- 4 Permanent Stencil Etching marks (which are only visible in UV light)
- Unique microdots (for marking components and equipment on your bike)
- QR Code label
- Tamper resistant 'BikeRegister' warning label
Saturday, 28 December 2013
Thursday, 19 December 2013
I've been on Christmas holiday since the 12th December, so I am trying to complete my goal. After today's ride, I need to ride 92.6 miles to get 2000! I'm pleased about this as I think that is achievable in the remaining days of the year.
I aim to ride the blue (9 miles) and red (14 miles) routes at Hamsterley forest this Saturday afternoon and complete the Spennymoor Cycling Club sportive route (62.4 miles) that I attempted and failed sometime after Christmas. That leaves a not too difficult 7.2 miles to complete the challenge! I'm feeling confident!
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
I would really like to go to this; I think it would be a great spectacle to see a whole load of bright bikes going through the city. I'd also take advantage of the bike marking on offer too.
However, I'll be up at Glentress when this starts, so I'll have to miss out. If you go, leave a comment on this post, or use one of the social links in the right hand pane of this page and let me know how it was.
|Decorative bike lights! Image taken from christmasx.wordpress.com|
Read the full press release below, or click here.
"Hot on the heels of the Lumiere festival, residents of County Durham will be able to enjoy another, smaller light festival when BicycleBright takes place on 29 November. Cyclists are being asked to ‘bling their bikes’ by decorating them with lights and all manner of sparkly things before joining a guided ride around Durham City. The event, a collaboration between Durham County Council, Durham University, Local Motion, Sustrans, Durham Constabulary and Breeze, will see prizes handed out for the best blinged-up bikes. Before the ride gets underway, there’ll be free security marking on offer from Durham Constabulary, information on bike safety and security, help from Dr Bike and other freebies and giveaways. The cyclists will also hear from Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration Cllr Neil Foster and Durham University’s dean for environmental sustainability Professor Tim Burt. Cllr Foster, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming cyclists to what promises to be a unique and fun experience. We hope that seeing blinged bikes cycling round Durham City will remind everyone of the importance of being visible when cycling during the dark winter nights. We would also love to see more people getting excited about cycling and taking up a healthier and greener way of travelling after seeing a pack of brightly decorated bikes touring Durham.” Professor Burt, said: “This is a good opportunity for us to promote and raise awareness regarding safe cycling to all our students and, at the same time, take part in such an exciting event. This also assists the university to promote alternative modes of transport and helps meet Green Travel Plan targets benefiting both the University and the local community.” The event will start at 3.30pm in Durham market place before the 3.5 mile guided ride around the city gets under way at 4.30pm. Cyclists who would like to take part in the ride are asked to book their place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by 4.00pm on Wednesday 27 November."
via Durham County Council Press Releases
Friday, 15 November 2013
This is an abysmal statistic, but from reading several stories and comments posted on them, it seems that a lot of people unfortunately aren't surprised, especially at the scene of one of the accidents, Bow roundabout. Read this post from the As Easy As Riding A Bike blog and tell me you know what is going on. After reading that, I can understand why people aren't surprised.
Of course it is a terrible tragedy for all concerned. A lot of questions need to be asked to determine what happened in each case. When I've been thinking about it, I've asked:
- Was the cyclist taking a risk?
- Were they using lights? (most accidents have happened at night)
- Was the driver concentrating properly?
- Was anybody confused by the traffic signals?
- Is the cycling infrastructure at fault?
|Infrastructure on Cycle Superhighway 2 (Image taken from Cyclists in the City)|
Friday, 25 October 2013
What is DurhamGate?From the website:
"DURHAMGATE is the largest mixed-use regeneration scheme in the North East of England, incorporating commercial, living and leisure opportunities. The developer is investing over £100m and the site is recognised as having key, strategic importance for the region."
All of this regeneration is having a big change to the way that current employees in and around the area commute to work. Roads have been re-routed and restrictions put in place. For me, when I commute by bike, I'm not affected. However, when I travel by car, I am affected.
TransportA large regeneration like this requires a dedicated travel plan. Obviously the major mode of transport through this area is via car and the roads have already been taken care of. An alternative travel plan has been put into place for the site, with the aim of encouraging sustainable travel options and making pedestrians and cyclists feel secure. There will be dedicated bus services, plus on the 17th July 2013, DurhamGate announced that there would be an opportunity for cycle hire.
DurhamGate cycle hireTo understand what exactly what the hire scheme offers, I spoke to Helen Attley, DurhamGate Concierge Manager.
The bicycles are available to all residents of DurhamGate. Residents include people living in the new housing estates and also the employees of the businesses in DurhamGate. The cycle hire runs in a one day period, from 9am - 4:30pm, Monday to Friday and is free of charge.
I was expecting that the bikes could be hired for longer periods.
For example: the weather forecast for the forthcoming week was looking like glorious sunshine, so instead of driving the 3 miles from Middlestone Moor to DurhamGate, you would be able to hire a bike and commute for the week. This isn't the case and Helen gave some examples of why a resident might consider hiring a bike:
- Getting from one part of the site to another a few times a day, quickly and easily
- Car sharing/buddy systems: share a lift to DurhamGate and then cycle to workplace
- Fresh air and exercise on your lunch hour - take lunch outside and have a picnic
- Visiting friends for a coffee
|DurhamGate bicycle (image taken from life@durhamgate website)|
Since the bikes were bought in August 2013, they have been used a few times by DurhamGate, Carillion and livin staff members and also used to promote the green transport message. Helen told me more about the green aspects of the site, including the "green spine", which will run between two housing estates and will be grassed areas, with trees and shrubs. Hiding amongst all of this greenery will be exercise equipment, such as step machines, rowing machines and other equipment you'd normally see in the gym, except this will be free to use and maintained by DurhamGate. There is such equipment in Hackworth Park, Shildon - and I've seen that being used. I think that this is a great idea to make exercise appealing and affordable to more people.
Helen told me that as more businesses open on the site, secure bike parking would be available outside the premises. For our meeting, I parked my bike up at the Fox Cub pub, pictured below.
|Secure bike parking at the Fox Cub pub, DurhamGate, Spennymoor|
Tuesday, 1 October 2013
This is great news to get kids aware of safety aspects whilst cycling and I hope many kids do take up the opportunity. I remember doing my cycling proficiency in the schoolyard as described below!
|Image taken from http://www.dft.gov.uk/bikeability|
Read the full press release below, or click here.
"Thousands more children will be taught how to safely ride their bikes as this year’s Bikeability programme begins once again. As the new school year gets underway, Durham County Council’s Road Safety Team is embarking upon Bikeability cycle training to year five and six pupils across the county. Over 2500 children were trained in the last academic year with the aim to train a further 1250 pupils this year making a total of 3750. The ultimate goal of the project is that no child will leave primary school without being given the opportunity to take part in the training. Bikeability is the Government approved national standard for cycle training, the new cycling proficiency course. Traditionally safe cycling skills were delivered on the school playground but as a result young cyclists lacked the skills they needed to ride on the road. Bikeability has been developed to address this by delivering lessons in the ‘real world’ among moving traffic on specifically chosen quiet roads to better prepare young people who eventually have to cycle on the roads themselves. Alan Kennedy, road safety manager, said: “As roads get busier and more and more people have cars it’s even more important that young people are given the chance to learn basic yet often vital skills to enable them to ride their bikes safely. “The feedback we receive shows that young cyclists find the sessions both informative and fun and most can’t wait to move onto the next level.” Durham County Council’s Road Safety Team has secured funding from the Department for Transport to deliver training across County Durham schools over the next two years. Training is offered at three different levels; Levels One and Two are taught together and cover basic cycle control skills on the playground, before moving on to on the road training which takes place on quiet roads amid vehicles. Level Three is for secondary school students and training is delivered on busier roads incorporating more complex junctions. Badges and certificates are awarded upon completion of each of the three levels. Bikeability is managed locally by Durham County Council’s Road Safety Team who provides the instructors, who are accredited to the National Cycle Training Standard."
via Durham County Council Press Releases
Sunday, 22 September 2013
On Friday night I was telling restless after a week off from cycling and running, following the Great North Run last Sunday. So with an hour to kill before tea, I headed out on my mountain bike. My intention was to blast right along Auckland Way as quick as I could, see if I could improve my time on the Strava segment leader board.
The track was way too busy to ride like that, it would have been irresponsible and could have hurt someone. So I turned off and rode down through Bluebell Wood. This singletrack was quite muddy and overgrown with holly bushes. I couldn't ride too quickly through that, I'd have ended up pricked and scratched to bits! This ride taught me a couple of things.
1) I have neglected my mountain bike, it needs a bit of TLC. The headset is loose and the front wheel seems to have a bit of a buckle in it.
2) I have neglected my MTB skills. I used to ride my mountain bike regularly and I don't anymore due to commuting on my hybrid bike and I've been running much more. There were a couple of sections on the ride where I felt I was pushing the bike or myself too far. In the past I'd have been more confident about it, but I want this time.
I got home, covered in mud and feeling good for getting out in the fresh air. I feel like I have been reminded just how fun it is to ride my mountain bike again and I hope to get out to Hamsterley Forest soon.
Saturday, 24 August 2013
Now I could start ranting and raving and demanding everyone who owns a bike should have a helmet, that the government should make it a law, or even that today's teenagers are too fashion conscious for their own good. But that would do absolutely no good at all.
Cycling popularityLet's look at this rationally. The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the roads today is on the increase, simply because cycling's popularity is on the increase worldwide by 7%. In the UK alone this number is 17% over the last decade. The Olympics and Tour de France victories from Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and even stage wins by Mark Cavendish have endeared cycling to the British public and there has been a boom in cycle purchases. The high street store Halfords makes cycling affordable and easily achievable to beginners with budget lines. People who are wanting to start cycling are not likely to be scared off by buying a bike at Halfords - I think Halfords demystifies cycling and makes it seem less "specialist".
Killed or seriously injured (KSI)
- The number of cyclists killed increased by 10 per cent from 107 in 2011 to 118 in 2012.
- The number of cyclists reported to the police as seriously injured in a road accident increased by 4 per cent to 3,222.
- Pedal cyclist traffic levels are estimated to have risen by 1.2 per cent over the same period.
- Cyclists have the second highest KSI rate per billion passenger miles travelled of any road user group.
|Specialized tactic - peak on|
|Specialized tactic - peak off|
|Rucksack and helmet combined|
|Easy to store|
SummarySo that's my take on the helmet debate. I choose to wear one. I think that if compulsory helmets were introduced, I think we'd see similar to Western Australia. Some people hate wearing them and if the law was properly enforced, they just wouldn't ride. The key is awareness; not just from drivers, but cyclists themselves.
How about yourself? Which side of the fence do you stand? Let's hear it in the comments below.
Tuesday, 6 August 2013
Whether you're looking for family-friendly trails or a mountain-bike challenge, England has woods for every cyclist
Cardinham Woods in Cornwall only opened its new mountain-biking trails – including the fearsomely named Bodmin Beast and Hell's Teeth – this year, but it's already becoming a favoured spot among informed and experienced mountain bikers.
Leigh Woods and Ashton Court in Bristol are perfect for a fast fix. Just moments from the city centre, they couldn't feel further from urbanity. Cycle three marked Leigh Woods trails against a stunning backdrop with views of Avon Gorge and Clifton suspension bridge.
New Forest You won't find trails for the extreme cyclist here, but you will enjoy 100 miles of traffic-free routes on flat, gravel track that is perfect for families. Summer is an extra-special time as the adorable New Forest foals are around, but do not disturb or attempt to feed the forest ponies.
Grizedale Forest in Cumbria has ancient oak woodlands and glorious views over the Lake District and across to the Old Man of Coniston. Of the six way-marked cycling trails, only one is technical and challenging while the others follow forest roads. All include hills, though.
Kielder Forest in Northumberland (pictured below) is awesome both for its size and variety of routes. This is England's largest forest, so if you are planning to cover more than a fraction of it, you've really got to tackle it by bike.
Forest of Dean offers family routes, such as the Peregrine Path, and mountain biking in the Sallowvallets area. It doesn't promise the biggest terrain or gnarliest descents but fast, fun trails – and incredible bacon butties – have made it the English forest of choice for mountain- biking experts at Wideopen magazine.
Dalby Forest in Yorkshire is one of the best mountain-biking sites in the world. The four-mile, black-graded World Cup cycle trail is challenging, but there are less frenetic blue and green trails (graded easy and moderate), too.
Sherwood Pines mountain- bike trails range from green (easy) to orange (extreme) in the East Midlands' largest forest open to the public. Route 6 of the wonderful National Cycle Network runs right through it too, so cycle tourers get a taste of the woodland as part of a longer ride.
Bedgebury Forest in Kent has an eight-mile single track for mountain biking or a six-mile family trail, which is easy to cut short if needed. It's not possible to cycle in the National Pinetum, but take time to explore it on foot.
Hamsterley Forest in County Durham is a well-known mountain-biking spot, renowned for its downhill trails and offering technical, challenging riding. The Walney to Wear long-distance cycle route passes through this forest, too.
Originally from: Environment: Bike blog | theguardian.com http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog
Sunday, 4 August 2013
I walked Melba along this section of the path yesterday and thought two hours would be nowhere near enough time - the plant really has taken over.
I rode up to the meeting area about 11ish so I could do at least an hour's work. I wore jeans and a long sleeved bicycle jersey in order to avoid being nettled. That worked, but it was a pretty hot morning.
Upon arriving I was asked to fill in a short questionnaire about how I found out about the event, preferred communication from the council (Twitter, website, leaflets, newspaper etc) and my reasons for volunteering. As I said in my last post, I commute along here a majority of the week so it felt right to give something back.
|Full trailer of pulled rosebay|
|Where the group had been working before the wasps got angry|
I set about working about half way down the bank, which was quite steep. After around 10 minutes I felt something sharp on my neck. I thought I'd been nettled.
Another two minutes more of pulling weeds and it was apparent I'd disturbed a wasps' nest as they were swarming about and started stinging me and another gentleman. One flew into his glove and he received a few stings on his wrist. I was stung on the wrist, neck, ear and one lodged itself in my hair and started to sting my head. This was hurting quite a lot and it was difficult to scramble up the embankment swatting wasps away.
We moved a lot further down the path to an area where there isn't as many large bushes, trees or wasps and set to work again. There is a bench overlooking a nice view here so it was a good area to clean up. I was hesitant after the wasp incident but I soon got back into it. We worked for about another 30 minutes before packing up and heading back to the meeting point.
|Pulling the rosebay out|
|You can see the bench in the distance with the rosebay on both sides of the path|
|The rosebay patch we were going to tackle|
|After we'd finished - looks much better!|
I was given a brochure which contained more information on the council countryside service and what they do, as well as a leaflet telling me about volunteering. I'd do it again in the future as the staff were helpful, friendly and very knowledgeable.
If you would like to find out some more you can:
- Email the service on this address: email@example.com
- Phone: 0191 372 9103
- Find them on Facebook
Thursday, 1 August 2013
It isn't litter that the council are targeting, but rosebay willowherb, which they describe as an invasive plant. They hope to improve the nearby wild-flower meadow.
|Rosebay Willowherb - Image from wildlifetrusts.org|
As I travel along Auckland Way on my bicycle commute, I think I should go along and help out. The path is maintained by the council and I don't do much in return - so this is the least I can do.
Here is the poster found from the council website, which has been stapled to numerous fences along the path:
If you would like to attend, here is the address:
Auckland Way Railway Path.
Park at: Coundon Station picnic area, New Coundon, off A688.
Grid ref: NZ 227 301
Monday, 1 July 2013
I was lucky to partake in the event as I was offered a place by Sam. His work had a team of staff members and guests, but one guy dropped out at the last minute. I was asked to fill in, and in securing the use of another friend's road bike, I gratefully accepted.
The "team" consisted of around 7-8 Banks and Banks Renewables staff members, 11 or so guests and then myself. We all had matching jerseys, which we got to keep. We did look the part, almost co-ordinated!
I borrowed a bike as the bikes I own would not have been suited for this particular situation. 63 miles on a mountain bike or 8-speed hybrid is certainly achievable, but ridden on the road in a group of riders on lightweight road bikes I'd have struggled to keep up. So my colleague Adam loaned me his Trek 1200, which meant for the first time in my like I would be riding a proper road bike! I have been wondering what it would be like, as I am pretty fit. How fast could I go? Would it be nerve-wracking? Would I be able to manage the the bent over position for a long period? I absolutely loved it, getting down on the drop handlebars on descents and climbing the ascents with ease. I rode at the front of the "peloton" for a while, taking my turn before getting my gearing completely wrong and being dropped like a sack of potatoes! Adam, in return got a tuned up bike and a commemorative Cyclone finishers water bottle in his cage.
I didn't take any photos on the day as I wanted to record the whole 63 miles in Strava. This was shaping up to be my longest ever ride and I wanted to keep the route and effort I exerted logged somehow. So no photos, occasionally checking distance and conserving battery life - I managed it, stopping recording after I crossed the finishing line with 3% remaining. The Strava route is shown below. No achievements as I have never ridden in this area before.
Riding time according to Strava is considerably less than official timing, as Strava only counts moving time. Where it reads "Michael Brown", that's the guy who dropped out. We had one major stop of over 30 minutes at the first feed station as we had to wait for a guy who had a mechanical - his pedal wound out and ended up being cross-threaded, presumably in efforts to hurriedly get it back in to carry on. Instead, he conveniently lived nearby so limped off to get another bike before rejoining us at the feed station.
After the ride we all decamped to a local pub and enjoyed a great meal and some fun prize giving. In the case of Stuart, it was no consolation "winning" the "Biggest Crash" category as his carbon framed seat stay snapped in half in a freak crash. Luckily no one was hurt, but the damage to the bike will be fatal.
Other than that, everyone had a great day out. The weather was superb, no overly competitive riders with too much adrenaline there was a general feel good factor tot the day, with spectators cheering us around the course.
I will definitely be back next year!
Friday, 14 June 2013
Today I set my "driving" alarm when I intended to cycle into work. This meant I didn't get up early enough to cycle - no worries, Fridays are a noon finish at the moment. I planned to go for a ride in the afternoon instead.
We also needed some chicken for tea. We generally go to a wholesalers and stock up, so as the weather was looking good I would combine the two. My 20 litre rucksack is big enough for the packs of chicken so I got ready.
After a morning of sunshine, the rain started as soon as I stepped outside. Fairly typical! The ride to Sedgefield felt quick, I was really enjoying it as I was on a route I'd never been on before; or at least majority of it. I spent about 5-10mins at George Bolam's meat emporium, mainly faffing with Strava and music on my phone.
The ride home was much harder with 5Kg of chicken breast on my back! Nevertheless, it look me a similar time, despite going an alternative route.
I made it home just before my battery died, so my whole ride was captured. You can see this in the Strava widget in the right hand side bar, or by checking out all of my Strava activities on the tab at the top of the page.
After showering and getting changed I had that familiar feeling of accomplishment: rewarded with a hot shower, fresh clothes and feeling totally refreshed. I love this feeling after any exercise, whether it be cycling, running or football. It makes all the sweat and grimacing through the tough bits worthwhile! Tonight I also had the added reward of a meal made with some of the chicken I'd lugged around f for 12 miles or so. It was pasta and chicken breast in a pesto/cream/white wine sauce with onions and mushrooms. I don't if the dish has a proper name but it was delicious!
So simple things: a shower, clothes and food. On a typical day, these things generally don't get appreciated. But for me, after exertion, these are my rewards. I look forward to them as the routes winds it's way closer to home.
How about you? Do you reward yourself after cycling, or exercising in general?
Tuesday, 4 June 2013
"Support Cycling to Work: More and more people are desperate to get on their bikes but only 3% currently cycle to work. We are campaigning for a national cycle-to-work standard for all workplaces, to give everyone the choice of a smarter, healthier, cheaper commute."The above quote comes from the Sustrans charity and is well worth signing.
I'm a firm believer that cycling to work results in a happier, healthier workforce. At least when I cycle into work, I'm happier and healthier (plus a little bit richer!)
I have calculated that:
So far I have done 47 commutes this year, so my bike is already paid for and I'm now saving money! (Focusing only on the bike purchase against fuel).
My bike was purchased by myself, not through a cycle to work scheme. I did try to get my company to enter into the scheme, but after much deliberation they decided it was not worth their while. Which is a shame, because there are maybe 6 or 7 bikes parked up in the rack on a good day. Had they participated in the scheme, the rack could be full, especially now that summer is here. Car parking is a problem at work, it really doesn't make sense that they made the decision they did.
As well as keeping fit, reducing congestion, helping the environment (albeit by a tiny amount), cycling to work can really help financially.
I also read this blog post yesterday from an American personal finance blog. Please have a read of it as it may be able to give you a better idea as to why bicycle commuting is a really great option.
Saturday, 11 May 2013
However, I didn't anticipate having the problems that I did encounter, especially on the return home. Pushing hard on the pedals was producing some strange slipping from the drive train. At first I thought it was the chain slipping on a worn tooth but it started to get worse. By the end of the commute I was able to pedal forward but get no drive at all from the rear hub. I was able to make a video of this:
It was after putting the bike away and thinking about what had happened to it that I remembered the problems I had on last year's big Lakes ride. I had the hub serviced at my local bike shop and if I remember correctly, I think the guy said it was on it's last legs.
I could try to clean it all out and re-grease and see if I get any joy. If not I could get a new hub relatively cheaply (£22) but as you'll see from the video, I'll need a new rear tyre, possibly replacement chainrings which will surely bump that cost up. Factor in getting the new hub laced in with the rim (because there is no chance I could do that), it's looking like a costly repair.
It's a real shame too because the weather is turning warmer and the trails are drying out.
Have you ever had any issues like this and if so, how did you overcome them?
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Sadly, I haven't been out as much as I had since then. In total just 3 outings, covering 31.8 miles and taking my April total to 119.9 miles in 9 rides. That's still over 13 miles a ride, so not too shabby!
My year total at date of publishing stands at 550.7 miles, which is over a quarter of my 2000 mile goal for 2013 in a quarter of the year. So far I'm on track!
Things could be looking up physically as I've consulted a chiropractor about my leg issues and he has discovered I have some pelvic rotation which would go a long way into explaining why I have these problems. I'm confident that Andrew will correct any problems and I will continue the year injury-free.
How about you? Did you manage the full 30 days? Leave a comment below!
Follow me on Twitter @BishAuckBiking for more cycling information, opinions and stories.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
The report is a lengthy document, which I confess, I haven't read in it's entirety. Or much of it at all, to be honest, just the summary.
I have however, read many news articles, blogs and tweets about the subject. This blog post is merely my own opinion thrust into a myriad of others out there on the www.
My overall feeling can be summed up as such:
Whilst I think that such a report is warmly welcomed by cyclists the length and breadth of the UK, there are many factors in place that could make the recommendations made in the report come to a slow, disappointing end, like getting a pinch flat after hitting a pothole in the road.
The biggest of these is convincing the Prime Minister that cycling is an extremely valid way of decreasing obesity, saving money everywhere and increasing "the quality of life in our towns and local communities". If it comes from the top down, getting Britain cycling could become a very real possibility. If, and it's a big if, David Cameron is on board. The best way this can happen is if this petition can get over 100,000 signatures - this will force a parliamentary debate on the subject. It currently has over 20,500 signatures.
How does this affect me?
|Less than 5% of people regularly cycle commute|
|Lots of areas where 30-60% of people drive to work|
|In York, 5-15% of people are regular cyclists|
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
I read the article above yesterday and felt, for the first time, like I'm past it, over the hill. I should point out that I am 30 years old.
The article makes it clear that if you are cycling competitively, explosive power and speed is your strong point in your twenties, not endurance. Which is good to hear, as I think I lean towards endurance and stamina-testing bouts of physical exercise.
I suppose more than anything, the article made me feel like I'd missed out on a lot of two wheeled excitement over the last decade. Truth be told, I've been cycling since October 2006 when I was 24, but I was just getting back into it and really just riding for the enjoyment.
The next article about training/riding in your thirties was published today but I haven't read it yet. I think I'll save it in Pocket or my biking Springpad notebook and comment later after reading thoroughly and contemplating it's advice/wisdom/foolhardiness (delete all applicable).
Monday, 15 April 2013
If you don't know what 30 Days of Biking is, I'll tell you. Or you can click the link and take a look yourself! Basically, you sign up and pledge to ride your bicycle everyday during April. You don't need to go far, just down, the street would do.
The idea is that you share your stories, blogs, photos and other media on Twitter using the hashtag #30daysofbiking.
So far, I've only managed to cycle 7/15 days, covering 88.1 miles. This is pretty poor compared to previous months and is down to a knee injury I've picked up - but from where and how, I don't know!
The physiotherapist I have to see about my meralgia paresthetica says I might have overdone it when I covered over 38 miles on the 1st April. Last week I cycle commuted on Monday and was in pain so I did nothing all week, bar a 3/4 mile spin to the police station and back on Friday night. A week off must have done some good, resting up. Commuting on today confirmed that it in fact hadn't helped. I'm thinking of getting a second opinion from another physio.
So for now, I think that I will be missing even more cycling than I have done in a long while. I cycle commuted all through the perma-winter we've had in the UK and now that the weather is fine, I can't ride! Grrr!
It's even more annoying as Sam and I are planning a ride called Coast & Castles, 200 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne to Edinburgh.
I hope I get my knee fixed soon.
Friday, 12 April 2013
However, I went for a geared hybrid and I'm glad I did. Having any gears is worthwhile, despite the weight penalty. When you feel tired coming home from work, pick up an injury or the weather is hindering you, gears are your friend! A helping hand when the going gets tough out on the road.
Last week, I read this article from Bikeradar. It seems I have made the newest fashionable choice! To be honest, I haven't seen many, if any, fixed or singlespeed bikes in the area. I have however, seen one electric bike - a man was pushing it towards Halfords as he'd suffered a flat.
I'll keep my eyes peeled!
Thursday, 11 April 2013
I am quite excited about this because I know that some cycling routes around the area here in Bishop Auckland are not shown on Google Maps. I think if the quieter, more scenic routes were shown, a lot more people would be interested in cycling between towns.
Hopefully I can contribute to this. I have started, by submitting the Auckland Way byway I use on my commute between Bishop Auckland and Spennymoor. The route drawing method is the same as making your own maps for private or shared use. However, defining the route seemed confusing and I'm relying on guidance from moderators for this.
A handy way of doing this would be to ride the route while recording using any GPS app that allows you to export the data as .gpx, .kml or .kmz and simply upload it. Maybe you can do that? Worth a look!
There hasn't been too many additions to the area yet, but it's early days.
Sunday, 24 March 2013
|5Ten Impact 2 Low shoes - love the way that reflective 5 pops out in the flash.|
As with all products they have cons as well as the pros I've just mentioned. They aren't waterproof, so in rainy weather or if you splash through streams or becks, all that thick padding becomes waterlogged, which makes them heavier than what they already are. Each shoe weighs 600 grams when dry. If you plan ahead with waterproof socks, this isn't too much off a problem. They are quite wide and can rub on your crank arms, or catch on your chain stays if they are holding a wide hub (My Scott Sub 35 does). One of the most annoying cons is that the nylon loops holding the laces in place eventually snap, meaning you can't fasten the shoe up properly. This has happened to three of the loops so far on my pair.
|...whole loops and nothing but the loops...|
|...So help me God...|
Repairing the broken loop
|If the drill bit is sharp, you don't need to mark the hole|
You will need to drill the hole a couple, maybe three or four times so that it is totally clean through.
When you flip it over and check the other side, you might find that the hole doesn't look so clean, or you might not be able to see it. There is a flap of material that covers the underside hole, so just push the lace up through the hole and you'll have a fully functioning pair of high quality MTB shoes again.
|The finished result|
How about you? Have you ever fixed anything that looked as if it was beyond repair? Let me know in the comments.
Saturday, 23 March 2013
I doubt many people have the time, equipment and circumstances to be able to do this. I'm sure some people do, but it may take them months, even years, to finish the bike off.
For most of us life is too busy to be able to make a custom bicycle. I'd hazard a guess that life is also too expensive to be able to buy a custom bicycle like this.
I know I sound like I'm being hard on the people who do this sort of thing. Maybe I'm jealous or I don't have enough cash!
Either way, take a look at the video and I'm sure you'll agree that it looks pretty cool and a great use of scrap cars.
Sunday, 17 March 2013
St Patrick's day is generally celebrated by everyone whether you are Irish or not! I love St Patrick's day; Guinness and Jameson's whisky are such a treat to the taste buds and I've been lucky enough to visit the brewery and distillery respectively.
So the day falls on a Sunday this year, which turns out to be pretty convenient for me. I always visit my parents in Toronto for Sunday dinner, as does my sister Gemma and my little nephew Jack. Its a good chance for us all to catch up. There's normally two cans of Guinness with my name on in the fridge too :-)
Thanks to the March Hare pub in Tindale, they emailed a voucher for BOGOF Guinness. Now there's an offer! I was to be meeting my friend Marc for football watching but he was having lunch at the March Hare. I formulated a plan:
- Get showered/changed
- Get on the bike
- Have lunch, catch up with the family, drink Guinness
- Get on the bike
- Go to March Hare, drink Guinness
- Get on the bike
- Go home and put bike away
- Go watch football, drink Guinness
So far I'm half way through this plan but I'm way behind schedule. I blame the Guinness!
Mam and Dad's to pub. Check it out on #strava: http://app.strava.com/activities/44764653
Monday, 11 March 2013
Whilst out walking Melba, who loves running around in the snow, I was able to check the conditions. Was it icy under the snow? Is it windy? Is the snow melting? It seemed fine so I decided to carry on with the commute in.
Having breakfast I thought about the bike. I switched my pedals back to my SPD last week as I thought the bad weather was finished with. I thought that the conditions outside weren't too bad and I have enough confidence to ride clipped in on the snow. I also decided to take some pressure out of the tyres to give a bigger footprint. The thing with I found this morning with 700C x 35 tyres is it is very easy to let too much air out. I pumped some back in, and conscious of beginning to run late, set off for work.
Every bump and stone had me on edge as I thought I was going to pinch flat at any moment. Looking at the tyres though, they weren't deflated that much. It was just the spongy feeling keeping me worried. I arrived at work just in time to clock in, but I needed to shower to freshen up and to warm up.
During the course of the day, the weather was up to something weird. One moment it would be tossing hailstones off the windows, the next huge snow flakes fluttering down. Look again and there was brilliant sunshine and blue sky. A colleague originally from Poland claimed he'd never seen such crazy weather before! There was no way of knowing what it would be doing at leaving time.
|Hailstones on the windowsill|
|Arriving at Binchester|
|Approaching High Park bridges|
|Steps leading up to footpath into High Park|
|I once tried to ride my mountain bike down these...I didn't get far!|
|You are wearing your helmet - right?!|
|Snowing and sun setting. The golf course is beyond the trees on the right|
EDIT:I have just checked the historical weather data for Bishop Auckland as I had forgot to mention temperatures:
Setting off home: 4:20 pm, 0 C with a windchill of -6.4 C.
Arriving home: 5:20 pm, -1 C with a windchill of -7.5 C.
These are the observations taken from Wunderground here.