Sunday, 21 September 2014

bicycle courier

I needed to deliver 5 large ceramic dishes to my folks, what better way to do it than by bicycle! After riding the 19 miles on my work commute i picked up the Timbuk2 courier bag, wrapped the dished in protective cloth and headed over the Lickeys to my mom and dads house. I even managed some off road on the road bike taking a short cut down "the tank slapper" which was a little scary on 100psi 25mm tyres on damp polished stones. It had been drizzling all day and of course got heavier as i left work but it was warm so i didn't bother with a coat.
My little courier experience taught me that i wouldn't fancy the job full time. Carrying an awkward heavy load in all weathers can't be fun after a while and having a time deadline to meet too wouldn't make things any better, so I won't be applying for a job!
Ride 135
11 miles
Total 2759
commute 631

always look before wiping your brow

I started a longish ride along the grand union to warwick and after a few miles i went to remove perspiration from my forehead with my hand and at the last second noticed something unusual out of the corner of my eye and managed to stop at the last second. and you can see from the picture what the foreign object was, I nearly wiped that across my face! I have no idea when it found it's way on to my glove or how long it had been there but it made me jump! It was clinging on quite tenaciously but i managed to get it off and onto some greenery. Hopefully it's now on it's way to being a moth.
the rest of the ride was pleasant and fast along a very dry towpath. I had cake at Hatton and visited Atkins cycles in leamington before heading back
Ride 134
31 miles
Total 2748
commute 613

Sunday, 14 September 2014

back to the dirt

 after a lot of road riding tonights ride was post work, post century off road wide in the still dusty conditions of early autumn, legs felt tired but good but i wouldn't have wanted to ride much further tonight!
Ride 133
13 miles
Total 2717
commute 613

Tour of Britain 2014

When i hear that the route of the Tour of Britain road race was coming near to the NWAlps i knew i had to book the day of work to go and witness the spectacle for myself.
|I chose the KOM point in Broadway as my destination and gave myself plenty of time to reach it. As i got closer and closer to the town i caught or was passed by more and more cyclists and two of us formed a mini peleton into the town and began an ascent of Snowshill. It's not that steep but does go on quite a long way and today we had the added pressure of the line being lined by riders and fans waiting for the pros to turn up. After crossing the summit line i dropped back down a short distance, found a good spot and waited for the riders to come through. After riding up i knew what effort it took for me to do it but the pros just made it look like they were out riding with their family on a flat promenade some where, hardly breaking a sweat and carrying an icecream at the same time, seriously impressive.
It only took about 10 minutes for the first car, the riders and then the broom wagon to pass and i then joined the mass exodus of cyclists down the hill. I then had a choice, ride home or extend the route. I decided to ride on to Evesham and had lunch (a massive piece of bread pudding) at the riverside cafe. I then pedalled on to Worcester and route 46 towards home. at the Worcester point I'd hit the 100k point and at that point i then decided to go for a century. The 100th mile ticked over about half a mile from home and aprt from stiff shoulders i felt pretty good
Ride 132
100 miles
Total 2704
commute 613

Saturday, 13 September 2014


As much fun as riding a single speed bike was i did find it very frustrating. Getting the balance between a gear for climbing and a gear for riding on the flat was difficult and the mad spining to go any where certainly cut my range down. I put 10 gears on the same bike I used for SSUK and transformed it into a MSUK machine (multispeed) what a relief! i can actually keep up with other riders on the flat and riding 20 miles or so is now achievable in a reasonable length of time again.
Ride 131
21 miles
Total 2604
commute 613


i'm not going to write a huge race report as lots of others have been written so here are the highlights of a great weekend
super singletrack
bomb hole
achievable climbs
whisky sour
friendly banter
pork scratchings
someone won, I came 4th (as did everyone outside the top 3)
choice of over 8 beers
we won the race for the curry
adults acting like kids
live music
Hardly any sleep

what a great weekend, Taz and Keef managed to disappoint in only one way, it wasn't "shonky" at all
Ride 130
12 miles
Total 2583
commute 613

Thursday, 11 September 2014

final prep

the last Single speed ride before the UK championships, just around the woods and over to Dan's to make final preparations for the weekend. It's nice to see the local authority renewing the trail signage
Ride 129
12 miles
Total 2571
commute 613

Monday, 1 September 2014


As reported in my last post I fell in the wyre forest, it was a slow off the side fall. I fell and rolled away from the bike, the bike then fell on me and the end of the handle bar hit my knee. It was a little painful but nothing to worry I thought. it wasn't until after we got home and i got out of the car after sitting in the same position for a while thati found i was limping and that my left knee was very painful. today it is swollen, function is good so I;m certain it's just bruising of the muscle above the knee. i was sensible and didn't ride the next day and didn't ride to work today. I did ride as a tester after work and although sat down and spinning an easy gear was fine as soon as i stood up to pedal it was painful, so i just did as small loop. more recovery needed
Ride 128
7 miles
Total 2559commute 574

soft adventuring

I love reading about adventures by bicycle, be it an expedition to ride to one of the poles by fat bike, a race along the great divide of the USA or a 250 mile self supported epic around the Scottish highlands. The risks, the mental toughness, the will of one rider who triumphs or fails against the odds is both entertaining and inspiring, I'd love to do something similar, be self sufficient, be the Tom and Barbara of the less travelled trails.
However, I've got a job, responsibilities and live about as far from wilderness or coastline as one can in the UK, so although I'm sure with some organisation, money and luck all the above could be attempted we have to make do with what we have and the chance to make it all a bit more civilised or soft depending on your point of view.
Dan and I went for a little adventure to the Wyre Forest, our nearest area of "primeval rain forest", I mean, most of the trails aren't way marked!! oh the horror! it was muddy, we were on single speeds, I fell over and bruised my knee and bottom, it was adventure, were were battling the elements, it rained for about 5 minutes! the terrain was tough, we had but one gear to master the climbs with, huge clouds of flies marauded around us, we were literally minutes from civilisation at one point. Gigantic ants forced us to have our lunch up a tree and Dan only ventured down to use the Aeropress to make a proper cup of coffee (we are not primitives after all).
And do you know what, we may not have made the headlines with our achievements or inspired anyone but bloody hell it was good fun, we were knackered, we were covered in mud and dripping with sweat but never felt more privileged to be able to do things like this and step away from reality for a few hours
Ride 127
12 miles
Total 2552
commute 574

Winter drawers on

with the weather getting a bit wet and grotty my thoughts turned to winter and the bike I'd use through the darker months. So having rested her since march I got the old girl out of hibernation and did a quick check over. I had used the original saddle on another bike so used an old favourite Flite one. After the check over and adjusting the height of the bars to match my road bike it was time for a short ride to see how it was riding. I climbed over lickey, Waseley and Clent then joined the Timberhonger route. I used to use the Flite saddle on all my bikes back in the 90's and only the high price and a subtle design change made me try something else as they were very very comfy over even long distances. However after 10 miles I thought I was being cut in half! it was so uncomfortable. Obviously my backside is used to a different saddle now (charge spoon) and even though they look similar they are worlds apart in comfort. First thing to change is the saddle!
ride 126
25 miles
Total 2540
commute 574