Sunday, 30 November 2014

Steve's Sunny Sunday Sufferfest

So it was Sunday and therefore we shift to Steve's ride. Sunday, whilst being inclusive is a longer and faster ride to Saturday. Steve does a great job organising and leading these rides but as he's not very IT competent we all have to guess where he's taking us. What he lacks in GPS mapping knowledge he more than makes up for with his actual knowledge of local roads and these routes never disappoint.

Disappointingly you can't see the graffiti the local wags have added in Finedon. To be fair there's little to do there apart from abusing cyclists. Which is what happened when an old codger started giving it large at us. He had plenty of space to get past our stopped group but I guess the fogged up windows and lack of lights meant he couldn't see properly. We got the obligatory 'single file,' ignorant comments and as he got past the verbal abuse was ramped up. A word of advice would be, it's possibly best not to swear at a copper. I do hope he was able to get his Sunday Mail without further hindrance, it would be a shame if he didn't get to top up those ignorance levels.

Talking 'five oh' Nathan displayed shocking disregard to our groups sartorial elegance! I had to wash my eyes after being exposed to that top.

It was at this point that Nathan and Claire decided to go off and do their own thing. I don't blame them. Steve, as is now customary on Sunday had set a blistering pace. It definitely was not a good place for someone who hadn't ridden for a while.

The mega monster himself continued that blistering pace. At one point he was dragging us uphill at over 20mph. I was never going to last like that and after about 40 miles I started to drop off a lot and every hill suddenly became a mountain. Others were feeling the same way, coming into Kettering I shared with Nat and Andy that I was exhausted, they feel the same way too. Nat blamed Steve's jelly beans but hey that's just another club 'in-joke'. I'm not disappointed with myself, I think a few months ago I wouldn't have kept up as long as that, so in a way it's progress.

The pictures and video do not seem to do justice to what a stunning day it was. It was also great to get to some more new places as we ventured into Bedfordshire. It was also another great route by Steve. Possibly the ultimate highlight was finding ourselves back in the familiarity of Raunds, the first time for over an hour that I knew where I was!

I was on a bit of a mission to get home as we were going out for lunch at 1pm. Well it all worked out and once again we were treated to top quality food at the Hare in Loddington. I was a bit disappointed though because I previously had some exquisite pie there, I fancied a bit more but today it wasn't on the menu. Nice roast pork and some good ale were ample compenstion though. During the desserts it was no surprise that I had a cramp attack. As per usual I had to do a few laps of the car park to get back to normal. More signs, I guess, that I got a good workout today.

Well that's it, I'm hoping to ride again before next weekend but I might have to settle for a turbo session.

Happy pedaling

Ps I can't believe I forgot this! Joining us for part of the ride today was Phil 'the beast' Broxton. Phil broke off from us near Kimbolton because he "needed" to ride 200kms today. Phil is a very accomplished endurance rider who is always a joy to ride with. I'm looking forward to checking his highly athletic Strava data later. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Saturday Club Ride - Pitsford Classic

Well, what a lovely day! My ride today was started by Steve coming to call for me with his Christmas lights and mudguards on. To be fair there was a lot of mudguard action today but there was even more blinking red LEDs as we strive to be safe and seen. That was also the last I saw of Steve as he led the fast group and I took the banter bunch.

Mill Lane - a lovely old road

The pic above shows how effective these rear modern lights are. I tested my new knog at home last week and had red spots in front of my eyes for about half an hour! You'll also see a lot on the video that the front flasher was doing a grand job. Safety is paramount on a bike and at this dull time of year as much lighting and reflection as you can get is definitely the way to go. Mill Lane for me is one of the best cycling roads in Northants, we have a lot of quiet country roads like this and for that I think we should be thankful

Out of Old

For safety reasons we tinkered with the route this morning. Instead of going to the A508 and up to Brixworth we decided to go accross to Old and through to Scaldwell. It still bewilders me that the hill into Scaldwell shows as a cat 4 on Strava.

We had some lovely riding today as it stayed dry. The roads feel a bit heavy and they are sludgy in places so it's not as nice as Summer riding. It is however good to get out - A bad day cycling will always beat a good day at work (unless you cycle for a living and then you are a very lucky person!)  

On first look I thought this said Tourette's - the ideal bike for Rich or Steve

Wendy looks wistful as I take a snap of the bicycle made for two 

Back at the shop we were again treated to tea and cake. Andy and Chris look after us well and the other lads have taken to watching the bikes so it all works well. I still tried not to stay too long though because you get cold and then getting back on the bike is uncomfortable. I had a chuckle at the tandem, firstly for my silly thought about the name and then the wonder if my wife would like a go on a tandem. Probably not, we have a different idea about fun however she does make the most awesome cakes.

On the way home I was reflecting on this blog and the direction I want to take it. In the new year there are going to be some changes. I want it to be more organised and also to partly get back to my original intention of showcasing our local cycling. I'm hoping to divide it up into route blogs, equipment blogs, sportives and charity rides and of course club rides. I'd still like to turn the route stuff into a book but I also wondered about creating an app which we could use as a resource for recording routes and organising rides. I also have another book in mind called "the cycle of attachment," to share my family's generational experience of cycling and how that story defines the Lindsleys.

Bet you weren't expecting that today!

Hoping the forecast is right and we can smash some super Steve Sunday miles tomorrow.

Happy pedalling

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Steve's 'sharp as a tennis ball' Soggy Sunday Slipathon!

The sign made famous by the inbetweeners and most apt today, to be out in this you had to be a...

Well we knew it might be bad this morning as the forecast was terrible but the real decider on a deluge was the fact that the despicably hideous nincompoop Neil Hickford decided not to ride with us! The plan was for a quick 50 and as usual on a Sunday the route only existed in Steve's head. It wasn't quite the massive group we had on remembrance Sunday but there was still a healthy sized group of weather hardy lycra loonies. What's more they are a great bunch and as usual the banter, filth and fast show quotes flowed. Big shout to Rob Campbell for bring the Jelly Babies and as agreed I won't mention your backpack as a result!

Backpack backpack...

So we set off. Steve took us up the climb from Gypsy Lane to Great Cransley. It's hard enough on a dry day but the roads were already more puddle than tarmac. From Cransley we headed to Broughton, through Orlingbury and then onto Harrowden. I have no idea why but I decided to have a crack at segment chasing and steamed into the Lamby Dodger which takes you to the roundabout at Harrowden. Predictably I didn't make a dent on my PR but I'm happy with a second best time in the wet. From there we headed towards Sywell and then off to Wilby then down Cut Throat Lane off to Woolaston then Irchester through Wellingborough at the embankment then Finedon, Burton past Weetabix, Polwell Lane, Wickies and back to the shop.

Even though we were there earlier than usual Chris got the kettle on and we mopped up the last of the Guinness cake - thanks again magnificent wife. I wasn't happy with my pathetic rear light, a bit of a Halfords special from a time when I lacked enlightenment. So I purchased a cracking knog blinder. Now my rear end is well illuminated to match the one23 supernova on the front.

Stopping at the shop, no matter how welcome was a bit of a schoolboy error. Putting my helmet and gloves back on was horrible. By the time I was on the bike I was shivering to bits and it was quite an uncomfortable 20 minutes back to my home. Having made the mistake before I made sure I was fully warm before I got in the shower, it can be painful and the key is to wait until your bits and bobs get back to their normal size! However it was time to forget about my sporting endeavors and concentrate on my heroes.

So back at the house I did a quick tidy and got the soup on the go. Lee and Sam got in and a very muddy supersam told me he scored a try - good lad, he's a hero too. Rich popped round to pick up his Guinness cupcakes and as he's a good lad he brought Lee some pink wine - girls like that sort of thing! I had the telly on and the sky sports app on the ipad so I could watch both Saracens v Saints - Come on you Saints and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - come on Lewis! No one let me down and the champions put the fez heads in their place and Hamilton is the F1 World Champion.

Right that will do, the poor dogs have been waiting for me to take them out since I got up at 5 (it was way too exciting a day to waste in bed!)

Happy Pedalling

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Saturday Social Ride - My birthday weekend

The day after my 44th birthday and many people asked me would I be doing anything special? The answer is yes, because it's the weekend and for me every weekend is special. I'm spoiled and frankly I think my life is brilliant. The best bit is the support my wife gives me which means I get to spend the weekend doing lots of things I want and the thing I want is to spend Saturday and Sunday getting some good miles in on my bike.

Lets go back to Friday though. I had some serious birthday spending power in the form of cash and C&D vouchers. I decided to indulge myself with a new helmet. I wasn't sure what to get but thought I'd stick a team SKY KASK on my head to see how it felt. Well it felt great so that was an easy decision. £120 (minus club discount,) is a lot more than you need to spend on a helmet but if you do, a bit like buying other expensive gear, it doesn't half feel good! However when I got home I went to put my heavier less comfortable helmet in the bin, it's made it to the bin but isn't yet in! I can't do it. That trusty GIRO lid has served me well since 2005, we've done so much together. I think I'm going to have to turn it into some sort of cycling memorabilia art! I also needed to get new C&D bib shorts because my old ones are well used and nearing retirement and also because I wanted the ones with the British Cycling branding. The club is allowed to use this due to being members. I'm sure Andy and Chris are rightly proud of this and getting it on the kit is wholly appropriate. Then it was just some bits and paying for the new tyre I had last weekend.

My old helmet, near but not in, the bin!

In the shop Andy asked if I could lead the social ride as he had romantic interests to pursue (good for him, I hope it goes well mate - you deserve it!) He also asked for a route and suggested my Sibbertoft loop. No problem that was just a matter of recycling from Map My Ride and I posted it on the shop page. Unfortunately Steve who was leading the fast group hadn't seen it so we had to do a quick recap at the shop. Despite my very specific instructions they still managed to go the wrong way and add a monster hill to an already undulating ride. Claire made a good suggestion. It is hard to find the route on the shop page and we should dual post it to the club page where it will be more obvious. Point noted Claire, I'll do that in future. What I will ask of others though is this, if someone has posted a route, have a look and if you have time make sure you know it. Better still if you have the right GPS gizmo, upload it.

Due to that investment in a new gator I had a puncture free ride. Others weren't so lucky and we had barely got out of Kettering before Marie needed a new tube. "Give it to  Rich," they said "he's had lots of practise with punctures..." cheers everyone! It's true however and even with the 74 year old superhero, Stuart, with us, I'm probably still the most experienced tyre changer. Marie didn't have a spare but that never stops us and Michael donated his. Marie did the right thing and replaced this back at the shop. Michael now has a spare not bought from the devil (see below.) Marie also wanted us to leave her...we don't do that! Rule 1: no one gets left behind...rule 2: always follow rule 1.

Yes that does say Halfords

The rest of the ride passed without incident. Again there's a video with the ride highlights for you all to see which can never be surpassed simply by words. Things of interest on the ride were that Stuart at 74 can still kick all our butts; Alison is able to take being teased about her excessive clothing more suited to a South Pole ride than an average November day; and finally that everyone can have a bad day with the super fit Simon Astrop blowing up coming out of Rushton. I'd like to thank my group once again for being an absolute pleasure. We just need to keep working at the communication and we will really will have this group riding thing cracked.

New bags in the shop

You should join the club

Alison's beautiful new steed - not fitted for Arctic conditions

The world famous Guinness cake provided by the most magnificent Mrs Lindsley

New lid

New club bib shorts with the British Cycling branding

Very necessary new cleats

You can never have enough GT85

Back at the shop we were treated to tea and more importantly cake from my talented wife. My gears were a bit out and without quibble Chris agreed to having a tinker, he sorted it quickly and also got Ross to tighten up the cassette, it felt a lot better on the trip home so thanks again for a fantastic service.

Thta's it. I'm hoping for better weather than last Sunday so I can get out for one of Steve's mystery tours. As Neil isn't joining us the weather is already jinxed but hey did I mention it was my birthday? Surely mother nature won't be unkind. Enjoy the video.

Happy Pedalling

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Saturday club ride - The Fast Show

I thought I wouldn't do this until 2015 but once the leaders were announced for the Saturday club rides I thought that's it...I'm having a crack at the fast group. This goes against the grain of what I've been saying about Saturday being about the club and Sunday being my day for personal goals. I did however think Claire would do a great job of leading the banter bunch and that others would help her. As far as I know that's exactly how things panned out in the other group.

 I was up by half six and feeling a bit stiff in the back I made sure I did my Pilates before breakfast. Really I should do this every morning, it takes 5 minutes and it makes a big difference to my back. Also it strengthens my core and all cyclists should do this type of work. Kit was on and I got the bike out ready to leave at quarter past and there was a flat back tyre again! I changed it as quick as I could but all of a sudden I was leaving at half past to join a ride in fifteen minutes and the journey to the shop usually takes me twenty. Oh well it was a good warm up for what was to come and I whipped past the shop with the banter bunch pointing up the road and caught the quickies at the lights!

So I just carried on hoping I was up to it. Once again there were compliments about my weight loss and I have to say I'm really noticing the benefit. Today was big evidence because although I found it hard at times I never felt like I couldn't keep up. Going up the Brigstock Bumps final climb I got a shout "come on Rich drag me up here!" It was Rich McNab who I though had gone with the banter bunch so it was quite a surprise to see him. Cool though, he made a late decision to go with the quicks and had been on the back for ages. So I guess that means I hadn't been at the back much then!

I have some velominati rules of cycling infringements to discuss. The worst offender is Stuart who insists on wearing a camel back to ride a road bike. I've let this go for a few weeks but I can't hold my silence any longer. Rule #32 Humps are for camels no hydration packs.

oh...looks like I forgot the rule about frame mounted pumps!

Yes you Stuart!

OK joking aside let's talk about something serious. Steve's arse! Bear with me here I haven't developed a man crush for the Prince of Profanity's perfect posterior, I've just realised something very crucial to my own cycling development. Steve led this ride today like the road warrior he is. Most of us allowed him to pull us along which means he rode quick today and did the majority of work taking the headwind. If Phil is the 'beast' the Steve is a mega monster! So I've realised if I want to keep the average heading in the right direction I need to spend a lot more time keeping up with Steve and ultimately looking at his bum from the closest safe distance. With that in mind I chose my track for this weeks ride video.

Having kept up so well I was absolutely fed up when I got another puncture. Only Ken from the group heard my shout so we got left on our own. Massive thanks to Ken for staying with me and there are now a couple of bottles of the good stuff with your name on it! So more punctures? This is getting ridiculous. Back at the shop I had a decision to make and I decided to ditch my back tyre. To be fair it's done about 4000 miles so I've had my moneys worth. As there was no GP4S available I went for another gator but matched the sizes so I finally have two 25mm tyres. Close inspection of the old tyre revealed tonnes of little holes and most of these had sharp stones in them. So my guess is these have been intermittently working their way towards the tube and causing the issue. As ever great service from the shop and I guess I've started spending my birthday money already!

Back at the shop we were treated to some more cake genius from my wife, the Queen of cakes. This is her entry for the NCC bake off and if I was judging she'd win. Her famous Guinness cake got her through to the final so we'll see. People were asking for the recipe so here you go:


Well that's it for today but as you know tomorrow is Sunday and that means a bit further but thankfully not faster! We're going back up Neville Holt apparently. I'm guessing Steve's butt will disappear from view unless I'm on my very top form!

Happy Pedalling

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Filthy Franz

So I managed another off road commute today. This 29er malarkey still feels abit alien but...I bloody love it. Well it's cycling isn't it and it's a bit different so its livened up my journey to work.

Today was very muddy! This off road stuff is like that I understand. The worst bit was the Glendon to Rushton track which was just a big puddle in places. It was also dark but as you all know I have that very bright light. Talking of which the old one23 lit up several bunnies and a bambi in Weekly Woods. FG hThe j - sorry my dog Harvey is jealous of the iPad and decided to add to the blog. Anyway on my return home it was a rinse down for both Franz and I - no need to let standards slip!

Do you think I need a shower darling? 

I've solved my potential puncture problem the easy way with a bottle of Joe's no flats yellow gel. I know Stan's is a superior solution but this was only a tenner and as my tubes had removeable valve cores it was easy peasy. Being able to cycle over the rough stuff with confidence and a reduced fear of flats really does improve the cycling experience. Hopefully I can do it all again tomorrow!

Happy pedalling 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Steve's Super Sunday Smashing Remembrance Ride

My word what a brilliant ride this was! For starters this was a huge group for a Sunday ride. Steve picked a fantastic route visiting former WWII airfields at Chelveston, Kimbolton, Poletobrook and Grafton Underwood plus a bomber crash site between Oundle and Brigstock. A very fitting tribute ride to this very special Remembrance Sunday.

I've gone a bit picture mad but it was worth it given the places we visited and the beautiful day we had in contrast to yesterday. So that's two weekends in a row with polar opposite days! Steve being a mine of information took us to the surviving flying fortress hangar where apparently Errol Flynn was based. Then Steve's quote of the day: "he must have fathered loads of kids round here as he was a bit of a Lothario!" The Prince of profanity's capacity to surprise is always...erm a bit of a surprise.

Enjoy the pictures:

Nat gets mechanical assistance from ghost Neil

Monument at Chelveston

close up

Kimbolton airfield monument

Still Kimbolton

A conversation about topiary

Monument Polebrook

Massive hangar originally for B52s'

What a beautiful day

Lancaster Bomber Crash Site

Lovely little monument to the crew

Group gathers at Grafton Underwood

Monument to a massive airfield

Another group shot

Frank's magnificent moustache

On the ride, as usual the banter flowed and as usual there was a fair bit of smut. The Prince of Profanity lacking his usual rival was taken on by the Princess of Profanity in Nat. She's getting out of hand really and is trying way too hard to keep up with the lads! I won't elaborate though - what goes on the ride stays on the ride!

For me personally I think this was my best ride of 2014. We had some really group riding with a good peloton at times and safety was well observed. My legs had never felt stronger until they started to go at 50+ miles. I think the weight loss is starting to help and I'm also encouraged by some very kind comments about my shrinking girth.

Clive was filthy so I gave him a once over. This might not be the best thing to say but I've given up on specialist chain degreasers having discovered that GT85 does just as good a job for half the price. So rinse down, degrease and re-oil was the order of the day. It only takes ten minutes and is well worth the effort.

Finally a big shout to my Mum & Dad for a splendid Sunday lunch with a well deserved beer. They also took the dogs out for me so I could get on with this. Sam helped me edit the video and I was pleased to learn from him that the minis at KRFC observed a minutes silence too. Sam is now furiously promoting my youtube account in the hope that we will get rich on my bike videos!

I'm going to say it again: Steve that route was magnificent, thank you so much. I can't wait for next weekend!

Happy Pedalling

Saturday, 8 November 2014

C&DCC Saturday Social Ride 8th November 2014

It always is and always will be my favourite ride of the week. It's not the quickest or the longest but it's where the club started and I feel we should never lose sight of that. The route is one people have seen before, taking in the monster that is East Farndon Hill and was created by Jonesy.

Andy toddled off with the speed freaks and I led the social group with Jonesy as my tail gunner. I'm not sure how it was for the quicks but my group were superb. It certainly had more leaders than the two of us which really helps.

Andy and his special name badge

Back at the death star we were treated royally. Firstly the bikes were watched by the shop lads to prevent any thefts. Then a combo of Jonesy and Mrs Smith provided us with a plethora of very good cakes. More of this and Mrs Lindsley's crown of Queen of Cakes might slip. On that I informed Rich that Guinness cake had been made but not for him, he said publicly he would put on a brave face but would probably weep in private later.

Cake by Martin and Mrs Smith

The trouble with providing a video is you kind of know about the ride. So for interest I'm going to review some of my new kit. First of all I have a pair of seal skin waterproof socks. I think they're fantastic and certainly when paired with my overshoes it's very comfortable. It's also made me take the tape off the ventilation on my shoes which has added to the comfort. On a day like today that was all very welcome. So £25 is a lot for a pair of socks but these are a lot more than a pair of socks.

My other bit of kit is the Garmin Virb Elite camera. I like it a lot. Right now I have it on the handlebar mount, meaning it can be a bit bouncy at times or if I'm swerving around you'll get a bit seasick, I do like the functionality of it being on the bars though. I'll be interested to see Rob's chest mounted Go Pro footage for comparison. I did tease him at the shop about 'tit cam,' but it's all in good fun. I don't really want to start a Garmin v Go Pro war! One of the good things about the Virb is the chunky buttons making it easy to use even in gloves. So far so good. I hope others are enjoying the videos. I'm enjoying putting them together.

Not my actual camera - it can't take pictures of itself

Right well Steve has a special remembrance ride planned for tomorrow. Im looking forward to that, especially as there's still plenty of cake to refuel on.

Happy Pedaling