Macclesfield Bikeathon 2011

Now in it's 7th year, the Macclesfield Bikeathon returns in 2011 on Sunday 15th May.

This will be my 4th time completing the Bikeathon. It's a brilliant sportive, really friendly atmosphere and good marshalling. It has the ambience of a small, homemade sportive while comfortably having easily enough riders on course so you are never on your own either.

This year they've added in a 26 mile option which joins 52, 36 and 16 miles. The 36 is a totally flat course around South Cheshire and is perfect if you're an amateur taking part in sportives for the first time, especially a good warm up for Manchester to Blackpool later on in the year.

The 52 miles is a nice course. The hills are all in the first 20 miles, you climb out of Macclesfield onto the Peaks around Wincle. These are brilliant roads with great views. You then re-join the longer courses around the back end of Goostrey, stopping at Jodrell Bank before heading along Lower Withington and Siddington back home.

You get free sandwiches at the end and the square has a band on with a good atmosphere. Well worth getting involved.

Wind, rain, cold and sore legs

Today was a tough club run, starting off with a vicious head or side wind all the way round for 30 miles before it chucked it down big time all the way home for the final 20. Saturday saw me head out on my own for 40 miles as well to enjoy the glimpse of sunshine. Perhaps a bad call it made my legs tired from battling on in the wind on my own at the start of the club run. Today's efforts just totally finished them off.

It's at times like this you ask yourself "why am I doing this?". That perhaps it's worth stepping back a bit. But when Friday comes knocking on the door, I know I'll be looking forward to getting back out on the bike again. I think it becomes part of being a cyclist. You suffer through the pain, the cramps in the legs, the belly ache from the gels. Your clothing soaked to your skin, the wind chilling your hands so you can't feel them and all you want to do is curl up in bed as you force the bike down a long drag of country road.

Bring on next weekend.

Ad of the week

Great news!! The Flexi-Fit Ad campaign which I wrote about last week has been given Ad of the week at the Chip Shop Awards website!!

Even The Drum got on the case with some coverage http://www.thedrum.co.uk/news/2011/02/11/18597-wikileaks-voted-chip-shop-awards-advert-of-the-week/

If you could take 2 minutes to check it out and vote if you like it, it would be much appreciated!

Cravendale Retires Milk TV Ad

Today is a sad day. Cravendale have announced that they are retiring Cow, Pirate and Cyclist. Incredibly they have been around for over 4 years and Wieden & Kennedy have produced some great ads, and in my opinion, the below was the best of last year's selection (after the Specsavers Postman Pat TV ad of course!).


Sarah Storey

Saturday wasn't only my birthday but also Weaver Valley Cycling Club's annual presentation night. This year our guest speaker was multi-paralympic medalist Sarah Storey.

Sarah's story (excuse the dreadful pun) is quite remarkable. Starting out in 1992 as a Paralympic swimmer, she clocked up 5 golds, 8 silvers and 3 bronze before moving over to Paralympic cycling in 2005 and picking up 2 golds in Beijing (in the space of 3 years!).

Such is Sarah's talent that she is now hoping to represent Great Britain against fully able-bodied cyclists.

It would be a remarkable achievement. Her speech was uplifting, with funny digs at Australia and the USA. Sarah came across as being very grounded, she made many references to, and it was abundantly clear that she loves, her husband Barney who she met while competing. Barney is obviously a great support and it was interesting to hear how ex-Weaver Valley rider Paul West (now British Cycling coach) encouraged her to get into cycling.

I hope it works out for Sarah, I'm sure the numbers are there! I really enjoyed Eleanor Underhill's introduction to Sarah. Eleanor competed alongside Sarah in the Weaver Valley Ladies Race earlier on in the year, and she explained how Sarah sat on the front, ripped the field apart and while she was struggling to get up the cliff in the granny gear, Sarah was smashing it out in the big ring.

If you're interested in follow Sarah's progress you can on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mrssarahstorey , you can also follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/andywood86

Chip Shop Awards 2011

I work for an ad agency called One Marketing Communications and we've entered one our client's ads into the Chip Shop Awards.



The ad was created for a company called JT who are a leading UK manufacturer of shower trays. The aim was to raise awareness of Flexi-Fix, a self-adhesive, waterproof upstand (which basically does away with the use of adhesive and hides behind the tiles to stop water from leaking over the edge of the shower tray).

We created the ad within 24 hours of the WikiLeaks stories being released in the news and was distributed through email. The ad works beautifully with the strapline "Stop irritating leaks before they get everywhere". If you like to please vote for us by clicking here.

The Chip Shop Awards look at rewarding great creativity and thinking outside the box. Sometimes the best ideas don't get past the client (or would even be considered by a client). Chip Shop still allows agencies to enter projects which they believe are worthy of an award. A lot of the Chip Show Awards aren't actual campaigns but are brilliant and risque parodies of existing brand advertising (we were very lucky that we had a client that had the understanding and ours was published - worth the award in it's self if you ask me!!). Well worth checking out, there is some seriously clever work in there.

Dirt Devil Vacuum Viral Ad



I love this new viral from Dirt Devil. Produced by The Raft (neighbours of ours) and Chief Productions (who have produced a number of TV ads for us).

A beautifully simple way of getting across the powerful suction of the vacuum while touching on the "wicked" edge which the brand is famous for.

Jodrell Bank Sportive 2011

Those of you out there looking for an early season sportive, or merely looking to get some miles into the legs before the Cheshire Cat, may look no further than the Jodrell Bank Cyclosportive which is back for a second year.

Jodrell Bank Cyclosportive 2011 goes ahead on Saturday 12th March (ideal if you don't want to miss the Sunday club run) with a new, bigger HQ at Poynton Leisure Centre.

I took part last year and really enjoyed it, it is a basic but well organised sportive. The highlight was the timing chips, which was something for such a new event. The stats were excellent. Hopefully they will be back.

The first 75% of the ride takes in the nice easy flat lanes of Cheshire which roll out of Poynton to around the outskirts of Wilmslow and Prestbury before heading to Great Warford. From there you go across to Peover and Allostock for the first feed stop outside Goostrey. From Goostrey you go on a massive loop around Jodrell Bank before heading off down to Withington and into Prestbury and Pott Shrigley. After a couple of lumpy bits its back home to Poynton.

For 2011 they've taken the hills out from around Pott Shrigley on the shorter rides but kept them in on the 80 miles.

The spec does say you'll be on good quality, quiet roads. I wouldn't say "good quality". The quiet country lanes of Cheshire are very rough and rutted with holes about the place so take care!

30 miles is £15 while 50 and 80 are £25. Sportive starts at 8am. You can enter here: https://www.sientries.co.uk/event.php?event_id=464