Lost My Virginity This Week

Well, its been an interesting week cycling wise. Since I posted last Friday, I have only managed 2 return trips to work by bike.

Last weekend I was up in Northumberland seeing Michelle. It was the first time I’ve travelled up there this year. That sounds bad, but it was only the 13th January and I’d only left there on 2nd January.

On Saturday Michelle and I met up with my parents in Hexham for a chat and for coffee. It was good to see them and spend time with them. Sadly we are all so busy in our lives that we do not spend enough time with our loved ones. My parents drove up and parked in one of the municipal car parks. It was easy to find their car given the great parking. Note the numerous empty spaces to the left side of the


car. So you may wonder why the car is parked half on the island. Well the parents claim it was to allow sufficient space for my mother to get out of the near side of the car. Now, how big does my father think my mother is?


The folks in Northumberland have found a way to speed up the buses. It may be something that Boris Johnson wants to consider to assist in London. The following photo was seen at the so called bus stop in the Wentworth Car Park in Hexham.


By not allowing the bus to park/ stop in the bus stop, there is no need for stopping time in the bus timetable. Imagine how much time is saved if the buses do not have to stop. I’m not too sure how you get on the bus whilst laden down with provisions from Aldi or Tesco though.

I have visions of pensioners and mothers with prams and young kids boarding and alighting from the bus Indiana Jones style.


As well as having coffee, we had a wander round the market in Hexham. The prices of fruit and veg on the market make Tesco seem extortionate, especially the bags of mixed veg. There is no excuse for buying frozen veg if you can buy it as cheap as here. Sadly markets like this are few and far between.


Another stall on the market seemed to be a poachers stall. There were numerous locally caught food, including squirrel, rabbit and my favourite, the home made pheasant that was in a pie. Now, I have to admit to knowing very little about nature, but can someone tell me


how you make home made pheasant, especially when it states at the foot of the label that it was wild pheasant. Home reared pheasant perhaps, but home made…?


Near to the market place in Hexham is the Carphone Warehouse which these days does not sell car phones, but does sell lots of mobile phones and also has branched out into other media including broadband. Now, I commented on their amazing broadband offer on a previous occasion and am pleased to see that it is still available. I am not sure this incredible offer is available at any other store than the Hexham one, but if you are in the market for  broadband, then how about having free broadband. Its from only £20.30 per month.


How could you resist a FREE offer that only costs £20.30 per month? Now they may of course have a different meaning of free in Northumberland, but in my world, free means at no cost.


There is also the jewellery shop that has  the jewellery for £1. Or is that £0.80 in the sale with the 20% off. However as it also appears


that the sale with 20% off does not apply to sale items. Go figure – if its in the sale it gets 20% off unless it is a sale item in which case the sign appears to exclude it from the sale.


Well that was enough for one day for me. Saturday night, Michelle and I went for a meal at an Italian restaurant she recommended. I have to admit to having some misgivings. The restaurant was in a town called Prudhoe which has a reputation for hard drinking, violence at pub chucking out time and any number of fast food outlets. Still Michelle recommended it, hence why we were there.


The restaurant was upstairs, which is not uncommon. Downstairs was….an Indian restaurant. Still Michelle recommended it, hence why we were there.


Walking into the restaurant, the decor was from the 1970s, so was the furniture. When I say from the 1970s, I mean literally that was the last time it was furnished or decorated. Still Michelle recommended it, hence why we were there.


The staff there were made up of locals, not an Italian accent or anyone of Italian descent in the place. Staff uniforms were non existent. with the staff wearing casual clothes. You did not have a waiter/waitress to look after specific tables, but any staff looked after any table. Still Michelle recommended it, hence why we were there.


So we turn to the reason we were there, no not the alcohol Michelle! The food was chosen from the A La Carte menu ( 3 courses for £17). Now given the decor etc., I have to say I was not confident at all re the food. Still Michelle recommended it, hence why we were there.


The food when it came was absolutely fantastic. Some of the best Italian food I have ever had. The portions were huge. Even a greedy pig like me was unable to finish the food and we had to take the deserts away in a doggie bag.


I have to say that the decor and serving staff all seemed to work well and the experience was one I’d want to repeat again. It was made even better by my being accompanied by a beautiful lady. /thank you Michelle for your recommendation and for a great night. The restaurant is: Franco Pizzeria in Prudhoe – 1st Floor, 59 Front St, Prudhoe, Northumberland, NE42 5AA -Phone :01661 833320


On Sunday, I took Josh, Michelle’s youngest to see Newcastle v QPR at The Sports Direct Stadium St James Park ( no chance of me calling it anything other than SJP. The game was not the most exciting, but it was another 3 points for Newcastle and now we are only 4 points from Premiership safety with 17 games left. Safety surely beckons. It was also good to see some of the lads. Amazingly it was my first home game since 2010 – well December 2010. I have deliberately not gone to any home games as I was a witness in a court case relating to a home Newcastle game and was waiting till that case finished.


Monday, I would normally be on the 0703 train to London, but as Michelle had to go to hospital for test related to her back injury I took the day off work to accompany her to the hospital. I travelled home on Monday evening laden down with food prepared by Michelle and her mother to ensure I would not starve back in London. No cycling for me today.


Tuesday, I woke up to sub zero temperatures, but still chose to cycle into work. I later had to travel down to Cardiff for work and spent the night with my good friends Lee & Cathy. I arrived there in the middle of their house seemingly falling apart. To cook the lasagne Cathy had made for tea she had to pop over to a neighbours to use their cooker as her had broken the previous night. It reminds me of a previous time there when Cathy was writing down the order for a calorie laden Chinese takeaway on the back of a weightwatchers book!


Wednesday I was in Cardiff Magistrates Court in the morning and back in London by teatime. I set off to cycle home from work. Now it was much warmer tonight than yesterday morning, but I only had my winter kit to cycle home in. Although this was keeping me too warm, it proved very helpful when I lost my 2012 virginity.


What do I mean? Well on my way home I had my first ( and hopefully only) accident of the year. Unknown to me, on Mile End Road near the Blind Beggar Pub ( Made infamous by the Krays) a vehicle had shed a lot of diesel making the road lethal. I came off on the diesel and managed to cause the young lady riding behind me to fall as well. As we got to our feet, we found 2 other cyclists who had fallen off before us. As we spoke to them several other cyclists also came down on the diesel.


At least 4 phone calls were made to the police as this was a potentially lethal situation as the road was busy with motor traffic and cyclists. Sadly in over 30 minutes the police failed to attend. During this  time at least 25 cyclists had come off their bikes. I cannot imagine the police not attending if there had been 25 motor vehicles involved in accidents at one spot.


Whilst waiting for the police 3 of us cyclists took to warning others of the danger by standing in the road and trying to warn cyclists to keep to their right and avoid the diesel. The number that ignored us was surprising. The rapidly learned when they hit the tarmac. I also have to say that it was shocking to see so many cyclists riding without lights or even anything other than black non reflective clothing.


Eventually a police car was flagged down and the council road team were summonsed to clean the road. I set off to finish my ride home, a little bit bruised, but not as bad as it could have been. I have bruises to both hands, both elbows and to my right knee and let and a cut to my right knee.Fortunately that winter clothing whilst keeping me too warm was useful padding to me and prevented nasty road rash from sliding down the road.


Thursday brought me off work resting my battered and bruised body. No Michelle, it was not a ruse to spend the day watching Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women.


Friday brought me back at work and my longest day of cycling so far this year. I did 17 miles on the way in and just over 23 on the way home for a total of 40 miles today. As I have only cycled 2 days this week, I am happy with my total of 70 miles cycled. It means that I have now done just under 300 miles so far this year. I am hoping for a decent total next week. Hopefully by this time next weekend I will have done well over 100 miles.







Elevation Gain

Avg Speed(Avg Pace)

Max Speed(Best Pace)


Fri, 20 Jan 2012







Fri, 20 Jan 2012







Wed, 18 Jan 2012







Tue, 17 Jan 2012





















































Why am I recording my mileage and trying to do 400 miles each month? I’m getting in training for the Police Unity Tour ride in May. I’m a long way from being able to ride 300 miles in 4 days. Hopefully though the fitness will come over the next few weeks. Its early mornings and late evenings riding the long way round to work.