Monday, November 11, 2013

Morocco November 2013

Outside the hotel before the off on day 1
Sorry to anybody trying to contact me last week or bringing bikes for repair to find my doors shut again................I was in Morocco............ as usual putting myself under pressure on a bicycle.......

Before I went on this trip with Duncan and Nick I was thinking of backing out as I had so many things going on business wise ................but now I am back thank goodness I didn't as we had a great trip.

The call to prayer is never far away
We stayed in a very pleasant hotel just south of Marrakesh and just a few miles from the airport. The main thing for us with these hotels is food quality as we tend to eat a lot of it ............this place was great ....lovely fresh salads ,great fish and with the French influence---- fantastic variants of potato dishes,and as usual puddings were minimal and not great.......which suits us fine!! Fully inclusive on the drinks rounds things off really nicely!!

Anyway to the cycling..........   We were totally unsure what to expect to be honest ,as there is very little written about road cycling in this area and into the High Atlas mountains. Roads generally are not great .......... the main road leading NE into Marrakesh is at present being resurfaced so will be lovely in a few months time but for us last week was interesting to say the least..... as we were competing with mopeds ,taxis, lorries ,road making equipment and endless dust and a road that was was worse than a cart track presently..............but amazingly you get used to it and by the 5th day of cycling it all seems normal. There are two main roads leading from Marrakesh to the start of the rides into the mountains..............one really good.....the P2017 (smooth surface and an actual cycle lane ) and the other is the R203...........quite narrow,no cycle lane and after 20 miles of this juddering surface you will know about it............ Nick bit his tongue at one point !!. In the mountains the roads are generally fine especially the road leading up to the ski resort from the Ourika valley. However the fact that our top speed on the whole trip was only 36.8 miles an hour compared to our best in the Alps of 58mph.....lets you know that they are not perfect .

Duncan negotiating mini ford in the Ourika Valley

Weather at this time of year was fantastic. pleasantly warm (max around 32-34 degrees centigrade)with sunshine every day and very little strong wind .............just the usual niggling headwind one always has when cycling.

Five rides undertaken ........three of which were truly stunning..........I just love cycling in high,remote mountain environments and this has been a great taster........ all being well the High Atlas will have me on them again but next time cycle touring through them ..........that would be a real , real treat and I hope I am lucky enough to do it !!

Day one took us out on the dreadful ,juddering R203 to Tahanaoute which is a great little town on market day. The ride from Marrakesh is a continual 1-2.8 % ascent which is surprisingly demanding as it never goes downhill and you are juddered nonstop for 20 miles. Once out of the town the road starts to get steeper and gradually takes you up towards the High Atlas and things become much more fun.We carried on to Asni and then Duncan turned onto a rough steep road for a foray upwards  but Nick very sensibly thought we may be biting of a bit much for day 1 and we retraced to a previous junction and moved on through My Brahim with some stunning Alpine like hairpins ( Nick was mobbed by a group of young children wanting to high 5 him here !! ) and then onto Mosquee where we had a coke and water and were lucky enough to have before us a mouth watering descent which took us from a well watered Mediterranean feel to an arid and barren environment which was really hot and felt fantastic..........especially as from the barren landscape appeared a huge reservoir at Amzough El Quabli (great names ). This day ended with a fairly long drag along a busy road , once again being resurfaced and pretty hard work really.

So day 1 64.38 miles,3858 calories,4757 ft climbed. Nice intro................


Along with the old Mercedes taxis the PEUGEOUT 504 has to be the most ubiquitous car here. Dad made a good choice bringing one of these back on our return from kenya in 1972........except things don't rust in Morocco !! 
Nick and Duncan enjoying this descent.

The towns or villages were fascinating. You feel like you are on set in a Mad Max film
See what I mean................. and I moan about the state of my bike shop...........
Nick on hairpins before the onslaught of his fan base of young children held him up !!
And you moan about where you live........... but notice the satellite dish so all is o.k..............
I told you it was arid in some sections.........
And again...............
Coke stop.............for once Duncan getting the money wrong .......telling us he had been charged £30 for 3 cokes..............
Haribos anyone........... seeing the lithe , lean people in this environment makes you feel embarrassed at the way we overeat and disease ourselves .......another lesson learnt .........or did I think I already knew that..... Addiction of western people to sugar and white flour is a powerful failing..............and WILL kill or maim you at some point............. More about this later ...............sorry !!


 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Morocco Day 2

After yesterday's warm up Duncan and I were desperate to get higher into the Atlas mountains and so we did !

It was a respectable ride today ............we climbed from Marrakesh at 1358 ft to 6121ft in towards Mt Toubkal pretty much non stop with temperatures around 32 centigrade burning off 5110 calories over 80.5 miles ................... but it was the stunning scenery and the local Berber people that we both felt were awe inspiring.

Happy as Larry with worn out bicycle tyres....
Are we are on the right road ........Duncan checks his Garmin !
Newly laid road leading to Marrakesh
This is the tough road to the mountains........
This is 10% climbing .......I know it doesn't look like it
Happy lean people .............we all need to learn lessons !
In these mountains you are still seeing real Berber people living in real clay built houses tiered one on top of the other into mountaineous rocky slopes. They are poor............in money terms .............but not in their lives. They are lean and not fat.............this immediately deserves my respect............. humans are not meant to be obese ..... we are naturally strong ,well muscled animals......... and I couldn't help thinking back to the sights down below of people who have completely lost sight of this and value money and their possessions above their own dignity.............people who move from the hotel room to the breakfast room to the sun lounger to the lunch room to the poolside to the room to change before the aperitif before the evening meal which leads onto after dinner drinks and then coffee and cake............................... and then back to the laughter and converstion high in the Atlas mountains .....of young children running on dusty roads with a plastic bottle as their only toy and yet beaming with a truly natural smile . Women carrying huge bundles of lemon grass up steep climbs, bent double, but straightening to return your smile with strong faces and bright shiny eyes. Wow what a difference........what a contrast in the way people can be............. this has been the greatest lesson of this trip. I was thinking all of this throughout this strenuous bike ride when Duncan turned to me and out of the blue said " These people are poor and have very little .......but they have everything ". Enough said.
This is about 5500 ft into the High Atlas.....32 degrees and nonstop climbing

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Clarification !!

Please understand that yes I advertise and offer some amazing deals but I also sell many other products.I can sell you any bike from the Giant or Dawes or from VSF ,anything from the major wholesalers.I will always (unless competing with grey import shimano produce which is not covered under U.K warranty ) be able to sell cheaper than anyone else.

So therefore whatever you need come and let me know !!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Giant Defy Advanced.......Cycling Plus Bike of Year !!

GIANT DEFY ADVANCED .......CYCLING PLUS BIKE OF THE YEAR.

No surprise for me I have been riding one continuosly throughout this winter. If you need to know about the Defy Advanced bikes I am the person to talk to and buy from.I handle these bikes all the time and I also ride them all the time. You will get my knowledge and service and always best price.



                                                                                                                                                     Yesterday Giant had plenty of Defy Advanced 2's in stock and people were phoning me and umming and ahhing about the fantastic deals I was offering on the Defy Advanced models........I really want Ultegra not 105 ( but still for no money ).

Today the Defy Advanced 2 has won Cycling Plus Bike of the Year Award. 1 left in medium £1750

 There are still some Defy Advanced 1's available. I have small and large in stock as of 23/09/13. Small £2200 and large £2150 as small paint blemish.



I have been riding one for months now and know how good it is ......but my opinion of course does not count.........I just run a little bike business......no point in taking any notice of me !!!!!!!

Here are a couple of pics with me and the Defy Advanced 1 in Tenerife . Behind me and Duncan there lies the brutal climb of Masca........You should try it sometime and the Defy Advanced is the bike to try it with.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Price match no problem

Price match on any Giant Bike you see on sale in the "GIANT" shop  or anywhere else......... if they have it in stock in your size or can get it. You then get great service as well as my normal great price !!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Altura Attack jacket.

Altura Attack jacket in Brown/graphite. Top of the range waterproofing from Altura.Same material as the Attack X which I can vouch for having used it in full rain and hail and kept dry and warm !!

This week only I can buy and sell to you. So maybe one or two will see this and pick up a bargain !

All sizes.

RRP £149

My price. £89.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Highlands Coast to Coast again.....

Ready for off again. Picture shows me waiting to board train from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh . Todays ride will be approx 70 miles with the hardest Mountain crossing over Arnisdale to Kinloch Hourn which involves the deepest river crossing. This time things are good fun as doing the ride with my friend Jonathan Kinna..... First cafe stop will be at Glenelg looking out over the Isle of Skye and this place hosts the most impressive war memorial. Looking forward to seeing what has become of the Tomdoun Hotel which last year had been shut and was looking incredibly sorry for itself......far cry from my sojourn there two years previously...... Looking forward to Marions B and B at Invergarry............
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Etape Du Dales 2013

Duncan and I talked ourselves into riding this somewhat tortuous ride this year 110 miles and 10000 ft of climbing. It turned out to be a good couple of days as we were joined by Richard and Dave and Dave no. 2 !!

We had booked into the Red Lion pub in Burnsall near Skipton .......which I would highly recommend..........lovely location .....right on the river with the Dales Way on it's doorstep. That brought back memories as I had walked the Dales Way in my 20's and enjoyed it so much that I walked it back again.

Sunday May 19th was a perfect cycling day..........little wind ,dry and really pleasant temperature. The great thing about this ride is that you can set off pretty much when you want so we made sure that we enjoyed our full English breakies and eventually set sail at 9.10 a.m. Really quite civilized.

After 25 miles I looked across at Duncan and we had the same thoughts as we both felt we had done 100 miles already .............how would we complete it ?? !! However we did and our times were respectable.........from 7 hours 8 mins to 7.30. Highly recommended sportif ride and good training for the Marmotte which is looming again !!
Boys ready st start.

Dave and Richard getting first few breaths in !!

Dave over the top of the Buttertubs Pass

The two Daves in full flight.

Dave over Buttertubs again

Yours truly,Duncan and Dave after cup of tea at Tan Hill.This is the first time I have ever seen this place out of cloud and rain or snow.

Away from Tan Hill


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Peak District Ride 28/04/13

Big Al and I joined forces with the Ely Cycling Club in the Peak District today......well just south of actually. We started in Tetbury and had an enjoyable 63 mile circular route.... pretty much in between Stoke on Trent and Ashbourne.....taking in Cheddleton and Uttoxeter. The weather was with us thankfully and one pic shows Al peeling off one of his layers of Rapha due to overheating !!

Some climbing was involved ....just under 5000 feet. Relatively gentle pace but a great time was had by all !!

Gathering in Tetbury car park

en route......

Yours truly in his new Altura varium jacket....

Big Al stripping off a layer of Rapha !

Regroup at junction......

Friday, March 29, 2013

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Boys on ride Good Friday. Tummies all held in after cafe stop......!

63 mile ride ......trying to get in some semblance of order before the Spring lamb sportif next Sunday.

Boys in question here Big Al. Simon and Dom. Al's fitness is coming on in bounds ,Simon had some real power in his legs today and Dom quietly but surely is always there !!

I was the puncture victim today........good job I do these sort of things everyday !!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

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Just showing how Giant's own waterproof seat bag is perfect colourwise on the Defy 0....... I have these in stock and great value at 14 pounds.......
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Giant waterproof seatbag. 3 sizes and great value at £14......--------------

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Giant's wonderful carbon frames.

If you are interested in finding out which are really the best bikes to buy for your money then go to Giant's webpage and see the testing they have done on their own and their competitors bikes. You will not be surprised to see the results of course........the Giant frames can not be beaten on all the really important aspects such as weight and stiffness,compliance and handling. Read for yourselves.........

Also be aware that it is the ISP frames that really ,really win. (Integral seat post ). I understand that many of you worry about these frames mainly because you need to cut the seatposts for your height. Be aware that the frames are supplied with 2 seatpost caps ....20mm and 45mm and multifarious spacers so there is room for error and also helps make the resale value no problem.

The ISP will not be going away and notice that this year Giant are making more ISP frames than ever......TCR and DEFY Advanced SL frames.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Back again after Majorca trip

To anyone trying to contact me this week I am back in action after our 4 days cycling in Majorca.

Actually I could do with a rest now as we covered 600kms with average ascents 8500 ft per day so it was a great trip even with lots of snow on all the main colls !!





Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Reiteration !

Can I please reiterate that when you are phoning around the country for best price please leave me to last. There is really no point in phoning and asking me for my best price without giving me a best price I need to beat.

I suppose I want to sell the bike ......price is relatively immaterial within reason but if I provide my best price on your first call I will never ever hear from you again as you will immediately throw my price against the next shop to try and get an even better deal for yourself !!

Both parties need to feel happy in this wild west of dealing we now live with.


Woffling on again.......we do live in incredibly exciting times where money no longer has any value,shops as we know them will rapidly start to disappear as we know them at present. I suppose there will soon be virtual fitting of clothes and bicycles. It will be fascinating to see how things develop........

Even more fascinating as I was discussing with my eldest daughter recently will be the time probably in her middle age when the tables turn and some bright spark has the idea of........opening a shop!!!

Can you imagine the excitement and novelty of actually being able to see and try a product and not only that but talk to a person who actually uses and really knows about the product you are interested in buying.....wow what a privilege that would be.......and if you actually ask they will do the same or better price than the ethernet.........

Happy days !!!!! Thanks for reading !!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Remember how to shop for bicycles. Take my advice.

Several of my posts say the same sort of things !! However you as people wanting to buy bikes very often do not understand how to shop.

You are all looking essentially for best price. I understand that.......we are all the same and no one wants to see any one else have their money........ even if they receive something worthy for that money !!!

So the classic scenario is......go onto the countless forums to seek advice and try and work out which are the best brands to potentially purchase. Once narrowed down try and find a real live shop stocking those bikes.......some poor sod who has actually put their own money on the line for you to come and look at and hopefully for you they will let you ride the machine and help you too !!

Next scene in the scenario. You like a bike the poor shop keeper has in stock. You have enjoyed riding it and you have hopefully taken in some valuable advice if you have gone to the correct shops !!! You see what price the bike is in the shop and your immediate reaction is to run home to your computer and try to find it cheaper.

Once you do find it cheaper you presume that is end of story. You must buy from the internet supplier.

WRONG. The first thing is to return to your local supplier .......if you have had good service from them up to this point. Be honest and say that you have seen the same bike on the internet or somewhere else cheaper. Can they possibly match the same price or if you are decent you will say "can you match the price and I pay you a bit more for setting the bike up properly for me and for your ongoing support and service !!!!!!!!!"

All shops big or small pay the same price so of course if you approach someone like me who owns the business ,owns his own premises and knows exactly the prices you will nearly always get the best deal . Not only the best price but REMEMBER the bike will be set up for you and you will receive ongoing help and service from me. This is valuable as we will have set up a relationship of scratching each others backs. Very important..........

PLUS and this is important.....I am an expert in what I do........I ride the bikes you are looking to buy.I repair these bikes everyday.......I understand about carbon as a material......I sell these machines everyday. I will provide you with the necessary proper information you need. Buying and owning a carbon bike is not the same as owning an aluminium bike . Many people selling them to you will not have my knowledge and will not care for you as a customer. What I offer is a very rare thing and you can very seldom receive my expertise in big neon lit megastores. Life is an illusion and although marketing makes all of us believe that biggest is best the opposite is true.........IF you find the right guy !!!!!!!!

Thanks for reading !!!!! I know some of you will appreciate and understand !!!!!!!!