Thursday, 22 October 2015

Still getting out

The weather is still being kind to me, most of my rides lately are extending the ride home from work.
After moving a couple of years ago we now live a grand total of 1.5km from my work!
This has meant my mileage has dropped the last 2 yrs, last year I only managed 2500km in total.
This year so far I have added almost 1000km to that.

Tuesday after the Boroughbridge camping meet I took the bike to work, planning to ride a few km home, on leaving I found my legs were still fairly tired from the weekends km's so just rode around the redways instead.

Thursday saw me heading away from work again at near on midnight for a 1hr40 zone 2 ride around the villages SW of MK.

Kids at the weekend meant we both went out for a ride on Sunday afternoon towards Leighton Buzzard with the plan of popping in to visit Dawns mum.
In the end they weren't in when we rang so we did a slightly shorter loop round instead.
Most of this ride was in zone 1 for me, but it was good to ride together and the mileages and weight loss Dawn has been getting was definitely noticable. She is climbing hills a lot quicker than she has been and her avg speed is up.

Tuesday nights midnight zone 2 ride took me south again with no plan of where I was heading.
I ended up riding through Leighton Buzzard and around via Hockcliffe, Woburn and Salford for a total of 54km

Just 2 weeks now until the Upper Thames 200km, the one thing that I'm worried about is not getting in from work until midnight and having to be out of the door by 05.30 on Sat morning to drive over for the start.


Monday, 12 October 2015

Boroughbridge ALC camping meet.

This previous weekend I had planned to attend the Association of lightweight campers on their meet at Boroughbridge.
The plan was to load the bike with camping gear and cycle the 80km over to Peterborough for a train to York and 35km to Boroughbridge.

As per usual everything was last minute packing and loading the bike in the morning.
The ride over to Peterborough was fine apart from the usual ride with gps trying to route me along sandy lanes and bridleways! I took a slightly different way across from Kimbolton but the roads were very quiet until you hit the outskirts of town.
I thought about doing the ride as a LSD ride but wasn't too fussed if I didn't stay in the zones.
On checking Strava afterwards I actually managed to stay in zone 2 for 88% (2hrs 54m) of the ride with an avg heart rate of 114.

The ride over to the campsite was a bit quicker as I rode straight out of York on the A59 so was trying to move a bit faster, 30% of this ride was in zone 3.

The rides back were very similar apart from going down to Huntingdon on the old A1 instead of the hills to Kimbolton.
For a total of 250km for the weekend.

Sun morning

Sun afternoon

Thursday, 8 October 2015

More ramblings..

Another week or so since the last post.
Only managed to get out twice last week as we were away Thu/Fri for a short break in Blackpool.

Still playing with the heart rate monitor and still not managed to get the HR anywhere near my perceived max!
Will give it a few more weeks of regular riding and then see if I can do a functional threshold test to set a benchmark to work on.

Tuesday saw me do a fastish ride to work.

Then a zone 2 ride home at midnight.
Keeping the heart rate inside the zone is interesting, as soon as you stop pedaling or go downhill slightly it drops by a beat a second. You have to work fairly hard to keep it there.

A weekend away meant no cycling but we walked miles along the seafront and back a few times.
Weight went up a couple of pounds but I'll put that down to bread and drink :-D
Have joined a Strava training plan to start with which is a first as my "training" has always been just get out and ride distance.
Will see how I do on it.

Back on it this week with squats at the gym on Tuesday, the planned long ride home was put back a day to Wednesday as I'd forgot my jacket and it was pissing down!

Nothing today (Thurs) but have a planned 280km total cycling planned this weekend, 80ish km over to Peterborough for a train to York and 35ish km ride to Boroughbridge for a camping meet.
Ride on Sat and same back on Sunday.
Don't think I'll be able to keep it in zone 2 for the whole ride over but will see what happens.

Oh, I've also entered a 200km audax ride for the 1st time in 4yrs!
I think I have done this ride 6 times before, It was my 1st 200km event back in 2006 and I'm sure I rode it every year until 2011 where it was my last calendar ride.
I think it's a good place to start again, and it will be interesting to see how I do on it.


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Hello again..

Ooh hello! Been a while!

I've not been doing a lot of long distance cycling the last 4yrs, the last audax ride was back in Nov 2011.
Over this time I took up running for a couple of yrs and lost around 4st in weight and ran a few half marathons.
Though after doing more strength training in the gym the running stopped, early morning club running after a late night squat session wasn't the easiest thing to do.

Been out enjoying riding with Dawn, mostly short rides locally and touring with full kit and trailer around Yorkshire and Suffolk.
Starting to get the fancy for longer distance riding again and looking at heart rate as part of a training plan. Been out for a few rides mostly after work to see what it's like riding in a HR zone.

Just need to get out more often now and looking forward to see if it pays off.
May try for an SR again next year!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Summer tour 2013 by Dawn.

Day 1- MK to Mildenhall

Distance = 111km
Climbing = 668m
Duration = 7 hours 39 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -4m
Maximum Altitude = 114m
Average Speed - Moving  = 18.2kph
Time At Rest = 2 hours 34 minutes

We loaded the bikes and were ready for the off at 08.45. Got going to a good start as I had fresh legs and I wanted to do the route better than last year when we rode the same route home from Mildenhall.
The first stop was at Sandy at a bakers were I had cake and fruit juice, it was getting warm at this point and I was glad of the quick stop. The only trouble with this was that we then had to climb up to Sandy Heath with slightly cold legs.
The roads we used were all reasonably quiet and we stopped at Toft for the packed lunch we had brought with us. Cambridge came along next and Rich was charging down the outside of the traffic queues with me having to pedal like mad to try and keep up!! He forgets I'm an old bird and can't go as fast.
We stopped at a coop for more water and some headache tablets (for me!) and got on our way for the last leg of the day.
Next stop was for an ice cream at Fordham where we saw Tomsk (from yacf) and his son heading for the site also. The last few mile signs as like all good signs kept going up and down, one minute they said Mildenhall 4 miles then 5 and back to 4!!
More traffic through the center of Mildenhall but it didn't take long to register and get the tent up and kettle on for tea :-)

Day 2 - No cycling today

A day off the bike today so we walked into town for some food and drink for the weekend and a lazy day chatting to friends and other visitors to the site.
A friend from MK (Lesley Sung) came over for the 300km audax today and I said we would be there when she got in at whatever time it turned out to be. After an 04.00 start she got in at 22.30 with over 90 minutes to spare, me and Rich had gone for a walk across the camp site to where the riders came in and it just happened to be the time she got in.
I helped her find her tent and loaded her bike into the car as she needed the toilet and disappeared into the bushes. Thanks also goes to Steve A for helping her round her 1st 300 .

Day 3 - Ride to Risby tea rooms.

Distance = 37km
Climbing = 690m
Duration = 4 hours 16 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -31m
Maximum Altitude = 120m
Average Speed - Moving  = 17.4kph
Time At Rest = 2 hours 8 minutes

Rich had started the morning helping Kevin from D-Tek cycles to set up his stall. He had a nice tandem recumbent trike there, which Rich was staring wantingly at. "Step away from the trike, we can't afford it!!"
Then out for an pre-organised ride out to a cafe in Risby with 14 other yacf riders for a cream tea. I could have stayed there all day looking around the antiques barns and spending more money than we have.
Some of the group went on to a pub for dinner but 5 of us decided to head back to the site via a different route.
We then spent a lazy day sat around a couple of picnic tables (moved from the other side of the school) looking at stoves, camping and cycling gear, eating takeaways and drinking until about 23.00 when the lady from the tent by the stalls asked us to keep the noise down.

Day 4 - Mildenhall to Norwich Camping and Caravanning club site

Distance = 77km
Climbing = 1,417m
Duration = 6 hours 16 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -66m
Maximum Altitude = 192m
Average Speed - Moving = 17.1kph

Time At Rest = 2 hours 45 minutes

We wanted to get away a bit earlier than last year and got packed up and on the road for 11.
The 1st part of the ride was on busy roads towards Brandon and then Thetford. After this the roads got quieter as most of the traffic then went over to the A11.
It was a hot day so a few stops to top up the bottles was needed. Not a bad ride over but it's surpising how rolling the lanes are around here the other side of the fens.
We got to the site at around 5ish got set up and had a well welcomed shower. The showers had to be seen to be believed at Mildenhall school, fine for kids but not great for hordes of cyclists!
A couple of pints at the pub and slept well.

Day 5 - Norwich to West Runton C+CC site

Distance = 51km
Climbing = 952m
Duration = 5 hours 32 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -7m
Maximum Altitude = 133m
Average Speed - Moving = 16.9kph

Time At Rest = 2 hours 29 minutes

The day started with a tin of cold rice pudding for Rich and custard for me (actually quite nice for breakfast) and a ride into Norwich city center. We had to visit the T-Mob shop to get a new phone for Rich (he came out with one for me too). 1 point I'd like to make is, Norwich is very hilly!
A full breakfast in a cafe on the way out of Norwich was good but within minutes we were climbing up out of the town towards Rackheath.
The roads weren't too busy until we got closer to Wroxham, the roads were nose to tail here and Rich was away again up the outside of the traffic! He was waiting for me in the town center.
North Walsham was the stop for lunch from the local coop then back into the traffic through towards Cromer. The shortcut bypassing Cromer was busy as everyone else takes this road also.
Arrived at the site late afternoon, the road down to which is about 1/2 a mile long. We new this site from a visit with the kids back in June.
We spent some time washing and drying the cycle gear so to have clean stuff for the last few days of the trip.
Food was again a mix of beans and rice, we couldn't be asked to walk down to the pub so had an early night.

Day 6 - West Runton to Woodstock Farm (Nr Wereham)

Distance = 79km
Climbing = 662m
Duration = 6 hours 56 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -1m
Maximum Altitude = 128m
Average Speed - Moving = 17.8kph

Time At Rest = 3 hours 30 minutes

Another baking hot day expected so we were up early and away up the long hill out of the site (I didn't have to stop:-) ) and into the lanes of North Norfolk. The first part today was rolling again but not too hilly.
Breakfast/midmorning snack was a french stick and pate from a shop in Briston where we also put suncream on as it was getting hotter.
Lovely lanes towards Swaffham but as it flattened out in got a bit more windy.
We had lunch in Swaffham which was chips and cheeseburger for me and fish and chips for Rich. He also had a battered sausage. It was a foot long (has to be said in a Norfolk accent)!
He then had to go looking for some gas for the stove, the first shop he asked said try Dereham. Only a 10 mile detour along the A47! No thanks! He found some in a diy shop in the end.
A visit to the supermarket to stock up on supplies and away for the last leg to the site.
The site was a lovely little place with only ab few pitches for vans and tents alongside a small fishing lake.
Very quiet place apart from the odd jet flying into Marham airbase.
Lovely clean new showers there and a couple of shepards huts/converted stables that could be hired also.

Day 7 - Woodstock Farm to St Neots

Distance = 92km
Climbing = 451m
Duration = 7 hours 48 minutes
Minimum Altitude = -20m
Maximum Altitude = 50m
Average Speed - Moving = 17.4kph

Time At Rest = 3 hours 32 minutes

We knew this was going to be a longer day which could be hard if the wind picked up, we were up early again and were packed up and on the road for around 8.30.
1st stop was at Welney wildlife center for coffee and a bacon roll, the place is a bit pricey but so area lotof places nowdays.
The roads were straight and flat nearly all day, zigzagging like they do on the fens in and out of the headwind.
It was hard word and we were making steady but slow progress.
The heat didn't help so the plan of maybe cycling straight through to home was changed and we got to St Neots C+CC site around 5.
We had heard a lot of people liked this site being the best people have stopped at.
It was a lovely site and we had the choice of a pitch by the river or up the top. The decision of pitching by the river may have been the wrong one though as we were bitten to #### by the gnats there!!

We decided to have a walk into town to see if we could get some food but most places were shut by then, we did find another coop in the end and got supplies from there.
Also chips and curry sauce to go with the cold pasty :-D on the way past the Chinese just up the road from the site.

Day 8 - St Neots to Home

Distance = 49km
Climbing = 444m
Duration = 3 hours 43 minutes
Minimum Altitude = 9m
Maximum Altitude = 101m
Average Speed - Moving = 15.7kph

Time At Rest = 1 hours 35 minutes

It was climbing straight away out of St Neots, nothing too hilly but it seemed never ending and was getting to be hard work for me. The route was chosen for directness more than hills. Next time we'll more likely drop down south of Bedford as it's a bit flatter.
Pretty uneventful ride today and we were home by lunchtime.
All gear packed away and washing done. Then a leisurely evening doing bugger all apart from getting ready to go back to work tomorrow!!

All in all I really enjoyed the tour, some of it was hard work and I did say at the time of finishing that I wouldn't do it again.
But after getting over it and having a few good sleeps I would pack the bike and go again tomorrow.

Can't wait for next years trips now, I wonder what he has planned for me!!!

Dawn x

Photo's below in no particular order, other pic's can be found over on yacf


Monday, 8 July 2013

FSoTM July ride

 Planning of these rides is usually done in the Oct/Nov of the previous year. The ride around the lakes is a ride I've been doing for a few years now and it is a great trip around all the lakes in MK via the cycle paths.
I found out a while back that the NSPCC 1/2 marathon was going to be using a lot of the north MK redways that I planned to use so this months ride was going to have to change route.
I couldn't decide on the route until the Sunday Morning due to not knowing who was going to turn up.

 I rode over from Giffard Pk as usual and the temp's were getting warm even before I started off, I made sure I had sun-cream as it was going to be a warm day.
I got to Bletchley with plenty of time to spare, a couple were there already and we ended up with 9 riders in total. No families or children turned up so I decided on a ride to Stony Stratford via Whaddon.
The ride out along Buckingham road was stop and start as expected with the range of riders we had out.
After Buckingham road it was onto the redways around Snelshall then onto the quiet lanes through Whaddon, Upper, Middle and Lower Weald, Calverton and a stop at the garage in Stony for an Ice cream.

The ride back was all the way along the A5 using the redways, 3 riders left as we passed near their houses and we got back to Bletchley with 6 finished the ride.

I had written elsewhere that I'd do another loop if riders wanted to do more miles, 3 riders decided a Costa was a better option. Another said he was going to go and get some tea and it was just me and Lesley left to go out again on the 2nd loop.

As her car was parked at Bletchley we headed south and out through the Lakes Estate and up through Drayton Parslow. The hill up was warm work but once on the ridge it was a great ride through Swanbourne and around through Hoggeston and the constant rolling roads the other side of Stewkley.

A pint at the pub in Stewkley was well earned and then it was a blast downhill back to the start.
Lesley dropped off back at her car and a ride back through Simpson and the Woolstones got my mileage up to 51 for the day.

A nice ride out with good company as always.
Looking forward to the next one which will be on August 4th 40 miles to Ivinghoe
It coincides with the DLRR BBQ so if any members decide to come along we will finish up there after passing Bletchley for any riders going back to the start.


Monday, 1 July 2013

A weekend away camping

 The plan for this weekend when the time was booked off work was to join the "Because It's There" group on Facebook on their Dorset walking weekend.
On working out the cost including the petrol down and back, food and drink for the weekend it all came to too much as we have other stuff still to do and the house move 2 months ago added to the costs. We (me and Dawn) decided to do a mini cycle tour from home instead.

 The route I was looking at was on a lot of roads I've cycled before used on various audax rides and camping trips in the past.

 Day 1 - 80km MK to Chipping Norton
Took us out of MK via the GoOutdoors store for gas and on-wards around the villages south of Stony  towards Bicester. The rain was on and off for the first few hours and it was on and off with the jackets also.
Dawn said last year that I had it easier with the trailer on my bike when we were doing the ride from Yorkshire back to MK via Mildenhall so this time she wanted it on the back of hers.
It didn't quite fit correctly as it was pushing the gear cable on the rear derailleur causing it to miss gears, she said it would be ok so we rode with it like this anyway. I took the trike so as to carry the 2 panniers of clother (panniers don't fit the rack on my Bacchetta).

 All was good for the ride over towards Bicester although Dawn was starting to get tired, we found a Lidl store on the way in and got rolls cheese, ham and danish pastries to eat when we found somewhere to sit.
A bench in Middleton Stoney was this place.
After here it got a bit hillier as we approached the Cotswolds (no surprise there!) Dawn was starting to find it harder and the lack of gears was starting to test her patience slightly!
We eventually got to the Camping and Caravan club site south of Chipping Norton at around 18.00

Up early due to sleeping in a tent and the birds chirping, hardly anyone else about when we were packing up so away for 08.30 and straight downhill from the site. After a few more ups and downs we stopped so I could take the trailer off and add it to the back of the trike. Dawn took one pannier on her bike.
The trailer worked well on the trike, I had reservations
about it due to hearing that single wheel trailers don't
Ice S trike with pannier and trailer
perform well behind one.
It was obviously slower up hill due to the weight but I never had to use the granny ring at all throughout the ride.
It definitely got a lot of attention on the way through Oxford center and traffic passed even further away from me than on the trike alone.
The ride out of Oxford was a joy on the roads out to Watlington, and in a few places I had to push hard to keep up with Dawn on the flat.
If I was too far back cars came past me and either tried to get into the gap between us or try and push past her before oncoming traffic.
There was a few idiots who pass on blind bends and other places, a couple of times causing traffic coming in the opposite direction to stop.
Lunch stop listening to a band sound checking for a wedding and watching the Kites flying above the green at Stadhampton and on-wards to arrive at Watlington before 14.00

Dawn sat at the Fell Club bench at Watlington
 Tent set up next to the Fell Club bench, coffee made and a trip down to the village to get food and cider :-) for the evening.
It was still early so we decided to go for a walk up onto Watlington Hill to look at the views.
You could just about make out the tops of the Cotswolds over Oxford where we had come over from.
View towards the Cotswolds

Day 3 - 70km Watlington to MK
It was another early start as awake at about 6, all packed and away just before 8.
The ride through was great with a tailwind and I was rolling along at 25kph+ Dawn had to stop and wait for me a couple of times as she was pulling away!! I didn't want to go into the big ring as I knew there would be a few hills nearer the end and wanted to keep a steady pace.
Stopped at Thame for a Costa and Danish and got away before the school fun run/walk made it too busy.
Aylesbury came and went without problems (was a Sunday morning) and then onto the climb up from Weedon.
I did my usual pedal as fast as possible downhill to gain momentum to get as far up the other side as poss :-)
Made it all the way up without the small ring, which was good but hard work!! Dawn did better this time making it up with a drink stop on the way, last year she walked it. Next time she wants to ride it in one go.
Arrived in MK around 1200 and popped into my mums for coffee on the way through and a pint at Woolstone on the way past, just because :-D

Great weekend and looking forward to going back to Watlington for the ALC Birthday meet in 2 weeks.

Camp sites

All good things come to an end...

I have decided that after 14 years of doing the First Sunday of The Month rides the time has come to finish organising them.The last one will be the 30 mile ride to Salcey Forest on December 1st.

It's been great organising and cycling these rides and has been brilliant getting others out and about and going on to longer rides.
I still plan to organise longer rides and not being tied to a certain day of the month will mean I can do other things also.
If you are on Facebook search for "Cycle rides in and around Milton Keynes" as I will notify people when I plan to go out on there. Most riders I know are on there so it seems like the easiest place to sort them, and is great for doing things at short notice.

Thanks to all the riders that have come along over the 170+ rides, you have helped make the rides fun events and a pleasure to go out on.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Shorter rides in Milton Keynes 2012

First apologies for the dodgy font on some of this post, I must learn to write it out properly and not just copy and paste from a word doc :-)

Next year I'll be doing the First Sunday of The Month rides again, this will be the (I think) 10th year of doing these and it is still as popular as always.

When I started these I only did a couple of 10 mile rides. People found these too short but didn't want to go out on the longer and faster CTC rides. The idea of 20 miles every month looked like a good one.
They were started to get people out on bikes, to show people how easy it is to get about Milton Keynes by bike, to get people cycling more often and to show that cycling on the roads is not as scary as people think.

It has worked as the amount of riders I get is usually between 10 - 20 but can be as many as 50!
Riders that have come out as finding it hard to do 20 miles are now going out and doing 75+

We ride in all weathers but there may be times when we decide to not ride if it is dangerous ie frozen roads or snow. Sometimes when it is chucking it down there will only be a couple of us there (I can't get rid of Norman :-D ) but there will always be someone at the start.

January 2012 will be the 112th month these have been running.

All rides start at 10am from Elizabeth Square Bandstand 

Rides are approx 20 miles.

Unless stated otherwise.

January 1st  ~ Ride to Stony Stratford via Whaddon. On road.

Febuary 5th  ~   Ride to Stewkley via Swanbourne and Dunton. On road.

March 4th  ~   Ride to Woburn via Wavendon (a few hills). On road.

April 1st  ~ Ride to Stockgrove park via Leighton Buzzard (a few hills). On road.
May 6th  ~ Ride around the lakes of MK (Parks Trust). Mostly on redways and shared use paths

June 3rd ~ Ride around the Millennium cycle route, (Parks Trust)
13 miles starts at Furzton Lake (At the bridge by the bowl) Mostly on Redways and shared use paths.

July 1st  ~ Ride around the back of Linford lakes and back via Haversham. (Parks Trust) Mostly on Redways and shared use paths although some quiet roads are used.

August 5th  ~ Ride to Winslow using Sustrans Route 51 (Parks Trust)
18 Miles starts at Furzton Lake, (at the bridge by the Bowl). Mostly on shared use paths.

September 2nd  ~ Ride to Woburn via Little Brickhill (a few Hills). On road.

October 7th  ~   Ride to Harrold and Odell park café, 30 Miles (Start at Campbell Park by the head sculpture). Redways through MK and on road to cafe.

November 4th  ~ Ride to Marston Vale café via Woburn (30 miles). On road

December 2nd  ~   Ride to Cranfield via Newport Pagnell. On road

(Parks Trust) listed rides are rides put on in conjunction with

The Parks Trust as part of their Easy Rider rides programme.

All the rides are taken at a pace to suit the slowest rider with plenty of stops if needed.
Children are welcome, But under 16’s must be accompanied by a responsible adult. 

The rides will use a mixture of surfaces so robust tyres are advisable.

The rides use the redways, shared use paths and quiet roads where possible.

You are advised to ensure that your bicycle is in a roadworthy condition. Carry a puncture repair kit or spare inner tube. Bring along a drink or some money to get something at the stop
(Which is usually about half way or so).

Helmets are a personal choice,
(I’m not going to stop you riding if you’re not wearing one).

This ride is not a race or trial of speed.
The route is on open public shared-route paths and roads.
You are expected to follow the rules of the road and
show consideration to other road/path users.
Although lead, the route is not waymarked or marshalled.
The organiser provides no rescue service.
You are responsible for your own safety/conduct.

For more info or any other questions

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A Change of plans

After the Stockport 300 and the ride home went ok, I was looking forward to the Welsh 600 in mid May and a 400 into north Wales at the end of the month. Neither of these rides went well and I ended up packing and getting the train home on both.

Working away for 3 months and not riding to work in the week, along with eating too much hotel/restaurant food has left me unfit and a bit up on weight! Due to having my kids at the weekends and planned holidays this month, it looks like I'll not have the time and fitness to qualify for PBP (Paris - brest - Paris) this year.
I'm not really that fussed about it though as it has felt that I've HAD to do all the rides this year just so that I could go and do PBP.
I've not been getting the enjoyment from cycling this year as much as I did in the last few years.

I'm going to get back out on my bike now for a few shorter and more enjoyable social rides, whilst still doing the shorter audax rides.
I now have over a week off in August still booked and I may even go and do a bit of cycle camping/touring.
Now I just have to decide where I'm going to go :-)

I've always wanted to tour around the Netherlands and it's slightly easier to get to from here than my other idea of touring Ireland.
I was going to go over a few years ago for Cyclevision and the recumbent racing but this never happened and last years 1200km audax has only made me want to see it at a slower pace.
So far the idea is Ferry over and ride along the Rhine to Arnhem (Mum went to school there for 14yrs). Up through the Apeldoorn and onto the North coast, maybe visiting some velomobile and recumbent manufacturers on the way up through to drool over stuff I can't afford!!
Then ride back south along the coast for the ferry home.

Now to spend the next month or so doing another favourite pastime of mine, spending ages looking at maps :-D


Monday, 25 April 2011

Stockport 300

With train tickets booked to allow a leisurely ride to the start at 23.00 grabbing food on the way. All was going to plan until overhead cable problems near northampton. I eventually got on the train 55mins late.
I got to the start with 10mins to spare and was away with the bunch, I found myself near the front and stayed with 2 fast lads all the way to the first control at 75km 5 minutes after it opened.
The ride got a bit lanesy and without a good light I couldn't keep up the pace, after nearly going through a hedge on one decent I slowed down a bit getting to the next control at Ford about 5-10 mins behind the fast 2, the service was quick and my egg and beans on toast went down a treat.

The next section got a bit lumpy as we headed for the Welsh borders again slowing me down, I've never been a good climber at 16.5st and to slow me down this time I had my panniers on with some clothes and trainers in ready for a few days away.
Daybreak in the misty lanes and valleys was lovely though.
After a garage control at Newton with coffee and cake it was starting to warm up slightly and I left bypassing the hills to take the main road back to Ford for another stop at Dinkies diner this time for a bacon and egg roll.

I was a bit tired now and the fast start could definitely be felt in my legs, the road surfaces were terrible and the narrow tyres and 100+psi in them was causing the bike to rattle terribly, it was also starting to get on my nerves.
I was following the gps track and as it was the same route as out I wasn't taking much notice. It was only when I got almost back to Whitchurch I realised I'd missed a turning. Wasn't much off course though and with a quick look at the map I was soon back on course.
The lanes were starting to get worse and with the Sun getting higher in the sky I was getting a bit hot and more tired, the next control took a long time to come but I was glad when it did.

For a ride called the plains it got rather more hilly in the last section, the extra weight of the panniers was really felt now and I did walk up a couple of the steeper ones. The sun had really brought out the flies also and I was constantly brushing them away.
The final few kms couldn't come soon enough and it was good to see the finish again, 320km in total in 15.50hrs.

All I had to do then was have a slow ride to Manchester airport travelodge and my great priced £10 room.
Showed, fed and after 3 ciders I was asleep by 20.00, 36hrs after getting up.

PBP qualifier ride number 2 complete, now for a couple of days in Yorkshire with family and then 2x200km rides home on Wed/Thu.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

I'm still here!!

This new season has not come up to expectations so far, maybe it's because of all the riding I did last year where I reached my goal of getting the AUK recumbent points record.
Maybe it's because I think I have to go out and ride because of the French ride this year, instead of going out to enjoy it.

So far this season I've managed to get out once a month for my RRTY (200km a month) although I've also DNS'd and DNF'd a 600, 300 and 2x200's.
I got round the Kennet valley run yesterday, a great ride in a lovely area. But I didn't enjoy it!!
It was good to see a lot of friends and it was great chatting to them all, but I really didn't like the cycling bit.

Perhaps I need to do some fast shorter rides and something different to get the motivation back ready for the longer rides later in the year.
I have loads of rides planned and with everything else I don't have a free weekend until Sept!!

So it looks like I'll be out doing local rides this month with some hills involved for good measure :-)
There are some great roads around here to cycle on. I'll be getting the maps out later to work out some routes.

The next audax will be The Dean on the last weekend of March, another ride that I don't have a good record on, 1 DNF due to a broken steering, a DNF due to a new not setup correctly bike and a DNS due to sickness so far. Let's see how it goes this year.

Hopefully it will come back soon and I'll start enjoying it again.

See you on the road :-)

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

FSoTM rides from MK 2011

Start at 10am from Elizabeth Square Bandstand.


Rides are approx 20 miles.

Unless stated otherwise.

Jan 2nd. ~ Ride to Cranfield via Newport Pagnell (25 miles)

Feb 6th. ~ Ride to Stewkley via Swanbourne and Dunton.

Mar 6th. ~ Ride to Stony via Whaddon.

April 3th. ~ Ride to Woburn via Great Brickhill (a few hills).

May 1st. ~ Ride to Salcey Forest café. (30 miles).

June 5th. ~ Ride around the Millennium cycle route, (Parks Trust)

13 miles starts at Furzton lake (At the bridge by the bowl).

Jul 3rd. ~ Ride around the lakes of MK. (Parks Trust)

Aug 7th. ~ Ride to Winslow using Sustrans Route 51 (Parks Trust)

18 Miles starts at Furzton lake, (at the bridge by the Bowl).

Sept 4th. ~ Ride around the back of Linford lakes and via Newport. (Parks Trust)

Oct 2nd. ~ Ride to Stockgrove park café via Leighton Buzzard (a few Hills).

Nov 6th. ~ Ride to Stockgrove via Wing (30 miles).

Dec 4th ~ Ride to Woburn via Wavendon. (A few hills).

(Parks Trust) listed rides are rides put on in conjunction with

The Parks Trust as part of their Easy Rider rides programme.

These rides were started to get more people out on their bikes,

And to show how easy it is to get around MK

And the surrounding areas.

All the rides are taken at a pace to suit the slowest

With plenty of stops if needed.

Children are welcome

But under 16’s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

The rides will use a mixture of surfaces so robust tyres are advisable.

The rides use the redways, shared use paths and quiet roads where possible.

You are advised to

Ensure that your bicycle is in a roadworthy condition.

Carry a puncture repair kit or spare inner tube.

Bring along a drink or some money to get something at the stop.

(Which is usually about half way or so).

Helmets are a personal choice,

(I’m not going to stop you riding if you’re not wearing one).


This ride is not a race or trial of speed.

The route is on open public shared-route paths and roads.

You are expected to follow the rules of the road and

show consideration to other road/path users.

Although lead, the route is not waymarked or marshalled.

The organiser provides no rescue service.

You are responsible for your own safety/conduct.

For more info on any of the rides


Rich Forrest

End of another audax year and the start of another.

Well that was an interesting year and as of yesterday (1.11.10) the new season has started.
I finished with a points total of 80 this year managing to get the recumbent points championship and the record along with it. Are you coming out of retirement now MrL?

For a while I wasn't sure that I would win it this time as I had a good challenger which helped to motivate me to get out a few times. So thanks Tim and I look forward to doing it again this season.

The blogging side of this fell a bit by the wayside recently as I just didn't find the time to add stuff on here.

Since my last update I've still been cycling, no surprise there really!
First was my local FSoTM ride, a 30 mile ride over to Marston Vale forest centre and cafe.
A good group of us went up through Little Brickhill, through Woburn park and onto the cafe in the rain (it rained last year too) for a coffee stop.
After which I got my tools out (tools not tool!!) to spin the forks around on a bike brought from Asda. It had been put together at the shop and had them in back to front!! after raising the saddle for the lady also she found it was much better to ride.
The next one is this coming weekend 7.11.10 with a big 30 mile loop around Leighton Buzzard and back via the cafe at Stockgrove park. All are welcome to join us as usual.

The second weekend saw me up and away early for a ride over to Chalfont for the start of a planned 300km ride. This was shortened to a 200 as I'd got an invite to a wedding that evening instead.
The ride over went well and I got to the start with an hr to spare, I had coffee and watched the 200km riders depart and waited for the 100km riders to arrive.
It was a good ride over to Benson for breakfast, I was still going well and got there while a lot of the 200km riders were still there.
The ride back through the chilterns was a bit harder, as I've still not sorted my gears out and was having trouble getting the front changer to drop into the small ring. I walked a couple of hills on the way back and was back at the start at 13.00
After more coffee and too long chatting I was away again for the ride home.

I was planning to go out again mid month but couldn't be asked to get out of bed after a longish week at work so the last ride I did was an extended calendar event adding 100km to a 100 km ride Starting at Stevenage.

It was a late start at 07.15 as the ride didn't start until 10.00 and the ride over went without problems. Apart from the front gear changer!!
There was about 350 other people riding this event and they were being sent away at 5 minute intervals.
My start time was 10.15 so there were a few people ahead of me on the road.
It was the usual recumbent ride rolling along at 30+kph on the flat, silly speeds on the downhills and crawling up them at walking pace.
Being a well organised event catering for all types of rider the controls were only 25km apart. There was a huge queue at the first couple of places but the village hall stop at Therfield was good with excellent cakes and sandwiches from the local WI. It also happened to coincide with the worst of the rain so too long was again spent there.
Away again and the ride still seemed to keep on rolling up and down the hills a quick blast through Stevenage main roads got me back a bit quicker than the using the cycle tracks like last year.
The ride home was again non-eventful and I got back at 19.00 for a leisurely 12hrs out with 4hrs off the bike!!

The new season starts as I mean to go on with the Upper Thames 200km ride from Cholsey (nr Didcot). An excellent ride which was my first 200km audax and now my 4th time of doing it.
I will be riding the 70km there and back of course :-D but this will mean a 4am start and I do have the day before booked off work.
This will definitely slow me down for the local Sunday ride though.

See you on the road

Thursday, 23 September 2010

It's that time of year again

These last 3 weeks I've been doing early shift meaning I've been getting up at 04.00 to be out of the door at 05.00 for the cycle in to work.
As the Summer finishes (was it here?) the morning temperatures are starting to drop the ride in is now in the dark and it will soon be getting darker in the evenings too.
It's this time of year when you can be cycling along in silence with just the hiss of tyres on the tarmac enjoying the ride when you start to hear a faint squeak.
As you cycle along the noise starts to get louder, you start to wonder what part of your bike is rubbing?
Next thing you see is a flash of a reflector in your lights as you nearly take out the bike in front of you with no lights as he wobbles into view!!
Bloody ninja cyclists!!!

How hard is it to buy a set of lights from Tesco (other shops are available ;-) ) for the measly sum of about £2, I try and make the point of saying "nice lights bud" as I pass but the comment usually goes in one ear and out the other at the same speed that I'm cycling at.
Around here they all also seem to wear Hi-Vis jackets thinking that they are safe using just them. Hi-Vis clothing is ok for being seen as long as the vehicle lights are pointing at you. If the riders cross your path you don't see anything until they are right in front of you and collision is imminent.
Perhaps I should oil my bike less so they can hear me coming, but you'd think that a bright light illuminating the path for meters ahead would show there was something else coming along, but no they still ride into your path.... Perhaps I ought to just spear them with the front chain ring and be done with it.
Trouble is I'd then have to bury the body and clean the bike of course. That sounds too much like hard work though :-D

and breath..........................

Saturday, 18 September 2010

More ramblings

Still not managed a long ride this month due to Steph going back into hospital, having the kids and 2 x 6 day weeks on early shift.
Luckily I'll be out on a 600km ride next weekend up to Yorkshire and back with a bunch of others so my RRTY (200km+ ride a month) will still be in place.
The combination of no riding, no gym, long hours and eating and drinking too much feels like I've put on a couple of pounds. I'll be glad when I can get back to normal again with work and family life so I can think about next years rides already :-D

All rides next year will be in prep for PBP (Paris - Brest - Paris) a 1200km ride that has about 6000 riders from all over the world coming to ride it.
I hope to qualify and ride it and with enough rides under my belt to make it a bit easier. Rides of that distance will never be easy but with the right training it might be easier!!

I still have a few rides left to do this season so might get the trophy for top recumbent rider at the AGM although that's not a given as I've been chased all year by another Bacchetta rider,Tim Edwards up in Scotland who has around the same amount as I have.
It's been good to have another recumbent rider out doing audax, it's a shame we've not met up and rode together yet though, he was going to do the Dutch 1200 earlier but never managed to get over to it in the end.

On another note I've taken over the reins of DIY audax organiser for the Midlands, North and Mid Wales from Danial Webb. He has loads of other stuff to do for the club and has no time to do it, so after he put a request in on yacf I was the first of a few to reply and got the job :-D
Details can be found on my other blog page


Monday, 6 September 2010

Another long time...

..since I last posted, I've been busy with family life most of the last 3 weeks due to my youngest 3 kids mother having an accident while horse riding, breaking 6 ribs and spending almost 3 weeks in hospital.
Plans for long rides went out of the window as I had them overnight at the weekends.

I still managed to get up to Derby to borrow the Greenspeed Glyde velomobile from Rob who kindly let me have it.
It was great fun and if you think you get a lot of attention riding a recumbent, you should try riding one of these. It stops traffic :-D
The plan on having it was to use it for work and then ride over to the Mildenhall cycle rally, do a long audax in it on the Saturday, spend Sunday with it on Kevins pitch chatting about it and recumbents. Then ride it back and do a 600km ride on it the following week while off work.

The ride over took a bit longer than expected due to a puncture on the way through Bedford, tube changed and found it wouldn't inflate due to dodgy valve. Another tube later it was up to pressure and I was away again.
Dragging the 80+lb velo and my 200+lb up over the Greensand ridge after Sandy was slow work but the mountain drive worked well and it was a bottom gear spin up and away.
On the flat the machine went well and could be kept above 40kph fairly easily. It was a bit warm inside and I had to make sure I had plenty of water along the way as I was soaked in sweat.
The next fun bit was after a food stop and I'd got it wound up to 45kph again when the n/s wheel hit a stone and the tyre went with a bang!!
Unload all the camping gear and luggage to get to the spare that Rob had kindly left inside.
More time lost fixing that and it was away again through Cambridge and onto the rally arriving at after 21.00.

I'd found out on the way there that long rides in it were not that comfortable for me as I needed more reach on the steering as it was making my shoulders ache.
The seat could go back another notch and the bars would move forward slightly but this would mean adjusting the pedals and maybe the chain so I didn't bother with it.
It was fine over the distance I was doing in it but it just meant I decided to not start the audax ride. Again this was no problem as I went out on the 65km cake and beer ride instead :-D
Great fun around the lanes of Suffolk and more fun overtaking 3 cars and a TT rider at 65kph

As said above on Sunday I helped out on Kevins (D-Tek recumbents nr Ely) pitch with all his recumbent bikes chatting to all that would listen about the benefits of them.
Beer fest on the Sat/Sun evening was also fun, less so the Thai restaurant that was expensive with tiny portions and rude staff. So bad it was funny!

Monday morning was again spent chatting and catching up with friends before I hit the road for the journey home. Uneventful ride back but a bit slow due to too much drink and food.

As Steph was still in hospital I'd cancelled my weeks holiday as I'd not be able to do what I'd planned, so it was another week of commuting and 12 - 14hr night shifts.
The Glyde had to go back on Friday but I'm hopefully going to try out a Quest later in the year and Rob has also said his new one Glyde will be here in a couple of months and I could have a go in that also for comparison. The one I borrowed was a prototype hence the new one being a lot lighter. Maybe I should make a trip over to the Netherlands again and take up some other offers of rides over there.

It's just a shame I can't afford the price tag on these machines at the moment, but the time will come when one will be mine and I'll be riding about the country with a big grin again:-D :-D

More photo's can be found in various replies on this thread on yacf.