Some photographs I took with my iPhone on todays bike ride to Grafham Water.. If you are interested you can find the ride details in my Bricycling cycling blog from the menu above..
Here are the pictures..
Some photographs I took with my iPhone on todays bike ride to Grafham Water.. If you are interested you can find the ride details in my Bricycling cycling blog from the menu above..
Here are the pictures..
Its catch up time again here so I have combined some of this weeks bloggable activities, such as they are, into one post. Whenever any of the cycle racing ‘grand tours’ are on TV my external activities are limited to those that can fit into a morning slot. I therefore had to scratch my head to remember what i did and then combine them all here.
Cycling’s ‘grand tours’ are the Giro d’Italia in the spring, The Tour de France in the summer and the Vuelta d’Espagna in the autumn. All of these are three weeks long and due to the increased popularity of cycling here in the UK they are now live on TV for many more hours. This week the Tour of Britain was also thrown into the mix with live transmissions of that and the ‘Vuelta’ on at a similar time on different channels. Both races were on different Eurosport channels and the Tour of Britain was also on ITV4. Fortunately I have Sky Plus so I was able to record one whilst watching the other. There was also the advantage of advertisement break dodging by switching channels to avoid them so I was juggling between three channels at times. However I think there might have been some collaboration between the TV companies as just recently I have noticed they do seem to go to adverts at more or less the same time. I think the red hot TV remote control and the sofa might appreciate a well deserved rest next week.
On Monday morning the weather was favourable for a bike ride so I dusted down the Colnago and took it for a short Ouse Valley ride of about twenty miles to re-acquaint my legs with the rotating motion of pedalling. It wasn’t too bad actually and the weather was great, which helps in motivating me to get out.
On Thursday we went to the National Trust property, Ascott House near Wing in Bedfordshire. Its somewhere we have never been before despite it being just a half hour drive from home. I think the main reason for not visiting before is because of its restricted opening hours. Its only open from 2pm until 6pm on weekdays, and only in Summer. This was almost our last opportunity of this year as Friday was the last day of opening before the winter closure.
It is a beautiful Jacobean house with paintings by the likes of Stubbs, Gainsborough and Reynolds and extensive and spectacular gardens. It is another property donated by the Rothschild family to the National Trust and is still lived in by part of the Rothschild family, hence the visiting limitations. After some research I found there are nine other residences in and around the chilterns and home counties that are or were part of the Rothschild property holding. They are all very substantial and spectacular properties to say the least and parts of a lot of them will be familiar to filmgoers as filming locations for some very popular films. (I will put the above and some more photos from the outing in my photo blog later)
On Friday I spontaneously phoned my friend Cyril in Wellingborough to see if he was either home and available for a visit or on a bike ride and we could maybe rendezvous somewhere or at home and fancied a bike ride. When I spoke to him he said how spooky it was because he was just thinking about calling me for similar reasons. So the upshot was that we organised a rendezvous at Earls Barton then rode to Emmaus at Carlton for a bottomless cup of coffee and a slice of their splendid carrot cake. We didn’t take advantage of the free coffee refills though. This ride totalled about thirty miles for me.
All the current cycling tours finish this weekend to allow for the travel and preparation of the cyclists for the World Championships in and around Richmond in the USA next weekend. This will mean that I will be back to having full days available for external activities, this could involve some longer bike rides (Except next weekend!!). It will in turn hopefully also mean I will have more to write about and more pictures instead of just boring route maps to break up the text.
I made the most of a sunny morning today and sent myself out for a bike ride. I had decided on a ride of about 80km but I wasn’t sure where exactly I would go. I thought somewhere in the Kimbolton direction. This turned out to be a mistake as things didn’t turn out for the best, but it could have been a lot worse !!
Things were going pleasantly enough in the rare but welcome warm sunshine and very little wind. I headed up through Poddington and Wymington and then eastwards and across to Yelden.
I continued rolling along the quiet country lanes through Upper and Lower Dean
I then turned down the B645 towards Kimbolton. I was approaching Kimbolton along the main road and saw a car coming up the road on my left on the B650 to join my road at a ‘T’ Junction. It was my right of way so I just carried on and was more than surprised when he didn’t stop at the junction and just drove straight out onto the main road and kind of side swiped me. I was able to take some evasive action but he still caught the back of my bike with his front offside wing, pushing the back of the bike into the road at an angle and across the front of his car. Thanks to a few bike handling skills from a history of mountain bike racing I was able to keep control of things and at least stay upright and not go under the car. Also fortunately he stopped pretty quickly. I can’t really recall exactly what happened at the time, or exactly what I did, whatever it was it was just instinctive. Having had the back of the bike pushed out into the road the front of my bike was now pointing at the kerb. I bumped up the kerb somehow at an angle to the accompaniment of two loud bangs, pinch punctures, one from each tyre as I whacked the kerb on my way to the grass verge.
The car driver pulled in and got out, and was full of apologies, well he was when I had finished my tirade of expletives and remarks about his eyesight and driving ability!!! He did ask me the extent of the damage and what it would cost. As it happens there was surprisingly little damage, one tyre sidewall was split and two punctured inner tubes. A financial arrangement was come to for the replacements and he humbly went on his way.
I set to to replace the inner tubes, fortunately as is my practice I had two spare tubes with me. I always carry a small section of old tyre with me as well, a few inches long. I inserted this inside the tyre behind the split before fitting the inner tube, to stop the tube bulging out of the split when the tyre was inflated and I was soon on my way again.
I got a through Kimbolton and all the way up the hill out it, towards Swineshead. just started the descent when I realised that there was no cadence showing on my Garmin!! I looked down and the sensor was missing, obviously another victim of the accident. I turned round and headed back to the scene of the crime, all the time hoping it hand landed somewhere safe. When I got there I could see the rubber mount in the middle of the road and with a little more looking I could see the sensor in the gutter on the other side of the road. Fortunately it wasn’t damaged so I pocketed it and set off once more.
The rest of the ride was uneventful apart from a clunk every time the section of tyre that had the reinforcement behind it hit the road. It wasn’t too noticeable except on the smooth sections of road, which in this day and age are not very prolific. The ride turned out to be 79km, just 1km short of my intended distance so that bit worked out OK. When I got home and stopped and thought about events I had realised I had a pretty lucky escape really. If I had been pushed across the road in the other direction I would have gone into the oncoming traffic and probably wouldn’t be sitting here typing this at the moment.
I have managed a couple of rides in the last four days so things are looking up at last. On Sunday I rode a 60km loop kind of based on Riseley and back round. It was a beautiful, practically spring like day. A few miles before I got to Riseley I passed a group cyclists going in the opposite direction, or rather, they passed me as I was struggling uphill at the time. One of them shouted out “Hello Brian” but I have no idea who it was, so apologies for not recognising you but I had my nose glued to the front wheel at the time whilst climbing up the hill.
Today I did a 50km loop based on Wootton. Not such a nice day but I was warm enough. It was the first outing for my birthday gifts of new gloves and overshoes. Despite the fact that it was a weekday morning I saw quite a few other cyclists out and about. One group of four I saw way in the distance as I crested the top of the old railway bridge in Newton Blossomville, I set myself the target of catching them by the time I got to the Emberton crossroads. I did just about manage it but just before that I also saw a group three ladies heading in the opposite direction and then a little later a couple of male cyclists. There had been quite a few other individuals out and about on my route as well. How things have changed over the last few years. When I first retired seven years ago I would never see so many, if any, out cycling. I have especially noticed the increase in lady riders over the last couple of years.
The weather forecast is looking pretty good for the next few days around here, not a lot of sun but dry and lighter winds so maybe I will get another couple of rides in before next Sunday all being well. Time to start upping the distances now I think.
I am currently experimenting with a slightly lower saddle position as I had been suffering some back pain after my rides. I think there is a slight improvement but I will monitor the situation as I continue the experiment for a while longer. I have always had my saddle tops set at 76cm above the centre of the bottom bracket for quite a few years now so I don’t know why it would suddenly cause a problem but I have lowered it to 74cm for while to check out.
Next weeks rides might be a bit thin on the ground as we are having some major bathroom works carried out and I have offered to be on hand for labouring works on the odd occasion as required.
I managed to get out for a 30 mile ride this morning and home in time for lunch before the snow started falling here. There seems to be a couple of millimetres settling on the pavements outside so I am expecting an announcement that the schools will be closed tomorrow any time now. Oh yes, and a BBC TV reporter will be spotted with snow up to the thickness of the soles on his shoes, reporting about the paralysis that will shortly affect this area of North Buckinghamshire.
It was another meander around my Ouse Valley route this. I like it, it is quite a testing little 50km/30mile circuit with a bit of everything including a testing south westerly section for about half the ride which is generally into the prevailing wind.
The improvement in fitness seems to be continuing for me, there was a another microscopic improvement in my average speed again. My task during the ride this morning was to calculate in my head the annual distance I would accumulate if I did this ride or its equivalent every day for a year… it would be 18250km or 10950 miles. When your mind starts working it does seem to make the miles pass quicker.
I got into this train of thought when I was preparing for my ride with a certain lack of enthusiasm. I started thinking about Steve Abraham, the Milton Keynes cyclist who is currently doing a one year time trial. He is trying to beat a record of around 75,000 miles in a year, aiming for 80,000 miles. I was thinking that he is going through the same getting ready to ride procedure every morning at 4 or 5a.m. and doesn’t stop until around midnight or later and covering around 220 miles average every day for one year. All of a sudden I was feeling a bit of a wimp.
By the way, another national crisis is avoided as its stopped snowing in Olney now.. So no need to rush to the shops to stock up with bread and toilet rolls !!! 😉
I finally managed to fit a ride in this morning. No interference from appointments, errands, medication or weather although it was bit cold. I knew, because of commitments, that if I didn’t get a ride in this morning it would be Saturday at the earliest before I could get out on the bike again. This would have taken it to another two weeks of no cycling, given the fact that my first scheduled Audax ride is only two and half weeks away I can’t really afford anymore extended absences from the saddle.
It was another ride along my local part of the Ouse valley, the longer version. Things must be getting better as I was only slightly tempted to turn right at Emberton, just outside Olney, instead of turning left and adding another 15km on to the ride. It was a temptation which I succumbed to on a previous ride.. I did turn left and completed the 50km loop.
It was extremely cold but I managed to keep warm in my winter clothing. Its such a pain having to get that lot on before I ride. Once the temperature settled down from the indoor temperature on the Garmin after it got used to be outside, it was hovering just below freezing point. On one occasion I saw -2C. Wherever there was water on the roads it was icy, especially where water had run off the fields in the dips.
I took it pretty easy and was happy with my performance for a change. It might also have been a bit due to the fact that I noticed that somehow the saddle on the Ribble bike was 1cm higher than it should be yesterday. Having corrected that and changed my 25mm 4season Continental tyres for the 23mm Gatorskins it might just have just improved things a little too. Changing the tyres probably wasn’t the wisest thing to do given the conditions today but I coped OK, I was very careful on the descents though. In one place, just after one of the flooded, frozen dips I did notice a bit of wheelspin as i put the power on. I was running the Gatorskins at 100psi, 10 psi lower than the minimum recommended pressure to assist with grip a little.
One Step Beyond is a record by one of my favourite bands from way back, Madness, when you and I were much younger, well I was anyway. Both the title and name of the band seem very appropriate when describing todays ride. The blog title came to me as I was approaching home. leg weary and tired. It got me home anyway. Click and listen while you read.. 🙂
I went for my first ride of 2015 this morning, five days after the previous ride on the last day of 2014. That was a ride of 40km and today I stepped it up to 80km. A step too far I think. I was just about shattered by the time I got home.
I rode a loop to Kimbolton and back and it was on the return loop that I hit the headwind. Before I left this morning I checked the weather forecast for temperature and wind strength but not the direction. The temperature was forecast to rocket up to 7C by late morning. I think the most I saw was 6C but thats warmer than of late. That combined with my failing strength really told on me. The wind hit me after Kimbolton and I realised why it had seemed so easy on the outward loop. It wasn’t only the wind that hit me though. I took a good swig of cold water, half a bottle, in Kimbolton and after about a mile I was getting really bad pains in my stomach like cramps. Note to self, next time make use of that Thermos Flask I found that fits my bottle cage.
If I had thought to bring some money with me I would have stopped at the village store in Riseley and bought some nourishment. I didn’t take any with me because on a ride of that length under normal circumstances I wouldn’t bother with food. Anyway, I made it safely back and my thighs really ached and I can’t remember that happening for years.
My reason for picking that distance was to check out my ability before deciding on whether or not, to go on the club ride on Saturday. The answer at the moment is a resounding NO. However there is the possibility of at least one more ride this week and I will make a decision later.
I really want to go on this ride if possible as it is to the ‘Bike Bus’. I have never been there before but it always has good reviews from other club members who have. I suppose if I am not fit enough for the whole ride I can do my usual trick of intercepting the ride on its way there, as its on ‘my’ side of Milton Keynes. The other option is to guess what time they will be there and just ride there myself. Its only open at weekends so opportunities are limited.
I came home to a lunch of Nutella on toast and a sizeable chunk of Christmas Cake. I am now in recovery mode with my legs up on the sofa typing this on my laptop. I am going for another cup of tea just as soon as I have finished this. Finished this for the second time I might add! I am using the new WordPress posting page. The previous version used to auto save your work every minute or so but apparently this one doesn’t so I lost it all when I went to find the link for the Bike Bus and had to start over.. Grrrrrr. I hope this as good as the first version!!!
As I type this, the cup of tea I was going to make later, when I finished this has just miraculously appeared by my side along with two chocolate digestive biscuits. Us pensioners have it hard !!!
I was back out on the road again today on a ride I planned last night. I was feeling the need for some extra miles and longer rides are the the way to do it. Miles in the legs are more important than short fast ones at this stage, in my case anyway. My chosen steed for the day was the Ribble Bike with a slightly altered saddle position because I found it was a bit different to my other bikes
I carefully planned this route to be as close as I could get to 100 kilometres but on the plus side of it. The route was actually honed down to 101.1km in the planning stages. However the need for a coffee and cake stop at Salcey Forest to get me through the last hour of the ride put paid to that. The ride down the forest road to the cafe and back added that little bit extra, still not bad though. On the map you can just see the little blip where I deviated from my planned route for refreshment. Its on the left near the M1 sign close to Hartwell.
As you will see it is a loop around Olney and although it was a long ride I was never more than about 15km from home. The weather was pretty good, even some long spells of sunshine and the wind was light and mostly friendly.
I took these pictures at the exact half way point of the ride, the Garmin showing 50km done and 50km to go.. and also a picture of the spot. Not too interesting I am afraid.. just the long straight road leading into Bozeat. (Pronounced ‘Boze – yat’ by the locals).
It was the longest ride I have done for some time but I hope to repeat the experience again soon, whatever the weather !!
This weeks Team MK C1 group ride was to the cafe at the ‘Forest of Marston Vale’ at Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire. I have to say its hardly a forest at the moment with most of trees no more than about three metres high.
Its only a few years old and is situated on reclaimed brickworks land left vacant after the brick working industry disappeared from the area. The skyline around that area of Bedfordshire used to be a forest of tall smoking chimneys from all the factories in that area.. here is an old picture of one..
In about twenty years I expect it will begin to look a bit more forest like but for now its not living up to its name, at the moment it looks a bit more park like.
So, back to my ride. It was a damp and misty morning so to save getting up too early I elected not to ride to Stony Stratford for the ride start and decided yet again to ride across country and rendezvous with them at the cafe. It was still very misty, lights were definitely required. I arrived a bit early and got myself a coffee while I waited and waited and waited…. I took this picture just to fill the time.
After another cup of coffee they still hadn’t arrived so having been there now for about an hour I decided they had maybe gone somewhere else so I got ready and I was just leaving as they arrived. Apparently they had suffered two punctures in the group on the way. I was surprised to see some brave souls still wearing shorts at this time of year and in this weather.
I went back into the cafe with them while they had their refreshments and chatted a while then rode back with them as far as Chicheley where I turned off for Olney. On the way though there was yet another puncture.
It was too nice a morning to not go for a bike ride today. The wind had dropped and the sun was shining, perfect. I set off to survey part of a route I am planning to do when I next lead the Team Milton Keynes club ride on 29th November. I hope its not a bad omen but it was a glorious day today, just like the one when I tried out the route for the last ride I led and it poured for the event..
I was happily rolling along contemplating what I would write later in my blog and thinking of all the things good about it. I think one of the most satisfying sounds in cycling is that noise the tyres make when correctly inflated and on a nice smooth road, rolling along with no other sound to be heard, no wind, no traffic, no rough surfaces, just the ??????? noise of the tyres on the road. How to describe it? I don’t know, it’s not a whistle, its too low for that.. its not a hum, its too high for that. With my limited vocabulary I just could not think of a suitable world to describe it but all cyclists will know it, I am open to suggestions..
I headed off east along the rolling road into Bedfordshire towards Harold and Felmersham and up and over the hill towards Pavenham. This is the start of the climb in Felmersham, glorious in the autumn sunshine.
It wasn’t a hurried ride, more one of taking my time and enjoying everything around me and looking for photo opportunities. There seemed to be plenty of other cyclists around for a weekday on a similar mission. A few of them had their heads down staring at their front wheel though.
I rolled on around the circuit to Pavenham, Oakley and the Stevington. I went past this photo opportunity in Stevington and rode on for a couple of hundred metres while i decided whether to go back or not.. well I did..
I have done that too many times, realised I had just passed a good photo stop and then regretted not going back when I was further down the road.
I carried rolling on round my route through Carlton, Turvey and then home. Its a good route for a club ride I think. Fairly unpopulated roads with a decent surface. I just need the weather to be good this time and all will be well.
Last Saturdays club ride was a good one to Carlton, the cafe with the best cakes I know. I had an enormous piece of carrot cake which I shouldn’t really as its only about twenty minutes from my home. I hardly needed the sustenance to get me that far. Saturdays ride details can be found here..
Todays ride details can be found here…