Monday, 14 December 2009


maybe its a curse but ive patched about 8 punctures in the last week with a couple on the work bike,2 slow punctures on the cannondale and sundays 4 flats...
Uncle Don had asked about a pic of hawthorn..the bush/tree/hedge of grief for cyclists when its cut here in the UK-esp here in SE scotland...
this is it here, "Crataegus oxyacantha"

the thorns are all year round but its only when its cut that the hard thorns around 1-2cm in lenght cause grief with punctures,as hedges are cut with tractors with rear arm mounted flail cutters the cuttings are thrown across the roads,rain and traffic eventually break them down but i have always had flats when there cut what ever tyres ive used before i started using slime in innertubes.
locally it is widely used for hedgerows here aswell as beech and blackthorn,if unpruned it will grow into a stubby tree as will a beech hedge grow into trees if unmaintained-why you often see mature beech trees along roadsides,these were probably hedgerows once..,interestingly beech was planted often alongside roads through wet areas as beech absorbs alot of water and they were supposed to keep evil spirits away.., hawthorn used to be hung on top of may poles,and is associated with fertility and was hung above wedding ceremony`s, but it was also associated with witchcraft,witches were reputed to dance under hawthorn,and as you may know there were quite a few burnings of so called witches around here in the lothians...

more reading here on hawthorn
after the carry on yesterday with punctures i was out in the workshop tonight sorting out stuff with the 29er,heres the new revised tool kit...

sorting out all my on bike toolkits heres the new tool kit list;
;specialized wedge under seatbag (was the mini wedge)
;2 tubes
;green bottle type container puncture repair kit that also has parktool glueless patches,shimano chain rivot,sram quick link,
;crank brothers multi tool with chain breaker
;Co2 bottle & inflater valve (back up to pump)
; 30-40 ml slime per tube..sod the wieght im sick of flats,worked on the pugsley...
:after problems with the top peak pump now a blackburn pump,
i have to say i hate bicycle pumps and have spent a small fortune on them over the years and have had alot fail when i needed them...i now only use scrader valve tubes (car valve) as i use the compressor in the workshop,garage airlines,foot pumps...
also i carry car type tyre foam (motorcycle size) in the pugsley framebag and on the commuter bike...
despite everyone saying top peak pumps are best ive now had 3 fail on me,both mountain morph pumps..on one the seal perished with i think salt air/water when on the pugsley (fair enough)and the other at the head where the rubber split..,both repaired with service kits (more money), now one is inside the pugsley framebag in the dry and the other on the motorbike...

dont get flats often on the motorbike but running tubes you carry a 21" front tube which can also be run in an 18" rear tyre in an emergency,the hand pump will pump the tyre up enough to ride to a garage and airline..
i have 2 blackburn pumps and again magazines and folk say they arnt as good as topeak pumps which are better...and while they dont pump as much air as the toppeak pumps they havent let me down,one is on the workbike and 10 years old!,so whats better? more pumping to inflate but wont let you down?..i think so...
on that note my wireless speedo has packed in on the pugsley at 13 months old.. a top peak 400 something... again rated in magazines,meanwhile the blackburn speedo i have,now on its 3rd bike (karate monkey) is still going after 4 years and only a couple of batterys, will i buy anything again from top peak?.. proberly not..
also wierdly the sea buckthorn has a far nastier thorn than hawthorn yet i have never had a flat from them...maybe it is all a curse..
after 2 days in the mud and gloop of woodland trails between the frozen trails and a week of punctures behind me im now looking forward to going along the beach again this weekend...
anyway bring on the war of the thorns... im ready!!


  1. Thanks for the follow up.

    Pretty plants, aren't they?

  2. hi,there must be alot of sub species in hawthorn as you see diffrent colours in hedges,esp in autumn..just avoid going near them cycling when freshly cut..often in nov/dec..!

  3. Spooky Trails, Witches, evil thorns????

    Git th' bugger oot o' thare. Gang back tae th' beach 'n' bade thare!

    Ha ha ha

  4. tommy,just msgd you back on mtbr, my email is

  5. Now see if I'd had a kit like that with me when I ran down that giant staple, I'd have had a better morning that day. In my defense, the staple didn't stand a chance.

  6. Hullo Coastkid,

    Just dropped by to say thanks for joining the blog. Your the first 'local'!

    Hope you enjoy it.

    Not had chance for much of a look round so I'll be back, but recognise many of the photos as being near me here in Co'path.


  7. hi Al,great locally history on your blog!,let me know if you know anything about the 2 covanters buried at the cairn on whitekirk hill,i work there and trying to find out the story,thanks

  8. Hullo,

    Don't know anything about them off the top of my head but will have a look around some of my stuff. Bass rock was used as a covenanter prison and during the killing times of 1650's any kings officer could stop, search and require an oath to the king of any suspicious person. Anyone who would not swear or found to be carrying a bible could be and often was shot on the spot so there are quite a lot of memorials to unknown covenanters killed in this way. By far most memorials are in SW Scotland as it was the heartland of covenanters. I wonder if these are linked to the proximity of the Bass Rock prison though.....

    Intriguing. If I find anything I'll let you know.

    Whats the inscription say?

  9. alistair, there is no inscription stone,its a grassy cairn,before i worked there when the golf course was built the cairn was fenced off by either historic scotland or RCAHMS when digger work was ongoing,
    it was mentioned in a 1930s book a villager had,he has now moved away...
    the late nigel tranter would have proberly knowen all about it..

  10. In May 1678 a conventicle of 1000 people assembled on Whitekirk Hill, and were attacked by the garrison from the Bass. In 1826 two Covenanters' graves were still marked on the hill. 'They were indicated by heaps of stones, since removed to build field dykes. The site of the martyrs' graves is now unknown.'
    C E Green 1907

    Looks like the covenanters graves have been found since then but not any record of names.

    I'll let you know if I find anything else.

  11. wow thats great you`ve found that out already!!!
    i will take a pic of the cairn tommorrow at work and post it on next post..thanks alistair..

  12. just to add i had heard the dragoons from the bass rock sighted a torchlit gathering on whitekirk hill and rowed from the bass to north berwick and there was a skirmish and a dragoon was killed aswell as 2 coventers...