Sunday, 23 April 2017

Back on it! Fantastic group ride in Northamptonshire's leafy lanes!

We've been back from Awesome Australia for just over a week and whilst almost everything there is better, there are some things that make life in the UK feel great too. Perhaps the biggest back to blighty bonus is getting out with my mates from C&D Cycles CC for a Saturday road ride. (Other clubs and types of riding are available, they're all good too!) The other bonus is that there's no risk of attack from a snake and even if they did you'd need 8 litres of their venom to feel a little bit out of sorts!

For one reason and another I had not been on a club ride for a very long time. In fact Christmas Eve was the last time I had been out on the road with C&DCCC! There are various reasons for that, not least my broken ribs from Cannock the day before New Years Eve. When I'd recovered it was cyclocross on Saturday's for a few weeks. Anyway my post holiday resolution is to get to as many Saturday clubrides as I can.

wait for me!

Today's route was decided democratically by Andy Brown offering a set of options and going with the majority. A little ironic given the current state of play in Brexit Bound Broken Britain. This poll was successful though as a lovely route was selected along the leafy quiet lanes of East Northants which are perfect for group rides. Mr Brown was unable to join us as he was racing at the NCRA Road Race at Old. Good skills Andy!

C&D's power couple

Before setting off we split into fast and banter. Clearly the majority valued fun over performance as only three volunteered for the fast group. Also decided by general consensus, we sent Bairdy to join the three magnificent specimens in the quick group. Too right too, he's the most improved rider in the club over the last year (as long as it's on tarmac.) The banter bunch was also swelled with people wanting to know all about Ken's holiday adventure's which make even our trip to Queensland look a bit standard! As per usual the laughs flowed and if the hedgerows could talk they'd have a lot to say about those rowdy Lycra Loonies!

Ken and Andy P discuss worldwide adventures

I felt great for about 20 miles and then my legs started to complain. True to the values of the club I was assisted by mates who were very tolerant of me being a big wetty for the last ten miles. I've done plenty to keep myself fit with running, MTB rides and the plethora of activities we did in Australia but at the end of the day the only way to be road bike fit is to follow the advice of the great Eddie Merckx. Anyway the truth is I need to put the miles in and also sweat out the month of beer, wine and great food that it would have been rude not to indulge in whilst away!

Image result for eddy merckx quotes

One of the advantages of having Andy from C&D out on the ride with us is that he get's to hear our bikes. Since I bought it my Giant Propel has had an annoying clanky noise that has proven to be a mystery. Anyway Andy heard it, diagnosed it and when we got back to the shop fixed it. I can report that my dawdle back home was the smoothest and quietest I've ever experienced. Great service as per usual!

For today's ride my holiday bike jersey got it's first outing. I was delighted to find Giant bikes in Mooloolaba. I really like this jersey, it goes with our club kit and it goes with my bike and it says Sunshine Coast on it and we had a great time on the Sunshine Coast. So it ticks almost all of the boxes!

However I'm also aware that buying a jersey from the big boys is a bit of a sell out! To balance that I should tell you I visited Bike Obsession in Brisbane which is a family owned business. I wanted the jersey above but they were out of stock. They took my email and did indeed let me know they were back in stock but unfortunately it was after we came home. I also visited Cycle Zone in Mooloolaba but again they were out of Jersey's.

On our return from Oz Sam had one last birthday surprise waiting as his new BMX was sat waiting for him! It remains as important to me to promote Sam's riding as much as my own. We didn't get any pics of him whilst away in his KCC Cyclones top because our big day on the bike was ruined by Cyclone Debbie (more irony, the Cyclone prevented the Cyclone from riding!) I'm looking forward to him getting back to Cyclones as I'm sure there's lots for us to catch up on.

Right then. I'm back. SuperSam is back. The blog is back. Let's get riding!

Happy Pedaling

Friday, 7 April 2017

Snakes, roos and some good trails too...the Great Aussie Adventure 2017

This is my favourite country on the planet. The only thing wrong with the whole place is that it's 10 000 miles from home! I had grand ideas for lots of rides in Oz this time but a combination of Cyclone Debbie ruining my plans in Noosa and the fact it's my family's holiday not just mine have trimmed the riding a bit! However the other stuff we've done has been just brilliant. We really haven't missed out!

Quite early in the holiday I managed to renew my acquaintance with the hardy specimen that is my brother in law's dual suspension Claude Butler Ark. I also unearthed a gem that is the Redlands Track Park in the Scribbly Gums conservation area, just a few kms from my sister's house.On a blistering hot day 18km was all I could manage because when my head gets hot on a bike I get a blinding headache! However I'd made a preliminary exploration of a well laid out set of tracks and I planned to return. The greatest disappointment was that the Redlands Council had provided a bike repair area with tools, a stand and a track pump. In possibly the first vandalism of this type I've seen in Australia the tools had been stolen and the pump broken. A resident told me that the "local knuckles," had done this. A real shame!

Today I returned to Redlands Track Park via the excellent Moreton Bay Cycleway. It only hit the mid twenties today as Autumn sets in in Queensland, so it was a far more comfortable ride. Well it was in terms of weather...on the Cycleway I encountered a snake. My closest identification has this as a yellow faced whip snake, however it could have been anything from a harmless tree snake to a lethal brown! Let's face it, I don't know and I wasn't in the mood to find out! I startled the snake on my bike and the snake in turn startled me. Hissing Sid dived backwards into a strike position and I zipped past as far over the track as I could manage! Some later research revealed that cyclists round here regularly encounter snakes and no one has been hurt, still there's no need to be the first! The advice is not to ride alone and if you do get bitten, get a picture of the snake, call emergency services and move as little as possible. So, don't ride appears I can be foolish in more than one hemisphere!!! My sister laughed at me when I told her: "they don't flipping chase after you...just be noisy and they'll get out of the way...we're more of a danger to them than the other way around..." Cheers for your concern Jayne!!!!

This left me a bit nervous on the bush trails. After all if there's snakes on paths then the slippery characters are going to be all over forested bit aren't they? Every rustle made me jump for about half an hour. I suspect it was mostly lizards as I saw loads of them up to about a metre in length but no further snakes! I covered a lot more of the park and tackled some of the harder trails as a result. It was great fun! This isn't the most technical of areas, it's a bit tougher than Wakerley but nothing like Cannock.

The fun with the wildlife didn't stop. I came into an open area and there appeared to be a deer, as it hopped away I laughed at myself, obviously it was a grey kangaroo. Duh! Anyway here's a video for today.

I have also managed to get SuperSam out for a small ride but he's been so busy that he's a bit tired for cycling on top! We've done so much: walks in National Parks, body boarding in the surf (it's a bit stronger than Newquay,) I've been for runs, we had the awesome tree climbing experience on Tamborine Mountain, theme parks, swimming, we've been out on the boat, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing and then yesterday at the sea life centre Sam snorkled with sharks, rays and an array of other fish, then we all went swimming with Dolphins! Then we finsihed off his 12th birthday in style with a trip to our favourite pizza restaurant and finally a trip to see the Brisbane Broncos beat the Sydney Roosters. Life does not get better than this! 

All set to go

Underwater dab!

I might get another ride in, I might not. However it's been awesome in Australia so far!

Happy Pedaling!!!!