Muddy Water Fixed
I blame it all on the man with the Golden Voice.
Winnipeg is about 100 miles north of the United States, and just about smack dab in the middle of Canada (east to west). The prevailing winds come from the west. The nearest wind break is over 1,000 prairie kilometers distant. Portage and Main is reputedly the windiest intersection in Canada. At 5:00am one Wednesday morning in January, it was the coldest spot on the planet.
I have been working in Winnipeg (Cree for “Muddy Water") for some time now. This has had a number of implications, like Mary buying me a parka built like an igloo. I try to keep in shape, but the good weather takes its toll. I miss my daily cycling commute, and domestic responsibilities chew into the time available on the weekends (hence relatively few blog entries).
After last summer I decided I will not spend another season away from my bicycle.
New Forest Excursion 200k Audax
I don't normally set goals for my cycling but since joining Audax UK at the end of last year I've had one clear goal in mind – to ride 200k. Although AUK validates rides from 50k upwards, 200k is really the basic Audax distance – it is 'the long distance cyclist's organisation' after all and 100k rides don't really fit that description. You are not a 'proper' Audaxer, a Randonneur, until you have ridden 200k. I wasn't so much worried about completing the distance as getting totally lost a long way from home! I thought the easiest way to solve that problem would be to build up to cycling twice round the Isle of Wight – 200k and no risk of getting lost. I thought if I rode round often enough I would reach a point where I would feel that I could happily go round for a second time. Its not happened yet! The Isle of Wight is hilly (worth 1.5 AAA points if you're interested in that sort of thing) but also it would be just doing the miles for the sake of it, no new places to explore. The New Forest route offered a mix of familiar and new places and is mostly fairly flat. Just the job!
Isle of Wight Randonnee 2013
The weather gods smiled on us this year and the 1833 participants in the IOW Randonnee enjoyed a beautiful sunny day. I rode the route on Saturday (when it was cold and windy!) and then spent Sunday on the checkpoint at Whitwell helping to keep the riders well stocked with cake, chocolate and tea.
Heart of the Wolds Sportive
It hasn't been the greatest start to 2013 cycling-wise. I had a pain in my left knee which was diagnosed as a bruised cartilage, coupled with the sensory nerve damage in the other knee meant that I was restricted to rides of less than 40 miles and no hills for quite a few weeks. But a couple of weeks before this Sportive was due to take place everything seemed to be settling into position, so I was looking forward to the first 'organised' ride of the year.
Get Britain Cycling: "redesigning our roads, streets and communities"
Via the CTC I received an email from Jon Snow the other day informing me that the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) is aiming for 10% of trips by bike by 2025 and 25% by 2050, and £10 per person per year in funding for cycling. Those are the headlines of the APPCG's Get Britain Cycling report which calls for a response from the Prime Minister and a radical transformation of streets and roads, as well as training, promotion and marketing to shift the culture on our roads. CTC, the national cycling charity, is calling on David Cameron to act and urges the Government to implement the report's 18 recommendations. Urgent action is required to address "Britain's chronic levels of obesity, heart disease, air pollution and congestion" to catch up with other countries in the developed world, etc etc.
up down Ilkley Moor
In Skipton, as we set off to cycle up Ilkley Moor, an elderly chap shouted: "Tiny Thomas!"
"Who's Tiny Thomas?"
Google Earth .kmz to BaseCamp .gpx
A slight update to Creating a GPS cycle route on Google Earth.
Things have a habit of moving on, and that includes converting a Google Earth .kmz file into a Garmin BaseCamp file I can then transfer to my Garmin GPS unit. Things move on but they don't necessarily get any simpler. I still use Google Earth to plan the trips, which takes a little longer than something like GPSies but I think it's better – you see things on the ground and that is a big advantage. The only thing – Google Earth doesn't produce .gpx format files.
Cateye Micro Computer (CC-MC200W) – First Impressions
Santa brought me a GPS this year but I still like to have a computer on my bike. At the moment I only use the GPS to claim Audax Altitude points or for venturing into foreign parts, otherwise the simplicity of a bike computer suits me fine. I have had a spell of breaking things recently – a front light bounced off and smashed, my sunglasses snapped in half as I was putting them on, and, last week, my trusty Cateye Micro bounced off its mount and smashed. I'd been perfectly happy with it and intended to replace it with another of the same but I discovered that there is now a new improved version. The mark 2 allows you to display three lots of information rather than the previous two. Time of day and current speed plus another of your choice. Displaying time, speed and distance seemed ideal and, to clinch the deal, it is available in a nice shade of blue!
Cycling in the year 2040
The future of cycling (image courtesy of CTC)
In 2040 I will be 92 and one year older than my father when he finally became too old to cycle. That is 27 years from now. Possibly, given that life expectancy in the western world is on the increase, I will still be cycling maybe ten miles per day. 27 years ago is about when I bought my Peugeot Black Mamba ATB and began cycling regularly again after a break that goes back to my schooldays. So... my cycling days are only half way through. For me, this is an encouraging piece of information. If the bike restoration project is a success (it depends on building a shed) I might even be riding the Peugeot.
Let's cycle to Limbrick
Windless, cloudless, it's almost a perfect morning. Just 3.5 degrees. The sky is hazy blue but towards the east the light is gold. Limbrick is a tiny village about half way between our house and where Bradley Wiggins lives. In all the years I've been cycling I have never (knowingly) seen Sir Bradley although Jason Kenny OBE has been spotted a few times on the high road from Rivington to Belmont. Along that road are still piles of filthy snow up to ten feet high where it was ploughed to the side three weeks ago. I was there yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. We are getting back in the groove after a winter in which I gashed my gear-shift thumb on a can of Carnation Milk then it rained all through November and December, then froze, then snowed, then blew, then came the coldest March since records began.