad your amazing

It's the weekend I'm off why can't my brain get this concept. I'm still tired yet have to get up. So I think to myself " I know I'll get my dad up too and treat him to a breakfast at McDonalds". Now that I'm working it's nice to be able to treat my dad as he has been awesome with me and god knows we have been through some tough times.

Me and The Ern

First ride out on my new NS Soda Air

       I awoke to a gorgeous morning, sun shining, birds tweeting I thought it must have been around 
10:30 am according to my internal clock. I leaned over and checked my phone, bloody hell 5:52 am. Aww what the hell I'm awake, may as well get up.

Plans were to ride my new bike, my NS Soda Air, which arrived from Damien Harris Cycles last Friday. I hadn't been out on the bike, not because of the crap weather. No it was because I was  waiting for some protective Heli Tape to arrive which I'd ordered off eBay. When it did arrive WoW what a nightmare I had fitting the stuff, but hey that's another story.

Back to this morning, a quick delve in my wardrobe and I got my new gear out. An awesome pair of Troy Lee Moto shorts in a really bright lumi green. These also came off of eBay and I'm well chuffed with them as I only paid £28.99 including postage, all the way from China. I was a bit dubious ordering them thinking they would be cheap copies, however when they arrived I can't find any difference to my other Troy Lee Moto's and I paid around £80 quid for those. Next I pulled out my new Fox Demo Jersey and  Sock Guy socks with WTF? logo's...Ooh I was really feeling the part.

Oooh I'm all colour co-ordinated

Monday, 13 May 2013

Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

A little while ago I was contacted by a fellow blogger, Cameron Von St James. Cameron  had admired my Blog he saw how I had fought back to try and create some semblance of normality in my life and asked would I be willing to share his family's story, particularly about his wife Heather who was diagnosed with a form of cancer - mesothelioma

My story to me isn't all that interesting I mean yeah I have lost my leg and I have been diagnosed as having  low grade Non Hodgkin's lymphoma since, however I've never really thought "Hey I'm going to die from this". So I guess that's why I find Cameron's wife Heather so inspiring, as she has fought the odds and I'm pleased to say is doing well and continues to fight to create awareness of this terrible disease.

 I am only too willing to share Cameron and Heather's story if it in any way helps people understand this terrible disease. Creating awareness of disability or disease, as well as  understanding  is essential so that we can all hopefully go on to help one another, offer support and well just feel like we aren't alone in the darkest of days.

Heather's Blog

Checkout Heather's video right here...

Ahh what the hell summers coming time for a new bike

So since getting my new job, been there just over a month, got my first pay packet I decided to treat myself to a new ride.

Don't get me wrong I love my Fat Bike I just fancied something else to play around on, something I could have a go at jumping about on and blasting round in local woodland. I didn't want a full on DH rig as to be fair I've tried that out and ended up selling the bike as it wasn't being used to it's full potential.

So I opted to go for a NS Soda Air. The Soda can handle everything I could potentially throw it's way and I should be able to pedal it to and from where ever I fancy visiting.

I ordered my bike from Damian Harris Cycles and have to say they were spot on over the phone. I'm hoping to get delivery of my bike around Thursday, so fingers crossed we will have a nice weekend and I can get some good pics and maybe even a video shot.

Until I get some pics of my own here are some I sourced from the internet along with NS's promo video of the Soda in action.

Bike Specs :

 - Frame: Soda FR w/152-177mm (6-7") adjustable rear wheel travel, A6061-T6 custom formed and butted tubes, internal cable guide routing option
- Shock: Rock Shox Monarch Plus R, 216x63mm (8.5x2.5”)
- Fork: Rock Shox Liryk R Solo Air, 170 adjustable travel, 20mm axle, alloy tapered steer tube
- Headset: FSA Orbit 1.5E ZS, ACB cartridge bearings
- Cockpit: NS Quark Pro 31.8 stem, NS Evidence handlebar, Octane One bolt-on long grips
- Brakes: Avid Elixir 5 180mm rear & front
- Shifters: SRAM SX5 10spd
- Derailleur: SRAM X7 medium cage rear, 10spd
- Bottom Bracket: Truvativ GXP 73 mm
- Crank: Truvativ Descendant, alloy 36t chainring, 170mm
- Chainguide: E13 LS1+ (no bashguard)
- Chain: KMC DX-10SC, 1/2''x11/128'' for 10 spd
- Cassette: Sram PG-1030 10 speed 11-36
- Rims: NS Trailmaster 2 32h
- Hubs: NS Rotary 20 disk (sealed bearing), NS Rotary Cassette (sealed bearings, alu cassette)
- Spokes: Black spokes w/14mm nipples
- Tires: Maxxis Ardent 26x2.35 folding
- Seatpost: Kind Shock Dropzone 425mm, 125mm travel
- Saddle: Octane One Rocker Pro w/alloy titanium rail
- Pedals: NS Aerial (sealed bearings)
- Bike weight: ~14.9 kg (M size, including pedals)