Yesterday was yet another epic run out for a gig. I’m getting tired of these two hour journeys now (*there’s light at the end of the tunnel as a local agent has now took us on).
The A1 all the way up to Newcastle for a change – no A19 required.
A few changes though – first we didn’t take our lights in. It was an upstairs load so the fewer boxes we take the better.
Second Dennis and I have finally swapped sides on stage after planning it for a few months. Yes it’s happened!
The final annoyance though was the 10:45 stage time. It’s not really fair when a band has a two hour journey home to make stage time that late. Usually it’s 10:15 or at the latest 10:30, but we’ve not had a 10:45 in ages.
Considering it’s a 45 minute set plus encores that brings us off at about 11:40 and means we are leaving at 12:30.
My bedtime? 3:15am.
Today I’ve headed out to get something to clean the chain on the Fiido. The last few rides have really browned it up so I thought I’d do a bit of preventative maintenance. With the impeding bad weather I headed out (appropriately dressed again) and collected a chain cleaning kit.
I also stopped for coffee at my favourite coffee shop.
Skinny cappuccino is my poison today.
This afternoon I cleaned and lubricated the chain, and the rain came. I did well!
Now I’m going to fall asleep in front of Krampus, after all it’s Krampusnacht!
That moment when you get back to work having queued through a monumental traffic jam, only to realise you still have the keys for the building in your pocket.
Not wanting to face the traffic again, I decided to use my Fiido for a real practical use – caught a train to Wakefield, rode across town to the building, dropped the keys off in the keybox, and rode back to the station for the next train home.
Leather trousers were the order of the day – the weather was wet and horrible. Many layers!
Not a lot to report happened really, just the silly women with pushchairs who got on at Thurnscoe and tutted at the cycle rack being full of cycles until the guard pointed out that the pushchair rack was at the other end of the train.
So Mrs Loons is buying me three new earrings for Christmas, in the style of the three inner planets. Now that set me thinking, and as someone who has always been a fan of ear piercings and has always wanted a sizeable number up each ear, I think I have a plan.
Hear me out…
1. 2.0mm flesh tunnel or plug in orange (Sun)
2-4. Mercury, Venus, Earth (as purchased by my good wife)
5. Helix – Mars (red anodised labrette)
1. 1.2mm flesh tunnel in orange – Jupiter
2. 1.2mm flesh tunnel with hoop through – Saturn
3. Green anodised labrette for Uranus
4. Blue anodised labrette for Neptune
A cool idea would be to then have the PL symbol tattooed behind my ear really descretely, but that won’t be happening ever, after all that would be permanent – I can’t have the helix on my left ear pierced as it was done with a gun years ago and the cartilage is split
I think I’m going to make this plan so. It involves three more piercings, one in cartilage (eek).
In other news, I met up with the MancMonk yesterday. He was on good form… He was also in Sheffield for a change so outside his comfort zone.
We traveled back in time to the 1980’s and went to Andrews Tea Rooms for dinner. I know I say that in a derogatory way, but it really isn’t. Andrews Tea Rooms are a breath of fresh air in this coffee shop Panini world. Old fashioned food that’s actually really nice.
I got a few looks too! Due to the huge amount of snow we’ve had over the last few days and the need for me to take public transport I decided to take the Fiido in on the tram so I could cycle down and meet him at Rutland Road. The weather mandated my thick leather jeans.
Not only are they really warm, but with the somewhat slippery nature of the ground I just though it was road rash protection in case I did slip. I didn’t though.
And the gigs?
Well yeah we had two gigs over the weekend too. It’s been a few years since we did a double! First in Pennywell, second in Rotherham.
The first gig was a bit of a technical mess. First the snow, which we sort of had a warning about, but when you’re contracted, you have to try and make every effort to get there.
Our first warning was on the A1 as the matrix signs warned us as much. It always amuses me that the matrix signs get more primitive the further north you get. These are just 8 X 6 pixel displays mounted in a frame. Further south you get colour.
We arrived at Pennywell and as soon as we started loading in the snow started. We didn’t get tons of the stuff, but enough to make it slippery getting out of the carpark – especially as the taxi drivers had polished it smooth.
The gig itself was great. Five brand new songs in the set. Unfortunately technical glitches caused some issues. The lighting stopped working about 5 minutes into each set and froze on a single colour, and I snapped a tuning peg on my spare bass.
It was A that snapped, so I swapped it with B as I can live without B, but A is essential.
We arrived home at about 2:20am after a very snowy drive home. I did catch a really cool photo from the van though. You can see Orion at the top, and M42 is quite clearly visible. Not bad for a hand held long exposure photograph from a moving vehicle through a dirty windscreen.
The second gig went a little better. Apart from getting the van stuck in the carpark (a problem solved by buying the local shop out of salt) I investigated and found the cause of our lighting problems from the night before.
The WiFi antenna on the MyDMX lighting controller had been hit and was broken, so the WiFi signal was flaky. Luckily our home router has the same aerial socket so I ran home and borrowed one of those. The gig was only about 15 minutes away so it wasn’t a problem, and luckily I was in the Jag with it’s all wheel drive so the handling in the icy conditions was better than average.
Now I’m back to work. I’m definitely going to go to Doncaster this afternoon and get pierced, but I’ve got two jobs to do first.
I’ve been planning to make a cycle camper for a few months now, and having considered many options I’ve decided to go with the fairly popular Coraplas tube version (there’s a few versions of this on YouTube).
It’s a fairly simple design, although I’ve decided to beef up the chassis a little using aluminium and the plastic triple-wall sheeting from a conservatory roof (I know a supplier of such materials) as I’m rather larger than the guy in the photo above.
It started life as a kid’s trailer, stripped down to remove the sides and fitted with an aluminium section A frame to support the structure.
The Coraplas triplewall sheeting is now cut to shape, but that’s as far as I’ve got for now.
The next step is to encapsulate the edges and then create the upper structure using 4mm Coraplas held together with tie wraps, but that’s for another day.
So yesterday I suited up to take some outdoor pics of me in my full leather suit. I’ve become somewhat of a recluse just lately, especially since getting my own decent sized unit which I can store and wear all my gear in.
Now the problem is that one of the woodlands I used to use years ago has now become inaccessible by car – so I packed up all my gear into a bag, loaded it onto the Burley, and cycled the few miles up there.
Once there I found a secluded bit of shrubbery and changed into my full leather. With the weather being pretty atrocious I knew nobody would be around. This particular place is dead most of the time – and I was pretty confident that would be the case yesterday, after all it was windy as hell!
So I’m in full leather, with my phone on the holder on the bike, taking selfies. It’s not too obvious what I’m doing. At this particular moment I’m sat on a tree stump taking some, after doing a few standing shots.
I’m in the middle of doing quite a few photos (a shoot like this usually takes around 100-200 shots to look good)…
When I heard an “excuse me” from behind…
It turns out two guys had been walking down the path behind me and had noticed my bike. They started asking questions about it, and then one of them drummed up the courage to say “nice outfit, is it all leather”?
Sheepishly I said “yes”
He said “I like it, I’d wear that!”. I scanned it for sarcasm. The comment was clean. We then chatted for a couple of minutes, the questions really were serious and very much of the line that I think the guy would wear it. I don’t think they were a couple, just friends, but you never know.
It was refreshing to not get a sarcastic comment about being a gimp, or similar.
(to be fair, he would have probably looked a damn sight hotter than me in it!).
Now speaking of hot, it was 16°C yesterday when I was taking these pictures. I was hotter than Satan’s armpits and I had to change back, but I did manage a short ride in it all. I will say it’s not easy riding in this much leather!
I’ve now ordered a couple of extra bits as I’ve realised that holding my Galaxy Fold 3 steady really isn’t easy with the phone holders I have. I need to think more tablet!
I’m still playing around with the Fiido and getting a feel for the range on it.
Today I had a ride from Old Moor up to Hoober and back.
I also got some good photos!
I was towing a simulated camping load to see how the foldie haired faired – and to be honest even with 15kg I didn’t really notice much.
I have to say I’m finding myself relying on the assist less and less too, and I only turned it up from one on the worst hills. I’m also now starting to use the gears more too so the power doesn’t kick in as much up hills.
I returned with the Fiido showing three bars, with it dipping to two bars on set off.
Although I’ve not done it in one session yet, two long-ish sessions have allowed me to give a fairly decent range estimate on the D2S.
It started flashing a single red light at about 24 miles, and shut off totally just shy of 27. So essentially it’ll ride a marathon.
That’s a little under the claimed 50km range, but still better than I expected with me being somewhat heavier and bigger than many riders, and definitely heavier than the average Indonesian/Chinese person (who are, after all, the world’s biggest buyers and users of e-bikes).
Anyway, here’s some pretty photos from my travels.
Today for the first time ever, I did a “big shop” on the bike; coming back with quite a large number of items.
The bike in question was the Fiido D2S and the trailer was my brand new Burley Travoy, which after fixing the minor manufacturing defect is now absolutely perfect. It easily coped with around 15kg of shopping and in all honesty the Fiido didn’t struggle or feel laboured.
It’s only about a 4 mile round trip and it didn’t take too long at all, in fact the journey home was probably quicker for me than it was in a car as there was a queue all the way down the retail park.
I sparked controversy a couple of days ago. I’ve had some pretty opinionated comments on Instagram from people who have since been removed from my circles. Why? I hear you ask?
Well consider this photo. I’m out on my Fiido enjoying a ride. I’ve got the trailer hitched on the back and I’ve just been shopping. You’ll notice I’m wearing leather trousers. Leather chinos to be precise (not jeans, and if you want to stay friends with me you’ll learn to differentiate between chinos, jeans and formal trousers! 😉)
That’s the problem.
Guys think I shouldn’t be riding a bike in “expensive leather trousers”.
Fellas… They were £15 off eBay. Most of my leather trousers/jeans come from eBay and cost under £20.
Now let me put this in perspective; I have a couple of pairs of Levi 501’s. A pair of 501’s is currently around £90. You don’t say a thing when I wear unwipeable non water-resistant £90 jeans when cycling but you moan because I wear a pair of fifteen quid leather trousers?
Seriously guys, stop standing in front of the mirror getting off and sharing bedroom photos on Instagram and get the fucking things worn in your life!
I’ve been wearing leather trousers in my daily life for about thirty years now and I won’t be changing any time soon!