Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sunday 25th January - Brampton Valley Way, Merry Tom Lane, half of Pitsford Res and some tand...

It's two for the price of one day on the blog today. Two strava routes, because the Garmin went haywire in Oxendon tunnel and I needed to restart it (so much more reliable on my smart phone ;) ) Then I've done two videos because I wanted to record Brampton Valley Way as one video. There's bigger news than that though. My tyres were inflated when I got Franz out of the shed and they are still that way now.

This was the ride I planned to do last week and aborted due to those divorce risking tyre issues. It started with a spin to Market Harborough and took in a few icy patches but nothing too twitchy. The BVWwas heavy going today due to the muddy conditions. Pretty good training though as momentum was hard to come by, it was a bit like a 14 mile turbo trainer ride except this wasn't the road to nowhere it was the former train track to Northampton. It's a good ride but you have to be careful of dog walkers, other cyclists of varying difficulty and a variety of oblivious other users who seem shocked that someone else is going the same way! For completeness I decided to go all way to the start in Boughton crossing and then double back round the A5199 to take Merry Tom Lane through to Pitsford Reservoir, 

If the BVW was busy the Ressie was even worse. As well as joggers with their range of bewildering running styles (floppy arms, t-rex impressions and a lady who looked like her arms wished she was on a bike,) there was a plethora of loved up hand holding couples and family groups making sure they occupied the full width of the path. It wasn't annoying, I was having a great laugh. I was hoping one of the many anglers would get a fish as I went round but none of them decided to co-operate. 

By the time I made it back to the road I was knackered. My flagging legs were lifted by the tangle of tandems that kept me company through Scaldwell, Old and up Mill Lane. I've never seen four tandems in a group before so that was quite a treat. Apparently they meet once a month

By the time I got home I was a bit filthy. Franz got a hose down and all my kit including shoes went straight in the machine. I was so relieved to do 40+ miles without any tyre issues and I'm going to celebrate that fact by converting the back wheel to tubeless. Well I have my own compressor now, so it would be rude not mess about with things that are currently working completely fine.

Happy pedaling

Saturday, 24 January 2015

29er ride, some Brampton Valley Way loop

I don't feel like a long blog today. Bikes are annoying me! To overcome the issue that the tubeless conversion only worked on the front tyre, I put a tube with 'no flats' in it, back in the rear tyre. Well the tubeless tyre did great and the tyre with the tube went flat twice! It's still up now so I guess the 'no flats,' has decided to show up and do it's job. This all put me in a bad mood and as a consequence the 'queen of cakes,' asked Facebook if my MTB wheels were a grounds for divorce. So there's some pictures and a video have a look. Happy pedaling.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

I had a plan, the plan got broken...I changed the plan

Having announced my plan on Facebook to head to Market Harborough and then take the Brampton Valley Way to Pitsford, round the ressie and home, this will come as a surprise. It started bad, I made a poor decision and it got worse! Then I turned things round and well, it was a good day to be on a long as you avoided that shiny cold stuff!

The Sunday C&DCycles club ride was cancelled for safety reasons. It seems not all clubs called it the same way and I understand there's some bruised bodies around the county as a result. No criticism, you make your call and take your chances we all know the risks. A bad day on a bike will always beat a good day at work!

As a result I decided on some off road after midday on the theory that tracks are more grippy, off road tyres are more grippy and once the sun had been out it would get more grippy! Gripping stuff eh! I went to get Franz out of the shed and the depressing sight of that flat front tyre greeted me. I didn't get it, the thing is full of 'no flats' sealant and it stays up for weeks at a time. Anyway I went through the blow it up and spin it routine and after a couple of goes it felt OK again. Big mistake!

The first part of my route was a bit of exploration around Green Lane in Desborough. What a find! This is a great little track. Half way round Green Lane my front went flat again. No matter I know the score, the sealant just needs to take hold and hey I've got CO2 so this will be a doddle. I went from flaccid to hard faster than Pele can cash in on a blue pill advert and was underway again. As I finished Green Lane on the road between Arthingworth Road and Harrington the tyre was flat again. More Gas, it went back down. Pump, pump, pump. Flat! Blistered finger...flat! So I walked home!

Looks lovely doesn't it

Entrance to Green Lane

Nice little track

Ice on the road to Thorpe Underwood

Flat tyre

Grumpy Richard

Nasty pump gave me a booboo

Stunning day for a walk!

I guess the flytippers are unconcerned about the neighborhood watch

Walking shadow shot

Yeah, yeah Rowell church looks lovely today too...

Oooh I think I can see the problem here

The walk back wasn't too bad really. I had a nice chat with a bloke on a touring bike and got to see the Police make polite inquiries with the travelers. When I got back I got the pesky tube out and discovered that there are in fact five holes so no wonder the no flat sealant is failing. I replaced the tube (why didn't I just do that in the first place?) and set off for a few more miles after a quick cup of coffee. On other days I may have just quit but look at the pics it was glorious, if a little deadly, out and about. With time now at a premium I headed to the off road tracks of Prologis Park, Weekly Woods and the Glendon to Rushton track (Rich McNab take note these are MTB options around Kettering!)

Oh goody Bunker Hill

Prologis Park

Start of Weekly Woods

Told you, beautiful out!

Just lovely

Glendon to Rushton track

Quintessential English Village scene 
Sun setting over the cricket pitch with the church in view
If this was scratch and sniff right now you would smell Sunday Lunch wafting from the Thornhill Arms
This was the worlds longest photo caption

Heading home

The second ride was much nicer. Even a tumble in Prologis Park due to an icy corner was OK. I serenely slid to the floor and just ended up in a quite relaxed pose to the bemusement of the dog walkers. I like my 29er much better without soft tyres. So you see Andy...I did get a floppy today!

Today's video contains copyright free music. When you hear it you'll understand why it's copyright free. Id apologise but I've had Taylor Swift in my head all day so I have no sympathy. Haters gonna hate...hate-hate-hate-hate...

Happy Pedaling

Saturday, 17 January 2015

C&DCycles CC Saturday 17th January 2015

It was touch and go this morning whether the club ride would be on. A very cold night and a dusting, well more a sprinkle of snow and the odd icy puddle din't look good. However my weather rules are if there's frost on the car I don't ride. My car was frost free so on went the multiple layers of lycra. Endura winter bib tights, dhb base layer, club winter jersey, seal skin waterproof socks, seal skin overshoes overshoes, clone wars buff (up over my ears, nose and mouth,) seal skin waterproof thermal gloves and my Altura medium weight jacket. This made a winning combo and despite a windchill reaching a frosty -5C I was OK. Later in the ride Ken was to discover those seal skin gloves work better on their own and that removing the thin second pair he had on underneath, he actually warmed up from having frostbitten fingers.

We didn't really plan this ride, it more just happened. The route was the standard Pitsford loop which is always a good plan when we don't actually have a plan! Before leaving there was a chance to chat with Nathan who'd been out for an off road ride on a bike made for Hagrid.

The select few who rode this morning are all good riders so there really was little to organise. A very pleasant ride passed without incident all the way back to Kettering until an old codger whacked one of us with a wing mirror. Luckily no harm was done but the driver didn't even stop to check! Whilst we were out there was a brief flurry of snow, you can just about make that out on the video.

Well that's the cycling taken care of. Despite leaving the rest of us in his wake Big Steve also made time to share a story or two. He inquired had we seen the rather rotund couple in what he calls 'The Paper.' Look them up if you want but it's Steve so it could in fact be this story from the Mirror  As ever the industrial language accompanying the description is best left out on the road!

So now you're wondering why the normally tolerant me is engaging in some tubby bashing. Well it's this. Northamptonshire is the 5th most obese county in England. That upsets me. We have a solution though - more cycling - yes I really do think it's as easy as that!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Windy little road ride

Today's ride started with a disappointment, proved that my new bib tights are a good purchase and confirmed that Northants is beautiful and I love riding here.

I couldn't decide this morning whether to go for a road ride or an off road ride. I decided to check which bike had the camera mount on and go for that. It turned out it was Clive, my road bike, so road it was!

It wasn't icy but there was a bitter chill to the air and a stiff breeze. Otherwise it was a bright, sunny, dry day. No need for a rain jacket then. I put my new endura bib tights on for the first time. It was instantly obvious that these were warmer and better made than the altura ones I've upgraded from. I also chucked on a couple of base layers, my trusty buff, overshoes and my new seal skin winter gloves. That ensemble worked great and after a few miles I was comfortably warm. The bib tights have a teflon coating to repel water. The queen of cakes joked I would slide off my saddle like an egg in a non sticck pan. She was right, They are a bit slippy!

As I rolled off down the road something clattered off my bike. I turned round to see my knog rear light in the road. Having been impressed with this bit of kit I was even more surprised to find the elastic band bracket had snapped. £40 light ruined in two months!

I wasn't that impressed at that point and riding on in an oppressive wind did not particularly lift my mood. On the way out of Rothwell I saw the remnants of the C&DCycles CC Sunday Group. I'm not sure how they did a 50 miler today, I really wasn't up for it!

As per usual I went from annoyance to euphoria just by riding my bike. I was only going to do an hour and this got extended. I'm glad I did because I bumped into Phil 'the Beast' Broxton on his way back to Brixworth. Those pictures really do show what a stunning day it was. The video will give you some idea of how hard the wind was blowing. I was hoping for a wind assisted segment but nowhere was quite right for 'hurricane KOM.'

Enjoy the video, happy pedaling.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

C&D Cycles CC Saturday 3rd January 2015 soggy bottoms!

Why do we do it? Well because we're lycra loonies! 7 hardy souls who should know better but don't met up at the shop for a standard Saturday 30 miler. Rule #5 and #9 were in clear evidence even if I did cash in some Christmas vouchers for warmer, more waterproof (but no match for today's precipitation,) gloves. Claire planned a Pitsford loop variation and we set into the gloomy downpour. She then decided she's had enough after a few miles. So did Claire not achieve rule #5 & #9? Well in my eyes just turning up this morning, knowing only the others who'd were testosterone stuffed ride in a blizzard types, makes her a heroine. Also I wanted to go home too so I don't blame her. The rest of us completed the ride, we even got a bit of a trundle at times. None of us went back to the shop though, we all wanted to get home and get warm! I still haven't been brave enough to get in the shower, I suspect it may sting!

Here's a very short video:

Happy Pedaling

ps Steve told a story about New Years Eve, a mankini and workboots. I just don't know where to fit it in!

Friday, 2 January 2015

A bit of off road action

 So I decided to check out one of my favourite off road routes using Weekly Woods, the Boughton Estate and the bridlepath from Geddington to Brigstock. The last time I did this was a bit of a pain as it was boggy through the Boughton Estate and it got worse and worse. I promised Sam a great ride and it was nothing but. However I was confident that things would be better this time.

If you wanted to try this ride, Weekly woods is easily accessible from Kettering or from further afield there are places to park near the woods. There's a Harvester (I'm not going to call it a pub,) a very well stocked garage with a subway attached and a starbucks all at the start and finish point.

Here's one of the reasons for my confidence. Instead of a rutted mudfest the entrance to the Boughton Estate part of Weekly Hall Wood is now a gravel track and that extends well into the woods until the surface becomes more consistent.

The track was a joy to ride on and whomever made the decision to lay this wants a big pat on the back. I followed the track all the way to Grange road and into Geddinton. From there I used the bridlepath through Geddington chase and into Brigstock on a raod called 'Clay Dick.' The inbetweeners missed that one! I will let the video tell the tale of that journey. Let's just say it was alright until it wasn't and I'm not going back until we've had a prolonged dry spell.

Once in Brigstock the first thing I did was put my bike in the river to try to clear some of the mud. I'm sure passers by thought I was made but Franz was absolutely caked! I then headed back to Geddinton via Grafton and the small matter of the Brigstock Bumps. Then it was back into Weekly Woods and home.

It's a nice 20 mile route but perhaps one for the summer.

Happy Pedaling