Tag Archives: Winchester

Sorry Guys!

My apologies for not blogging recently! I have an excuse- a history degree! I am currently writing my dissertation but I feel that as soon as that comes to an end and the summer rolls in I will once again resume my blogging and tell you of all my adventures around Winchester on Ernie.

For the moment, here is a video that me and my friend created to demonstrate the joys of riding a Brompton! It’s short and sweet and… “Lovely Day!”


Adventures with Ernie… epic bike ride!

Hi all!

It’s been a while since I last indulged in a bit of blogging and it’s becoming harder to with my workload but I thought I would give you a little update on my adventures with Ernie… because I really do miss writing about things that don’t really interest you 😀

Today’s cycle ride was quite strange because for some reason I did quite a few miles without feeling it- around 4.8 miles which when rounded up to 5 miles sounds awesome. I’m not bragging, although this seems impossible on a blog, but I do believe my fitness levels are improving each week and large distances are being covered much easier and quicker. One other thing I’m noticed and am so happy about is that the weather is warming up- oh it feels so great not having to worry about the prospects of frost-bite and the ability to ride around in a jumper (other clothing articles included) I am really looking forward to the summer- adventures with Ernie ahoy!

Here’s where I went!

Musical Inspiration #1 David Byrne

Musician, artist, author, folding bike rider, inspiration… David Byrne. I remember first hearing him on an old cassette copy of a Talking Heads album my Dad had. I loved the music and I also loved his voice- it was quirky, it was unpolished-different to what I was hearing at the time. Altogether it was infectious and I would get my Dad to play that tape whenever we got in the car; when I got my own cassette player that, again, would be the only album cassette I’d play.

Musically he has, as I mentioned before, a very quirky- often high-pitched voice and very strange way of phrasing his lyrics. The lyrics too often break out of the ordinary barriers and restrictions of love and heartbreak and head towards inanimate items and unusual topics such as paper or working in the civil service. This appeals to me- I get too bored of hearing of love and I find solace in the fact that someone has bothered to take time to write about something different.

“I try to write about small things; paper, animals, a house- love is kind of big. I have written a love song though, and in this film I sing it to a lamp.”

I love his voice- many of my friends detest it but it’s unique and it brings a new dimension to the music. I get really fed up with musicians who have to sound perfect; no names mentioned in this post but they warble up and down a scale with great gusto and in my eyes achieve nothing but annoyance – they have nothing to sing but only contracts to sign. People with such voices like David Byrne and Bob Dylan (more on him in a later post) gain my respect because they have the guts to enter the record industry and perform in front of large audiences and make a spectacle of themselves.

“The better the singer’s voice, the harder it is to believe what they are saying, so I use my voice to an advantage”

The legendary Big Suit- probably the same size as mine...

They also are often trying to get a message across- maybe a story, maybe something about themselves, maybe just some views on paper; but whatever it is they want people to hear it. That leads on to something else I’ve noticed recently- not many people take much notice of the lyrics- I think the future of the music industry may be reliant on artists who can only hum or make primitive noises…. or , or, or even better we’ll start listening to music in languages which we have no idea what is being sung- that would be awesome!

On stage and on-screen I found David to be more inspirational- he was full of energy (maybe drugs) but he put on a show. Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads is one of my favourite DVDs and it just features an hours worth of awesome music with crazy dance moves, sprinting around the stage, fitting on the floor, dancing with and singing a love song to a large lamp (he really does love lamp, Brick). His performances are electric and add to the mayhem and fun in the music- quite often the band was criticized when the number of members grew because there was less room physically and musically for fun and games to ensue. Here is a montage of clips from Stop Making Sense and you should be able to understand what I’ve been waffling on about.

I haven’t recently taken much notice of his solo career apart from the odd song here or there but recently he’s been working extensively with Fatboy Slim and an album is scheduled to be released on the 6th April 2010 called Here Lies Love. It features many different artists one being Florence Welch (Florence + The Machine) who I believe has a beautiful voice. I’m eagerly anticipating it!

What has caught my eye more recently is his adventures with his bicycle- to be honest it inspired me to start trying to blog about my cycling trips. I haven’t yet finished it but I’ve been reading his book Bicycle Diaries (and again it was my Dad’s but I managed to nick it). This is the blurb on the back:

Since the early 1980s, David has been riding a bike as his principal means of transportation in New York City. Two decades ago, he discovered folding bikes and started taking them with him when travelling around the world. DB’s choice was initially made out of convenience rather than political motivation, but the more cities he saw from his bicycle, the more he became hooked on this mode of transport and the sense of liberation, exhilaration, and connection it provided. This point of view, from his bike seat, became his panoramic window on urban life, a magical way of opening one’s eyes to the inner workings and rhythms of a city’s geography and population.

Bicycle Diaries chronicles David’s observations and insights — what he is seeing, whom he is meeting, what he is thinking about — as he pedals through and engages with some of the world’s major cities. In places like Buenos Aires, Istanbul, San Francisco, and London, the focus is more on the musicians and artists he encounters. Politics comes to the fore in cities like Berlin and Manila, while chapters on New York City, and on the landscaped suburban industrial parks and contemporary ruins of such spots as Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Columbus are more concerned with history in the urban landscape. Along the way, DB has thoughts to share about fashion, architecture, cultural isolation, globalization, and the radical new ways that some cities, like his home town, are becoming more bike-friendly — all conveyed with a highly personal mix of humor, curiosity, and humanity.

I find it a riveting read and I can really relate to what he is saying sometimes when I ride my bike. On top of that he has made me want to take Ernie much further afield than Winchester- just got to save up the money or maybe get a reader of this blog to sponsor me… Anyway if you would like a quirky, informative read with some very interesting opinions on what is seen this book is well worth a read! David Byrne has also been campaigning for better cycle routes in New York and has been designing artistic bike racks- here is a video all about them:

Finally, I was in the library the other day when I decided to take a little break from my studying and I thought I would see if he had a blog- sure enough he does! The most recent entry is all about a talk he did at some convention called TED and it’s all about the creation and evolution of spaces to play and hear music in. Fascinating stuff if you’re really into this kind of thing- or just sad like me. Well, anyway, the choice is yours of whether you’d like to read it or not- click here.

Altogether this is a man who has inspired me musically, how I would perform on stage if I had the freedom to (bit too crazy for City Church) and with my cycling adventures. I will leave you with his self interview he did…

Adventures With Ernie- A Video Of My Adventure

This is my journey from Wavell Way to Jewry Street.  My average speed was 7.93 mph! This was not including me sat around at the traffic lights or starting and stopping the camera. I calculated this using this site: http://www.datedial.com/datAverage_Speed_Calculator.asp

Sorry if you find the video quality a bit poor but I had to put my phone inside a plastic pocket on the front of my bike bag.

Here is the map of the route:

Big Phil’s Random Thought Of The Day… Gatling Guns!

I’m sat in the learning cafe (Ernie’s folded up next to me- for you Ernie followers) killing a bit of time. I’ve just been thinking of Gatling guns so here are a few YouTube clips to show you how awesome they are! The first clip is a gatling gun vs a tree. Enjoy.
And this is the Goalkeeper CIWS Gun System that is used on most naval ships.

A Gatling gun works, to my knowledge, by spinning multiple barrels which are individually and then fired. It almost works in the same way as a revolver does.
This video will explain it a lot better than I do

The only problem is that these are used on human beings which saddens me.

Adventures With Ernie On Pancake Day!

Today I have ridden just over 4 miles and quite an eventful 4 miles they have been!

I began by riding to university this morning which is 1 mile exactly and whilst riding down Wavell way a strange crunching noise was being made by my back wheel. I had to pull over and check and it turned out that my rear wheel was rubbing against the mud guard- I adjusted it and set off although that made me late for my lecture! Grrrrrr…

On the way back home I had to cycle up Stanmore lane with a large lorry behind me which was a bit scary. I kept my cool and made it alive to the top of the hill (I will go out tomorrow and take a picture of the juggernaut that I have to fight everyday to get home). Below is an artistic impression of what the scene was like.

So anyway after having a little nap I set off again with my housemates to go shopping. We tend to do our food shop every week and this is when a folding bike becomes so useful. As soon as we cycled  to the supermarket (which is approximately half a mile) I fold up my bike, put the cover on it and place it neatly in the shopping trolley. When the shopping is done I unfold the bike load it up with the bags (I have a Brompton C Type Bag and a rucksack) and place some items on the rear rack- today I had my housemates box of washing detergent. The only thing I am mindful of is overloading my bike but I haven’t carried enough yet to warrant my fears.

So after unloading all the shopping I had a short break in which to enjoy some chocolate cake with my housemates. The best thing about it was that it was reduced! yeeeaaah!!! With a tummy full of joyous chocolate cake I embarked on my final journey… to the church! I had been asked if I would like to help clear the basement at Winchester City Church after all the work that has been going on there. The only problem with this journey was that it was raining and I’m not the biggest fan of being pelted by water in the face or getting my jeans soaked (I couldn’t find my waterproof trousers). All was going quite well until the I reached the city centre when people started walking out into the road in front of me; I deterred one lady by ringing my bell and seconds later managed to narrowly avoid a second woman… scary stuff! The funniest thing is that I apologised to the woman who I just missed when it wasn’t my fault. I was highly visible but it’s at that point of the day when people aren’t alert to anything smaller than a car- so if you’re a pedestrian reading this please look properly when stepping out in front of the road because it will hurt both the rider and you if you step out in front! Yikes! Well in the end I made it to church alive and the pedestrian managed to cross the road safely as well. After clearing the basement and eating copious amounts of pancakes (yum) I cheated and folded my bike up, put it in the boot of my pastors car and was driven home- another advantage of a folding bike! What a fun-filled day…

Where I actually went!

In my previous post I wrote about my cycle route that was planned to go through the streets of Winchester college.

Instead… I went along a country road… a really busy one :-/ However, it was really picturesque and on top of that I found a cycle path! Woo! It only went for about a 1/3 of  a mile but it was awesome and went through the park & ride. I was pleased to note that there were free bicycle to use but I’m still not quite sure how can get one out of the locked cage. I may post some photos of them in the future.

The weather was certainly chilly and on the way back after panting and puffing up the hill I couldn’t feel my fingers. I also realised that where I was cycling had no lighting which has never occurred to me before. Fortunately I could be seen but it did make me realise how I take street lighting for granted when it come to visibility.

Let’s hope there’s not too much ice on the roads tomorrow when I cycle to uni.

This is the new exciting way:

However that route isn’t exactly correct- the cycle path is the diagonal lane going towards the ark and ride car park. It’s quite weird cycling through there at night. I’m not sure if it saved me time but it did seem to allow me to avoid slogging up a really big hill- I try and avoid those as much as possible: