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.
Yellow Bikes Everywhere
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.
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.
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.
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...?
Tibthorpe's Tip Top Bus Stop
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.
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...
Isle of Wight Randonnee 2014
Another year past, another randonnee ridden. I've blogged about this several times now and, as usual, I spent the day at the Whitwell checkpoint helping to supply refreshments to hungry riders and, in the process, raising around £650 for a local children's charity. We couldn't have asked for better weather for it – dry, light winds and a bit of sunshine and so it was no surprise that we had a record entry of 2152 riders. However, with only a few days to go before the event things were looking far from rosy.....!
Seven Day Forecast
From my bed I could see it; blue sky and its attendant promises.
Lift and lower. My old Marin came down from its hook. Lift and lower. The pump restored new life to the tires. Except the the rear one, which had a flat. “You can take my wheel,” offered Mary chivalrously.
Wight Bike Bus
A few years ago we visited California. One of the things that most impressed me was the way that all the buses had racks on the front to carry bikes. Roberta wouldn't dream of travelling in such a manner but it struck me as a very good idea. I've always thought that one of the main things that puts people off cycling any distance is the fear of ending up stranded. 'What if the bike breaks down and I can't fix it? What if I'm just too exhausted to carry on?' I think women particularly worry about being stuck miles from home with a bike that has a problem that they can't fix. Cycling visitors to the Isle of Wight no longer need to worry as Southern Vectis now have 4 buses that have been specially adapted to carry up to 6 bikes.
Take Your Bike On The Bus
(Picture by, and of, Alan Rowe)
Ortlieb Bike Tourer Panniers – Product Review
In spring a young man’s thoughts turn to love; a not-so-young man’s thoughts turn to touring.
One of the challenges of touring on a tandem is luggage capacity. Mary’s philosophy is to take absolutley everything she might possibly need. Before we got Lady CoMo this approach worked reasonably well, but the tandem forced us to rethink our approach.
The Ortlieb panniers that we settled on have been excellent. After completing two tours with them we fully expect they will be with us for the rest of our touring days. Here is what we like about them.