Another one gone

Not a celebrity or person of questionable merit. No another orbit of the sun arbitrarily ends today. Just in time for social media to explode with ‘New Year, New You‘ memes, inevitably followed by crushing disappointments and unchangeable reality.

Worse that all of that, I’ll be 50 in 2017. FIFTY. Blimey back in my thirties when I led as close to a hedonistic lifestyle as a salaried man working for a consultancy firm could, I’d sit in a bar surrounded by empty glasses and overflowing ashtrays declaring to all who’d listen/not passed out drunk that ‘better to have a good time now and die early than just end up dribbling, lonely in some death-smelling care home‘.

I need to go back in time and give myself a good talking too. And a slap. Dribbling and decline is where’s it’s at once you’ve reached half a century. I don’t so much feel my age*, but I fear it and the associated loss of muscle and cognitive abilities.

Still I did ride quite a lot this year. About the same as 2015. Feels like I had more fun, but that’s probably nothing more than making things up in the hope the real stuff might stay away a bit longer.

Riding / Running stats from 2016

These are my nine most ‘liked‘ posts on Instagram. All bike related of course, building, static and other people riding. That feels a better summary of the year than the cold statistics above.


On that note, probably time to draw the veil over Strava. All it’s going to tell me is that I’m slowing down. What kind of idiot would pay£3.99 a month to repeatedly be beaten with an electronic stick? I have mates that do that for free.

2017 tho is already shaping up well. I’m mostly healthy, not particularly chubby (other than in the tyre department), a week long trip to Spain already booked for late April and back to the Rhone Alps in September. Between those two dates, I’ll be having my special birthday.

No idea what I’ll be getting. History suggests it might be something bike related. Talking of which, updated the ‘most read articles‘ and ‘current bike rental‘ pages.

That’ll do for 2016s rambling. Better to spend the rest of the holiday engaging with the family, especially as the kids are now at an age where my relevance is directly tied to them needing to be driven somewhere or if theInternetis broken.

So Happy New Year and all that. It’s a day early but I fully expect to be hungover and full of good, if very short-term, intentionstomorrow.

*other than making a noise every time I get up or down.

Nothing to see here..

As all my mountain bike posts will be on the Cranked Mag Blogfrom now on. First one is here

At some point I’ll do a proper re-direct so anyone who comes here ends up there in the time travelling way of the Internet.

It probably spells the end of this blog. Ideas for something new are vaguely taking some kind of nebulous shape. And the Hedgehog is nearly ten years old. Probably about the right time for a mercy killing 😉


Updated the bike pages….


(it doesn’t look like this anymore of course. That was taken over a year ago!)

As is the year end tradition, the revolving door of the ShedofDreams requires some clarification. As does the posts, people with far too few things to distract them found the most interesting. Although I can only assume this is because the rest of the Internet had run out of cats on skateboards.

3 in, 2 out – bike buying rationale/fallacy

Stuff read most often. This obviously doesn’t make it any good.

It’s a day early but we’re off to the seaside for New Year. Where I expect the first day of 2016 to be mostly taken up with wondering why I decided it might be a good idea to mix tequila with brandy at 11:59am the previous evening…

Happy New… on second thoughts to hell with that..

New Years Day Malverns Ride

The passing of another year is beset with many problems. Let’s ignore pointless resolutions, mortality fears, unrealisable ambitions and full blown depression to instead pursue a denouement on the somewhat ludicrous rationale on why we adopted the Gregorian calendar in the first place.

Now Caesar was quite a forward thinking chap. About 900 years if his astrologers are to be believed. Sure it’s a bit narcissistic to present the world with a global calendar in your own name, yetat least he’d thought through the whole leap year thing* soensuring tax collection fell on the same day across the whole empire, but of course the bloody religious nutters wouldn’t let it lie.

The Gregorian calendar, introduced some 1500 years later by another bloke who was keen to have his name on the thing, fixed the cataclysmic issue of a 0.002% drift for significant dates. That date being Easter** which the original JC didn’t caremuch about, but for Pope Gregory’s JC was kind of a big deal. Although I still enjoy the old joke ‘Easter’s cancelled this year, they found the body‘.

Less funny was the actual violence metered out in Lindesfarne (Bede is your man here if you want to know more. All I shall say here is attempting to fixa date first by committee and then by arms wasnever going to end well) when a spirited debate broke out on exactly on what days Easter should actually land.

Still since it’s *another* Pagan festival (easter bunnies? Hot cross Buns? Eggs? Go find those in the Bible. It’s basically ‘bite the head off the bunny and say hello to spring‘), it’s hard from the perspective of another 1000 years to see why anyone really gave a shit in the first place.

And that’s my problem with New Year. Someone made it up like everything else when we get a day off work, and we’re all bloody slaves to it.

See? Problems all over the place, and that’s even before someone declares on face-cloth they are going dry for a month, When it’s dark all the time. And everyone is skint. Good luck with that. Have you consideredthe cost of therapy?

We went for a ride. The zephyr like conditions of a few days back were replaced by +10 degree temperature hikes and a blustery south westerly pregnant with rain. The world disappeared under cloud, and we tugged at its edges slithering about, and slapping New Year wishes on the occasional tree.

All good. I failed to add to the five crashes sustained already this week. There was laughter, tea and cake which feels a far better way to meet an uncaring rotation of the planet than angst, delusion and virtual hair-shirts.

In vaguely relatedNew Year/Old news, I’ve had a poke about in the archives to update both the ‘best of’ pages and the rotating door ‘bike page’. I didn’t put much effort into the latter to be frank. It’s about to get a pretty major up/down/side grade.

But that’s another story. And I think we’ve had enough of those already.

* as opposed to Indiana at the turn of the 20th Century who attempted to set PII at 3.2. Really they did. I accept it’s a bit neater than an infinitely repeating number, but try squaring that circle.

** Because of course Christmas is a Pagan festival usurped by Christianity to weave in some dodgy narrative involving a whole load of imbricatedstories, recorded some three hundred years after the actual event. Although event might be overstating it.


God, already?

It’s traditional at this time of the year for the long suffering hedgehoger to suffer just a little more. In three special little ways:

  1. I have updated the ‘postsmost read’ page. In our increasingly connected world where cross posts merge with social network surfacing*, the simple old page count becomes increasingly irrelevant. Which is as good a metaphor for this blog as any. I didn’t write anywhere near as much this year, which was properly rewarded by people reading less. It’s good to know that even if I haven’t got anything better to do, other people have.
  2. I have also updated the ‘bike’ page. Every year hope receives a couple more mortal wounds as the portal to the Shed Of Dreams revolves at ever increasingly velocity. One January I shall triumphantly declare ‘No Bikes were damaged, abused or sold in the making of this page‘. It won’t be January 2014.
  3. I rage my own internal debate – because let’s be honest who else will be interested? – about continuing to ramble in my idiotic way. What’s the point of it all eh? It’s vanity stuff mostly about me, and there’s lots better on the Internet at that. Justin Beiber for a start. And if you can’t even stack up your own self worth against that vacuous nonse and come out at least equal, may as well close the door quietly on your way out. So after eight years, a thousand posts and a million words, might be time to embrace Web 2.0 and simply take amusing pictures of my lunch to share with the world. Nah, not going to happen. I can’t afford the therapy if I stop writing. Sorry 😉

I might write different things. Although inertia and precedent suggests more of the shame kind of shit. Until them, it’s always a pleasure to signal a further earthly cycle into moral and physical decrepitude by wishing my dwindling readership a Happy New Year.

* I just made that term up. Time to front up the CV with ‘Social Media Export available for immediate hire’

Well that’s an hour I won’t get back.

Or two in fact after the entire house of url-linked cards collapsed under the weight of WordPress’s shitty editor.

Anyway for what it’s worth*, I’ve updated the ‘best bits’ page, picking out pages with the most hits over the last couple of years. There’s really nothing to add other than the strange corner of the Internet occupied by Skoda Forums clearly have a higher boredom threshold than the rest of my readers.

I’ll leave you alone now 😉

* which I think we can all agree is ‘not a lot’

And we’re back in the room

Nine days after some wayward prodding by those lovely men at BT, we’ve re-established connection with the Internet.

It’s not fast. It wasn’t fast before hand to set the bar here. But now, we’d probably be better served spending our time creating a time machine and beaming back to the event in question, rather than waiting the Great God Google to return a simple search request.

In the slew of auto-updates following our re-connection with the virtual world, WordPress went mildly bonkers in pursuit of multiple upgrades and the installation of something called “JetPack”. JetPack it preened would solve all my problems, even some I didn’t know about.

This is in fact true. I had no problems – well not that WordPress could sort out unless it had progressed into animated organics and could wield a heavy iron bar – with the blog. Until the upgrade that was. When everything stopped working. At which point a random trawl through the themes directory confirmed the world has indeed gone mad whilst I’ve been away.

Every simple theme I like doesn’t work anymore. Apparently I now must become au-fait with sliders, hidden menu systems, HTML-5 and an entirely new configuration systems based on Quarks. I have neither the available life span or sufficient brain capacity to do so. Instead, it’s this crappy theme and a recognition that 99% of my dwindling readership live their lives on Facebook or FeedBurner.

So not an ideal re-entry arc into the blazing atmosphere of the world wide wibbly, but everything is relative. The kids are off Suicide Watch for a start!

Look at me!

Apparently I haven’t updated the “hedgehog hunting” and “what bikes do you own today Al?” pages for bloody ages. Well I have now and that’s an hour of my life no-one is giving me back. Selected entirely on “most read” stats because otherwise I’d have to read them all again.

If you want to read a proper magazine, check out Singletrackworld which was so desperately short of content this month, they published an article I wrote for them late last year 😉

I feel the urge to mess with the site theme as displacement activity for a painting experience so vast we are praying for a re-incarnation of Michaelangelo. If you want to make a man happy for a day phone a painter and decorator, if you want to make him miserable for life, give him a paintbrush 🙁

Updated the bike page…

Not much to see here. Small flurry of year end activity but really, it’s been a bit of a two wheeled drought in 2009.

Also some funky new stats that seem to come free with the latest version of WordPress show me which posts are read the most (or should I say not the “most least“), and so I’ve updated the “Hedgehog Hunting” page as well.

We’ve significant accumulations of snow here, enough to close the schools but probably not quite enough to stop me getting to London tomorrow though. This is the kind of unfairness of life I’ve come to treat as normal.

Anyway I’m off outside to do a snow dance. Possibly naked to improve it’s potency. Probably be on YouTube later 😉