Friday, 7 July 2017

50 on 50

My 50th non commuting ride of the year coincides with riding 50 miles. Russ and I had a middle aged 29er boys adventure to the capital of the NWAlps and back.
It started off scorchingly hot but cloud cover came in during our breakfast stop at Diglis and although the temperature didn't drop much it was a relief not to be in direct sunlight.
we saw many sights, a rescued mobility scooter being fished out of the basin, not sure if the owner was next to be raised, 3 pink ladies with triple push chairs looking harassed, innumerable Heron looking stately, lots of runners, a bird of prey/seagull, rabbits both flat and running an seemingly abandoned mobility scooter (a day for these seemingly) with a "thanks for your concern but I've gone fishing" sign in it's basket. a fallen old lady ( rescued but not by us) and the "i've got a cannondale" girl.
we had bacon, beer and cake. i've gained a sore hamstring and Russ got tingly stinger fingers. All in all a grand day out! 
ride 50
50 miles
total 1119

a little Warwickshire adventure

on the "gravel bike, with snacks, beer and ice cream :-)
ride 43
64 miles
total 958

Tuesday night is Bro night

the woods seemed packed with men, some in hammocks strung between two trees, some cuddling on picnic blankets. it all seemed very enlightened and 21st century. bit random that they had all decided the ridge was the best place for some privacy though. we soon shattered that by riding through their little pleasure spots and scaring the Bejeesus out of them!
ride 49
12 miles
total 1069

I'll just do a short ride after work...

25 fat bike  miles later (fat bike miles are worth 3 x road bike miles.FACT) and i was a bit broken afer riding to work and back too. fun though
ride 48
25 miles
total 1057

if you go down to the woods today

you are likely to see three middle aged blokes with big grins and dirty shins.
it rained heavily yesterday but today was warm and humid so we didn't mind splashing through the deep puddles and getting wet bottoms! Some puddles were big enough to act as a brake though which was disconcerting when you aren't expecting it. We stuck to way marked trails for ease of navigation and because they are good. It was Russ's first time, i think ever at a trail centre and he coped well with the slightly bigger features than we get on home turf. both he and Howard remarked how hard it was to keep the bikes on the ground over the rollers. They both loved "launch pad" both laughing like kids at the end. which afterall is what it's all about.
Dean Forest Cycles supplied the sustinance in the shape of breakfast pasties, what an invention! Yes it's a long drive from home for a short ride but both guys said they thought it was worth it.
ride 47
14 miles
total 1032

product placement

for the sponsors y'all
ride 46
21 miles
total 1018

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Cube C:62 Agree Disc

I'm a lucky chap. The guys at Cube bikes are nice people, the local rep and the social media controller in their Dutch distribution hub got together and sent me this Cube C:62 carbon Agree disc bike to ride for a short while. I contacted them after riding the trek Emonda. I said i liked the Emonda, there's no secret to that i thought it was a great bike. what i was less keen on was Trek's enormity and with it that feeling of a faceless corporation that is all about profit. now i understand that, business is business but having interacted with Cube and hearing about their outlook on life and their treatment of employees i really wanted to like a Cube more so i contacted them and asked if i could borrow a bike to try. they were excited about the idea and as soon as one of their demo fleet became free it winged it's way to me. today was the first longish ride on the bike.
I'll add a disclaimer here and say that although Cube have arranged this for me if I don't like the way it rides i will say so, fairs fair i would have done the same about the Trek. of course it'll be in a constructive way.
first thing to get out of the way is that i really don't like the hydraulic brake levers that come with this 105 groupset, this is nothing to do with Cube of course, that's down to Shimano the parts manufacturer. they work excellently, great modulation and stopping power but ergonomically they are horrible. the hose connection below the hood presses into the fleshy part of your thumb and it is really annoying! I've tried the ultegra version and in comparison its like putting on a lovely pair of warm gloves on a winters day, comfy and welcoming.
  so this test is really about the frame and forks and not the components as the frame is the heart of the bike and the part Cube have designed. the Agree as i understand it is the slightly more racier version of their Attain bike, so i tiny bit lower head tube and longer top tube. the 58cm frame fits me well.
first impressions are that the bike is very smooth over the surface dressed horror roads we are getting here at the moment, the frame and fork certainly take the buzz out of the surface inconsistances, this is in comparison to my alu framed road bike. you can't see any flex but there is a certain amount of damping going on. over a long ride your body will thank you for this and you'll stay fresher for longer. out of the saddle climbing and sprinting brings absolutely no discernible side to side movement at the bottom bracket area or fork. also, as this bike has disc brakes i was interested to see if the frame would flex and cause the brakes to rub on the rotors when climbing or sprinting (something my steel bike does) there is no brake rub what so ever . Cube have dialed in stiffness in all the right areas, press down on the pedals and you go forward with the feeling that non of your energy is being wasted. a racer would love this aspect of the bike, as a plodder and tourer i love it too, speed and comfort? the holy grail of biking really. the more comfy you are the further you go, the more efficient the bike the further you go with less effort. cycling nirvana!
so first impressions are great, I'd planned to go further but in todays heat it was more sensible to do only a short ride but i've been commuting to work all week and been on group rides with this bike so i've got a good chance to see how it handles. it corners beautifully, i trust it completely when leaning it over, it shows great poise. it's a good 6lb lighter than my own bike. on the ride today I got 21 personal records on Strava, most on up hills too. it must have been the bike because it was way too hot for me to be performing at my best. in short i like it.Do i like it more than the Trek? yep genuinely i do.
would i buy one if i had the cash? yes definately but i'd be saving up a little more and upgrading the levers
ride 45
31 miles
total 997

Howard's progress

with a longish ride planned for tomorrow i tried to learn the lessons of last weeks evening ride, namely eat something first and don't have too many beers!
it worked, i felt good and bombing down the new part of "certain death" as brilliant, as was the newly reopened "double drop" and the perenially quick "keep right"
Howard has come on leaps and bounds, the Guy knows how to handle a rapid two wheeled vehicle due to his years of experience riding motor bikes, trying to keep up with him on the berms of "keep right" was an impossible task, the man is rapid. His slow speed technical riding has also improved 100% from when he first started riding with us. the imminent arrival of a dropper post will only move his off road prowess forward quicker. we'll all have to step up our game to try and stay ahead of him.
ride 44
8 miles
total 966

testing in more than one way

having picked up my forks (sadly by car) and refitted them it was time for a test on a NWAlpsCC night ride. well they certainly felt good, the guys at Overspokes had done a great job, more testing though was my prep and execution for this ride.
having ridden 55 miles yesterday and got a little dehydrated it was not good practice to ride to work and back, then out on a ride withing 10 minutes of getting home without having eaten much all day. I probably would have been ok but for the two pints of ale i had during the ride. the ride home was a little hazy and i spent a lot of Friday morning with a headache. so the forks passed the test but i didn't
ride 42
22 miles
total 894

the bicycle is an adaptable vehicle

I am in no way saying I'm competing with the bicycle riders of the world you see with heavily laden steeds riding on rough roads just to make enough money to eat, they do it because of necessity. I did it because i could and it seemed a waste to use the car to deliver my forks to the home of Wren in the Uk, namely Overspoke Cycles in Bewdley. 
So i strapped the forks securely to my frame and set off to pedal the most country lane route i could find to drop them off for a service. the weather was perfect and i made good time. I was quietly smug that I'd managed this errand by just using leg power. It was a relief though to be able to do the return leg without a 5.5lb fat bike fork attached to my bike. it certainly made the hills easier! i celebrated with a ham sarnie at Lizzies!
ride 41
55 miles
total 872