Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Which bike? Some post Cotswolds thoughts...

On reflection I should have waited before writing my blog after that tough ride in the Cotswolds. So many thoughts have occurred since then and the biggest one is: "Which was the best bike to tackle the Hell of the North Cotswolds route?"

maybe not this one

Before we look at that a bit more I need to mention that I've ridden twice since Sunday.

On Monday I got my MTB back out to accompany SuperSam to cyclones, which was only a couple of miles away from home so we rode there. I loved it on Bunker Hill when Sam sledged me with "going a bit slow aren't you Dad?" It was also good to see him out on the road on my faithful Forme Longcliffe. That bike has been excellent for me and I think it's got a lot of life in it to help Sam. Once at the Oxford University Press car park, Sam went off with the big kids and I helped out with the middle group. It was good to get the legs moving again and also good that I got the bike back out because I'd given it a thorough clean but neglected to oil the chain. That Cotswold mud had stripped it dry and rust was already forming. Lots of oil was applied whilst making sure this time that I didn't get any on the disk brakes.

Tonight I got out with C&D Cycles CC for a rare midweek group ride. Andy has planned to do a group ride every night this week to celebrate the predicted better weather. On a windy, damp night, you'd never have guessed that it's going to be sunshine all the way to the weekend. Clothing choice was very tricky but for me it was shorts weather, base layer and summer jersey. We must have had every other combo imaginable in the group. It was just that sort of weird weather!

A good group of regulars and a couple of faces I was less familiar with met at C&D Cycles at 5.50pm for an advertised 28 mile steady paced social ride. My only dislike with these rides is getting in and out of Kettering at that time of day is challenging. I was narrowly missed by a van rushing through a gap with no awareness that I was a split second from filling that gap!

Once out of Kettering things got good. This was ideal for me in terms of length, pace and fun. The wind made it odd in places as the usually very fast Desborough Road Drop was much harder work than usual. I'm always hoping to improve my time on that segment but I'm not sure I ever will. I think it was wind behind when I got one of my very rare top ten times.

With the wind almost behind us, Bairdy and I had some fun on the fast road into Loddington. We were flying along until a disappointing temporary traffic light spoilt it all. I headed home from Loddington feeling great after such a nice spin. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the ride was that in addition to being out with my mates we also had another newbie with us who seemed to enjoy the benefits of group riding.

So back to the Cotswolds and the best bike for the job debate. In the group we had a mixture of MTB and CX bikes. We can even have a direct comparison as I was on my Forme Ripley 1.0 and Andy was on his Forme Calver. Jason who was one of the best climbers on the day was on his Voodoo Bizango, a bike he describes as a "Halford's Special." Ashley who also had areal crack at the hills was on his Scott Scale. Chris, Josh, Will and Ian were all on CX. I don't recall the MTB bike Rob was on, all I know is that he was he only person who rode up absolutely everything.

Image result for forme calver

Early into the ride we were on a rough steep track where full suspension might have been good. It was difficult to get traction and it was certainly Jason's opinion that full suss would help. At other times though we were on those rutted muddy trails where CX can be better.

Image result for scott scale

Possibly the biggest factor was gearing. My 1x set up gives me a 34/36 combo for the steepest climbs. I did wonder if one of those dinner plate rear cogs would help. It's what Rob had with 48 teeth. I'm guessing he had the same chain-ring size so where my ratio was 0.9, he had the benefit of 0.7. In the roughest of terms that means I was getting 0.9 of one wheel revolution for every full crank revolution compared to 0.7 for Rob. Then if we look at Jason with his more traditional 2x set up he had 22/32 as his combo, which he described as: "sticking it in the wee ring!" That's probably the lowest ratio available to any of us at 0.69. I think Ashley had a 34/42 (0.8,) but I've guessed that from the specifications on the Scott website.

Of course there's a little more to it with wheel size and again I didn't notice if we were all on 27.5 or if someone had a 29r. I'm not saying I'd have managed the hills in the style of Rob and Jason if I had their ratios, because I suspect they had better engines than me (not an accusation of motor doping, I just think they're fitter!) However I am wondering if I would have fared better on my Focus 29r with it's traditional 3x set up. It's way heavier than the Ripley but has the lowest gearing, plus....29rs and rolling and all that...(just to clarify again, there's no way I'd take the Focus, I still really love the Ripley, plus the Focus now belongs to Sam.)

As for Andy on the Forme Calver. Well he has a 1x system with a 42/42 set. No maths is required to work out the figures there...it's 1. So he hadn't got quite the low gears we had on the mountain bike but it wasn't far off and he had a much lighter bike by virtue of being a CX rather than MTB. Even our club Mountain Goat didn't have enough gears to ride up every hill though. That probably says a lot about how tough it was. Josh really had to get the wattage out with 40/32 being his lowest gear.

So, with all of that information in mind am I going to rush out and change my rear cassette to get one of those monster cogs? Chris has been really helpful in pointing out that all the stuff I need to convert is easy to find on Ebay. No. No I'm not going to do that. In last years FNSS I can only think of one hill I couldn't get up. I couldn't do that even with the tiny gears of my 29r so a dinner plate really won't change that. If I lived and rode in the Cotswolds every day, yeah, I'd change my gearing. Right now I think the best bang for my buck is to knuckle back down on the diet, shift a bit more timber and work on my leg strength. If that doesn't get me there then I'll have a rethink!

So which bike was he best choice for the ride we did on Sunday? I still think that MTB had the edge. 

On that I became even more thankful for the great service I get from C&D Cycles. Today I spotted my Forme Ripley 1.0 in an advert for an online retailer. Forme list it's RRP as £1000 however this retailer was advertising at £1,165 claiming it to be a bargain as they'd reduced from their claimed RRP of £1,300. I'd hate to think that someone falls for that!

I'm hoping to get a few more rides in this week so we'll see what happens. I'm not planning any more bonus blogs though!

Happy Pedalling

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Cotswolds Off Road Ride April 2018

From the left: Rob, Will, Me, Josh, Ian, Chris, Ashley and Jason (Andy was taking the picture.)

Today I went for the hardest ride I have ever ridden. It was just 67km in the end. We were going for over 100km following the route of 'The Hell of the North Cotswolds,' an off-road  sportive which took place last week. In that 67km we climbed 1448m. To put it in context, we went for a road ride in Northants last week, which we considered to be quite hilly, it was 92km and 1028m.

Nine of us met in the carpark at Snowshill and set off in good spirits on a foggy morning with high chances of rain. Andy Brown and Ian Bird had put our route together, to be fair this was like a typical Andy Brown hillfest times a million. Also in our group was Ashley, Josh, Will, Chris, Rob and Jason.

Unfortunately the heavy rain of April so far meant that we had a lot of soft ground to contend with at times. In between those times though, this was simply cycling heaven! Stunning countryside, lung busting climbs and thrilling descents!

At times we had to get off and push. Some of our hardy bunch were able to push on through on slopes like the one above. I wish my legs were that good...there are many pictures of me pushing like this.

In between the tracks and trails we also had a some good tarmac action. This made for faster rolling well until the next uphill bit came along!

Comedy moment of the day. People were lifting their bikes over this gate before one of our more pragmatic team members did the obvious thing and opened it!

As per usual on the ride there was a fair bit of fiddling. No punctures at all!

After a cafe stop in Winchcombe we went up the toughest hill I've ever ridden. On Strava it's shown as a category 4 slope and is called the 'Harvey Street Climb.' My legs screamed give up, it was a close run thing. My pain was kindly captured in the picture above by the Mountain Goat that is Andy Brown, he'd been there ages by the time I arrived. We went up even bigger hills later on but I have to confess I couldn't ride them and ended up pushing again!

The climbs were incredibly tough but there was two benefits. The first was the view and the second was those magnificent descents. In this picture I thought we'd gone as high as we were going to get...wrong! This is Prescott Woods which is very near the Prescott Hill Speed Climb https://www.prescott-hillclimb.com/info/usefulinformationforspectators those cars are cheats!

This is in fact about as high as we got. It's Cleeve Hill overlooking Cheltenham. By this stage I was completely shattered and the weather had started to get worse.

Once we'd navigated off of Cleeve Hill the heavens opened and it got really nasty. We'd already ridden for over five hours and weren't even halfway! So an executive decision was taken to get back to tarmac and then take a shorter route back to the carpark.

Shorter still involved a lot of ups and downs and the odd bit of re-inflation!

What's a ride without a ridiculous selfie?

Okay so I'm tired and seriously lacking in creative writing motivation. Just one more picture of the views so you can see what the whole point was. It would have been nice to see this on a clear day but it is beautiful regardless. The video below also captures the early stages of our ride before the virb battery ran out. I'd left the GPS tracking on which is a schoolboy error!

A massive thanks to everyone I rode with today. We had great camaraderie and as per usual a fair bit of banter. I hope we can go back later in the year and have a crack at the full route in better conditions. 

Happy Pedalling

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Off Road and Road Rides to end my Easter Break

Easter week has been a bit of a washout but I still managed to get out on the bike a couple of times. I also attempted some challenges on the rollers on one of those wet days!

On Wednesday we were planning to have a club ride but everyone's appetite for riding in the rain was diminished. So instead o going out I got on my rollers. SuperSam manned the video camera and we got some footage of me practising jacket on and off whilst riding no handed. I'm really not the most skilled rider so it surprises me I can do this. Not on video is my failed attempt at the Rochelle Gilmore inner tube trick. Since my attempt though I've watched the video again and I think I can do it! 

Image result for rochelle gilmore inner tube trick

So watch this space, I may have a video of this challenge soon! I suggested to Nat that I should really rise to the occasion and get the team Wiggle Honda Kit and a ponytail wig. Her verdict: "please don't!"

On Thursday there was a club road ride but I had promised Sam and his friend a trip to Wakerley to try out the Scar Tree Trail. I was hoping that a lovely day would dry out the trail and although it was certainly better than recently it was still a little too slippy to really enjoy!

Sam always like to end a lap with the skid challenge. You take the unofficial jump and then leave as big a trail as possible in the car park. I tried my skid but the back brake just would not lock, leaving me feeling quite disappointed. So I did what all good cyclists know is a mistake. I fiddled with it and ended up losing brake fluid and making it worse!

Despite my brake woes I still did another couple of laps with the boys. It was a very enjoyable day out and having paid for adrenaline alley earlier in the week they appreciated that fun can also be had for free!

SuperSam was on my old Focus 29r and found those huge wheels both challenging an good fun in equal measure. He was amazed at how easy he could roll over things but also (like me actually,) was less keen on the twisty turny climb of Cardiac Hill.

So what did I do about that brake problem? Well I did the best thing I could and messaged Andy at C&D Cycles. Within a day I had my brakes back to tip top order with new pads and the line bled with new fluid. Andy is also concerned I may have a small leak which may have caused the problem in the first place and has ordered the part to be on the safe side. Once again I am spoilt by magnificent service.

I didn't ride on Saturday because we went to Conflict Paintball at Grendon Lakes, for Sam's 13th birthday. It also meant I missed the Saints v Saracens match, for which, given another appalling performance, I'm very pleased about! Paintball is a really good activity to take a bunch of 13 year old boys too, especially if they're sleeping over the same day. A fantastic day left the lads absolutely shattered and they actually slept really well (not my previous experience of poorly named sleepovers.) It's not the cheapest of activities but I'd won six places in a raffle organised by a work colleague who is suffering from breast cancer. In addition to several other birthday groups there was a small group of 'walk-ons.' These are paint ball enthusiasts with their own kit who play regularly and are always looking for practise. Just like us enthusiastic cyclists they had a load of impressive equipment which looked very expensive!

That brings us to today. I met up at C&D Cycles with Nat, Andy P and Ben. Only four of us this week but the club had done a 100km ride the day before and the weather looked iffy so it was no surprise to see a smaller group. Before we set off Andy checked 'bum-cam,' his impressive backwards facing go-pro. I hadn't brought my Garmin Virb because it was charging in the room where all those teenage boys slept soundly!

Nat had used the 'out an back ,' function on her Garmin and had two routes. A flat one or one that she called a 'bit of climbing,' only 'short sharp climbs.' Yes well we ride in Northants so a climb of over a minute is long for us! Also the route took us out to Rutland and into Leicestershire where the lumps and bumps are!

Out on the road, it turned out that Ben was a fellow Northampton Saints sufferer. We had a good chat about this car crash of a season and our hopes for better things! Enough of all that egg chasing though! 

Our route took us out to the famous viaduct at Harringworth which featured on Top Gear recently. It's a great ride there from the Airfield at Spanhoe down a very fast hill. Going out though there is the nastiest sharp climb up to Seaton.

Thanks to Nat's Garmin I went to some places that I'd not ridden before. There's just so many good road cycling roads around here and even though it was a horrible soggy day again it was an absolute pleasure to ride.

For those reasons it's no surprise that planned cycling routes and  places like Cafe Ventoux are nearby (never been, not heard the best reviews, it is however very popular.) 

I'm really not sure what's got into my legs but once again I really enjoyed the hills today. I did allow Andy to pass me occasionally though so that I got caught by bum cam. I'm looking forward to those pictures later. After all that grinding in the granny ring it was nice when we got a good fast rolling piece of road. The blast from Alexton to Hallaton absolutely made my day. It did get the usual requests to fit mudguards but I'm never ever doing that to my beautiful Giant Propel!

The route looped back round to Rushton so I went home from there rather than head back to Kettering. We did a little more than 50 miles and my legs definitely know they had a bike ride today! That's good because I have a feeling that our 100km off road ride in the Cotswolds next week will have some proper hills on it!

Whilst I've been writing this I watched Paris-Roubaix, the best one day bike race in the world. Having discussed Sagan out on the ride (Ben works for one of his sponsors,) it was no surprise that the world champion has finally won a famous cobble trophy.

Image result for paris roubaix sagan cobble

That's it then. Back to work next week, so time to re-focus on the diet and the early morning roller sessions. This great week of cycling has also really made a dent in my #NHS1000miles .

Happy Pedalling

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Eggstravagant Easter of Cycling

I don't know where to start really. This weekend I have had three absolutely brilliant club rides with C&D Cycles Cycling Club. A nice 30 on Good Friday, my best ride in like forever on Easter Sunday and a challenge with mother nature on Easter Monday. In between there's been great times with friends, a splendid family meal and of course a lot of muddy dog walks. Right now, after 140 miles in 4 days, I'm officially out on my legs and feeling quite pleased with the achievement.

The first thing to say about this Easter is that the weather has been rubbish! However there have been windows of opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. This time last year we were in Queensland, Australia...where the weather was worse! We were in the paradise that is Noosa, being battered by the aftermath (not the actual full storm,) of cyclone Debbie. I have never seen wind and rain like it. By contrast our Easter has just been a bit annoyingly damp! Of course the day after in Oz was back to glorious weather. I got chatting to Neil and he has just comeback from my favourite place on the planet, so at least I had someone to talk to who knew what I was missing!

The ferry to Straddie in 2014
The day after the storm in Noosa, Easter 2017

Foggy, soggy Northants!

The pictures just kind of sum up the damp, dull, grey day. Our spirits, by contrast were very bright indeed. Special mention should go to Richard Golding at this stage for what might be the best banter ever heard on a ride. Quite an accolade given the stiff competition from our perpetual outpourings of nonsense. I will not reveal the full content of the conversation because it belongs to the group. However for those who know...the clue is in my ride name!

The ride route was a regular that dates back to the start of the club in 2013 and is known as Pitsford reverse due to crossing the causeway over Pitsford reservoir. For me it was ideal as I had plenty to do that day and it goes back to Kettering through Rothwell. Due to low temperatures we were all kitted out in full winter gear. I had base layers, my winter jersey, a buff, my long serving full fingered gloves, my fabulous Endura winter tights (extra padding for my old knees,) and overshoes. I looked at all my kit and it's getting very tatty. My gloves have holes in the fingers which are handy for smart phone use but not for numb finger prevention, my overshoes are hanging on by a thread and the tights have lost all of their reflective branding. I know where my birthday money is going next winter! I can't complain though, all of that stuff has done 1000s of miles and was well worth the investment. You can see from the pictures that most of us were kitted out in similar winter layers, however, one rider, Ashley, had let youthful exuberance get the better of him and was in shorts! This is possibly why the 19 year old expert of all things concentric, struggled to keep up with us old men towards the end of the ride!

On Mill Lane, a lovely cycling road, we bumped into clubmate Marcus who was out with his daughter (I wish Niamh would try cycling, I think she'd be excellent.) Marcus is recovering from a nasty injury so it was great to see him on his bike. What a bike it was too! That classic Giant MTB with 26" wheels, deserves a lot of love.

Route highlights for me are the fast drag from Litle Harrowden to Sywell along the intriguingly named 'Moonshine Gap.' The climb up from the causeway is good and the fast run back into Rothwell from Harrington. This was a splendid start to my cycling Easter in some great company. Too many names to mention as there was a really good turnout.

On Easter Sunday, appropriately April fools day, another large group gathered at C&D Cycles, this time for a 50 miler led by the First Lady of C&D, Nat. There were again too many names to mention. Many who'd ridden on Friday but also some of my best riding buddies and the man who started it all, Andy Ferguson. There were many other groups out and a shout out goes to Ian Bird and the KCC social ride who cheerfully greeted me from their bustop meeting point!

One of the aims of the day was to get Andre home by 12.41 due to family commitments. I think his impression of Morph's luminous green brother just made him more aero and therefore more committed to the task.

We headed out on Kettering's infamous Deeble Road where something strange began to unfold. I was first to the top of the hill. "This can't last,"I thought. It did though. I felt fantastic out on the bike and really enjoyed the hills! We all get days like this on the bike but I'd come out just hoping to keep up. My only explanation is that I've been very focused on my diet and I've been working out on the rollers as often as possible. Accusations of EPO abuse or having a few puffs too many of my wife's inhalers are just fake news!

The route was first class. It's the end of the county I don't know as well and we ended up in Cambridgeshire at times. Halfway was Kimbolton school after the usual leafy lanes and picture postcard villages. 

The road above, heading to Raunds, sums up what road cycling in Northamptonshire is like. We have lots of quiet lanes like this. They can be lovely to ride on but also, due to the harsh winter they are also an absolute mess with cracked surfaces and potholes. We try to help each other as best we can, calling out and pointing to the rider behind. Sometimes though it would be easier to point out the good bits! Despite all that, it's still great fun and as Mike in the picture above stated: "highly addictive!"

The banter on the ride was once again first class and then more unexpected fun. Andy, Mark and I began to reminisce about 80's and 90's television. Great shows such as the A-Team, Thundercats, Knight Rider, The Professionals, Jamie and His Magic Torch etc...I have no idea what anyone thought as we sang the theme tune to shows like The Littlest Hobo! 

I just had to stop to take a picture of the river crossing between Lilford and Pilton. Moments before we'd tried our best to slowly and quietly pass a horse who really didn't like cyclists. Then this scene unfolded with a river overflowing its banks already and more rain to come! You wait until you see Monday's pictures!

This selfie is at the top of the hill coming away from the flood. More groups of cyclists went past. Andre was well on track to get home in time!

So many things happened on this club ride. The most important part of which is that we had a really great time and enjoyed an excellent route. We all learned a new way of measuring gloves from Andy who is keen to find me some suitable replacements for my holey favourites. 

I left the group at Warkton to head home. I realised I was close to 100km and therefore had nearly completed the Strava Gran Fondo for April on the very first day. So I headed to Geddington for a few extra miles. On the way I encountered a lady litter picking in the hedgerow. As this is a subject I care about deeply, I stopped for a chat. She regularly sorts the hedgerows out near her home. I find it so sad that we have beautiful countryside that others disrespect. However I find it incredibly encouraging that others are so willing to sort out a mess they haven't made! There's even a growing sport of "Plogging," where runners go out with the aim of filling a bag with plastic based rubbish. Again I thought of Australia where litter just isn't tolerated and you will barely see any mess.

I arrived home in plenty of time with the 100km Fondo in the bag. Then it was time to head to my parents for the best Sunday Lunch in the world. Unfortunately my grandparents are ill so we didn't have all four generations there. It was good to have a couple of my Dad's 'recovery,' ciders too!

The original plan for Easter Monday was to meet at 9am for another 30ish miles social ride. However it was pouring with rain so we swapped to an afternoon ride planned by Andy P. The rain had stopped but there was a lot of standing water on the roads and some very tricky bits to get through.

This was just one of several flooded bits of road we had to get through. The secret is not to get your feet wet but to go through slowly enough that any hidden potholes are not hit with a massive cerchunk! No potholes were hit, however some feet did get wet!!!

I decided to set my Forme Longcliffe back up for me today because I didn't want to risk carbon fibre and nice wheels on these conditions. I also decided to stop using my phone for pics and return to the convenience of my Gramin Virb. The first shot was of Geddington as I rode to join the rest of the group in Grafton Underwood.

Justin caught me up on the way to Grafton. I wasn't moving very quickly as my legs were very tight from the day before. They picked up a bit during the ride but I had nothing like the previous day's power. We met up with another very respectable sized group, especially for the conditions. It was also very good to see Glynn out on a bike for the first time in a very long time. The last time I'd seen him was at the MTB race where I broke my wrist as he was taking pics of the race. We passed that field near Wadenhoe, on another journey through the East of the county.

Grey Day

The club has one rule. It's called rule one! Rule one is that no one gets left behind. Si, pictured above, is just starting out on his cycling adventure and as yet hasn't got his cycling legs. He did massively well to stay with the group and showed real determination on the tough climbs up the Brigstock Bumps and the long grind through Southwick and onto Bulwick. For most of us, helping newbies is just as important as making our own progress, that and an initiation into the world of cycling banter!

More Floods

Despite the wet roads the rain held off. The buzzards and Red Kites were out and I tried my best to get an image of those magnificent birds, especially as we had a very low fly over from a kite at Bulwick. However, even with the virb and the fact they are massive, a good image of a kite whilst riding still eludes me. 

As we got back to Grafton the group splintered as we all headed home. Justin, Rob, Ashley and I headed back towards Geddington and Andy back to Thrapston. Ian and Glynn made sure Si got safely back to Kettering. My legs were absolutely ruined. That social thirty was turning into a 50 miler! It was only a few miles home but on my own I would have found it tough. However Justin and Ashley (in better clothing today, that's him on the left,) led the way to Geddington and I hung onto their wheel. Then after Justin left us, Rob powered us on through Newton and onto Rushton, all I could do was keep up. thanks to their help I was soon home though!

I've mentioned before that this blog gets like Bridget Jones diary at times. Since Christmas, the Queen of Cakes and I have shifted some serious lard with the help of MyFitnessPal. However this weekend we took a break from all the clean eating and calorie counting. We came home from my Mum's on Sunday with some of her magnificent carrot cake and this was just the recovery food I needed. Cycling and cake go together very well and as we all know, if you've done the miles you can have the good stuff. I washed this down with a new favourite beer and something I intend of trying to make myself. Until then, 'Spill the Beans,' coffee porter is only 99p fom Aldi (other budget supermarkets are available!)

I'm lucky enough to have the rest of the week off. No cycling for a couple of days though because these legs need a rest! Sam is 13 on Friday and I'm hoping we can get a MTB blast around Wakerley Woods in on Thursday. No club ride for me this Saturday because we're going paintballing which will be great fun!

Many of you know that I'm a Nurse and very proud of both my profession and the NHS. Our National Health Service is 70 years old this year and as well as providing my career I have much to be thankful for. Cancer, heart disease, elderly grandparents and our children have kept the NHS very busy. I should also mention that I've definitely had my money's worth from the Emergency Department (formerly known as A&E.) To mark the 70 years many of us are taking part in #NHS1000miles. It's not that big a challenge for Lycra Loonies like us so I'm not counting my cycling miles just the steps that my fitbit records. For both cycling and fitbit I'm on 670 miles for the year so far, so my 1000 miles will be done before we're halfway through the year. Cycling will overtake the steps now and I'm hoping for around 4000 miles on the bike this year. To keep things going I'm going to have to work something out, like trying to do 1000 miles on the MTB. The Facebook page is fantastic with people posting pictures from all around the country of great places to run, walk, ride, swim or paddle! It also has a lot of great pictures of people out and about with their four legged friends.

My four legged friends!

One of my favourite Sportive/Charity rides is Cycle for Cynthia, in aid of Cynthia Spencer Hospice in Northampton and MacMillan Cancer Support. As I mentioned we've had a lot of cancer to deal with as a family and taking part makes it feel as if I'm doing my bit to help. Kettering has a sister unit to Cynthia Spencer in the form of Cransley Hospice. These are amazing facilities that support cancer sufferers and their family through the last days of the battle with this hideous disease. When I'm working in Kettering my office overlooks Cransley Hospice. Funding has been very difficult for the hospices recently as the NHS has felt the pinch of austerity. They need every penny to keep their vital services running! So this bit makes me very proud as we are having a Cycle for Cransley sportive on June 17th. The event is sponsored by KLM taxis, owned by our good cycling friend Mike Deely and will be supported by C&D Cycles. We've had a sneak peak at the 50 mile route and I can tell you it will be a very nice ride, there's also shorter distances so that everyone can get involved. Massive kudos to both Mike and Andy for their efforts with this event. I'm hoping to support in any way possible and hopefully to raise a lot of money for this great cause. 

Finally it's time to put an argument to bed. A phrase we all know and understand is: "There's no need to re-invent the wheel." I think if this was true, instead of riding on glorious steeds of carbon or lightweight aluminium' we'd still be on something like this:

Image result for hobby horse

Here's a good article I found all about reinventing the wheel. So that's it, the argument is settled...oh okay, it probably rages on!

I think that's enough for now. I've loved my Easter of cycling and I'm looking forward to warmer drier conditions and a lot more miles!

Happy Pedalling!!!