Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Wales Winter Whiteout
January 31st, 2010

Headed over to stay with my mates Neil and Lardy near Wrexham this weekend. Saturday was a ride out from their house cross country to the trail centre to meetup with Marshall. Suitably refreshed with tea and cake from the staff in the centre, we headed out for a frosty and icy blast around Neil’s famous mashup of the best of the Red, Black and Offa’s Dyke trails.

Llandegla in the Snow

Overnight it started snowing. The end result was that on Sunday there was between 4 and 8 inches of snow covering everything. It was ace, with that crisp crunch of snow under the tyres. Well, it was ace right up until the point about 20 minutes into the ride where I managed to destroy the middle ring after which I spent the rest of the ride in the granny gear. Which was a bit knackering…

Boardwalk's there some where

Apple Do Care
January 29th, 2010

Things have been manic since Christmas. I have a load of half written drafts that need finishing off and posting up. To top everything on Monday my MacBook Pro at work wouldn’t wake up. After much power cycling, removing the battery, resetting the PRAM and resetting the SMC, I phoned Apple Support.  Explained what I had tried and asked if I could just take it down to my nearest Apple store. An appointment was booked for within 3hours of my call.

Made it down to the store in the Manchester Arndale Centre, went straight into my appointment with the technician on the Genius Bar. He spent 20 minutes trying different things and then asked if I could leave it with them for further inspection and testing. It looked like it was a known issue with a faulty batch of Nvidia graphics processors. I left thinking how I was going to cope using a PC for five days until it was fixed.

Next day at 11am I received a call to say it was ready for collection. Went back down to the store and it was the GPU fault, so the whole logic board had been replaced under warranty and there was no cost. The whole thing was handled within 24hrs and in fact the store had it for less than 12hrs, probably only 4 working hours at that! On top of all this they cleaned the laptop and had friendly, knowledgeable staff in a relaxed environment – all adds up to great customer service. This is the ultimate customer service experience that all other vendors need to take note of. Now I’m trying to work out how I can afford a new 27″ iMac for home…

Buckfast Blues
January 18th, 2010

I saw this in the news today and for some reason it made me think of my old pal and work colleague wee Ben:

The tonic wine Buckfast has been mentioned in 5,000 crime reports by Scotland’s biggest police force in the last three years, a BBC investigation has revealed.

Almost one in 10 of those crimes in the Strathclyde Police force area was violent, according to figures obtained by the broadcaster under Freedom of Information legislation. During that period the Buckfast bottle was used as a weapon 114 times.

Police said the figures suggested there is an association between Buckfast and violence. The findings are revealed in the programme BBC Scotland Investigates: The Buckfast Code tonight.

During the programme Superintendent Bob Hamilton of Strathclyde Police was asked whether the figures mean that Buckfast can be said to be associated with violence. He replied: “I think it’s clear from the figures that there is an association there.”

He added: “The figures are fairly clear that Buckfast is mentioned in a number of crime reports and over the period requested, the Buckfast bottle was used 114 times as a weapon.” Buckfast is produced by Benedictine monks in a Devon monastery. The investigation also looks at the ingredients of the drink and how they may affect the behaviour of consumers, potentially making them anxious and aggressive if drunk in large quantities.

Where’s Your Snow Shovel?
January 14th, 2010

Local Chateau

Back from France, where I have advanced my snow and ice driving skills in a hired Megane. Initially there’s nothing quite as scary as descending mountain roads with switchbacks in conditions when you can’t see and road markings and the side of the road which has a sheer drop is only protected by broomstick handles painted red (aka snow poles). Bizarrely, after doing it two or three times, the fear is gone and replaced with a rather more hardened view in that if it was really that dangerous they’d have done something about it by now. Anyway if owning a snow shovel is a prerequisite for living on the plateau we are one step closer.

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides