Saturday, 13 December 2014

Decidely dodgy riding weather

My friend John on his trusty steed
My friend John has been going stir crazy of late. It's understandable as he has now been unemployed for over 2 years after losing his job at our local Citizen Advice Bureau. John has to attend this pointless agency through the government. Constantly writing and re-writing CV's and not actually being assisted with finding a job at all. The threat of being sanctioned for the slightest thing hanging over him each day. 

John's only real release is either getting out with me to our local swimming pool, he gets in for free as my carer and I have to say he does a grand job of looking after and helping me. It's pretty difficult at the pool as I have to obviously take my leg off and then I can't carry the bloody thing when I am using my elbow crutches. John pops my leg in the pool attendants office and makes sure I don't slip,when making my way to the edge of the pool. That's not all he does, he is always there for morale support. It used to be quite daunting hopping along to the edge of the pool and everyone starring, especially if all the school kids were in. Now though like anything else I am quite used to it and a few of the kids actually look on fascinated at seeing a one legged fellow swimming.
Sure was icey and slippy
A crisp day

John's other passion is his bike. There is a bit of a story to this bike as he got it given to him by my dad, and my dad got it off a lovely lass I used to go to school with, Wendy. It had been Wendy's dads bike and this was his pride and joy. My dad did a few repairs on Wendy's bike, just stuff like fixing a puncture and Wendy very kindly gave my dad her dads bike. Ern had a few rides out and really enjoyed it, however the bike wasn't getting used as much as he would like. So when I started knocking around with John my dad gave John the bike so he could come along with me and get out on his own. 

Who is that masked man...Oh it's only me
I'm pleased to say John has really looked after his bike, it's covered hundreds, if not thousands of miles. Ern keeps an eye on it every now and again, replacing bits and bobs. Over the last few days John has been gutted as his bike has started loosing drive. Initially he thought it was the rear cassette, however after today's outing it appears more to me to be the rear free wheel hub. It should be an easy fix, but I think he could also do with a new rear cassette as the one on his bike looks tired.

Really sweet bike to ride
Cool Huh
Anyhoo this gets me on to today's adventure, there's me on my new shiny bike and John on his trusty steed. I really feel bad. I know what it's like to be both unemployed, as well as unemployed, sick and no money. John's a good mate here I am getting new gear and he always wishes me the best, never gets jealous and always stands by me. I'm really lucky as I have lots of friends like this, people I can rely on and trust and who jump at the chance to support me. I guess the reason I always bang on about support and where it has come from is because I really appreciate everyone so much. It's ok people saying you are this or that, but without all those people in the background I wouldn't be doing half the stuff I do now.

Wow it's cold, there is a thick frost. We are all wrapped up, not sure of where we are going, but we head there anyhoo. John's bike is like ride a stroke miss a stroke, with a loud click in between, as well as some choice words from John in between. I can tell he is on a downer. John knows what I'm like so I just continue to try and amuse him and raise a smile.

One of the theodolites
Who is that strange little man?
 Did I mention it's really cold, if I had two feet I'm sure my other five toes would have felt like the remaining five on my left foot bloody freezing. I suppose there are certain advantages to being an amputee, only 15 digits cold, rather than 20...bonus. Even with my Seal Skin gloves on my finger ends were numb.. This was made worse each time we stopped to take photo's.

We headed up towards Consett getting on to the C2C just after Greencroft. The Cycle route was sheet ice and the section named the maze was pretty challenging, the sun having melted certain areas, whilst others in the shade had a good
old covering of crisp frost and ice.

I love the sound of crunching ice
Eventually we ended up at Consett and took the opportunity to get a few photo's next to the theodolite sculptures. I had brought my new idea for getting some interesting pics along a 60mm glass sphere. After around 10 minutes or so of messing around both John and I decided to head back as we had become even colder with stopping. The ride back was even more treacherous I counted at least 5 occasions where I almost fell off as my wheels slid from under me. The worst one being in the maze as I came around one of the corners...Whoosh as quick as that my bike shot from under me. I managed to stay up on my good leg, however was stuck for a little while trying to do this bizarre hop,skate and dance as I struggled to get my prosthetic foot out of the cleat. Pheww! close call lol.

Oh and I almost forgot today was the debute for Ern's newest invention. All I have to do is say "Go Go Gadget pylon" and my leg instantly becomes around 40mm longer. In reality I have to bend over and release a quick release seat clamp that keeps my pylon locked to a certain length and I can now alter the height of my pylon. This proved to be a lot more comfortable on my bike, no more rocking of my hips. It may not be perfect, however appears to do the trick. I intend writing a seperate blog on this new creation, as i would really like to not only thank my dad, but also the company who fabricated the design, Dyer Engineering. Firstly I need to test the pylon out a bit more.

Ern's Adjustable Pylon
Quick Release
Attached to my BTK
Whoops I fell over
As we rode through the Park I was ahead I came to the main gates and crossed the road, then waited for John...Hold on no John...a few minutes went by and then I saw John pushing his bike. The drive had totally gone. As he pushed on his pedals the cranks just span around. "Just hop on your bike along here" I said to John as we passed the new Greenland School and i began to ride and give him a push on his back. We continued to do this almost all the way over the football field, down towards St Mary's and then John got a little bit of drive before his cranks began spinning again. I then pushed him all the way along Avon Road and we left each other there after a chuckle. Ahh well that's what friends do for one another.

Just some trees
John taking a picture of me taking a picture of him

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