Phoenix rises in Blakelaw

The club at which I’m a coach moved on Saturday. The Newcastle Phoenix is now at Blakelaw Park in Newcastle, a move from the Town Moor’s Exhibition Park.

Click on the arrow above for an Animoto-mashed slide show of the successful first day at the new venue. It’s a Newcastle Football Development Scheme site, co-funded by Newcastle City Council and Barclays Spaces for Sports. The ‘no bikes’ bit is a reference to the all-weather footy pitches.

Getting to Blakelaw Park is now a bit of an expedition for me and my boy. Thanks to wonder that is Google Earth I was able to map out a route that took in a lot of Newcastle’s Town Moor. And thanks to Kona’s Jake the Snake cyclo-cross bikes we were able to slosh our way through the mud to be on time for the club’s first coaching session at Blakelaw.

Phoenix to ride/rise again

Newcastle Phoenix is a British Cycling ‘Go Ride’ club, a club for 6-18 year olds. I’m one of the coaches at this club. On November 24th we’re moving from Newcastle’s Town Moor to Blakelaw Park. We’ll have a lock-up bike storage facility, a safe place to leave all the Kona cyclo cross bikes we’ll be riding.

To publicise the move I’ve created this mash-up slide show movie. I say create, I should really say uploaded to animoto and then let those guys do all the MTV-style graphics.

Click on the arrow to play the movie. For photo nerds like me, Animoto is manna from heaven. It’s simple to upload pix and then have the site create a really cool video, along with a sound track you can load yourself or choose from Animoto’s ‘music lounge’. I never thought I’d ever say this, but Animoto makes mincemeat out of Apple’s slideshow and movie apps. In fact, Animoto is more Apple than Apple.

Pix by me and Dr. Brian Smith.

And here’s one I did earlier. It’s a dad-and-his-boy bike tour in Luxembourg. Check out the donkey eating the SDG saddle on the Dahon Hammerhead.

(Nearly) my first taste of Cyclo Cross

Early next year the fantastic British magazine Cycling Plus will run a piece of mine on my first attempts at cyclo cross. I nearly started today. There was a tasty little CX race in Killingworth, close to my home.

Sadly, my wife wanted me back at home quickly so she could nip off to attend a Christmas festival. I therefore had to live the racing through my children, and take pix for the mag piece. For Josh it was his second CX race. For Hanna it was her first ever race. They’re members of the Newcastle Phoenix Go Ride youth cycling club.

Pix here and here’s a slide show video of them in action…

Maybe I’ll start racing next week? I have the Jake the Snake. I have the carbon-soled Shimano MTB shoes and the mud-clearing cleats. I can’t wait to get lapped…