Whitchurch Winter Wind Down 100K Audax
I joined AUK last year with the idea that it would encourage me to do more rides on the mainland but it hasn't really worked out like that. Instead I've ended up riding round and round the Isle of Wight chasing AAA points on DIY round the island rides. A change of scene was definitely called for and so Dennis was persuaded that he would like a day out in the South Downs while I rode from Catherington, north of Portsmouth, to Whitchurch and back. An early start was called for to catch the 7.00 am ferry but with a fine day forecast I sent off my online entry just before the entry closed with 100 riders.
Off We Go!
Boris & the Blame Game
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, has been criticised for what he said in a radio interview following the deaths of several cyclists in road accidents in London (six have been killed in November). He has widely been accused of victim-blaming and insulting the dead after suggesting – in the interview – that cyclists have a duty to obey the laws of the road and heed signals. Sickeningly insensitive is what CTC's Campaigns Director Roger Geffen called it and in last Friday's CycleClips CTC newsletter was a piece titled 'Boris Blamed' with an invitation to write a letter to Johnson demanding him to 'end the disproportionate threat that lorries have posed to cyclists and pedestrians in the capital for years.' It is worth listening to the whole interview, I think.
Boris Johnson doesn't blame anyone. It is too soon for that, until the facts are established in each of the six accidents. No-one has yet been arrested. So what should he say?
Hung Up On Winter
I have a very simple conundrum. To hang or not to hang?
Winter approaches. This past weekend was gorgeous, and what was I doing? Raking leaves. If I don't do it now I will be staring at a pile of leaf mold in spring.
it is time to put the bikes away. My question: Should I hang to bikes by their front wheels on hooks? Will this distort the wheel? Are there better options for long term storage?
Any thoughts are appreciated.
8 weeks with no cycling (plus 6 to go)
It might be a bit longer than 8 (it was in France in September when I last rode my bike) but 6 is fixed (because that is Christmas). The re-roofing job at my house must be finished by 22nd December or else. I have not ridden my bike because I am doing a lot of the work myself, and it has turned out to be more than a mere re-roof. I had thought it might take a couple of months at the most, but in Grand Designs fashion, things have slipped, or expanded. Not that the design is particularly grand as it affects only one third of the house, but it has to be done right. Anyway, if I ride my bike it will take longer. If I had gone cycling as I normally do I would be just starting parts of the job that are now complete.
Not Riding the Gridiron
For the last few years I've cycled over to the New Forest in mid October to ride The Wessex CTC Gridiron ride. I was all set to do this again. I'd entered well in advance, made arrangements to meet clubmates at the ferry, the weather forecast was looking good. Well, it was until the middle of the week when it went rapidly downhill. The balmy autumn day that was originally forecast turned into a warning of gales and heavy rain. Emails arrived from my erstwhile companions who had now had second thoughts. I would like to say that I am made of sterner stuff, that I don't mind riding on my own all day in the pouring rain. However, while I don't mind the rain for a while, the Gridiron is a long day involving a fair amount of hanging around waiting for ferries. I like to enjoy the autumn colours, the wandering donkeys, ponies and pigs not put my head down for a 12 hour sufferfest. I too dropped out.
It's not always easy to mix cycling with family life. I don't know if this will help, but I picked it up last weekend...
London to Paris – July 2013
Day One – London to Calais
After a very enjoyable ride from London to Brussels last year I persuaded the other half of South Cave Road Club to sign up for L2P this year in aid of Action Medical Research. The carrot at the end of the stick was seeing the finale of the 100th edition of the Tour de France.
Registration was between 5.30 and 6.45am on the Tuesday. Our plan was to register as early as possible and then head off to Tower Bridge, grab a coffee and then start. Our preparation was excellent; a friend had transported our bikes down by car on the Sunday, we had travelled by train on the Monday and had already been to find the registration point which was Bermondsey Village Hall. It was on this reconnaissance mission that I had managed to upset the international film star Bill Nighy by trying to take his photograph without permission on a film set. He did relent and my Facebook profile picture is ‘me & Bill’.
Our preparation was slightly better than that of Discover Adventure (the organising Tour Operator). Of the four staff manning the desk not one of them had a working pen or pencil and they were missing the ‘red dots’ that were needed for our luggage labels.
I really didn’t want to compare last year’s jaunt to this one and had to stop myself from saying ‘last year’ but things were very different. In 2012 there were only 20 cyclists and three support staff, this year there were 300 riders on two different routes and a dozen or more support staff (with only one pen). These numbers meant there wouldn’t be the camaraderie of last year, but I was cycling as part of a team (albeit two) as opposed to a solo rider, and as such didn’t feel the need to join up with anyone.
Loches again, cycling (sort of)
A September week in Loches, Touraine, France: cloudless skies, 34° afternoon temperature, quiet roads, empty villages, lovely châteaux, walks, some cycling. Heaven!
Loches, Touraine, France
Unfortunately our hosts for the past three years are moving on; they have bought the outbuildings of the Château de Chavigny near Chinon and are taking their antique French furniture with them, so it seems unlikely we'll be staying at the delightful riverside gîte in the centre of Loches again next Autumn. Time passes, things change.
Western Wolds Bike Ride (from Stamford Bridge)
Last weekend I took a 30-mile cycle ride with Rupert Douglas, creator of the Big Skies Bike Rides that I have written about over the last couple of years (example here). The ride wasn't one of the eight circular routes described previously, being longer, harder and starting further from the Yorkshire Wolds than any of the others.
Stamford Bridge is an ideal base from which to cycle on to the western escarpment of the Yorkshire Wolds – the steepest area. This ride passed through Acklam in North Yorkshire then on to the attractive East Yorkshire villages of Millington, Great Givendale and Bishop Wilton. There are few opportunities for refreshments along the way, but we made use of an extended stop at the Ramblers' Rest. Unusually there weren't many cyclists at the tables outside, which was a pity; I couldn't recall a better day for cycling in the Yorkshire Wolds this year. It was glorious.
Replacing Novatec Front Hub Bearings
For some time I'd been aware that my front hub bearings felt a little rough. I don't know anything about bearings. I knew that my hubs have cartridge bearings but that was the full extent of my knowledge, I had no idea what size bearings they were or how I should set about acquiring replacements. Then, after a very wet ride, the water round my front hub was rust coloured. It was time to learn about bearings!