Tuesday, 30 March 2010

More ramblings...

No cycling was done this past weekend as I have to balance the long rides with family life. 4 weekends in a row wouldn't go down well!!
Cycle related things happened though.
I got a call on Friday to say the new frame had got to the European distributor in Cambridge so it was dismantle the borrowed bike ready to put in the car for the trip over to swap it for the new frame.
I also went over to the bike shop to get my new front wheel, 3 chains, cable outers and various other bits to replace on it.

After taking the youngest to school I headed eastwards to collect the frame, with a visit to the bike shop again today for headset + BB replacement.
I started the build at lunchtime and have most of the parts on there now, just need to put the cables and chain on and adjust it.

I should finish it before work today (Tues) and will do a couple of shakedown rides before the ride over to Cambridge/Norwich on Thursday and the start of an Easter arrow 400km ride to York on Good Friday.

Pictures to follow once it's built up. It will be the same as my old bike but in RED.
Bacchetta change the colours every so often, I think the first ones were green, they've also been blue.

Monday, 22 March 2010

New bike, another audax.

After speaking to Kevin at D-Tek on Monday last week. Collecting the bike (Bacchetta Bellandare) and building it up on Wednesday to ride to work.
It took me 2 days to get the position correct, 1st I tried it with the seat off of the Giro on it but with the pedals being low you can't get the seat reclined far enough to be comfortable. I put the recurve seat that came with it on and you can see why it is the seat supplied, I was still trying to ride it tilted back too far and on Saturday morning I put it up a notch as I left home at 4.30 for the ride over to Cambridge and the start of the End of Hibernation 200km audax ride.
I did wonder if this bike would be suitable for audax riding being a LWB as you don't see many people riding them for long distances. But it did surprise me on that count.

Last year I left home at 5.00 for the ride over and got to the start just as every body was leaving, This time I was away earlier just incase. It still took me 3 hrs to ride the 60km to the start but that does include the ride over the Woburn hills at the start to slow me down.
Coffee and jam sandwich consumed at the start and we were away, I made my way though the field and got in with the second group until I was starting to get too hot with the jacket on and decided to stop to remove it.

The first control was at Stradishall at about 100km my avg speed at this point was 24kph. I'd been using maltodextrin powder in my bottles again so as I wasn't hungry I only brought a drink from the shop next door and was away again.
The next section had a couple of climbs, 1 I walked as the front dérailleur wouldn't drop to the small cog (needs adjusting some more) and it followed the valley through to near Stowmarket.
I picked up some speed on this section and when I got to the next control (160km) my avg had gone up to 26.4kph.
Egg and beans on toast consumed and it was into the wind for the next section to Finchingfield in Essex, this section just seemed to keep going up and down never letting you get in a good rhythm finally getting there at 15.00. Still not hungry I settled for a double mint choc ice cream and a look at all the motorbikes that go there weekly. My bike was geting as much attention as some of them though :-)

Still more hills towards the finish and another one walked just before the final control, I was up over 2hrs on last years time when I got there and the organiser was surprised to see me so early. A good feed and chat with friends saw me there for over an hr and it was 20.00 before I left for the 60 km ride home.
I knew it would take me longer to get back as the wind was against me going that way. I hoped to get back before midnight.
The first hill on the main rd out of Cambridge was a drag but after that it was flattish until getting near to Woburn again and the climb up to the deer park there. I always worry about going through there at night as I can see the deer very close to the road looking at me doing about 10kph uphill and I'm always waiting for one of the stags to charge me!! It's never happened yet and probably unlikely to anyway but those antlers look like they could be painful stuck in the wrong place!!

I eventually rolled into the garage for a receipt at 23.30 with a final total of 340km. The avg of 24.2kph did surprise me as it's not a lot different to rides on the Giro and the Bellandare could be a good audax bike for people that don't like the high pedals of the Giro.
If it was mine I'd end up doing some mod's to it like chopping the foam seat to make it a bit more comfortable for me. My legs (Hamstrings) tended to hit the front of the seat making them to move differently to what they are used to causing some muscle ache. This could be prevented by putting the seat up another notch but this would be to upright for me.
The upright seat would be good if a front fairing was fitted though as it would stop the wind drag from the upright body position.
All in all it did impress me on how it handled the distance and as I'd only done 40km on it before the ride so wasn't sure how it would go.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Audax ride to Chipping Norton

The forecast was looking good for the weekend so I got my act together and sent of an email of the planned route to Andy (my area diy organiser) and was up at 6 to get ready to go out on Sunday morning.
I was out the door by 8 but with fettling small bits here and there in the shed I eventually got a receipt at 8.40 and was heading along the A421 out of Bletchley.
My route took me out through the villages towards Bicester and onto Chipping Norton. As you pass Bicester the terrain changes as you get towards the Cotswold's and it starts to get hillier.
With the Giro still out of action I'd taken the front faired trike out, this was a good choice in the wind but the extra weight was a drag on the hills. I arrived at Chipping Norton at about 12.30, 4hrs to do 70km was slow but I'll put that down to wind, heavy equipment and beer :-D

After getting the obligatory cold pie and sandwich from the supermarket I spent 30 minutes chatting and waving to friends that were out on the Chiltern Cotswold 200 audax.
I left in a group of 4 for the next hilly section but that only lasted for about 2 miles out of town when I found a nice downhill and disappeared into the distance at 80kph. I was expecting them to catch me up on the next uphill but they never appeared in my mirror again and or routes split as I got to the A40.

The next section between Minster Lovell and Didcot was SW so the headwind I had earlier turned into a great tailwind and I found myself spinning out the gears at about 40kph for most of the section.
I stopped at Didcot to refill my bottles again and then headed around the lanes to Wallingford, my next control. I had a problem getting a receipt here as the bank ATM's I went to either didn't work or had no paper in them. As I don't now the town I couldn't find anywhere open, so now I'll have to see if my GPS track can be used to validate the route to prove I went there. It will match the other receipts regarding time and place so I can only try.

The last section took me back northwards through Thame and Aylesbury and it seemed to go on for ages not helped by the lack of decent lights on the trike. The IQ fly on the front is brilliant but if you have no power to it, it will not work :-D ( must fix the dynamo!).
The lanes around Aylesbury were dark and it was almost impossible to see the potholes in the road with the flashing front light and a head torch.
This again slowed me down and I eventually got back to the start at 20.30, just under 12hrs out 9.30hrs moving with an average speed of 22kph.
Not great but not too bad on a heavy trike and a total of 3221m of climbing.

New frame update,
The new Giro frame coming over from the states will not be here for another 2-3 weeks :-( I was hoping to get it in time to build up for next weekends 350km audax and the 400km one at the end of the month.
All is not lost though as I sent a cheeky email to Kevin at D-Tek recumbents (Little Thetford, nr Ely) asking him what he had that I could borrow for a couple of weeks.
I got a reply and he is going to lend me a new Bacchetta Bellandare that he happens to have in stock, so that I can give him a verdict on how it fares on long rides.
LWB recumbents are more likely to be found stateside and have never really got a following over here, in Europe we tend to go for the SWB and lowracer type of recumbent.
Here is a page of the different type of recumbents for those who are not sure what the hell I'm on about :-D.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

FSoTM ride to Stewkley

This morning I was up early as I had to transplant the pedals and bag from the Bacchetta to the trike before leaving to go to the start of my local monthly ride.
After a week of no riding whatsoever as I'd managed to pull a muscle in my lower back at the gym doing bent-over rows (Yes I know exercise is meant to be good for you:-) ) I wasn't sure how it would hold out.
Today's route went around the villages to the south of Bletchley and 9 other riders turned up with another couple joining us en-route.

The weather was excellent for an early March ride with the sun out all the way. It was a bit chilly in the shade and the field run off was frozen across the road in places. No problem on the trike but the upright riders were a bit slower across it.
We made good time stopping at various points/road junctions for riders to catch up and were at the pub 15/20 minutes before it opened.
There was a discussion on whether to ride to another pub but price of beer and which pub to go to took to long and the one we were at opened first :-D

After a pint and a chat we were away again and it was a mostly downhill route back to the start, which when we arrived there was only 2 of us left.
Riders tend to peel off on the way as we pass closer to their homes and it saves them riding back again.
A good day in good company and it's always fun doing shorter easier rides.

Now to get out in the shed and take the Giro to bits ready for the rebuild when the new frame gets here, and I need to get out on the trike this week and do some more miles as next weekend sees me doing another 200km audax and the weekend after is a 360km one. Hopefully the new frame will be here before the 400km ride at Easter.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The wait starts

After the bike breaking incident on Sat' I spoke to the man from Lt Thetford (Kevin @ D-Tek) to get the ball rolling. Pic's were taken and emailed around the world (Bacchetta HQ, USA) awaiting a response.
I got a call yesterday (Tuesday) saying that I'll be getting a new frame as soon as a new one comes in stock. They should be getting them in this week and it will probably take another 10 days or so to get it shipped over here. There may even be a new front fork thrown in for good measure.
Bacchetta are renowned for their customer service. This is the second time I've had to contact them but I can say that the service I've had from them is second to none.

Now all I have to do is strip the old frame down ready to rebuild the new one replacing parts that need doing on the way. I'm currently thinking about getting a new 700c front wheel built to match the rear and while I'm at it and maybe try some shorter cranks also.

In the time being I'll have to put the pedals back on the trike and have some fun on that instead.