Remembering why…

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This morning’s plan was to get a few miles in as a sort of training ride. I hate the thought of training as I ride my bike for enjoyment, and while training makes me a better/fitter rider and therefore more likely to enjoy tougher or longer rides – I still don’t like the thought of training. So I didn’t go out with a plan other than that of the distance I wanted to cover – 50km – the enjoyment was going to come from making it up as I went along.

Keeping an eye on the clock, the distance and of course the map on my Garmin meant I could make it up as I went along and keep an element of fun; rather than a Chris Froome TDF style head down pedal and not take anything in.

My ride ended up taking me through some of the local villages of Lacock, Biddistone and Corsham, before heading back along the old railway path from Chippenham. This is my token bit of off road to make the CDF feel a little more at home!

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Lacock is famous for its abbey and for being used in a number of movies including the Harry Potter series. There are some nice old buildings, all protected by the National Trust and a cool little ford. The cobbles were very slippery and I had to pedal carefully on the skinny wheels.

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Who doesn’t like a nice pub and bike photo?

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Villages are full of little treasures when you stop to explore rather the just whizz by. I remembered this morning one of the reasons I enjoy cycling wether it by by mountain bike or now even by the odd stretch of road.

I like to explore and I like to take photos, I if hadn’t been required back home for family duties I also had Castle Coombe in my sights today. I could have easily managed to fit this in to my ride but I was required back home.

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I couldn’t have covered the distance this morning on a mountain bike as easily and still have energy and reserves left over. I think I am going to be working up to a 100km and maybe even a 100 mile ride soon and exploring more of the smaller villages and possibly hidden pubs in the area…

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Looking for a Way Out

West Kennet Long Barrow
West Kennet Long Barrow

Hot on the heels of yesterdays amazing video from Chris Akrigg, comes a TimFromWales production. Hold on to your hats cos this is going to amaze! Well not really – it was just a little pedal out to the West Kennet Long Barrow for a cup of tea.

I am really enjoying the Genesis CDF and am wondering why I didn’t get a cyclocross bike sooner.  I am able to ride to most of the places I can locally on my mountain bike, but quicker and the added advantage of the skinny wheels (never thought I’d hear myself saying that) is that I can hit the road to link up trails at a much faster pace.  Its the future!

This week I bought an Alpkit dry bag so I could carry my tea brewing kit – also from Alpkit (Mytimug & Kraku stove). While these are small items, they don’t quite fit in my saddle bag, so I stuffed the Alpkit Airlok with stove, mug, milk etc, extra layer and GoPro attachments and went for a little spin this morning.

The 5L Airlok Extra fits neatly between the drop bars, and is also handy to throw over your shoulder like a messenger bag. The bag is better when stuffed full rather than letting the contents sag and rattle – but this is simply some advice on my part rather than any sort of criticism.

I now have a burning desire to bikepack and I think the Genesis CDF will do the job just fine!

Anyway you have waited long enough and I have stalled until Youtube has processed my video. Here it is and watch out for my very own Allez Allez Allez moment from some actual French people too!

Its like mountain biking but different

Genesis CDF
Genesis CDF

Road biking doesn’t appeal to me, but I have heard from enough people about the benefits to be convinced of them. However, I have no desire to spend hours and hours travel mile after mile pedaling along the road to gain these benefits. I am also not built for lycra – I am not sure any man is!

I am happy to ride on the road to link up trails and I am happy to ride the occasional cycle tack and canal path. So, for sometime I have been looking at cyclocross bikes. The idea being that I could maybe go a bit further on the road on a bike designed for the job and increase those all important base miles to help with fitness.

Yesterday I picked up my very first (yes in my entire life) bike with dropped bars. I was a little apprehensive today as I took to the road on a familiar route with both on and off sections including a steep local climb. Apprehensive because I wore SPD shoes for the first time ages, found myself behind bars half the width of my MTB bars and where on earth are the brakes!?

The flat pedaling was fun, as I found my average speed creeping higher and noticed the absence of the usual resistance and zipping sound of my MTB tyres. Since getting home I noticed how all my local Strava sections involving tarmac had been beaten and I had 12 new personal bests – including on the climb mentioned above.

Some basic off road riding was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. Putting that down to a comfortable ride on a steel frame. I tackled some roots, gravel, single track and a bridal way – and I loved it.

This is going to be a fun addition to the bike shed.

New Beginnings

Specialized rockhopper 29er

The 29er has gone. Yes my Sepecialized Rockhopper has left the building and is off to pastures new – somewhere in Swindon!

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with that bike for a few years, never quite deciding if I enjoyed riding it or not. One minute I was having a great time riding cross country routes or commuting, the next I was gingerly descending a local trail perched right over the bars.

The thing is I was trying to use it for too much and I have learnt more so in the last 6-12 months that bike geometry really makes a difference and the differences exist for a reason.

The Rockhopper was an XC, possibly race oriented set up with a relatively steep head angle and when I tried to ride terrain that I also rode on my full suspension Giant, I felt a little unbalanced. So, to save the Giant mostly for trail centres I decided an alternative bike was required for local riding and a Genesis Alpitude turned up for sale right on my doorstep. Its slack head angle and long travel fork has been great fun and the 29er has been gathering dust.

Occasionally using it for some short road trips into the shops, I was finding a use for it, but something was nagging at the back of my head. Maybe, just maybe I should buy a road bike?

For the last year I have been tempted by the cyclocross idea, not racing but the idea of a road bike that I could take, well off road! And no sooner did I start to think more seriously about this in the last few weeks did yet another Genesis turn up, this time a CDF and on eBay.

So the funds have been raised by selling the Rockhopper and I will be picking up a “new” bike within the next few days. Opening a new chapter in my cycling with a Cyclocross or CX bike.

I am sure this will provide me with ample material for new photos and blog posts. Now I must go and clean my hard tail after last nights little ride where it got surprisingly muddy.

muddy Maxxis. HighRoller