Thursday, 18 June 2009

Hell on Wheels is off for a pie and a pint. Back soon.

You can find me here in the meantime:
VC Moulin

Sunday, 31 May 2009

what's going on?

been a couple of weeks since my last update and it's been busy-busy-busy.

commissairing at laggan sxc
mr and mrs ross's wedding
last day at work
a pumping at the edinburgh nocturne

looking forward to a little bit of down time. the weather is set fairly fair, so plan is mainly drinking coffee in the back garden and bike riding this week, before heading down to bristol bike fest next weekend.

before i go, a little music.

Friday, 15 May 2009

more music

edit: was listening to this last night trying to remember what i'd seen it used for. settled on an advert or something. but it was better than that. much better.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Friday, 8 May 2009

the poor dears

Carron Valley Development Group
Forestry Commission Scotland
Carron Valley Development Group
Forestry Commission Scotland
Carron Valley Development Group
Forestry Commission Scotland

Well hello there friends. I'm glad you could join us. A particularly warm welcome to those reading at Silvan House (or is it Inverness)?

It would appear that some of the images linked from in this post caused a little upset to Forestry Commission Scotland. So much so that someone went crying to teacher (see point 32) and used it as an example of why Forestry Commission Scotland were correct in refusing CVDG access to information requested in the summer of 2007.

To fill you in on the background - a number of information requests were made following the Mysterious Case of the Project Initiation Document (which aimed to put the plans of the Carron Valley Partnership to Forestry Enterprise Scotland's board for approval). As CVDG was a group of volunteers with day jobs, the requests were split between members of the group to ensure that no individual member was lumbered [sorry] with all of the work.

All of these requests were knocked back by Forestry Commission Scotland as vexatious or persistent under section 14 of the Freedom of Information Act. Members of the group then set about the long process of appealing this decision to the relevant bodies. Additionally, a request that I made directly to the Scottish Government was apparently passed to Forestry Commission Scotland, although was then passed back to the Scottish Government for them to knock back.

Embarrassingly for Forestry Commission Scotland (and the Scottish Government), all of the cases that were referred to the Scottish Information Commissioner or the Information Commissioners Office found in favours of members of CVDG.

I like to think of Hell-on-Wheels as a friendly talking shop, so if anyone from Forestry Commission Scotland happens to be reading and would like to comment then feel free to use the facilities provided using the comment page . If you're shy and would like to raise a point / apologise in private then please get in touch by email*.

* although I'll post anything funny here...

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

atlantic IPA and pretty pictures

brew dog are rapidly becoming my favourite scottish brewers -their punk ipa is my current house beer

check johanna basford's amazing label design for their atlantic ipa!


Wednesday, 1 April 2009

rock hard

the eagles of death metal rocked glasgow. if you get the chance, go see 'em.

Posted by Picasa


Monday, 30 March 2009


took a while to nail, after christopher and me failed to knock off a FBROTY in the comrie area, but a select VCM managed to score a proper FBROTY before the clocks changed with a circumnavigation of ben lomond.

dean, jac, chris, jon and me paid homage to the Ben with a grand loop featuring a shit load of forest road, a lot of singletrack and a wee beer. i knew it'd be a good day when i spotted the snow capped arrochar alps from the forth road bridge. quick pit stop at the services for a bacon and egg roll (remind me not to have one of those again) and it was on to Balmaha for the main course.

for a proper ride report see here.

afterwards - dragged my sorry ass home and inhaled a pizza, with an emergency chiproll delivery to boot. two glasses of pinot noir and i was off to slumberland.

great way to kick off the bigrideseason.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

i am my own gunnery sergeant hartman

missing out on mallorca has left a mallorca shaped hole in my riding plans for the spring and a mallorca sized extension to my tumbet tummy . just over 1100 miles for the year so far, but that should have been at least 1800. i need to get tough to get back on track.

it's not rocket science. more exercise, less food.

so, from tomorrow it's hurt time.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009


it's been a tough couple of weeks here at the hell-on-wheels mansion.

a weekend of r&r in aviemore has helped - 72 hours of mountain cafe-mountain spirit-royal tandoori-sleep-mountain cafe-loch an eilein-inshriach nursery-cairngorm brewery-fire-old bridge inn-sleep-snow-mountain cafe-snow-bothy bikes-snow-fire -snow-old bridge inn-snow-pizza-sleep-mountain cafe sure does help mend broken spirits.

Monday, 2 March 2009

brrr!boy is go!

shaggy is now underway in the iditarod trail invitational.

gie it laldy sunshine!

read/hear more here:

Monday, 23 February 2009


on the lighter side, have worked out where the hair is going.

moustache time again?

Sunday, 22 February 2009

more sad

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that.
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.

Friday, 13 February 2009


After a long battle with ilness, my Mum's dog Nina had to be put down today. A lovely, daft, lazy labrador and she'll be sorely missed.


managed to leave the house this morning without my rucsac. first time in 13 years of bike commuting.
i don't allow for contingency in my morning routine.

0805 rise
0806 start reading on bog
0820 finish chapter, put down book
0821 switch on radio scotland
0822 start dressing and pack rucsac
0830 leave house
0837 board train

if anything goes wrong in this tight schedule there's trouble.

trouble arrived.

realised about 500m from the train station and 1000m from home. bag contains shirt, undercrackers, socks, keys, phone, wallet tools and train tickets. thank fuck we've got rid of the yale lock...


EDIT: yes, i know the worst that could have happened here was being an hour late for work, but you don't know how time bound i am...

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Saturday, 31 January 2009

FBROTY FAIL! & beer me

chris and i met up in comrie & parked just N of the diel's cauldron for a FBROTY. plan was to cross the hills over to loch tay and return a wee bit further east.

rode for a while on tarmac with a kind tailwind. climbed up and over towards the loch lednock. before hitting the snow and boiler plate ice at the 350m mark.

i fucking hate snow and ice. might be fine in parts of the country where it falls and fucks off sharpish. but snow + freeze/thaw sucks. a hardy scottish hydro vehicle had been over the road since the last major dump and the road was mainly clear, but occassionally deep ice in the tyre tracks. the middle of the road was either clear or 4 inches of snow brake.

made it to the wee-est power station i've can think of, then a burn crossing and a humph up a hillside. to see if we could find the path.

there was no path. i called it and we headed back. into a headwind. and the same ice and snow as before. the big descent was chilly. almost AndyW's face at Irvine chilly. brrr!

car. dry socks. heater.

headed back to crieff to have a couple of coffees and enjoy the underfloor heating at chez morris.

been consoling myself with some SNPA and some Williams Bros Midnight Sun. i'm a take it or leave it type when it comes to porter, wee bit too hardcore for my palate, but this is a cracking example of the type. heavy, but not crushing. recommendo. and a rescue for a frustrating day in the hills.

damn you OS. damn you.


...miles in january (so far).

150,000 crank turns.

just over 1 1/4 days on the bike.

ridden every working day since the 2nd and a few for fun too.

good. good. good.

Monday, 26 January 2009


the respray for the new singlespeed has been narrowed down to one of two colors (sic):


Saturday, 24 January 2009

head clearer

had originally been planning an east of a9 mtb jaunt today. then when i heard it'd snowed a bit, a trip to the west. when that didn't happen it was off on the fixie around loch leven.

quick detour round glassmount due to roadworks, through the grantzone and a right turn deep into redfife before heading up through scotlandwell and eventually milnathort. not many flyers out.

back via kinross, the grantzone and the quarry road back to the diversion. wee stinker of a climb (on 44x18 at least) to meet standing stanes road and a cruel headwind up to the top of the col de montquey. spinyourtitsoff back home again.

training tune of the day: red fang - prehistoric dog
(source: stevil)

oh. and well done to friend of hell-on-wheels finlay who is off to the sundance film festival with his (and co-director adrian's) film ma bar.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

drop the scone

i was going to write about my adventures in drop scone making, but found out today that i have a fair chance of being made redundant along with up to 125 of my colleagues (out of 600 in my division) in a restructure.

fricken a!

you'll have to imagine the drop scone fun for now. i'm having a beer or two.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

airbrushed out of history

Received a copy of Visit Scotland's new Scottish Mountain Bike Guide in the post this morning. Flicked through to the Carron Valley page and noticed with some amusement the change shown below (2008 version on left, 2009 on right).

Carron Valley Development Group might no longer exist and they might have been a thorn in the side of Forestry Commission Scotland by standing up to them, but they were still responsible for designing, fund raising and building these trails. No Carron Valley Development Group, no trails at Carron Valley Forest.

The photo might just have been airbrushed, but this pettiness is repeated on the ground. The Carron Valley Development Group signs on the waymarkers (paid for by funds raised by the group) have either been removed or reversed.


Monday, 5 January 2009

bloody sam

start of a sam peckinpah season at the edinburgh filmhouse today. kicked off with bring me the head of alfredo garcia which was ace. very much looking forward to the wild bunch and cross of iron on the big screen.

Sunday, 4 January 2009


'bout a month ago, the sks mudguards on front of the fixie gave up the ghost. the rivets holding the stays onto the mudguard pulled through on the way home from work. quick bit of roadside wrestling and it was off and consigned to a waste bin alongside a multitude of metros, a broken golf umbrella and ginster wrappers left by the clinically underinformed, underdry and undernourished bus stop dwellers of edinburgh park

dropped into a couple of glasgow bike shops on the way back from a cx race and was forced (through lack of choice) to pick up some sks commuter mudguards. roughly similar to the classic thermoplastics, but the stay attached at one point only, down towards the bottom end.

what a pile of shite. awkward to install and rattly as fuck. definitely not recommendo.

now removed and a chromoplastic for me again. never get out of the boat.