I feel the need for a change…

… Not me. This website. Or whatever we call blogs these days to make ourselves relevant and funky in the “what a time to be alive” Web 3.0 ecosystem*. Anyway ‘we‘ have a symbiotic relationship the electronic hedgy and I. It stands ready to receive yet more half arsed shit from yours truly, before serving it up to those desperately short of content and purpose in their life.

That’s all going to change. Not the ‘Incoherent ramblings of an idiot‘ as the on-the-nose strap-line promised from day one. That’s a feature not a bug. No, the occasionally desultory tossing a page to a passing browser thing. The site has been generously hosted by a mate for the last fifteen years, but now he’s keen to get his own life back.

Woooah. BACK RIGHT UP THERE FELLA. Ten years and another five? Sure you can’t actually kill electrons and the flickering pulse of hosting power is hardly contributing to the climate emergency***, but even so we’re talking about 180 months of writing about riding bikes and other unimportant stuff! No one of ! isn’t enough. I think fuck and !!! might cover it.

That is a lot. Quality and Quantity. Yeah they both start with Q. One may have won out. Although not so much in the last few years. No issue with writers block when your muse is a city of ten million fuckwits attempting to splatter you onto the tarmac. And a daily train journey caught between not much internet access and much needed middle aged naps.

Now, it’s when I can be arsed/can type after a few beers/can remember a great idea from ten minutes ago that has now left the cerebral building. And all is not well back in that hinterland of four posts a week. Broken links, UTF****, pictures not displaying, questionable copyright when they do. Yeah, there be dragons, best leave it alone.

I can’t leave the hosting alone tho. Andy – said mate – has gone above and beyond hosting (and amusingly paying for it -at least I’ve recompensed him now) a few bottom feeding sites lapping in the surf of that global internet thing. So it’s the right time for the prickly fella to be dropped into a virtual cannon and punted hyperbolically across cyberspace.

I did consider hosting it on the website that represents me as a working adult. Clearly that’s beyond risky. I mean two articles in and it’d go all Jerry Maguire only with a more realistic ending of shelf stacking.  So in a sideways move, it’s crash landing on the platform best defined by ‘lowest cost bidder‘. A hosting side lamented for ‘suffering performance degradation under load‘.

I think, dear readers, that IS a risk we can safely take. All 23 of us. Longer term, because, honestly it’s not like I’m busy or anything, I intend to bring the Prickly Pickly back in house. That diagram up there was my half arsed attempt at formalising a plan based on state of the art network design knowledge from 25 years ago. Bored of that, I’m going my with Standard-Operating-Procedure of winging it, while pretending the smoking ruins of Raspberry PI’s and paper thin security was the plan all along.

We’ll get back to that. At some point. It’s on my list of retirement projects. No that’s not true, it’s not on any list because we’ve decided the correct response to both offspring moving out is to entirely remodel the house. From the roof down. I feel that whole writer’s block thing may not be an issue for a couple of years. Assuming we’ve still got access to electricity, and the village isn’t flooded.

As I write this, internet address books are being updated, database clone wars have reached a peaceable settlement, and the hedgehog cannon ball is arcing on a ballistic trajectory to its new home. That is probably overall a good thing because, while I’m not under any illusion the over 1,000 (I know, really I mean what have I been doing with my life?) articles would be any loss to critical literature, I’d kind of miss that narrative of my life.

Which is hard to reconcile with the last backup being 2018 before last night 😉 Again I have to thank Andy for keeping the lights on when nobody was home.

So what’s next? More of the same, less of something different? No idea, but for £12 a year I think we’ll keep buggering on. In the short term, we might go offline but even I probably won’t notice. Wonder if I can get one of those animated GIFS with a builders hat?

*I remember the fourth age of computing. It was the “information age”. Taught to me about 1989 – all about the data. Web 1,2 and 3 appear to have been mostly about animating cats in ever more sophisticated ways, and porn**

**I am not being entirely serious of course. But God I feel old. I remember being excited about animated GIFS!

***Looking at you and glowering darkly Bitcoin.

****Don’t go there. I won’t bore you with what it stands for. If you find yourself lost in about 2008 posts, think of it as Ugly Tilde Font. Or Unknowable Text Fuckup 🙂

Another one gone

Not a celebrity or person of questionable merit. No another orbit of the sun arbitrarily ends today. Just in time for social media to explode with ‘New Year, New You‘ memes, inevitably followed by crushing disappointments and unchangeable reality.

Worse that all of that, I’ll be 50 in 2017. FIFTY. Blimey back in my thirties when I led as close to a hedonistic lifestyle as a salaried man working for a consultancy firm could, I’d sit in a bar surrounded by empty glasses and overflowing ashtrays declaring to all who’d listen/not passed out drunk that ‘better to have a good time now and die early than just end up dribbling, lonely in some death-smelling care home‘.

I need to go back in time and give myself a good talking too. And a slap. Dribbling and decline is where’s it’s at once you’ve reached half a century. I don’t so much feel my age*, but I fear it and the associated loss of muscle and cognitive abilities.

Still I did ride quite a lot this year. About the same as 2015. Feels like I had more fun, but that’s probably nothing more than making things up in the hope the real stuff might stay away a bit longer.

Riding / Running stats from 2016

These are my nine most ‘liked‘ posts on Instagram. All bike related of course, building, static and other people riding. That feels a better summary of the year than the cold statistics above.


On that note, probably time to draw the veil over Strava. All it’s going to tell me is that I’m slowing down. What kind of idiot would pay£3.99 a month to repeatedly be beaten with an electronic stick? I have mates that do that for free.

2017 tho is already shaping up well. I’m mostly healthy, not particularly chubby (other than in the tyre department), a week long trip to Spain already booked for late April and back to the Rhone Alps in September. Between those two dates, I’ll be having my special birthday.

No idea what I’ll be getting. History suggests it might be something bike related. Talking of which, updated the ‘most read articles‘ and ‘current bike rental‘ pages.

That’ll do for 2016s rambling. Better to spend the rest of the holiday engaging with the family, especially as the kids are now at an age where my relevance is directly tied to them needing to be driven somewhere or if theInternetis broken.

So Happy New Year and all that. It’s a day early but I fully expect to be hungover and full of good, if very short-term, intentionstomorrow.

*other than making a noise every time I get up or down.

Nothing to see here..

As all my mountain bike posts will be on the Cranked Mag Blogfrom now on. First one is here

At some point I’ll do a proper re-direct so anyone who comes here ends up there in the time travelling way of the Internet.

It probably spells the end of this blog. Ideas for something new are vaguely taking some kind of nebulous shape. And the Hedgehog is nearly ten years old. Probably about the right time for a mercy killing 😉


Updated the bike pages….


(it doesn’t look like this anymore of course. That was taken over a year ago!)

As is the year end tradition, the revolving door of the ShedofDreams requires some clarification. As does the posts, people with far too few things to distract them found the most interesting. Although I can only assume this is because the rest of the Internet had run out of cats on skateboards.

3 in, 2 out – bike buying rationale/fallacy

Stuff read most often. This obviously doesn’t make it any good.

It’s a day early but we’re off to the seaside for New Year. Where I expect the first day of 2016 to be mostly taken up with wondering why I decided it might be a good idea to mix tequila with brandy at 11:59am the previous evening…

Happy New… on second thoughts to hell with that..

New Years Day Malverns Ride

The passing of another year is beset with many problems. Let’s ignore pointless resolutions, mortality fears, unrealisable ambitions and full blown depression to instead pursue a denouement on the somewhat ludicrous rationale on why we adopted the Gregorian calendar in the first place.

Now Caesar was quite a forward thinking chap. About 900 years if his astrologers are to be believed. Sure it’s a bit narcissistic to present the world with a global calendar in your own name, yetat least he’d thought through the whole leap year thing* soensuring tax collection fell on the same day across the whole empire, but of course the bloody religious nutters wouldn’t let it lie.

The Gregorian calendar, introduced some 1500 years later by another bloke who was keen to have his name on the thing, fixed the cataclysmic issue of a 0.002{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} drift for significant dates. That date being Easter** which the original JC didn’t caremuch about, but for Pope Gregory’s JC was kind of a big deal. Although I still enjoy the old joke ‘Easter’s cancelled this year, they found the body‘.

Less funny was the actual violence metered out in Lindesfarne (Bede is your man here if you want to know more. All I shall say here is attempting to fixa date first by committee and then by arms wasnever going to end well) when a spirited debate broke out on exactly on what days Easter should actually land.

Still since it’s *another* Pagan festival (easter bunnies? Hot cross Buns? Eggs? Go find those in the Bible. It’s basically ‘bite the head off the bunny and say hello to spring‘), it’s hard from the perspective of another 1000 years to see why anyone really gave a shit in the first place.

And that’s my problem with New Year. Someone made it up like everything else when we get a day off work, and we’re all bloody slaves to it.

See? Problems all over the place, and that’s even before someone declares on face-cloth they are going dry for a month, When it’s dark all the time. And everyone is skint. Good luck with that. Have you consideredthe cost of therapy?

We went for a ride. The zephyr like conditions of a few days back were replaced by +10 degree temperature hikes and a blustery south westerly pregnant with rain. The world disappeared under cloud, and we tugged at its edges slithering about, and slapping New Year wishes on the occasional tree.

All good. I failed to add to the five crashes sustained already this week. There was laughter, tea and cake which feels a far better way to meet an uncaring rotation of the planet than angst, delusion and virtual hair-shirts.

In vaguely relatedNew Year/Old news, I’ve had a poke about in the archives to update both the ‘best of’ pages and the rotating door ‘bike page’. I didn’t put much effort into the latter to be frank. It’s about to get a pretty major up/down/side grade.

But that’s another story. And I think we’ve had enough of those already.

* as opposed to Indiana at the turn of the 20th Century who attempted to set PII at 3.2. Really they did. I accept it’s a bit neater than an infinitely repeating number, but try squaring that circle.

** Because of course Christmas is a Pagan festival usurped by Christianity to weave in some dodgy narrative involving a whole load of imbricatedstories, recorded some three hundred years after the actual event. Although event might be overstating it.


God, already?

It’s traditional at this time of the year for the long suffering hedgehoger to suffer just a little more. In three special little ways:

  1. I have updated the ‘postsmost read’ page. In our increasingly connected world where cross posts merge with social network surfacing*, the simple old page count becomes increasingly irrelevant. Which is as good a metaphor for this blog as any. I didn’t write anywhere near as much this year, which was properly rewarded by people reading less. It’s good to know that even if I haven’t got anything better to do, other people have.
  2. I have also updated the ‘bike’ page. Every year hope receives a couple more mortal wounds as the portal to the Shed Of Dreams revolves at ever increasingly velocity. One January I shall triumphantly declare ‘No Bikes were damaged, abused or sold in the making of this page‘. It won’t be January 2014.
  3. I rage my own internal debate – because let’s be honest who else will be interested? – about continuing to ramble in my idiotic way. What’s the point of it all eh? It’s vanity stuff mostly about me, and there’s lots better on the Internet at that. Justin Beiber for a start. And if you can’t even stack up your own self worth against that vacuous nonse and come out at least equal, may as well close the door quietly on your way out. So after eight years, a thousand posts and a million words, might be time to embrace Web 2.0 and simply take amusing pictures of my lunch to share with the world. Nah, not going to happen. I can’t afford the therapy if I stop writing. Sorry 😉

I might write different things. Although inertia and precedent suggests more of the shame kind of shit. Until them, it’s always a pleasure to signal a further earthly cycle into moral and physical decrepitude by wishing my dwindling readership a Happy New Year.

* I just made that term up. Time to front up the CV with ‘Social Media Export available for immediate hire’

Well that’s an hour I won’t get back.

Or two in fact after the entire house of url-linked cards collapsed under the weight of WordPress’s shitty editor.

Anyway for what it’s worth*, I’ve updated the ‘best bits’ page, picking out pages with the most hits over the last couple of years. There’s really nothing to add other than the strange corner of the Internet occupied by Skoda Forums clearly have a higher boredom threshold than the rest of my readers.

I’ll leave you alone now 😉

* which I think we can all agree is ‘not a lot’

And we’re back in the room

Nine days after some wayward prodding by those lovely men at BT, we’ve re-established connection with the Internet.

It’s not fast. It wasn’t fast before hand to set the bar here. But now, we’d probably be better served spending our time creating a time machine and beaming back to the event in question, rather than waiting the Great God Google to return a simple search request.

In the slew of auto-updates following our re-connection with the virtual world, WordPress went mildly bonkers in pursuit of multiple upgrades and the installation of something called “JetPack”. JetPack it preened would solve all my problems, even some I didn’t know about.

This is in fact true. I had no problems – well not that WordPress could sort out unless it had progressed into animated organics and could wield a heavy iron bar – with the blog. Until the upgrade that was. When everything stopped working. At which point a random trawl through the themes directory confirmed the world has indeed gone mad whilst I’ve been away.

Every simple theme I like doesn’t work anymore. Apparently I now must become au-fait with sliders, hidden menu systems, HTML-5 and an entirely new configuration systems based on Quarks. I have neither the available life span or sufficient brain capacity to do so. Instead, it’s this crappy theme and a recognition that 99{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} of my dwindling readership live their lives on Facebook or FeedBurner.

So not an ideal re-entry arc into the blazing atmosphere of the world wide wibbly, but everything is relative. The kids are off Suicide Watch for a start!