Monday, 25 August 2014

the Itchy blanket ride

What is the best way to recover from a long ride? why go for another long ride of course!. Charlotte and I had tried this route before and got a bit lost If I'm honest, so armed with an old fashion map (no gps!) we followed route 45 and 46 from home via Droitwich to Worcester and back by a different route. we dodged showers, had lunch on the canal, watched kayak racing and had the lanes to ourselves for most or the ride. We used natural shelter from the heavy downpours, trees and private bike shelters and nearly home we got caught in the heaviest shower of the lot. Luckily it happened right outside a pub! they let us wheel the bikes through and onto the canal side area where Charlotte made full use of the welsh recycled wool blankets to keep warm. after a recovery drink and a pause while the shower blew over we carried on. I don't think 50 miles today helped my legs recover but despite sore legs it was a great day out
Ride 124
50 miles
Total 2505
commute 523

NWAlps-Wyre Forest-NWAlps

I woke up today and suddenly thought i needed a long ride. I thought, yes, the Wyre forest will be the mid point. It would be easy on a road bike but i wanted to ride through the forest too and given the rough nature of the terrain there was only one thing for it, i needed a mountain bike. Now I'm not so masochistic that I felt the need to do it on a singlespeed, there is far too much flatish tarmac which would slow me down and infuriate me so I dug out the geared bike, transferred tubes, pump and bags etc and set off into the strong headwind. I knew where i was going, or so I thought. I'll admit i got sort of lost but only lost in the sense that I didn't know where i was but knew i was heading in the right direction.Back on scheduleI make it to Bewdley and the disused railway into the woods at 22 miles, less than I thought it would be. Next I made my way on lovely dry surfaces through the forest to refuel at the cafe. By this time I was really hungry and so focused on ordering a "pork power bar" and cake that I may have seemed a bit rude to a guy asking about my bike. After i had consumed calories I felt guilty about it but the guy had already moved on.
On the return leg I found a bike path that went into the very sandy (almost fat bike territory) and hilly area which avoided a very busy road and linked me to the road back into Stourport. It was whilst waiting at the rail crossing at Hartlebury i was waylaid by a pub with it's own attached brewery! well you have to don't you? This made the rest of the ride a slightly more pleasant if slower prospect and by the time I got home I had very heavy legs, which had nothing to do with the beer and everything to do with 53 miles on a knobbly tyred bike!
Ride 123
53 miles
Total 2455
commute 523

old school modern


I found my old @singletrackmag jersey at the back of a drawer, It was a little on the large side but i wore it anyway on todays singlespeed ride. Just around the woods, the Beacon and back via the lanes and bridleways. I happened to post the above picture on Twitter and it was retweeted by the guys at Singletrack and ended up with 1800 views!
Ride 122
15 miles
Total 2402
commute 523

replicating the commute

With the summer almost over and the nights starting to draw in it is time to start thinking about returning to commuting to work rather than rides after work to gain the maximum amount of daylight. My commute distance is 17 miles and this ride was just meant to be a "do a bit of exercise" and burn some calories ride and by coincidence it was the same distance which Did make me think of the cold, wet and dark commutes to come.
Ride 121
17 miles
Total 2387
commute 523

time for a change

Taking the offer of a lift to Worcester up I decided to ride home on the single speed. It was a lovely day but quite windy and as ever, because the route is relatively flat there was going to be a lot of pedalling to do. For once the fishermen on the canal were cheery and pleasant. The bike has rigid forks and over hard packed terrain it means my arms take quite a battering and during this ride i decided to do something about it, it's time to try 29+ on the front i think to make things a little more supple.
Ride 120
26 miles
Total 2370
commute 523

Friday, 22 August 2014

helpless

Back on the road and back into a head wind and after a less than successful MTB ride it was good to get back onto bikes we are both comfortable on. We stopped to help a stranded cyclist with a puncture only to find she had no spare tube or repair kit and even if had either of these her comment when i tried to inflate her tyre enough to get to civilisation was "oh, I have one of those......at home" sometimes i despair!
Ride 119
30 miles
Total 2344
commute 523

the mystery of the disappearing air

More pruning on this ride everything is really over grown at this time of the year. Especially prevalent are brambles. their long thorny briars are lethal and probably the cause of most of the recent punctures so it felt good to cut them back even if they did fight back at times.
About 3 miles from home I got that horrible squirmy feeling that means only one thing, a puncture! the Brambles really have fought back! a quick change and i was off and home where the first job was to find the hole in the tube, nothing obvious so using a bucket of water and air in the tube i submerged it and checked for air bubbles, but there were non, hmm odd, i left the tube inflated  over night and it was still inflated the next morning. Is spontaneous deflation actually possible?
Ride 118
17 miles
Total 2314
commute 523

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Puncture nightmare

Charlotte hasn't done much off road riding and the last ride of 27 miles was a bit to far for her, she's fine on a road bike easily riding 100k+ but a mountain bike is a different thing. In an effort to redress the previous ride I suggested a ride around the woods, 10 miles tops. The first puncture hit before we'd even touch tyre to dirt! the valve ripping out of Charlotte's front tube. after a struggle to get my pump to work due to a seized pipe we managed to inflate the spare and continued on. Within 4 miles I had a rear flat! No panic, i removed the old tube, checked and found the thorn responsible and went to put in the spare tube, only to find while it was folded up in it's bad the valve end had impaled into itself and there was a small hole, so totally useless! So Three punctures tubes between us and on 3 inflated wheels out of Four. Charlotte, having the only fully rolling bike drew the short straw and pedalled off to get the car to pick up my stranded bike. I refitted the original tube and tried inflating it, it barely held air but as most of the return home was downhill I thought I'd give it a try. It was reasonably successful and I made it to within 200 yards of home when Charlotte passed me in the car, she'd ridden home, got to within 1/2 a mile and had yet anther puncture! 4 punctures in 8 miles, definately a record for me and not one I want to equal or repeat anytime soon.
Ride 117
8 miles
Total 2297
commute 523

Dead Centre

I've always been fascinated by Victorian Gothic and grave yards such as Highgate in London and we'd heard there was a similar cemetary at Brandwood. This was an even better prospect as we could ride most of the way there off road using the canal system. It was however a tremendously windy day and this because of the open nature of the route very strenuous and because the first 2/3 is pan flat meant a lot of pedalling. Sounds easy but when you have up hills you also get down hills where you can coast and recover.
The cemetery wasn't up to Highgate standard sadly but did make a good spot to stop and have a snack. we then rejoined the canal for the final leg, now completely into the wind and by the end we were both pretty tired and very glad to see the climb of weatheroak hill which meant we we close to home
Ride 116
26 miles
Total 2289
commute 523

Hurricane Bertha

this week the UK was battered by the tail end of hurricane Bertha that travelled from the Atlantic along the channel throwing heavy rain and high winds in our direction. This meant the fitting and testing of some Mudhugger mudguards and the review is here
I also did a little trail maintenance as well as trying to do a longer distance on the Single speed to try and get my legs used to pushing the one gear. It's not easy, quite frankly I'm looking forward to getting the SSUK race over and done with so I can put some gears back on!
Ride 114
27 miles
Total 2263
commute 523