Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Bob gig and weekend stuff

It's been a long time since I last wrote. Life has been busy, full and mostly happy.

This Thursday the Buskers on Bikes will play the Albany on Great Portland street in London. It's nearly four months since we all got back from our LEJOG trip and so we have had a busy two weeks of practice and planning. Here's hoping it all goes well.

On Thursday I'll be playing the banjo ukulele, mandolin and guitar. I've only been playing the mandolin for the period since we got back from the trip so it'll be a first in public for me.


At the weekend we had miss s's friends down for the weekend for much drinking and chatting. We also popped along to the Tate modern to see the Tacita Dean installation.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Kit reviews from my LEJOG ride

 Kona Honky Tonk 2009 model

As an overall package this is fantastic all round bike. It held up without any real problems through rough road, high speed riding, light off road riding, hill climbing and riding in torrential rain on flooded roads. The gearing is a little high, and I found myself envious of Dan’s Charge Juicer with 3 front rings and mudguards, on a number of occasions. As complaints go that’s not really much is it. The bar tape and seat feel cheap, but do you know what, they work and are comfortable and hardwearing. I only needed to change the pedals and mount extras (pump, cages, saddlebag) to turn this into a proper lightweight tourer.

Shutt VR – Merino Cycling Jersey

I ended up wearing this for about 12 of the 17 days we were out. In the rain it kept me warm, in the sun it kept me cool. I had a backpack’s worth of stuff in the pockets, yet it still kept it’s shape. Mine was a gift from Shutt (we asked for kit and they kindly gave us a selection of samples as they were between seasons) and would have cost the same as my other shirts put together...however... In the end I could have managed with just this and a long sleeved top.

Bontrager Hard Case All Weather tyres 700x28

I pulled six shards of glass out of these the day before we left, numerous stones and thorns on the trip and not one puncture. Quite a hard ride but I had as much grip as I could ever expect in all conditions, on and off road. 1400 miles without a puncture. Enough said

Bontrager Classic Caps

A black technical one to wick the sweat from my head and keep the sun out of my eyes. A white merino one to keep my head warm in the rain. Both worked a treat. My trip would have been less comfortable by far without these.

Shimano – Sora Drive train, Pedals, Shoes

The only components I had problems with were all Shimano. The rear derailleur bent and the cleats in my right shoe broke when the pedal release mechanism seized. All fixable, nothing permanently broken. I was very unhappy at the time, but this is all entry level kit asked to do a 1,000 mile tour. Things break

B-twin bib shorts

£29.99 and the reason I still have a working bottom. A head and shoulders above the other shorts at this price, and the cheapest bibs I found.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Highs, lows and the in-between

New flat... New outlook

It's been nearly a month since I last wrote a blog post. I've been off cycling from land's end to John o groats, and jolly good fun it's been.
You can read about it at the BOB blog http://buskingbikers.blogspot.com/
I had an amazing time with some new friends, many of which I think may be friends for life. I have actually enjoyed playing gigs. Something I enjoyed less and less as I moved from band to band. I have something to contribute on the uke and in particular the banjolele.
After watching a guy play the mandolin I think I may have found my next instrument. Always wanted to play 12 string guitar but found it clumsy... And here it is... All the jangle in a pocket sized instrument with the magic element. 4 strings ( well courses in this case )
Ha ha home. ( to a new flat in stokie with the lovely miss s )
1000 miles, 17 days and 10 gigs...

Back from LEJOG

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Clipless update

Well I've been using the clipless pedals for a week now, and in that time I've done quite a bit of riding in a variety of styles.

I have done one long ride, several standard commutes and a couple of pootles.

I can confirm my initial thoughts in that it still makes cycling feel easier and I now thin I know why. I'm sure there are forums dedicated to this so I am sorry for repeating the acculated knowledge of the interweb. Being clipped to the pedal encourages smooth actions as you can feel whether you are pushing evenly as the shoe tugs at your foot if gets ahead of the pedal.

On long rides I really noticed less fatigue and a willingness to power out of situations more often. Anyway I think they are here to stay.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

A night at sadler's wells

Well I finally got to see sylvie guillem dance. It's nearly 10 years since she did her film for the BBC (evidetia?) and I've missed, been too skint or away every time. Not this time though. There was 1 ticket left at £41 when I checked out the booking site. I took it and immediately felt guilty because I can think of several people that would love to see her too. I clicked 'buy'

The first piece was shit. The second brilliantly weird but I went out to the interval a bit miffed. She hadn't danced yet.

The last segment was just sylvie and a screen. Needless to say I went away happy. Quirky and full of her signature flexible joint movements. A goddess and one that shows no sign of a desire to retire. A head and shoulders above the other dancers tonight and 20 years older. Here's to her carrying on for another 10 years.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Clipless pedals

Well today I finally took the plunge and went clipless. I was a little nervous as it's one of those things that seems to be what separates the newbie from the seasoned tourer.

Jonny had just got some before the Cambridge ride and I was more than a little jealous as I struggled with cages and straps...

I went back to Evans in spitalfields as they'd not tried to upsell me when I went in to try the Honky Tonk.

Once we'd established that I mostly commuted but was preparing for the Lejog ride, the assistant suggested as an entry into clipless pedals an mtb shoe and pedal... Mostly so I can get off and walk.

I was initially sceptical until I realised that the 2nd pair of shoes he showed me I had initially thought of as practical town shoes.

Realising I don't normally wear Lycra into east london for fun he offered to fit them, as the bike must be close by (they have an umbrella stand for bikes... Well that's what it looks like)

After practicing clipping in and out against a wall I set off. Instant massive improvement.

Well happy!

Bring on those hills.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Cambridge to London by velocipede

Well today Jonny and decided that rather than hang around North London we'd cycle back from Cambridge.

To spice things up I thought I'd bring way too much stuff in a backpack and wear cold weather cycling gear. In keeping with the unspoken theme Jonny decided to bring a little less than he needed for the day.

We learned lots of interesting things today like how to swallow thunderflies, people in country pubs and shops are lovely and that we probably wont be going to club x in herts.

Overall a great day out.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Let's hope so...

I've just replaced my stock tyres with Bontrager all weather hardcase tyres. This week we've had a heatwave, a thunder storm, regular rain and some overcast muggy-ness. I only need snow for the full set!

The previous post is the state of my hands after handling tyres that have been on British roads in the rain.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Grandad's 90th and the steam fair

A lovely weekend all round. It started with a trip to Kimberly near Nottingham for my Grandad's 90th birthday party.. Got to catch up with family, and Sophie got to meet the cousins, aunts and uncles on that side of the family (my mum's)

Managed to get a whole two sundays out of sunday. Breakfast with the family at the hotel. Train journey home. Lunch at callucio's. Swelltering afternoon in clissold park at the steam fair. The bottom picture is from a fortune telling machine that for 1d (google it) would show you a picture of your first born. I also got a mechanical palm reading.

I'm getting what appears to be a shepherdess.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Buskers on bikes press release

For Immediate Release:

(Insert date)



Just six months ago, seven strangers met for the first time to plot the magical, musical adventure of a lifetime: to cycle the length of the country, stopping only to pull their instruments from the back of a van and busk for their lives – and for Cancer Research UK.

Last October, Warren Howard, 35 – who, like many in the group, hadn’t approached a bike in anger since his teens – decided to merge his hankering for the open road with his love of music and raise a pot-load of money in the process. Busking Cancer – a musical project launched by Cancer Research with the beautifully gung-ho premise of belting out songs for donations – seemed like the perfect cause. A plea for like-minded recruits went out on the internet – and Buskers on Bikes was born.

On 25 July, Warren, Dom, Jonny, Neil, Dave, Dan and Brian will be setting off from Land’s End with a rambunctious repertoire of rock’n’roll, rockabilly, soul and pop classics, ending their tour 18 days later in John O’Groats. Along the way they will be delighting crowds with impromptu performances as well as performing at planned gigs, too, in which local musicians will join them to knock out a few numbers – and support Cancer Research in the process.

Warren said: “It’s going to be an unforgettable experience – and undoubtedly pretty gruelling, too. The fundraising target is a heady £15,000 – but I’m sure that Buskers on Bikes have the legs, the lungs and the heart to achieve it..!”

Cancer Research UK’s area volunteer manager Felicity Jones, said: “We can’t thank Buskers on Bikes enough for their support. Cancer Research UK has made enormous progress in the fight against cancer. However, we have only been able to do this thanks to the dedication and commitment of our volunteers and supporters without whom we would not be able to fund outstanding scientists, doctors and nurses.”

For further information or to enquire about forthcoming gigs visit www.buskersonbikes.org or call Cancer Research UK 020 7358 9008.


For further media information, interviews and images, please contact:

Felicity Jones, area volunteer manager for Cancer Research UK on felicity.jones@cancer.org.uk, 07771 772 321

Warren Howard 07876 684838; nerraw_10@hotmail.com


About Cancer Research UK

• Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research.

• The charity’s groundbreaking work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. This work is funded entirely by the public.

• Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates double in the last thirty years.

• Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of more than 4,800 scientists, doctors and nurses.

• Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to beat cancer.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7121 6699 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org

More Dorset photos


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Dorset weekend...

Just for the record... I'm aware that these photos are largely wiltshire, but I was on my way back from Dorset.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Wish list

So I'm starting to get a serious aquisition syndrome for a few items at the moment. Yes I need a new Macbook/Imac. Yes I need a video camera... but look at these lovely goodies...

 The Creme "Cafe Racer" for leisurely cycling with the Lady S when she gets her pashley bicycle. Needs a box and a Jack Russell obviously

 Fujifilm x100 digital camera that works like a vintage compact camera!!

And last but not least a Godin 5th Avenue Archtop Jazz/Blues guitar for rock'n'roll greatness (Impending)