Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 14, 2018

Mixed Weather


Monday morning started out very cold and even at noon there was still hoar frost on the privet leaves, so I didn’t go cycling although DH did.

Tuesday was quite different after a very cloudy night and much higher temperatures. We couldn’t see any frost on the roofs across the road so we set off about 6.30 am and cycled a little over 10 miles.

Wednesday was similar , so again another we got out but as time was short due to work , there was only time for a 5 miles.

I couldn’t get out at all on Thursday and so when Friday afternoon arrived, I managed to squeeze in another 6 miles. On Friday we also had a new gas cooker delivered and DH has had to alter the units and so on Saturday he was still busy from early on.

However, by 10.30  he had got a unit built from scratch. This was needed because the new cooker was a different width to the old one and by moving a draw unit he has been able to sort another one. its not the same but uses up some of his stash of wood. He collects wood like I collect fabric heehee.

So off we rode along the river to Stockton and hoped to buy eggs from our usual supplier. No luck though because he was on holiday  and will be back next week. By now it was very cold because of the wind chill factor. I put on an old pertex top that I made many years ago and it helped me feel a bit warmer. If it hadn’t been so cold we would have extended the ride but the wind was coming from the North East and so we just returned home back along the river. At the barrage there was a lot of foam on the water. I was told years ago that it is because of the water running off the peat in the hills. I don’t know how true it is though.


It was building up to over 3 feet high( about a metre)  and the wind was blowing it about.


As we approached Albert Park I suggested we ride around as I was trying to get 40 miles in for the week. So that is what we did. As we approached home, my cycle computer showed me a few clicks off, so I road past the house and up the road until I saw the magic 40 come on. Daft I know but that means YTD is 100miles.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 7, 2018

A good start to 2018


Well, lots of bloggers seem to be choosing a word for the year. I came across a verse in the New Testament from St Paul and decided my word for the year would be STRIVE.

This means I will try really hard to achieve more than 4000miles this year. I wont only be using this for physical things but for trying to improve in all areas of my life.

New Years day saw us having a first cycle ride of the year and the weather wasn’t too bad. It was cold but at least it was bright without any rain – that is until we got home so that was good.

We chose to ride across through Ingelby Barwick and then through  Hilton and Seamer  before the lovely descent to Stokesley.  The roads were ice free and there wasn’t much traffic on the roads . The views across to Roseberry Topping and Captain Cook’s monument were clear and we could see others had taken the opportunity to get out walking.

P1010341 (2)


We then had a brief stop near the weir in Great Ayton and had hot chocolate and a biscuit before returning home under increasing dark clouds.


I got out on my own on Wednesday for a short ride and every mile adds up.

On Friday, due to a last minute change of work schedule, I got the opportunity to cycle again. I have been avoiding the early morning rides due to frost and that combined with the darkness makes me a bit wary.  A friend came from Australia to visit her parents over the holiday and she said she had forgotten just how short the days are here.

So I wanted a specialist pillowcase. Yes I could have made one but the amount it would take to make being a large V shape, I wondered if I could get in the sales. Now,  I could have ridden there and back in 5 miles but extended the  trip up into Billingham and along the A19 cycle track before heading into Stockton and back along the river, extending it to 21 miles.

It was getting to be dusk and I could see many birds circling near Newport Bridge where they roost. I got this photo of the sun reflecting off the river which I am quite pleased with.


Foolishly, I didn’t get into the shower on our return and even though I had changed my clothes i could not get warm. In the end I resorted to putting on my old Buffalo gear that I use for camping. I can tell you that soon warmed me though , even if I did look a little “chubby.”  Well more so than normal. ( we have finished most of the chocolates we were given.)

Saturday’s weather was very windy , wet and cold  first thing , so we delayed going out until the afternoon and only cycled a few miles. Returning home , I spent the rest of the day sewing making another quilt top.

So the mileage this week is 59.9 miles. Not too bad in a wet cold January I think.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | December 31, 2017


It’s that time of the year when we review what has gone and decide what will we do in the future. For me, I realised I would have to rethink my target for 2017 when late in 2016, I came off the bike and sustained a clavicle fracture. I would no longer be able to achieve 4000 miles as I wasn’t able to cycle for the whole of the 12 months.

So I set a lower target of 3000 miles. In September, I developed a bladder infection that laid me low and off the bike for another of those months. Now , as you know I am not in the first flush of youth, and healing takes more time now. Would I be able to achieve the target. Well, those who read the blog know I managed the 3000 miles about a month ago so I reset the target as 3250miles.

Well , this week saw me a bit short and so I needed to get out and ride, if I was going to make it. Here in the NE of the UK we have what can only be described as YoYo weather , and so it proved again this week. Boxing Day, 26th December, was bright and sunny but cold.  So we decided not to go to far from home and rode along the river into Stockton and back wiggling around a bit to get another mile.  I was nice to see the cormorant ( hope I got it right) drying its wings. There were 2 of them fighting over this perch.


As it was so bright I put on my new FLAB top. It reminds me so much of traditional Norwegian costume (bunad) that I couldn’t resist when I saw it on sale with 20% off.



In the afternoon, we went to visit family by car so it couldn’t be a full day ride. I got some lovely cycling gifts from my sons and a friend.


The 27th was wet and cold in the morning  and thoroughly miserable. I had spent time sewing and looking for new ideas. I decided to spend some of my present money on a new quilting ruler and had a ride across to Teesside Park. Now it was only 4 miles, but every little helps and I did manage it in short no precipitation patch. Then later in the afternoon, the sun came out so I had a short walk. I really should walk more often as my thighs were aching surprisingly but I took a few photos.


By the 28th, I was stitching away but the sun was out and I was just getting ready to ride when a patient of mine phoned needing help. ( I am a chiropodist/podiatrist.) I explained as wasn’t working but if he didn’t mind I would call around and see what I could do. He was worried about an infection. I was pleased to tell him it looked OK, applied some padding to relieve his pain, and then got another 10 miles in.

It was cold though  then later in the afternoon, the sun was still  out so I had a short walk. I really should walk more often as my thighs were aching surprisingly but I took a few photos in or near the cemetery .



The best laid plans and all that—- SNOW came so now riding on Friday. I totted up the miles and was 17 short for the goal. By Saturday morning , most had gone – on the main roads anyway – so out we went. It was fine until we got onto the river path , where there was piled up slush, so once at Newport bridge ( I was walking the last 100 yds) it was off  up the ramp and then using the clear path we went up to Billingham, Norton and through Stockton to Thornaby and home. I think the paths near the main roads , must have benefited from the road gritters being out.

So I am pleased to report that in 2017, I achieved my revised goal of 3250miles.



Posted by: brendaintheboro | December 23, 2017

Solstice Sleep Out

There hasn’t been much cycling this week before the Christmas weekend but I have been camping. Yes in December.

The idea started a couple of months back when Alastair Humphrey , who advocates  micro-adventures suggested sleeping in a wood, one night in each of the four seasons. My friend C owns a field and a small wood not to far from here. I sent her a message to see if she fancied taking up the challenge and she said ” OK. How about 21December, the solstice.” Well that suited me just fine as the next day was my birthday.

Then later DS1 suggested he come along too as he hoped to get some photos of the stars. I was working during the day so DS1 and DH went over during the day and put up our large tarp to sit under and my tarp for me to sleep in.  During the pervious week DS1 had asked if I could make him a bivy bag  which I make very simply from cordura and pertex so that he could use it in his tarp. These are all items I made a few years ago and have been well used.

So it was well after dark when I arrived. ( the sun dropped at 3.45pm).   My tarp had been decked out with fairy lights by C.


Not a great photo but you get the idea.

DS1 had a fire going , having made a firepit from paving stones that had been fly tipped on the field and he had a BBQ just ready to cook steak and chicken for our evening meal.


P1010296C had been to the Hub for Christmas lunch for the cycle volunteers which she makes a great job of.


We spent the evening tending the fire and talking and laughing but the  mist rolled in and it was probably fog by then but we didn’t mind. It was a great evening and we didn’t go off to sleep until after 10.00pm. That’s late for me.


We had all prepared for it to be cold but in fact it was really warm for the time of year and all of us said we had to throw off sleeping bags except just before dawn it cooled off.. I heard DS1 stir and I could see that he had rekindled the fire, as you can see under the edge of the tarp and there was definite fog.



sorry this photo is a little blurry but you get the idea.

DH arrived just as the light came up – you couldn’t see any sun – and I cooked us all a hearty breakfast of turkey bacon and eggs in bread rolls that I heated through on the stove. If it had been colder, the gas wouldn’t have  burned  well but as it was about 9C , there wasn’t a problem. So after eating , we packed our things and were home by 10.30am. Then it was Christmas shopping.

Today, I needed a few last minute things and I don’t shop on a Sunday, so it was today or not at all.  I decided to use the Dahon folder to go for these couple of last minute things. DS1 suggested  that I fold the bike and put it into one of the trolley lockers in the café of the supermarket. It was heaving with shoppers but I got the  bike into the locker  after asking the security guard who had no problem doing that. Its a great idea for future trips. It was only a short trip but  good to get out.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope to get a few more miles in before the year ends.

This week 5.3 mls   YTD 3201.3mls

Posted by: brendaintheboro | December 17, 2017

Another Icy Week

Clear overnight skies have led to lots of ice this week. There was snow early in the week but we were so surprised that within the space of 2 hours, the carpark at chapel would completely clear. However , there has been lost of ice so that curtails the cycling.


Saturday dawned bright and cold but I was determined to have a short ride. DH wanted a longer ride but we left it as late as possible to leave and not together.

I decided to ride the most direct route across to Saltholme RSPB reserve and had suggested having soup and a bun. DH is a true Yorkshire man and the idea of spending money is abhorrent to him. Heehee! The gas stove wouldn’t have worked anyway in such low temperatures.

I must say it was very icy and I had to take great care and on occasions walked rather than risk a skid and fall. I was just locking up my bike when he arrived and I asked if he had a change of plan. Not so, he just came to give me a kiss – not bad after 46 years of marriage.

So in I went and had soup and bread and then a mince pie and a hot chocolate. I had seen a request for knitters for a project that the RSPB is doing but no-one seemed to know that the request on FB had said there would be patterns available, so I left empty handed but at least I was fed and warm.

I did take photos of the semi frozen lake at the reserve and the ducks and coots standing about on it.P1010284

I am always amazed at how much wildlife there is in this industrial area.

I decided to ride the road back along as it had been gritted and wasn’t so slippery. The idea came to use the Transporter Bridge to cross back over but that would have meant a short ride. Shorter than I wanted. So I dismissed that idea and road back the way I had come until I got to Newport Bridge, then turned to cycle up the north back of the Tees. I had the option to go straight back home but decided to follow the south side and then up through town and Albert Park. The frost made a shushing sound as I rode over it and as it was now about 3.00pm the light was fading and it felt colder.


I was glad to get home and into a warm shower and then DS1 and I began to prepare to make home made pizzas. By now it was dark and I wondered how far DH was from home so phoned and was surprised when he answered immediately. He was up on the track near Thorpe Thewles but had been walking as he came off on the ice twice. I asked if he wanted to be picked up and he agreed immediately, another surprise. So I went off and got him, meeting him  on the stretch of road between Thorpe Thewles and Billingham. He needed his bleeding thumb dressing when we got home and said he could change his front chain rings as his thumb was so painful.

Still all’s well.

I also spent some time learning a new method of steeking with a crochet hook this week and have now finished another cardigan for myself. It is much less traditional than the other Norwegian sweater I made a few weeks ago. I did use another of the Norwegian language patterns but put my own stamp on it by putting in a zip and making a collar. I like little amusing twists and so used an embroidered ribbon a bought a while ago to cover the cut end.



So mileage this week was a very meagre 19.8 miles and so YTD is 3,196 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | December 10, 2017

Cycling in Winter

The song “Baby it’s cold Outside” really applied this week.  I did manage two rides earlier in the week when it was a little milder just after the super moon. I have some guest photos from my son this week.


He was out early to get some photos  and I was really surprised at the detail he was able to get on his quite basic camera that he purchased used off an auction site.

He also went out early yesterday morning to get this shot of the stars and the beginnings of snow in our area.


I know that in other parts of the country it has been snowing hard and a friend cancelled her weekend trip away because of it.

So I managed a total of 3 rides ranging from 29 miles to 5 miles totalling 42miles in all. I am one of those people who tends to get quite sweaty and my DH and I are complete opposites. So we start out wearing different layers. He has to wear more than me but when we stop I need to put on extra layers and then take them off before commencing riding again. I am not keen on that because it suddenly feels very chilly.

On Monday we had unexpected time  to cycle and that is when we managed 29 miles but we weren’t able to leave home until after 11.00am . That was actually good because it gave time to warm up. Well about 5C when we left and it didn’t get much higher.  That trip took us up to Bishopton and then along to Stillington which I haven’t been to in years. We intended to have a late lunch here but couldn’t find anywhere dry to sit. Note to self: on these winter days take a cloth to dry off picnic benches or take along our own seats.

Eventually we returned down into Redmarshall but by then I had to call a halt as I needed to eat and drink. DH can go on all day without refuelling but I can’t.  We did however find a bench next to the village Christmas tree and toasted out sandwiches and had hot chocolate to drink.

Yesterday was freezing cold. The temperature was at 0c but with the wind chill it was about  -2 or -3C. That put us off a bit but I wanted to get the mileage up to 40 for the week so we had a short ride to visit elderly friends.

We also had the church ward Christmas party to attend so had to get back.

I was dressed in a long sleeved polyester vest, a long sleeved merino top and then put on an old Pertex 4 top I made about 20 years ago. It keeps out the wind and is wicking. Then to finish off the top half I put on my nice yellow FLAB top.

On my legs I had merino tights and my cycling tights and 2 pairs of hand knitted woollen socks under my gortex lined shoes.

I wear a buff around my neck and another folded over my ears under my helmet and on my hands I wear lobster claw gloves that keep my hands lovely and warm. On milder days they are too warm and I end up with wet sweaty gloves. Not yesterday though, when we got home everywhere was dry as a bone. As a note, a friend saw us out cycling and said I looked like the Michelin Man with all the layers on.

This week 42 miles so YTD 3176.2 miles.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | December 2, 2017

Only one ride this week.

Winter really hit this week. The early part was very wet and windy and then this happened.


SNOW. NOOOOO! Actually by yesterday morning , it warmed a little and rain and sleet came down and got rid of some of the snow. By last night , most of the snow here and at the coast had vanished. There was snow still on the hills but we decided to ride to the coast and keep to the low ground.

We just rode one of our usual routes to Saltburn and had to pass by Kirkleatham Hall which was buzzing with traffic for a Victorian Christmas fair. We had to be very careful as the traffic was bumper to bumper  along the lane and cars were parked all along too. We had set out late and so by 11.00am people were piling in.

Still , we got along safely and up to Saltburn. We counted 11 surfers in the water. In my youth, 50 years ago, I used to go in the sea almost every day so I can well understand the lure of the sea.


Then it was along to Amber Street to go up to Ripping Yarns were I was lucky enough to get some West Yorkshire Spinners  sock wool in candy cane colours.  We also bought a few cakes .

Then we headed back along the coast and through the allotments and into Marske.

We called to see an old friend who hasn’t been too well but he wasn’t there. We had no paper to leave a note so had to use one of the cake bags to write on. Shame but we enjoyed the cakes later in a shelter on the promenade in Redcar. Then it was along the Trunk Road to home.

So only 31.5 miles this week and YTD 3134.6 miles.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | November 26, 2017

Quilting – how to layer up

This post is totally not cycle related so you don’t have to read any further if you are only interested in cycling.

Some months ago I saw a post about using pipe foam lagging tubes to layer up a quilt . I tried but the tubes were too bendy and it didn’t work too well. However, another post recommended getting wooden dowels and strengthening the foam by shoving them up the space for the pipe.

DH was going to a hardware store for some paint , so I went along with him and we got the required dowels. Then Lori Kennedy of the In Box Jaunt issued a challenge to finish a quilt you have hanging about as a flimsy top. A year ago , I finished up a top which was medallion style and lots of little half square  triangles and little hour glass blocks. I just didn’t know what to do with it but have been watching Lori’s class on planning quilting on

So I got my son to take some photos to show me layering without crawling around on my hands and knees, especially as floor space is limited. This quilt is about 70 inches square.

First off,  I used the seam line on the foam to pin the top in a straight line onto the foam. I used little glass headed pins to push in.


Then you will notice that I am rolling the top on with the wrong side outer most.


I smoothed the top out  as I rolled along making sure that there were no creases.

Once the top was completely rolled, I then did exactly the same with the wadding (batting US) and the backing  which I had cut about 8 inches bigger giving a 4 inch overhand for when the quilting commences.

So, the backing , wadding and the top were laid out on the table making sure that all layers were smooth for the first foot or so was straight.

Then I started pinning with safety pins as I can’t use a 505 spray, as I react badly to smells. If I could use it , I would have sprayed the wadding and applied it to the backing and then re-rolled those together before then applying the sticky spray to the other side of the wadding and rerolling the top.


My DH used an old grapefruit spoon to make me a tool to help close the pins. I did try a commercially bought one but I prefer this one as the indentations on the poon hold the pin well while I pop them closed. It saves a lot of pain on my finger ends.


I now have it completely layered up so will start quilting soon – I hope – if other things done get in the way. I hope this may have helped someone.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | November 26, 2017

Winter’s Arrival

Well, winter has come. Early in the week there were gales and heavy rains. In the west of the UK , some areas have had flooding but we escaped the brunt of it. However, I didn’t go out in the early mornings much either because it was raining hard or because of work commitments.

When we left on Tuesday morning, just after 6.00am , there was no precipitation but with in few minutes we had to stop and don the  waterproofs. However, we didn’t turn back immediately and cycled on to ride a 6.5 miles loop. Not far but a bit of an effort, and as I always say, a little is better than none.

Foolishness and leaving something behind, enabled a ride over to Billingham on Friday afternoon. DH accompanied me and then we rode home via Teesside Park  picking up some food shopping . Its useful to always have pannier bag or two on the bikes for just such unexpected opportunities.

We hoped to get a longer ride across to Darlington on Saturday but it was bitterly cold and the temperature was below 0C when we left home at 10.00am. We started off going through town but once along the river it was very frosty.


In view of that , we aborted the trip and just rode to Stockton market picking up eggs from our local supplier and then back again. The temperature rose to 3C and the frost began to melt in areas that had the sunshine.

Near the barrage , with all the water flowing over it looked like little icebergs. It was foam though.

Further, down river we were surprised to see so much drift wood that had come down in the rains.

P1010256 (1)

The trees are almost devoid of leaves but there is still some bright colour.

By the time we arrived home, the sky began to cloud over and the temperature rose to 6C. We weren’t disappointed though and spent some time visiting a couple of elderly men DH looks out for. The forecast for the next couple of weeks isnt too promising but we will get out when we can.

So this week there was only 36.1 miles ridden and YTD 3103.1.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | November 19, 2017

Autumn Ending

Last week on the BBC news, one of the presenters said that it was winter. Well, the weather was cold but the weatherman said that its not really winter until 1st December.


So I have managed to get out riding most days and by Saturday morning was reading 59 miles on my cycle computer. There was a mizzling rain in the early hours but the forecast was for it to brighten up by 9.00am and by 9.20am the sun was breaking through. We would go for a longer ride and getting our stuff together we headed down across Newport Bridge and decided to head up towards Thorpe Thewles. We would check out the track up NCN1 and if it was too muddy , we would modify the trip.

However, although there was a lot of leaf fall, the ride up to Hurworth Burn was very enjoyable. We stopped briefly and I took these photos. There was a fairly strong NW wind blowing across the reservoir.

I could hear a real noise coming from across the water and so managed to zoom in  and see it was geese.



Once we had got to Station Town, we were again on the track across the fields until the junction of NCN1 and NCN14, the Hart to Haswell track and we turned to head into Hartlepool along here.

A young lad had broken his gear cable and a mountain biker stopped to help. It was obvious he knew what he was doing , to we left them too it. It was too cold to be hanging about .

This track was a bit muddier and I am cautious so we were overtaken by the mountain bikers but they hauled there bikes across the bridge over the railway line to go to Crimdon Dene. Too much like hard work for me.

Once down at the headland in Hartlepool, we stopped for lunch near the war memorial and I toasted the sandwiches and also boiled the kettle to refill the flask. It was still windy but not as bad as up at Hurworth .

We then rode into town so that I could buy some yarn from the wool shop Bobbies that has been there for many years. She also sells on line as Worldwide Wools but I prefer to call in. Funnily enough, I discovered that the lady I have called Bobbie all these years , is actually Vivienne and her mother started the shop. I don’t know how long ago but it must have been in the 1950’s if not earlier.

We decided , as we had been to Saltholme only recently, we go back via NCN14 across the field tracks to Billingham. We stopped at Cowpen Bewley nature reserve and had another hot chocolate and home made ginger and chocolate cake that DH had made. I am a lucky ‘girl’.


As the days are so much shorter now, it was time to light up both me and my bicycle for the return home. So once at the river , we followed the north shore and then crossed the barrage and home through Teesside park shopping area. There were more vehicles exiting than entering so that was easier.

So mileage this week was 104.6 miles  so I have reached my target and gone beyond .

YTD 3067 which I am well pleased with as I haven’t been able to cycle as much as I would have wanted. It will be interesting to see how many more I get in this year.




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