Sunday, 26 June 2011

Brompton on a motorbike

I was passed on the M60 a few days ago by this motorbiker with a Brompton bungeed to the back of his motorbike. Looked like it fitted there quite comfortably.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Longsight bicycle storage depot....

....or as it's formally known - Longsight Police station.

This is round the back of the building through the railings of the car park compound. Streetview shows a second pile that used to be there as well.

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Presumably these are all confiscated bikes of some sort of another. Most of them have yellow labels tied to the handlebars. Probably illustrates why its best to take extra care of your bike in Longsight, or it might end up in in this compound via the exploits of someone else ;-)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Making beer

This post has nothing to do with cycling. But I guess when you go out for a bike ride it’s entirely possible that you may stop off at a pub and drink some beer. And that’s what this post is about. Beer!.

Catchy. So catchy in fact that the idea of homebrewing some beer crept into mind as I hummed it over and over again.

A visit to TheBrewShop in Stockport for a beginners kit and one box of Brupaks Indian Pale Ale and I was ready to begin. In the starters kit you get a big plastic bucket, a thermometer, a hydrometer, an airlock and a siphon. The Brupaks kit consists of two tins of concentrated wort, a packet of yeast, a bag of grain (kind of a beer teabag) and the all important instructions. One side of the instructions is the idiots guide basics instructions, the other is the pro beardy advanced instructions. I used the idiots guide.

To start off we sit the big tins of wort in a novelty sized pan of hot water to soften their contents.  At the same time you rehydrate the packet of yeast in a mug of 40c water (forgot to take a photo of that).

It’s important to sterilise everything so all the utensils and the bucket its self got a soaking in sterilising fluid (99p for a big bottle from wilkos).

Then we open the tins. Mmmm lovely thick worty syrupy stuff. Tastes nice too. And after a couple of puzzled tentative licks....dogs like it also.

Wort goes in the bucket.

Then you fill up the tins with boiling water to clear up the rest of the wort that its stuck to the sides and drop in the beer teabag for 15 mins.

Doggy wants more wort syrup.

When the 15 mins are up, you empty the two tins into the bucket and stir. Then the bucket had to go back into the garage (convenient tap, I guess the bath tub would be the next best candidate for an accessible tap) to fill up the mix with cold water til you get to the 20 litres mark (that’s the amount this particular kit makes). 20 litres is roughly 35 pints! :-)

Mmmmmmm giant beer.

Now we add the yeast and give the whole lot a big stir for a few mins. I used a big slotted spoon because it created a lot of bubbles and the idiots guide tells me the purpose of this stage is to aerate the mixture.

Now we’re done!. Put the lid on and fit the airlock with a dribble of water in it. The mixture should sit quietly for 5-7 days at 18-20c. Although I think if the temp is lower then you can just leave it for longer (?). Anyway, the cupboard under my stairs seemed like a good place for it as it’s a nice 18c and is a small space with a light in it. So if the temp does drop, I can just flick on the light for a bit and the heat from the bulb will get things back up to temp. I wrapped the bucket in a sleeping bag for good measure.

The Hydrometer is used for measuring the ‘gravity’ of your booze – whatever that means. All that matters for now is that when the mix is started it floats at 1.050 which is apparently typical of commercial worts. And the fermented beer will be ready for bottling when it has dropped down to around 1.010.

Now I just need to get hold of a load of bottles and some corn sugar for the next stage in about 7 days time. :-)

Fingers and toes crossed that it turns out drinkable, but from the lovely smell it was giving off as I was making it I'm hopeful at the moment.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Canal ride to Buxworth

A few weeks back we went on a ride up the Peak Forest Canal up to Buxworth. Just with the aim of heading up there and back on a sunny day.

Starting off on the River Tame path to get to the Canal at Apethorn Lane in Gee Cross.

There is a big set off steep steps just before the weir which has a nice channel scored out by countless bikes that have been pushed up and down here. All choosing to do this rather than ride up and around the NCN route that uses some residential roads on a big detour.

Coming out of the Woodley Tunnel. This is a very long and almost pitch black in the middle tunnel underneath the main road in Woodley. It's a bit disconcerting in the darkest parts of this tunnel, because the black painted handrail vanishes from sight entirely and you feel like you will fall in the water at the next step.

This is Marple Locks, a flight of 16 locks which a obviously a very popular spot on a nice day. These locks are alot of fun to ride back down at pace and we'll have to visit again on a quieter day to race down them properly (bloody hooligans!)

My experience of canals has always been of the run down industrial and fairly unused Manchester canals, so it was a bit of a suprise to see so many boats running up and down as well as row upon row of moored boats.
Mummy duck has been busy.
When you reach the Bugsworth basin you ride along what used to be the tram track beds and come across this nice 3D map before reaching the Navigation Inn pub.

Another group arrived whilst we were having a pint, one bloke riding this extremely nice Indian built Hero bicycle.

On the way back I got chance to photo this nice little egg shaped tunnel which is part of the Marple lock flight.

Sharp eyed viewers will notice some cunning vandalism has been done to the information board next to Marple Viaduct.