Author Archive (Hilary)

A Cycle Seven Champion!

Do you recognise either of these cyclists? I don't expect you to recognise 2014 AAA (Audax Altitude Award) champion Martin Malins but perhaps his companion and winner of the Opposite Sex award may look a little familiar. It is, of course, Mary who won this years Audax Altitude Award points championship with a magnificent 137.25 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Start How You Mean to Go On!

I've always felt that what you do on New Year's Day somehow sets the pattern for the rest of the year. A bike ride is therefore compulsory but a weather forecast for severe gales and heavy rain from 9.00 am was hardly encouraging. An early start was my only option, and so, while normal people […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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New Forest On & Off Shore 200k Audax

The New Forest On & Off Shore is the only Audax calendar event to include the Isle of Wight and since I joined Audax last year it had become a 'must do' event. Actually I've been meaning to ride this for several years but I've always chickened out. I've ridden round the island umpteen times […]

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Night on a Bare Mountain

I've always fancied spending the night on a mountain top, watching the sun set, then sleeping under the stars until it rises again. At 482 feet high Tennyson Down is hardly a mountain but it is the highest point in West Wight, and, with sea on three sides, it commands splendid views. The current heat […]

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Bumbling round Brittany

A couple of weeks ago Dennis and I headed to Brittany where we attempted to combine a bit of a cycle tour with an ordinary family holiday. Nothing will induce Dennis to ride a bike so he travelled by car, leap-frogging and waiting for me to catch up. On quiet roads this works pretty well. […]

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The Wind in my Wheels

The Wind in my Wheels is the first of seven books by my favourite cycling writer, Josie Dew. I've read all her books more than once but I've read this so often I almost know it off by heart! Whenever we go for a 'normal' holiday without my bike this is the book that always […]

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Brooks Cambium, I'm a saddle tester!

A few months ago I received a newsletter from Brooks announcing that they were to introduce a new range of non leather saddles. They also announced that they were looking for 100 cyclists to volunteer to test out the new saddles before they went on general sale. I've always been a bit of a sucker […]

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Wayfarer Sausage Sizzle

Somehow it always seems to rain for the Wayfarer's annual sausage sizzle and this year looked like it was going to be no exception. Sizzle in the drizzle seemed to be on the cards as I cycled to the meeting place at Merstone where six of the usual stoving suspects were gathered. We were soon […]

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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'Women's Cycling' Magazine

I'm quite used to cycling being dominated by men. I'm the only woman in the group I cycle with on Sundays and I can't say that it worries me at all. As a kid I was always a tomboy and as a cyclist I just feel like one of the lads but on the rare […]

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Fun in the Snow!

There are only 2 things guaranteed to keep me from cycling – illness and snow. Unfortunately in the last week I've managed to have both! I was away for a month, then had a stomach bug, so I'm just beginning to get back into cycling again. This being March, I wasn't unduly worried when the […]

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The London Bike Show 2013

By some strange coincidence our weekend visit to London happened to coincide, once again, with the London Bike Show. With many local roads covered in frozen snow a morning spent wandering round a nice warm hall looking at bikes seemed a very good option! Bikes and tea, what more could you want?

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Road Kill

I doubt if many motorists ever notice the sorry little corpses that are to be found along our roads. Unless the animal concerned is quite large I don't suppose that they even know that they have hit something. To a cyclist , however, their sorry remains are all too obvious. We are less than 2 […]

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Look what Santa's brought the Isle of Wight!

OK, I admit that as presents go this doesn't look too exciting, but this is the smoothest stretch of tarmac on the whole of the Isle of Wight and it has just been laid at the Sandown end of NCN23, the Newport to Cowes cycle track.

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The Last Tints of Autumn

I haven't managed to go on many Autumn Tints' mainland rides this year. On several occasions the weather has been so foul that the ride has been cancelled and on a couple of rare occasions when the sun did shine, I had things that I needed to do. November's ride would be the last mainland […]

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Book Review, 'Barring Mechanicals…' by Andy Allsopp

I stumbled across 'Barring Mechanicals, From London to Edinburgh and back, on a recumbent bicycle' while searching Amazon for a book about 2 guys riding recumbents across Russia. Just before that I'd been idly browsing the LondonEdinburghLondon audax website. At first glance the idea of riding from London to Edinburgh and back seemed quite appealing. […]

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I've caught the audax bug!

I recently joined Audax UK and now a whole world of obsession awaits me! I'll never make a serious audaxer – I'm too fond of my sleep, but I'm hoping it will provide the motivation to try a few events further afield that I always mean to do but somehow never get round to. The […]

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New Forest Gridiron Ride

The Gridiron is getting to be a bit like Christmas – what that time again already? This is the fifth time I've done this ride and when combined with the ride to and from the ferry it makes a satisfying century. The forecast had been pretty iffy all week but then suddenly it was transformed […]

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'Cyclist's death not the fault of council'

So runs the headline in the Isle of Wight County Press on October 5th. I have previously mentioned this incident in which a 47 year old local woman died after hitting a pothole while descending a steep hill on her bike. On the day in question I climbed the hill and noticed that the road […]

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A Welsh Wander

Not content with just looking at bikes on our recent trip to Wales I managed to fit Why?Bike in the back of the car for a spot of Welsh cycling too. I was relying on picking up a leaflet from the Tourist Office which described a circular route from Llandrindod Wells. As this was supposed […]

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The National Cycle Collection

Poor Dennis, he walked straight into this one! We were discussing where to go for a few days holiday, 'I wouldn't mind going to Llandrindod Wells' he said. 'I went there about 30 years ago and thought it was really nice'. 'OK', I replied innocently, trying not to laugh, 'Let's do that then'. I waited […]

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New Forest and Coast 100k Audax

I first did this event a few years ago with a friend and we made a real hash of it, losing the route and adding many extra miles on busy roads. Every year since I have meant to go back and do it properly but somehow it has never happened. This year I decided it […]

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Nasty noises from a forgotten component

Roberta returned from her emergency visit to Roberts with gleaming silver cranks and running oh so sweetly. Unfortunately this happy state of affairs only lasted a few days. Her cranks still gleamed but suddenly, without warning, she started to sound like a sack of spanners! One minute I was riding happily along, the next she […]

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Sizzling Olympics

Last Sunday, as the world's best women cyclists prepared for the Olympic Road Race, six somewhat slower cyclists set off for the lesser known, and much less arduous, Olympic sport of sausage sizzling. When I joined the Guides at the age of ten one of the first things we did was a 'cookout', cooking sausages […]

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If it aint bust……….

The great thing about a custom bike is that you can get it built exactly as you want it. Or at least you can if the builder can get hold of all the bits that you want. My Roberts was always meant to be blue and silver but unfortunately T A cranks in the 165mm […]

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Can you have too much of a good thing?

There is no doubt that the Isle of Wight is a great place to cycle. Lonely Planet recently described it as a cycling paradise and included it alonside Provence, Tasmania and New Zealand in its list of the 10 best places in the world to cycle. The 100k, signposted, Round the Island route, is an […]

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Herne Hill, Going for Gold

Medals won by Tommy Godwin at the 1948 Olympics Herne Hill velodrome in south London is the only surviving venue from the last London Olympics in 1948. I don't take a great interest in track cycling. Going round in circles, especially indoors, is the very antithesis of what I enjoy about cycling. However as I […]

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The Finishing Touch

When I recently described various upgrades that I had made to Why?Bike there seemed to be general agreement that my tatty, creaky, adjustable handlebar stem had to go next. I did think long and hard about going all modern and getting an Ahead converter but I like the looks of quill stems and had secretly […]

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Cycling the flat lands of France

Mid May saw us off on our annual French trip with me cycling and Dennis travelling by car. I'd really like to go to the more mountainous parts of France but I can't face the long drive required to get there so this year we decided to cycle the lower reaches of the Loire and […]

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Isle of Wight Randonnee 2012

Sunday morning is usually a quiet affair in the small village of Whitwell. When I arrived at 8.30 it was cold and raining, but the village hall was a hive of activity. Outside, gazebos were being erected with much scratching of heads, while inside cakes were being cut and wrapped and hot cross buns buttered. […]

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Why? is much better without Hope!

Why?Bike's new wheels arrived earlier this week. After much deliberation I'd ordered Deore LX hubs built onto Rigida Snyper rims by Andrew at Spa Cycles. Why?Bike is meant as my expedition tourer, ready and waiting for my mythical round the world tour so I had considered going for the bombproof Sputnik rims but eventually decided […]

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No hope for Hope hub

I've always been rather proud of the Hope hubs on Why?Bike, my 26" wheeled tourer that I bought second hand. Far more classy than common or garden Shimano ones I reckoned. Then this happened.

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Bespoked Bristol, The UK Handmade Bicycle Show

There's something special about a handmade bike. There is absolutely nothing wrong with factory built bikes but they just don't have that uniqueness, that personal touch, that sense of timeless British craftsmanship. I've no use for a handmade suit, my furniture is all flat pack, but a handbuilt bike is a luxury I can just […]

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The Missing Link

Part of the National Cycle Network route NCN23 runs across the Isle of Wight from Cowes to Sandown via Newport, the principal town on the island. The section from Cowes to Newport runs along the old railway line alongside the river Medina and is well used by both commuters and leisure cyclists. The Sandown to […]

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The Humble Workhorse

My bike is a pampered thoroughbred. She gets the best of everything and the slightest scratch to her gleaming paintwork is a national disaster. Not all bikes are treated so. I've just spent a month in Morocco where bikes still serve their original purpose as 'the people's nag', carrying riders and their loads as they […]

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The London Bike Show

Last Sunday I visited the London Bike Show at the Excel Centre. It was held in conjunction with the Outdoors Show, the Adventure Travel Show and the Boat Show. Boats make me seasick but the rest sounded right up my street.

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Annie Londonderry: A Remarkable Woman

Annie Londonderry was the first woman cyclist to circle the globe. Although she was a celebrity in her day she would now be completely forgotten if it was not for the extensive research of her descendant Peter Zheutlin and his book 'Around the World on Two Wheels'. Santa kindly brought me a copy and, although […]

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Cyclewight Mince Pie Ride

Held annuallly on the 27th of December the Cyclewight Mince Pie Ride was once listed by the Daily Telegraph as one of the ten best things to do after Christmas. Unfortunately icy conditions have meant the turn out has been very low in recent years but this year's mild weather led to a record number […]

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Wishing All Cyclists a Very Happy Christmas

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The First Day of Spring!

Well, OK, that might be a bit optimistic but days are now officially getting longer and on a mild day like today it feels like the start of spring. I've never understood why people celebrate the summer solstice, its really the start of winter. The winter solstice is the magical time, the promise that the […]

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Wiggle Wight Winter Sportive

I've never ridden a sportive. I followed behind one once, entered it with a friend the following year, but then chickened out when she couldn't go. The Wiggle Wight Winter sportive is the first such event to take place wholly on the island and I was initially keen to enter it. However the doubts soon […]

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The Great Circle Ride

Wednesday's ride was the last mainland outing for the Autumn Tints until next spring. Unusually it meant returning to the island from a different ferry port than we left. I'd had thoughts of doing this ride myself in the summer as I liked the idea of using 5 different ferries. I was, however, put off […]

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