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We combined a little bit of pleasure with some business yesterday.  Our caravan had to go into our preferred service company, Cross Country Caravans, in Wallingford, on the River Thames  a few miles south of Oxford.  There are caravan service companies nearer to us but this is our preferred one.  Normally they come out to us once year with the mobile service van to carry out an annual service check but this needed a bit of ‘hospitalisation’ to carry out a non urgent job that was detected on the last service visit so we saved it until the end of the caravanning year for us.

After dropping the caravan off we made for the town centre as although we had been through it before we never really stopped for a look around.  Its a typical old country town with a market place in the middle and plenty of old timbered houses.  Just on the outskirts of the town is the River Thames.

Here are a couple of views of and from the bridge.



We then walked along some back streets to get to the river up stream a bit.. I spotted this very autumnal looking wall..


This is the view from further upstream back towards the bridge before we disappeared round the bend. (Literally, not mentally !!)


I failed to take any photos of the town centre for some reason but here are some I borrowed from Wikipedia to give you an idea of what it looks like.  I often forget I have my phone in my pocket and only later realised what I have failed to photograph.

After a brief wander around and a visit to the smart new Waitrose in town for essential supplies we were back on the road again, stopping off at the Wyevale Garden Centre at Bicester for a look around to see what could be bought by ‘the gardener’!  We managed to find some plants we couldn’t live without then had a nice lunch there and within forty five minutes we were back home.

Sunday Morning Pleasures..


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This morning I walked down to the recreation grounds to watch two of my Grandsons, Joe and Will at rugby training, however when I got there it transpired that Joe(13) was playing in a match at 11am.  It was the teams first match of the year and first year they are allowed to play in league due to the rugby authorities restrictions concerning what can be done as they progress through the age groups.

While waiting for the match to start I went down to watch Will(10) and his group who were just undergoing  their regular training. They were among the multitude of other age groups that show up every Sunday of all ages from around the age of six I think up until their mid teens including girls.  This picture shows just one field of activities and it doesn’t look so many here because they are all using the full size pitches.  There are a further two fields of the same size as this that are also full up with much smaller pitches marked with cones.

Wills Training Group

Wills Training Group

Wills Training Group

Wills Training Group

It really is an encouraging site for me to see the amount of sport that goes on in Olney, especially for the youngsters.  Rugby, Football, Tennis and Cricket also take place down there for all age groups.  On a Saturday morning the other two fields are just as full with the young footballers training, also including girls.


Getting back to Joe’s match, I really enjoyed watching him play, though I say it myself he really is a talented player.  He has been picked out both by the club and his school as such and has special advanced training.  Olney won the match by around 45 – 24 points I think, I was keeping count at the time but I should have written it down.  Joe made three telling passes in the first half into the corners from his position at full back that led to three tries being scored by their speedy wingers.  He managed to convert the first try from right over on the sideline.  He missed a couple of conversions from the other side but the wind wasn’t favourable for goal kicking in that direction, it is quite a long kick for a youngster.  He was rested at the start of the second half to allow other lads to have a try out but returned later to consolidate their position in the game.

Joe heading my way

Joe heading my way

Joe preparing a conversion attempt

Preparing a conversion attempt

Attempt in progress but failed on this occasion

Attempt in progress but failed on this occasion

On my return from the rugby, a little later than I had expected to be I sat in the conservatory having a coffee looking out at the garden.  In the sunshine that had now emerged I noticed how cheerful some of the flowers were looking so I nipped out with my iPhone and took a few pictures.


Where To Find Me Now..


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I thought I would show you the blog options on my newly revamped blogging sites..

This my Lifecycle blog.. where you are already, for Non Cycling blog posts with words and pictures and probably where most of my posts will appear.  At the moment it still has some cycling posts in it but there will be no more.

Lifecycle Blog

Lifecycle Blog

This is Bricycling… my cycling specific blog.. cycling only posts here

Bricycling Blog

Bricycling Blog

And this is my Brian Goldsmith Photography blog.. which is self explanatory, the clue is in the title.. a home for larger galleries and the odd one off photograph.

Brian Goldsmith Photography Blog

Brian Goldsmith Photography Blog

Clicking on any image will take you to the corresponding site where you can click to follow the blog automatically if you so choose..




Where Was I ?


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Its catch up time again here so I have combined some of this weeks bloggable activities, such as they are, into one post.  Whenever any of the cycle racing ‘grand tours’ are on TV my external activities are limited to those that can fit into a morning slot.  I therefore had to scratch my head to remember what i did and then combine them all here.

Cycling’s ‘grand tours’ are the Giro d’Italia in the spring, The Tour de France in the summer and the Vuelta d’Espagna in the autumn.  All of these are three weeks long and due to the increased popularity of cycling here in the UK they are now live on TV for many more hours.  This week the Tour of Britain was also thrown into the mix with live transmissions of that and the ‘Vuelta’ on at a similar time on different channels.  Both races were on different Eurosport channels and the Tour of Britain was also on ITV4.  Fortunately I have Sky Plus so I was able to record one whilst watching the other.  There was also the advantage of advertisement break dodging by switching channels to avoid them so I was juggling between three channels at times.  However I think there might have been some collaboration between the TV companies as just recently I have noticed they do seem to go to adverts at more or less the same time.  I think the red hot TV remote control and the sofa might appreciate a well deserved rest next week.

On Monday morning the weather was favourable for a bike ride so I dusted down the Colnago and took it for a short Ouse Valley ride of about twenty miles to re-acquaint my legs with the rotating motion of pedalling.  It wasn’t too bad actually and the weather was great, which helps in motivating me to get out.

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On Thursday we went to the National Trust property, Ascott House near Wing in Bedfordshire.  Its somewhere we have never been before despite it being just a half hour drive from home.  I think the main reason for not visiting before is because of its restricted opening hours.  Its only open from 2pm until 6pm on weekdays, and only in Summer.  This was almost our last opportunity of this year as Friday was the last day of opening before the winter closure.

It is a beautiful Jacobean house with paintings by the likes of Stubbs, Gainsborough and Reynolds and extensive and spectacular gardens. It is another property donated by the Rothschild family to the National Trust and is still lived in by part of the Rothschild family, hence the visiting limitations.    After some research I found there are nine other residences in and around the chilterns and home counties that are or were part of the Rothschild property holding.  They are all very substantial and spectacular properties to say the least and parts of a lot of them will be familiar to filmgoers as filming locations for some very popular films.  (I will put the above and some more photos from the outing in my photo blog later)

On Friday I spontaneously phoned my friend Cyril in Wellingborough to see if he was either home and available for a visit or on a bike ride and we could maybe rendezvous somewhere or at home and fancied a bike ride.  When I spoke to him he said how spooky it was because he was just thinking about calling me for similar reasons.  So the upshot was that we organised a rendezvous at Earls Barton then rode to Emmaus at Carlton for a bottomless cup of coffee and a slice of their splendid carrot cake.  We didn’t take advantage of the free coffee refills though.  This ride totalled about thirty miles for me.

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All the current cycling tours finish this weekend to allow for the travel and preparation of the cyclists for the World Championships in and around Richmond in the USA next weekend.  This will mean that I will be back to having full days available for external activities, this could involve some longer bike rides (Except next weekend!!).  It will in turn hopefully also mean I will have more to write about and more pictures instead of just boring route maps to break up the text.


Hello Again..


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Hi, did anybody miss me?  Probably not but anyway in case you wondered where I was I just had a glorious week in the north east of Scotland, no wifi which means no posts here or anywhere else, no mail, no ‘interweb’, I missed the instant information availability but I got used to it and survived, now I have to re-learn and catch up.

I just posted a slideshow on my photo blog.. having had the difficult task of  selecting the best  pictures for that from the three hundred or so that I took on the trip.  I managed to reduce that to forty five to go in there and I now have to make further cuts in what I put here.. and also construct some words to go with them..

It was a long drive to Brora, 565 miles from home which entailed nine and half hours actual driving time, we left home at 5a.m. and stopped twice en-route, once at Tebay Services, a favourite of ours when on the way to the Lake District.  Its unlike any other UK motorway service area you will ever have visited, highly recommended.  We also stopped at a cafe/tourist information spot on the A9 just north of Perth, this gave us an overall journey time of just over eleven hours.  The weather was beautiful for the trip so the scenery made it no hardship whatsoever.

Here are some pictures of Brora where we stayed.. note the cows on the seaside golf course ! I think ‘links course’ is the correct terminology.. (The greens are protected by little electric fences I later discovered)

We took a couple of trips further north of where we stayed, one included Dunnet Head, which is actually the furthest north you can get on mainland UK, just over two miles further north geographically than John-O’-Groats.  There is always some discussion among long distance cyclists as to whether you should actually ride to Dunnet Head if you are doing the End To End cycle ride as John-O’-Groats isn’t the furthest north you can get.  I know some do both just to cover themselves.  We visited  both and also the former home of The Queen Mother, the Castle Of Mey in between.

On this trip we went up the road following the salmon river up from Helmsdale, with plenty of fly fishermen to be seen on the way, almost every car we saw had rod racks on.  We went to end of that road and then east across via Thurso.  It was a bit cloudy at the start of that day so I promised myself I would return and take some photos another time.   This we did and drove up the valley from Helmsdale to just beyond Kinbrace this time and returned via the spectacular drive through Glen Loth.  On another occasion we followed the River Brora to Loch Brora, here are some pictures from those drives.

The Sunday before we came home we drove a few miles down the road to the magnificent Dunrobin Castle, it was a good day out,  a spectacular castle right on the coast with wonderful gardens to wander around.  A display of falconry in the morning and again in the afternoon, I managed to find myself with a Harris Hawk perched on my head.  We watched both displays as we were there long enough and I was anxious to see the Peregrine falcon in the afternoon, there were different birds in each display and an entertaining and amusing commentary from the falconer.

As it turns out I didn’t make many cuts in the photos I put here, if any.  We were blessed with glorious weather for our trip and I think we will definitely be going back to the highlands of Scotland again, probably with the caravan for an extended touring trip with more stops on the way once we are in Scotland.  I liked the space, the tranquility and natural beauty of the scenery.  I would love to have ridden some of those roads on my bike, just on day trips though.  I think my days of considering the ‘End to End’ bike ride are past me now but ‘never say never’ is my motto, one of them anyway!  I suppose I should have been out on my bike this morning instead of writing this but ‘there’s always tomorrow..’  there you go, another motto for free..

I have one more post to make about our trip at a later date.. watch this space..

Those Were The Days…


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Having accidentally found an old cycle racing photo of me and then posting it on my Facebook Page yesterday I thought I might try and follow it up and find some other old photos to make a blog post out of it with a bit of my cycling history.  After a rummage around in jumble that is my the loft I found a few.

First things first.  I need to display my qualifications to speak on all matters cycling, my ‘Cycling Proficiency Certificate’.  I earned this at the ripe old age of thirteen, I had to pass it to be allowed to cycle the ‘just over a mile’ from home.  The ‘just over’ bit is important because you had to live at least a mile away to be allowed to cycle to school.

Cycling Proficiency Cerificate

I cycled all through my childhood and once I was at secondary school I started doing a paper round by bike every morning before school.  This was to earn enough money to buy myself a proper racing bike instead of the roadster I was using then.  I cycled the mile or so into Rickmansworth and collected my ’round’ of papers, all marked with house number on them but it wasn’t long before I knew exactly which paper went in which letter box.  That was seven days a week and apart from two weeks holiday a year with parents the only days in the year I didn’t deliver was on Good Friday and Christmas Day.  When I was a little older I occasionally went to Moor Park Golf Course on a Saturday morning after my paper round and report to the Caddy Master in his hut outside the mansion.   We would all sit around outside waiting to be picked by golfers needing a caddy, just to carry their bags, not for golfing expertise.  Who got picked was in the hands of the Caddy Master.  If you did get picked it was a good earner, the going rate was a minimum of ten shillings a round (50pence in todays money).  That was as much as I earned for seven days of paper rounds.

Eventually I had enough to buy my pride and joy, a Viking Severn Valley, but not until I had started work as an apprentice electrician earning the princely sum of £1 14s 9d (£1.75 in todays money but worth much more then) did I have enough to buy the bike.

MY prized Viking Severn Valley, it was a gold colour

My prized Viking Severn Valley, it was a gold colour

The man running the cycle shop was Pat Webb, the son of the founder of the Watford Roads Cycling Club, Harry Webb. (Not the Harry Webb that became known as Cliff Richard though).  Anyway I digress, Pat suggested I might be interested in joining the club and the rest is history.

I started off in Junior road races and time trials at sixteen years old.  The first road race I rode was in the Chiltern Hills, finishing at the top of Bellow Ridge, I finished sixth from a field of 50, much to my and everybody else’s surprise.  I continued as a junior until I was eighteen and then I automatically became a third category rider, that was in 1961.  Here are some pictures that were all taken in 1961, the Watford colours don’t show up very well in black and white as they were a black shirt with red, yellow and green bands around the chest and not made of lycra/spandex either, there were either wool or cotton.

These were at the Hampden Road race in 1961 :-

Hampden RR 1961 the start

Hampden RR 1961: At the start, me in the middle of the Watford riders

Hampden RR 1961 I had my foot out of the toe clip here.. i remember I was getting cramp as we approached this corner.

Hampden RR 1961: I had my foot out of the toe clip here.. (3rd in the r.h. line) I remember I was getting cramp in my left leg as we approached this right hand corner and I thought I might not make it.

I think we were in a break at the time.

Hamden RR 1961: I think we were in a break at the time. I am the one in black near the front.

This was another Road Race, not sure which but it was just entering Aldbury village in the Chiltern Hills unless I am very much mistaken.

A Road race in the Chilterns

A Road race in the Chilterns, I am the one just to the right of the telegraph pole.

This is another picture of me finishing one of the evening 10 mile time trials. I obviously wasn’t going as fast as the photographer expected as I only just got into the picture..

Evening '10' TT Finish

Evening ’10’ TT Finish

The next picture was a few years later as by then I was a first category amateur rider having progressed from third to second and then to first in successive years.  You progressed through the ranks by getting placed in races and in those days I think you had to have six places in the top six in one year.  So this picture has to be in 1964 or later, only fifty one years ago !!!  Probably a lot of my readers were not born then.. :)

I was now riding a Youngs of Lewisham frame.  My Viking frame gave up the ghost when I was training sometime between the previous and this picture.  The frame cracked just before the start of the season so I had to hurriedly get a new frame and rebuild the bike with the old parts.  The frame and all the components now sit in my garage waiting for a promised respray and rebuild, but don’t hold your breath, its been years.

Grove Circuit Race, Wantage circa 1964+

Grove Circuit Race, Wantage circa 1964+

It was at the Grove Circuit Race near Wantage on an old airfield.  The race was for 1st category and Independent riders.  In those days there was no professional racing in England, to do that you had to go abroad like Brian Robinson did and later Tommy Simpson and Barry Hoban.

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Click image for the big picture

Amateurs were not allowed to take prize money, the rewards had to be in goods or vouchers. (which later got sold to shops for cash.. :-) )  The independent category was for first cat riders who were semi professional and were allowed to accept prize money and some even had a retainer for teams such as Viking, Holdsworth, Condor (who are still around today) and Raleigh.

In the picture I am in the centre and to my right is a Condor rider who I probably knew at the time but I can’t recall now.  I found this timeline of their history.. if you click on it you will get the full size version.  It says at the time of my picture they were Condor-Mackeson

I don’t have a great photographic record of my sporting past, it was before the days of digital photography and not an abundance of cameras either.  The photos I have were all taken by somebody else (obviously !!) and passed on to me.

But that was all a very long time ago, my cycle racing career started around 1958 which to save you working it out was 57 years ago.. !! I have probably actually been cycling for 67 years from the age of 5, still going at it though.. I’ll get it right one day.

I hope this post wasn’t too long, I will have to do another post one day, or a series of posts perhaps about the non racing side of my cycling history before I forget !!!

Two Big Houses…


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Another ride today and another increase in distance, 72km today but no real increase in the average speed but I suppose that goes along with the increased distance, a bit of levelling out.  The ride began and ended with two big houses.  Well almost began with, about 8km after the start I went past Castle Ashby, pictured above, the home of the Marquis of Northampton when he is home..

About 8km before the end there was Tyringham House, home of goodness knows who.  Sitting in its own grounds and the park you can see in the picture usually has some deer in it, but none to be seen today.  Maybe they are venison now? :(  A few years ago it used to be a health resort/spa.



Tyringham is on the banks of the River Great Ouse, there is a very sedate and peaceful look to it as it meanders its way around North Bucks.


Not much else to say about the ride really.  It was on familiar ground again but its been a while since I did that actual ride.  I covered some parts of it on my previous ride.

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Get It Where You Can… PBP


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Here are a few photos I managed to acquire of Paris-Brest-Paris Audax riders getting a bit of sleep where they can en-route..

I just heard the first riders are back in Paris having completed the 1200km in 42 hours.. while some are still just reaching or have yet to reach Brest, the turn around point..


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