Sunday, 30 June 2013

CYCLING LOG: 24-30 June 2013

97.11 km this week... and 641.86 km for the month.

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 - 31.35 km
31.35 km in 02:21:10 hours at 13.32 km/h on Surly Pacer.
Home to the Hub for Ride Leader Training, which included two lengthy practical sessions and assessments. Got sunburnt in bright humid sunshine - summer for a day? end odo 3262.8
Sat, Jun 29, 2013 - 13.58 km           
13.58 km in 00:44:23 hours at 18.36 km/h on Surly Pacer.
Home to the Hub and back. end odo 3231.5
Thu, Jun 27, 2013 - 26.02 km           
26.02 km in 01:54:41 hours at 13.61 km/h on Surly Cross Check.
Home to the Hub; out to Houghton Regis to record levels of bicycle parking at nine areas with bike parking stands, back to the Hub; then home. end odo 1329.3
Wed, Jun 26, 2013 - 12.69 km           
12.69 km in 01:03:55 hours at 11.91 km/h on Surly Pacer.
Home to Luton Airport Parkway station; Farringdon station to Look Mum No Hands, then to Cyclefit (Macklin Street) then to Cycle Surgery (Procter Street), back to Cyclefit, then to Specialized Concept Store (Mercer Street) then to Leather Lane for dinner then to Farringdon Station. Forgot to put computer back on bike for one/more segments of travel today. end odo 3217.9
Tue, Jun 25, 2013 - 13.47 km           
13.47 km in 00:45:11 hours at 17.89 km/h on Surly Cross Check.
Home to the Hub and back. end odo 1303.3

Friday, 28 June 2013

Carbon Test Ride #2 - Er, Aborted.

I found myself in London on Wednesday and popped into "my" CycleSurgery store.

I say "my" because, before I started cycling again as an adult and even before I started window shopping for a bicycle, I shopped around for a bike shop first. And the CycleSurgery ("CS") on Procter Street (near Holborn tube station) was where I felt more welcome, best listened to. I bought my first adult bike there. I bought a few more bikes elsewhere in the year that followed, but then went back to CS for a second Brompton. And very nearly bought my first light road bike there -- a 2012 Specialized Ruby Comp -- only to be scuppered by my finance application being rejected.

On the strength of the relationship with CS, I popped in and asked if they happened to have a 51cm Ruby in stock available for a test ride. They didn't. However, they have a close partnership with the Specialized Concept Store ("SCS") just down the road near Seven Dials, so they picked up the phone and found that, yes, the SCS had a 51cm Ruby on the shop floor. I was told it was being set aside for me, available for a test ride anytime before 7pm that day.

I turned up at the SCS around 5.45pm. The three people I chatted with were friendly and helpful. But it all began to go wrong when the young sales assistant said to me, as he knelt down to remove my pedals from my Pacer for fitting to the Ruby --

"Oh and you'll have to have your credit card swiped for a deposit while you're out on the Ruby".

No problem, getting prior authorisation on a token sum (up to £50) is typical, so that the store knows your card is valid.

"Fine, how much?" I asked.

"The full value of the bike," he answered.

A trifle shocked, my reply was nonetheless calm and firm:

"While I do have that kind of money -- thank you very much -- and wouldn't be here otherwise, you've just closed the door to a possible sale, because I am not having £2,500 effectively removed from my account for 7-10 days" (as that's how long it can take for an unclaimed authorisation to drop away).

So -- no test ride.

I've still not ridden a Specialized carbon bicycle. Now it looks like I never will.

Meanwhile, however, my investigations into titanium continue and indeed are looking rather hopeful...

Sunday, 23 June 2013

CYCLING LOG: 17-22 June 2013

130.34 km this week - phew!

Sat, Jun 22, 2013         
11.02 km in 00:51:28 hours at 12.85 km/h on Surly Cross Check.
Home to the Hub with empty trailer; to Priory Academy and back to Hub with loaded trailer; home with empty trailer. Had to walk/push up Caddington Hill. end odo 1289.6

Fri, Jun 21, 2013          
37.24 km in 02:43:09 hours at 13.70 km/h on Surly Cross Check.
From the Hub to Leighton Buzzard via the Sewell Greenway; round Leighton Buzzard delivering leaflets; back to the Hub via the Greenway again, and then up. Another successful ascent of Caddington Hill! end odo 1278.6
Thu, Jun 20, 2013          
7.77 km in 00:28:40 hours at 16.26 km/h on Surly Cross Check.
Home to the Hub, to Furness Avenue for a led walk then back to the Hub. end odo 1241.3
Wed, Jun 19, 2013 evening       
28.21 km in 01:42:12 hours at 16.56 km/h on Surly Pacer.
Home to Creasey Park, then on a Led Ride to Stanbridge and back; home via Caddington Hill (success!). end odo 3205.2
Wed, Jun 19, 2013            
21.39 km in 01:39:23 hours at 12.91 km/h on Surly Cross Check.
Home to Hadrians Academy via Chaul End Road and Hatters Way; to the Hub; then home. Walked up Caddington Hill. end odo 1233.5
Tue, Jun 18, 2013
15.78 km in 00:55:31 hours at 17.05 km/h on Surly Pacer.
Home to the Hub, then to White Lion Retail Park then home. end odo 3177.0
Mon, Jun 17, 2013         
8.63 km in 00:35:21 hours at 14.65 km/h on Surly Cross Check.
Home to Streetfield Middle School and back. end odo 1212.1

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Carbon Test Ride #1.

In pursuit of test riding a carbon-framed bicycle, I visited Pedalworks in Dunstable on Wednesday. Brian, the owner, took the time to set me up with a carbon-framed bicycle on a trainer to get a decent fit -- including swapping out for a shorter stem and even a faster set of wheels!  Fantastic service there (though Brian is a bit of a Marmite character!)

The bike I rode was the Trek Domane 4.3 WSD:

Friday, 21 June 2013

Brooks Swallow Saddle - New Leather Top!

I bought my Surly Pacer at the end of March 2012. My chosen saddle was the Brooks Swallow - which is just gorgeous!

29 March 2012: brand spanking new out of the box

29 March 2012: the new build is complete

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Carbon Testing

The first carbon bike to catch my eye:  2010 Specialized Ruby "Komen"
One day I'll give up on the idea of making a stock-size bicycle meet my fit requirements. On that day, I will look the chaps at Cyclefit in the eye and say "custom fit me". And then I'll have to decide on a frame material... My choices will probably be carbon, titanium or the new super-light steel. 

I must admit, I favour the idea of titanium, heavily influenced by one remark by Velouria of the Lovely Bicycle blog when she first test rode a titanium-framed bike: "you don't feel the bumps, you feel only the echoes of bumps". Or something to that effect - I'll have to go on a search for her exact words. Velouria is currently test riding a series of carbon bikes though, and it sounds like the ride quality is a little different but just as good in its own way.

CYCLING LOG: 10-16 June 2013, or Cycling For A Living Now

76km this week, all work related. Oh, and 1kg weight loss.

Sat, Jun 15, 2013 - 6.47 km           
6.47 km in 00:23:30 hours at 16.52 km/h on Surly Cross Check.
Travel Choices Hub to home. end odo 1203.5
Fri, Jun 14, 2013 - 6.53 km           
6.53 km in 00:22:07 hours at 17.72 km/h on Surly Cross Check.
Home to Travel Choices Hub. end odo 1197.0
Thu, Jun 13, 2013 - 15.90 km           
15.90 km in 01:02:59 hours at 15.15 km/h on Surly Cross Check.
Hme to Ashton Middle School for cyclists' breakfast and Dr Bike; to Travel Choices Hub and back to Ashton; back to Hub then home. end odo 1190.5
Wed, Jun 12, 2013 - 28.53 km           
28.53 km in 02:07:08 hours at 13.46 km/h on Surly Cross Check.
Hme to Lark Rise Academy for bikers' breakfast (ages 4-5); around Dunstable as part of Bikeability Level 3 testing/certification; to West Hill to collect mislaid helmet then back to Travel Choices Hub; to Houghton Hall Park and back to Hub; to Streetfield for after school cycle club (Years 4 & 5). end odo 1174.6
Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - 18.57 km           
18.57 km in 01:17:41 hours at 14.34 km/h on Surly Cross Check.
Hme to Travel Choices Hub, to Streetfields Middle School for assembly (Years 4 & 5); back to  Hub, to Icknield Lower School for after school cycling club (ages 6-8); back to Hub, then home. I think some mileage is missing.
end odo 1146.0

Friday, 14 June 2013

Goodbye Law Firm, Hello Cycling Charity!

Sustrans' Dr Bike at work at a local middle school
I was made redundant just before last Christmas, at a tricky time in my legal career: not yet qualified but no rank beginner. Job listings right now seem to seek 4+ years post-qualification or untried trainee. I tried a three-month stint as a legal PA, only for that to reinforce my theories as to what I truly find stressful and soul-destroying. No more.

So what next?

Since leaving London for the rural delights of Bedfordshire, I've had some exposure to the work being done by the Travel Choices Hub in Dunstable. This is a project funded by local government but operated by Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity. I applied for a "Schools & Communities Officer" role there a few weeks ago. I didn't get it, solely due to my complete lack of schools/teaching experience. However, the Hub's co-ordinator spotted qualities in me that she thought potentially too valuable to "let get away". So she got approval to hire me as an "Events & Hub Assistant" on a casual basis for four months, working as many hours as I want!

I started on Tuesday. It has been a non-stop whirlwind. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

An unofficial Dunwich Dynamo

Adam organised a ride from London to Dunwich on the Suffolk coast, mostly following the route of the annual Dunwich Dynamo but according to "Fridays Rules" i.e. set off on a Friday at midnight, no one gets left behind, etc.  There were 11 of us. We travelled as a group -- within shouting distance of Adam with his GPS -- so didn't need Wayfinders. Martin T and Dave aka 'Topcat1' acted as unofficial TECs.

Getting ready to set off from The Pub In The Park

Sunday, 9 June 2013

CYCLING LOG: 3-9 June 2013

217.23km this week

Sat, Jun 8, 2013 - 141.13 km          
141.13 km in 08:35:32 hours at 16.43 km/h on Surly Pacer.
To Luton station; St Pancras International to London Field, Hackney; then an unofficial "Dunwich Dynamo" (with simplified route out of London) minus train assist Sudbury to Darsham, plus Darsham to re-join ride at Yoxford and on to Dunwich; Dunwich back to Darsham station; Liverpool St station to City Thameslink. end odo 3161.2

Fri, Jun 7, 2013 - 24.21 km           
24.21 km in 01:28:44 hours at 16.37 km/h on Surly Pacer.
To Harpenden station; Mitcham Eastfields to the flat and back; Harpenden station to home. end odo 3020.0

Wed, Jun 5, 2013 - 20.03 km           
20.03 km in 01:22:02 hours at 14.65 km/h on Surly Pacer.
To Travel Choices Hub in Dunstable, then on led ride as part of Sustrans application process; then home via Dysons Cycles to try out a new bike...! end odo 2995.8

Cycle counter on Sustrans path: downloading data and changing battery
Mon, Jun 3, 2013 - 31.86 km           
31.86 km in 02:07:35 hours at 14.98 km/h on Surly Pacer.
To Luton Airport Parkway; Blackfriars to Waterloo; Bracknell to TRL faciliites; back to Bracknell; Waterloo to Blackfriars; Harpenden to home. end odo 2975.8

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