Cycling - 2

Started by Dixkot, May 12, 2013, 00:27:41 am

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There should be a C5 Documentary "Horses: The Scourge of the Streets". No question mark necessary. Actually, it's the riders who are at fault. Arrogant, entitled slimeballs the lot of them. I crested a ride today to find one being ridden towards me on my side of the road. Totally illegal. But try telling a horse rider that...

Took today's ride at a more sedate pace. I'm an old bloke these days and at 219 miles for the week, that's the most I've ever done in one week. Nearly 20,000ft of climbing is the most I've done in a week too.
Legend in my own Mind


Put some new brake shoes in the rear callipers last Monday. Been making a frightful squealing at the end of long descents. Wondered whether I'd put them on properly, but they only started to shriek a bit at the end to today's ride. Probably just want bedding in.

I expected to get drenched today, the forecast was for a 48% of light rain as the afternoon went on. That normally equates to complete Noachian deluge time. Luckily, apart from a few spots at the end of the ride it stayed dry. Well, precipitation whilst riding was nil, but in Chatsworth Park, they'd obviously caught a 100% heavy rain shower, leading to the joys of a soggy chamois!

Apart from the first half of my ride, I tried using lesser/seldom/never before used roads to spice things up a bit. I got lost. Well, not lost, but if I'd carried on the way I'd headed it would have added another 15 miles to the ride, so I beat a retreat. I was worrying that I wouldn't hit my 80ft of climbing per mile target, but managed to bring it round. All's well that ends well.
Legend in my own Mind


Back from a holiday in Wales yesterday and anxious to give the July distance tally a bit of a boost having been out on two wheels only twice thus far this month. But both knees appear still to be suffering the after-effects of my ill-considered Fondo two weeks ago, so I wasn't sure what distance was wise. I thought to do a 25 mile-ish Twycross and see how they did.

Nice weather - warm, only slightly windy. Resolutely dry. I took the X.

From Twycross, I decided on a whim to take the triangular detour through Orton, for a bit of a lukewarm adventure. And that was quite pleasant. I do quite like the usual (direct) road from Twycross to Sheepy though, so mixed feelings about that.

I'd decided to come back along Gibbet Lane by the time I'd propelled myself along Atterton Lane but as I made my way up the A444 in order to do so, instead, on the afternoon's second whim, I took a right along Upton Lane. I knew I'd done this before and ended up at Bosworth. I didn't think it would add too much to the distance but as I encountered the first signpost to Bosworth I realised I'd end up having done about 31.

Ah well! My knees were sore, but I wasn't getting pain from pushing up inclines. I was pretty pleased with how they were doing, definitely better than last time they had a run out on a bike.

My Upton Lane detour rewarded me with a nice view of a steam train pulling four old carriages along the Battlefield Line heritage railway between Bosworth and Shenton stations.

Listened to 6 Music, then the men's singles final on 5 Live Sports Extra which has still not quite concluded as I type. No particular interest in the British Grand Prix or the Cricket.

The usual route back home from Bosworth is quite handy in that it has landmarks at strategic two-mile intervals - the crossroads in the town is 8 miles from home; the crossroads at Barton is 6 miles, the old railway bridge is 4 miles, the top of Heather Lane is 2 miles.

No wildlife of especial interest. I saw a vole scurry part way across the road near Swepstone, then retreat. I was having to blow tiny flies off my cycling specs every minute or so for the first couple of hours and I noticed that they were all over my legs as well, bloody annoying.

Thought I'd taken a nice pic of an alpaca on the way up from Bosworth but it's not on the phone, so apparently I didn't. It was rather difficult to get its attention, as well.

Anyway - 30.82 miles which brings me to 99 this month.  Looks like decent weather for a few days, but I will keep my outings down to 30-ish miles for a bit, or possibly a bit less. I'm on call next week anyway, and of course - the daylight hours are now in slightly shorter supply.


I was in two minds as to whether to go out this afternoon or not, being as their was live Creekit on free to air TV, but the first few overs of England's innings filled me with dread, so out on the bike it was. Of course I got back to be confronted by a Super Over, but that's another story...

Just did the usual Sunday with minor tweaks today, as I know it gets me my required climbing rate - there or there abouts - and the climbing's not too onerous, although Harewood Road seems to get steeper each week. Happen it is as the road slide down the hillside.
Legend in my own Mind


Fitted some inexpensive stem bolts to the Boardman. The old ones had a bit of surface rust. The new ones are red aircraft aluminium. They go nicely with the frame. Very light of course.

However an hour or two later I read some conflicting advice on the wisdom of using aluminium stem bolts, including the advice to one person who'd done this that "I hope you have a good dental plan".

The consensus seems to be - only use steel or titanium for load-bearing connections like the seat post or stem. I think I'll take them off again and put some steel ones on from a spare stem. Perhaps I'll use the red ones for a bottle cage.


Ok so here's some hard-won advice which perhaps will be useful for some curious, random cyclist who might turn up this thread in a Google search: never use aluminium bolts on a stem.

I got two of them out without trouble, but the allen key stripped the hex socket in the head of the other two. I'm going to have to drill them out. The metal is just too soft.

I'd tightened them to 5NM. The stem recommends 6NM, so I was being cautious. I'd greased them as well. Tried pliers on the heads, but I couldn't get enough leverage and they didn't budge.

All of which means I'll be risking an evening shower on the X, rather than the Boardman later on.



Left work early, took the X for a Twycrosser. Decided to do the Minor Orton Triangular Detour once I got to Twycross. I must give the Major Orton Less Triangular Detour another go sometime soon, as well. That one misses Twycross completely.

Wasn't sure whether I wanted to come back the same way (perhaps omitting the Orton detour) once I got to Fenn Lanes, but decided to press on the usual way home through Bosworth, Carlton, Barton, Odstone.

Stayed resolutely dry throughout. No sign of the light rain threatened around 7pm, though the skies did seem to threaten it once or twice. Mostly cloudy, but occasionally sunny. Lovely weather, really. Warm and not much wind. I overdressed slightly up top, but wasn't really bothered.

Ended up doing a few more than I expected - 34.29. But no problems.

I was impressed with the oncoming cyclist near Ratcliffe who literally wagged his finger at a driver who'd just overtaken me, not giving either of us a great deal of clearance. Also saw a young chap on a red Boardman Road Sport like mine, don't see that many of them. Speaking of which - I had an idea to remove those aluminium stem bolts. I'll saw slots into the heads and see if I can get them out with a screwdriver. If that doesn't work I'll saw through the bolts between the face plate and the stem body - there's a bit of clearance. If I do that I'll end up replacing the stem though that's not a big deal, it wasn't expensive and I could use the one I took off the X.

Relubed the Cannondale on my lunch break and perhaps it'll get a run out next time.

The weather looks OK for Thursday and not bad for later on Saturday (rain forecast for the morning).


Quote from: Slim on July 16, 2019, 23:21:24 pmSpeaking of which - I had an idea to remove those aluminium stem bolts. I'll saw slots into the heads and see if I can get them out with a screwdriver. If that doesn't work I'll saw through the bolts between the face plate and the stem body - there's a bit of clearance.

I did end up sawing through the shaft of the bolt in the gap between the stem and the body. The slot I'd sawn into the head of the first bolt wasn't wide enough to take a screwdriver blade.

Before the hacksaw blade had made it the whole way through the shaft, the tension the bolt was under snapped what was left of it and the hex head pinged out of the faceplate like an aluminium bullet!

At that point the other shagged bolt magically loosened itself and I was able to remove it without any trouble. So I've binned the old stem. It was a replacement for the original Boardman stem that was far too long. And I've put on the stem that came with the X originally, which is 10mm longer but I think it should be fine. I'll have to adjust the saddle a touch, I expect. But actually it should be closer in geometry to the Cannondale, which really suits me. Might improve the handling a tad as well.

So ignoring inner tubes, bar tape, bottle cages and tyres, the Boardman has now had
  • three stems
  • two seat posts
  • two front derailleurs
  • two wheelsets
  • about four chains


I left work early, having hatched a plan to do something a bit different - a sort of westward extension of the Orton detour from the Twycross route, going to a place called Polesworth in Warwickshire, then coming back east to rejoin the Twycross route near Pinwall.

So that's what I did. I took the Boardman, since I wanted to test the new stem. I took the necessary Allen key with me, just in case. I'd also adjusted the saddle slightly.

Dry, warm and sunny but annoyingly blowy from the moment I set off. Had to contend with a persistent, nagging headwind for the first half of the ride.

Enjoyed the new stretch of road over to Polesworth despite it being a bit hilly - some nice views. Polesworth itself is somewhat dismal and urban though.

My knees hurt a bit the whole way round. Why, I don't know. But if anything they seemed to improve after 10 miles or so.

Always nice to do the quiet stretch of road north of Bosworth on a sunny evening. I stopped at a bench at Carlton and glooped down an orange gel. I'd run out of cycling snacks, must get some more oat bars next time I'm in Tesco.

The bike felt a shade less comfortable on the longer stem at first but I got used to it fairly quickly. I'm certainly not going to change it again. I've repurposed the surviving red aluminium stem bolts as cage bolts on the Cannondale to replace the steel ones, thereby shaving a sliver of weight off. And they look nicer. The spoke nipples on the Cannondale are red so they go quite nicely.

Anyway 32.61 miles which takes me to 2027 this year. My original target for 2019 was 2112 miles (currently it's 3000) so I'm pleased about that. I suppose 3000 miles is starting to look a bit too easy now. I'll think about that over the weekend.


Just fitted a new Cateye Velo 9 to replace the bike computer on the Planet X that broke a few weeks ago. I would have bought a Velo 7, which looks exactly the same and has two less functions, but the 9 came up on an Amazon sale and worked out a bit cheaper.

I like these. They're very accurate once calibrated, easy to read at a glance and simple to use. I only actually need the distance function.

Certainly, I can't see myself using the 'calories burned' and 'carbon offset' functions that I now have. I doubt I'll find myself wondering how much carbon dioxide I've spared the atmosphere from by cycling instead of driving a car. Because I don't cycle as an alternative to driving, 99% of the time. It's all about doing time and distance on the bike, not getting from A to B.

But just for fun I calculate that, if I'd used a car instead of a bike since January 2015, in doing so I'd have burned something like 1850 litres of petrol, which at £1.20 a litre comes to about £2225. But I'd certainly have saved some time.

In other news, I've fitted the Cannondale with new titanium stem bolts. The old steel ones had a hint of surface rust and of course - these ones are lighter. They're beautifully machined, I must say.

I'm not sure how many grams lighter the Cannondale is, for having new aluminium cage bolts and titanium stem bolts. 40 maybe? Not many. But it's more of a hobby really, shaving small quantities of weight off your bike.


Well, that was hard work today. I seemed to spend most of it cycling uphill into a strong Westerly. Still, it didn't rain, although the rain did force me into cleaning and lubing the chain in the garage before lunch.
Although the forecast did say that afternoon rain was on the unlikely side, I decided to stay close to home as you can't rely on the forecast and it did keep turning a bit black over the Peak District hills. The wind was a bit fun when it was a cross wind and I got the closest to being blown off than I have in a long while.
Ideally, I'd have been out finding new Peak District hills to cycle up, but there's plenty of old "favourites" closer to home to get my riding uphill fix on.
I also spotted my next abode, Mrs S fancies it too:

Although I'm not sure where the £1,600,000 will come from...
Legend in my own Mind


July 21, 2019, 18:20:20 pm #3551 Last Edit: July 21, 2019, 18:24:15 pm by Slim
That certainly is a nice gaff. I love the upstairs patio balcony.

I'm on call today, so I did my usual thing of stringing together two routes, one north of home, one south - so as not to stray too far from base.

I had in mind doing 30-35. Started with a trip up through Melbourne. I was thinking of going over Swarkestone Bridge from there and going to Stenson like I did a few weeks ago, but I didn't. I took a right through Kings Newton past Donington race course to Isley Walton, and from there down through Belton, Griffydam and Peggs Green, where I stopped at a bench and had a modest lunch consisting of a small pork pie and two profiteroles. I would normally take an oat bar rather than cream and chocolate-based pastries, but Mrs Slim had a few left over from entertaining guests yesterday. They kept me going quite nicely.

From there I devised a route to get me over to Packington that took me through Farmtown, along Corkscrew Lane. I used to use that route quite regularly back in 2015 but it fell out of favour; probably because the wooded section just north of Farmtown is not really road bike territory. Very twisty, with sudden ups & downs.

Anyway - I went down nearly as far as Twycross, then took the very pleasant and secluded Bilstone Road over to Bilstone. Came back from there through Shackerstone, Burgoland, Swepstone, Heather.

Ended up having done 40.84 (I knocked of 0.03 for a small amount of walking over roads and grass verges to benches etc) but I was quite encouraged by the state of my knees, they seemed to do fine. Pleased about that as I thought I'd given myself a setback a couple of weeks ago. It my well be that having two days off helped, as well. But I'll see how they feel tomorrow.

A bit blowy, but warm and intermittently sunny.

I fancied a trip out on the Cannondale really, partly to make sure all's well with the new stem bolts. But I wanted to give the X's new bike computer a test drive and check the calibration. It reported 40.61 miles at the end of the ride, compared to the Garmin's claim of 40.87. More than acceptable of course. But my calculator tells me that if the wheel circumference value was set to 211cm instead of 210 it would have reported 40.80, which is obviously closer. So I'll do that.

I came up behind possibly the most heavily-laden cyclist I've ever seen, struggling up a hill near Isley Walton. He had a large backpack on with two additional packs, one attached to either side of it, possibly a sleeping bag and a small tent. He also seemed to be wearing dark brown tights under his shorts which I thought rather odd given the weather, until I realised that he was black.

Nothing but golf on 5 Live so I listened to 6 Music. Quite an interesting programme featuring space-based music and a discussion between Brian Cox and Brian Eno, to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.

A lot of cyclists out today, often with a swanky bike and all the gear but carrying a lot of extra personal weight. What do these people think their expensive racing team jersey looks like when it's struggling to contain a big gut spilling out over the waistband of their shorts? And if you're serious enough about cycling to invest in a carbon frame, top brand helmet and all that, why wouldn't you try to get your weight down a bit?

Anyway - mostly made up as I went along and no new roads, but a nice run out. And that takes me to 207 this month. I think another 100 before August should be doable, looking at the weather. Having said that it might actually be too hot to ride a bike far on Tuesday, round here anyway.


Much as I'd have liked to watch the dénouement of today's TdF stage, I went out and did my usualish Sunday ride today, with just a bit of variation to keep things "interesting". Nasty little uphill headwind again today too.

Must say I agree with Slim about the cyclists carrying excess weight. Not a good sight in Lycra. I suggest they should pedal a bit harder and work more on calculating calories used when riding to judge their fuel intake.
Legend in my own Mind


Just under 40 miles today.Very enjoyable ride. We got caught at the lights by a group from an Oxford club and rode a little while with them, it surprised me how much difference it makes, almost effortless! Didn't last though as they lost a female rider I was riding alongside with a gear issue and had to stop and wait.


There aren't many days when I can go riding in my camo jersey, because it's the thinnest and lightest cycling top that I own. But today was undoubtedly one of them. One of those days when you swing open the back door and feel like you've opened an oven. I felt the heat on my bare arms as soon as I stepped outside.

Today's plan was to go up through Melbourne, across Swarkestone Bridge then west to Stenson, where I planned to have a cold beer at a table outside the Bubble Inn. So that's what I did. I took a slightly longer route than last time I did this a few weeks ago. I went through Isley Walton to elongate the route a bit, and to make it more interesting. And I intended to come back the same way but got waylaid in Melbourne. Had to consult Google Maps a few times and ended up coming a quicker way home, through Wilson. That way took me past the quarry at Breedon which I try to avoid normally, as the road along there (Stocking Lane) is always coated with dust from the quarry traffic.

From there, back home the usual way down Top Brand which I also used to avoid coming south as it was a bit of a bone shaker, but it's been nicely resurfaced now.

So warm out there. And very sunny. A bit cloudy later on mercifully, but the temperature didn't seem to drop much.  Really nice to be out on the Cannondale; it just feels so light and zippy. And nice to know all's well with the new stem bolts.

I teamed my camo jersey with a retro yellow cycling cap, to keep the sun out of my eyes.

I'd thought to do about 40, but the shorter route back robbed me of a couple. 37 miles (I knocked off .19 for clogging around outside the pub) and that's 244 this month. Probably no cycling for me until Friday though; I have other plans for Thursday and it's going to be scorchio (32 degrees)!