Tag Archives: manchester

Emergency landing

Holiday time, and off to Ibiza. I decided that I was fed up of the summer which we were being inflicted with in Northern Europe. Cold, wet and simply unpleasant. I managed to talk The Pretty One into agreeing to my bringing the bike. A new bike box was purchased and an evening wasted trying to pack the bike.

The flights were booked on a budget airline. When traveling with a bike I always try to do the most direct routing. Jet2 was the airline selected. It all got off to a bad start with checking in the bike. Apparently there was a 20kg weight limit for sports equipment. Given that to book the bike onto the flight you have to phone their sales line (on a premium rate number – thieving tactics being fully deployed) you would have thought they would mention this. The box weighed in at 30kg, and they promptly requested 120gbp per flight for the box. Given that the charge for the box already paid was 70 for the round trip, my opinion of most budget airlines hasn’t changed. They are out to scam you at the first given opportunity. We should have read the small print though. After negotiations with the supervisor, the charge was reduced to 40gbp. I paid. It will be point one of many on my letter to Jet2.

We boarded the flight. A 737-800. It is a while since I have flown a 737. They are normally the domain of airlines I don’t fly. European airlines usually fly Air Bus short haul. Yes, Lufthansa and BA have some ancient 737s on their fleets, but they aren’t deployed in my routes.

So Jet2 was a new airline for me. I must admit the cabin was fairly pleasant. Alternating red and grey leather seats. Not the super economy feel of Ryan Air. Leg room was good too.

So the flight began, and it was lumpy. Not massive, cabin shaking turbulence but enough to make it uncomfortable. The seat belt lights remained on About 30 minutes in, there was a call put out for the ‘senior cabin crew to come to the flight deck’. It struck me as unusual. Almost immediately there was another announcement.

‘Ladies and Gentlemen this is the captain speaking. Unfortunately there is a technical problem with aircraft. We will be returning to Manchester, where we will make a precautionary landing. Please remove all loose items from the cabin and ensure your hand luggage is returned to the overhead bins, or is pushed right forward under the seat in front of you. Please ensure your seatbelt is tightly fastened and follow the instructions of the cabin crew precisely’.

His voice was tense.

For me, precautionary landing means emergency landing. The cabin crew came to the overwing windows and checked the engines for fires.

The cabin however remained jovial. I suppose that is the way we cope. Of course there were the typical idiots mouthing off. Suggesting this was more likely with Jet2 than with another airline. That, I don’t believe. Some were abusive, and subsequently not allowed to take the replacement flight. Good.

The landing was hard. It would be. We were overweight. Aircraft are not designed to land with a full load of fuel. It puts a lot of stress on the airframe, and also requires the entire length of the runway.

It was very hard though. Positive. And there were fire engines there waiting, racing us down the runway. My friend in air traffic control tells me that this is standard procedure for an emergency landing. The plane came to a halt slowly, then was taken to a stand away from all over aircraft. It was circled by fire crews.

Eventually we were let off. I had called the ATC friend, who had informed me that the aircraft had suffered dual autopilot failure.

Jet2 were pretty good. A new flight on a repaired aircraft was arranged to take off at 19:30 (from an original 14:30 departure) however due to removing people from the flight, and then not being able to find their luggage, the crews hours were exceeded. The cabin crew were also up against it. The water runs never reached the middle of the plane (front and back were watered) and the free soft drinks also never got to us. We were fortunate that we had brought our own food and used the Jet2 food vouches to purchase food and drink we could consume during in the wait. We eventually took off at 21:45 or 22:00. Even once in the air, Jet2 were still expecting everyone to pay for any food. This was disgraceful. £5 worth of food was supposed to sustain you for an additional 6 – 7 hours.

The flight was then uneventful. However the rental car office was closed, so there were out of pocket expenses.

As for Jet2 – well, shit happens. For the most part, it was only the inability of the cabin crew to stand up to more boisterous passengers which let them down. The insistence on sticking to the rules meant the service recovery was lacking (no free food or drinks beyond the legal requirement). I will see how much they respect the rules when I invoke the EU law on delays and compensation.


Amateur Hour

I recently gave someone some advice about being new to clipless pedals.  You know, the type of thing, saying to take your time with them, and to clip out early.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I finally put the Klein together and went for a ride along the canal tow path to see what needs doing to it (more air in the front forks, and perhaps the bars rotated slightly).  The idea was to go for a light ride, having already run 6km yesterday (in 30 mins, which I am quite pleased with) so just a couple of miles.

The first slight incline, and I find myself unable to clip out in time, and over I go.  I blame riding the road bike too much recently and the relative lack of float that those pedals have compared to SPDs.  I fell into a low level wall, which I then fell over, squashing my ankle against the wall, then forcing a lot of my weight on it.  It was damn painful.

Oh well – hopefully that is my ‘unable to clip out moment’ done for another year.  You’d think after 17 years of clipless I would be okay with it, but I think everyone has their moments!


I have a friend, who is quite a bit older than myself.  About six years ago, we were in contact quite a lot.  He was a good hobby rider, and had the best bikes and all of the best equipment.  I remember one day talking to him about riding, and about sore muscles.  He just looked at me and said ‘go for a massage’. 

At the time, I remember thinking what a luxury that sounds like.  How nice it would be to do that – to just say, you know what, I am going to do this for myself.

I have never been a big fan of massage.  Relaxing massage to me to pointless.  It is like being stroked to death.  I am not a cat.  Sports massage, well, I have had it a couple of times, and enjoyed the feeling that actually something was being done to my muscles.  Something good.

So today, I went for a massage on my legs. the physio working on my “like old rope” knotted muscles.  It was painful but good.  A luxury I think I will occasionally afford myself.  I mean, all of this is about looking after my knee, and that has to help right?

How self-indulgent!?


Managed to get a nice flattish fastish 40miles done this morning. After which we drove to London to go to a house party.

Lovely ride though, although a bit too much traffic. I am feeling good. My legs are working well. 29.5km average speed.

Nice bit of Pave too – although only about 100 meters of it.



It was a busy day on Sunday. In the morning I got up early (at least, early for a Sunday) and hopped on the bike to ride to a pub car park to meet with other people at 9:30am. Since … Continue reading

A lunchtime ski

It seems like a strange thing to do, and I must admit that after California things do feel VERY cold here.  So, we went skiing.

We live close enough to an indoor ‘real snow’ ski slope to be able to go there for an hour and get some runs done.  Actually it is only really one run, and that isn’t that long.  It was our first time there, and the Pretty One decided that she would board – we once did a boarding holiday together when we were brand new – it nearly broke us!  I skied – I haven’t got as much ski time as her anyway.

My thoughts on the place – well next time I will do a lesson – either skiing or boarding.  The slope itself is too short and once you have done it, you have kind of done it if you are just going there for a ski.  I think that for learning and concentrating on technique indoor skiing is fine.  As it was, going for an hour was fine, and I had fun, but I think I will need more things to concentrate on next time.
There will be a next time though.

Photographs aren’t mine.

Sofa time

I am in the luxurious situation of no longer having anywhere to live in Germany. Sofa time for at a colleague’s house. I Am sad to see the apartment go, but financially it makes good sense. That’s also the answer as to why I put myself through this.

I fly today. I am then spending the weekend in Manchester. Actually, Monday and Tuesday too. The Pretty One’s job is moving up there in a couple of years and they are show us what a nice place it is to live. Then next week it is time to perhaps ride the bike. Trying to arrange possibly riding with Hans (No Way) Ray.