Eddstagram – Roadtrip Edition: Vol 3

You know the score by now. Check out Volume 1 & 2 to get upto speed with the trip so far.

I chose this track for this set purely for the night out we had at The Cellar (See below).

You join us on a cycle ride somewhere in the Algonquin Provincial Park in Canada. Rob’s looking at a pigeon.
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To be fair to Rob, there was loads of cool wildlife. We were told not to leave any food out because of the bears and the night before we’d heard wolves howling as the sun went down. It was such a haunting but amazing sound that will stay with me for many years to come.
During our ride I spotted a big pile of rusty, twisted metal that used to be a sawmill. I pushed through the undergrowth because I loved the way it looked and wanted to take a photo. Just as I was framing my shot, this little guy hopped out of the trees right into my frame. Nice!
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After a day of cycling we cooled off in the lake opposite our camp. Perfect end to a great day.
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The next day we headed for Niagara Falls. On the way out of Algonquin we stopped for breakfast at this little roadside cafe. Inside was filled with cool old stuff hanging from the ceiling. There were snow mobiles, old bikes, roadsigns and all sorts of other nic-nacs.
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Obligatory Niagara Falls shots.
We heeded all the advice we were given and saw it from the Canadian side. The American side looked shit.
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That night involved lots of coffee, another 450 miles and a 5:30am arrival back in Montreal the next morning. Basically, we had planned to drive from Niagara to Toronto and get a motel but apparently there was an ice hockey match on and we couldn’t find a motel with rooms free, so we just kept driving.

Once UNICON had finished we headed back to the US to continue the roadtrip. Our first stop was the Adirondack State Park in upstate New York.

It’s a mountainous place and the rivers and lakes were really cool. We found out about Buttermilk Falls from a local museum we visited.
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The water was so cool and refreshing. I found a bit I could kind of stand under and had a shower.
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There’s a pretty random story about our stay in the Adirondacks.
While we were signing in to the State Campground, the guy on reception, Mike, said to us: ‘I’ve got something you guys are gunna love,’ At first I thought he was going to wind us up about bears being in the campsite but he preceded to tell us about a bar called The Cellar.
It turns out that the Adirondacks are full of kids summer camps and there just happened to be one less than a mile down the road. Every Wednesday night The Cellar had a $1 beer night and all the camp workers go down there and get hammered. He told us if we wanted to meet girls, that was the place to go. We took his advice and went down there. We had dinner and went and sat at the bar. I have to admit I was really sceptical, the place was full of locals and old people. We waited it out and had a few dollar beers and sure enough, at bang on 10pm, a bus pulled up outside and all of a sudden the bar was rammed with girls! The girl/boy ratio must have been at least 5/1. Needless to say, it was a great night. Nice one Mike!
I took this photo just before we headed down to The Cellar.
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While we were in the area we also visited Lake Placid. We didn’t see any giant alligators but we did go to the winter Olympic stadium from 1980. There were a load of good looking girls ice skating inside.
While we were there Sam wanted a haircut so we stopped at a small salon. The woman who owned the place and cut his hair was actually German. The bloke on the left is American but lives in London and owns a holiday home in Lake Placid. I loved meeting random people like this and listening to their stories. I was a bit gutted this shot came out super grainy.
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We left the Adirondacks filled with new stories and headed south to Philadelphia. We had rough plans to go to a folk festival we’d seen online before the holiday. We still weren’t 100% sure we were going to go but we thought we’d drive down to Philly to see if it was worth going.
We broke the drive up over two days and stopped in a motel on the way. It was a really nice place that was right on a lake. This was the view from our room.
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That’s all for Volume 3. In Volume 4 we attend Philly Folk Fest and make tons of new friends.

Eddstagram – Roadtrip Edition: Vol 2

This is the next 15 photos from our Canadian roadtrip adventure. For any readers that haven’t seen Vol 1, I shot all of these on an old Canon film camera. I haven’t tweaked them in post, this is how they came from the scanner.

The track to accompany Volume 2 is College & Electric Youth – A Real Hero.

Since Montreal is such an amazing city for cycling, we thought it’d be rude not to hire bikes for a day and explore. This was a ‘leg adjusting’ break outside a church.
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The cycle hire place told us it’d be worth going up the Mont to see the city from the top. They weren’t wrong. It took us over an hour to get to the top and all you could see from the track was trees, but once we got to the top the view was worth it!
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After Montreal we hit the road again. This time we were headed for the Algonquin Provincial Park. Another 6 hours in the car saw some epic roadtrip scenes.
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When we arrived at the edge of the park we stopped to find out where we could camp. The light was really cool so I snapped a photo of Eddie.
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By the time we’d found a campsite and registered it was getting pretty dark. We ended up having to put the tent up and cook dinner in Eddies headlights.
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We woke up the next day and cooked an entire pack of bacon for breakfast. Mmmmmm bacon!
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Our tent was a stones throw from a lake. A pretty nice setting for our first Canadian camping experience.
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All three of us love cycling, so we decided to hire mountain bikes to explore the park with. Unfortunately all the normal mountain bikes were already out so we had to take the stupid fat bikes. They were fun for about 2 minutes around the carpark. After a few miles we were absolutely knackered!
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We had to make frequent stops so Rob could look at birds.
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Continued in Vol 3.

Eddstagram – Roadtrip Edition: Vol 1

So here it is, the first of many instalments of my US and Canadian roadtrip in photos. I’m going to post 15 at a time so it doesn’t take hours to read each post.
All of these were taken on film using my Canon T70. All the films were expired, so some have come out better than others. I haven’t done any post on these, this is how they came out of the scanner.

I’ve decided to add tracks from our actual roadtrip CDs so you can listen to them while looking at the photos to get a real feel for what it was like.

So, our trip began at Sam’s Mum’s house. Her partner actually took this one, so I’m blaming him for the soft focus.
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Continue reading

Eddstagram – UNICON 17 On Film

I decided to leave my video camera at home and shoot my UNICON trip on film.
Why? Various reasons. I recently got given my grandads’ old Canon T70, we had loads of film lying around at home and partly for the challenge. I also love the way film looks. All the film I took was expired, a risk I know, but I was prepared to come away with only memories.

Luckily, most of the photos came out ok, if not well. Some have faired better than others, sadly a lot of the flat ones are very grainy. You can tell when I’ve changed films, the difference between some of the films is amazing. I’ve done almost no post on them, although scanning them in has really softened the focus so I’ve sharpened the worst, but that’s it.

Flat

In no particular order.

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UNICON-5

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UNICON-8

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UNICON-2

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Trials

Phil

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Max sending it.

 

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Reaction to Max sending it.

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Those pesky photographers.

 

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Slopestyle Street

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I’m going to post the rest of the non-riding photos from the trip in several installments, in chronological order, so keep your eye out for those.

New BMX Time

I don’t care how old you are or how much you cycle, a total beginner, casual cyclist or professional rider, getting a new bike is always exciting. I love the new bike feeling and today was no exception.

My BMX was getting old, out of date and worn out. Just before my trip to Canada and The States the frame cracked which was the final nail in the coffin for the old girl. I gave it away to a friend and vowed to get a new one when I got back. I haven’t bought a brand new BMX in over 10 years. My last couple of bikes have been second hand or built up from a collection of random parts so I thought it would be good to start again from scratch and just buy a complete.

I popped upto Chaineys Cycles in MK to see my friend Oli. I had been looking at new bikes and I knew I wanted something shorter than my previous bike. My old Federal had a 20.85″ toptube length which I always felt was a little too long. I wanted something around 20.5″ so I could spin it a bit easier. Chaineys had just got the new line of United and Fit bikes in stock. I knew a couple of the Fits had a 20.5″ TT so I took a look at those. I settled on the Fit Dugan 1. It was within my budget and was the size I was after.

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I’m not a massive fan of the colour, it’s pretty offensive on the eyes but that doesn’t affect how it rides. It’s left hand drive but I’m planning on re-lacing the rear wheel with my Profile hub as soon as I get a 9 tooth cassette for it, so I’ll change it to RHD then.

I went for a 20 minute blast on it this evening and it’s going to take a while to get used to. The main thing is the length. It feels REALLY short compared to my old bike. I like it though, it feels nice and flicky. The huuuuuuge tyres are going to take a bit of getting used to. They kind of pull you to one side or the other if you lean even slightly to one side during  manuals. Not sure I like that. Lastly, I think I’ll leave the front brake on for a bit too. I’ve always struggled with footjams and I almost nailed a nose stall with the brake after a few runs. I may swap the levers over though, I almost went over the bars a couple of times because I pulled the wrong lever by mistake!

I’m looking forward to riding it more. Big thanks to Oli Morris and the Chaineys crew for hooking me up. It felt weird not having a BMX in the shed. Happy days :)

A Traveller Returns

 

 

After being away for a month, coming home really hits hard. Every item you take out of the suitcase reminds you of another great memory that was made while you were away. I’ve been back for a couple of days now and the post holiday blues have well and truly set in.

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The best thing about coming home from this trip is that I have so many exciting things to look forward to. Leo and I are finally going to get our VW Camper van on the road, I start my HNC course in October and I’m starting to save for a new camera.

Another thing to look forward to is holiday photos! While I was away I shot 7 rolls of film on my Canon T70. I’m super excited to see how they came out. I’m taking them all in to get developed today, so keep your eye out for a special edition of Eddstagram!

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I managed to come home with a bit of money to spare, so in an attempt to cheer myself up, I’m going BMX shopping today. If I make a purchase I’ll definitely blog about that.

 

Unicycle World Championships & Montreal

After spending a day at Puds recovering, we decided to have a BBQ before leaving for UNICON, the unicycling world championships. It was a really chilled evening which ended in a heated table football match.

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The next morning we packed the Explorer and donned our Team GB shirts, ready to hit the road for Montreal which is where UNICON was being held. The Explorer belongs to Pud and he’s letting us borrow it for the trip. He only uses it over winter and the brakes are rubbish and make a horrible grinding sound. Despite that, we all fell in love with it straight away, especially the sound from the 5 litre V8!

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The drive was about 650 miles. We left a little later than planned and we stopped a couple of times on the way which made our total travel time 15 hours. At one of our stops we got chatting to a woman who had lived in Leighton Buzzard. She introduced us to her Dad who used to work at Wing Airfield during the war. How mental is that?!

We arrived at UNICON at 1:30am. Luckily there were plenty of people up still and we managed to find our room (Which actually turned out to not be room!) and crashed out for the night. Here is one of many photos from the drive.

 

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The next day was mainly spent registering for UNICON and getting ourselves settled. One thing I did was sort out my money. Having just spent 4 days travelling solid, I’d acquired quite a few different currencies. I had English pounds, Icelandic Krona, US Dollars and Canadian Dollars. I felt like a total boss!

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Trials was the very next day. I was still feeling a little tired from travelling but the course looked really good. I decided that I was going to just ride for fun rather than trying to kill myself to get a good place. I almost wasn’t allowed to ride because I didn’t have knee pads, nice of them to change the goalposts at the last minute. Luckily I managed to borrow a pair and still take part. Big Thanks to Aaron for lending me his pads.
I wasn’t riding very well but was quite pleased with my result. I came 7th in my age group. Not amazing but I haven’t ridden much recently so I wasn’t expecting to place high.

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That evening was spent drinking beer, seeing old friends and making new ones. Rob had a go at unicycling and almost nailed it, everyone had a go with Sam’s leg and Aaron ran into a glass pane.

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The next day we decided to explore Montreal. The entire city is designed for cycling, so what better way to see it than by bike. We found a small bike shop, rented some bikes and spent the day hacking around the city. We cycled unto the top of Mont Royal which has spectacular views over the city. Well worth the uphill climb!

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That evening we watched the flatland comp. The setting was really cool, just underneath the Olympic stadium from the 1976 olympics. Even though the stadium is getting pretty old it still looks like a modern building. It must have been insane when it was first built!

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We’ve done lots more, but I’ll post about that another time.

Good times!

The road trip begins!

Roadtrip crew assemble!

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It was finally here. We booked the trip back in January and it seemed so long away at the time. The time flew by and before we knew it, we were sitting on the plane at Heathrow waiting to take off. It was a really nice, sunny evening and it felt like the beginning of something good.

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Our first flight was to Iceland. To save money we flew to Keflavik airport and had a 17 hour wait. By the time we landed it was late and we were all tired and hungry, so we went off to get something to eat before finding somewhere to sleep.

We found a pizza place and ordered a pizza and a beer each. Stupidly, we asked what the barmaid recommended and Robert and I ended up with 11.5% stout. In the end that turned out to be a good thing because the best place we found to sleep was on a bench opposite Victoria’s Secret in the departure lounge. Unfortunately for us, we hadn’t got a grip on the exchange rate yet and when we got the bill it was almost 10k Icelandic Krona or £50!

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After getting some interrupted sleep, we needed to find a way to kill 12 hours. We couldn’t go to Reykjavik because the bus from the airport was 3500 Krona and we’d already spent most of our money on pizza and beers.

The only thing for it was buy more beers. We found some really cool beer with Icelandic berries. The picture on the can was a Viking wearing shades, so it was the obvious choice.

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After spending almost 18 hours in the departure lounge we eventually caught our flight to Newark. We jumped in a cab as soon as we landed and headed to the greyhound station. It was great to see Sam and Robert’s reactions as we drove through Newark in the taxi. Neither of them have been to the States before and I think they were both in a state of culture shock.

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We hopped on the Greyhound and spent a further 8 hours on the bus, arriving at Pittsburgh at 6am this morning, tired but relieved that the long journey to Puds was over.

DSC00111After a spot of breakfast where Rob got the biggest, sweetest mocha known to man all over his face, we stopped off at the drive through cash machine so that Pud could get some money. ‘Merica!

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My BMX has died!

Well, after 6 years of abuse, my BMX has finally died. It went peacefully, during a chilled evening session doing what it loved best, carving a bowl.

I 180’d out of the extension and heard a massive ‘PING!’. The frame has cracked at the headtube/downtube junction. Hard to see from the photos but it goes almost 3/4 of the way around the weld.

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I’ll miss it. It’s been a good bike. I was planning on buying a complete when I get back from UNICON anyway. I’ll probably get something a bit shorter next time, this frame is 20.8″ and I want something more flicky.

 

RIP Federal