Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Follow the yellow brick road...

So this was last ride before Oz! I'm not sure I've mentioned this but we're off to Queensland, Australia for the whole of August. Two years planning and frankly there's only three things I'll miss: the dogs, proper beer and my bike. I am hoping to do the odd ride but it won't be the same.

So tonight's ride was quite a send off. It's vroom so we go quicker and due to a conversation in the week we decided to test ourselves on the KCC Old circuit, so called because it starts an ends near Old and not because they have a new one somewhere else. The plan was to show Jonesy in particular that TT is not an unrealistic pipe dream and to give the lad a goal for next year.

Hightower with a small child's bike

At the shop a very healthy group gathered and it was good too see Nathan who was the proud recipient of his cubs cycling badge today in honour of his attention seeking accident. The bike he's stood by is a normal size for an adult and in fact one of those very popular Boardman's.

To the route and my word some of the lads were quick tonight. I wasn't, I was pretty much the slowest but the thing about TT or the race or truth is that you're only really competing with yourself. The course is about a strava segment all of it's own well it's a few actually with different start points. 

Here you go I'm a very hopeless 169th out of 188 but...that's a PR for me, so I improved. It's baby steps but I used to trundle around struggling to average 15mph so it's getting better and that's all any of us want isn't it?  Definitely need a lot more before I try this for real but I think next season is a realistic goal and I truly hope Jonesy will join me. I also have to do it because I have family history to live up to. In the 1930s my Grandad, Alan Lindsley, rode a100 mile time trial on a fixed cog steel bike in under 6 hours. We're spoilt with all our equipment these days, those lads back then really were hard men of the road.

Meanwhile the club whizz kids were smashing it. Andy (mention) on his Boardman dream machine and as if to prove a point Steve on his Aluminium winter bike really tore it up and Greg was pretty special too. I hope they have a go for real because they can do well.

By all accounts everyone is pretty ruined tonight. My legs feel pretty stiff so I guess vroom did it's job. I'm going to miss the club rides and especially the people of C&DCYCLES CC. I am however determined on my return from Australia to keep trying as hard as I can. Who knows one day I'll be able to keep up with Steve.

Our leader

Happy Pedaling

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Amazing Sunday Super Steve Mystery Tour

Wow! Just wow! What a great Sunday ride with the lads and lasses of C&DCYCLES CC. Sunday as stated is not a beginner ride like Saturday but a longer ride where we aim to go as quick as the group allows but always observing rule 1 - no man or woman or indeed Bod gets left behind.

I left home in one of those last minutes dashes. So it didn't help when I encountered James and Darren going for a run. These two super heroes are instructors at Rothwell Jado, a superb martial art which my kids have unfortunately given up. Sam didn't really get it and Niamh decided to prioritise Athletics and Gymnastics where she excels. This was a bit of a relief to us as they both do so much. However I must give Jado a further plug, if your looking for a martial art to get your kids into I think it's very very good. A bit more on James and Darren: these two have recently completed the three peaks challenge of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon. They also did this mad yoga thing of about a billion sun salutations, all for charity. You get the picture. Good lads!

A big group greeted me at the shop and right from word go the social media tarts were fishing for blog mentions. So for fairness you all get a mention now. The group was Chris B, Olly, Neil, Rich W, Ken, Tony, Teresa, Heather, Iain, Steve, Frank, Paul K and me.

We started at a furious pace. Big Steve and his impressive Boardman dragging us in his wake. If we'd kept that up the whole ride would've taken about 3 hours. I felt great for about 25 miles and then the pace got to me. After that I struggled  to keep up but still managed an average over 16, which is good for me.

Bit of a stop

The rest of the group

Gran Fondo Jerseys

Olly and Teresa were sporting Gran Fondo Jerseys which you qualify to buy if you've completed the Strava challenge. Today was a potential day for me to complete the 80 miles as it should have been nearly 70 by the time I got home. Even today I'd have managed another 10 miles. That's all great unless you've been a dufus and forgotten to start you Strava until Windmill Avenue. I've consoled myself that those Jerseys are very pricey and I couldn't justify the cost. Bloody nice though.

Point of interest

Action shot

Another action shot

 I'm grateful to others today for helping me on the ride. The epic dash drafting Neil to catch the group was great fun. Iain also gave me a great drag to a Warkton where I have my traditional lull. Prize of the day goes to Chris who helped me out of Islip pushing with one hand whilst still riding himself. He did admit he was after my jelly beans. Anyway thanks lads.

Back at the shop it was time for very welcome tea and cake. I must admit I was ruined. I did have enough energy to take snaps of Mrs Lindsley's dream bike. She has her eyes on this classic red shopper and would like a basket on the front. Not for us Mamil's but  really think it would suit her!

Red Bike


Finally there is some concern that whilst I'm in Australia there will be no blog and worse still no cake from Lee. Well lads there will be no cake from us but there will be something to blog I promise. I can't believe it's 5 sleeps until we fly. Even more unbelievable is that Olly knew nothing about our trip to Queensland. I'm sure I'd mentioned it! What won't be necessary is the contraption below which Steve and Chris felt I could use on the plane.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Saturday C&DCYCLES CC: Pitsford Classic

This is and probably always will be my favourite ride of the week. There is nothing new about the route but it's a great route so hey if it's not broken don't fix it! Andy (mention 1) took the fast group and I led the traditional ride or banter bunch. We may not have had the blistering pace of the Boardman brigade but for a group with a newbie in it I think we did exceptionally well. Without the puncture (not me for a change,) we'd have been back at the shop way before 11. My tailgunner was Stuart so big thanks to him for helping with today's ride. The rest of the group rode sensibly with good communication and in good spirits. You can't ask for more. Apart from the puncture the only other issue we had was a Mr Tumble moment. One of those can't get out of the pedals in time calamities we've all had at some point. Luckily the rider in question landed almost gracefully on the grass verge and no harm was done!

Great colour

My pre-ride breakfast this morning was the above concoction. That's a beetroot, banana and apple smoothie, it's whizzed up with whole milk and was as the evidence below shows, delicious. Now many of you may have heard of the cramp preventing qualities of beetroot so I thought I'd give this a go. I had my usual post ride cramp on the sofa about half an hour ago so I guess it doesn't work. Perhaps I should try it on a day where I haven't had half a dozen pints of homebrew the night before!


Back to the ride and as I said we had a puncture and sensibly the group decided to find some safe space in Lamport to wait for the unlucky rider.

Clive taking a break - that's blackcurrant not smoothie in the other bottle

Excellent Velominati rule adherence: Rule 80: Always be casually deliberate

The beautiful Northamptonshire landscape

Back at the shop it was time for tea, cake and banter. Mrs Lindsley, the queen of cakes, made beetroot cake which, I think is one of her best and is at least the equal of her Guinness cake. I grated three of four beetroots kindly donated from an allotment for this cake. You can all guess where the other one went! There was another cake too from, the cafe over the road. That was nice too but it goes without saying that Lee's was the best. There was also a new tea pot which had the added advantage of not spilling everywhere. The only dribble now is from Rich who seems to have the image of Wellies burned onto his brain.

The cake

Shiny new non dribbly tea pot

The final word this week goes to the Brownlee brothers on their efforts in the individual and team triathlon's. Gold and Silver on Thursday and then Gold in the team event today. That's immense. Then check out the bikes they are riding. Yep, those are Boardman's as sold at C&D Cycles and as ridden by shop manager and club founder Andy. Great to hear that so many others have made that investment. You might not need a great bike to be a great rider but if you can afford one I really can't see why you wouldn't. I'm even more reassured by the advice given by Andy and Chris on these dream machines and here's why: my cousin went to buy one last week and was advised not to at this stage. Yes that's right the shop turned down money and sold him a cheaper bike. You really know you can trust a place that does something like that.

Brilliant pair...those Brownlee's are quite good too

That's my last Saturday club ride before we go to Australia. I'm sorry if I've gone on a bit about that. However it's the trip of a lifetime (although I doubt it's a one off,) and I'm really excited about it. I'd also recommend people watch John Bishop's programme on cycling in Oz. I can't believe I'm going to be there this time next week!

Happy Pedaling

Monday, 21 July 2014

Commute with an old new tyre

Ok so the idea of documenting a whole year of rides seemed great in January and I have had a jolly good ride all over the county and as the original blog title suggested beyond! However finding things to write about on my 5 mile commute is becoming an increasing challenge. Yes I went up bunker hill, yes I had a go at finish hard and yes I braved the cycle routes of Kettering. What else can I say?

Well there's my tyre issue. This morning I swapped off that trashed GP 4 season for the perfectly good 23mm gatorskin it replaced. It took me no time at all and once again I got the tyre back on without a tyre lever. I'm getting way too much practice at that!

On my way home tonight I met Steve around Glendon, no idea what he shouted but I extended greetings in his general direction before a thought occurred to me...hang on I'm riding into a head wind the wrong way down finish hard and Steve has just thrashed his big ring down my obsession. Hang on...finish hard...tail wind? I'm having some of that. So I chucked a U-ey at blue bridge and had another crack at it. What a waste of time, I didn't make a dent on my previous best. Sometimes I wished I never discovered strava!

There have been concerns that there will be no blog whilst I'm in Oz (11 days!) Well fear not I have plans. Firstly there are bikes at my sisters I can take for a spin, so an explore is on the cards. Then when the queen of cakes and I have a few days to ourselves in Sydney w're planning on visiting these blokes:

As well as that I feel that C&DCYCLES really has no presence down under and that needs to change, never fear Emperor and Lord Vader I will spread the name of the greatest bike shop in the galaxy! Plus I have stiff competition for the best C&DCYCLES photo from a far away place. So Australia Zoo, the Gold Coast, Stradey Island, Sydney Opera House you name it, it's happening! Of course I've not talked about this before so you'll all be amazed about my holiday of a lifetime!

The only downer is my mates at C&DCYCLES CC will be riding in the biggest sportive going at Ride London. I do have some jealousy over this bit at the same time I really can't complain. Would I swap places with any of them? No! I do want to do this ride next year though. They have a team sponsor page. If you can contribute please do, it's a great cause they're riding for:

Happy pedalling 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

C&DCYCLES CC Sunday ride: great ride, superbly led by Andy 'Mountain Goat,' Brown

On the way out of K town

Sundays are the clubs longer more challenging rides and as such this ride completely fitted the bill. Planned and led by Andy Brown we took in parts of Rutland we can't get to on a 30 miler and boy was it tough. Over 3000ft of climbing in 50 miles made this route worthy of a sportive. It was a route suited to Andy B as C&DCYCLES CC resident mountain goat. Less so the downhill specialists like me or Jonesy but due to the law 'what goes up must come down!' There was plenty to keep us interested.

The group comprised of Andy, Rob (with the beard,) Tony, Justin, Steve, Neil, Martin and me. Again we worked well together, lots of communication (although people are still pointing away from not towards obstacles,) and rule 1 was firmly observed.

Spanhoe war memorial

Explanatory sign

One of the points of interest was the war memorial at Spanhoe. It was also one of those catchup points after a series of hills. Plenty of other groups out today and lots to lust after as a group with Bianchi, Pinarello and Colnago's whipped past with that unique sound of expensive carbon. Still, no Boardman's or Forme's the classless buffoons!

The boys


Welland Valley Viaduct

After another series of ups and downs we went under the viaduct, quite an impressive feature and just when I thought we'd have a few flat miles BOOM we were up a monster out of Seaton. At the top was the very inviting looking George and Dragon pub plus big Steve, who never switched out of big ring like the machine he is, found somewhere nice to sit down.

My goodness I could murder a pint

Look even Steve needed a sit down

We headed towards Uppingham up more hills. Were we in the Alps? Steve needed to stop at the garage aptly it was a jet because in addition to those legs of steel he was enjoying curry powered jet propulsion.

Steve was jet powered by last nights vindaloo

Not a shop we need

Out of Uppingham the view over the Welland valley was stunning at times. I stopped to take this snap shortly before a hairy experience! As I set off down the hill of a resurfaced road I encountered a tractor which took up the width of the road. Evasive action required, a bit of a skid plus some off road saved the day. The tractor carried on apparently undisturbed.

Amazing view

Suits you sir!

Steve, whose crown as the Prince of Profanity unearthed a gem. Hare pie anyone? Apparently that's popular at this farm! A few more hills and someone noticed my rear tyre. I'm not sure if the incident with the tractor caused the big gash or not I have to say this is par for the course for my 'upgraded' contis. I've never had this issue with gators. Lord Vader aka Andy at C&DCYCLES has already told me not to worry the shop will replace the tyre and then take it up with the company. Many thanks for this. Once again we are spoiled by excellent service.

Gash horror!

I think we killed Jonesy

Was that the end of the hills? No of course not! I was a bit tentative for the last few miles because I felt the rear tyre was a bit of a risk. The icing on the cake as far as our overspun legs were concerned were the hills through Dingley, onto to Braybrooke, up to the Desborough Road and then Thorpe Malsor rather than the QOM hill into Harrington. They say a change is as good as a rest. Not for most of us. We were knackered. Even Andy looked out of breath as we joined Harrington Road. I left the lads at Rothwell and hope they survived Bunker Hill ok. I'd done it already getting to the shop and there's no way I was doing that beast again.

What a ride! Thanks Andy. That was a splendid route and you performed leader duties perfectly. I'm looking forward to your next ride but for now I really need a sit down!

Happy pedalling

Ps Steve I can't find 'go like the clappers' on you tube!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Soggy, flaccid rubber, cake and well studied can only be the C&DCYCLES Saturday club ride!

Today it was hot, hot and wet. To quote a magnificent film : "that's nice if you're with a lady it ain't no good in the jungle!" For those not familiar with Robbin Williams at his very best click here:

My day started as it meant to go on. I washed my gloves yesterday so they'd lost that gone off vinegar smell you get from repeated wearing and sweaty days. Instead of bringing them in with the rest of the washing I left them on the decking table to put with the rest of my kit for the morning! Then I forgot...what a fwit!

Soggy Gloves

On arrival at C&D Cycles, you know who asked me to lead the slow ride. I reminded him we don't have a slow ride and Mark, who made many excellent contributions to the day renamed it the 'banter' ride. Once the cavalcade of expensive lycra and Italian carbon had left we were left as the smaller of the two groups. My group was Mark, Rich, Rob, Rob, Paul, John and Simon. I have to say lads you were a pleasure to lead. Excellent communication, safe riding, helping each other and above all a good spirit.

Today's route is a corker. Out of Kettering on the crater filled Rockingham Road, Glendon, Rushton, Desborough, Braybrooke (over the river Jordan,) Market Harborough, East Farndon taking in the challenging climb that is East Farndon Hill, Clipston and then it should have been Kelmarsh but like last year the road was closed for the history event.

So we took in another good hill to Naesby past Fairfax's viewing platform and the obelisk on the site of the windmill. If you don't know about all that then check out a blog I did earlier this year.

Going up Naesby Hill Mark noted that I was getting some funny noises from Clive, it was the dreaded hiss, hiss, hiss that indicates a puncture. However when we stopped my tyre seemed fine, until we moved again and pop my tyre was instantly flacid. Another puncture, good grief I'm seriously not impressed with these GP 4season tyres! What happened next was a total clown show. Without the aid of he who must not be named we really are a shambles. The first inner tube I tried was useless. It was one I'd repaired from before as I hadn't replaced the tube I used last week yet. As is our way Rich gave me a new inner tube to use and as is right I bought him one back when we got back to C&DCYCLES. Then we tried about five mini pumps before getting any success. .The ridiculous way that pumping mimics masturbation had Rich in stitches but then it appears he rivals Big Steve for the title of team filth monger. It reminded me of this:

Swiss Tony

Look at that handsome young man

I'm disappointed you missed the wink Rich

When we eventually got going again it was off down boomshanka Lane past the Buddhist retreat, the Kelmarsh, Harrington, Rothwell and back to Kettering. On our way we encountered the short, sharp shock that is Bunker Hill. I ride this Hill most days and it's very hard. My best speed up the segment is 13.8mph. Bewilderingly David White has gone up it at 22mph. I have no idea how he did that!

Bunker Hill looking down

Back at the shop we were treated to my wife's magnificent Guinness cake. The queen of cakes surpasses herself with this one. Although all of her cakes are good and saying ones better than another is as futile as an argument about who's better: Ironman or Batman (it's Ironman though.) the cake was so well received I heard Ken swear for the first time ever as he expressed his gratitude. 

There was also the news that my Uncle and Cousin had been into buy road bikes. I'd like to see cuz join the club. Although it might be a bit early in the morning for him ;) love you Iain!

Amazing cake

Finally the banter reached gargantuan levels. Rich in particular became obsessed with a pair of wellys. These were quite new boots and didn't look overused. Really I think he should concentrate on something more seasoned. Never the less these were fine Wellys. Such was Rich's fervour for the 
rubber footwear I heard two words I thought would never issue from Steve's mouth. "Calm down," I nearly passed out from the shock!

There's been a delay in writing this blog due to a killer attack of cramp. No sympathy please. After a two week break from beer I got back off the wagon in style. That plus he humid conditions and spinning up the hills contributed to the dreaded leg lock! Another lesson I need to learn. 

I'm hoping to get out again tomorrow for the Sunday ride. I loved cycling today, so much that I had a great big grin on my face when I got home.

Happy pedalling!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Ride to work will save the world!

So I did some research and it turns out that cycling to work has boosted the UK economy massively during the recession. Firstly cycle sales and repairs provides millions of pounds to the economy. Cyclists take less days off sick reducing staffing costs and burden on the NHS. Reduced pollution emissions is better for the environment AND means we spend less on reducing the impact. Sustrans have worked out that dedicated cycle tracks are the only transport link that makes money rather than adds pressure to local and national economies. So next time a fwit in a fiesta abuses you with some road tax nonsense the reply is simple: "desist you ridiculous buffoon and I'm endeavouring to
enhance your health and well being!"

Get lost filthy cars!

I'm loving the influence if the blog this week. Andy (Brown,) decided to ride to work after reading the blog and Olly came to vroom because of the Saturday blog. Two more cyclists saving the world!

Happy pedalling

Ps to make Andy from C&DCYCLES super happy Lee is making her famous Guinness cake for Saturday. If that doesn't get you out then nothing will!


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Vroom Wednesday - Pitsford Reverse

You can't beat a bit of Vroom Wednesday and 16 C&DCC members attending is a fantastic turnout. If you add the two routes together you get the full Pitsford reverse. As it was vroom we do expect to go quicker but at the same time the primary rule of C&DCC is observed "no one gets left behind."

Jonesy was our leader tonight but bless him he hasn't recovered from his ankle knock and wasn't up for it. So we all helped out a bit and as it's a well ridden route we did ok. I did a lot of hanging back and then catching up which means my average was down but I got 31 trophies. I'm very happy with

On the ride tonight I was pleased to do some more catching up with old friends. Richard and Teresa were back and I tried not to drool over that Pinarello Dogma but wow just wow.  I still love Clive though. On that I'm disappointed no-one noticed the sponsor's name on my bike. Good to catch up with Ollie too and I don't think we've seen Phil 'the beast' Broxton for a while. He was of course at his athletic best. The rest of the group was a mix of regulars and relative newbies. All good people and no issues. So thanks all for coming along and enjoying the ride.

I felt the need to tell the KitKat story today so this seemed appropriate decoration

Action shot

Lovely to see peeping Tom back out with us!

Andy couldn't join us tonight which is a shame. He was out today on his own build 9.8. The bike just looks fast standing still, when he gets used to it all the KOM's for miles are at risk. I'm sure a tow behind that tonight would have been a real pleasure.

Finally kudos to Northampton for getting it's own version of the London Boris bikes. I wonder how long it will be before someone takes one on a crazy challenge. Rocky Hill anyone?

Northampton bikes

Happy pedalling

Monday, 14 July 2014

Commute, excellent service, lard and some twonkers

Ok so it was standard commute time again today. Well standard except I nibbled up another place on my target segment and now bewilderingly I'm 4th on the ridiculous sprint section that is finish hard. Hopefully I can find another notch and make a top three. That would be rare company indeed for me. I also better do it quick before those Boardman's unleash on the segment.

On arrival at work I crossed the number 14 off on my Oz countdown board and unbelievably there are just two more Mondays at work before we go to Brisbane. When we committed to save for this
holiday three years ago it didn't feel real. Now it's as real as Saints being the English champions.

A quick change and then I got Clive up to Andy at C&DCYCLES for some tinkering. Things were clicking and clunking so frankly he needed a once over. I dropped Clive off at 9:30 and picked him up at 4:30. My little longcliffe is now super smooth and good as new. Great work as ever Andy and by way of thanks Mrs Lindsley will provide cakes for the Saturday CLUB ride.

Not quite me

As ever I'm thinking of ways to improve my equipment and on that score I've taken a look in the mirror and realise the best upgrade I can make is to me. I've been battling the lard since I realised trying to bulk up for Rugby really wasn't necessary anymore. At my heaviest I've been a shade under 16stone. Right now I'm 14st 5lbs under ideal conditions, I think most fellow fatties will realise I mean first thing, after my morning 'routine,' and before I've had anything to eat or drink. For the last few years, despite having cycling in my life I've yo- yo'd between 15 and 13 and a half stone. Like the rest
of the world I tried 5:2 and it does work but I didn't like it with cycling. The most effective thing I've done is My Fitness Pal and that's what I'm back on. It works for me because I monitor what I eat but also because anything I burn on the bike I can add to my daily allowance. So if I want a few beers and a pizza, I need to get some quality miles in. Anyway I think 13 is my magic number and I'm determined to get there.

On my return home I decided to try the Northfield Avenue cycle paths. They're not bad actually, quite a bit smoother than the roads. The total twonkers on cheap 'mountain' bikes I shared the path with were however a bit disappointing. These helmet less buffoons were weaving all over the place, kerb hoping and a menace to other vehicles. At one point they shot across the road with the last sliding sideways as he locked up in the path of an oncoming car. More candidates for Darwin awards.

There is however a highlight on this route in the rather amusing advice from KBC. It really could be a mantra to live by!

Happy pedalling

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Bonus blog, saddle bag or not?

So rule #29 of velominati is that saddle bags have no place on road bikes. I've personally broken that rule a lot and more recently I've adhered to it. You'll see from this link that not even the velominati creator actually sticks to it.

So what's the issue? Bags are not cool. They spoil the beautiful lines of our bikes. They also rattle, or at least the bits in them do. We like our bikes to look good and we also like them to sound good. Like the Evans advert says, we're a weird bunch (local bike shops are available.)

Here's my very simple solution. It's one of Chris and Andy's little bags. The pictures tell you all you need to know. Now you'd think Andy would approve, as another back pocket man but apparently not. "What's that?" He said in a disgusted tone. Then Claire said it would give me a sweat rash to which Andy added "we're only thinking of you!"

Free jersey pack provided by my local bike shop

Nice pocket size, 50p added for scale

You can buy an official cycling jersey caddy sack for about a tenner. They're £6.84 in both Halfords and Wiggle so I guess two of the big three are playing price matching games. It's PVC so frankly it's just as sweaty as my carrier bag so they don't care about Andy and Claire's rash paranoia either!

Ooh caddy sack

Big Steve has a surprisingly elegant solution as he bought a pencil case from wilkos for £4.99. It's like the one below except it's more Everton blue like our C&DCYCLES jerseys. Andy was impressed with this and joked that they shoulda get a job lot and have C&DCYCLES embroidered on next door, then sell them for a tenner. If you think that's steep check out the Rapha link below!
Big Steve's solution

Perhaps putting this ridiculous argument to be we should turn to our most athletic rider, Phil 'the beast' Broxton. The beast is without doubt our most accomplished endurance rider. His specialism is Audax and he's been smashing the miles all year on monster rides. Have you seen the size of his saddlebag? It's as huge as his stamina.

Not Phil's actual bike or bag but it's like it and he also has a Brooks saddle

Not content with what goes on at our club I did some googling (other search engines are available but then I also Hoover with a Dyson so who cares.) The  very first link I followed was one about carrying your gun on a bike! I also found out how to carry a suit on a bike. Very important in that London apparently. There were arguments about what you should carry and the whole 'should you,' 'shouldn't you,' debate. There's a link to a Rapha pack more expensive than my tyres and some other bits and bobs. Have a click and see for yourself.

Right well I hope I haven't bored you all into thinking Grease II (currently infecting my telly,) is entertainment rather than a not so subtle form of torture. I'm sticking to my trusty placky bag and for rides where I want more stuff I'm going to use a saddle bag.

Happy pedalling.

Ps surely that was enough mentions Andy?