A6 Cycle Wherehouse – Stockport Road – Manchester – THANK YOU !

29 07 2011

A6 Cycle Wherehouse

754-758 Stockport Road


 M12 4GD


CREDIT Where credit is due:

I am not being paid or sponsored to say this but , after posting a negative review of  Crown Point Cycles, I feel it only fair to look at the other side, to show I am objective.

NOT Taken Today 🙂

To be honest, this was the shop that 3 years ago sold me this(and I have not given them much air time 😦

Yukon 08 - First Bike, This Started It All

& While they started me off, I have never really thought of them for the majority of jobs or parts I’ve needed, mainly because of location.

Today I needed a steerer cut, all the larger stores were quoting a few days,  A6 said they would do it today !

I picked it up after work and said to the mechanic “remember me” He had no idea who I was, despite me going in a fair few times at the start of my journey, his reaction when I explained was priceless

He then called out the boss (Who I met a few times when buying the bike too)

I said

“Remember me” his face was that of total blankness, he had no idea

I said “Come on, how can you forget me”

Nop, still nothing, I can’t begin to say how amazing that made me feel, I then  said

“A HUGE Man 3 years ago purchased a Giant Yukon”

“Right” he said…..”Well that was ME”

Again the shock, disbelief etc was immense It was such a warm welcome back, I thanked the boss (Winston I believe) for helping to save my life, see at almost 40 stone, when you walk into a bike shop, you don’t expect to be treated the same as everyone else.

If you owned a bike shop, how would YOU react if THIS walked in ?

but I was and Winston even admitted when he saw me 3 years ago that he thought I “Needed this” because of how huge I was.

I thanked him again for being part of the new me and turning me into a fanatical cyclist, we chatted about the Manchester to Blackpool, he checked out my Carbon LiveSTRONG bike and then I headed out, chest puffed out, head up high, walking tall, feeling proud and also feeling like I had just walked back “Home” after 3 years away.

They did a great job on the Steerer tube too :-)…I’ll be going back much more from now on.


Just wanted to tag this here, I have managed to “Bodge my Jawbones”

The lenses I got were not tinted as I paid for, I ended up getting a big refund and keeping the frames, I ordered some none prescription lenses and set about putting an old pair of glasses behind them, well, this is the result:



FAO of Boards.ie, who says I dont smile 🙂


6 Months in Review ! Its been a good 2011 so far…..

26 07 2011

Its been a Roller Coaster of a ride (Pun pun pun)

This is a LONG Post, but saves you having to read the last 6 months of posts if you are new here and just want to highlights.

The year started well with me managing to get a logo for me/my persona

I’ve not really done anything with it yet, its too small to make a jersey out of, but I’m thinking of getting it made in to a “Headtube” sticker 🙂

Then, came the first Joel Lane of the year, it was January, it was COLD but there wasn’t any ice this one morning, so I hit it HARD, it was hell, it was just around freezing with an ICY wind, but it set the tone for the next 3 months,

Joel Lane @ 7AM

I thought I had hit the big time with the speeds I averaged that day, truth be told, for the time and conditions it was good, but much better was to come.

The start of the year was also the catalysis for me to finally be able to wear team kit (Tho the weather didn’t want to allow it JUST yet)

"What's He On ? "

THe weight loss over winter was a finally realisation that I was there, I had done the weight loss, it was now all about getting fit and keeping the weight off, in turn getting better on the bike, the pro team kit sure as hell helped me out there.

February was the month that I finally admitted to the world, what most of my readers and friends already knew/suspected:

I have an eating disorder ! within a few days of talking about it I was trying new flavours , then textures, while I am a long way off “Beating it” I am so happy that I “Came out” for since then, I have eaten many many different things, stuff I would NEVER EVER have dreamed of before .

I added many more goals to the goal list and promptly set about chasing them down.

One night, of the way to physio, I chased down a 20mph average speed over the course of one mile and missed out, hitting 19.9Mph on my Single Speed.

Peugeot Single Speed 1982 - First Single Speed

That single speed had to go in the end, for bigger and better things BUT I have lusted after another one ever since.

Feb was also the saddest month ever (well, ish) when Lance Armstrong announced Retirement 2.0 , the man who taught me you need to suffer to win, in turn that made me “Win” at weight loss, was no, retired ! 😦

March saw me write, what I consider to be the best post EVER on here.

It was titled “Blackpool Revisited” and spoke about the day, in 2009 I rode from Manchester to Blackpool

Here is a short extract:

I look  back over at that ride today and you know what, THAT ride changed me, It made me realise that, its not about how much you weigh, it’s not about what you’ve done in your past, it’s about what your DOING. Our body’s, they are  amazing, I shouldn’t have been able to do what I did that day, I didn’t train anywhere near enough, my nutrition was poor and I was obese…. But my body, it just kept going.

If you have not yet read it, then please do, go and read it NOW.

More new flavours continued to pass my lips in March and more and more PB’s were getting crushed.

April, was a PACKED Month.

I played around with my new Carbon bike, crashing it almost as soon as I got it (Its still fine today though) and looked at what I could do to make it more “ME”

and that was good, I liked it, it inspired me when I was suffering BUT I thought, I can make it even more inspirational !

and this was born !

That bike is now my main commuter bike and I LOVE what it stands for , it never fails to get me out of the saddle and pushing HARD.

Since I had a bike that looked like it would climb well, I decided to do punishing climbs morning and night, every single work day

It was staring to get hot too, so those climbs by Friday night’s, had me begging for mercy…but I didn’t stop.

The bank Holiday saw me donn my BMC Hincapi kit and do the full “Chunal Loop” something I FAILED the last time I attempted it, not only did I NOT fail but it was a breeze and I even got some footage of myself too.

The other biggie that I managed this month was getting my BUTT on a Rollercoaster (Ish)

Alton Towers Log Flume 2011 - Is That Fear In My Eyes ?

May saw me laid up with a potentially serious illness that turned out to be fine in the end.

It was a sad start to the Month too as I saw the death of Wouter Weylandt at the Giro.

Once I managed to get back on the bike, I set about relighting that fire I had last month.

Truth be told, I felt weak and I had to REALLY fight for everything on the bike but it was a GREAT lesson to learn, we are mortal and I’d had it easy for the last 2 months, life isnt easy, you need to fight for it.

I managed to cross another goal off my list with some motivational speaking in May, while all the time, trying to re-find my form and fitness.

June was the month were I attempted to eat more new foods than I ever EVER thought possible in my WHOLE life , including an APPLE, I know !!!!

I even saw a professional for my eating disorder too and while I’ll be getting the help I need, its gonna be a while yet.

June was about food food and food, the cycling, took a back seat while I hoped my fitness would get better after May’s issues , it was all about doing what I could to eat like a normal person !

July,  July was Manchester to Blackpool 2011, nothing else, I was single minded on what I wanted, I went out on punishing training rides, I put myself though 8 days of hell before the ride on the 10th.

Including the Woodhead Pass:

I was almost ready, I just needed a rest, mentally and physically, I had done all I could !

I aimed for under 3 hours that day (63 miles) in truth , I (we) missed out by just 10 mins, it was really hard for me to take, I had road myself INSIDE OUT that day, as the following picture shows.

Manchester to Blackpool 2011 Gaz after the race

After I composed myself and still beating myself up for not giving more (but I couldn’t, as the picture above clearly shows) I made myself feel better by posing

Manchester to Blackpool 2011 gaz in radioshack kit

After the disappointment of missing out on the goal I set about beating some more goals and riding some REAL Roller Coasters at Blackpool Pleasure Beach theme park.

Big Dipper Blackpool PB

and with that an addiction is born, I am now a REAL Roller Coaster junkie, I cant wait to ride MORE, Maybe the Orlando tourist board or Virgin Holidays wants to offer up a Holiday to Disney/Universal studios ?

Since that ride, my times have gotten quicker, I feel stronger, I have direction now in where I want to take my cycling.

I have big plans for what’s next for me/this blog, I just need some pretty big backers for it 🙂

Cycling wise I have done 3000 miles in the last 6 months, the next 6 , for me, is about getting faster and faster, I know I can do the distance now, next I need to up the averages, I don’t really see myself as a sprinter these days, more of a “Classics” rider, I guess the next 6 months is for me to work on that.

I hope I continue to inspire people out there to LiveSTRONG, become healthy or lose weight, i doesnt matter who you are, if I can, ANYONE Can !

PS Remember the stats from January, here are some from Sunday (It was an UPHILL RIDE)

Im making improvements all the time, long may it continue !

See you at Xmas for the next review



More Goals Achieved – Final Thoughts & More Pic’s from Blackpool, Quick Comparison.

16 07 2011

There’s quite a lot I want to say here, I wasnt sure if I should split it over a couple of updates, but I’m sure I’d forget, so I’ll stick it all here 🙂


Commute 250 Miles in 5 days – Done Last Week

Get an average speed of over 20 MPH over a 10 Mile commute Done Last Week

Ride the Majority of the rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach – More about that lower down.

Beat my Best Time in Manchester to Blackpool 3 Hrs 46 Mins (2010) Oh Baby -36 Mins Quicker

Ride a roller coaster again YEAHHHHH

Blackpool Pleasure Beach:

See, When I visited the “Towers” I did “technically” ride a coaster in the log flume, but truth be told, due to personal circumstances I didn’t get chance to ride a REAL Coaster.

All that has now changed and I am  officaly a Roller Coaster Addict !

Big Dipper Blackpool PB

and the best thing ? we were “forced” to sit near the back…….Air Time BABY !!!!!!

This was my first “Real” Coster and you know what ? Its opened up a passion I never thought I had, it was AMAZING, quite literally being “Pulled” down that first drop, I ****’ed myself at first but within seconds I was LOVING it.

Then, with no stopping me it was onto “Zipper Dipper” and “Rollercoaster” getting 90% of the woodies done first.

It was then onto something I NEVER thought I’d ride.

Basically you are pushed off a raised platform at speed into a drop, followed by a loop, up onto another platform where you stop and then do the same again, in reverse.

I climbed to the top and my legs were gone, but then I had just cycled 63 miles,  got strapped in and began to CRAP myself, again that feeling went as we were SHOT forward, WOW, AMAZING, I would have gone again but you have to go to the bottom then back up and by this point, after the ride etc I was too buggered.

Sadly there are no more pictures, so I will stop there and promise that I’m going back, with a huge memory card and a fresh battery and I am gonna ride and document everything 🙂

Then I will move onto Alton Towers and this time, im riding ALL the big 3 !!!!!!

Blackpool Though the Years & Final Thoughts on 2011 !

Old Trafford, Starting the Manchester to Blackpool 2009

Would You Sponsor This Man ? Blackpool 2010

Manchester to Blackpool 2011 gaz in radioshack kit

This year of course was the best, however, it was just as hard as all 3 years, there is a saying “It never gets less painful, you just go quicker” I proved that last weekend, this week, cycling to work, was an effort by Friday , but none the less , I did it.

My nickname is “Mr 53/11” , when I sprint that’s where I sit, when I cruise at speed, I’m in 53/11, so I was little shocked to see that , after my sprint at Blackpool I WASNT in 53/11, I had managed 30 Mph, but I didn’t have the energy for a “Real” fast sprint in 53/11….Next Year !

When Dean punctured, I pee’ed and my bike, well my bike hid

Pina Hiding


A Fat Suit:

Always wanted to donn a “Fat Suit” and try to cycle at 34 stone again, yesterday I did manage to add some “Dead weight” to my commute, but it wasnt even half a stone.

Yup, a 36 spoke wheel and legs with over 250 miles in them was my challenge last night and after 5 miles I was warmer than ever and more sweaty than I have been in a long long time, in short it was REAL Hard work…

I still want to try to cycle at 34 stone again (But I DONT want to be that weight) but by god, last night REALLY opened my eyes to how hard its going to be  !

Sights of Manchester:

Last week I was in another office, I poped out to the shop and grabbed a few piccys, one of course, was of me.

My View For The Next 2 Days

Followed by

Finally arriving at what now, forever will be called, the “Shit Shop” for this reason.


The Glasses spectacle

Urgh, Spec-Savers have caused me HELL in the last few weeks, but with that now seemingly “Sorted”

My new prescription Oakley Jawbones arrived today, well, as no Company in the UK would do these due to how BAD my eyesight is.  I found a company in the USA to make the lenses and supply the frames, GREAT, I pick them up today, after getting stung for customs chargers.

None Tinted Oakley Jawbones WTF

Spot the mistake ?

WTF !!!!!!

Jawbones are AWESOME Cycling glasses but due to how large they are, without the sunglasses tint they look STOOOOOPID !!!!!

So now its back to email fights with the company, lets hope I don’t have to name and shame them

like I did with Crown-Point-Cycles !

I’ll keep you updated !!!


You guys have worked wonders and raised a huge £270 for me to go for a Sunday ride…..:-)

Now I will ask just ONCE more for sponsorship to get use as Close to the £500 target as we can, PLEASE 🙂




Ride Report : Manchester To Blackpool 2011 – New PB – Video Of Finish

10 07 2011

Phew, That WAS fun.

Setting off at just after 7am today, I had planned to attack for 62 miles, late on yesterday, the man who put the “O” into Dean-O, said he wouldn’t be riding with me, bummer, I had been saying all year I wanted a 20 Mph average, taking me in at just under 3 hours, without anyone else, the task would be near impossible. As it turns out, Dean-o did indeed ride with me today, and boy was it a great day in the saddle.

The ride started a few days ago with the main preparation for any major ride.

Then late last night, it was pin the number on the jersey time:

Manchester to Blackpool pinning the number on the jersey

The first 35 miles flew by, we were averaging over 20 Mph, and not one single rider had passed us, all was good, no, not good, it was  great, such little effort was required Dean said “Its like being at home on the sofa”

Time to Make It More Difficult:

You know me, I don’t do things the easy way, the next thing I hear was my worst nightmare on a ride like this, Dean shouted from behind “Shit….Punctutre”

Noooooo, everything was going so well, now, this was going to knock us off our stride.

Pump It Baby

Just as we were setting back off, some random guy on a MTB rolled up asking what he could do for cramp, we were around 22 miles from the finish, he looked in so much pain, we offered him advice and Gels and set back on our way.

Oh BTW, Andy from work, dont just ride past saying “Gaz, hello” when I am at the side of the road with a Dean-sil in distress 😉

After we got going again we struggled to keep up the work rate, the issue I was having and I hope Dean doesnt mind me saying this, is that I was doing about 70% of the work on the front, after all, the target was mine to chase.

Preston came and went and that nasty , leg sapping climb hurt, soon it would be time to meet my nemesis, Lytham St Annes’ WIND !


This was the 3rd year in a row I had done this ride, the first, when we hit Lytham, my speed dropped to around 4 Mph, last year, I just about held double figures, this year wasnt gonna be the same, we rode off the back of a group for a couple of miles, then we rounded the corner to the Sea Front at Lytham and BOOM ! headwind and a nasty one, I said “there’s only one thing to do” and I attacked HARD, Dean grabbed my back wheel and we dropped the group , I was holding around 18 Mph, my hear rate was at 98% I was on the drops, head down and I was suffering like I had NEVER suffered before, as we came to the end of Lytham, I was throwing water into my mouth, over my head and onto my legs, I was putting THAT much effort in, one of the Lytham miles I had managed to average almost 19 Mph in, now that’s a proud moment !

Cramp, Suffer, Push:

The next 7 miles were a haze of pain and suffering, I was pushing pushing pushing, I asked Dean if he was able to take over, he told me he was giving 100% just holding my wheel, it would be down to me, I cramped up a couple of times and a couple of the miles were slow, but with 3 miles to go, I got back on the drops and I pushed so hard again!

The Final Count Down:

We rounded the final corner, the pain had gone, I could see the finish line, Dean offered to “Do a Mark Renshaw” I wasnt sure I could sprint , I was suffering that much I said “Ok, let’s try” he upped the pace a little, that was enough for me, with about 300m to go, I stood up and I went for the sprint HARD, my legs, lungs everything was on FIRE.

I crossed that finish line around 10 seconds in front, I had done the work and was rewarded with the sprint, Thank you dude !

Here is a video of it:

I had put myself into places I never thought I could, as soon as I got off the bike, I wasnt able to stand up, I had “left it ALL on the bike”

Manchester to Blackpool 2011 Gaz after the race

The Time:

The time, well, I failed, I finished the ride in 3 Hours 10 Mins, 35 Mins faster than last year, but 10 mins short of collecting a few promises of “Double sponsorship” for beating the 3 hour mark, as you can see from that picture above, I gave it EVERYTHING I had, I am proud of averagng 19.4 Mph, but dissapointed in failing.

One thing I can assure you all of, is right now, I am plotting for NEXT Year and I WONT Fail  !!!!

Post Ride Piccys:

Manchester to Blackpool 2011 post ride, ride

Manchester to Blackpool 2011 gaz in radioshack kit

Manchester to Blackpool 2011 Gaz in christie kit

Right, I’m SHATTERED, Time for bed, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Sponsor me, its for a GREAT CAUSE !

If this or I have inspired you, then PLEASE sponsor me for the 2011 Manchester to Blackpool charity ride, together, we CAN beat cancer.


The Time Is Here ! Manchester To Blackpool – Final Training Ride Report

10 07 2011

It doesn’t seem like its been 12 months, but it has.

I have been training hard since about March, upping distance, speed, sprinting, climbing and technique.

Now, by the time this goes live here, if all has gone well, I will have crossed the finish line in Blackpool and either given a celebration for Wouter or Cav (Depending on the space around me) and hopefully it will be on video.

This update will chronicle last weekends last training ride.

I decided to do a climb that used to scare the hell out of me “Woodhead Pass” it scared me because its a busy road but also because the ride above offered 2000ft of climbing on narrow country lanes.

but in truth I have climbed MUCH worse.

so it was an excellent ride, really great climbing, fun chasing some “Real” climbers on the way up (Managing to scalp one) and on the way down, I proved I am an AMAZING descender 🙂

Livestrong Bike Woodhead Pass

Finally, just before  the last climb, there were 2 roadies around 250 foot in front of me, I raised my pace to 30 mph, passed them and then hit the climb, like I have never hit a climb in my whole life, I managed to stay stood up until just over half way, its a steep climb that goes on for about a mile, I managed to crest the hill, still in front, by around 200ft once on the flat, I took off again and finally hit the home stretch, it was down hill, I averaged 27 Mph, with tired legs, after one of the fastest climbs I have ever done.

I have become a cyclist, today, I find out if I am where I want to be.

Finally, i’ll leave you with a video of my thoughts from Saturday.

If this or I have inspired you, then PLEASE sponsor me for the 2011 Manchester to Blackpool charity ride, together, we CAN beat cancer.


Crown Point Cycles – Expensive Build – POOR Quality – Take a Bow !

8 07 2011

Well, this week, my new bike was FINALLY Built.

Now, the cost of the build was pretty high, it shocked me TBH, however, I figured, it must have been a top-notch job if I was charged £160 (approx $250)

Ermmmm, Actually, the job was PISS Poor.

First off I asked for 2 innerstubes, The bike having mavic ksyrium wheels would have needed either a medium or long valve, but NOT a short one.

Short Valve - Issue Number 1

Then I noticed the headset was lose:

Now, Im RUBBISH with bikes, but it took me 60 seconds to fix this second mistake, with help from the great wide internet.

Then I noticed mistake number 3, no carbon paste on the seat post.

Ok so, at this point, all pretty niggly stuff

THEN, this

Bars Wrong Angle

Now, any bike shop, that has ever built a road bike must KNOW how wrong this is ?

Finally , I asked him to set the bike up for aggression, what I got was a flipped stem,  WTF !

The owner of the shop in question told me that he has been in business 18 years ! , I am sure he MUST have sold a road bike in that time, did that road bike go out in the same shoddy condition ?

Then we have the  high cost, he was provided with a brand new group set, all that was needed was a seat post clamp and headset wedge and 2 inner tubes, so the majority of the cost was the build, now I might not have been happy with the cost BUT that said, if the build was of top quality, then fine, I REALLY wouldn’t have minded, but as it stands I have had to do so much myself that its left a VERY bitter taste.

Today I had a reply to my concerns

1. No comment on the valves

2. The headset was broken (IMHO Not true  as I was able to fit it)

3. The angle of the bars/shifters was fine as “everyone like different things” and “if you watch the Tour de France, you will see no 2 bikes are set up the same

4. £70 of the cost were for parts: headset bung, seat post clamp and inner tubes

I wouldnt have normally be able to afford such a bill (or bike) but as this has come about from my accident, I was lucky.

I WAS a loyal customer of Crown Point Cycles, however, because of this, I don’t think I’ll ever step foot in there again !

Jason McRoy Tribute/Shrine – Video

3 07 2011

McRoy was the first British rider to join an American professional mountain bike team, and was a UK National downhill champion. He was killed in a motorcycle accident on the A628 Woodhead Pass between Manchester and Sheffield, England.

On Saturday I rode up the Woodhead Pass, saw the Shrine to him and turn around, it is indeed a dangers corner, so I did a VERY quick video before getting on my way.

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