Tag Archive: Investment

Well, would you?

If you had been putting money in an account for 30 years only to discover that some funds had been taken and your balance reduced because Agnes down the street has mismanaged hers, would you accept it?  Strike Member on Radio Ulster

At the start of 2009 I was moving towards 23 stone and fed up with it.  I needed to do something to lose the weight and so I bought a mountain bike holding to the strategy that it would be strong enough to carry my weight.  Happily towards the end of 2009 having lost 4 stone I got fed up with the slowness of the mountain bike on the road and took a notion for a road bike.

I took lots of advice and did lots of looking about.  I was advised to go for the best bike I could afford and so I went for a heavily reduced yet still expensive Trek Madone (See my bike stable ), a bike more at home on the Tour De France than the back roads of the Dromara hills.  Now don’t get me wrong I love the bike and it’s never let me down but I’m nervous of it. I’ve never consistently kept weight off and every time I get on the full carbon machine I worry about breaking it or coming off etc.  Adding to the mental pressure the local roads can sometimes get ridiculous with pot holes, flooding, gravel, and mud from the fields etc.  Winter and the Madone somehow don’t go.  Should I sell the Madone?  It’s currently under consideration.

Fed up with this quandary I searched for months for a second hand road bike with which I could use but not be precious about.  I got a Giant SCR2, a nice bike but as with cars you know when something’s not for you.  The Giant confirmed that my thinking towards a winter bike was right but after a couple of hundred miles I knew this particular bike wasn’t for me.

My mother always used to say “Never buy second hand if you can at all afford to buy something new.  Buying second hand is just buying other peoples problems.”

So frustrated with the Giant and with these words banging around my brain I started to look for a new bike that I could ride relatively care free.  I always understood that the end of season sale on bikes was in October so you can imagine my horror when all I seen on the shop floors was 2012 stock.  To my disappointment it would seem that this year the sales had started & finished early.

Last April I had seen a Trek 1.5.  Kitted out with Tiagra and built to have clearance for winter tyres, mudguards and panniers I thought it was the ideal all rounder. Complete with a nice paint job I thought maybe in October I’ll pick one up.  As a last throw of the dice I checked a store I’d forgotten to check in with on previous hunts, I still can’t explain why I hadn’t checked there in the first place.  To my delight I found that they had one in my size but it was for sale at the full RRP. Having known the owner for years and having dealt with him before I thought I’d be cheeky and put in a rock bottom offer for it.  I was briefly worried that I might offend him but was chuffed when he accepted my offer.  I’ve done 30 miles on it and all I can say is that it’s exactly what I wanted.

It’s been a long journey but one which thankfully has come to an end.  So I now have 4 bikes and at least 1 possibly 2 of them need to go. It’s time to have a sale of my own and I’ll let you know the outcome.

A walk in Drumkeeragh Forest…

I took a walk today round an old favourite, Drumkeeragh Forest. A mate of mine brought the place into a conversation I was having on Facebook about how wild the entrance fee is to Castlewellan Park, and so I thought I’d pay a visit. It’s always been a kind of a weird place and I’ve always been a bit spooked by it and yet at the same time drawn to it.  I’m not sure what the weird atmosphere is about. Is it simply the feeling of being on ones own in the middle of a forest or is it influenced by its history which includes a murder that took place there in the 90’s and/or the IRA using it to hide in when they staged a big prison breakout in the 80’s. The place is starting to suffer from a lack of investment which I’m sure can only continue with the recession. Some of the paths have been washed away by the rain over the years and not replaced and grass has also overgrown the path too in parts.  The picture is of the path that cuts through the centre of the forest during a particularly wet period.

It’s a little hilly in places and to be honest as I walked I was shocked at how bad a condition my chest is in.  I’ve had a cold for two weeks, nothing major and so I was shocked when the wheezing started as did the pounding heart as I struggled for air.  Getting back to a decent level of fitness may take longer than I thought.