Saturday, 21 May 2016


1st ride the new frame today, just local as the weather looked iffy. I immediately felt at home on it, in fact it felt like a comfy pair of slippers. things got less comfy a fw minutes later as i hit something big on the tank slapper trail and got a rear snake bite puncture, the second in 3 rides actually, the first was on my fatbike. It's amusing that i managed to ride the trails at bike park wales with exactly the same tire pressures without incident, and they are not exactly forgiving routes and yet a fairly innocuous downhill smashes the tube against the rim. so spare tube deployed and more trails to ride I thought I'd better get another just in case of another flat that would leave me with a long walk. However i clearly wasn't that bothered or threw caution to the wind as it was another 18 miles of riding before i popped into a bike shop to buy a tube!
ride 60
30 miles
total 1265

All change

 as mentioned in a previous blog I traded in the Ragley frame against this, a Cotic Solaris. Its a similar model to one i demoed last summer, i liked the ride then even though the demo bike was a size too small for me. The guys at Bache Brothers did a great job swapping the parts from the old to the new. This was just a quick ride to set up the saddle and bar height etc, initial impressions though are good
ride 59
6 miles
total 1235 

Friday, 20 May 2016


don't drink and ride kids, you'll hurt yourself....
....giggling on the way home
ride 58
26 miles
total 1229

bluebell surfing

just dan and I deep in the woods, with only the flora and fauna for company, I wish i was more poetic, i'd mention the perfume from the bluebells andgainst the acidic tang of freshly ridden loamy soil and the only sounds that can be heard are the tree's newly grown leaves rustling in the breeze and an over enthusiastic squirrel o/r roosting bird.
but then i'm not poetic at all
ride 57
13 miles
total 1203

the decider

 I love this Ragley Bigwig frame when it's pointed downhill, it's great fun and unstoppable. point it uphill though and i hate it, the bottom bracket feels like it's too far back and it just feels weird, so sadly while it's still got some value it's got to go, plans are afoot for a trade in against something else
ride 56
8 miles
total 1190

the Tour of the Black Country

 After lots of trial runs up the Waltonberg the day finally dawned. The bike was ready but was I?
I spent the saturday before trying to hydrate as the weather forecast was for very hot temperatures and sunshine. I even abstained from alcohol! what a sacrifice. I also ate chicken and pasta to try and top up the carbs.
Sunday began with a trip to Aldersley velodrome, with plenty of time to spare we registered and soaked up the atmosphere and checked out the various bikes being wheeled around. lots of expensive bikes. quite a few cyclocross bikes and the odd MTB. I got to have a ride on a Pashley Guvnor belonging to long time twitter friend @mattmbr who I'd never met in person. he and his pals were all riding these fantastic British made replicas of bikes from the 1930's and every one of them were wearing woollen jerseys, plus 4's and stripey socks, they did look the part but must have been roasting in the heat. for more info see @GuvnorsAssembly
I also must say hi to the guy who stopped me and said he enjoyed reading the blog, he's either a literary connoisseur or has far too much time on his hands!.
Our start time was 0944 and we presented ourselves  by the start line minutes before this only to find a queue right around the corner. We actually started and hour and 20 after our official time, it was not very well organised and i was glad it wasn't raining as it would have been a miserable experience.
Finally starting it soon became apparent to me that the heat was going to be a factor for me. Moving along gave a false impression of the strength of the sun. As the time approached midday and stop, such as at a junction felt like you'd stepped into an oven with the sunday roast!
Mentally I think I'd alrady written off the ride because of this and i was dreading the approach to the Waltonberg as it's a near 5km all uphill and includes an ascnt of Shut Mill Lane. I stopped for a call of nature at the bottom of this lane, resigned myself to just plodding up it. with no breze or airflow it was very uncomfortable for me, however, when adding my data to strava later i was shocked to have gained my fastest time ever on the section. the Waltonberg came and went, i didn't mak it all the way up, i'd like to blame other riders getting in my way but i have to admit i didn't push myself for fear of blowing up or overheating, pathetic really. Over the top and down the other side the dirt descent was fun, i did this time genuinely get stuck behind some riders going so slow i thought i might lock up my brakes trying not to run into them. the route after the feed stop was good and undulating where you could carry speed and i felt a lot better from this point on.
the whole point of the TdBC is that there are around 19 sectors of off road riding in a homage to the Paris-Roubaix professional bike race. these are farm tracks and bridleways that range from sandy to gravelly paths to stone and brick and pot hole strewn double track. these wer a lot of fun, probably they'd be hardly noticeable on an Mtb  but on a skinny tired road bike they became more of a challenge. years of experience of riding off road helped here as i picked the smoothest lines whilst others battered through. i had no punctures but i saw over 20 riders who did. you could tell who usually rode mtbs form their riding style, it's amazing how stiff some people looked and how others used their arms and legs to absorb the roughness of the terrain.
the final section of off road leads you back into the velodrome we started from and as they do in the paris -roubaix race we did 1.5 laps of the velodrome and trying to out sprint other riders was great fun.
in the end my time was 5hrs12mins, i was hoping for 4 hour-something. the heat didn't help, it got to 27 degrees, but i think mentally i had already resigned myself to a slow time. I let myself down and it was a pretty poor show if i'm honest.
overall it was fun and only the chaos of the start and the entrance fee put me off having another go next year
ride 55
56 miles
total 1182

Thursday, 19 May 2016

growing on trees

fat bikes seem popular around here and this could be the reason why, they are fruit in the local orchards
ride 54
8 miles
total 1126

Thursday, 5 May 2016

rare lefty dangerpanda

just a quicky after work, lungs almost back to normal i thought i might as well throw caution to the wind and try a left handed dangerpanda, not something i usually do being right handed. It's challenging enough using your usual hand and riding without looking where you are going. fun though
ride 53
12 miles
total 1118

might as well....

Ben is a rare visitor on rides these days but when he does come out to play he exudes infectious enthusiasm. He also has an knack of finding jumps and drop offs in places you'd probably have ridden past without a second glance. I'm not one for leaving the ground myself (although I'd love to be able to) but I do like to try and improve my photography and Ben is always up for "just one more go" although we never say its the last go as Sod's law would say that's the one that'd end in disaster. we even managed to link these jumps into "certain death"
ride 52
15  miles
total 1106

Dry 'n' pies

not a standard NWAlps Saturday ride this one, we seem to have reached peak fatness. There were 4 fatbikes out today, one piloted by first timer Howard.Howard lives local and we were able to show him some trails he hadn't ridden before. It was quite dry and the trails are picking up speed. the only disappointment being "bus stop" which just isn't the same without it's usual greasiness and in other News Lizzies cafe now stocks sausage rolls and savoury pies!
ride 51
23 miles
total 1091