For many years they have been the preserve of travellers, hippies and outdoorsy types ( I even wore a fleece one when I was in the Himalayas many years ago ), it now seems like the classic Peruvian woolen hat has now been claimed by the Chav fraternity as a fashion statement ( it was once the Lowe Alpine Mountain hat! ). I don't think that trend was predicted?
And whilst we are on the topic, why is it that all Chav blokes ride girls bikes? Trust me...next time you see a tracksuit wearing lowlife on a bike, I bet it is a girls one!?
After 6 or so weeks out of the saddle and enjoying the early hours of most nights with little Immy, I was little nervous putting the biking kit together for this trip out with Wrennie.
A start before the sun came up gave Wrennie the opportunity to convince me to stop for the first time at a McDonalds drive-thru ( yes I may well have had a Maccy-D's a few times before, but I have never used one of this quick-fatty-hit windows ). An Egg McMuffin later and we were kitting up at Gwydyr Forest just outside Betws-Y-Coed in deepest darkest Snowdonia.
As seems to be the norm these days, there was a weather warning, with storms and gales lashing across the UK, ( well this is December, so it is allowed ), so we prepared ourselves for 25km of wet and windy trails.
A couple of hours later after 20 or so km of cracking trail, foggy views and blustery gales, we got to the top of the final three sections of downhill singletrack. By this time the legs were less than fresh, but there was enough left to fly through the woods in a true speederbike stylee.
If you are keen you can combine it with the trails at Penmachno ( which I haven't ridden, but they are supposed to be pretty good ), but we opted to combine it with a big basket of chips in Betws-Y-Coed which given my time of the bike and the inclement weather was a welcome choice.
Click here for the headcam footage ( featuring the final 3 sections of downhill trail ).
Click here for the trail map.
Blooming eck, it is December, it is dark way too early, every other advert seems to be for a TV or a Sofa ( as well as the obligatory Coke advert ) the Christmas market in Manchester is in full swing and there has been snow all around the country ( but none here! ). Strangely not really heard any Chrimbo songs yet though ( thank goodness, apart from singing Fairytale of New York in the locak Irish bar where I grew up I have no time for the yearly pain that is Wizard! )
As regulars will note November has been taken up by the arrival of a certain Imogen Layla...so here is the obligatory montage of images ( funked up in photoshop )...
... and I'll take it as good Karma that I actually ran into GOD, otherwise known as Eric Clapton at Keele service station on the M6 the other day. ( see here for the story behind the song 'Layla' ).
Keeping me sane at the moment are the musings of these two chaps...
The bloke on the left is Graham Linehan, who is the writer behind Father Ted, Black Books and my current favourite 'sit-com' the IT Crowd. After seeing him on Charlie Brookers Screenwipe ( yes he is the guy on the right ), I have now tuned into his blog 'Why, That's Delightful!'
Charlie Brooker is of course the Guardian writer ( and the bloke behind 'Dead Set'....anyone who can make Davina McCall into a Zombie should be called 'sir' ). He doesn't have a blog of his own as his soul is owned by the newspaper ( and now BBC4 ). Still worth reading his rants though. Never a truer word said in rant?
Now where is my Gluwien...