Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Cycling Safety

Whilst the recent deaths of cyclists in London are undoubtedly the fault of dangerous drivers and bad junctions, I think there's quite a bit cyclists can do to improve their safety. I always wear a helmet and high-vis or bright clothing and have lights on or flashing in dim light or at night. I'm not sure you could enforce helmets etc legally, but wouldn't object for main roads at least. I also tend to hog the centre of a lane at junctions, and am wary of undertaking on the inside of traffic or cycling between queuing traffic. I'm not sure if cyclists undertaking is legal, although it is for cars in traffic where there are 2 or more lanes. I quite often use the middle of the road in traffic on the A41 into Aylesbury in the mornings, provided there is plenty space. I also generally avoid bike lanes that force cyclists to cross busy roads at separate crossings, although like the idea of totally segregated bike lanes with preferential traffic lights.
Hopefully they'll get the London problems sorted - I wouldn't fancy cycling there.

Sunday, 10 November 2013


The weather's been sunny today, so we had a walk in the morning, then I did a 15 mile circuit up Ashridge. I could have stopped to photograph the nice autumn colours and sika deer, but the place was crowded with cars and walkers. I'm now using my winter boots and warmer tops, but haven't needed winter tights yet.
Nicky and I have decided to do a tour of Suffolk and Norfolk next May, starting and ending at Southwold, where one of Nicky's cousins lives. This year's hills in Devon and Cornwall have made her hanker after something flatter.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Pub Ride

I did a 15 mile round trip with our eldest son this afternoon via Wingrave and Mentmore (my usual route) then stopped for a pint at Long Marston. An enjoyable trip. His new gears worked fine. This pic is from the web, it wasn't quite as sunny as this.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Ricci Repair

Our eldest son managed to break his Campag derailliers a while back - well the spring had gone anyway and it didn't keep the chain tensioned. Rather than trying to get replacement Campag gears I bought a Shimano Tourney one for £15 and fitted it myself. It seems to work a treat - although spoils the look a bit of the vintage steel Ricci bike. But as we only paid £20 for the bike he didn't want to spend much money on it.

I was hoping we'd do a ride last weekend, but he was busy, so I did a 15 mile road bike run on my own. I'd also cycled to work 2 or 3 times last week.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Brill Ride

Having spent the last 2 weeks on holiday in Italy (walking on the Amalfi coast the first week), I decided yesterday to wiz off on my own for a decent bike ride. I did a longer version of my Aylesbury circumnavigation, taking in Winslow, Brill and Thame. A round trip of 60 miles, back in time for lunch and the afternoon gardening. Stopped off at Brill windmill
I also used my rack bag so I could carry a flask of coffee, and have space for my extra jersey when the weather warmed up.
Back at work today - it was quite nice to have a day at a desk!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Short Road Trip and Wallingford

The weather was quite pleasant this weekend (mid 20s), so I ventured out on my road bike for my usual 15 mile ride via Wingrave and Mentmore yesterday afternoon. Today started off cool then got hotter and sunnier. We spent the day at Wallingford walking the Thames Path, swimming in the open air pool and river, picnicking and sunbathing.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Too Hot for Much Cycling

With temps up to 28-32C in the day lately we haven't done any weekend rides this month, and have opted for shady walks instead.
I have though been commuting regularly - every day this week. The mornings are very pleasant with temps around 20C, however at 5.30pm it's been really hot and humid, which has made the climb up the hill near Aston Clinton quite tough.
Nicky has been planning next summer's bike ride from Dieppe to the Auverne following the trail of her Dad's teenage hike in 1938. The plan is to get a train to Newhaven then the ferry to Dieppe, cycle for about 7 days covering around 50 miles a day with luggage, then rent a gite with pool and a hire car and do a bit of walking, returning by train. I was wondering about cycling in walking shoes rather than SPD ones, however having tried it this week I'm missing the SPDs going up hills and at junctions when positioning pedals. So I'll probably just buy a pair of trainers when I get there.
I've booked my road bike in for its first service soon, and will no doubt have a few day trips when our eldest son is back from Vietnam at the end of the month.
Has anyone found a decent alternative to Google Reader? I used to read blogs I'm following on my iPhone and Windows laptop - but now it's gone it's not easy to keep track of new posts.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Bledlow Ridge

Nicky and I did a 35 mile ride today in warm sunny weather, the first ride we've done together since our Lands End ride. We headed over to Wendover, then near Chequers and over some hilly bits of the Chilterns to Bledlow Ridge. After a picnic in a meadow and a spot of sunbathing we returned via Weston Turville
Late news: We achieved our £1000 fundraising target today.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

School Gym Equipment Installed

The gym equipment that we raised money for by cycling to Land's End was installed at my wife's school yesterday. Here's a picture. We have raised over £900 now, which covers most of the costs, and there's still some money coming in.
Meanwhile on the cycling front we haven't been very active. I've been cycling to work 2 or 3 times a week, and at weekends we've been walking and gardening rather than cycling. I'll probably have a few day trips with our eldest son on road bikes, when he comes back for the summer.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Tring to Land's End Ride Summary

Having had an enjoyable day off on Saturday in Cornwall, that included a swim in the Penzance Jubilee Pool, we drove back yesterday in a one way hire car with our bikes in the back. We spent much of the sunny Saturday in Porthleven. It was nice to be able to spend a day and a half relaxing with my brother, his wife and our niece before heading home, rather than dashing back.
We had a really good trip and enjoyed seeing the countryside, towns and villages - and quite a few pubs and cafes. Cycling 55 miles a day was about right for our hybrid bikes loaded with up to 10kg of luggage. The days in Devon and Cornwall involved some long quite steep hills that were quite tough, and my legs and lower back are still a bit achey. My lowest gear was only just low enough (28 chainwheel and 30 back cog). My rack top bag proved useful for carrying bought lunches and other stuff.
Looking back I could have planned the route a bit better, to avoid some of the steeper hills - although adapting my planned route as we went along with the help of our road map was quite fun. The road map did have > and < symbols on the minor roads denoting hills, but the A roads didn't. It was really nice to have a break from busy main roads by travelling on little back roads through farms and woods with hedges and grassy banks covered in wild flowers, even if such routes may have been a bit longer and hillier.
It would have been interesting to take my GPS watch to record our route and elevation climbed - and using my iPhone for tracking would be impractical as the battery would run out. The phone did come in useful when we were unsure where we were, provided I had a decent signal, and I used the Satnav on it a few times. The only technical problem we had was that my chain fell off once - no punctures at all thanks to our kevlar tyres.
We were really lucky with the weather in that we didn't get wet once, and the only rain fell in the night. It wasn't too hot or sunny too, although the inevitable headwind did slow us down. My waterproof jacket was useful on mornings when it was cool and windy, and I used almost all of my cycling gear and all my casual clothing. So far we've raised over £550 with more money coming in. We cycled 345 miles in 6.5 days.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Day 7 Lands End Ride

The weather was perfect from the start with clear blue skies and just a little cool breeze. We set off with my brother Mike at around 9:30 and took a B road via St Buryan and some steep hills at Treen. Arrived at Lands End at around 11am - Hurrah!
Then as the weather was so nice we did a "lap of honour" cycling up the coast. Mike had to get home but we stopped at St Just for pasties, them carried on to Morvah and up over the hill back to Penzance on a little road via Madron, past Lanyon Quoit.
Job done! Spent the afternoon shopping and walking around Penzance.
Today's mileage 28.
Grand total 345 miles.
Road kill count 1 rabbit!
Grand total road kill (only started on 3rd day): 5 crows, 4 rabbits, 4 foxes, 3 squirrels, 2 hedgehogs, 2 badgers, 1 deer, 1 sheep, 1 pheasant, 1 mouse, 1 blackbird, 1 buzzard.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Day 6 Lands End Ride

We had our fish and chips last night in another White Hart Hotel in St Austell. After a bit of a lie in and a hearty breakfast we set off around 9:45. The weather was sunny with a cool NW wind. Rather than take the main roads we followed some minor roads on our map through woodland with bluebells and wild garlic. 
We joined the main road near Truro for a while and bought some lunch in town that we ate later. Headed to Redruth then up over the moors to Leedstown and some other nice villages. It was a really nice road that led to Marazion where we stopped and had a paddle.
We arrived at about 6pm
Mileage 49. 
Road kill count: squirrel and rabbit only. Although Nicky now tells me she spotted a dead sheep earlier in the week.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Day 5 Lands End Ride

The chippy was shut last night so we had an excellent posh meal at the White Hart, Okehampton (I had venison steak, toffee sponge, ice cream and Dartmoor ale). They didn't seem to mind that I set fire to the menu, which touched a candle ..oops. 
We set off at around 9am on the Granite Way along the route of an old railway line and across the Meldon Viaduct.
Good views of Dartmoor too
We then took the old A30 through Lewdown a nice quiet road with some long downhill sections. Strangely the road has no A or B number, just the name The West Devon Drive.
Crossed the Tamar into Cornwall at Launceston around 11am.
The weather was a bit cool and cloudy in the morning but the sun broke though in the afternoon and it was warm enough for shorts. Cycled south to Callington and retraced the pedals of the Lands End to John O'Groats trip I did 3 years ago. I didn't remember much, but there were loads of hills. Arrived our B&B with help from Satnav at around 5:30. St Austell traffic was the busiest we'd encountered,
Today's mileage 59. Average speed 8.5 mph. 
Road kill count: 3 foxes, 2 rabbits, pheasant and crow.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Day 4 Lands End Ride

The overnight rain had almost stopped when we left Wellington at around 9:30. The town is ok but nothing special, as was the B&B. It turned out to be quite a nice day: dry, cloudy and cool with little wind, although the wind did pick up. We headed south on the A38 then west to Tiverton on a B road where we had a coffee stop. The road south alongside the river Exe was nice and flat, but all of a sudden the main Crediton road went up a steep hill so we carried on south and cut across via Thorverton (pictured) along some narrow and sometimes hilly 
We found a nice cafe in Crediton run by an old couple and I had cottage pie and peas followed by apple and loganberry pie with custard and a mug of tea. 
We carried on to Okehampton and had views of Dartmoor,
and some nice orchids.
They certainly know how to make proper hills in Devon! Many seem to go on for about a mile, but our low gears are coping so far. We arrived at our very nice B&B (59 Station Road, Okehampton) at about 4:30 and was given tea by the helpful chatty landlady, who is used to Lejoggers. We plan to have fish and chips tonight and possibly eat them in the front room.
Today's mileage 49. Average speed only 8.7 mph! (many of the hills involved long 3 mph ascents).
Road kill count: 1 deer (poss roe), buzzard, 3 crows, female blackbird, 2 hedgehogs, 2 rabbits, 1 squirrel and 1 mouse (stuck to shoe!)

Monday, 27 May 2013

Day 3 Lands End Ride

Frome is a pleasant enough place and very hilly. We had a curry last night and were asked if we were "Froomies". Our hotel was ok except we were on the second floor and the floorboards were very creaky. 
Set off at about 9:45 and just outside Frome found a wallet with credit cards and drivers licence scattered on the grass verge. We phoned 101 and arranged to drop it off at Taunton police station. Contacted the owner via Facebook but no reply yet.
I was planning to take the A361 to Glastonbury, but it was quite a busy trunk road so we took a quieter road south to Bruton (pictured) and Castle Cary which was pretty if a little hilly.
We're getting used to the hills now. The weather started off bright and sunny, but a cool headwind strengthened during the day and grey clouds loomed. We had lunch at a nice cafe in Somerton - about the first one we've come across! Cycled westwards near to the Somerset Levels and encountered a massive road bike ride going the other way (A 3 day Tour of Wessex). Saw Burrow Mump (pictured)
I used my Satnav to find Taunton police station then stopped at a garage cafe. We then carried on to Wellington, and I was planning on using my phone again to find the B&B but my iPhone was flat. We got directions though and checked in around 5:30. Had a Chinese meal. Weather wet now.
Today's mileage 54. Average speed 9.2 mph (well it was windy).
Road kill spotted: 2 badgers, fox, squirrel, hedgehog and crow.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Day 2 Lands End Ride

We awoke to sunny weather and set off at around 10 am after a full English. 
Our route was through Hungerford then SW to Burbage on a quite pleasant but undulating A road through the N Wilts downs.
There were some nice villages with thatched cottages, including a two storey one in Rushall raised on stones, that I later found was out built of straw
We bought some sandwiches and ate them 
on a bench, then stopped off at a pub for a 
There seems to be a pattern developing here! 
Although today I only had orange juice. 

We cycled on along the northern slopes of the 
Salisbury Plain to Frome on a quite hilly B road.
 It warmed up quite a bit too.
We saw 3 white horses on hills, the best of which
was at Westbury.
Arrived at hotel at around 4:30. Slightly fewer 
miles than yesterday but more hills. We feel 
like we've earned our dinner today.
Day's mileage 53. Average speed 10 mph

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Day 1 Lands End Ride

We set off around 9.15 in cool cloudy weather with a slight headwind. I'd made a last minute change to my luggage, swapping my little saddlebag for a rack top bag which has more space and a handy handle.
We stopped at Great Kimble after 10 miles for coffee and buns on a playground bench. The sun broke through as we carried on to Wallington and Wallingford, where we bought some sandwiches for lunch by the Thames. We  followed the Thames to Pangbourne, then crossed over the M4 and took a minor road through Bradfield, where we stopped at a pub.
Carried on along a pleasant wooded road and stopped for an ice cream before arriving at Thatcham and Newbury at around 3:30. Neither of us felt particularly tired and could have managed another 20 miles.
After tea and toast we went for a 4 mile walk though Newbury and along the canal with our friend Anne.

Total miles cycling 55. Average speed 11.6 mph

Friday, 24 May 2013

Day 0: Lands End Ride - Final Preparations

I've done most of my packing now and fitted everything into two panniers (as has Nicky). The final weight of my panniers is about 9 kg consisting roughly as follows:
  • 1 bag cycling clothes
  • 1 bag casual clothes
  • 1 pair casual shoes (cycling in SPD shoes)
  • full waterproofs
  • sunglasses and gloves
  • toilet bag (no towels)
  • swim suit (for Cornwall - ever hopefull!)
  • small vacuum flask for morning coffees
  • map (road atlas of SW)
  • iPhone & charger (with Kindle for reading books)
  • bike locks
Also in our small wedge saddle bags we'll be carrying spare inner tubes, puncture kit and tools.

I decided to go for a low tech navigation approach with printed out itineries in my handlebar mounted iPhone case, although I do have the map and Satnav if I need it. I can't really see the maps properly on my phone anyway without reading glasses, although the Satnav app is pretty clear. I'm planning on using single carriageway A roads most of the time too, so it should be quite straight forward, apart from a few deviations to avoid busy dual carriageways. We might take alternative back roads if we get tired of busy A roads, but A roads tend to be straighter and flatter.

The weather forecast is looking ok: mostly dry with sunny intervals apart from showers on Tues and Weds, with light NW winds and temperatures around 15 C at midday.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Last Training Ride before Lands End Trip

Nicky and I set off at about 10 am in fine weather in our shorts and matching high-vis jerseys. We stopped for our first coffee at Wingrave, then cycled on to Stewkley and Soulbury. We returned home via Wing and Mentmore, where we had another coffee. Nicky seems faster for some reason. I'd adjusted her gears, but maybe her engine is improving too!
I plan to clean and lubricate both bikes this afternoon. I spent some time last week checking Nicky's gears and bought a chain wear tool, which has shown that both our chains are fine. Even so I plan to take my small chain repair tool when we set off on Saturday just in case.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Newbury Training Weekend Day 2

We had a full English breakfast with our friends in Newbury, which helped counter the effects of the previous night's wine. At 10 am we set off in clear blue skies, so it was shorts and t-shirts from the start. We decided on forging a new route avoiding Streatley Hill, so headed east to Thatcham then north east on a nice B road though woodlands to Bradfield then on to Pangbourne where we had coffee by the Thames. The alternative route had much gentler slopes although added an extra 7 miles.
We followed a fairly busy A road along the west bank of the Thames to Wallingford where we bought some sandwiches and sunbathed watching boats pass. One boat pictured was operating a remote control battleship as it travelled. We then headed back on our usual route via Chinnor, where we had tea and cakes at the garden centre. Arrived home about 4:30pm. A great trip. Mileage 56.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Newbury Training Weekend Day 1

Nicky and I set off at about 9 am in dry fairly warm weather and stopped in Watlington for coffee from our flask at the local playground. It turned out they had the type of equipment we're raising money for on our Lands End trip. (See pic).
We then stopped for our pack lunch on the banks of the Thames at Wallingford. At Streatley I'd planned to take a nice B road to Newbury, but I hadn't bargained for Streatley Hill over 1 km long and up to 16%. We only managed half way before pushing, but we did have loaded panniers. We've decided on an alternative route via Pangbourne next time.
Once at the top the road was very pleasant and we stopped in a pub beer garden for a well deserved pint. We made it to our friends in Newbury just before 4 pm. 49 miles.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Commuting in the Sun

This week has been dry and sunny every day, so my car's not moved from my drive and I've cycled in every day - making a weekly total of 80 miles. It's been pretty cold first thing when I set off around 7.45 so I've been cycling in in long trousers and an extra layer on top, then cycling back at 5.30pm in shorts and less on top. It hasn't been quite warm enough for just a t-shirt on top, although I've noticed some hardy/foolish types cycling in shorts and t-shirts in the early mornings just after the frost has melted! I cycled once on my road bike, which has a luggage rack for my panniers, but decided that my hybrid is better on bumpy roads, and I prefer straight handlebars and easier gear and brake levers in traffic.
Over the bank holiday Sunday and Monday Nicky and I are cycling to Newbury and back, so I'm looking forward to that as the forecast is good.

Saturday, 27 April 2013


Nicky and I went for a 15 mile round trip up and over Ashridge today in sun, rain and hail showers. There's no sign of bluebells yet.
Nicky and I both commuted our 8 miles to work this week on the sunny warm Tuesday, but in different directions, Nicky to Hemel and me to Aylesbury. I normally cycle 2 or 3 times a week, but it was the first time for Nicky.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Little Horwood

Nicky and I did a 41 mile ride today to the north of here. The weather was fine and sunny, with temperatures not as high as last Sunday, but it felt much more pleasant as there was hardly any wind. We stopped for our picnic at Little Horwood, then had tea and cake at a cafe in Winslow.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Training Ride

It's 6 weeks till we set off for Lands End, so we did a 33 mile ride today in Bucks in warm but windy weather.
Nicky is also planning next year's summer ride which will retrace a 500 mile walk her father did when he was 18 in 1933 from Dieppe to the Massif Central.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Sponsorship Site

Nicky has created the following site for our Lands End ride next month http://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/landsendforcollett

We haven't been doing any cycling lately as we've spent a week skiing in the Dolomites. We were lucky to have sunny weather and deep snow.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Good Friday Winslow Circuit

The sun came out this morning and it was nice weather for cycling, as long as you were well wrapped up. I tried out my new Windchill II jacket on one of my regular circuits before lunch, and it performed well. The only part of me that was a bit cold at the end of my ride were my feet - although I've bought some XL neoprene overshoes for my winter shoes, they rub on the pedal crank - drat. Two pairs of wool socks kept me warm most of the ride though. I cycled to Winslow and had a coffee at the garage there. There are cafes - but the service tends to be slow, and at the garage you can sit on the bench over the road. I cycled back via Wing and Mentmore - a round trip of 38 miles, average speed 14.9 mph. I used the Garmin Fit app on my iPhone to track my journey, and the result is here http://connect.garmin.com/activity/290191940 I don't know why my speed graph went over 40 mph several times, and a max speed of 72.7 mph! My speedometer on my bike reported a max speed of 27.9 mph.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Commuting, Bike Service and New Jacket

I managed to commute to work by bike 4 times this week, as the weather was dry, if a bit cold. A total of 64 miles. Though it looks like I won't be cycling at the weekend as snow is forecast.
I also took my hybrid in to my local bike shop to get it serviced for our Lands End trip. It needed a new chain, cassette and bottom bracket. I was tempted by the Endura Windchill 2 jacket in red, that is well designed, and not being bright yellow is suitable for general wear too. I plan to take it to Lands End, along with waterproofs of course.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

New Luggage

I bought a Blackburn saddle bag today to fit on top of my luggage rack. I've already got panniers, but there may not be enough space for our Lands End trip. I'm quite happy to cycle with a heavy load, as we'll only be cycling 50 miles a day, and we are both happy to go at a slow pace. Here's a photo. The saddle bag will also be useful on day trips when I don't need to take more than waterproofs, snacks and a flask.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Land's End Trip Planning

Nicky and I are planning a ride from Tring to Land's End in May to raise money for the special needs school where she teaches. The original plan was to cycle there and get the train back, but there are only 5 bicycle places on each train, and despite trying to book at 10am on the day the tickets were available they are all booked up. So we've booked a one way MPV instead which we'll be able to make use of on our day off and we won't have the hastle of getting the bikes from Paddington to Euston and on the Tring train. The planned route so far is as follows, subject to change depending on which accommodation takes our fancy:
  1. Sat - Tring to Newbury, 50 miles
  2. Sun - Newbury to Frome, 53 miles
  3. Mon - Frome to Wellington, 49 miles
  4. Tue - Wellington to Oakhampton, 45 miles
  5. Wed - Oakhampton to St Austell, 52 miles
  6. Thu - St Austell to Penzance, 42 miles
  7. Fri - Penzance, Land's End, Penzance, 20 miles
  8. Sat - Day off
  9. Sun - Drive home.
We'll be carrying our own luggage and hope to do a bit of sight seeing along the way too, rather than spending whole days in the saddle. My brother Mike lives at Penzance and has kindly offered to put us up, and plans to join us for the "final leg".

I'll book accommodation and finalise the exact route when we get back from our ski-ing trip at Easter.

I haven't done much cycling lately, just 1 commute this week during the brief warm sunny spell. Today has been 2C with a biting easterly wind and light snow. The lambs pictured must be a bit shell shocked - taken on a bracing 5 mile walk.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Ashridge Slapton Circuit

Today has been cold with snow flurries, but I decided to venture out on my road bike and test my new Garmin watch. My heart rate seemed to vary from around 120 to 145 bpm depending on whether I was climbing hills, which seems about right. I cycled over Ashridge up the quite steep Tom's Hill, then over towards Whipsnade and back via Slapton and Ivinghoe. A trip of around 22 miles. I soon warmed up, although my feet were pretty cold at the end, despite my winter shoes and wool socks. I'm looking into getting some neoprene overshoes that fit both my summer and winter shoes, to replace my worn ones.
Route and stats here

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Hadrian's Wall

We had a great 5 days up in the NE and Yorks and were lucky with the weather. It was warm and sunny almost all of the time. I tried out my Garmin Forerunner 110 watch on a 9 mile walk http://connect.garmin.com/activity/275649590
And on a short run when I got home. I was surprised that my heart rate initially went up to around 170 when running, but settled at about 140. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/275649551

Friday, 15 February 2013

Navigating and Tracking

I haven't been doing that much cycling lately because of the weather, although today is mild and sunny so I cycled to work. I've done an hour or so at weekends and been to the gym and spinning too. I've been doing a bit of planning for our Land's End trip and have bought an Ultimate Addons iPhone 5 case and mount pictured for £20 which works well. It's only water resistant as for some reason the hinged side of the case is material rather than plastic. The mount is quick release so I can switch it between bikes easily.

I've been testing out a few apps either this morning or when walking. Here are some comments:
  • The free "navfree" SatNav app stores maps and StreetView photos on your phone (using up 500Mb) works well - and you can hear the directions ok and unlike other cycling apps such as MapMyRide or Sustrans you get a 3D view with the map oriented in the direction of travel. Also the map is very clear and can be seen without reading glasses! 
  • MapMyRide provides basic maps but does not seem to move the map as you travel along (unless I've not discovered this setting) and they always point north. The advantage of MapMyRide is you can follow pre-planned routes and record tracks.
  • Sustrans works better from a navigation point of you and you can download good quality maps showing individual buildings and the map moves as you cycle - although are always oriented north.
  • GarminFit is another simple  tracking app, but you can only see the maps afterwards!
I probably won't be using a digital map that much on long rides - as I tend to just remember the towns and villages to go through and follow the road signs, but it's nice to have these aids if you need them.

I'm also getting a Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS watch with a heart monitor for my birthday to use mainly for running. My wife and I said we might do a half marathon with our niece in Sept. I'll probably use this for road bike trips for a bit, mainly to give some info on heart rate etc - but its main use will be for running. My heart rate tends to be quite slow at rest (50-60 bpm) and goes up to around 140 bpm after about 15 mins of running, which is about 85% of my max recommended heart rate for my age (based on 220-57). I want to train safely for running so the monitor should be useful. Also you can upload your details from the watch to the Garmin Connect site to see your route and stats. I doubt if I'll take the watch to Land's End as the battery only stays charged for 8 hours when tracking, and I'll be able to track with my phone anyway.

We're off on a walking holiday to Hadrian's Wall for a few days so I might test out my new watch and apps.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Thawed Out

Yesterday Nicky and I went for a walk in the snow, and there was an inch or two blanketing the fields and the roads still had icy and slushy patches. Today after overnight rain and a rise in temperature the snow has completely gone. Spot the difference with the 2 photos! So I set off this morning on my road bike for the first ride in 2 weeks. It was mild and sunny but with a fresh wind. I stopped at a garage for coffee in Winslow, then cycled through Waddeston and Bishopstone, where the road had 9" deep floodwater but a raised grass verge I walked on. Big puddles and fords were on most of the roads, but my feet stayed dry. I stopped at the Chandos Arms at Weston Turville for a Sunday roast and a pint, before the last 7 miles home. Round trip of almost 45 miles.