Cycling - 2

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

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Quote from: Slim on October 18, 2019, 15:09:14 pmNice to see you here, Zoony! I cycled through Shropshire to Wales a couple of years ago. Nice cycling territory.
Cheers mate, been a long while since I've been on a bike though.


Left work early yesterday hoping to do at least 40 or so, to take advantage of a benign weather forecast that promised no more than a couple of light rain showers late afternoon. With the wind pointing downwards, a trip out east seemed to make sense - I thought I'd do the Belvoir Castle route as far as I felt like it, then turn for home after 20 miles or so.

Cold and a bit windy, but I wrapped up warm enough. I'd decided to turn back after 22 miles, but remembered that my monthly tally stood at 249 - so I pushed on a bit, to get it over the 300 mark. I turned back eventually near Wartnaby, and put the lights on not long after that.

I thought I'd evaded the light rain showers (I refer the reader to my first paragraph). I'd had a minute of drizzle and a few spots of rain on the outward leg. Nothing unttoward. But as I neared Burton on the Wolds, heavy rain descended from a pitch black sky. I guess the ground is pretty saturated at the moment, because the roads were flowing with water in no time.

The stretch between Cotes and Stanford on Soar is well-surfaced but narrow and very quiet, with some steep-ish, curvy descents. I'd had to take my glasses off because they were spattered with rain and even with a bright front light, I couldn't see much of the road in front of me in the blackness. What I could see was flowing with water, but it was very difficult to see how deep it was at any point. Not much fun coming down a bendy flume of water in the darkness, being pelted by rain, cold, soaked through and scared to put the brakes on in case I came a cropper (and the braking surfaces were soaking wet in any case). I unclipped my shoes, tried to maintain my balance and hoped for the best. Hellish.

I was very grateful to reach Stanford, then Normanton and Zouch where at least the roads were level and I had a bit of light now and then. Not that the rest of the ride was a lot of fun, the roads were still running with water and I had a cold wind blowing through wet clothes. I gritted my teeth, cursed the weatherman and got on with it.

Took the following pic when I reached the main road near Zouch.

I was flagged down by a motorist emerging from a parked car near Belton - my rear light had stopped working. Annoying, but I had a spare. Might have been that it was low on power; modern rechargeable LED units do just turn themselves off sometimes rather than gradually growing dimmer. This one has been brilliant, I bought it at Tesco a couple of years ago and it's comfortably bright enough to be visible from the Moon. Possibly I should have charged it up first.

Shame there's no easy way to tell if your rear light is actually illuminated. Maybe some sort of Heath Robinson mirror arrangement would do it but it hardly seems worth it.

I gave the bike a good wipe down and thoroughly hosed the chain / gears etc with GT85 when I got back. I've relubed it today.

Anyway. 52.14 miles, the last 18 or so definitely hard won. That must have been, in the end, the most character building ride I've ever done.

301 this month, 672 to go before I hit my 4000 target. I'm sure I can do another 100 or so this month, which will leave me needing substantially less than 300 in each of the two remaining months.


Was today my last Fondo of the year? Well, so long as the weather is decent next week, and I don't have to spend 15 minutes getting a turd to flush before going out then there is still scope :)

It's still nice enough to wear bib-shorts and a short sleeved top, but I was glad of my merino base layer - it still function well even though it's been a target for clothes moths :(

I'm sure somebody out there has been making hills steeper. Loads Road seemed harder today, but I was marginally quicker than last week, probably due to a lesser headwind. The climb up to Alderwasley was an under-grind though today. Took an awful long time to reach the pig-sty, then Chapel Hill seemed like a cliff. Luckily it's not too long, but ouch! Perhaps when I have the rear cassette replaced I'll go for an 11-30 not an 11-28. I don't mind being less of a man and I am heading towards 60... :(

There were nice downhills to come though before the slog up Beeley Moor. Surprised to see on Strava that 46 people have been up it today (I was 13th - and beaten by bloody Ted Scoggins!) as I hardly saw any other cyclists on the roads, and those that were out were dressed for midnight in midwinter. Wimps.
Legend in my own Mind


Wanted to take advantage of a dry Sunday after all the rubbish weather, especially with the clocks going back next weekend and the daylight hours shrinking rapidly. I didn't really have the motivation to plan something more interesting, so with the wind blowing in the same direction as Friday, I pretty much did the same route again. Once again the idea was to head out east in the direction of Belvoir Castle until I decided I'd done enough, then come back the same way. I hoped to do at least 50.

Set off at about 10:00, after wiping yesterday's excess lube from the Boardman's chain. I just squeeze a rag dampened with GT85 round it, and turn the pedals a few times. A bit cool and cloudy at first, but the sun came out later on. Really quite pleasant weather for cycling, mostly.

I went a bit further than on Friday, stopping after 28 miles. Quite a bit cooler and blowier from that point, and I briefly considered adjusting my tubular headscarf to hijab mode, but didn't.

Listened to 6 Music initially to avoid the rugby on 5 Live which I find about as interesting as chewing cardboard, but Cerys Matthews was playing a right old load of tosh today so I tuned to LBC, where I found the Nigel Farage show. None of Nigel's contributors, all of whom were staunch Brexiteers, seemed enamoured with Boris' deal. Interestingly the most irate Brexiteer caller was a Scottish woman who was emphatic that Boris had sold out to the EU. Others took a more pragmatic view; that while it's not perfect it's a big improvement and probably a good idea not to let Brexit out of our grasp. I think I'm in that camp as well.

After Nigel's programme concluded I switched to the Beatles biography audiobook, to learn of the Fab Four's return to Liverpool from their second stint in Hamburg, and Paul taking over bass duties from Stu Sutcliffe.

I stopped at the Greyhound pub at Burton on the Wolds on the way back - I've lunched there a few times now on cycling expeditions - and had a ham & coleslaw ciabatta with perfectly golden brown chips, with a coffee. Perfect. I asked for ketchup and was provided with about 2/3 of a cupful in a bowl. Possibly enough for me to have smothered the whole meal until none of it was visible under a layer of tomato sauce. Naturally I used about 3% of it, if that. Bit of a waste.

I'd been feeling a little bit worn and low on energy at that point, despite glooping down a gel half an hour earlier. But the pub lunch perked me up no end and I felt like I could do another 50 after that. After the pub I decided to leave the Beatles bio for a bit, and tuned into the Ohana Rock Club's stream on my Android Internet radio tuner. I'll be DJ-ing there myself on Tuesday evening at 8pm, if anyone cares to listen. Search for 'Ohana Rock' on TuneIn;

Ominously, I picked up a few spots of rain near Stanford, then a bit of drizzle ten minutes later. But that faded away. Always nice to see spots of moisture on the handlebars drying off, to reassure me that I won't need to douse the bike's bits in water repellent on my return.

After Zouch and back over the Leicestershire border, I decided on an impulse to take a right and come home through Diseworth, then down Top Brand. The long stretch of Ashby Road between Hathern and Griffydam can be a bit of a boring slog.

Home on 59.18 miles. I'd tweaked the bike computer just before setting off and it claimed 59.2 exactly, so I shall stop tweaking it now. Not going to get it much better than that and minor variations in front tyre pressure can introduce a bit of error anyway. As usual I removed the portion of the track representing my clogging round the pub garden and into the bar using a GPX editor before uploading to Strava.

And that's 360 miles done this month, just short of my target of 362. That's 12 in a row on the Boardman, 447 consecutive miles.

Saw a formidable-looking sparrowhawk on the way back, a few miles from home. Looked like it was standing over something. But it flew off when a car overtook me, and I didn't see its victim, if there was one. I also saw a large brown rat near the edge of the road at Burton. Quite a fat little bugger, just sitting there minding its own business.

Encouraging to see quite a few other cyclists out there in October, including a couple of young ladies with pigtails. Quite a nice look in cycling gear, I think.

My knees were a bit uncomfortable for most of the ride; nothing new or troubling. But they seemed somehow to improve over the last 15 miles or so. Weird. Perhaps the rest stop at the pub helped. I'm starting to think I possibly could get away with 100 miles if I'm careful with the route, exercise thoroughly in the week or so beforehand, and take it easy. But I won't be putting that theory to the test until the spring at the earliest.


Almost cold enough for bib-tights today. Almost. I put my arm warmers on though, as it was a degree or two colder today. It was rainier too - on what was supposed to be the best day of the weekend from Friday's forecast. But I managed to avoid the rain by cycling in the direction the rain was going. It meant wet roads in the main, but my body stayed mostly dry.

I only saw one other cyclist on the roads today, he was about to ascend a rather nasty uphill pitch, into the wind. Glad I was going downhill. It was rather blowy up on the tops again today, but it made for a nice helping hand on the way back with several easily achieved PRs on well travelled roads. If only I'd put more effort into it, but then my legs would have exploded.
Legend in my own Mind


invited to join a new cycling group yesterday, the S18s, stands for Sunday 18mph average

made me realize why I look at other local riders on strava and wonder at their average pace. riding in a group is so bloody easy!

think they thought I was either semi-pro or a moron when I opted to stay on the front for the last 20 miles.
The new songs are an abomination


That's nice, but do you honestly enjoy yourself flying along at that speed?

I shall see if there's an S11 group in my area.

There are people who run marathons in a shorter time than I would ever consider doing the same distance on a bike.


October 23, 2019, 10:43:09 am #3652 Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 10:45:10 am by Slim
A defiantly dry day yesterday, so I withdrew the Planet X from the armoury and deployed it on a medium-sized Twycrosser, after leaving work early. Didn't have an exact route in mind but wanted to do at least 20. Extended it a bit from the usual start by going up to Packington first, and did the Orton detour when I got to Twycross. That's a really nice stretch in the late afternoon. Back from Sheepy a relatively quick way, along Gibbet Lane - where I took the following snap.

Gibbet Lane was a bit muddy unfortunately, but mostly compacted by passing traffic.

Really nice to be out on the X again. As much as I'm fond of the Boardman, the green one does make lighter work of the distance put in front of it.

Back just on sunset. A week from now though the sun sets at about 16:40.

26.19 miles which takes me right through my target for October of 362 miles, to 386. I think I can get at least another 60 or so in this month, although the weekend weather looks pants.


Quote from: Slim on October 21, 2019, 16:03:52 pmThat's nice, but do you honestly enjoy yourself flying along at that speed?

I shall see if there's an S11 group in my area.

There are people who run marathons in a shorter time than I would ever consider doing the same distance on a bike.
Interesting question, I do enjoy it a lot, and really dislike dawdling along. I think cyclists have a natural cadence/pace, mine is normally between 18-20mph average, and I like going at that pace. A lot of what I do is for training benefit, not sightseeing or scenery, so the pace is important.

However, I do enjoy a nice cafe ride again with nice people, chance for a chat and a look around.
The new songs are an abomination


I think I'd be an S16 man. Certainly that's my limit with the amount of climbing I'm doing this year. I could be doing it more quickly, but that would mean more effort. Whilst I don't like to dawdle, I'm not going to flog myself for the sake of it. I cycle to be fitter than I otherwise would be and to get out and see the country and nature. Nor do I see any need to be sociable.

Well, I was thinking today would be a washout. Last night's forecast said it would clear about 14:00. Today's rainfall radar said ha-ha! Luckily it did clear for 16:00 so I was able to get out for a couple of hours. I'd have been better off in a canoe at times. Cycling up Loads road was akin to going up white water rapids in reverse, both sides of the road had torrents running down them from the fields and at times they met in the middle. Glad I slapped the rear mudguard on! Of course watery roads mean idiot car drivers try to swamp you. Bastards. >:(

Saw a melanistic pheasant in a field today. Never seen one before. Also saw some chickens in the road. Forgot to ask why they were crossing.
Legend in my own Mind


October 27, 2019, 18:38:24 pm #3655 Last Edit: October 27, 2019, 18:43:00 pm by Slim
Spent the weekend up in Hartlepool, where it rained rather a lot (and it did here in the East Midlands as well, to be fair). But this morning, the sun was out and the roads had mostly dried out, so despite a moderate hangover induced by consuming too much Drambuie last night, I extracted Boardman II from its hangar (my mum's garage) and put it to work on a run out to the Transporter Bridge and back, before driving home at lunchtime.

Yes, Drambuie. It's remarkably moreish.

Nice to be acquainted with my other Boardman. It does feel a bit different from the red one. And it is indeed different in a few respects - a different stem, different wheels (the stock Mavics), different seat post and a carbon front fork - not counting handlebar tape and the colour scheme - but it does feel a little bit more agile. Might just be the route, to be fair. The route out of the town and round the coast is very flat.

I was annoyed with myself for not having remembered to bring a mirror up for it. I need to bring an Allen key with me next time as well, the seat is just a shade too low.

Very pleasant pedalling along next to the sea at Seaton Carew in bright sunshine, before turning inland along Tees Road to Port Clarence and the Transporter Bridge. Wasn't too cold.

The road takes you through a wildlife reserve over the last mile or so to the bridge, and there were quite a few twitchers out with their tripods and telephoto lenses. I didn't see any notable wildlife myself, just Canada geese and a few other unremarkable species of water bird. Personally I find the industrial landscape along there more interesting, the various chemical works, oil refineries and the enormous concrete cuboid that is Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station.

Wanting to extend my ride a bit, I took a left along Seal Sands Road to Cowpen Bewley on the way back, but turned back to Tees Road after a couple of miles. Came back home a slightly different way, coming along Clifton Avenue. In my late teens I often used to walk home from the town centre that way, sometimes clutching a long-coveted LP like Live and Dangerous or Physical Graffiti, newly acquired from one of the town's numerous record shops. The past, as they say, is a different country. They do things differently there. But Clifton Avenue remains as pretty and leafy as ever, its trees turning uutumnal shades of amber and brown.

Probably the flattest 22.11 miles I've done for a long time. And that takes me to 409 miles this month and 3435 this year.


What a difference a day makes! The roads were snided with cyclists today, although I did use roads which are frequented by the denizens of Sheffield which are always a bit busier, but the sun seemed to have brought out more than normal. Some were still wearing shorts, but even I had reverted to full winter kit, although it was warmer than yesterday.

At the start of my only categorised climb of the day, I passed a chap - in calf length tights - who was just about to set off. He then proceeded to sit on my wheel for the first half of the climb, which impelled me to travel a bit more quickly than I intended. I thought he'd never come by, but he must have got fed up and did cycle off into the distance. Although not too far as I caught him up when the road flattened out - I'm a flat track bully - he pulled away from me again going downhill - I'm a coward.

45 miles took me to 393 for October and to 5939 for the year. I'm now 5.5 miles off my 100 miles of elevation gain for the year.
Legend in my own Mind


Quote from: Jonners on October 23, 2019, 11:54:16 amInteresting question, I do enjoy it a lot, and really dislike dawdling along. I think cyclists have a natural cadence/pace, mine is normally between 18-20mph average, and I like going at that pace. A lot of what I do is for training benefit, not sightseeing or scenery, so the pace is important.

That's exactly the same for me with my walking since my heart attack mate. No good me going for a 5 or 6 mile walk that takes 4 hours, that doesn't get my heart rate up. I need to go at a good pace for 30-40 minutes at least 5 times a week, which I do comfortably.


Another sunny day. Took a long, late lunch break and did a Twycrosser. The roads were mostly dry so I decided to take the X. I wanted to do about 23 miles and made it up as I went along with that in mind, but ended up having done 26.84.

Rather cold later on, when the clouds came rolling over. I was back about 15 minutes before sunset.

My knees were a bit painful the whole way round, interestingly. Maybe because I didn't do all my exercises at the weekend, or perhaps the saddle height on Boardman II, on which I did 22 miles yesterday, had something to do with it. I would normally have taken a rest day today but thought that a moderate distance over a flat route wouldn't necessitate one.

I noticed last time I came back the same way that there's a new crash barrier at the top of the hill just south of Heather. The two tall poles in the following pic are holding up overhead electricity lines. Not sure what the two truncated ones behind them are for. Old poles, just replaced perhaps?

My knees will most likely get a couple of days off now anyway.

That's me on 436 this month, which is more than I've done in any other month this year except June. Not bad considering the weather. I may yet be able to wring another 20 miles or so out of October.


A long, mid-afternoon lunch break once again. But this time rather than embarking upon another Twycrosser, I headed over toward Belton through Coalville. From there, over toward Donington, from where I nostalgically came (most of) the old way home from the office.

Sunny and dry, but cold and blowy. Nice ride out though, apart from The Void, which is the name I have borrowed for a section of the route home from Donington that takes you along a boring, uphill section of the A453. There is a Star Trek: Voyager episode in which the crew become depressed and demotivated, due to travelling through an expanse of space which they name The Void, empty of stars and a black nothingness for millions of light years. Admittedly the A453 Void is only about a mile long. I decided to capture it for posterity (below).

I took the X. Although the roads were dry, they were liberally covered with large chunks of mud, here and there. On the short stretch of the A512 that takes you into Gracedieu Lane the surface was absolutely covered in a slippery-smooth layer of flattened mud. Was actually worried I'd start to slide on it.

My right knee has been hurting this last couple of days but the ride hasn't made it much worse.

Must have stopped Strava recording on the phone when I took the pic, as the track ends abruptly at the same point. I can't be bothered stitching on a synthesised section of track for Strava and there was nothing particularly interesting about it; just the usual way home down Top Brand and through Coleorton. So I have measured the remaining section of the ride using a route planner, and the whole ride comes to 23.19 miles. That agrees closely with my bike computer, so it's good enough for the spreadsheet. Strava will just have to stay wrong.

That's almost certainly it for October; a pleasing total of 459 miles. Hoping I'll get a mild, dry Saturday or Sunday sometime soon so I can do an 80 miler, though my knee will have to recover a bit first. But it will.

3485 done this year.