Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween ride goes a little off course...

Ok so my Strava minus my detour from and back to home shows the route we followed on this morning's club ride. However the screen grab below shows the route that Andy Brown created and led superbly on his 1 in 4 turn as the banter bunch leader!

As you can see those routes are a little different...oops! The issue was no one actually led the fast group. We were frankly making it up as we went along. I had the route in my head in terms of villages but didn't know the roads around Cranoe etc. So when I saw a signpost for the next village in my memory I took the turn. The only person who'd uploaded to Garmin said we'd gone wrong but it was a nice road so we just kept going. It'll be fine we thought. Then we got a bit stuck so we ended up going to Great Bowden, which was lovely and back round to Ashley that way. Not the route but still very nice!

Gathering at the shop

The most capable leader in the club

  1. Rule #47//
    Drink Tripels, don’t ride triples.
    Cycling and beer are so intertwined we may never understand the full relationship. Beer is a recovery drink, an elixir for post-ride trash talking and a just plain excellent thing to pour down the neck. We train to drink so don’t fool around. Drink quality beer from real breweries. If it is brewed with rice instead of malted barley or requires a lime, you are off the path. Know your bittering units like you know your gear length. Life is short, don’t waste it on piss beer.
Having had a month off the beer for sober October has  been really good for me. However I started three days early with the plan to finish on the 28th due to a party I went to last night and to  recondition myself to booze I had a few beers on Thursday. So this morning I was feeling a tad delicate and very nearly didn't ride. It was foggy outside but of greater concern was the fogginess in my head. However a good bike ride remains the most effective hangover cure I know and 40+ miles of quality pedaling sorted me right out. As did the splendid company of my favourite lycra loonies. As I type this I'm tucking into a craft ale Tripel of my own creation. It's a 9% beast and will not improve my cycling one bit - it is nice though!
As usual Big Steve disappears into the distance

It's a bikie not a selfie

and there's the other beautiful people

Oh right lets go back the way we came then...

Oh come on Great Bowden is lovely

Fast group at Stoke Albany

Back to the ride; look we had a blast! Yes we went wrong in places but this was a highly enjoyable ride. We will need to think up another name for the groups though because the fast group is not short on banter. I wish I'd taken a picture of the bull in a field near Ashley. He was a magnificent beast, fully equipped so to speak and a source of great excitement. Soon after that we had some riding excitement as mud on the road on Ashley hill led to those of us with too much power having some hairy wheel spins.

All that autumnal action means my choice of steed today was spot on. I really wouldn't want to be out on my Propel in those conditions. Clive is a faithful servant, we've done some special rides together and now as my dedicated winter/commuter bike he still gets the job done. However he was filthy when I got home. Cleaning your bike is a good habit to be in. A quick soapy water wash down, chain degrease, spray and wipe down with GT85 and chain lube takes about ten  minutes. That ten minutes is worth every second because as we know a clean bike is a faster bike.

Dirty Clive

Clean Clive

A big shout out need s to go to our great cycling mate Andy Pendred who has had a crash and broken his leg in France. Andy has had a phenomenal year on the bike with D2D our 200 mile club ride actually being just a small part of his adventures as mentioned in this blog quite a few times. Andy has done nearly 6000 miles on his bikes this year and has also taken his career as a signwriter and turned it towards custom stickers for our bikes. If you're not sure what I'm saying, he's an all round good bloke. Here's his Strava profile we all wish him a speedy recovery.

Right I've blogged three times this week already, there's nothing more to say other than thanks to my ride companions today, thanks to Andy Brown for creating the route and thanks to Andy Ferguson for creating this great bike club.

Happy Pedaling

Friday, 30 October 2015

Fineshade and Wakerley Great Wood with SuperSam

It wasn't the nicest of days yesterday but I'm pleased to say we got some quality father and son time in and enjoyed some excellent off road cycling. First up we went to Fineshade woods. I've covered this before but for a reminder here's the link to their website Run by the forestry commission, this excellent facility is about 15 minutes north of Corby. It's the perfect place to take kids cycling with well maintained tracks plus a number of 'skills loops,' for kids wanting more challenge. To be fair it's good fun for adults too. Here's a video.

The rain held off enough to enjoy a good ride, some traditional climbing and a well deserved hot chocolate. Sam rates the cafe at Fineshade as the best of all our Country Parks. I have to say the peanut butter brownie I had with my coffee was pretty special.

Great climbing area

Franz having a rest

Treehouse selfie

He's too cool for skool

The cyclist's reward

Because parts of Fineshade are under maintenance our ride was a little shorter than usual and we missed Sam's favourite skills loop with the rocks. So as we drove away I said to Sam: "shall we go over the road?" Apprehensive at first, Sam agreed to go for a look at the Scar Tree Trail at Wakerley Great Wood. It's about a minute drive from Fineshade or you could just ride from one to the other. We got there and Sam decided to give it a go. 

The Scar Tree Trail is one of the best off road trails in the county. It's not Cannock Chase or anything particularly extreme but it is another step up for a 10 year old like Sam. At one point he missed a bend and had a nasty crash. He smashed his cadooberries into his handlebar stem and got thorns in his fingers. I thought 'uh-oh' that's the end of that then...but it wasn't. Sam had a drink, gathered himself and then got right back on it. I can't tell you how proud I was of him. Better still he was proud with himself too. This morning the first thing he asked was can we go back to Wakerley today? Sadly the answer to that is no but, we're definitely going again. Here's a link for the Scar Tree Trail

Of all the cycling I do, nothing gives me greater pleasure than watching Sam progress. Long after we got home were still talking about our day and after a much needed bath he even picked out a cycling related t-shirt. Awesome little man!

Happy Pedaling!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Wednesday vroom night ride

This was a rare opportunity for me on two counts. Firstly I can make very few Wednesday evening club rides and secondly because it's very nearly November this was a proper night ride in the dark. Five hardy souls met at the shop for the ride and as usual the banter flowed from the off. the Major led us on one of his 'it's in my head routes,' Frank, Stuart P, Clive and I tried to keep up. After a day of mostly rain it really cleared up and turned into a lovely evening, it seemed a shame to start in the dark because we had a couple of hours of brilliant autumnal sunshine before dusk set in. There was no way I was risking my 'best,' bike on damp, leafy roads in the dark so my choice of bike for the evening was also Clive. Everyone else felt the same as there was a distinct lack of carbon on show and the odd mudguard. Frank was the only rider brave enough for shorts but even that hardy hobbit had the winter jersey on.

It's very different riding at night and I'm impressed that my virb can take pictures and video footage even though the quality isn't what you get in daylight. I like the lights, I love the way our reflective bits of kit move in the dark and it's a real shame I didn't get a shot of some of the shadows we cast with the impressive array of front lights. At one point it looked like cycling giant shadows were following us along the hedgerows.

Despite being on my 'slow' bike I was really quite quick in places, not big Steve quick but more than respectable for a mere mortal like me. Anytime my average is over 16 makes me happy and the hatful of PR's is very satisfying. Speed wasn't always advisable though as you know, it's dark so the dodgy bits of road are harder to see at times.

The video is only 17 seconds long and gives a real impression of the shadows, lights and reflectors.

If you've never really ridden in the dark, it's not something to fear. You just need the right kit. There's been a lot of forum and social media chat recently about cyclists getting into trouble with the police for not having lights or reflectors. Most of our road bikes are illegal because we don't tend to have the white reflector on the front, the red reflector on the back and our clipless pedals don't come with amber reflectors. So are we all just one chance encounter with the old bill away from a fine? Well the common opinion is probably not. My set up with the one23 extreme bright front light and knog blinder rear light means I'm pretty hard to miss. Add to that my shoes have reflective details, if  they're under my overshoes, those also have reflective detail and my winter tights also have reflective detail. If you've ever driven behind a cyclist with quality gear on you'll know those reflective bits can be quite mesmerising so the only risk to the cyclist is that drivers could get hypnotised by moving parts.

I've had this week off to spend half term with the kids, not that they're very interested in me. I did say to SuperSam about a trip to Fineshade. His reply was: "maybe later in the week!" I'll see if he's up for it today. That's what gave me the opportunity to Vroom and also it's given me a chance to catch up with my favourite cycling you tubers GCN. If you've never watched check out the latest version of the GCN show.

In that video they discuss the progress of Kurt Searvogel and yet another person planning an assault on the year world record starting on January 1st. No mention of local(ish) hero Steve Abrahams whose own year record was wrecked by a run in with a scooter. The Milton Keynes based rider has recovered well and is now back on track to tackle the record in a year even if it is not now one calendar year. I still remain amazed that he was doing 100 miles a day with one leg on a modified recumbent during his recovery! Check out more on his website there's also links to follow on social media. I've also mentioned Kasja Tylen who is attempting the same record for Women. Here's her website and as I've previosuly mentioned she will be in Market Harborough on January 15th. Kasja has been encountering some UK style car abuse because she chose not to use a cycle path. I don't blame her, they're not brilliant are they? Checkout the chat at the bottom of the page. You'll notice a handsome lycra loonie with time on his hands is the first to reply!

Happy Pedaling

On this morning's ride in the pouring rain, a driver feels it necessary to wind down the window of his car and shout at...
Posted by A Year in the Saddle - Kajsa's 2016 Cycling WR Attempt on Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Satisfying Soggy Saturday

Following a virtual meeting of the C&DCCC ride leaders it was decided that we needed to get a bit more organised to help Andy with the organising, particularly with the 'banter bunch,' the slower of our two Saturday social rides. The problem being that the majority of the ride leaders were regularly riding in the fast group. We've decided to take our turn for 1 in every 4 Saturday's in leading the Banter Bunch. Today I took my turn and Neil Hickford volunteered for tail gunning duties. 

Now the clever bit here is that today's route was designed by Andy Brown, It's an atypical route for him because it really was quite flat. However it was a cracking route leaving Kettering via Deeble Road and then going through Cranford, Woodford, Islip, Thrapston, Titchmarsh, Clopton, Lilford, Achurch, Aldwinkle, Twywell (that should've been Slipton but I lost control of my group at this point,) Warkton and back to the shop. Mr Brown's organising doesn't stop there because he's started a spreadsheet to keep track of who has done what. There's even a pie chart, however a cake chart might be more appropriate as will be apparent later.

So off we set and jolly nice it was too. The heavy rain held off and there were some good examples of considerate and safe group riding. At Clopton we ran into Neil Howarth and Bruce. No need to distinguish which Bruce as we only have one but the excess of Neils in our club is now rivaling our excess of Andys. I thought they must have had a crack at the fast group and dropped back but no, we'd left them behind! How could this happen I hear you ask? Especially as our Rule #1 - no one gets left behind! Well as we cleared the lights in Montague street I shouted back to my tail gunner Neil who told me 'all through,' so we pushed on. However other Neil and Bruce had dithered. They didn't see which way we went so they followed the route as they remembered it from the FB post but went the wrong way by heading through Warkton, when they'd been riding hard and not seen a sight of us for ages they muddled their way to Clopton and then we appeared so they joined us. All of which leads me to suspect that tail gunner Neil is planning a short career of helping out using the age old technique of making a Monkey's Breakfast of the job. For those of you not familiar with the phrase, a Monkey's Breakfast is deliberately doing something wrong to get out of doing it ever again. A good example of this would be doing the ironing in an incredibly shoddy way meaning your husband insists for ever more that it's his job and he'll do it on Sunday*

* This is a made up example and any resemblance to a true story is purely coincidental (ish) 

Bruce and Neil didn't like being left behind

Once we were all together as a group the good riding continued. It was obvious we were in a race against the weather as dark clouds gathered and light drizzle started. I was glad I'd left my Giant Propel safely in the shed and brought my winter bike out today. That bike has served me well for over 7000 miles so there's no reason why it's not good enough to keep me going.However having experienced my carbon dream machine other bikes feel lifeless by comparison. 

Over the shoulder shot, observe Ian's magnificent helmet

It was good to see some regulars out today who've been missing for a while. Mark who almost disproves the spitting image song 'I've never met a South African that I like,' and Rich are at different stages of injury recovery and they both did well today.

I'm pleased with my ride too. My nemesis when out with the fast group is hills and that wasn't true today. Also the false flat section back to Warkton almost always sees me drop off the pace. Today I was so determined not to let that happen that I sat on the front all the way to Warkton and managed to set a PR for the segment. No doubt that feeling of self satisfaction will be slapped off my smug face as soon as I try to keep up in the fast group again.

Back at the shop there was a cake mountain. Both my lovely Queen of Cakes and Nat's Mum had provided for our recovery baked goods needs. Nat's Mum's chocolate cake was very good. However Nat was very impressed by Lee's apple cake and Steve described the coffee & walnut cake as 'the dogs dangly bits!'


Better than ?

Delirious on Coffee & Walnut cake

Great Chocolate Cake

A little bit too keen on cake

Neil or Monkey as he's now known made an observation. He said I was a lucky man because I get cakes of this quality all the while, I make my own beer and I get to ride my bike when I want. He's right, life is good. After I rode home in heavy rain the Queen of Cakes informed me that she needed to take Niamh's iphone to an apple shop because despite being two days old she'd already broken the screen, kids eh! Ooh there's a apple shop in MK isn't there? I then cheekily suggested I could go to the Saints match whilst they sorted it out...and that's what happened. That's right, not only did I get a good bike ride today, with lovely cake after, my amazing wife dropped me off at Stadium MK so I could watch the Saints beat Newcastle 42-16. It meant dropping everything to dash down there and I made it with minutes to spare. What a brilliant life!

Happy Pedaling

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Another great club ride

Another day another ride and even better another chance to use my beautiful Giant Propel. Today's route was designed by Justin Smith and was available for all the club to see all week on both Garmin and Strava. I loved it as soon as I saw it. I knew we'd have the fun of a great descent in Desborough Road Drop, that lovely fast road into Loddington and that triple set of climbs from Loddington to Broughton through Cransley.

We had one incident on a narrow road where a lady in a mini with an identity crisis took up the whole road. This caused the whole bunch to concertina and ending up with Danny landing on the verge. The only apparent damage was a scratched quick release and Danny got a bit of a prickle on the bottom.

My own performance remains variable. I'm fine on the flat but nowhere near as strong as the other quick riders on the hills. Danny again questioned my seat position and when I stopped to check I'd dropped 40mm from where I'd set it. The difference when I reset the height was a bit obvious. Back at the shop I asked Andy to check it as I'm inexperienced with carbon frames and seat posts. No quibbles or qualms as usual he sorted it out for me.

In the shop we had the usual tea, cake and banter. We also discussed our remembrance ride. Last year Steve put a great route together which I blogged about here:
We really do need to do that ride again, it was one of the best!

The other thing I had my eye on was a pair of winter boots. The northwave boots in the shop are £120 which sounds a bit steep until you think about it. These boots will last years and remove the need for overshoes. In fact as I understand it they perform much better than overshoes in terms of keeping feet warm and dry. Here's some cheeky chaps demonstrating these great products. It's definitely the way I intend to go but after getting my dream bike maybe not this year.

The rest of my cycling week has been commuting. For that I use my old road bike and carry work kit in a rucksack. I really noticed the difference up Bunker Hill on the way to the shop this morning and it makes me wonder how much good my commute does. For starters I'm much slower, especially on the homeward leg. It's only five miles then I mostly sit on my arse for 8 hours before riding home tried from the trials and tribulations of life in the NHS. I'm thinking of adding a couple of turbo trainer sessions so I can get some more focused training in.

As per usual commute time has been thinking time and following my nostalgic ponderings last week I've gone back to some of the horrors of the 80's the first is poignant as gloomy days set in but I doubt very much any of you will follow this advice too closely. For those who remember I give you the 'Get yourself seen,' campaign.

Now some of our club riders may watch the next video and wonder what the flip yellow pages are and why anyone would need them. Well kids this was life before Google and we had to look things up in books. How life has changed. Hilariously the kid in the advert is also called Richard. As you know from last week my Dad really did buy me a bike in secret but as a fellow roadie he would pour scorn on this kid's Dad.

I found loads more videos but there's just one more I want to bring you. Especially as I wasted 29 minutes of my life watching the top ten things that are must have inventions for cyclists. This was really just a kickstarter promo. Maybe the brake lights were of use but three different ways to turn your bike into an electric bike can't appeal to cyclists like us. Anyway here's the last thing I want to show you as it's an up to date public service video.

Food for thought isn't it!

Happy Pedaling

Saturday, 10 October 2015

My cycling week

Ok well you're probably thinking this blog is very late today! Well sorry but I've been busy. Jeremy Hunt will have you believe we're lazy in the NHS and don't work the weekend. Well I've just done 6 hours of admin on my day off because I didn't get time in the week. All done now and as I need something to distract me from the woeful England rugby team ponderously prancing around like the pathetic poppingjays they truly are. Well here's a blog!

I was unable to go on the club ride today as the queen of cakes has taken her cousin and an assortment of other ladies to London for the weekend. They'll be seeing a musical and shopping and drinking prosecco and all that jazz. Sounds ghastly doesn't it? Oh OK I know some people like that sort thing and worse still think we, the lycra loonies, are the weird ones. Anyway that leaves me on Dad duties. To be fair she makes my life very easy so I really can't begrudge a weekend away. That all means I had to take Sam to Saturday sailing. He messed about in boats, I did four laps of Pitsford Water.

One of those is Sam

Because it's off road I took my 29r. That does mean I had to leave my beautiful Giant Propel behind, I did however stop and admire it, give it a stroke, you know make sure she doesn't feel neglected. There's always tomorrow eh? Erm no, tomorrow is rugby with Sam! Next week then, please next weekend be dry, just let me have one more go before its winter bike time!

I really should stop whinging I had a lovely ride. Four laps of Pitsford is progressively hilarious because you pass the same people with increasing levels of recognition with each revolution. I even saw a fisherman land a trout. My highlight of the day though was discovering a secret off road trail with some technical bits.

Who knew?

The rest of my cycling week has been commuting, The e-cars at work really are doing me a massive favour and once again I managed 4/5 days cycling to work. That's 40 miles I'd have done in my car. The benefits are less pollution, less money spent on petrol and me arriving in a good mood because that's the effect cycling has on me. I have a great time riding to work but do worry that others worry about the muppet on a bike who can't stop smiling!

Me on my commute

All that extra cycling has left me with time to think happy cycling thoughts. This week I've been all nostalgic and spent time thinking about all the bikes I've owned and some cycling fashions which seemed cool at the time but like all things 70/80's we wouldn't think so now!

My first ever bike was a Raleigh Mayflower. I remember my Nan running up and down the path holding my saddle until I could ride it. Unbelievably I've found a picture of one!

look at that beautiful thing

In 1977 for Christmas I got a Raleigh Chopper. A proper one. Purple with the red gear stick which people were always unscrewing and nicking. It had that warning on it to say it was only for one person and don't carry passengers but hey anyone who had a chopper knows that four people got on with ease! I was only 7 at the time and it was a bit big for me but I wanted one and my Nan & Pap always got me what I wanted because frankly they're awesome.

even more beautiful thing

The must have bike as I got older was a racer. We'd call it a road bike now but BMX's and mountain bikes hadn't been invented yet and frankly as a nation we were incredibly bike ignorant. My first racer was a Raleigh (there wasn't tonnes of choice but other bikes of the era included Dawes and Peugeot and more advanced bikes from specialist racing shops such as Reynolds on Wellingborough Road.) Once again Nan & Pap got me this bike.

Not a thing of beauty

The Sun Solo didn't last long though. I didn't lock it up properly whilst popping into the Anglia Building Society on Kingsthorpe Front and I got what I deserved because it was stolen. A harsh but valuable life lesson. My Dad let me save up my own money and speak to all manner of unsavoury second hand bike dealers before he put me out of my misery and bought me a new racer from independent bike shop 'Martins.' I don't know if he built them or just bought frames and branded then himself but that racer saw me through the next few years. There's no pictures of the bike or the shop it came from, it was silver and that's all I remember.

In my teens before driving and working at Waitrose came along the main purpose of my racer was to get me to school and for my paper round. I did the odd jaunt into the country but nothing serious. At one point I had three paper rounds. I had a morning round, delivered the Herald & Post free paper and I delivered the Sports Pink. All that black fingered action had one purpose and it was to save up for an even better racer.

£270 got me a Raleigh Ventura from Lawes cycles on the site of what is now an Italian chain restaurant. This had reynolds tubing and I fitted toeclips. Because it just wasn't cool those mudguards were gone before you knew it. On cool, people did terrible things to racers. Anyone remember cow horns? It was also 'cool' to turn your drops the wrong way up,it was marginally functional because it made wheelies easier

Just why?

The snow is the only cool thing here

At the same time BMX's became popular. This was annoying to anyone who'd just got the poor man's chopper, the Grifter and so they set about customizing their bikes to look more BMXish. That ridiculous saddle got replaced and all the foam was stripped from handlebars. The mudguards would go (obviously,) and tyre colours would change. I'm a chopper fan so I always hated Grifters but they just don't make iconic bikes like this now. Kids also don't put as much effort into making things different. The twist grip gears may have only worked a 3 speed sturmey-archer hub but they are the forerunner to the MTB twist grip gears.

awful compared to the chopper

If you were a cool kid or had parents who earned stupid amounts of money then you got a BMX. Suddenly there were different brands available like Muddy Fox and Mongoose but as ever Raleigh provided the must have bike in the Burner. 

80's object of desire

It's all very different now with all the choice of brands. You barely see a Raleigh these days which would be hard to believe when I was growing up. There's quite a retro scene, especially for racers and choppers, which is nice. Here's a good link

Bikes are much much better now but I really do have a nostalgic soft spot for my old Raleigh's, if I had space I'd start collecting them. I hope you enjoyed that as a bit of a different blog.

Happy Pedaling

Saturday, 3 October 2015

New bike, first club ride, OMG it doesn't get better than this...

Riding a bike is a pure joy, riding with mates is better and riding a brand spanking new dream machine with your mates is as good as it gets. That's saying a lot giving that this has been one of the best weeks of my life.

Let's deal with the bike first. Yes that's the bike in C&DCycles which I've been lusting after for months and that until Wednesday I thought had been purchased by someone else. Well actually it had. My wonderful wife did what she does and found a way to get me my dream bike. She rallied the whole family and what you're looking at is the combined efforts of three generations of my extended family clubbing together and getting this for my birthday and Christmas present. I had no idea about any of this until Wednesday. Lee had been wondering about when to let me have the bike given that my birthday is in November and during those months it will be wrapped up and safe from any winter weather mishaps. 

At the same time my Dad's old steel triple, the bike that got me started in Road riding was with Bob Mitchell, the man who'd built it. Bob had let me know that there was no way of getting the stuck seat post out without breaking the frame and as such he would now need to perform a frame repair. The price to achieve this was under discussion and so I broached the subject with Lee. After some toing and froing she lent forward and whispered in my ear: "we've bought you THAT bike." I was gobsmacked and really emotional. A quick phonecall to Bob to explain the situation also went better than I'd expected. Bob has offered to buy the frame and repair it as he wants to get back into framebuilding. He's confident he can sell it on to another massive man of my Dad's proportions. For me that's win win. I will use the proceeds from that bike to get mudguards for Clive and turn him into my dedicated winter bike. 

So the cat was out of the bag and Andy in the shop was rushed into getting the bike ready for me to take home yesterday. I'm very grateful. My only regret is that my suddenly incredibly work schedule meant we didn't have time to do even the most basic of bike fits. Right now I've guessed the saddle height based on a comparison with Clive. That doesn't really feel a satisfactory way to set up a bike of this quality. I've named the bike Whanau (Far-Now) which is Maori for extended family. I'm hoping Andy Pendred can design me a frame sticker to get that on the bike. 

The other thing that has happened to me recently is I've got a new job. I posted both of these things in a joint message on Facebook and I was overwhelmed by the response. I can't remember another time when I've had so many likes or positive comments. The comments kept flowing at work too and by Thursday evening I was so emotional my hands were shaking trying to type and I was struggling to concentrate.

Whanau ready to go

Whanau from the front

Riding to the shop I was struck by how different this bike is from my old road bike. The weight difference is marked and you can feel the extra stiffness. When I can rid it properly it's easy to see how it will go quicker. On Rockingham Road I saw Nathan walking his dogs and we exchanged pleasantries with my first remark of the day about the bike. Arriving at the shop there were loads of complimentary comments. The bike looks great. It wasn't just me with a new bike though. Andy also has a new bike, a rather splendid Boardman Air 9.8 in patriotic colours. What a great way to show your support to the home nations during this fantastic Rugby World Cup.

For the third week running I set off with the fast group and that went rather well for the first few miles. I couldn't hold my Giant Propel back going into Cransley and probably made my biggest mistake of the day by blasting to the front of the group and staying there for way too long. Predictably the first time we had to go up the tiniest incline I was dropped and didn't catch up again until Raunds, when they waited for me. The pattern repeated for the whole ride. In fact it felt like I was struggling more than I did on Clive. No shocks there, a new bike takes time to get used to. However when you look at my Strava the average is down on last weeks but there's loads of PR's confirming the bike is very quick. I also think all that emotion might be a factor.

Turning right towards Denford

One of the times I did actually keep up was from Hargrave to Denford. Riding through Denford we were photographed by Andy Pendred's Mum. The lads insisted on putting me on the front for this, which I grateful for. Then we got held up going through Thrapston. After that I just couldn't keep up at all. The feel in my legs was very odd and I felt like I'd been using different muscles. This makes sense really. I caught up with Ashley and Stuart in Warkton because Ashley had a crash. They had to break hard behind a car that stopped quickly going down the hill with Ashley running into the back of Stuart and then the car. Thankfully no apparent damage was caused to either riders or bikes. Ashley though was well shaken,which is understandable for our youngest rider. During the spells I was able to keep up the comments about the bike continued and even more so everyone reminded me how lucky I am to have such a wonderful wife. I pointed out I've bought flowers but it would seem that club consensus is that it's really not enough!

Back at the shop there's a new system in place with a tea/coffee machine replacing the old tea pot. There was also cake but as no one explained this was Andy's birthday cake we didn't realise we were supposed to wait. I wish I'd known it was Andy's birthday on Monday. I would have commissioned the queen of cakes to do a Lord Vader cake because he really does a lot for us as a club. The banter flowed and for reasons of decency I think that's best left there.

On the way home my legs were jelly. I had nothing left at all. Given that I'd ridden a lighter, more responsive bike than I've been used to I found this weird. But it's not really is it? As I said it felt like I was using different muscles. I suspect the reason for this is frame geometry. Below is the geometry for my Giant Propel and underneath that for my Forme Longcliffe. The longcliffe has 'sports comfort geometry,' on the frame. The point is, it's different! I anticipate as I get used to my new bike and continue to get closer to my target weight (another 2lbs off this week,) I'm going to get quicker.

All that gubbins should not stand in the way of pointing out I love riding my new bike. I can't wait to get out on it again.
Happy Pedaling!


M/L (54.5)73.072.557.