Cycling - 2

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

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My spreadsheet has recalculated my monthly targets based on the remaining distance to do, as it always does at the start of the month - and it is asking of me that I do 281 miles in November, and 234 in December.

I'll just aim for 300 in both. Perhaps 307 in both, and that will take me to 4100.


The weather gods smiled on me again today, with the rain clearing - more or less - just after 2, The roads were still wet though, although not quite as canoeable as last week, but they left me wishing I'd stuck the front mudguard on too.

Actually saw a few cyclists out and about on the roads today too, there was a group of four up on the tops, one of whom was still wearing bib-shorts. He was lagging at the back. Compared to my Summer self I was lagging too, looking at certain Strava segments, I can see my times falling away rapidly and they're nearly back at springtime levels. The best bit of today was passing 500,000  feet of elevation gain for the year, the goal is now in sight!
Legend in my own Mind


The weather forecast for today had changed quite a bit by this morning, with no rain due over until early evening. I'd arranged to take 'er indoors out for lunch at 2pm and wasn't planning to do a bike ride today, but at 11am I decided I'd get November off to a bit of a start by doing 15 or 20 on the hybrid. I expected the roads to be wet and muddy, and they were (mostly).

A bit gloomy when I set off but the sun came out later on. I did a short version of the Twycrosser, cutting across to Bilstone along Bilstone Road just before Twycross.

17.85 miles. Would happily have done another 20 or so had time permitted, even on the hybrid which seemed to be rolling along pleasantly enough at the sedate speed demanded of it, despite its excessive weight. Actually the combined weight of hybrid + cyclist is lower than the combined weight of Cannondale (my lightest bike) + cyclist would have been in January. But of course there's more to efficiency than just the weight.

I still haven't got round to fixing the gears on the hybrid (after about two years) but the available range is still usable. The most annoying thing was that I'd removed its mirror a while back for some reason and forgot to put one back on.

3503 done this year.

Must admit, I didn't even bother wiping the mud and moisture off its nether regions when I put  the bike away. Was in a bit of a hurry.  In other news - another mouse has met its maker in the garage. Quite a small one and the kill bar came down right across its back rather than its neck. But I hope it was still quick.

The weather forecast looks intermittently (but predominantly) rainy for the next couple of weeks.


Saw a chap out on a Giant bike near Shackerstone. He had all the usual gear on and it looked like a road bike, but the down tube looked unusually large and chunky. I supposed it was an e-bike but he was coming the other way so I didn't get a close look. Helpfully though, he overtook me along Heather lane half an hour later with a cheery wave so I got a better look. To all intents and purpose a road bike in appearance, with the usual road wheels, handlebars and clippy pedals. But with a large, square cross section down tube, presumably housing an electric motor and battery.

Would have thought that e-bikes were more aimed at the commuter / convenience cyclist market rather than the recreational / enthusiast cyclist.


Quote from: Slim on November 03, 2019, 20:06:12 pmWould have thought that e-bikes were more aimed at the commuter / convenience cyclist market rather than the recreational / enthusiast cyclist.
There's a market for those former racers who are now elderly and could do with a bit of help. There's a rather nice Bianchi road e-bike, which if I start saving for now I might have save enough for when I need assistance :)

Got out for a 46 mile ride today to take me over 6,000 miles for the year. Same ride out as last week but a bit quicker, as while the wind was roughly  the same direction it was nowhere near as strong, which made it easier going out, but without a Turbo-boost on the way back.
Legend in my own Mind


Roads round by us are alomst unrideable at the moment unless you stick to main roads, so much water around its ridiculous
The new songs are an abomination


November 04, 2019, 20:49:11 pm #3666 Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 22:12:29 pm by Slim
Managed to get out of work not long after 3:30pm. A bit of light rain expected over after sunset but the roads weren't too wet so I took the Boardman for a spin. Set off with a half-hearted intention of doing a Twycrosser but by the time I reached the end of the road, I'd decided to head south, down toward Stoney Stanton - though I didn't expect to go that far. The vague intention was to do about 12 miles, then come back the same way.

Would usually have a (knee) recovery day but the weather looks awful for the foreseeable future so I grabbed a chance. I only did about 18 yesterday so no big deal to do 20-odd today.

I got as far as Kirkby Mallory, then turned back. Very nice change to do that route again. By the time I turned for home it was getting dark, but I was well equipped with lights including a head torch.

Took this pic before sunset, along Kirkby Lane:

From Newbold I decided, on one of those whims to which I am prone, to take the road to Bosworth and come back the usual way from there, rather than back through Bagworth and Ellistown. Very dark along there. Had to use the brakes where I wouldn't normally on downhill stretches, just to maintain proper visibility of the road.

The front light + head torch works well enough though except when you have an idiot in a motor vehicle blind you with full beam. On this occasion I was confronted, along Heather Lane, by a 4x4 of some sort with an array of front lights, arranged in rectangular fashion, that would have put the floodlights at Old Trafford to shame. The worst part isn't when you actually have the light in your face. It's the moment when the offending vehicle has passed, and your night vision is shot for a second so all you can see, until you recover, is an inky blackness while you're (possibly) hurtling down a hill on a curve, as I was in this case. Bloody scary.

The threatened rain didn't materialise, but I did have to contend with a bit of fog over the last couple of miles. I had 5 Live on on the way back, listening intently to the results for the election of Speaker of the House of Commons as each round came in. I was delighted and relieved to see Harriet Harman do so badly. She would have betrayed her country at a snap of her foreign masters' fingers.

Anyway, despite its perils I like a ride out in the dark. Bit of an adventure.

28.89 miles which takes me to 42 this month.


Horrible weather, recently. I suppose the rain might be washing some of the mud off the roads. But at the moment it's due to stop raining tomorrow afternoon, for a few hours, then again on Sunday afternoon. Windy tomorrow, though.


Decided to leave work early yesterday and try for 30 or 40 despite a cold wind blowing. But as I left the garage during a break, having pumped the tyres up to spec and affixed newly charged lights to the Boardman, a dismal drizzle descended and I decided to stay in and watch old Star Trek: TNG episodes instead.

I thought I might find a dead mouse in the garage given that the cold weather seems to draw them in there, where they meet the Grim Reaper in the person of a carefully prepared mouse trap. I didn't, but I did find a dead bike computer mount. It seems that the low temperatures in there caused the bit that loops round the handlebar to contract, and it simply snapped. I hadn't overtightened it.

As the old saying goes - buy cheap, buy twice. I hope I've finally learned my lesson not to buy cheap Chinese bike computers off Amazon. The actual tech tends to be pretty good; accurate with lots of features. But they make them out of horrible flimsy cheap plastic.

I can probably find a way to mount the actual unit onto the bars with a rubber band or something.

Looks like I'm not cycling today either. Already nine days into November and I've only been out on a bike twice.


Being as due to a late running boiler replacement I have a house which is just as cold as outside, I spent as much of the afternoon as I could - but not enough - out on the roads. 

Now to say Derbyshire is suffering from flooding, the roads were drier today than the last couple of Saturdays. Thankfully. Which meant slightly less crud has appeared on the good bike today, the winter bike still needs a service. maybe I should just invest in a set of winter wheels for the good bike? I am missing the 32T rear sprocket though, now the summer fitness is fading.

That was a road I cycle regularly yesterday. Although a couple of sets of roadworks on it mean I haven't used it for a while. As a matter of no interest at all, the building in the background is where my mum first met my dad and not too far from where I spent the first 20 years of my working life.

Today saw a half mile of elevation gain, which gets me to within 20,000 feet of my yearly target. It's achievable! Weather permitting...
Legend in my own Mind


A day without rain, for a change. Sunny, even. I assumed it would be rather cold for cycling but since, as of this morning, I'd only done 42 miles this month and hadn't been out on a bike for six days, I wanted to do 40 or so. Decided to do a long version of the Twycrosser. Started by going up toward Ashby, rather than through Heather. Down through Twycross to Sheepy, then to Ratcliffe Culey, then down the A444 a bit to Fenn Lanes and past the exact centre of England (depending on how you define that, of course).

Took a snack and rest stop at Sutton Cheney, where I took this pic:

I had a miniature pork pie, and a Mr Kipling apple pie that had been transformed into a miniature apple crumble by being stuffed into my dummy bottle. But it was in a plastic bag and I managed to consume all of it. Really rather nice.

Somehow the lid of my dummy bottle shook itself off coming down Alton Hill, less than two miles into the ride. I heard it clatter on the road and backtracked a couple of times, but couldn't find it. However the contents managed to stay put over the rest of the ride, despite the absence of the lid.

I think I have three of them, so it's no great loss. To be honest I can't imagine why I bought a second one, let alone a third.

From Cheney, rather than taking the road up to Bosworth and the usual way home, I decided to cross the A447 and make my way along Bosworth Road to Kirkby Mallory. I wasn't nearly as cold as I'd expected, although I'd wrapped up with four layers on top. And I was rather enjoying myself, trundling along in the autumn sunshine. From there I did part of the Stoney Stanton route, but only as far as Earl Shilton. I was on call and getting a tad concerned about the prospect of receiving a call a couple of hours from home. So I turned tail with the intention of following the Stoney route home, a fairly direct route back to base - but I'd changed my mind by the time I got to Newbold Verdon, where I hung a left back to Bosworth. I'd decided by this time to see if I could get the November Fondo in.

I can never remember exactly how many miles 100km is. I was sure it was more than 61, but less than 63 (it's actually about 62.14). But I reckoned that if I went back the way I'd come from Fenn Lanes, I'd probably just about cover it.

I didn't come back exactly the way I'd come; I actually took a shorter route to Sheepy. And I reached home the usual way through Swepstone and Heather rather than up through Packington. But I ended up on 62.49 miles, just enough to achieve my goal.

There's a road sign bearing the text "7.5T" ("no goods vehicles over 7.5 tonne" I believe) that's very handily 7.5 miles from home along the usual Twycross route, so by the time I passed that, I knew that going home via Swepstone and Heather would do nicely.

I did feel a bit worn out over the last 6 or 7 miles. It's that time of year when the whisky bargains kick in at Tesco, and I took advantage of that yesterday. Had three or four last night. But I'd been fine until then. My knees also started to suffer a bit over the last 7 miles or so, but oh well. It is what it is.

I've never seen more standing water on the roads around these parts but it didn't prove too bothersome. Usually I managed to negotiate a channel between deep puddles stretching from the side of the road toward the centre. Once or twice I had to pedal through water maybe 2/3 of an inch deep, but I was on the Boardman anyway and not that bothered. It takes some of the mud off the tyres if nothing else. Near Ratcliffe the Sence had broken its banks and made a lake of the surrounding fields, but it didn't encroach onto the road.

My main concern was that I'd be caught out next to a deep puddle at the same time a motor vehicle passed through it and get soaked, but I managed to avoid that - partly by luck, and partly by careful timing.

I was overflown - I was going to type "buzzed", but that would be an exaggeration - by a magpie a couple of times along Kirkby Lane. I was slightly concerned by this as I wasn't wearing a helmet, and was unsure whether my balaclava and woolly hat would offer sufficient protection in the event that I was assaulted by it. They do like to engage cyclists in physical combat sometimes, and you can find abundant proof of this on YouTube. However it didn't attack. If I'd been wearing a helmet and it did want a fight I would have angled my mirror so I could see it coming up behind me, then an instant before the moment of impact, I'd have reverse-nutted it unconscious.

Interested to see swarms of midgies by the roadside here and there - bit late in the year for those, isn't it?

I listened to my Beatles bio audiobook for the first hour or two, then footy on 5 Live.

Nice run out on the whole. Certainly I'd have preferred a run across to Rutland or Belvoir Castle rather than the meandering and haphazard route I did today, but that wasn't an option. And anyway making it up as you go along can introduce a sense of adventure

That takes me to 104 this month, which considering the weather (and that I've been on call this last week) is not so bad. Happy that I'm doing my monthly Fondos again.


I have zero motivation to cycle outside at the moment, the weather and water levels are just rediculous at the moment
The new songs are an abomination


It was a beautiful day for cycling yesterday. If a tad nippy. I also had to give myself a good licking for cycling on the pavement - to get round a flooded road, it was that or a three mile diversion involving a 17% hill. I'm not fit enough for that now.
Legend in my own Mind


No rain today. Rather cold though, but I withdrew the Boardman from the garage after leaving work at 3:30. Headed out through Coalville and Thringstone with the rough idea of heading out East toward Belvoir Castle for 20 miles or so before turning back.

But I hadn't quite got as far as Zouch, 10 miles after setting off, before I decided I was going to keep it short. It was dark at this point and although I'd wrapped up warm the chilly temperatures had started to penetrate my shoes and gloves. My legs felt uncomfortably cold as well, in just one layer. So I took a left through Long Whatton to Diseworth then came back home along Top Brand and through Coleorton.

22.68 miles, not as many as I'd hoped but there's no point chasing miles if you're not really enjoying yourself. Having said that I did mostly enjoy my run out but I'd had enough by the time I got back. A Twycrosser would have been nicer over that distance though, really. The best part of the route out East starts after Zouch.

Still a lot of water on the roads, especially near Diseworth.

I trialled a new torch that I bought on Monday on a whim in Chelmsford, as my front light. Very bright but the beam is a bit over-focussed. However it works fine, especially in conjunction with a head torch. It's a little bit heavier than my usual front light torch, but it takes two AA batteries which is convenient for resupplying out on the road. My usual one uses a rechargeable 18650 cell.

Having lost the lid off my black dummy bottle on my previous ride, I took my identical white one to carry spare batteries, an oat bar and a small pork pie, none of which I used. Incredibly, the lid came off in exactly the same fashion between Whitwick and Thringstone. I must have used these things dozens of times. Have I just got in the habit of screwing the lid down too loosely? Fortunately it was easy to locate this time so I tracked back, picked it up again, screwed it down quite tightly and continued on my way.

That's 127 this month so I'm about on track to do the 300+ I'm hoping for.


The BBC weather forecast is liberally peppered with rain right out to the 27th. Since I started cycling regularly nearly 5 years ago, I can't remember such a dismal spell of weather.