Sunday, 20 December 2009

A Cold Sunday

I'm glad I did a ride last weekend as the weather looks like long distance cycling will not be fun for a while, if not impossible.
The snow here has mostly gone from the roads but the cold weather and frozen slush on the side roads makes cycling a tad dangerous.
The Bacchetta is under wraps in the shed as I'm now riding the trike. It keeps my lower body a bit warmer and of course I can't fall off of it unless I go mad around a corner.
Last years fall on the ice on Dec's FSoTM ride happened so quickly I was sliding down the road before I knew anything about it. Luckily the only damage was to the mirror on the bars and not me from the following car.

I'm still an all year round commuter though and the 10km ride over to Tongwell is still fun if a bit cold to start with.
Wrapped up with a woolly hat and winter gloves, a buff for face protection and the fairing on the trike the journey is not too bad. I even find myself unzipping the coat as I'm getting too warm.
The coldest ride last year was -9c, it's not been that cold this year yet but the wind chill from the fairing onto my face is probably colder at 30+kph.

I may manage to get out for another 200km before the year is over, I'll have to see what the weather is like the Sunday between Xmas and new year. If not it will be the Jan 3rd FSoTM ride as the next one.
Hope you all have a good Christmas and new year.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

200km to Ely

I had put this ride on yacf to see if there was anyone who wanted a ride out as there's not a lot on the calendar this month.
It was a route I've done twice before so knew the route well.

While reading the forum on Saturday I saw a post on there about gps validated rides and free entry to test if it works. Being a tight cyclist the saved £2 went on cake :-D
I sent of my entry form and route by email and got the ok to ride within 30 minutes.

Alarm got me up at 06.30 and was all sorted and out the door by 08.00.
No need to stop at the garage this time for proof of passage so it was straight through MK across junction 14 of the M1 and towards Olney. Again I rode straight through as there was no need to stop and get a receipt. This saved me 15 minutes as I usually by a drink and chocolate.
It was a bit cold today and the northerly was biting. I stopped briefly the other side of Sharnbrook to have a drink and flapjack. Can't drink on the bike as I still haven't put the cages back on there after changing the seat.
1st major stop was at Grafham water cafe for a coffee and sausage roll, just in time as it started raining just as I sat down.

A quick stop as the damp clothes were starting to get cold and clammy, back on with the coat and away over the A1 through Buckland and on to Huntingdon. Another 15-20 minutes saved here as I again rode right through.
Past St Ives up the hill to Haddenham and towards Ely, the headwind most of the way slowed me down slightly but I still got there in just over 5hrs, 107km with an avg of 25.4kph.

Decided to have some food here so it was garage or Little Chef? Settled on the garage food as it was cheaper :-D
Chicken and bacon sandwich and a Mars bar eaten (we cyclist no gourmet food when we see it :-D ) and I was away again, hopefully with a tailwind.
I got the tailwind, but also got freezing cold rain as well. Fun on a recumbent when you can't put your head down and use the hat to protect your face.
Luckily it was only showers that had stopped by the time I got to Wilburton.
Twenty pence lane was the joy it always is with the traffic, everyone seems to be in a rush.
The rolling hills started as I crossed the A14 and passed to the left of Cambridge.
A stop at another garage for a quick drink and comfort break was had before I took my life in my hand in the low blinding sun, worrying that the cars behind could see my. I kept an eye on my mirror and was ready for a quick bailout into the verge if one got too close!

The still rolling roads got more rolling as I neared Gamlingay, another control passed and I was making good time. Stopped at Shefford to top up bottles and drink some energy drink before the couple of mile fast section along the A507.
It was dark now but a lot earlier than expected, and the drink was starting to work.
Passing Clophill and Malden I managed to find some lanes almost all the way to Flitwick where it was back onto the A507 for another quick section.
More rolling hills up towards Woburn and through the deer park scattering deer as I went!

The faeries were hiding in the cattle grids as I passed over them and the second one got me, I always carry spare tubes so it was off with the wheel and insert new tube.
It was starting to get cold stood by the side of the road and I must have looked odd standing there steaming in the cold air pumping my minipump against my leg 10 to the dozen!!.
One car did stop and ask if I was alright/did I need anything. There are some decent people about :-) the rest must have been to scared.

Another 20 minutes wasted there and just up the road as I had to stop again due to the bead not being sat properly on the rim. Rushed jobs by headtorch don't save time whatsoever. Take time and do it properly the first time.
It was then just a ride through the woods and down the duel carriageway back home.

The ride was a fast one (for me) 10hrs with 2hrs stopped. 25.7kph avg.

GPX file was downloaded to the computer and emailed off to Danial, his reply was as quick as the night before and he said all was ok and the ride was off for validation.
That saved a lot of time without having to use stamps and envelopes to post the card off.
If this trial is a success it will save a lot of time in route checking, collecting receipts, and sending them.
I hope it does.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Every morning

Every morning I walk the kids to school, what amazes me is the amount of people who drive their little darlings in when the only live just up the road.
I can pass people getting in their cars on the way, arrive there before they do and while I'm walking back I pass them getting out of their cars afterwards.
The parking is really good as well with people blocking the drop kerbs and parking on paths.
I'd hate to be in a wheelchair going along there and having to wait for the inconsiderate muppets to come back and move their car out of the way.

And don't get me started about the amount of people who I see daily in the procession of cars on the phone. I may sit there one day with a video camera and see how many there actually is.

And breath.......

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Ride to Woburn loop via Wavendon

Another instalment of my First Sunday of The Month rides took us the reverse of the February ride around parts of the Greensand ridge through Aspley Guise, Woburn and the Brickhills.

I was awoken by rain battering the bedroom window at 08.00 this morning and did wonder if anyone would turn up today. By the time I'd had breakfast and a coffee it had cleared up and was looking to be a nice day (for Dec' anyway).
Arriving at the bandstand I found another rider there already and within 10 minutes there was 8 of us. A good turnout for a December ride. Last years ride had only me and another rider turn up and IIRC it was -3c and the roads were very icy.
The ride took us through Fenny Stratford and down Simpson road to the canal bridge, the red light caused us to stop but one rider decided to ride "Illegally" on the footpath with a call of "you'll never learn" or some such thing.
We crossed the bridge and turned right as he headed into the distance, he'll never learn :-)

Stopping the riders at the top of the path I went and found him by Caldecotte lake and brought him back on route. After going back to get the others we were on our way again along the redways towards Wavendon.
The ride starts to get hilly after Salford as it goes up past the church in Aspley Guise and the rolling roads to Woburn.
We stopped at the top of most hills for the riders to catch their breath before going again.
Doing the route clockwise is slightly harder as it takes time to get to the top and most of the ride seems to be climbing.
After stopping someone going off route down a big hill (wouldn't want to see him climbing back up again) we found ourselves at the pub in Great Brickhill. The 2 pints were most welcome and so was the roaring fire inside.

It was then on with the jacket as being mostly downhill from then on I knew it would be cold.
As we got back to the Bandstand the group was down 4. The others having taken shorter routes home as we came to the end of the ride.
The gps showed almost exactly 20 miles and 1hr40 moving time, we were out for just over 3hrs.
Another good ride in good company and one new rider who I hope will come along again.
See you all on next years rides.