Bowery Mural

It's been a while

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Doodoo dododoo, bzzzzz... text comes through.  It's from Linda who's busy sunning herself in all inclusive luxury at a resort in Egypt having arrived there yesterday safe and sound.  As I sit here and daydream what that must be like I get roused by the wind and rain battering off the window and i watch as one by one the raindrops hit the window and slowly make their way from top to bottom whilst randomly heading off in different directions, but always down....  

Today's soundtrack on iTunes is Snow Patrol.  I'm not hitting shuffle cos I've never listened to the new album yet.  They are familiar songs but in a different order.  I like that though.

I decide a new blog post is needed as it's been a while I feel.  Not that there's too much to report so I'll just fill you in with what's been happening around my life that is Project Everest.  Jees that sounds so lame now because when you think of Everest you think giant, grandness, amazing... you never really think small do you.

So alas there have been no outdoor activities apart from trying out my new wheels in a car park at the Uni last Sunday morning!!  It appears I'm in the process of buying a very cool bike courtesy of Freeflow Bikes and Flying Fox Bikes.  Why 2 bike shops you may wonder?  Well i've been thinking of getting a bike since I came back from Nepal in April.  You see I go to the gym and I like it but i'm not really a gym bunny.  I now also go yoga and to Spin Bike classes at the new leisure facility in Stirling called The Peak.  It's a brand new sports centre with state of the art gym, swimming pool, curling rink, ice rink, a few studios, a large sports hall and a few climbing walls.  It's a great place and Stirling was well overdue something like this.  Anyway back to the bike!  Work has started the Cyclescheme which entitles you to a bike and equipment up to the value of £1000 and you can get some sort of discount via tax and NI payments (or something like that!) through a salary sacrifice scheme.  Anyway when I enquired about it I was told that the University only runs the scheme in 2 months of the year - April and November.  This meant I had to wait until November before I could get the bike.  Why wait you may ask?  Well simply you end up getting a pretty good discount on a decent bike which for me equates to about 31% off a brand spanking new bike.    

After asking people I knew about certain bikes it came down to a choice of a few.  I mean I just thought bikes were bikes unless you spent a fortune.  Don't ask me about hydraulic disc brakes, forks, seats, bottom brackets...  These are things I've heard my dad talk about in the past few months since he started his new job.  But it seems there are a load of different variations of bikes out there so best to ask some experts.  I set about posting a question on a forum and got a shed load of advice and recommendations.  Initially I put a price ceiling of £500 on my spending and then folk tell you if you're going £500 you may as well go a wee bit further and get a whole more of a decent bike.  A nice girl gave me good advice, she was a novice mountain bikers who'd got into it a few years ago and had just taken delivery of some carbon featherweight bike but she'd rode a Cube Access for a few years beforehand.  Her other bike was a Kona Lisa for 'running about'.  Now these bikes don't come cheap.  No siree.  I toyed with the idea of other cheaper bikes and visited a few shops locally.  In one establishment I waited for over 20 minutes pawing the bikes and stuff and no-one came near me.  This instantly put me off from giving them my custom.  Other places were trying to palm me off with pink or pastel shaded colour schemed bikes - do I look like a pink kinda girl!?  No!  I know that sounds silly but let's face it, how a bike looks has a lot to do with my purchasing it.  In fact that goes for anything I buy really.  Doesn't everyone think like that?  Function is good but how it looks is also important.

Anyway via the magic of Twitter I 'follow' a local bike shop called Flying Fox Bikes.  In fact it's local and also very, very new - the shop just opens this Saturday.  After a few exchanges I asked if they stocked Cube.  (I think there's only one other place round this way that does).  He said he did and will have more in March but all demo bikes were sold but his wife and sister have Cube's and I could have go and try them out if I wanted.  

After a few weeks exchanging emails and info on all things bikes, I met Pete from Flying Fox bikes in the car park at the University to try out this new beast!  He'd brought the two bikes.  A Cube Access WLS SL and a Cube AMS WLS Pro.  To be honest, they both looked very smart indeed but I knew the Pro would cost a fortune and was a full-sus which honestly would just be wasted on me.  I tried them both and the Access SL was instantly rideable.  WLS in the names means Woman Like Series - built for women's geometry basically.  I'd been told by men in bike shops that I could get a small size men's bike if I wanted but it's subtle things like narrower handlebars and a seat for women' 'geometry' that i thought i'd stick with a woman's bike.  Anyway after my test drive my mind was pretty much made up.  It was to be the Cube Access WLS SL.  

Now for the business...  Since Flying Fox Bikes are a fairly new business they don't have the Cyclescheme up and running yet but he pointed me in the direction of Freeflow Bikes of Glasgow.  He recommended Freeflow as a good place to buy your bikes and gear from.  So that's what I've done.  The bike is on order (hopefully) and the Cyclescheme voucher is being processed by work but I'm not sure when my maiden journey on my new bike will take place.  You might hear of it here first!!

Anyway Flying Fox Bikes opens it's doors on Saturday 21st November.  Drop by!  Details here.

Last Thursday saw me, Susan and Chris make our way to Glasgow to see Sir Chris Bonington do a lecture about how he got started and his early climbing career.  It was a great wee night once it got started - albeit a bit later than we expected.  It was great to hear him talk about his early days and still his enthusiasm for mountains and climbing and nowadays walking and trekking.  He spoke of people he climbed with such as Doug Haston, Don Whillans, Mick Burke and Hamish McIntosh.  It was great to hear the stories and see pictures of places such as Patagonia and Nepal from back in the day.  Their gear was pretty basic but was probably the best of their day and they seemed pretty fearless.     

What else?... hhmmm... Well work has been somewhat strange recently.  I don't know what's happening to the place but people seem to be... changing (?), that or going a bit daft.  I'll put their selfishness and mentalness down to the dark nights fair drawing in...  Cos nothing else can really explain the strangeness about the place.  You know, you think you're doing a good thing but it ends up being the excess water dripping off the end of an as yet uncooked chip and into the chip pan and you just end up with spitting chip fat in your face!  We've decided, in our wee oasis of calm office, just keep our heads down and get on with it.

Mountains and hills.  Yes I see some everyday but haven't ventured up them in anger for ages.  Not likely to be this weekend either - have you seen the weather?!  And KIT.  Well I cheered myself up the other day with a purchase of the kit kind.  It'll be quite useful I'm sure and I'm just waiting on delivery of it now.  Bridgedale and Smartwool PHD socks - yes they are very cosy and keep my feet warm at yoga class.  They're also useful in that the bottom of my too long trackie bottoms can be tucked into them so they don't get wet!  Genius, but can attract some strange looks as I wonder through the aisles of the supermarket on my way home.  Mountain Equipment Chamois trousers - yes they were comfy when I went for my bike test drive.  I still can't get over that wee bits of fluff (pooly wool) have gathered at the back though and can't be removed.  I didn't think the material would do that.  They're also comfy and free moving when I'm lounging about and as is sit here and type this story.  Mountain Equipment Astral softshell jacket - again kept me warm on the test drive.  Light enough to wear around the house when my mum refuses to put the heating on early and I'm freezing.  So there you go.  Not your normal kit reviews but kit's not just useful on the hills you know!  Oh aye, and I'm hoping I might have 'won' a pair of red down booties - get that competition going Bobinson!!  (mind don't tell anybody though!)  :o) 

Decorating... that's what's happening in our house just now and it always seems to be that 2 weeks before Christmas our house is a tip because they're always decorating then!  this year is a major one.  The spare room has been transformed with a lick of paint, new carpet and new furniture.  It's great as I've bagged half a wardrobe and set of drawers in there for my kit.  Yay!  The stairs have had a lick of paint and are awaiting the fitting of a new carpet.  And The Boy is scared to go down them now after stepping on a carpet gripper nail that was sticking up - wee shame.  The living room will likely get started next week.  And the front door lobby is currently having tiles laid by my Dad who has been using an electric saw thing to cut the tiles all night and the noise is going through my head into my toothache!  ouch!  Can you hear it??...  Why oh why do they wait til now to decorate every year?!  Also, in thinking about this... does anyone else clean the house from top to bottom on 31st December each year? or is it just us???.. Don't know if it's a tradition to start the new year with a clean house and a huge pot of home made vegetable soup?!  Ah it's those wee quirks that I love.

Soon it will be Christmas and I can't wait.  For the holiday.  2 weeks off work - nearly.  Bliss!  Went shopping with mum today as I had a day off.  We went for stuff for the boy(s) but his Fireman Sam scooter was out of stock.  It's ok I can write this here cos he can't work the computer yet to read this, ha ha.  So we got another thing for him that he'll love.  And when he gets it and uses it I'll post some of the results on here.  It'll be interesting to see things from a kids viewpoint.  He loves photies...  So then mum asked what I wanted for Christmas and whilst i like this it also pains me too cos I end up not getting any surprises for my Christmas presents.  I mean I don't really like surprises as such but I'd prefer if she just went and got me something rather than me being there when she buys it.  So for Christmas this year I'm getting a ....  nope not telling.  I will put more on my list to Santa and hope he delivers, I've been a good girl afterall. 

Time for me to go.  This has been an epic update.  Sometime, perhaps in my next post, there will be some of the great outdoors in it.  Hopefully.

peace out
Ange xx 

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