CycleSeven

A Farewell Tour

The past two summers I have ridden through Winnipeg. As my project started to wind down, I began to think of my evening rides as a “farewell tour”.

Every ride started here, at the corner of St. Mary and Carleton. I would ride down Carleton, to the right. This photo of St. Mary Cathedral in the background is more interesting.

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Pretty Pretty: the Derbyshire Dales (Cycling)

We have travelled around England and Wales a fair bit this year, with our bikes but not always cycling. Some places lend themselves to it more than others—our kind of cycling anyway (that's me and Sandra). This week, in the Derbyshire Dales, where strangely I have never been before, we rode our bikes in the most gorgeous autumn weather imaginable. And the prettiest countryside imaginable. Why I've not been there before I can't imagine.

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England from the Tissington Trail

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Bracket racket: what's the bottom line?

I've been spending too much time lurking about on online cycling forums again. I must cut down – or cut it out completely. Maybe. I know that amongst the true gems of genuinely fascinating information there will be the inevitable verbal fisticuffs, misunderstandings and completely random tangents taken. Sometimes I think I post comments just so that I can be annoyed all over again when the original poster – or OP – fails to acknowledge my cycling erudition. The latest topic – actually two – I really mustn't allow myself to get drawn in to includes the advantages and disadvantages of Outboard Bottom Bracket Bearings or OBBB – or OBB. (Just be careful if you call them External Bottom Brackets or your abbreviation could clash with the one used for Eccentric Bottom Brackets and you'll be misunderstood and go and upset someone else no end.) I expect that the excessive use of abbreviations is a feature of most if not all such areas of specialist interest.

Bottom Brackets

From front: square taper, ball race cages; square taper, cartridge bearing; Octalink bottom bracket, cartridge bearing; Hollowtech II, external bottom bracket bearing

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Prudential RideLondon Grand Prix 2014

Last weekend I had a day in London between destinations. Pity. It was an opportunity to aquaint myself with one of the world’s great cities. By late afternoon my feet ached – I had walked for hours and decided to try a Boris Bike. Well, I couldn’t get the kiosk to work, nor could the crowd around me, so at least I didn’t feel like a total idiot.

So I kept walking. And walked right into a British women’s cycling race circling around The Mall. That explained the helicopter overhead. With only six laps left I found a spot at the barriers 150 meters from the finish line. Two commentators kept up a running banter, large LED screens gave a televised view of the race, and loud music pumped out the requisite techno beats of crowd-swelling music.

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Light on Cycling

It's almost a year since I cycled regularly. I've been out on my bike less than 20 times since last August. It surprises me to see this written but it's true. However, I have not given up cycling by any means. Nope. I've just had other things to do, beginning with re-roofing part of our house (stripped down to bare brick and concrete). In fact I've done a lot of things I would not have done in the comfort zone of daily bike riding.

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Le Grand Depart

Who could resist going to see the Tour de France's first visit to Yorkshire? Certainly not me. We have a friend in York whom we'd been meaning to visit for some time (since our last visit when CycleSeven cycled the Dales in fact!) so this was the perfect opportunity. We took the train from Southampton and it soon became clear that we weren't the only ones with this idea. The further north we went the more cyclists got on – the ones without bikes were easily identifiable from their choice of reading matter, all with the same story of inviting themselves to stay with long lost friends and relations. There was quite a buzz on the train but it was nothing to the atmosphere when we arrived in York to find it full of yellow bicycles.

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Yellow Bikes Everywhere

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The Thaw

Spring (finally) came, and now it has gone. It was only a few weeks ago that the last of the frozen water pipes in Winnipeg finally thawed. Winter’s frost was over 7 feet deep. The late weather did not help the cycling season, but eventually the legs started turning.

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Le Petit Départ

One day I will do a decent ride in the Yorkshire Dales. Earlier this year I had hoped to follow much of the route of stage one of the Tour de France 2014. It was not to be.

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Kilnsey Crag, on the route of stage one of le Tour 2014, albeit in the other direction

It had all started so promisingly. I received an email from Dave (a somewhat obsessive cyclist) asking if I fancied riding the full route. I didn't. I had seen the main roads from Leeds to Skipton and they're not my idea of fun. I suggested meeting at Skipton Travelodge before picking up the route as far as Reeth or Leyburn where I would peel off and avoid the 'A' roads on to Harrogate.

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Back in the saddle again

After four weeks out of the saddle I made an almost last-minute decision to get out yesterday. The forecast was promising. Within a mile of our start point we had stopped under some trees to shelter from a heavy rain shower. I had been too tired to put the wheels back on my touring bike the previous night, and scrabbled around in the morning to put together the things I should have got sorted out the night before. So I set off without sunglasses and with my Camelbak bottle still on the drainer. A bit later the batteries would die in my Garmin. And Dave's rear brake cable snapped. Was it going to be one of those days...?

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Tibthorpe's Tip Top Bus Stop

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A Little Man at Large

James turned three earlier this month. For his birthday last year his main present was a balance bike – a Tiny Bike from a shop in Hull. He now has a Islabikes Cnoc 14. I was sceptical about the claims made by advocates of balance bikes, but within a week of his birthday James was able to ride his newest bike for several hundred metres at a time, as well as turning corners. He is still working on his technique for getting on and off the bike.

James on his cnoc 14

From balance bike to pedalling (not via stabilisers)

We bought the new bike over the telephone. The chap at Isla Bikes was initially wary of selling us the Cnoc 14, saying that James was probably too small for the bike, and when I asked about stabilisers – after being prompted by Mrs B – I was very firmly steered away from them.

Today we were mostly working on braking. And I haven't ran so much in years.

Update to follow...

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