The Mandalorian Suprise

So under that Helmet, Bobba Fett wasn't that much of a badass after all...

More behind the scenes shots here.


Knots are Awesome

I have been brewing this for a couple of days. Earlier this week ( on a no-news day ) the Scout Association made comments about ditching the teaching of knots ( "But the reality is what's important now is their ability to do youth work – not climb mountains or do knots" from the Telegraph here).

Now I am a knot fan, I love the things, from a bowline to a round turn and two half hitches and back to my personal favourite a sheepshank. The simplicity of being able to secure two ( or more ) things together is simply good for the soul. It is as fundamental to humankind as gathering food and finding water.

And you will be surprised how many times you need a good knot, from tying back curtains to securing a roof rack, they are really useful in everyday life.

So why is the Scout Association giving them up? Well if you believe the reports it is to focus on such delightful things as PR and IT skills.


Dear Scouts, you were born in the woods, don't forget that.

Or is it time for a new association.....



 OK, it's taken me a while to get with the whole Instagram thing ( blame Blackberry for that ), but you will be glad to know I am on it now...

So follow me and watch the vignette...


Bulgarian Bags and the Sufferfest my New Winter Training Partners

My gym has recently changed hands so along with better music and instructors who seem to have a better idea of what they are doing, they have some cheeky new kit. Hidden in a corner, near the kettlebells, but destined to be forgotten about were a set of these 'Bulgarian Bags'.

Nope, I had never seen them either!

Bit of a Youtube search and they start looking pretty special...

And so begins a winter of getting very close to these guys. ( though it does get boring with all the gym monkeys watching all the time as I throw them around ).

Next up is something for home. With a summer of biking behind me ( though still some Sportives planned including the Ride for Michael one in Penrith this weekend ), I've sold my soul to lycra and will be spending time sweating it up in the garage on a turbo trainer, following the crazy Sufferfest programe.


Here is to a Winter of feeling the burn...


The Ultimate Caravan

Don't get me wrong, I love camping but that doesn't mean you can't get a bit jealous of the campervan and caravan posse. My current Outwell family tent is still going strong, but I want something new. I'm tempted by the very clever Vango Airbeams, but I don't think you can go wrong with a solid Bear Lake 4 ( with extension of course ).

Then I saw this...

Wow, is all I can say. Pair this with a Land Rover ( one day.. ) and your away.

Just don't ask the price.... ( click here if you must know ).


I Ruled the Roads - Kind of?

It's 05:45 and I am pulling lycra shorts on...something is wrong with this picture.

Actually, fashion faux pas aside, I had been looking forward to this day for a while. The truth is, after jumping on skinny tyres for the Ride For Michael Sportive last year  ( yes I still blame you for this Mr Bonney ) I have definitely warmed to the world of Froome and Wiggins. Let's face it, it's all on two wheels and anyone who has hit 50mph + will tell you it is just as mad as mountain bike or bmx action.

So why so early? Randomly this was because of a relatively local event, the Great Manchester Cycle which I had signed up to in deepest darkest winter. Getting dressed at home meant no embarrassing stretches and lunges to get into those oh so comfortable bib shorts.

Rocking up to the Etihad stadium was pretty cool. Opposite the home of UK cycling there were loads of club riders getting ready to own the pelatons and win the sprints ( though strictly speaking this was a 52 mile 'challenge' not a 'race' ). I was Billy No Mates again,  ( I should just sign people up so they have no excuses for missing the tickets ), but this meant I could just soak it all up in my own time and get into the zone. Naturaly when I say 'get into the zone' I mean try to work out what on earth to do on the roads of Manchester with 2000 other riders all wanting to beat my Strava time....

Having been started by a former Hollyoaks star ( who looked very uncomfortable trying to ride a bike more than 15m ), we were off and I was soon caught up in a group of club riders who pretty much dragged me out of the stadium complex. After some tight turns the road opened up and I soon found myself using my Science background and making the most of drafting the more seasoned riders in matching tops.

Then it started to get cheeky. On the open section of the Mancunian Way, the club riders who had been forced to start further back made their moves on the front pack. In a blur of carbon bikes and electronic gear shifters I found myself dropping off the main group to catch some space ( remember I generally ride my road bike on my own, so sitting with hundreds of riders was a bit new ). This was a bad idea and as soon as there was a gap the wind hit me and I lost my speed.

First lesson of big road riding learnt...when in a pack, stay in a pack!

So started my fight back and to be honest it was the stuff of legends. Yes, you could argue that I didn't really make a dent in those front riders, but from where I was sitting astride my mighty Genesis Equilibrium steel steed, I was riding in the Tour itself. I tagged onto faster groups, over took dream machines ( costing more than a nice second hand car ) on the hills going both up and down, broke away when groups got too slow and even lead my own groups and took on whole clubs.

Before I knew it I was on my third lap coming in to Old Trafford, so I pulled in to grab a drink and a bit of an energy slab before heading out again. To be honest I didn't need to stop, I just wanted to extend the ride and change the angle on my GoPro!

After another technical circuit of the Etihad I was back on the road again for the 4th and final lap. Yes that was it, focusing on the riding, the miles had just disappeared ( and lets face it there wasn't anything to really look at from the ride...hardly out in the hills is it? ). I suppose I should have been grateful that on this last lap I didn't really find any strong groups to tag on to or take on as it meant I could really enjoy spinning on these open roads, but I did miss the madness of the pelatons I had experienced earlier in the day.

So when can I sign up for next year?

And is there a 100 mile version of this??

Thanks again to Genesis for and awesome bike.

And thanks for Madison for dream kit which kept me warm during the cold morning, dry during the rain shower and cool when the sun starting to beat down....oh and it looks kick ass too.

And please:



Russian River Redux

After a week of working in delightful Petaluma ( famous for cows? ) I had a day and a bit to kill before jumping on an old BA 747 back home ( and when I say old, I do mean old, tired and should be cut up and recycled ) and as some of you have asked where I took the pictures, here is the info...

I was first recommended Guerneville as a place to check out 4 or so years ago, when I had to kill an afternoon and it made a nice loop back to SFO.I have been back a couple of times since to check out some of the eateries, but this time I booked into the Cottages on River Road ( top on Trip Advisor and I needed a change from the oh-so-business Sheraton ) and headed down after work on the Friday.

I was early in the season, but managed to get a canoe from a local outfitter ( not quite one of my old Mobile Adventure models.... this was a plastic tub, but still a good paddle ) and they even drove me up river so I could float back down to the town without having to worry about where to end my trip.

It's fair to say it was hot... Not quite the 90 degrees of the previous week, but still against my wintered British skin it was harsh out on the water. It didn't distract from the paddle though, just made for a nice 5 hours out. Ignoring the smell of the local medicine wafting out of the houses by the river, I was followed by a couple of herons as I checked out little turtles, fish and other local critters ( no mountain lions this time ).

Post-Paddle I grabbed a pizza and beer in town and then headed back to my cottage to chill with a good e-book ( this one if you must know ).

Sunday was travel day, but not wanting to sit in the same spot at the airport I have done on all previous trips too early, I headed up the hill to Armstrong Woods.This is the quiet cousin of Muirwoods and has all the escapism you could want ( much like the UK most people don't wander far from the carpark ) and of course it has the mighty Redwood.

If you haven't seen these 1000 year old beasts, then you should do, before they are all gone. Natural skyscrappers would sum it up and given it was May 4th ( Star Wars Day ), it felt like I was on Dagobah and around the next corner would be an Ewok with a catapult ( yes I am a still a nerd ).

So next time you are working somewhere, don't waste your free time with shopping, that is what the internet is for, get off your ass and get outdoors.

And remember it is all reconnaissance for your next trip back...

Canoe Trip Pics here.

Armstrong Woods Pics here.


I need to get back running

Along with runs in Manchester and the Lakes...looks like I have another race to do this summer ( though this one is for a bit of a giggle ). Anyone else game?


I suppose I should get some miles in....


Enter the Nexus...

The Playbook is dead, long live the Nexus 7 (with bluetooth keyboard).


Top tip - ditch the frapamachachino and order plain black filter coffee. No waiting at the end of the counter and it keeps it real. ( it's always cheaper too )


Bruntwood Park BMX Track and Club

Looks like I am officially a member of the #raddads club.

and yes I did get my crayons out and design the flyer...

Bruntwood BMX Club Track in Cheadle Cheshire is the bomb...


Great Challenges for 2014

Truth be told, it is a pretty weak title for a blog post. Reads like one of those 'great places to stay' sites which very rarely have any great places to stay. But the reason I am using it as the first three races/events/challenges I have signed up to for 2014 are all under the 'Great' banner.

So first off I am doing the Great Manchester Run in May again. I did it in the blazing sun last year and really enjoyed it. It's only 10km, but kicks off the season quite nicely. Also, now I know the course I should be able to kick a little earlier and bring the time down a wee bit ( still trying to work out if I prefer longer or shorter distances and it will be a good test of my knees post Marathon ).


Still on my feet, but this time back in the mud for the Great Trail Challenge up in the Lake District. Not done this before, but after racing a train in Wales last year I though I would drop in something equally as silly this year. Throw in a spot of lakeside camping and it should be a good weekend. I should say I am entering the longer 22km event, why bother with the shorter one?


Now back in the saddle and some #ride4MB time again. This time it is the very popular Great Cycle event which powers along through Manchester at the back end of June. It's a bit more Towny than I prefer on two wheels, but ragging along the ring road does look like a lot of fun.


So nothing too extreme this time around, but need some more two wheeled action ( will try and get some more Enduro events in there ) and I need something silly in the back end of the year. I've been considering the 'Man v Mountain' event, but open to all suggestions!

Suppose I should do some training...


Wordage by Tim Sadler

Starting the year with more words and pics over on Ride.io.

Even got my mug on the front page...( for a while at least )



A thought for 2014

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain.