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Two rides to blog about now, a ride I did on Thursday and Saturdays Team MK ride, or as much of it as I did due to reasons to be explained later.

First, Thursdays ride..

Which was in a pretty much westerly direction from my home apart from a few miles north first.  I then headed in a southerly direction before coming back in an easterly direction.  It was a repeat of a ride I did late last year.  One of those rides when my phone let me down when I wanted to take some pictures.  I left home with a fully charged phone this time.

The first picturesque place I came to that you haven’t seen before was the little village of Blakesley.  The houses are mostly made of the Northamptonshire sandstone, giving then that deep yellow colour.

This is a view up the High Street that I had just come down..

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I then turned round and took this picture of the way out and the way I was heading next, straight ahead down the lane…

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After that I started to head south for a while and away from the north west wind that had troubled me for the first part of the ride.  I went through the village of Slapton and then to Wappenham and left via a very short, sharp steep hill until I got to this stretch of road that I remembered from my previous visit.  I remembered it because it reminded me very much of a French country road,

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It wasn’t the best of days to see it as by the time I got there the sunshine I had started out in had now disappeared and it was not only grey but cold as well, you can tell by the sky I think.

This road would make a good alternative to the club ride route for the cafe at Turweston as it avoids a long stretch of rough road and another long stretch of main road.  Hopefully next time I go on a club ride to Turweston I can guide some people down this new route.

My next photo stop was at this little bluebell wood just outside Stowe House National Trust estate.

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This should be one of the signs of Spring getting well underway but it didn’t feel much like it on this visit.

I continued a bit further south to Passenham just outside Stony Stratford before heading east for home.  I added an extra little bit on through Filgrave towards the end instead of the direct route back via Weston Underwood just to make sure the distance was over 100km and I made it by 1.7km’s.

The ride details cane be found Here

Saturday 19th April, Team MK ride to The Barn at Wilstone near Tring in Hertfordshire.

I rode over to Stony Stratford for the start of the ride but soon after the start I was plagued by a mystery noise that seemed to relate to one revolution of the pedals.  I thought I got a clue when my foot pulled out from the pedal cleats on applying pressure going up a hill.   When climbing I pull up on the upward moving pedal as well as pushing down with the other foot in the normal manner.  So I thought, ahhh, the cleat clamp on the pedal was loose or the cleat on my shoe was loose.  I let the group go on when we reached Mursley and I said I would either fix it and catch with them or meet them at the cafe or else do a loop of my own.

After much fiddling, checking and tightening I started off again but the noise was still there.  I was racking my brain to try and come up with another solution. The only think I could think of was the bottom bracket bearings but there was little I could do about that until I got home.  I didn’t want to get any further away from home than I already was so I set off on a loop of my own back home and didn’t go to the cafe.

While riding my brain was working all the time for other solutions.  I took a drink of water and I suddenly remembered I had this problem once before and how I cured it, temporarily at least.  The problem on that occasion was the saddle.  It was on another bike but the same type of saddle.  The saddle supports that are part of the saddle enter into the moulding that forms part of the seat and is covered by leather.  The noise on the previous occasion was a minuscule bit of movement between the saddle frame and the moulding.  I cured it by riding through a couple of puddles, fortunately it was raining at the time, and the water splashed up under the saddle got in between the two surfaces.  Fortunately on Saturday I had two bottles with me one with a prepared rink and the other plain water.  I stopped by the roadside, upended the bike and squirted water liberally on the offending area.   While this didn’t fully cure the problem on this occasion I did at least know now what the problem was and I could live with that for the rest of the journey.  Immediately on arrival home I upended the bike and spayed the underneath of the saddle with WD40 and left it that way overnight. I haven’t road tested it yet but I am fairly sure its going to be OK when I do get the chance.

Here are the details of my journey.. click the image for detailed ride stats..

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This will be my last blog post now before my trip to Spain and France.  I will be taking my bike and the wherewithal for blogging in the form of my iPad.  I think it will work OK.  The only problem is the availability of free WiFi.  I am reluctant to pay the exorbitant prices required by some locations for the used of the connection so the posts maybe somewhat intermittent.  I will just have to see how it works out.  The only fixed dates to the trip are the ferry out to Santander out and ferry back from Calais.  Everything else will depend on the weather and whether we like where we are or want to move on.

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