Never underestimate the power of one wheel drive!

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Friday, 19 September 2014

Jens Voigt- well hard bastard!

Fantastic job on the new Hour Record Jens!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Bryton let me down

Bloody technology! I went out for an hour in the saddle this morning before reporting for duty at the bike shop. I thought I would do a bit of a hilly ride so, having set out and ridden down Marlow High Street, I crossed the river and turned left onto Quarry Wood Road. On reaching the climb I was nicely warmed up so set to the ascending. I topped out, turned round and descended and followed this with another two ascents. I then did a Cookham Dean- Cookham- Winter Hill loop and then descended Quarry Wood Road again. Before going home I decided to turn round and top off the ride with another ascent of the hill before a screaming descent and riding home. On arrival at home I checked the Bryton GPS computer to find out distance, speed, accumulated climbing etc to find that the unit had frozen half way through the ride and lost all my data. Not a happy teddy bear. The unit is going back and I'm replacing it with a Cateye Stealth. Lets see how that one gets on. I'm furious really, as plotting the route I took on a mapping app doesn't show the profile i would expect, nor does the accunualted height gain tally with what it should be.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Well, that was a long absence!


Hello again folks! Remember me?

Sorry about the lack of posting since August last year but, hardware and software incompatibilities meant I was unable to write new posts.

What’s been happening since I last wrote?

Well, I continue in my full time job with the majority of the commutes being by bike so still getting the riding in. I also continue with my part time, one day a weekend job as a sales droid for my LBS- best job in the world at the moment!

Towards the end of last year I was able to babysit one of the shops demo bikes, a Trek Gary Fisher Superfly AL Elite (2013 model) which was a) a lot of fun and b) troublemaking. Troublemaking because I kept getting 'lost' on the commutes home when I saw tracks etc that just had to be explored. Another bike to add to the want list...
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I have also been trying to deal with the floods- one of the roads I ride to and from work has been under various depths of water since before Christmas. As I posted on YACF last Monday-

'Kinell but the Thames is cold this time of year!

As I got to the bottom of Marlow High Street I could see that Higginson Park looked to be full of water up to the slope from the entrance gates. I crossed the Tierney- Clarke bridge and the downstream side of the weir looked to be a meter or less lower than the upstream side. I then turned left into Quarry Wood Road, passing the road closed signs as I did so. I hit water immediately and remained riding through water until I got to the climb up the hill. Usually the road emerges from the floods for a couple of hundred meters at about midpoint but not this morning.

The trick I have found is to stay in the middle of the road where you can see the white lines through the water.

As I progressed I saw blinkenlights approaching and I passed a guy I regularly see riding the other direction. He called a warning about the other end of the road. A timely warning it was too.

As I got to Longridge, the water got deeper and I lost sight of the white lines. I looked down and the water level was above the axles of my wheels. My feet were submerged at the bottom of my pedal stroke and shoes were full of very cold water.

(Thinking about this now, the water was deeper than the bottom bracket as my shins were wet up to mid point)

Riding into wind or with a cross wind is hard enough but, what I discovered this morning was that flow is worse. The flood water at parts of my voyage was still due to adjacent building lines, walls or embankments. Progress was fairly good but fluid (hydraulic?) resistance was noticeable. At Longridge, the water was flowing quite fast across the road. It was like riding through treacle.

I kept going though and made it to the climb Feet were frozen and got colder. The bike got lighter as I climbed as the water it had taken on board flowed out again. Wore my socks in the shower to start with to rinse them out

Once again I failed to underestimate the power of one wheel drive'

After posting that, I monitored the situation and the waters continued to rise. The strength of the cross flow from the Thames was so strong that I felt the bike being pushed across the road. I didn't fancy getting dumped into a water and debris filled ditch so I bottled it for the rest of the week. If the flow had been a head or tail flow I could have managed but I wasn’t risking the cross flow.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Slaying the Dragon and drowned rats

I believe everyone has Dragons that they need to beat- for some it is conquering a fear, for others it is overcoming an adversity and for more, it is simply beating something simple that has been defeating them for some time.


One of my Dragons was a climb- just a simple road that went up further and steeper than I could ride without climbing off and pushing. This Dragon was called Kingston Hill, a road that leads from Kingston Blount in Oxfordshire, up to the A40 just south of Stokenchurch in Buckinghamshire. I rode it twice last year on my Cannondale R800 road bike and on both occasions, about 200 meters or so from the point where it starts to ease off, my lungs and legs gave out and I had to stop.

On Sunday afternoon I rode out of Rafa, my Wilier Izoard XP and decided to take in Kingston hill for the first time on this bike. Well, the Dragon got its arse kicked! I made it to the top without stopping. The fact that I had to utilise MY arse as a supplementary breathing orifice is immaterial. The Dragon has been beaten.

As for drowned rats, that was me on the ride home from work yesterday. I rode out of the car park, just as the light rain turned into a deluge. I could barely see ahead of me. I was still smiling and laughing though. I mean, what else could I do? It did beg the question however- what is easier, riding into a headwind or, riding against the flow? Some of the roads on my way home were flowing like rivers!

Friday, 28 June 2013

Tour de France 2013

Starts tomorow!

Yours truly will be setting up the PVR tonight to record the daily higlight show so that I can sit down in the evening with a beer/ glass of wine/ coffee and snacks to catch up on the days events (if I have been otherwise engaged and unable to watch the stage live).

I love this time of year.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Time Xpresso 2 pedals

Recently I had noticed that I was having trouble engaging with my Shimano SPD SL pedals- fishing around with my left foot trying to get the nose of the cleat to hook into the pedal. This was probably due to the lack of riding my SPD SL equipped bike, a situation brought on by getting the job in the bike shop.

Whilst working at the shop I have also noticed that a number of folk have purchased SPD SL pedals and struggled to get along with clicking in and out of the pedals, even on the lowest resistance setting.

Recently the shop started to carry Time Xpresso 2 pedals as part of their stock. I had a look at these and was immediately struck with the way they coordinated with Rafa, my recently acquired Wilier Izoard XP- they are grey with a red highlight (OK, I'm a tart). What also struck me was their weight. Time quote 220g for a pair- Shimano Dura Ace SPD SL are quoted as average weight 248g. I don't know if this is per pedal or per pair.

I decided to get a pair of the Xpresso 2's and give them a go. I fitted them and took them out for their inaugural ride on Friday evening- only a 13 mile loop but it took in a bit of climbing- some 10% sections of seated and out of the saddle honking with lots of pulling up on the trailing pedal. The pedals were just fitted to the bike as they came out of the box, no adjusting settings or anything. I have got to say that, on initial riding, I am impressed. Easy engagement and almost effortless clicking out. I think my next ride might have to take in Whitepit Lane, about 100m of which is around 20% so lots of stresses in both directions on the pedals.

A pedal worth a thought if you are looking for an alternative to Shimano SPD SL or Look Delta or Keo.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Grand Tour No.1 is over

Well done to Vincenzo Nibali for his victory in the 2013 edition of the Giro d' Italia.

Further congratulations to Mark Cavendish for his victory in the final stage and for clinching the Points Competition jersey. He becomes only the fifth rider to win the points competition in all 3 Grand Tours.

Have you ever wondered how we get to see the great images that we watch on the television from the tours?

Here is a great article from 'Cycling Tips'. It relates to the Tour de France but gives a great explanation of the hoops the production crews have to jump through to facilitate our fix of Grand Tour viewing.

I can't wait for the beginning of July. Vive la Tour!