Monday, 28 November 2011

New Mudguards

I bought some SKS Race Mudguards for my road bike, which are clip on ones easier to fit, and a better fit than my Crud ones. I've fixed them on but haven't given them a proper road test yet. I've also been comparing the weight of my road and hybrids with pannier rack, mudguards, lock and full wedge saddlebag and the road is 12 kg compared with 15 kg for the hybrid. So on a touring trip with luggage it would make sense to use the road bike. I'd quite like to do a tour round France or somewhere one day.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Short Cycle in Shorts

I went for a 15 mile ride last Sat in the mild November sun in shorts and jersey. Today and yesterday I was back in winter tights and jacket on my daily commute.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Lathkill Dale Peak District

I didn't do any cycling this weekend as we were up in the Peak District, and stayed overnight on Sat at Youlgrave. We did a 10 mile walk starting at Youlgrave over the fields to the top of Lathkill Dale and back. I also cycled to work 3 times last week.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Ride on the Hybrids

Nicky and I went for a ride yesterday via Long Marston, Cheddington, Slapton, Billington, Eaton Bray and Dagnall (fairly flat) then up and over Ashridge and home. We stopped for coffee in the sun at a conveniently placed bench near Slapton. I'm not sure of the mileage as I found I had a puncture or valve problem before we set off, so changed my inner tube, then put my front wheel round the wrong way - which meant that the magnet on the spokes was on the wrong side! At least I didn't have to cycle backwards. According to MapMyRide it was 23 miles though.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Nyctophobic Audax

I did my first ever 100 km audax yesterday from Chalfont St Peter to a cafe on the banks of the Thames at Benson (pictured) , and back via some quite tough hills and narrow country lanes in the Chilterns. It was a good day, and I found the pace about right (13.2 mph average). Some riders went quite a bit faster than me downhill, but my brakes aren't brilliant so I take it steady (I've since adjusted them to make them sharper). The weather stayed dry but was cool. There was quite a range of ages from 20s to 70s and a mixture of bikes from steel to carbon, some with luggage and mudguards - others carrying hardly anything. We spent around 5 hrs cycling - 6hrs in total, and I was glad I didn't do the 200km Anfractuous - which probably meant finishing after dark. Hence the name of the one I did I assume - nyctophobia being fear of the dark.

Map here

Monday, 3 October 2011

A Ride in the Sun

I did a 36 mile round trip to Chinnor and Towersey on Saturday in about 29 deg C heat. Had lunch on a park bench in Towersey - site of folk festival. It was a bit hot for cycling much further. I'd pumped my tyres up to 120 psi and found my hands seemed to suffer from tingling on the way back. I also had my mudguards on in preparation for next week's audax, and kept getting leaves and bits of grit between the guards and tyres. Maybe I should have bought clip-ons. I think I'll remove them after the audax.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Ride in the Rain

I did a short 16 mile ride to Berkhamsted and back via Ashridge on Sunday when rain showers were threatening. A mixture of sunshine and heavy showers. I didn't have mudgards on or somewhere to stash my waterproof when I got too hot in the sun. So I got pretty wet and sticky. Not having riden a bike without mudgards in the wet before I found the wet bum sensation and extra splash on your shoes unpleasant. So I've added Crud 2 Road Racer mudguards (only 180g) and the larger saddle bag that I used on LEJOG. I need to have mudguards for the Audax I'm booked on next month anyway. The bag, a Dirt Monkey one, attaches to the back of the saddle and doesn't require a rack. I've considered using a rucksack for waterproofs but it feels restrictive and sweaty. The bag is big enough to store my waterproof jacket and a few other essentials. The flask in the photo is just an idea at present - I'm not sure if it would stay in. You can get special flask holders for bikes which might be an idea, although on long rides I'll probably use two bidons (water and energy drink).

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

New Pump

I bought one of these today a Blackburn Air Tower 1, as it's difficult getting my tires hard enough with a hand pump, and my car foot pump and adapter doesn't inflate to a reliable pressure.
I also noticed that my tyres were pretty spongy yesterday on my road bike when I checked - so I probably did my 105 mile ride on underinflated tyres, making it harder.
I've also enrolled in a 100km Audax next month starting from near Amersham, so will need to keep my speed up.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Chipping Norton Round Trip 105 miles!

Spurred on by my colleagues' LEJOG efforts I decided yesterday to put my new road bike to the test on a long ride and cycled to Chipping Norton, via a conveniently placed cafe for coffee and bacon roll then Buckingham. I travelled on fairly main flattish roads and got to Chipping Norton about 1pm for lunch at a nice cafe ("No 24"). Then returned via Bicester and Thame and another cafe in Long Crendon just as I was flagging. It was a round trip of 105 miles and an average speed of 13.6 mph (I don't rush!). Further details here
Compared with my hybrid it was easier on the legs but harder on the bum. No doubt it was a bit faster too, although I've never really measured ave speeds on my hybrid much. The carbon forks reduced numb hands - on my cromoly fork hybrid I get numb hands after 40 miles, but on my road bike I didn't notice any numbness until 90 miles. I've no particular aches or pains today, although feel pretty knackered.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Quainton Trip

Nicky and I cycled to Quainton on our hybrids yesterday and had a picnic. The weather was cool cloudy but dry. A round trip of 38 miles.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Esri LEJOG trip

3 colleagues of mine are doing a 9 day LEJOG charity bike ride starting tomorrow. They have a vehicle support and the route and link to website are here:

Their twitter name is @Esri_LeJog

I think the route we did up the west coast of Scotland was better. Good idea to go north of Dartmoor I suppose. The final leg up the east coast of Scotland is meant to be hilly.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Cross Training in the Picos de Europa

I haven't done much cycling lately apart from a few commutes to work on my hybrid and a short trip or two at weekends on my road bike. Nicky and I have had 2 weeks in Northern Spain though which involved 5 days of quite strenuous walking in the Picos de Europa (with Collett's Mountain Holidays) - followed by a lazier week on beaches of Galicia.

Meanwhile my brother Mike has put his name down for the Paris to Nice (via Geneva) bike ride with Discover Adventure for June 2012. Further details are here

I'm tempted to join him but can't spare the holiday time - as we plan to visit our eldest son next year who has a job in Vietnam.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Tour of North Bucks

My mate Steve from LEJOG came over for the day yesterday and we did a 48 mile ride (using my new road bike) around North Bucks, via Quainton and having lunch at Great Horwood. We did 36 miles before lunch quite easily with the wind behind us. Cycling back after lunch was much harder with a headwind and feeling tired after being tempted to have a pint in the pub. I should have stuck to orange juice. We averaged 14.5 mph.
I've been using the road bike for commuting lately with panniers attached, but have decided to switch back to my hybrid as I prefer straight handlebars in traffic, and will keep the road bike for weekend spins.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Thame Trip

Just cycled one of my usual circuits on new bike. Quite hilly and a strong west wind. Covered 36 miles in 2.5 hrs 14.6 mph ave according to new computer.
I've accessorised the bike now with SPD pedals, saddle bag, lights, mini pump and bell.

Monday, 20 June 2011

22 mile ride on new road bike

I did a ride on Sunday afternoon around the local area. Aldbury, Ashridge, Ivinghoe Beacon, Ivinghoe, Cheddington, Mentmore, Wingrave and home. I'd also done a couple of shorter evening rides to try out the new bike. It's fun, fast and surprisingly comfortable. If I'd have had this bike for LEJOG it would have saved a bit of effort, as it's about 3 or 4 kg lighter - mind you I was a bit lighter when I did LEJOG! I'm still using the hybrid for commuting and feel more in control in traffic with straight handlebars, and I need to use panniers for luggage - which sometimes includes my laptop.

The bike does take a rack for panniers, but I plan to keep the bike lightweight for weekend rides in good weather. I've just received my order for SPD pedals, a mini pump and computer to put the final touches to the bike. I'm planning a longer trip this weekend if the weather is good.

Friday, 10 June 2011

New Road Bike - Specialized Secteur 2010

I've finally succumed to temptation and ordered a road bike that I've had my eye on for some time. In fact I very nearly bought one last Xmas, then it went out of stock. I found one yesterday in a sale for £430 in my size. Not a bad price since the 2011 version is currently £599 and an ugly blue and white. I plan to use it for weekend rides to keep fit and occasionally for work in dry weather. I'll still use my hybrid for leisure rides with Nicky and for general commuting though.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Yorkshire Dales Trip 31st May to 3rd June

Day 1: Tues 31st May: Set off from Collingham and cycled via Harewood to Otley south of the R Wharfe, then crossed over the river on to minor roads. We got to Bolton Abbey about lunchtime and although there was a cafe there we decided we'd rather have a pub lunch and cycled on to Burnsall - which was a bit further and hillier than expected. Got to Grassington about 3pm. 38 miles.

Day 2: Weds 1st June. Set off along a minor road to the north of the river after a good breakfast. Had coffee at Buckden then started the long climb up Langstrothdale over to Wensleydale in the drizzle. The descent to Hawes was extremely steep. Had lunch in a motor bikers cafe along with some old bikers who must have been in their 70s. Checked in to our B&B around 2pm and had a nap, before exploring the town. Only 22 miles but a big hill.
Day 3: Thurs 2nd June. Travelled along the north side of the R. Ure in the sun - which was very pleasant. Met a party of 5 tandems. Had coffee at Aysgarth Falls, then bought sandwiches for lunch which we ate at the ruins of Jervaulx Abbey. Arrived in Masham for 2pm and checked into our B&B - had a nap then explored the town (pattern developing here). It was curry night at one of the local pubs. 35 miles

Day 4: Fri 3rd June. Set off from Masham towards Kirby Malzeard and rural villages to the south of the town. We got a bit lost on a couple of occasions due to signs being knocked over or moved around, and found quite a few hills to climb. Eventually we found a flatter straighter road to Ripley then on to Knaresborough where we bought lunch. Made it back to Collingham about 3pm. 35 miles.

Total cycled 125 miles.

Friday, 27 May 2011

New Cassette and Chain

I took my bike in for a service this morning at my local bike shop and they said the chain was worn - off the scale of their tool. So it's being fitted with a new chain and cassette - which need to be changed together. It's probably done 2,000 miles since it was last changed, maybe more. I decided to swap my existing 8 speed 11-30 cassette for the 11-32 version. So with my 28/38/48 chainwheels I should be well prepared for the Yorks Dales hills.

Nicky the same chainwheels and a similar cassette (7 speed 12-32) so we should be equally matched - although she likes to walk up the steeper hills anyway.

Hoping for good weather - in particular going over the high moors from Wharfedale to Wensleydale on Weds (except this is the day when the heaviest showers forecast).

Monday, 16 May 2011

Chilterns Bike Ride

A couple of LEJOG friends Ellen and Steve joined me yesterday for a 35 mile ride cross country through the Chilterns. We cycled via Wendover to Longwick on fairly busy and decent roads, then up to Bledlow Ridge and beyond on very minor roads. My handlebar bag came in useful for coffee and penquins at the top of the hill.
Then it was on to Speen up another even steeper hill before going down to cross the Wendover-Amersham road then up a gravelly dirt track of a road up to the Old Swan at Swan's Bottom pictured. There were lots of cyclists on the roads, mainly mountain bikers at some sort of event. We had a hearty lunch before the final 5 miles back to Tring.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

New Handlebar Bag

I bought a new handlebar bag pictured ready for our Yorks Dales trip next month. A bike book I have suggested that your luggage ought to be distributed with 40% at the front and the rest at the back. It's big enough for a flask of coffee and a waterproof jacket.

We tested it out doing a 15 mile ride to a pub (Old Swan at Swan's Bottom) last weekend.

I've booked our accommodation in the Dales at Grassington, Hawes and Masham.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Chiltern Charity Ride

Last Sunday Nicky and I cycled a 35 mile round trip from Aylesbury through the Chilterns for the Iain Rennie Hospice at Home charity with some work colleagues, and have so far raised £185 (See It was a nice day and we took our time and enjoyed the scenery. Here are some photos. Spot the Goodies style trandem.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Hythe to Folkstone and back

Nicky and I stayed a couple of nights in Hythe on the Kent south coast at the weekend and brought our bikes. We cycled to Folkstone along the promenade cycle path in the mist. Had lunch in a nice pub in the centre of Folkestone with real fires and decent ale and food. We weren't too impressed with Folkestone as a town though. Nicky was keen to visit the war memorial so we carried on up the hill in quite thick fog, and Nicky managed to fall off her bike whilst mounting the kerb - but was ok apart from a couple of grazes. Saw a Spitfire and Hurricane and monument, then headed back down to the coast and back along the prom. The weather had brightened up and the route quite busy, which made passing from behind a bit of a pain especially as people were walking 4 abreast (a couple of tings of my bell usually did the trick though). Our round trip was 15 to 20 miles. We had planned to do another bike ride that w/e, but the weather was a bit wet and windy, so we walked instead.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

New Maxxis Overdrive Tyres

I bought a pair of new tyres for my wife's hybrid - as hers are not puncture resistant. I use these 'Maxxis Overdrive Maxxprotect Pro 700 x 35c' tyres on my own bike and have not had a puncture with them in over 2 years. They have a Kevlar belt and a good grip for wet town and country rides - good enough for some off road trails. Only £13 each too.
I had a puncture after the first month in one of the Bontrager Satellite tyres supplied with the bike.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Phoenix Trail - Thame to P Risborough

I bought a book called 'Traffic Free Cycle Trails' by Nick Cotton that has details of UK cycle tracks for hybrids and mountain bikes. So Nicky and I tried out this one today and put our bikes on my new roof rack. It's a nice track along a disused railway line and is part asphalt, part gravel. There are scupltures such as these Clanger type creatures and wooden structures along the way. We had a pub lunch at P Risboro then cycled back to Thame (18 miles) from where I cycled home making a round trip of 39 miles.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

New Cycle Rack

I bought (from Halfords) a couple of roof mounted cycle racks (£20 each) and some roof bars (£60) and fitted them today. They're pretty good value and easy to fit - although I need a step to get the bikes up.
I already have a boot mounted rack but it doesn't really cope with 2 bikes, obscures your lights and prevents access to the boot.
The plan is to use this on our Yorks Dales trip and on day trips.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Short Ride to Mentmore

Nicky and I did a 16 mile ride on the BH Monday through Wingrave - where we had our flask of coffee, and back via Mentmore. It doesn't sound much but it's quite a milestone since it's the longest Nicky has cycled since her back problems. It also involved a couple of fairly steep hills.

I cycled to work yesterday and went to the gym today. Hoping to loose a pound a week over the next few weeks to get down from 12 to 11 st.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year's Day Ride

I cycled a 35 mile round trip today in the drizzle to Drayton Parslow where I sheltered in the church foyer (pictured) and had a pack lunch. I tried out my wife's Altura Arran pannier, which proved waterproof - and unlike my Halfords ones doesn't require extracting a plastic cover from a pocket in the base.
The snow we had until Xmas had melted on our return from visiting relatives up north. I also had a 20 mile ride to Wendover and Little Kimble on the Thursday. We've also been doing quite a bit of walking and sledging on Xmas day, and have broken in my wife's new hiking boots.