Hot and Sandy

Travel writing, pictures and stuff for people I know. Quite a lot of cycling talk, and some semi-controlled ranting. Hiking, outdoor and two-wheeled stuff, perhaps a little computing when it's worth talking about. Meandering thoughts.

Wednesday, February 20


Yeah, I know it's been a while, but I'm still here and looking forward to a Morocco trip in the near future.  Woo :-)

Thursday, February 14


Has been foggy all week, which is an interesting challenge on a motorbike (especially one with rubbish lights - bring on the HIDs!).  Yesterday someonein front of me drove into the central reservation on a very gentle left-hander, leading to a partial road closure.  I felt sorry for the policeman who had to walk into oncoming traffic, in fog, laying down cones.  Eek, as they say.  More another time. 

Sunday, February 10

Rattly Chest = Bad News

This morning was tough. It was a lovely morning when I woke and I thought it would be great to ride with the cycling club; sunny skies and the faintest breath of wind. I left the house on my Pomp, a blue fixie with 28mm tyres, full mudguards and a Hope disk brake on the front. It simultaneously reminds me of a quaint bygone age (do-anything road & path fixed-wheel bikes made from steel and hard as nails) with a pleasant new-tech twist (the hydraulic disk and fast wheels).

As soon as I started I knew this wouldn't be good. In the past I have been proven wrong after a pessimistic start, so I was hoping for a second wind. But there was no power in my legs, and I had 17km to rapidly cover before even meeting the BRCC guys. To cut a long story very short I suffered, and it seems my innocuous snot-cold has migrated south into my chest to become a scary rattly wheeze. It was a mistake to go out I think, should have cruised some trails on my MTB. Oh well. Heating turned up, a long hot shower and a large cup of tea will fix it.

Yesterday I collected the wheels for my new project. I need a tough, zero-maintenance commuting bike. It should be as light and simple as possible, but I'd also like something agile and fun to ride. A half-decent MTB with 20mm slicks might do the job, but where's the elegance? I have the following parts all ready to go: a long carbon seatpost, carbon flat bars w/ carbon stubbies, a Hope mono mini front disk, some Pace RC31 rigid forks, a pair of 650C open pro rims, Goldtec rear and Hope Pro II front hubs, Cook Bros Racing crankset. This is the sort of thing I'm aiming for. A sleek, smooth, uncomplicated brute of a road bike. No extraneous junk. No function over form. One good gear, one good brake. Fast (and I mean fast) wheels. Hardly any weight, despite the steel frame. It's going to be good.

Now all I have to do is think of a name. Element? Mote? Atom? Wisp? Suggestions welcome, aiming to capture desirable but simple / pure object, with speed and elegance.

Wednesday, February 6

Web Page Repairs

I've been looking at the stats for my PM-04 pages, and they have already overtaken this blog! I spose people need to up-spec motorbikes for travelling, so they stumble on my site. This is the most popular page (the nerdy nuts & bolts page). And this is an interesting link to the visitors the page has received - some are from Iran and Israel... Odd. More another time. Exciting news is that I have bought HID headlights and LED rear lights / indicators for my BMW. Cool.

Tuesday, February 5

BMW Week 2

Have finally bitten the bullet and bought a car.  It's a diesel 3 series estate.  Yes, estate.  Have also decided to do the necessary to my BMW, which means LED rear lights (filament bulbs keep blowing because of the vibrations and being on all the time) and HID front ones.  The HIDs are really necessary because, although the headlights are aimed well and give a good spread of light, there's just not enough there! Makes things a bit scary on a rain-soaked fenland back-road, I can tell you from experience.  Am hoping to get some before and after pics.  More at some point, probably. 

Monday, February 4

BMW Week 1

Have been riding my BMW again, after a rather annoying layoff to get the rear wheel painted. Eventually I had to use the bike for a long work journey (to Bristol and Bath) - only problem was that the alarm had drained the battery... Much swearing and raw knuckles followed before I managed to jump-start the bike from the car. Phew! Have really been slacking on my mpg chart as well; just added some receipts that were lying around. This is an archive of 5,100 miles of R1100S fuel economy. Generally the highest mpg figures are for long runs, the lower ones are for rushed commutes, or cross-town dashes. You never know, someone might be interested!