Photos – Cycle Camp in Normandy, France

Amazing cycling with the Explorers in France, during April. One thing I will say though, going from Cherbourg to Caen is the wrong direction when it’s that windy.

We took the fast ferry over to Cherbourg on the Thursday morning (little did we know that as we were setting off, a certain volcano in Iceland had gone a bit explodey) arriving in Cherbourg in plenty of time to get lost coming out of the port. Eventually we broke free from the endless ring roads and wheezed up a steep hill into the glory of the Normandy countryside. Thereafter the rides were superb, the French courteous, the food amazing, and the time had good. We rode about 40 miles maximum each day, staying in municipal camp sites for most nights, except for the second night where we found an amazing little site run by a family, where we could camp out of the wind, and order breakfast to be delivered from the bakery. We visited several of the major sites of D-Day. The Explorers in particular knew little of the battles and were just astonished by the scale of loss of life, it really shook them up finding graves of soldiers who were younger than some of them.

As is traditional on our continental rides, my wheel went wrong. This time a full buckle 8km from Bayeux necessitating a long lone run to the town with my bike, and a frantic hunt for a bike shop. A quick repair, and I was on my way again, another 10km to join the team at the final camp site.

The next morning saw the tents crusted with ice and a low fog all around. Within hours though we were riding through blazing sunshine to Pegasus Bridge and the ferry. We had failed to notice the lack of airplanes in the sky, but we did notice the sheer amount of passengers on the boat, and the fact that many of them were sleeping on their luggage on the floor, and that many of them looked more grimy and worn out than us, and we’d been cycle camping. It wasn’t long before we found out about the volcano. Thankfully we were first off the boat so managed to avoid the long queues as every single passenger went through a full passport check.

There’s a lot of photos here, so more appear after the first one if you click the read more link.

Cycling in France

On the road - each tree along this road represents a German soldier killed in Normandy in WWII

(more…)

Published in: on May 19, 2010 at 10:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ride, ride against the dying of the light

One thing the Rode and District Nocturnal Velo Club cannot be accused of is “going gentle into that good night”. The Wednesday after the wildly succesful Rode Village Festival – the committee met in The Cross Keys pub to have a post-fest meeting. This being done, and the libations and rituals of preparation being completed (i.e. no small amount of ale, lager and spirits consumed), the ride could take place. This time we had the Rev Philip Hawthorn, curate of Hardington Vale with us. It always pays to have a man of the cloth around when riding the darkened lanes of Somerset and Wiltshire in the gloaming. For these are old roads, and it is an old darkness we ride through. No matter what armour to superstition and fear your sensibilities and beliefs have provided in the warm glow of the day, it all turns to rust when riding beneath the pale ghostlight of a waxing moon.

Anyway, Phil rides a rather splendid Specialized, a large frame as he is long of leg, and a keen cyclist to boot.

At 23:30 the last embers of the sun had long burnt out beyond the horizon. Only the dull orange glows of nearby towns tinted the furthest reaches of the sky. We headed out of the village via crooked lane, drifting briefly from the old sideroad across the A36 and onto the road to Rudge, as a lost spirit might materialise from a wall covering a long forgotten passageway and glide across a landing before vanishing into the opposite wall.

With four lights blazing we shot down the hill at Rudge, hung a left at the bottom and continued toward Brokerswood, turning right at the tin tabernacle and headed for the railway bridges. We took turns at the front, and as we approached Old Dilton, Mike made clear his intent to go up… The Hollow. In truth, there was nothing we could do, Mike had spoken what we all surely felt, this malevolent slope was sucking us in like a black hole, its gravity was too strong to ignore this far past dusk. We crossed the double roundabouts by the church. The only mercy was that night had mercifully becloaked the upward gradient in its mantle – that we would not be overawed at the hills severity. The pools of light cast forth from our bikes darted about the tarmac and the banks as the slope took hold. Spotlit glimpses of branches, thorns, earth and asphalt flashed about us as we wobbled our way up. Every now and again we caught sight of one of our companions in the bikelights, an afterimage of a rictus grin of grim determination burnt onto the retina when the light fell away to crazily dart around the banks as we struggled to maintain our upward course.

Then, against all odds, the ground leveled out – not only had we taken The Hollow at speed, it seemed incredibly short compared to the other times we have ridden it. Too numbed to change up gear, we spun the cranks crazily fast on the flat and hungrily gulped down great lungfuls of air as if we had emerged, crazed with the bends, from exploring the crushing darkness of an oceanic abyss.

Turning right at the top proved to be an alarming choice as more than one car shot past us with seeming scant regard for our safety. The noise of their passing all the more alarming given the quiet country lanes we had emerged from.

Rode and District Nocturnal Velo Club

We crossed the A36 and disappeared into the cthonic darkness of the lanes around Frome. Mike led out on the descent towards the town, Marcus pumping his legs like mad at the back to keep up on his mountain bike with its smaller wheels and heavier tread. The streets of Frome were near deserted and we had the sulphur glow of the streetlamps to ourselves, our shadows flickering about us as we passed from one pool of light to the next. Taking up the whole road we freewheeled together, the nocturnal peleton (or nocaton as Phil called it) shot through the narrow streets and into the town centre with incredible speed. Another hill up out of the town, past Iron Mill Lane and then left towards Lullington. The Creamery was lit up as milk was churned into the small hours. Up the hill we rode, a skeleton oak stood stark on the horizon, a warning of the hill we were approaching. Marcus and I rode far off the front racing each other down the final dip, a foolish act of faith as we rode faster than the eye could take in the tiny spotlit area ahead of us. We waited at a crossroad to take the picture below:

Rode and District Nocturnal Velo Club

Rode and District Nocturnal Velo Club

Finally we wheeled our way back into the village via The Mill, Mike peeling off down his farm track before Marcus and I said goodbye to Phil who powered off up Nutts Lane.

Around 20 miles accomplished, a good workout and a magical ride.

If you are local and you wish to join us on a Nocturnal ride – leave a comment below and we’ll try and arrange something.

Riding into Spring

Spring can be a messy time of year

Spring can be a messy time of year

I had a ride planned with local smallholder, home-brewer, engineer and cyclist Mike, however as the hours ticked down the evening before I suddenly realised that my Lemond Etape was locked in the shed at my in-laws, and they were away. As the ride was scheduled to begin at 0745 on Sunday morning, this meant I would be trying to pull my mountainbike out from under the accumulated junk in our storage shed at 0700. Before going to bed I looked at the weather forecast, absolutely filthy. Rain, wind, cold and more rain. Nothing was going to stop me from getting in the first ride of Spring, (not even a sore knee) so I sorted out my waterproofs before calling it an evening, leaving a choice of cape or light rainjacket on the chair along with my cycling plus-fours and merino wool top.

On waking I was amazed to see sunlight streaming in through the window. Stepping outside to retrieve the mtb provided further amazement as the sky was colouring up a lovely shade of blue with not a cloud in sight. I began the task of attempting to find my mtb in the storage shed, this turned out to be a bit of an archeological dig as I uncovered a veritable strata of garden tools, cardboard, ladders, planks of wood and children’s toys, beneath which lay my mountain bike. In common with an archeological artifact it was still caked in the mud from the time of its burial. As my road helmet was locked up with my road bike, I was relieved to see my trusty old mtb helmet amongst the associated grave-goods. Once the tyres were pumped up, the mud scraped off and the chain cleaned and re-oiled, the bike looked half decent.

I saddled up and rode down to Mike’s farm, passing the tall grove of bamboo by the driveway which was now beginning to sway and rustle gently in the light breeze, the morning calm was immediately shattered by Mike’s dog running out and barking in greeting. Mike just had to feed the chickens and chuck some oil over the chain of his Dawes Supergalaxy and we were away.

I took us past the redwoods at the manor development and towards Woolverton. There we crossed the A36 and headed into the empty back lanes. Speckling the hedgerows were tiny buds, a promise of Spring that presented a subtle, barely perceived green fuzz as we rode gently along the meandering lanes. It was still stark enough that a chaffinch flittering amongst the scrub created a riotous blaze of colour that stood out like a flashing beacon amidst the branches. The landscape pulled us into steep hollows, giving us enough momentum to be catapulted effortlessly up the hills, until gradually we were pitched up to a point were the view in all directions seemed endless. Far in the distance there was nothing but whitish haze where the horizon should have been, it might as well have delineated the edge of the world. We turned the bikes toward the sun, and hit the high gears. Chains thrummed, driving us along a rare stretch of straight and level road. The lane switched suddenly right, and the ground to our left fell away. Now we were riding on the highest ridge of a lopsided valley with the breeze behind us and the countryside laid out below in patchwork to one side. Gathering speed, we pedalled in bursts as the road surface became sketchy. Water had eaten away at the edges and dumped gravel everywhere. Mike’s bike skittered about a little, but my shirehorse of an mtb ploughed through it all with ease. The velociraptor tyres spat mud, water and stones in all directions including up my back as we turned right again and sped into Faulkland and past the derelict Faulkland inn, one of many pubs to have shut down recently in the county. Our tyres barely touched the main road before we were off into the lanes again. Now the road began to undulate heavily, before flinging us down in to the valley. With the confidence that a heavy bike and fat tyres can give I let the brakes off and hurtled down the hill, it was about the only time that I was in front of Mike for the whole ride. At the bottom I waited where the stream had torn the tarmac into shreds, gouging a channel of water into the road.

A stream across the road

Mike rode up and carefully picked his way over the ruined road surface and impromptu stream. Away from the flood damage the road pitched briefly upwards before throwing us down again, but this time I took us right before the bottom of the hill, pulling the bike into a skid to make the turning. The lanes became narrower as we passsed Stoney Littleton long barrow, climbing up Littleton Lane which suddenly deposited us into the top of Wellow. We found ourselves entering the village in the slipstream behind a huge, red front-loader, its engine gunning noisily as it took the gradient. We peeled off from it’s fumes and hot engine air and dropped down into the valley again, this time down to the Wellow ford. Mercifully it was not flooded this time. Unmercifully we now had to climb Baggridge Hill, a long, long slope, much given to drifting about and becoming narrow here and there where the fancy takes it. Mike was way, way off the front and I was puffing away in the granny gear. It probably would have been quicker to walk it, but with such low gearing there’s no excuse to put a foot down or dismount in shame. I wheezed my way to the top where Mike was just pouring out a couple of cups of coffee from a flask he had secreted in his single pannier.

We stood there for a while and talked about that elation a cyclist feels when, towards the end of climbing a long and infernally steep hill, the cranks spin faster and the gears start to move up again. That feeling of having made it, of getting up the hill, the light at the end of the tunnel.

We were off again, turning into the wind. Wind? Yes, the horizon had cleared and was being troubled by clouds, the breeze was becoming insistent. It mattered not to us, for above us was deep, calm blue and ahead of us, flat road, for the next two miles at least. We crossed the A366 at Tucker’s Grave Inn. The site of the interment of a suicide from 1747, one Edward or Edwin Tucker. As usual with folklore the facts are not easy to come by. If indeed there is a grave here though, it is safe to say that Tucker died in some abnormal way, as crossroads burial was certainly not the norm, and was said to be a way of pinning down or confusing the doomed soul that could not find rest in heaven.

With the clock counting down, we left morbidity behind trapped at the crossroads and shot towards Lullington, the next node on our ride. There was hardly any mishap en route, save the boulder in the road we both managed to miss, and my failure not to throw the chain, though that’s what happens when you try to get from the big ring to the little one without touching the middle one. We skimmed the A36, frantically spinning the cranks to get off the main road and away from the hurtling cars. Then back into the village, where Mike paused briefly to engage in the well-known Somerset practice of gate-leaning and striking a deal with a farmer.

Striking a deal with the farmer.

Striking a deal with a farmer.

Clouds had gathered and the wind was starting to rage as I arrived back at the house. By the time I had finished having a shower the rain was hammering down. The last gasp of winter, but Spring cannot be stopped now, here’s to warmer weather and more rides.

In a Cycling Utopia, pedestrians and cyclists get on just fine (and you can cycle on water)

At the beginning of September, Lucy and I spent a long weekend at our local Center Parcs (Longleat). It’s like living in some sort of cycling utopia! A forest environment, a mere handful of vehicles on the road, masses of bikes, loads of bicycle parking, special bike trails and paths.

If you read the popular press these days, you will learn that cyclists are a menace in pedestrianised areas, that they don’t use their bells, that they cycle too close to people, that they cycle too fast, that they appear out of nowhere. If you unquestioningly take the opinion pages of the papers as gospel truth, you may well believe that it’s a wonder that there aren’t horrific casualties every single day that pedestrians and cyclists go near each other, I guess it’s a miracle that there are only a handful of cyclist on pedestrian deaths/serious injuries every year. We must have been VERY LUCKY to get away with it!

What’s curious about Center Parcs is that cyclists and pedestrians mix completely and thoroughly, yet I heard not one bad word exchanged betwixt the two camps. Even though cyclists were weaving through pedestrians strung out over the routes. Even though there were queues to get through gates. Even though at various times cyclists and pedestrians would have to give way to one another in an environment that was not heavily regulated. The difference is in the expectation, you come to Center Parcs knowing full well that there will be shared-use paths with bikes. There are few clear definitions like ‘pavement’ and ‘road’, so somehow cyclists are prepared to meet with pedestrians and vise-versa.

It rained a lot on the first day, which I actually found quite pleasant in the forest. I was reminded of my favourite sequence in the film My Neighbor Totoro, where the Totoro is delighted by the sound of the rain dripping from the trees onto his borrowed umbrella. To live amongst trees is a special thing indeed.


Some pics:

Lucy took her Diamondback MTB and I took my Brompton, but when it comes to being on the water, you need a specialist machine:

Keep one in the garage for when the floods come

Keep one in the garage for when the floods come

It was a surprisingly smooth ride – moving downwind anyway.

Mudfest; End of a Dream

the phonemast at the top of Scotland Lane

And so, the dream of a workable link between the village and the farm shop sinks into a morass of mud, puddles, brambles, fallen trees and deep hoofprints, but let us start at the beginning.

Tuesday, with a half hour left over from my lunch break I decided to haul my oft-neglected mountainbike out of the shed, pump up the tyres and go in search of the legendary lost route that links the village to the farm shop. To recap briefly, there is a fine farm shop and cafe very local to the village, less than two miles away. However, it is at the end of a no-through-road that can only be accessed by riding the dual carriageway or braving the busy Beckington/Frome roundabout. It seems mad that anyone who can’t ride in traffic has to get into the car for such a short journey, a car journey diminishes the idea of ‘local’. As I’ve said before, the village where I live is very bikey, but it’s hard to break out of the confines of the village if you can’t stand riding in traffic. In an effort to open up the possibilities for riders, I wanted to find a route through to the farm shop, the closest thing we have to a supermarket and crucially it sells local produce. Bikes and shopping locally? A match made in heaven. Two rides before this one, I had found the exit of the byway, now I wanted to try it out and see if it was passable.

Riding out of the village, I was amazed at how slow the mtb felt, it was like riding a big snail on the road. I was only on the tarmac for a few minutes though, just down the dual carriageway and to the farm shop. I pulled over by the entrance to the byway – of course if people were cycling from the village, they would be approaching from the other direction, riding through Rudge, but as I wasn’t 100% certain where the byway started, I thought it would be a good idea to trace the route backwards from where it comes out. Immediately, the bike was over the rims in mud. Not the end of the world I thought, from the sound of trickling water it sounded like the drainage had just got blocked a bit, easy enough to remedy at a later date, and after all, it had been very wet recently, with snow, hail and rain soaking the area. Brambles hung down from the trees, snagging in my jumper. No matter I thought, these could easily be chopped back. Then the track became even more muddy, narrower and massively overgrown, soon I was riding up what seemed to be a flooded ditch.

The trail was muddySoooo muddy

Soon I was pushing the bike as it just wouldn’t go forward through the water. It was calf deep mud. It occurred to me that about a hundred or so years ago, traveling out of the village in winter or early spring would have been hard work. These bridal ways and byways are a reminder of what it was like moving round the villages by the shortest, but not the easiest routes. A shattered elm lay across the track in a tangle of brambles, no one had been down here for a long while. There was quite obviously no way anyone could ride a hybrid or shopper with a basket on down this track, the dream was over, but the trail wasn’t. I clawed my way through the undergrowth, a padlock gate barred my way so I hefted the bike over before clambering up and over the rusted metal. Then I was out of the woods, but into a rough field, very rideable, but without suspension, pretty hard work, again no good for someone with shopping. Another padlocked gate, this one surrounded by an electric fence, ticking idly as I gingerly picked my way over. Finally I was on the road again, coming out exactly where I thought I would, Scotland Lane in Rudge. I stopped to take a picture of the phonemast there, and a buzzard took off as I snapped the pic (see top of post). Moving on again, I pulled a lovely huge skid to scrape some of the mud of my tyres. There’s something deeply satisfying about a long, childish skid. It seemed to clear away some of the disappointment of the uselessness of the trail from my mind, allowing me to ride home satisfied.

An elm had shattered and lay across the trackafter cycling through mud, I find a big skid is the best way to remove filth

Published in: on April 12, 2008 at 10:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Salisbury Branch – Cycling in The New Forest

This just in from our Salisbury branch courtesy of Novemberfive blogger Jez. A brief write up of an excursion to The New Forest upon Mountainbike steeds. Read about it here.

Mrs Whitworth tackles some gnarly singletrack

No cycling blues, feeling ill, cheered up by Laura’s Blog from Japan

Youngest son was up from four this morning, I’m feeling a bit tired and ill, bit of a sore tummy. It would be nice to get the bike out today as it’s lovely and sunny, however I just don’t feel up to it. Luckily my old colleague Laura in Japan has blogged about a fantastic ride she recently undertook. Reading it made me feel so much better:

“Yesterday was a rather lovely day, so to escape the stifling heat in my apartment I slapped on the SPF 50 and went out on my bike. I had planned to see how far along the river I could go by following the small road that runs along my side of the confluence, but after city hall it became a smaller road and ended up circling round some sort of stone works and then up along a main tributary to the Tenryu river which I had cycled along before. Knowing where I was I decided to cycle up this way and see how close to Takato I could get”.

To read more and see some of her pictures from this lovely looking ride click here to go to the entry on her excellent blog.

Laura says that in Japan the attitude towards cyclists is much more tolerant than here, most people have a bike and cars give them loads of room, there’s no problem about cycling on the pavement, people just gently move out of the way, sounds fantastic.

Published in: on August 16, 2007 at 9:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Tuesday Ride VII: of black cats, back lanes and cycling through the dark

It was 19:20 and I was supposed to be meeting John at that most evil of road junction types, the crossroads. However my youngest son was playing up and not going to sleep, so I sent a text to John telling him to ride round to the back of my house and I would put the kettle on while the kids settled down. John pulled into the garden with Bradley and his friend Simon. Simon looked like another super-fit chap, apparently Brad said he’d be slow because he was on a mountainbike, naturally this turned out not to be true. With the children finally in bed and the group fuelled up on fine teas, we set off up the hill, John muttered that when I had left them on the last Tuesday Ride, Brad had amused himself by sprinting after cars in Trowbridge “The thing was” said John “he was catching up with them”, I could well believe it.

Then it became apparent that I was truly messing things up as I had forgotten my bidons. I told everyone to go on ahead while I went back for the bottles, promising to catch up with them on the Wingfield Straight. With the two water bottles filled up I set off after the others, turns out Bradley and Simon’s definition of ‘slow’ is not the same as mine and John’s. I could see them in the distance but it took a sustained sprint of 24-26mph over about a mile or so before I finally caught up with them. Thereafter I was content to sit at the back all the way to Bradford-on-Avon in order to recover. John attempted to get a bit of a chain gang going, but every time Bradley moved to the front he pulled away, leaving John battling the headwind again. Through the centre of Bradford, up past the Moulton place and out towards Holt. These are fast roads with little room for cars to pass and I was glad when we turned left towards Chalisford. By then I was starting to get lost, last time I had cycled past Chalisford Manor I nearly ran over a swan, no swans in sight on Tuesday, but plenty of old folk taking an evening constitutional, all looking startled to see four cyclists hurtle into view, but ready with a nod nonetheless. On the trafficless backroads it was pleasant to hear the whirr of four chainsets working together, the different pitches of the chains on the various sprockets created a droning chord as we raced through the narrow lanes. Suffice to say that despite Simon’s 26″ wheels he was having no problems matching Bradley’s impressive speed, they kept shooting on ahead leaving John and myself to carry on at our own pace. At least John’s Brooks saddle was starting to break in. The route John had chosen was undulating to say the least and we were going very fast, pretty soon I had completely lost my bearings and given up all hope of even knowing which direction I was pointing. Various discussions ensued as to how far we were going to ride and it transpired that earlier in the week Bradley had cycled to Chippenham, Calne and then on to Avebury, impressive work. We decided to carry on to Chippenham and ride back via Melksham, John seemed confident we could get back by 22:00 and we all had lights, except Simon who only had a rear LED.

We crossed main roads, back-roads, lanes, we cycled up cats-eyed roads, singletrack hills with gravel strewn across the tarmac. We climbed short, steep rises, hidden dips and long dull gradients, we swooped down wide lanes with wildflower strewn verges, and I sat at the back on nailbitingly narrow descents taken at 27mph with no hope of avoiding oncoming vehicles (had there been any). Finally we dropped down onto a larger lane that actually seemed to be going somewhere. I was at the back so I got a good view as Brad and Simon’s descent terrified a black cat which shot off just missing John’s front tyre in its haste to be away from the wheeled steeds hurtling down the normally quiet lane. The light was fading, it was time for the flashing LEDs on the seatposts to come into play, I was glad I had changed the batteries in my front lamp at the same time as replacing my blown inner-tube that morning. With the Hi-Viz vest on, the reflective wrist bands and my customised helmet it was highly probable that I could be seen from space. Through a short tunnel by some traffic lights, a very weird and confusing junction where we just “went”, well everyone stopped for us so we assumed it was our right of way, no one beeped anyway. We were then on some main roads, bg roundabouts, orange streetlight glow and concrete bridges spanned by massive pylons whispering their electric songs into the gathering dusk. Here the crickets had stopped, the wildflowers given way to harsh cut back grass on the verge, the hot reek of diesel working through thundering engines; serious roads. Not for us though, we spun away from Chippenham having grazed its flank and made for Lacock. Ahead on the main road I could see the flashing red LED of Bradley’s bike, we struck out for it, reaching him just as we turned off onto more lanes. By now the dark had gathered all around us, loud laughter in the clear air as revellers stepped out of a pub, momentarily framed in the golden light spilling from the doorway, gone in an instant. Some gentle but insistant gradients saw us on our way into Melksham, all four of us spread out across the road standing on the pedals and racing over the speed bumps. The centre of town was quiet, but then I suppose it was a Tuesday, past the betting shop where only two weeks ago a fight had spilled out onto the road stopping the traffic, then out to the new road. Brown tourist signs promise there is refreshment on this route during the day, it’s a greasy spoon called “The Waney Edge Cafe”, closed at this time of night a small, unassuming building with net curtains and a seventies block-font for the sign, decaying tarmac carpark, pummelled by decades of HGVs and builders’ vans, it looks excellent.

Now we were on the home straight, split into two groups, Bradley and Simon just in view ahead of John and myself. John and I chatting as he wound down, we were near to the street he and Bradley live in and they would be home soon. For myself and Simon there was a little further to go. A needless beep from a car-full of twats saw John wishing out loud that for once the wankers would stop to make their point and he could debate their imbecilic behaviour in a way they would clearly understand. It was a good thing they didn’t because the next car was a police car. Everyone gave us a wide berth when I was at the back, no doubt because I was glowing as though I was a special effects reject from TRON.

We pulled into the carpark of a local pub to discuss the evening and make plans with each other for the next rides. I took the obligatory group portrait:

the end of the ride, I glow like TRON

Then as Bradley and John peeled off for their homes, I rode directly in front of Simon so his lack of front light wouldn’t be a problem. We shot through town at 25mph arriving at his street in time for him not to get into trouble. It was then left to me to make the ride back to the village, the legs felt good and even Rode Hill was no bother. John had designed the ride so that we all got 35 miles in. It was excellent, again I hope Bradley and Simon weren’t too bored having to wait for me and John all the time, it’s good for us to ride woth them as our pace is picking up dramatically.

Wash, degrease, dry, oil

Finally got round to washing the Mountain bike after Tuesday’s mudfest with John and Rob. I took it down to my parents-in-laws’ house (they have a big driveway) and with the help of my youngest son, gave the bike a really good scrub down. I even took the wheels off and totally cleaned the cassette, I haven’t seen it so shiny since about six years ago when I first replaced it. The bike itself is a good eleven years old (A ’96 Saracen Powertrax) and actually has aquitted itself really well. The only things that have been replaced are the handlebar stem, the rear wheel and cassette, the bottom bracket, brake blocks, tyres, saddle… looking at it, it’s quite a bit really. The original tyres still live on, I put one of them (Richey Z max 1.75) as the rear for my wife’s bike (Diamondback Topanga) which gives her plenty of grip for her type of riding, farm tracks and canal paths. It’s also worn down enough to go on a turbo trainer so she can ride even when it’s raining, like today. Back to my mountain bike, it’s heavy and it has no suspension, but it’s really done me proud, and now it’s looking cleaner than it has for about six years.

Published in: on July 2, 2007 at 10:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Sore Legs and Smithfield Nocturne

Ooh my aching legs! That John Hayes, all the technical blazing through mud, up and down sheer grass slopes and over rubble has taken it’s toll on my pins. Definitely an exercise rest day today then.

It looks like the Smithfield Nocturne was a great success despite the rain and, apparently, a totally chaotic messenger race. See some footage from the BBC here or check out the Le Mans style start of the folding bike/commuter race below.

…and off they go…

Published in: on June 27, 2007 at 9:41 pm  Leave a Comment