Everybody needs to grind away

Grinding can mean a lot in cycling. Sometimes it means getting up and over a long climb, and sometimes it means pushing into a strong wind trying to get home when you are absolutely stuffed.

I suppose the concept comes from the industrial world when you need to work to sharpen your tool or equipment or even grind your seed for flour. I had never really thought about where grinding or mill stones come from but I found them on Newcastle Island.

Newcastle Island is in the bay near Nanaimo, another beautiful city on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia. The Island is named after the coal miners who came to Nanaimo to mine the coal.
The sandstone on the island is apparently very high quality, in fact the columns at the front of the San Francisco Mint are made from Newcastle Island sandstone.

This sandstone also has fantastic abrasive qualities and was for many years the source of very good grinding and milling stones. Hopefully, the photos of the machine show how they sourced and created these stones. In short the circular drum cuts a cylinder of sandstone (at least a metre in diameter), which is then extracted. It was great to see the holes left behind in the rock and the broken cylinders which were not obviously up too scratch.

It brings new meaning for when I am next grinding away. Trev



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