A little bit of everything

This weekend simply promised to be enjoyable starting from Thursday night. After both of my employers were off Adam and I had free Friday and Saturday and most of Sunday too. This was such a great chance that we could not afford to miss it.

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On Thursday it was beautiful – sunny and warm (Adam would say hot even) and I set to work last day before the long weekend with feeling how great things are. Only to find out that I would not be able to make it the other place as my front tyre is flat and I had no repair kit on hand. I know this must sound really stupid as we are about the set on journey to the other side of Eurasia and I cannot take care of myself within the border of Greater Manchester. However the explanation for me not carrying the puncture repair kit (sorry mum) is that I hardly ever have one. The last puncture I had was probably while we still lived in Edinburgh (now two years ago). But from now on for some time I am going to carry this kit around as punctures always come in bulks. Adam has rescued me and met me half way, repaired it for me – well for one he is gentleman, for two I had a white dress and this just makes you so dirty and for three even though Adam is always trying to make me do this things by myself it just takes me at least twice his time. We had a nice journey home and I was so filled up with sun and joy or riding with Adam that I planned trip to the Pennines for next day.

It all started according to the plan we made night before. This time I even prepared the snacks night before and Adam checked the tandem bike, changed brake pads (important point) and as we did not have a map of Pennines we made a detailed itinerary of when and where to turn. So as you would expect nothing could go wrong with the exception of BBC weather forecast. Similarly to the last time, the first stretch was to follow a canal but this time it was Ashton canal. The plan was to follow it all the way to Stalybridge and then turn onto the road that goes to hills. It took me about half an hour sitting in the back seat thinking if we had packed everything to realise that the detailed itinerary is in my other trousers! Well we decided that there is no way we are now turning back for it and that we will just give it a try. It all went well, except for some closed footpaths and one wrong turn. When we came to a picturesque village of Glossop of which I thought was not in the plan we asked a nice guy in bike shop if he can point us towards the water reservoirs. It turned out we are bit more southwards then we wanted to be but on the other hand he thought it was wise decision to take detour and not to follow the road we intended as it was way too busy. He then just warned us that it is in his words “a hell of a climb” of which we assured him we do not mind.

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So back on track we were pedalling against the wind up the frozen hill. Seriously, here in Manchester the spring is in full spree but over there you still find snow. Although we were almost frozen (Adam because he only had shorts expecting the BBC be truthful in their weather forecast and me because of Adam wearing shorts) the views were stunning. We had a lovely lunch by the reservoir, few pictures at the summit and then the first hell of a descend. I mean the way up was hard not so much for me as I only pedal but Adam has to manage steering, braking and changing the gears for two people – he puts it like this “It is like cycling on my own bike just much more heavier and having another person on it… at least she is pedalling”. But for me the way down was much much worst. I was screaming but only at the beginning as I soon realised Adam will not slow as much as I would wish him to. I was squeezing the brakes I did not have and I was trying very hard to see what is in front of us which is almost impossible as Adam is very tall and I cannot move much as this makes it even harder for Adam to steer the tandem which you do not want to do if you are going this fast downhill. But we made it, although when it was time to enter the village I have envisioned old cartoons where the main characters can’t stop because their brakes stopped working and they go incredibly fast through the city junctions and the cars are passing and honking everywhere. This did not happen to us and we got home frozen but happy and had a lovely quiche to dinner.

As you will expect Saturday was sunny and warm – seems that the person drawing the weather substituted Saturday for Friday. Well at least we had a nice and long coffee outside our door warming up and listening to many stories from the yesteryears of our Landlord. We also went for great cycling event organised by guys from Coffee Cranks Cooperative in Popup Bikes. They screened few short cycling films. The nicest thing about this is that then you have a discussion (which was rather short this time too) and they serve tea or coffee which you can drink with some of their lovely biscuits. These guys are really amazing – their idea is probably nothing that new but in Manchester it is a novelty. They have built their own cargo bike which they are using as mobile coffee stand. At the moment they are raising some money so they can buy a proper coffee machine. Have a look at their website and read more about them or you can watch some of their videos.

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And then yesterday came – again the weather was not as nice as on Saturday or today but you know all is well if it is not raining here. We had two guests and spend the most lovely afternoon with them. We made this yummy mango cheesecake and ate it all in only four people. Actually three and a half as Emkay left too soon to have the second round. I was so full like I have only been over Christmas – seriously I could not move and my only thoughts were that I should have saved the other piece for next day. It was great to see Emkay before she was leaving to do her fieldwork in Buffalo over the great Atlantic ocean. Thank you Emkay for making time in your busy pre-packing schedule to come to see us and for the lovely presents. And then when she went away (me almost crying as from all the people that were studying here in Manchester, Emkay has been the last to stay here with us) we had a battle in Blokus with Rafael.

So yes, this really was a busy and very enjoyable weekend. And as a bonus we cycled through four shires – Greater Manchester aka Lancashire, Tameside, Derbyshire and West Yorkshire – hurray!

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