Friday, 29 May 2009

ACCR-Our last 'Distance' training day.

Today was the last opportunity that Jason and I had to do a full day's training ride prior to our departure in a weeks time. (John had to work today). We covered a similar distance as we did on Sunday and completed it in a similar time. The biggest difference was that our total ascent during today's ride was just under 6000ft which was more than Sundays ride.
After crossing over from Sandbanks on the chain ferry we headed out to Studland-Corfe-Wool-Moreton and Bere Regis. We then returned by the same route. The pictures today show the heavy traffic coming off the ferry on the Studland side and two shots of the tea shop at Moreton where we stopped for coffee and banana cake. I have stopped at the Moreton tea shop a number of times when I have been walking in the area and I can reccomend it. Between now and next Friday when we set off, my plan is just to do about 15miles every other day in order to keep my legs spinning.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

ACCR- Preparation coming together.

Things all seem to be coming together for the Atlantic Coast Challenge Ride now. Over the past few days all the maps have arrived for the entire trip.The maps will be used more for the daily planning of the route than use on the bike. On the bike I will be using a Garmin 605 computer/sat nav system. This unit records all the details of the ride including MPH/Average speed/pace/route taken/ascent & descent/calories burned plus more and this information can all be downloaded to my computer at home on the team's return.
Earlier today I had a delivery of various nutrition items which included Carbo drinks powder - carbo gels & power bars. These items have been supplied by Endurance Sports Nutrition who do a first class mail order service. They are able to deliver within 24/48hrs.
Also today I received uprated brake block holders and pads. I am hoping that this brake upgrade will improve my braking on the Pyrenees downhill sections. Cycling downhill at 50mph
is scary enough without having concerns about your braking ability. During the next week the bikes will all be serviced and any problems found will be rectified. As I said everthing seems to be coming together quite well. Only another eight days before we set off.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Cycling for good health - but whose ?

I think that it is pretty well accepted that cycling can be good for your health. All that fresh air and exercise has got to have some good effect on your body as long as you don't attempt too much too soon. Sometimes though when I read about cycling and it's health benefits I have to ask whose health ?? I had to ask that question on two occasions over the past couple of days and it was my health that I was concerned about.....!!
'What can he mean'? I hear you say. Let me explain. There I was walking along through a shopping precinct when all of a sudden some bl**dy idiot on a bike comes weaving through the crowds travelling at some speed and misses me by less than an inch- I really thought that he was going to knock me flying. At the speed he was travelling he would have launched me into orbit!! If he had hit me my Atlantic Coast Challenge Ride would have finished before it had even started and this happened twice over the past two days. His cycling would not have been good for MY health. Riding bikes on pavements is NOT legal. That is the beginning and end of it. How much longer do the rest of us have to put up with this sort of thing with nothing being done about it? This is dangerous for pedestrians and also adds to the bad press that decent law abiding cyclists could do without. If more fixed penalty notices of £60/£80 were given out on a regular basis for riding on the pavement and an extra amount for dangerous cycling (weaving in an out of people at speed IS dangerous) I am certain that eventualy it would not happen as often as it does. If you have any doubts about how dangerous it can be - two or three years ago an old lady was killed on the promenade by a cyclist weaving in and out of people at speed. This accident was one of the things that led to cycling being banned during July & August between the hours of 1000hrs & 18oohrs along the Bournemouth promenade-trouble is it is not policed and cyclists still ignore the NO CYCLING signs on the promenade and along the chines.
Cycling good for your health? Depends whose riding the bike!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

ACCR-Training on Target.

How lucky have we been? This is the second bank holiday weekend in a row that we have had really great weather.

No excuse then to not go out on another training ride-this time with the touring bikes-the bikes that we will be using on the ACCR.

John couldn't manage to get the time away to join us as he had a pre-arranged family commitment but he does assure me that he has been training and is almost ready for the off in less than two weeks time. Well I hope so because on today's ride Jason and I were bang on target for TIME/DISTANCE/AVERAGE SPEED.

Today we covered 70.34miles at an average speed of 14.5mph with 5130ft of ascent and we did it in a cycling time of 4hrs59mins burning 4405 calories along the way.

Now although this is not as fast as we can achieve on the Felt Sportive bikes -as mentioned, we did todays ride on our more comfortable tourers which are heavier than the Felt's but do have lower gearing for the big hills.

The times etc achieved today are those we are hoping to maintain on the ACCR this will then give us plenty of time for a bit of siteseeing as well as time sitting around in cafes and bars etc......!

If John finds that he has done insufficient training or/and has been eating to much and finds the going difficult at least he will have the luxury of Dave and the broom wagon to sweep him up.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Mark Beaumont on the move again.

Mark Beaumont the round the world cycling record holder is about to set out on another ultra long distance ride. This time Mark is planning to travel from Anchorage in Alaska all the way to Ushuaia in Southern Argentina. On the way he is planning on climbing two mountain peaks as well as all his pedalspinning. This trip is only about 3,000 miles short of his around the world trip and is another massive undertaking. You can catch up on Mark's training by going to:-

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Team Jerseys

Today the postman delivered the TEAM 219 cycling jerseys. If I had any doubts about going out for another training ride following yesterday's efforts I now had an incentive. On went one of the jerseys-out came the bike and I was off-the first team member to cycle in one of the new team colour jerseys. As we cycle south through France and into Spain in a couple of weeks time I am sure that no one will be in any doubt where the team comes from. Mind you we could have achieved the same effect by wrapping ourselves in a Union Jack each...!!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Getting in the Miles.

Great weather today so Jason and I decided that we would get some more miles in. Just under fifty miles was our total and this was the first time since the Duncton Sportive that Jason and I have managed a cycle ride together.It was one of those rides that whichever direction we were travelling in we seemed to have a head wind. The photo shows both the bikes outside the bakery at Wool where we stopped for coffee and Dorset apple cake. If you look closely you will see that both the bikes are standing on 'Topeak Flashstand Slim' stands that I first mentioned a couple of months ago. Whenever I use the stand it always attracts attention - today whilst we were on the Sandbanks Ferry another cyclist remarked on the stands and pointed out how good they were for allowing you to stand back and 'admire your bike' !!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Arrival of the Nallo.

Today the Nallo arrived. As mentioned a few days ago my inability to get any reply from Robert Saunders was pushing me in the direction of a NALLO 3GT. This is a three man tent with a larger porch than the standard NALLO. I went for the three man GT version instead of a two man because the 3 only weighs 9oz more than the 2 and I wanted the extra space in order to accomodate a bike. As you can see from the photo my largest frame bike (my tourer) fits in side the porch with space to spare. Because of the extra width of this tent compared to my Wild Country Duolite Tourer (that I also use when cyclepacking) I now have more useable space in the porch area. The Nallo was easy to erect taking about 5mins even in the blustery conditions that we experienced today. As well as the larger porch for my bike I also have a huge sleeping area in which I can swan around in which will prove very useful if I find myself tent bound due to bad weather. The quality of this tent is up to the usual Hilleberg standards just like my favorite solo backpacking tent the AKTO. The DUOLITE TOURER is ok for 2/3 season use but with the NALLO 3GT I will have a tent for 4 season cyclepacking.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Hotspot of cycle crime!!

Apparently the cycle storage area at Bournemouth rail station is a HOTSPOT of cycle crime. Even though British Transport Police and Rail Community Officers patrol the area it still remains a 'Hotspot'.
Not very reassuring for anyone thinking of leaving their bike at the station. The information on the notice concerning the best way to lock your bike is all good stuff though. Not that I would want to risk leaving my bike there. It's almost as if they are saying 'if your bike gets stolen we wash our hands of the matter because we did warn you'......!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Trying to buy a tent.

Over the last year I dug out from my garage a tent that I have had for about eighteen years. The tent in question is a Robert Saunders Galaxy. This is a great tent for static meets or even for cyclepacking. It is a tunnel style unit with a large porch area on both sides, both of which have two entrance zips. The porch areas are large enough to accomodate a bike each side (if you wished to) and the main tent area is what I suppose you would describe as a three man size. I used this tent at Graffham last weekend and I also used it at the recent BPC Dorset Group static meet. I WOULD LIKE TO BUY ANOTHER ONE. The newer ones that I have seen (at last years AGM) are made from lighter materials although the tent design is unchanged. I thought that this would be an ideal tent for my cyclepacking trips as well as my weekends away with my car and sportive bike when I attend sportives.
Robert Saunders still advertise on the back of the BPC magazine (Backpack) and I have been told that although the man himself is getting on a bit in years now (aren't we all) the business still operates in it's own way. Well I have emailed and left messages all to no avail-no reply!! Stourvale Walker gave me the details of a company called ALPENSTOCK who stock Robert Saunders tents and they have been very helpful but they are out of stock of the Galaxy but were able to confirm to me that it does seem to be difficult to make contact with Robert Saunders.
The Galaxy is a great tent at a great price but that is of no account if I cannot get hold of one. The lady I spoke to at Alpenstock -Josie- has been really good answering all my queries even measuring tent panels for me and phoning me back with all the information that I required. It now looks very much as if I will be buying a Hilleberg NALLO 3GT and not a new Galaxy with which to replace my 18 years old one. Yes I know the Nallo is more than twice the price of the Galaxy and it also only has one porch, but then there is nothing to beat good old fashioned customer service and ALPENSTOCK certainly seem to offer that and they do answer my calls and emails.......!! Try them

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

ACCR- The Route.

I have had a number of requests from people wanting to know the route that the team will be taking on their Atlantic Coast Challenge Ride in June.
The rough overall plan is to take the Poole to Cherbourg ferry and then cycle down through France- up and over the western end of the Pyrenees and then along the Northern Spanish coast to Santander where we will get the ferry back to Plymouth and then the final leg will be the ride from Plymouth back to Bournemouth. We expect this to take us about 14 cycling days to complete.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

My Last Day Of Work.

William Faulkner said---

"One of the saddest things is that the only thing that a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day, is work. You can't eat eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours-all you can do for eight hours is work."

Well today was my last day at work-that's it. After forty four years and six months I have finished. No more having to get up at silly o'clock or working till the midnight hour. No more having to listen to the same old idea's hashed up and spouted in management speak as if it was something new and exciting.

I think that William Faulkner was wrong.

I can ride a bike for eight hours a day. Day in and day out. (I will in June when we cycle to Spain)
I can walk for eight hours a day. ( As I have done whilst backpacking and I will again on future trips).

From now and on into the future I intend to prove William Faulkner wrong, over and over again.

One last thought for those of you still locked into the daily grind--

When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him 'Whose?'

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Duncton Sportive.

The weather for todays Sportive was just right for cycling. Sunny but not hot. I managed to avoid the pot holes and keep my wheels intact. There were a couple of crashes and at least one of these seems to have been caused by bad road surface. I came in at 4hrs 07mins on the mid distance of 95kms putting me in a bronze position. Jason came in at 4 hrs 43mins for the same distance. Tonight it was back up the pub but this time we had earned it.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

The local pub.

After todays ride Jason and I visited the local hostelry this evening. Drinking the devils potion I hear you say- but no it was pasta and ginger beer for us.

Pot holes.

I went out on a training ride this morning around the Graffham area and some of the roads are lethal. Have a look at the shot of some pot holes less than a mile from the camp site and on the route of tomorrows sportive. I will certainly be looking out for my wheels!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Graffham C and CC Site.

I have now pitched up at the Graffham site. This is the first time that i have camped here. As you can see from the photo it is almost like being on a wild pitch. All the tent pitches are in amongst the woods and its quiet too with no brats around and no teenage noise makers. This could be heaven with all the feeling of camping wild but all the benefits of a site. Tomorrow i have a training ride and Jason should arrive in the afternoon.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Duncton Sportive.

Tomorrow I am off to Sussex as Jason Boynton-Lee and I have entered the Duncton Sportive this weekend. The plan is to camp at the C&CC site at Graffham and to use that as our base for a training ride on Saturday and for the event itself on Sunday. After the event we will camp over till Monday before returning home. I hope to make postings to this blog reporting back on the site and the event itself.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

An uncomfortable ride?

Take a look at this. I saw this bike on a train yesterday and could not fathom out how the rider would manage to stay connected with the saddle. The angle of the saddle is so extreme that anyone riding the bike must be constantly sliding down towards the top tube. Accepted practice is for the saddle to be close to level with a few degrees either up or down to suit the individual rider. My experience has been that even a few degrees alteration to the saddle angle can make a huge difference to riding comfort. If the owner of this bike is comfortable whilst riding I can't even begin to imagine what his anatomy must be like!!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

New Team Name.

Last year when our long distance cycling team completed their 10 day LEJOG the team was known as the RevPro Cycling Team. This name reflected the fact that all the team members were part of SWT Revenue Protection Team based here at Bournemouth. Time moves on and situations change and now (in some part due to the 'credit crunch') all team members have either been displaced or been made redundant. As far as I am concerned my last day of employment will be on Friday 15th May. Due to this change in our fortunes (or misfortunes) we felt that a new team name was required. From today we are now known as TEAM 219 . The number 219 represents the combined ages of the four team members. Our major ride this year will be a trip down through France and into Spain in June. Further details concerning this ride can be found by following the Team 219 link on this page.