Concrete Block time again!

The 16th of July is fast approaching, the day I leave to ride north. First stop is Bridgwater (88miles), then Yarkhill (near Ledbury) (92miles), then Wrexham – (82miles). (I'm exhausted just talking about it!) Then it's a short one to south Manchester (48miles) and a well earned day off!

I will arrive at Skipton after riding due north through the city centre on the 22nd July – 59miles. All this will be with my trailer in tow containing all my gear. I've yet to make a list of the stuff and assemble it all together and as I'll be away from home for two weeks, there will be quite a bit required, not least of which will be this laptop!

In an effort to train myself, I rode out today with Trailer, but that's not all. In it, I carried a 40lb concrete block. 17miles into the Devon hills took me 1hr 38mins – average speed of 9.7mph. I must add that this ride has a total ascent of over 1,700ft. The route is a sort of favourite of mine, and I do it quite often, it usually takes me 1hr 15mins – ave sp 12.5mph. Towing a trailer is obviously slower than not towing, but actually quite efficient. Up hills are slow, but down hills are FAST!

When I assemble all my stuff, I'll be weighing it, and hopefully it won't weigh more than 40lbs! I should be "travelling light" this time – as when I was last away, I was on Chopper and that leviathan weighted a massive 44lbs by itself, so any weight I carried was a only small percentage of the total all-up weight. This time on a 531c lightweight greyhound, I'll be more careful what I take ........ but we'll see.

I hope this weather holds for the ride, it's wonderful out there at present – lovely cool wind and fluffy white clouds, not hot, just warm and summery. Please, Weather Gods, be kind.

From Skipton, I'll be heading back to south Manchester, then Hathern, near Loughborough (73miles), to Bedford (69miles) for another day off, then Uffington, near Swindon (76miles), to Bridgwater again (86miles) before making it back home on the 30th July.


Regards to all, and happy cycling.

19 comments on “Concrete Block time again!”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    Yes, "Phew!"

    As you'll be equipped with a trailer, I don't suppose you'd mind carrying the beer and sandwiches on 25th (edit) 23rd July by any chance? Just joking. Have a safe journey oop north. You'll either be fit as a fiddle by Yorkshire or knackered. The former I suspect.

    Some minor route updates on the West Yorkshire ride page.

    The weather's been gorgeous here too but raining at Wimbledon I see. Serves them right for being 2 degrees warmer the rest of the year.

  2. Alan wrote:

    That trailer looks the business, doesn't it? Perhaps Mick should carry another bike strapped to the back of it, in the fashion of SUVs taking bikes to the countryside for a day out.

    I'm setting off a day after Mick, with nothing like Mick's distance to do but I'm allowing a day for contingency ('cos BB loves getting lost) as well as a rest day.

  3. Keith Edwards wrote:

    Mick it would be very interesting to find out the nose weight of your trailer with the block in it. I have a single wheel one and checked the nose weight with a 56lb weight at different positions in the trailer, with some interesting results.

  4. Mick F wrote:

    Hi guys,
    I've started a list of stuff to take, and I'll be assembling all or most of it today ........ then I'll weigh it.

    I'm staying two nights at The Old Swan Inn, Gargrave (just to the west of Skipton) and I'll be leaving my trailer there. I ain't dragging that round West Yorkshire!

    Keith, I'll get back with the info later. Not too sure how I'm going to measure it, the kitchen digital scales sat on a box to the right height maybe the way forward.


  5. Mick F wrote:

    Nose Weights:

    Empty, I was able to rest the kitchen scales on an upturned bucket and lower the tow arm. – 3lb 1oz.

    With the 40lb concrete block placed inside centrally, I tried the same method, but the weight was beyond the range of the kitchen scales! So I took out the bathroom scales instead, but the weight was too light for them to read!

    Next idea worked: I weighed myself and subtracted it from my weight whilst holding the tow arm. – 5lb 9oz.

    This shows how good a two wheeled trailer is. Not much of the towed weight is actually ON the bike.


  6. Patrick wrote:

    Alan wrote: I'm setting off a day after Mick.

    Still intending to bivouac Alan? I'd be interested to see some en route photos if you get the chance.

    @Mick... whenever I've weighed my bikes I've weighed each wheel separately as the scales don't go up to 75lbs. Incidentally, do you have any thoughts on copper grease? (when I looked up lithium grease I decided that grease is a can of worms)

    Mick wrote: Not much of the towed weight is actually ON the bike.

    And when you're moving along, the weight on the tow arm reduces even more because the line of pull is above the road. The converse applies when braking – tow arm weight load increases.

  7. Keith Edwards wrote:

    Mick the weight you give is about half what I thought it might be but I am not surprised. I knew from what you have said that it was low just a little lower than I expected with that block.
    Thanks for that.

  8. Mick F wrote:

    The science of this is interesting, innit?

    I knew the nose weight would be low, but I'd never measured it before. Thank you Keith for asking the question.

    Patrick, I agree with you only in part.
    If the load on the trailer was high up, what you say would be true, but if the load was low down, the nose weight wouldn't change much. The tow weight "push" or "pull" would change of course, but not necessarily the nose weight.

    Think of a load BELOW the wheel axles. The nose weight would decrease on braking.

    It therefore depends on the centre of gravity, but practically speaking, what you say must be true, but to what extent, I dunno – I expect not a lot.


  9. Patrick wrote:

    Yes, I should have said the axle, not the road. We have a car trailer here, and when I grab the part near the hitch and pull it along, the 'nose' wants to rise in the air, and when I try to stop it the weight seems to increase. As you say, I think it depends on where the CG is in relation to the pivot point (the axle). So... if the axle is higher than the load and you pull, the nose weight would increase (doesn't sound right). Ideally, for a neutral effect, you want the load exactly where the axle is – that sounds right.

    I assume there's a reason why the load in your trailer is in front of the axle. It's a very nice trailer BTW.

    Something else that intrigues me (when I think about it) is that a fast moving vehicle becomes 'weightless' in that if you could put a piece of paper over a hole in the road, it wouldn't tear it as it goes over, but if it stopped right over it, the wheel would go through. I suppose there is a simple explanation.

  10. Kern wrote:

    I rode with a BoB trailer on one tour in the Rockies. Within a kilometer of departure we had to stop and repack the entire load because of instability – I had positioned all the compact but heavy items (like my hatchet) on top.

  11. Alan wrote:

    Yes, I'm intending to bivouac on the way up and back, wild camping.

    If the CG (or CM, Centre of Mass) is above the axle, then accelerations will tend to lift the nose and decelerations will drop it. Exactly like a car behaves. Or a bike, for that matter.

    From Mick's photos with the concrete block, I suspect the CM isn't far above the axle, as a proportion of the axle height, so I doubt the effect is large. Perhaps it would be most noticeable when braking, as it would increase the load on the bike's rear wheel, reducing the tendency for it to lift. But as the static load is only 5lb 9oz, the dynamic load will only be slightly more, and very small compared to the load without the trailer.

  12. Mick F wrote:

    Two answers here.
    1. Load is always better lower down. You live and learn!
    2. The paper over the hole experiment is to do with time. Think of a fly flying east being hit by a fast-moving train heading west. The flies dies – of course – but the fly itself had to go through zero speed to change direction. Therefore if the fly was at zero, so must the train.


  13. Hilary wrote:

    This is all too technical for me. I just don't fancy towing a concrete block whatever the trailer nose position! 😀

    Mick, the cafe in Gargrave used to be the favoured haunt of all the cyclists from Bradford/Keighley area – huge pots of tea and cheap food. This was 25+ years ago tho so it may have changed!

  14. Alan wrote:

    I've never tried papering over potholes. I can't see it working well, to be honest. A vehicle without suspension that drives over a big hole (or cliff) will move in a parabola, ignoring air resistance. So driving at 70mph over a 1 foot pothole, the wheel will meet the other side only slightly lower than it started.

    The fly changes direction, so its speed was zero at some point. This will slow down the train by a tiny amount (because total momentum is conserved). If the fly was really big, or moving really fast, it would stop the train. Or even reverse the train's direction. I wouldn't want to meet that fly.

  15. Mary wrote:

    I am really looking forward to finally meeting the famous trailer Mick.

    Good luck Sir with your journey up, it makes my wee jaunt to Skipton look like a training run, I think its maybe 50 miles or less.

    See you all soon! 🙂

  16. Mick F wrote:

    Hi Mary,
    As I said earlier, I'll be arriving at Gargrave and leaving Trailer there, so by the time we all meet up for the Big West Yorkshire Ride, you may not see it .....

    Do you fancy popping in to the Old Swan on your way out of Skipton?


  17. Mary wrote:

    Oh no! I cant miss the trailer Mick....

    Off now for a tour of the lakes, so will send a private message via the blog when I am back on Wednesday.

  18. Keith Edwards wrote:

    Mick all the weight movement things about trailers is interesting. I found that with my single wheel trailer that the further forward in the thing the more stable it was.
    The most stable though was when I used it to collect a steering box for an old Land Rover Discovery. By far the heaviest load it has been used for.

    Also how can you disappoint so many people by not having the wonder machine there

    😀 They are so looking forward to seeing it. Also maybe putting weight in there to keep up with you 😉

  19. Patrick wrote:

    Mick wrote: The paper over the hole experiment is to do with time.

    "The reason a plank does not break under a moving bike is a matter of time."

    From Moving vs Stationary Force

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