Thursday, 30 May 2013

Vulpine Cycling Fete in SW London on 14th July

I was disappointed I missed the one in Balham last year - must try and make it to this one!

Nick Hussey (Vulpine founder) says:

Dogs, giant sunflowers, and entire families are welcome, even non-cyclists have permission and indeed opportunities to enjoy themselves too.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

CYCLING LOG: 20-26 May 2013

Brief delay in posting last week's stats, due to all the cycling... and writing ride reports!

Sat, May 25, 2013 - 86.40 km
86.40 km in 05:15:00 hours at 16.46 km/h on Circe Helios Duo.
To Luton Airport Parkway, then St Pancras to Hyde Park Corner then Friday Night Ride to the Coast... Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex. Switched computer off so didn't get return miles on train assist trip home via errands in London.

Sun, May 26, 2013 - 27.54 km
27.54 km in 01:38:06 hours at 16.84 km/h on Surly Pacer.
Post-FNRttC recovery ride to Dunstable Downs Visitor Centre via Pipers Lane, Caddington Green, Markyate, Pickford Road, Gaddesden Row, Studham and Dunstable Road/B4541; back via Buckley Lane and Buckley Road to Markyate, then retraced outbound route. Lots of hills, which I needed, to make sure my knees were still working! end odo 2778.9

To the top of the Downs

On Sunday (after Friday night's tandemista adventure), we went out for a little recovery ride, just to make sure my knees still work! I wanted a few hills so we cycled up to the highest point of the Dunstable Downs.   On such a lovely day, it was a very popular place!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Tandem Debut on a Friday Night Ride to the Coast, or, In For A Penny, In For A Pound

Last Friday at midnight, we set off from London for yet another Friday Night Ride to the Coast, this time to Burnham-on-Crouch. This is a gently rolling route of about 55 miles - just about the flattest ride we have in our ride calendar.

And so it seemed a good ride to aim for as a debut for the tandem we bought last September.

This is where it all gets a little tricky. I've admired tandems from afar and totally get the 'romance' of the bicycle built for two, but I've always had a knee jerk "no way!" reaction when faced with the prospect of getting on one myself. Can't see where I'm going? Can't choose the easiest gears possible for my grumpy knees? When the subject first came up a year ago when Adam and I were first dating, mercifully he seemed to agree. A couple we may be, but a tandem was a non-starter.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Windmills Through A Lens, or, Fueled By Fat



Some of my family, friends and readers are aware that I have resumed a ketogenic diet as the only way I have found of controlling my lifelong IBS. For a brief potted history, you can read this.

The first proper long ride I have done since returning to health through this diet was Adam's "Tilting At Windmills" ride on Saturday, 11 May. So this is not so much a report focusing on the ride itself but a report on my first attempt at riding more than 30 miles being fueled by ketones, rather than carbs.


My day was 115km (just shy of 70 miles) in total, with the first 18km being quite hilly and into a stiff headwind, with the next 32km continuing into that headwind but being mercifully flat.

While I wouldn't go so far as to say it was "a piece of cake" (pardon the expression), I did find it remarkable for lack of "struggle". 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

CYCLING LOG: 13-19 May 2013, or, Ramping Up The Miles, PLUS Ride Report Cambridge-to-Southend

218km this week!

After a long winter, I've come right up against a series of long rides on the calendar, so I'm doing my best to make up for lost time on building up the fitness!  Last weekend, I rode part of Adam's "Tilting At Windmills" ride plus the ride out from home and back, for a total of about 70 miles (~115km). This weekend now gone, I did my first overnight ride, which came to nearly 100 miles (~153km). I am a lot stronger generally than I was last year, due to a ketogenic diet and Pilates twice a week, but time in the saddle is still the key and that's where I'm finding it a little tricky to accelerate the mileage while being careful not to get an injury or, in particular, over-stress my knees.

I still need to do a ride report on the Windmills ride. Meanwhile, however, the overnight ride will be reported in full below, as there were no photos so no real need for it to have its own post. The ride leader (aka Wowbagger on the YACF forum) has also written a lovely, more detailed report here.

The next long ride is the Friday's FNRttC to Burnham-on-Crouch next Friday -- a flat 55 miles and our tandem debut! A week later, we are off on a hilly 72 miles (~122km) to Whitstable. A week after that, Adam is running an unofficial Dunwich Dynamo of approx. 113 miles (~180km) -- all the goodness of the DunRun but with FNRttC rules (midnight start, pace of the slowest rider, no one left behind).

From mid-June onwards, the rides calendar lets up a bit but I'm keen to obtain and maintain as much cycling fitness as I can, perhaps rearranging my week so I can get out for a 20-30 mile loop 5 mornings a week. 

Sat, May 18, 2013 - 153.92 km
153.92 km in 09:25:24 hours at 16.33 km/h on Surly Pacer.
RIDE REPORT: Wowbagger's "Unseasonable Visit to the Grotto" ride.

Monday, 13 May 2013

The (Not Round The) Isle of Wight Randonnee

The annual Isle of Wight Randonnee is 100km of unrelenting hills - yes, lots of lovely descents but boy do you earn them.  The delay in the arrival of spring this year meant I was nowhere near fit enough for that, so we decided to ride the 55k route instead. This takes in the main route from Cowes to Alverstone but then instead of heading south to Whitwell, goes inland to Newport via National Cycle Route 23, then follows the River Medina north to Cowes.

The black line shows the 100k route, the white line the 55k route.

CYCLING LOG: 6-12 May 2013

Sat, May 11, 2013 - 114.33 km
114.33 km in 06:35:54 hours at 17.33 km/h on Surly Pacer.
Flying Dodo's Tilting At Windmills ride, the abbreviated version where I cycled from home to near the start (at Tring station) then set off cross country (Aston Clinton, Bishopstone, Stoke Mandeville, Haddesden) to intercept the group at the lunch stop (in Thame), thereby missing the hilly part of FD's route. Hilly bits approx 30k for me, plus long slog to the windmill in Brill. end odo 2533.36

Wed, May 8, 2013 - 29.86 km
29.86 km on Surly Pacer.
To Harpenden for Pilates and back via Pepperstock; then to Pepperstock (errand with Amiiee) and back. Computer says 19.86k in 1:17:42 but wasn't working for part - about 10km missing. end odo 2419.

Mon, May 6, 2013 - 10.64 km
10.64 km in 00:39:58 hours at 15.97 km/h on Surly Pacer.
From Harpenden train station to home. end odo 2389.4

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Update: TRAKKE BAIRN messenger bag, or, Customer Service Master Class

A few weeks ago, I put Alec Farmer of TRAKKE on the spot.

I wrote a product review on his company's smallest messenger bag, the Bairn, which included criticisms of how the shoulder strap had been fitted and the absence of a few cycling-specific features that I consider essential. And then I published that review for the world to see. And only then did I let him know about my complaints -- by posting a link to my review on TRAKKE's Facebook page.

This was all a bit unfair, I realise now, even considering that Alec and I had several exchanges by e-mail before I ordered the bag and from that, he may already have been aware that I write a cycling blog with a slight fixation on reviewing messenger bags!

In any event, Alec read that review and e-mailed me that very afternoon.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

CYCLING LOG: 29 April - 5 May 2013

Sun, May 5, 2013 - 57.58 km
57.58 km in 03:41:16 hours at 15.61 km/h on Surly Pacer.
ISLE OF WIGHT RANDONNEE 55k. From Shanklin to Alverstone control to check in. Then along National Cycle 23 to Newport and Cowes, where we picked up the main 100k route to Wootton and Bembridge. We "bailed" at Brading to catch the train to Ryde Pier Head for the ferry back to mainland. end odo 2378.8

Sat, May 4, 2013 - 10.00 km
10.00 km on Surly Pacer.
To Luton station [5.32k]; Shanklin station to seafront then to hotel [no computer].

Wed, May 1, 2013 - 24.28 km
24.28 km in 01:27:46 hours at 16.60 km/h on Surly Pacer.
To Harpenden for Pilates then home via cycle path to Luton Airport Parkway, up Cutenhoe Road, through Stockwood Park and down the cycle path to cross over Newlands Road, then up steep gravel track over the M1 to connect with Woodside Road and from there to home via usual route. Was doing well with speed except the Harpenden end of the cycle path was clogged with a walking group (as apparently that is the thing to do this month). Also stopped half a dozen times to take photos. end odo 2315.9

Mon, Apr 29, 2013 - 21.87 km
21.87 km in 01:11:59 hours at 18.23 km/h on Surly Pacer.
To Harpenden for Pilates, then home via Kennel Lane, Coles Lane, Pepsal End Road to Peppercorn. end odo 2291.6

Friday, 3 May 2013

Would a Dutch-style roundabout work in London?

On 29 April 2013, Danny Williams of the Cyclists in the City blog posted this on Facebook: 
Coming to a street near you soon.
At long last. Transport for London is testing real,
proven bike infrastructure for rollout in London
over the next couple of years.

More here
I've been collecting responses (samples below) from friends on Facebook. These are all experienced, skilled and confident "transportational" cyclists. Their views range from very much in favour to very much against, with lots of healthy doubt and skepticism in the middle. 
So what do YOU think? 
(You may like to read Danny's full blog post on this for more information and background.)

Thursday, 2 May 2013

What's in YOUR bag?

Inspired by this morning's post on the Yurtville blog. I haven't done one of these "what's in your bag" photos in ages, which is a little ironic since I'm an admin for the WIYB Flickr group!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Review: VULPINE WOMEN'S ALPINE merino cycling jersey

The big news in womens' cycling gear this week is the launch of Vulpine's long-awaited womens' range.

I hit Vulpine's website almost as soon as I heard the news and was gutted to find that the new cycling-specific jersey (the Alpine) had already sold out in my size and preferred colour (claret).

Fortunately Velo Vixen announced the next day that they'd just taken delivery of stock across the entire range. I quickly ordered the Alpine in claret.

It arrived this morning.

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