I was trying to keep my fitness up and maybe start to build towards triathlon fitness next year by doing bike work and exercises while I rest my hoof. It’s been nigh on two months of no running and my foot is still tender. Not actually painful, but not nothing, like my right foot. So as soon as I return to running I know it’s going to flare up again. I’ve stopped the bike training and exercises to try and fully rest it. I still cycle into work, but it’s only 2.6 miles each way, that’s hardly anything.

I was beginning to think no matter what I did it was never going to heal. Then one of my friends on Twitter said I should see the physio. I had a lot of email advice from him for free during lockdown, but that can’t compare with a proper, physical, examination. It’s a great idea. I’ve emailed him and I’ve got an appointment for next Monday. It’s 17.00hrs in Stockport, so I’m going to have to go on the motorbike. Rush hour traffic around the M60 (Manchester ring road) is atrocious. Hopefully that will put me on the road to full recovery.

I went around to Lisa’s last week, to see my mam. Lisa asked me what it meant when she was braking from speed the car pulled to one side. I said it was probably the tracking was out. (Though, thinking about it, it could just as easily be one brake failing). She is working full time and still can’t afford to live, so I said we’d pay for it. Get it done, it’s dangerous. Then my mam said the brakes feel spongy. Lisa said “Oh yeah, they said the brake pads were nearly worn out at my last MOT”. Spongy is a different thing, probably need the brakes bleeding, but get the pads done as well. Now. We’ll pay for it. “No, it’s alright, I’ll get it done in January when it goes in for the MOT.”

I was talking about it with Wendy today and decided I’d best nag. Lisa hates to take anything off of you, but it’s just not safe, especially as we’re supposed to be getting snow and gales again tomorrow. I text her and said ‘book it in, tell them you want these 3 jobs doing, we’ll pay.’

She text back, she’d been to pick Nath up from work, just got off the motorway (luckily), went to brake and had nothing. She pumped the brake and just about managed to avoid smashing into the car in front.

She’s booked it into the garage and isn’t using it.

Bloody hell, Lisa!

(Update: the garage has fixed it all and she’s safe to drive again.)

In other news, I’ve not had any plague weakness for a few weeks, which is great. Quite possibly it is that post viral fatigue thing: you do a bit, you get wasted.

At work, I’ve wanted to get trained on the tugs (shunt units) for a while. When I’m over at the Rail Terminal I have to shunt in a road unit (which are not very good for the job) because I’m not trained for the tug.

Last week they sent a text asking if anyone was off work and would like training. I didn’t have any work on the Wednesday so I went in for a few hours training. It’s harder than you think. I’ve got the hang of the coupling, lifting that huge fifth wheel arm, and uncoupling drills, but the tugs have so much power they drive in tickover. And the steering is so sensitive. On a road unit it’s huge turns, spinning the steering wheel around, on these it’s delicate inch turns. I was really struggling with my reverse. Which is basically the job, if you’re shunting.

I got a text off the agency earlier asking if I could swap for an earlier start tomorrow, shunting. Gulp. 05.30. OK, I’ll do it, you’ve got to be rubbish at some point, by the end of tomorrow I’ll have cracked it. And being an ungodly o’clock start I’ll be home in time for afternoon naps. They sent me the details. 05.30-18.00. Oh. Another victory for my cunning. I’m going to get some grief tomorrow, but by the end of the (very long) day, I should have it down. I was just thinking I’d be trained so I could do the odd shunting duty at the rail terminal, which is an easy day. Shunting at my base depot is full-on working. Huh, another one I didn’t think through.

(Edit: Day after. Well, that was fun. I’ve only ever seen our depot from a driver’s point of view. It gets pretty frantic at this time of year. I was scared it was going to be mad busy, dodging in out of drivers, trying to get trailers on and off the bays all day. Not a great way to learn the ropes. As it turns out, it’s so busy there isn’t much for the shunters to do. The drivers are coming in with trailers to put on the bays and looking for empties to take off. I did 12½ hours and must have moved less than 30 trailers. It was cold and boring, but at least it wasn’t stressful. And I’m over my fear of shunting. I’ve was worried about using the mic and the steering on the tug. Not a problem. The steering is that fast you can start to get the trailer on to the bay from virtually any position, then just straighten it up, job’s a good ‘un.)

I’ve been window shopping again for a winter hack. No real plans to buy anything, but I like looking.

I came across this beast:

It’s an 1100cc, early 80s, naked, Goldwing. I have a soft spot for the big, ugly, beasts. But it’s been stood for “a number of years” since “starter motor” issues. And he wants a grand for it. Cheap for the bike, but it’s a total pig in a poke. Without a starter motor you can’t even turn it over. And I’m not confident in my repair skills. Also, it’s absolutely the wrong bike for winter commuting. Imagine trying to lift that up if you came off in the snow! No!You can’t make me get it!

I was having issues with the concept of pride, as pertains to other people’s achievements primarily, but the concept as a whole. I looked it up on Wikipedia. It still doesn’t make much sense, but I liked a wry aside “…pride could also be defined as a lowly disagreement with the truth.” Hahaha, nice.

Right, I’ve got to be up at 04.20, I’d better finish and hope I can sleep.

Some twitter and I’m done.

The tories have introduced a new, level playing field system for paying for retirement care. The poor get to subsidies the rich. As usual.

Some helpful advice now that masks are mandatory in shops again. (Not necessary in pubs when you are drunk and hugging people and telling randomers you love them. That’s perfectly fine.)



As a PS, I was off today. I’ve been having issues with my winter pushbike. It’s got huge (38mm wide), low pressure (35psi) tyres. (As opposed to my road bike which has 25mm tyres that are rock solid at 110psi.) This makes riding it fast a bit challenging, but it puts lots of squidgy rubber down to grip the road in case of icy patches. I really don’t want to break my shoulder again. The downside is it’s designed as a cyclocross/ gravel bike, and apparently it would be uncool to not be splattered in mud so there are no mounting points for mudguards. I’ve managed to fit some rudimentary clip on ones, but I’m still getting sprayed. I bought a set of mudguards before realising there were no mounting points. I bought another set that clip on by mounting through the holes in the frame. There are no holes in the frame.

I am sick of getting sprayed, and I don’t want to fall off on the ice. I was one click away from buying a new pushbike that is mudguard and fat tyre compatible, that way I could change to skinny high pressure tyres in the spring, fat, low pressure ones in winter. One bike all year round. Just change the tyres over. At the last minute I thought about it. Just change the tyres over. I could do that on my current road bike. There are clearance issues so I’ve compromised on a 33mm, 70psi road tyre. With my new clip on mudguards, and a bit of jerry rigging, that should sort me out.

Who designs a pushbike with no means of mounting mudguards?