Monday, 30 May 2011

CLIC 24, 2011

The CLIC 24 hour mountain bike event is held on the Mendips hills each May. I usually realise I've missed it when I see streams of cars heading back in to Bristol with muddy bikes bearing race numbers.

This year I decided to volunteer as a marshall. At least this way I could contribute in some way to the charity which raises money for Children living with cancer and leukaemia. So, two saturdays ago, I took a 9 till midnight shift and stood in a high vis jacket, waving at people.

There was a great atmosphere in the start/finish area. The sort where strangers talk freely to one and another, and happily lend mobile phones and pass around mini mars bars. Two parents escorted their 12-13 year old kids out on a lap at about 9.30pm. Around two hours later I saw them return, and the Dad muttered..."Not doing that again".
Despite this - I can't wait until I can do similar with my boys.
Heres a video of my boys in training, last summer.

Apparently the event raised close to £30,000, already.

Catching up with Boneshaker

Adams Carvalho illustrated the cover of one of the recent Boneshake magazines.

I just lifted this great video straight from the BS blog.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Science Cafe

On monday night I went to a lecture in a comfy cafe by a retired Professor, all about metals.  I learnt some interesting and technical things about grain size, quenching and alloys.  It all made perfect sense at the time - but unfortunately I can hardly recall a single reliable fact, at all. 

Towards the end of the lecture I asked a simple question about welding and why it is that some people claim that a weld is stronger than the original metal.  I got a great answer that detailed a myriad of variables that would influence the strength of the weld.  Then an elderly guy near the front swung around and recommended I had a look at The Welding Institute website (TWI) and find out more.  He stopped me as I was leaving and we had a chat.  It turns out he is a lecturer himself, and he gave me a quick run through of a presentation he has given about Additive Layer Manufacturing.  ALM seems to me to be the most exciting technology of the moment, and there are sites in Bristol that seem to be at the cutting edge.  It was such a privellege to chat with a man who was obviously nearing the end of his engineering career, but was still so passionate to share in his wonder.  He couldn't remember the last time so many technologies had converged with such rapid developments.

With ALM you can have an MRI scan of your hip bone and the ALM machine will print you an identical replacement.  Or the ALM could render a 3D scan of your brain so your surgeon can practice removing that pesky tumour.  They estimate they could design planes using 95% less material...
And why bother importing all that stuff from China - when you could print it here?

Friday, 13 May 2011

ofgs over the last few days I've been writing two near identical blog posts.

Thank you Blogger for restoring all the data that we feared had gone for ever.  My faith in the internet has been restored.  I bet the guy who broke it absolutely SHAT himself.

Just a shame it was restored after I re-wrote my post...

Wild Camping over the last few weeks I've been reading some great blogs about interesting people doing exciting mini adventures.

Alistair Humprhey's posted about an overnight micro adventure a few weeks back.  He's just followed up with a 24 hour bivy challenge.  Ever since his first post, I've been hatching a plan to leave work one evening on my bike and head for the hills.  I'll take a tarp to make a bivy tent.  My little old camping gas burner to brew tea and fry sausages.  Loads of clothes and a sleeping bag.

Then I read this great post on the Surly blog and convinced myself I needed a whole different bike, and all sorts of different equipment...well of course, I don't. 

But what about bears?  Or, er, spooky noises?