Sunday, 26 October 2008


Went out today on a proper fixed spin. The first one since Alan at work welded up the cassette body.Fixed it.
First impressions are good.The fun started straight off.2 mins from our house there's a fairly steep downhill called 'Soughers Lane'. I've suffered on it many a time,but never going down!

At the bottom is a busy 'A' road requiring a stop.So I'm bobbing along thinking-
"It's OK this fixed wheel malarkey"....

Well,I'm still here .So I made it. But let's just say it was a bit tasty.It was a good job I fitted a front brake anyway.

I'm heading up to Haigh Hall.A normally uneventful roadie spin I've done a million times on a million bikes. Nothing to report on the way up.Usual dance.Sunday morning roadworks ,everyone's half asleep. Luckily I'm wide awake.I'm not sure on the letter of the law but ,basically,if a bike was to 'keep left' you'd spend more time stopped.Maybe it's because the world and his granny all have big american style UPVs* but there is never enough room curbside.Cut down bars or not.Anyway . Rant over . I rode on the crown of the road past a stationary line of cars a good 1/4 mile long.I'm not sure if it was 'legal' or not ,but I'm here to tell the tale.A handshake of carbon monoxide ,and away.


From Wigan centre to Haigh Hall is uphill pretty much the whole way.The first drag is a steady slog that's over in a few minutes. The trouble is a steady slog doesnt lend itself to the fixie.So,a bit of a trackstand from the lights and I stand up and hammer.To my surprise it fairly flirts up. Nice one.

On the edge of the plantation I drop into Haigh Park. It's raining.It's autumnal. Leaves are on the floor . They are wet. Brill.Not exactly confidence inspiring after the last near death downhill.Maybe it's the 'fixed thing'but it felt OK.Soon the road kicks up sharply ,more hammering.Up up and away.Lively.

The road leads into the plantation.No cars allowed here.Just a mile or so from the hall now,and all uphill.Again,no time to slog.I'm kinda getting the hang of this.

I have a minute on the canal bridge chatting to a lad on a mountainbike.He cant beleive it.

As we're chatting a group of 4 roadie club cyclists fly past,heading up.They have a couple of minutes lead on me but on my whippet of a bonkers bike they dont stand a chance.Haha.

Just as I'm rounding the corner of the hall,such a pretty house, theyre just climbing the short steep climb up to the stable cafe.Spurned on and feeling pleased that I've caught them I attack the hill,not really expecting to get up in one.But I do.How good is this stripped out piece of plain gauge high tensile with crappy bits and 10,000 mile wheels?It might be a different tale if I had 80miles in my legs,but up to now ,it's doing OK.

I have a brew in the cafe planning my route home.I'm not sure about dropping down through the woods.Wet leaves all over the place and dogs on rollerskates,kids chasing sticks,that sort of thing.

Ah ,but what the hell.I've just been telling the mountainbike lad how surprisingly grippy road tyres are.Besides.I can try some extended fixie skids on the wet ,downhill ,leaf strewn tarmac.


Up out of the woods theres a nice little push to the gates.More hammering .I think if it was a bit steeper or a bit longer i'd have got off. A bit wobbly at the top.And it's trying to rain again.
I decide to divert through the town and call into Alans bike shop.Now open Sundays. No rest for the wicked.The rest of Wigan is open.The capitalist wheel must also be fixed.I almost felt like a punk bike messenger weaving through the shoppers. I even went on the footpath . Cheeky monkey.
I dont hang about tooo long in Alans but when I come out it's now stopped raining but it's not half gone cold and it's blowing a gale up Wallgate.Right in my face.
Time for the TT tuck.I crank right past my mums and onto the dual carriageway.Uphill back home from here.
Past the motorway I have one last little downhill to build up some momentum for the last big hill .Which was the first big hill. My final fit ,my bellyache. Soughers lane.

Well ,I'm here .It cant really be avoided.The traffic just dropped nice for me turning in at the bottom . I got on top of the gear and powered up the whole way,cranking on the bar ends.Obviously I was blowing a bit at the top ,but it's in the bag.

As a 'tester' it was a good ride. I was nt too sure how the gearing would be ( 42x15). I thought it might be a bit tall. For any bigger hills ,or a longer spin it might be,so I'll see about a sprocket swap and take it a bit farther afield.The pedal swap was a good call too. SPDs are definitely better for 'proper ' cycling. All in all though ,a good spin . Enjoyed it.No alarms and no surprises.


*Utterly Pointless Vehicles.

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