Cycling - 2

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

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20 return miles into constant 20-30mph headwinds from the SW on Saturday nearly made me give up cycling at one point! What a chore. That will teach me for being billy no mates on long rides
The new songs are an abomination


Wanted to see whether the new magnet has solved the bike computer problem on the Boardman so i took it for a quick lunch time spin. Looks like it is working properly now; no dropouts. Curious that a magnet weakened by corrosion would start working after a few hundred metres fairly consistently. I can only guess that the current induced in the sensor literally warms it up slightly, and makes it more sensitive.

Stupidly forgot to start the GPS watch until I'd already done 0.19 miles, but I accounted for that on the spreadsheet. The Strava totals are still exaggerated anyway due to various errors.

Really nice out there - a few puddles here and there but the roads are mostly dry, it was warm enough for bare legs and the sun was out. Rain due over this afternoon but I was back in plenty of time. I did a sort of extended version of the old 'Packington Pentagon', albeit I was making it up as I went along. Not sure I've ever done the stretch between Packington and Snarestone in that direction, but that apart it was all familiar stuff.

13.68 miles which brings the September total to 396 miles.

With only 724 miles needed to reach my yearly target of 3750 and three months to go, it would be rude not to readjust it to 4000. So I've done that.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


Took the afternoon off work with the intention of doing a run out to Stafford Bingley Hall and back, about 74 miles. I'd chosen this particular destination for several reasons: first, I'd have a tailwind on the way back. Second, I should mostly have the sun behind me both ways, and third: as a sort of ceremonial pilgrimage in the memory of two brilliant gigs, 40 years ago last week.

Very nice day for it on the face of it - clear blue skies, sunny, not that blowy and surprisingly, not that cold although I'd wrapped up very warm, with tights and overshoes on.

Spent twenty minutes this morning preparing in-flight snacks, fitting an eTrex mount to the Boardman (usually it lives on the X) and pumping up the tyres to spec. I set off at about 12:20.  I expected the roads to be wet here and there due to the amount of rain over the last few days.

Mostly the roads were bone dry, but here and there on lower ground I did encounter water running over the road in front of me; no more than a few mm deep I guess. No biggie, I just slowed down so as not to fling too much of it up into the cables, chain etc and continued on.

Until I got to a road junction near Croxall, where the crossing was about a foot deep in water. I snapped a moody pic that underexposed slightly:

You can't gauge the depth of the water from the image, but cars and vans going through it were more than half a wheel deep.

I thought briefly of plotting a different route from there to Bingley but assumed I'd most likely just hit the same problem again. I'd have added some unwanted distance, anyway. Didn't want to try more than 75 for now. So I decided simply to give up, and turn for home.

Took the same route back until I got to Measham, just 5 or 6 miles from home. Then I took a different road, to join the time-honoured Twycross route. I'd had the idea of tacking on a Twycrosser to end up on 50 miles or so. But when I got to Snarestone I just took a left for home. My failure to do a run out to Stafford had taken the wind out of my sails. What was potentially a really enjoyable run out had been ruined by weather; not in the present but over the previous few days.

I did feel slightly guilty going straight back. It was a nice day, the roads were dry enough near home and I'm sure I could have got round the Twycross route without difficulty. Furthermore the weather looks iffy for the next couple of days.

Anyway. I stopped at the Alpaca farm tearoom at Snarestone and had a coffee and a scone with jam in the garden there. One of the staff - one of the owners I think, actually - came over and struck up a conversation about my handlebar tape, wanting to know where I'd got it. She explained that she had white tape on her own bike, and it had become grubby very quickly. The perennial problem with white bar tape, of course. I don't even know why it exists. I told her that I'd changed mine for exactly the same reason and directed her to Amazon, where I'd got mine quite cheaply.

Home on 34.81 miles which isn't a bad start for the month, I guess. This month's target, adjusted for the new yearly target of 4,000 miles, is 362.

Nice to go out west for a change; I don't go that way so often. A few times over the last few years when I've been out on a bike and listening to the radio, news has broken about the death of some celebrity or well-known figure. Mohammed Ali, Prince, Victoria Wood for example. Today it was Peter Sissons' turn, sadly. For some reason - well, it must just be coincidence - this only ever happens when I'm cycling over west of Ashby which is actually not very often. I'm a rational person, but it seems a bit spooky.

I'm afraid my optimism about the bike computer and its new magnet was a bit premature, it did drop out for about .8 of a mile. I noticed this when I glanced down and it was showing 0mph. I suppose I'll just buy a new one.

According to the forecast, temperatures will pick up a bit on Saturday and it probably won't rain. However, the wind will be blowing from the east. If that holds true I'll do Lincolnshire and back, all being well.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


Quote from: Slim on October 02, 2019, 22:00:02 pmI'm afraid my optimism about the bike computer and its new magnet was a bit premature, it did drop out for about .8 of a mile. I noticed this when I glanced down and it was showing 0mph. I suppose I'll just buy a new one.

And that's what I did, about 20 minutes after typing that. Arrived today. Another relatively cheap wireless one. I do already have a slight case of buyer's remorse as the build quality isn't great. But I'll see how I get on with it.

What swung it for me is that it comes with two magnets and two sensors, so you can use it on two bikes (it has two settings, for bike I and bike II). But it only comes with one handlebar mount and although it's not that difficult to remove and refit it, it's too much of a faff to do that often, really. I suppose I do at least have a spare magnet and sensor.

Anyway I fitted it to the Boardman, set it up with the right circumference, gave the front wheel a spin and it seems to work.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


October 05, 2019, 20:53:31 pm #3634 Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 20:56:05 pm by Slim
I'm not really a wine person but I've developed a taste for red recently and had, arguably, a glass too many before retiring last night. Despite this I felt OK this morning when I woke up at about 6:30. I pondered getting up and setting off to Lincolnshire and back there and then, but fell asleep again for a couple of hours.

Got up at about 9:30 and set off at about 10:10. The roads were still a bit puddly here and there outside and I wanted to test my new bike computer, so I took the Boardman.

Wrapped up warm, no overshoes but I had tights on and three layers on top. Felt a bit cold for the first hour or two but as anticipated the temperature improved and I was comfortable by midday. I listened to a couple of hours of the Beatles bio audiobook, then switched to 5 Live for football coverage. Surprised to hear Tottenham getting tonked by Brighton.

I was slightly concerned to see a flood warning sign on a road leading off my route near Stanford on Soar but apart from minor puddles I wasn't troubled by water.

Really nice to reacquaint myself with the last stretch of the road to Belvoir Castle and Woolsthorpe, where I crossed the border into Lincolnshire before turning back. I stopped at the Belvoir Castle caff a few minutes after turning for home. I hadn't expected it to be open at this time of year so that was a very pleasant surprise. It's changed quite a bit since I was last there, now Café Allez! with tables and chairs inside and a closed-off seating area outside. You can no longer get sandwiches or pasties there though, sadly. The best I could do for a lunch main course was a large packet of crisps, possibly the first packet of crisps I've had this year. I also had a scone with jam, an excellent Americano and a Fruit Shoot to top up my bidon. I must say that the guy who served me is the single most polite shop or cafe assistant I've ever encountered, possibly to the point of being obsequious or irritating. Better than being rude though, I guess.

Noticed that they have a strirrup pump on hand for cyclist patrons as well. Nice touch. I actually put cleat covers on at the caff, first time I've used them and they do make walking around a fair bit easier. I've had them a couple of years and never bothered to use them (even though I've taken them with me in a backpack more than once).

Seemed to be facing a bit of a headwind on the way back as well as there, which I hadn't expected. The occasional wind turbine I encountered seemed to suggest that it was cutting across at an angle. But it wasn't too troublesome in either direction.

Very happy to hit the 70 mile mark, as the nearly-70 I'd done four weeks ago had given me a bit of pain to the left knee, and I didn't experience that today. For sure they both felt a bit tender after 60 or so but nothing debilitating or of concern. Of course, I do miss the days when I didn't spare my knees the slightest thought while out on a ride, but this time last year I was giving myself a setback if I did more than 25. So I'm encouraged.

It's been a good day. First ride of more than 70 miles distance since April 2018. October Fondo done. I've now done all of Leicestershire's neighbouring counties in 2019. And very happy to have done Belvoir Castle and back again as it's one of the classic longer rides in my repertoire, and one I missed.

I tidied up the track in a GPS editor to remove the parts recorded while clogging around the caff, walking to farm gates at wee spots etc. This claimed to knock off half a mile, which can't be right! But I'll go with it anyway.

The new bike computer did OK. Needs calibrating, but I'll do the maths later.

76.25 miles, 111 this month - not bad for 5 days in. But the weather for the coming week looks none too promising.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


October 05, 2019, 22:39:31 pm #3635 Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 22:41:04 pm by Nïckslïkk2112
Managed to ride over to Staffordshire today. I've cycled in Staffs before - on a Sportive - and I've ridden to Staffs from Derbyshire before - on a Sportive - but I've never made it from home before. So, I made today the day as the nights are drawing in and I have to wait for my Friday night red wine head to clear - normally about 14:00 - before heading out. Although today it was a white wine head - from a 14.5% Viognier last night.

Not doing any mid week cycling is certainly taking its toll now, but there was still enough gas in the tank to get up and over hills, even if it meant taking my time more than normal.

It was still warm enough for short sleeves and bib shorts, even though my Garmin said the average temperature was only 10C and everybody else on the road was in winter kit. There's some nesh folk about.

I made it out as far as Longnor, just over the Staffordshire border and somewhere I have never been before. Big mistake, the countryside is beautiful out there, with some actual pointy hills - Chrome Hill and Parkhouse Hill - which are all too rare in the Peak District. Just wish it had been sunny to appreciate it better.

I'll have to check on what counties actually border Derbyshire. I know I haven't done Leicestershire and I think Greater Manchester is really Cheshire (I only recognise proper Counties), which I have done and different bits of Yorkshire are all Yorkshire, so no need to do West Yorkshire. Might be a bit of a bind getting to Leicestershire to avoid busy roads and built up areas.

Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

Not enough war
Not enough famine
Not enough suffering
Not enough natural selection


October 08, 2019, 22:41:45 pm #3636 Last Edit: October 08, 2019, 22:43:51 pm by Slim
Hoped to do 20 or so after work, but while I was at Tesco an hour or so before I intended to set off, the rain came down in bucketloads. That seemed to be the end of that idea, but I returned home, three miles from there, to dry roads and sunny skies.

Interesting how micro-climate-ish it is around here. I'm sure my native Teesside is nothing like that.

Careful scrutiny of the rainfall radar told me that if I stayed to the south of Ashby I'd avoid rain or wet roads. And that was always the intention anyway, so I set off on a Twycrosser at about 4:30pm. The forecast threatened a shower at 6pm-ish. As things turned out, that didn't happen but I took the Boardman anyway.

Left the house quite quickly, so as to make the best of the remaining daylight hours - both of them - and forgot to bring the new bike computer out with me. I'd had it in the house to calibrate it. No biggie, but it meant that I didn't have a record of the distance done until I'd finished. Was recording the track on my phone.

Since I was trying to keep it short, I took the lovely Bilstone Road to, er, Bilstone from Twycross, then Barton Lane.  Beautifully quiet crossing the little hump back bridges between the fields. I didn't see another road user the whole way from Twycross to Barton.

Cool and rather blowy, but not enough to spoil the fun.

Quite a few pheasants (or is it grouse?) around, some of them dead.

Thought I'd have ended up on about 22 miles on returning home but nope, 18.6. There are so many permutations of the Twycross route that it's impossible to memorise the distances. Getting a bit dim as I returned home, a few minutes after the Sun went down. Nice view of the two-thirds Moon, even before sunset.

More on Thursday I hope, when the weather is slated to be rather mild temperature-wise (15 degrees in the afternoon), but rather windy. But I can't go too far, I'm on call again.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


Quote from: Slim on October 08, 2019, 22:41:45 pmQuite a few pheasants (or is it grouse?) around, some of them dead.
Pheasants. Grouse are birds of the upland heather moors. They're better at flying than pheasants and don't get squished so much.
Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

Not enough war
Not enough famine
Not enough suffering
Not enough natural selection


Thanks! Pheasants. I'm never sure why they exist - they're reluctant to take off even in front of oncoming cars, they look stupider than Jess Phillips, they spend most of their time on the ground and they must have been easy hunting for predators over the lifespan of their species.

Just saw this on Wikipedia and thought it was interesting; a pheasant skeleton:

You can see how birds are evolved from dinosaurs in that image.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


I was going to do 50 or so after work tomorrow night; a nice little night-time adventure illuminated by bike lights. But the weather forecast this morning told me that I wasn't going to do that.

So, with dry weather on the cards this afternoon at least, I thought I'd leave early today and do a Twycrosser. I'd normally give my knees a day off the day following a ride, but I only did 18.6 yesterday and only planned to do about 25 today.

Nice weather for it, not too blowy and not cold. Conditions very dry. I would have taken the X probably but wanted to check the accuracy of the new wireless bike computer on the Boardman now I've calibrated it.

A fairly standard route of intermediate length. Nice run out. Stopped to take a pic between Sheepy and Sibson.

The bike computer did good. It recorded the track at about 27.46 miles, compared to the phone's 27.40. Nonetheless I should be able to get it a bit more accurate. One thing I do like about these Chinese touch screen units is that you can set the wheel circumference in mm.

It's currently set to 2126mm, so I need to set it to 27.40 / 27.46 * 2126 = 2121 (rounding to the nearest mm).

That's 8 in a row on the Boardman now.

157 this month, decent progress so far. The weather looks mostly iffy for a while, though.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


Can certainly feel the fitness gained over the Summer seeping away now. As far as possible, I'm going to include the climb of Loads Road in a weekend ride to see my times drop as the year goes on. Certainly dropped today, but there was a headwind. That's my excuse.

Actually rode some different roads today, I may well have been down some before, but today I rode up, up, and up - ish! First time of cycling up to Winster. If Winster were in the Cotswolds it'd be snided with tourists, but thankfully it isn't. Don't want bloody tourists ruining Derbyshire - although I expect it's full of second homes and holiday cottages.

Then back down through Cromford and up through the ancestral Sims homeland of Lea. Thought I might better the only other time I'd done it, but I was way off. Think the legs had run out of steam and I had been a bit late refuelling today. Maybe I'll learn.

All in all a reasonably nice four hours on the bike for 63.5 miles.
Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

Not enough war
Not enough famine
Not enough suffering
Not enough natural selection


October 13, 2019, 12:09:42 pm #3641 Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 12:11:28 pm by Slim
A decent day yesterday, with no rain expected until after sunset and the roads mostly dried out from the previous day's precipitation. I was on call, but wanted to do 40 or 50. I set off with the general plan of going north of base for a bit, then to the south, then home. The usual strategy for doing a reasonable distance while minimising the risk of being too far from home if I got a call. But I didn't have a specific route in mind.

Went up to Belton to start, then since I was feeling fairly relaxed about the prospect of getting a call, continued on east along Ashby Road. Turned left toward Diseworth with the thought of maybe going across to Melbourne from there, but decided to press further north to Castle Donington. I decided to go right through Donington to the A50 roundabout, where I'd take a left through Shardlow, Aston and Weston, to Swarkestone Bridge then back down through Melbourne.

So anyway I pedalled through Donington and Shardlow - nice to be cycling through Shardlow again, I used to drive that way to work 30 years ago. I took the left to Aston but missed the turn to Swarkestone Bridge, because I ended up back on Shardlow Road again. At this point, sentimentality and nostalgia overcame my fear of being called, and I decided to continue on up to Derby, take the ring road to Allenton then turn left at the "Spider" roundabout as it's known to Derby folk, and come south to Swarkestone Bridge that way. This was especially nostalgic because one day in 1990, I cycled home to Markfield from my place of work in Derby, and I took the same route to Swarkestone Bridge. That's about the only aspect of that route I remember, unfortunately. I'd dearly love to know how I got to Markfield from there, but apart from tiny snippets of fading memories, there's no way for me to know.

Must admit I did feel slightly disconcerted cycling around Derby while on call. It's not even the nearest city. But I got away with it.

Anyway. I came the usual way down from Melbourne until I got to Rempstone Road, then I cut across Farmtown with the intention of joining the Twycross route, or one version of it, at Packington. From there I'd do the southern leg of the route. I was slightly wary of coming through Farmtown as there's a stretch through the woods there that I expected to be a bit muddy. It was a bit. But I have a theory, untested and not carefully considered, that a bit of mud on your tyres protects them from the road and stops them wearing out.

I got as far as Snarestone though, and decided I'd turn left for the caff at the Alpaca farm. I was served with a coffee and a scone with jam by a delectably plump young wench. I'd actually ordered clotted cream as well, but they didn't have any. She didn't offer a refund for the cream. I'm sure she would have if I'd pressed the matter. But I just let it slide.

I just headed home from there, through Swepstone and Heather. It was an enjoyable run out, nice to visit Derby again. But these contrived "orbital" routes don't feel like a proper long ride, and I decided I'd do something else with my Saturday afternoon rather than chasing miles for its own sake. I'm fairly confident of hitting my target for the year now.

Home on 48.07 miles. 205 done this month.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


October 16, 2019, 23:43:25 pm #3642 Last Edit: October 16, 2019, 23:46:41 pm by Slim
I took the afternoon off yesterday, in the hope of making the most of a day without rain and doing about 60 miles. But although it didn't rain, the roads stayed soaking wet all day and a cold damp clung to the air long into the afternoon. I just stayed at home and watched old Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes.

It turns out that today was the one I should have picked for an afternoon off work. But I left work early anyway to make up for yesterday's disappointment a bit. Hoped to do about 40. I was going to do a long Twycrosser, but within a minute of leaving the house I decided not to do that. I headed in the general direction of Coalville, and a few minutes later had hatched a plan. I'd basically repeat Saturday's ride, with the exception that I wouldn't miss the proper turn to Swarkestone Bridge from Aston and end up pedalling along the ring road in Derby, which wouldn't be a lot of fun during a weekday rush hour. Also, I'd come home the usual way from Melbourne, without going down to Swarkestone.

A bit cold, slightly blowy but otherwise quite pleasant. I took the Boardman again on its tenth consecutive run out. I knew I'd be back after dark so I took lights.

That stretch between Aston and Swarkestone is really nice, especially in the late afternoon. I'd like to incorporate it into my rides more often but it's not really possible to get to it from the east without going over a busy, large roundabout over the A50.

When I got to Swarkestone, I decided to pedal along the road to Willington for a bit, and come back. Really quite a pleasant, flat stretch even though it's notionally an A road. I actually went all the way to Willington before coming back. Turned on the basic lights at a farm gate somewhere near Twyford not long after sunset then after crossing the bridge, added a head torch and the proper tarmac-melter LED torch on the handlebar. The head torch is great for checking the bike computer, watch, gear indicators. Not easy to pair one with a helmet, but I was wearing a woolly hat.

Took the following pic near Twyford.

Properly dark by the time I got to Melbourne. I took the following pic just south of there opposite a pub. Beautiful view of a low Moon over the lights of Coalville, a few miles in the distance, about a mile from home.

Disposed of another mouse body in the garage before setting off. Another very clean kill. That's about 18 since I started my Rodent Final Solution extermination initiative.

My knees were a bit painful throughout the ride. I have a suspicion that not cycling for a few days (in this case due to weather) makes them worse. They feel a bit sore now. That's just the way it is now. Perhaps I should start using the turbo trainer again when it's raining to keep the joints moving.

Annoyingly I didn't remember to start the GPS watch until I'd gone 1.04 miles. I'll just leave the track as it is on Strava, but I have of course done the maths for my spreadsheet - and that's 249 for October so far. I'd like to think I can get another 150 or so in this month. Perhaps a 50+ miler on Sunday, though it's likely to be cold.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


Nice one guys, I like to have a catch up in here now and again. I'd say there were plenty of good cycling routes here where I live in Shropshire. Saying that, it's only 10 miles until you enter Worcestershire .


Nice to see you here, Zoony! I cycled through Shropshire to Wales a couple of years ago. Nice cycling territory.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.