Its not a road bike OK!

I’m not a roadie hater, or embarrassed to ride on the road on a road bike – BUT I DON’T HAVE A ROAD BIKE ALRIGHT!!!

But I do think that “they” as a breed can be a little odd.. The lyrca and brightly coloured team kits for starters!

Anyway, a few years ago I was tempted by the “dark side” as its often referred and then I discovered you get “road bikes” that you could also ride off the road!  This sounded more like me! Continue reading “Its not a road bike OK!”

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My First 100km Ride

Ok it wasn’t on a mountain bike but it was on a cyclocross/gravel bike and was hard work in yesterday’s heat.

I didn’t have much of a plan. I’d loosely mapped out a 100km route and I had 3 main check points.

Solsbury Hill (From the Peter Gabriel song)
The Bath Two Tunnels
and getting home via the Caen Hill Locks by 9pm

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Somewhere between Bath and Devizes – my bike carried 1 bottle of water, my tools and puncture kit and also my DJI Spark drone.

I set off after 1pm with a sort of plan that it would begin to cool as my ride went on rather than get hotter, and because I’d had a few beers the night before and didn’t feel like riding in the AM.

My journey took me along probably 50km of cycle paths (40km of which were rough – the Kennet and Avon tow path sounds lovely but its bumpy and rough for a 30km stretch).   And 50km or roads and paved tracks.

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View of Bath from “little” Solsbury Hill – take with DJI Spark

The Bike

My bike is a Genesis CDF – a few years old, and is a steal cyclocross machine weighing around 12kg I think – haven’t weighed it. And I currently have fitted some Specialized Borough tyres – these are great for the smoother surfaces but don’t hide the bumps of the Kennet and Avon Canal tow path!

Nutrition

I didn’t really plan this very well and though I thought I did OK, it shows that with some better planning I would have had plenty of energy

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I had a 500ml bottle on the bike and another in a bum bag, waist pack along with my snacks.  When I stopped at a corner shop these three fitted perfectly between the rack and seat post. I love a Strawberry Yazoo!

I carried 2 x 500ml bottles that I refilled in a pub, a camp site and with a bottle purchased from a shop.  So I drank around 4 litres as well as a milk shake and a bottle of coke.

Before I left I’d had some eggs for breakfast and bacon sandwich for lunch.

Food en route consisted of 3 basic cereal bars, and half a pack of Haribos.

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Caen Hill Lock Flight – about 14km from home.  I’d have been home an hour earlier if I hadn’t flown the DJI Spark for these photos here and on to of Solsbury Hill.

Journey details

Distance 101.7km
Elapsed time 7 hrs 55 min
Moving time 5 hrs 57 min
Elevation 1070m
Max speed 64kmph

https://www.strava.com/activities/1721130902

Whats next?

The bike needs some new brake pads, bottom bracket, cassette and chain. I’m also thinking of changing up the front chain rings to give some more climbing and less top speed if possible.

And another ride as soon as i can make the time.

Hang on, let me explain…

I know I profess to be a mountain biker but you do see me on something different from time to time, so I thought I’d so a little post about me and my flirtations with the curly bars.

Firstly let me put this out there LOUD and CLEAR – I hate riding on the road!

It’s my least favourite place to ride and I just hope I am a more considerate driver than most of the drivers that seem to pass me on my local roads.  So why do I ride such a bike?

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So this is a cyclocross (or CX) or gravel bike, not a road bike. That means I can (and do) ride it in places that are not suitable for your average road bike.

Someone told me a road bike would be good for fitness and winter riding. I’m not sure I ever really believed that but I first got interested in something like this when I saw pictures of bikes being ridden on the Tour Divide. Ok they are not cyclocross bikes, they are adventure bikes, rigid 29ers and basically sturdy mile munching cart horses. I liked the idea of this and as I explored and Googled around the topic I started to come across what I considered to be cool looking bikes with drop / curly bars but in muddy and dusty places.  I was hooked!

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So now what?

Well I often get the cyclocross bike out when I want a quick blast and don’t want to get too dirty, so I take in a few quite roads, have an urban explore and hit some tracks.  Occasionally I go full off road and take it up the local hill, but mostly its road and gravel tracks.

I really honestly don’t enjoy the road bits. I’m not against the concept of road riding and I actually enjoy the speed and covering the distance – but I really hate being buzzed by inconsiderate motorists. Its pretty scary when a car passes within 2 feet of you at 40 miles an hour!  But its a means to an end sometimes.

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Connecting up some trail and gravel tracks with road is a necessity around where I live and is certainly easier on a cyclocross bike that a mountain bike.

But why the cyclocross bike? What’s so good about riding a cyclocross bike? Why not just ride your mountain bike?

  • For starters it gets me off the road a little quicker! Making light work of the road sections.
  • I don’t take a pack, travel light which is refreshing and simplifies my ride.
  • It makes you very aware of where your wheels are going – line choice becomes very important when your wheel is only an inch wide instead of 2-3 inches!
  • The bike is not forgiving off road so I think improves your bike handling skills
  • Variety is the spice of life isn’t it?

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4 bikes in less than 24 hours

No it wasn’t my birthday, but somehow I managed to ride all 4 of my bikes at the weekend all with in the space of 24 hours!  Here’s how it happened.

Bike 1 – DMR Wrath
Location – Devizes Skate Park

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Will I ever grow up?  Fat chance!

My daughter was going to play with a friend for the day in Devizes, so when I dropped her off at her home I took my DMR Wrath the skatepark. The DMR Wrath is a kindof half BMX cruiser and half jump bike, I’m not sure I can go down to a 20″ BMX so I think this bike has to move on sometime soon so I can make room for a proper jump bike (or maybe I’ll just fit some forks to this one??).

The skatepark is great fun, with some 4 and 5 foot quarter pipes which are great fun to pop out of and to drop in.  It makes you think about your back wheel and chainring positions you have to “jump” in.

My goal for the mini session was to “air out” of one 4 foot and clear the coping to land on an adjacent 4 footer – sort of like a kicker jump.  I just about managed to do this and left before the skateboarders I was chatting to could convince to have a go on 4 wheels!

Bike 2 – Genesis CDF
Location – “Around town”

Genesis CDF Cyclocross
Enjoyed riding this so much on Saturday. Must ride it more!

Under the pretense of going to the bank to get my kids their overdue pocket money out, I decided to help the environment and make the short trip on my cyclocross bike instead of taking the car.  What should have taken 30-40 mins took almost 2 hours as I had some fun on the dry and dusty trails taking the long way home.

Bike 3 – NS Bikes Surge EVO
Location – Local trails, Calstone

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Can’t quite decide if I’m gonna keep the 30T chainring yet. Back to 32T?

A friend of mine has decided to get a mountain bike to get some exercise and lose a bit of weight. Saturday evening I had offered to introduce him to a short local loop to get him off road. He and his wife are also a friends of my wife and she actively encouraged me to go out with him (this couldn’t get any better)…

So we had a little pedal as I got him introduced to some locations on his doorstep he had never even been to.  Once he’d had his intro, he went home for a curry and I had another blast around.

Bike 4 – Vitus Escarpe VRX
Location – Cotswolds

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This is the life!

This was my only planned ride for the weekend and the weather was perfect for an explore around some semi-familiar trails near Uley and Dursley in Gloucestershire.

Some great fun was only dampened slightly by one of the gang having a potentially really nasty over the bars moment on the most tame part of the trail.

We still managed a couple of hours riding and enjoyed the sun.

Short video below of Sunday’s ride.   Next stop Ladybower Reservoir!

Accidentally on the Ridgeway

Near Avebury Wiltshire, Ridgeway

I had no intentions of going on this ride. In fact I set out to go for a bit of a spin on the road on my Genesis CDF. Yes, I was planning on avoiding the mud and opted for a cleaner ride and maybe just 10 miles or so before settling down for an afternoon of rugby.

After struggling up a local road climb (Clyffe Pypard), a stupid voice in my head told me I needed more climbing and shouldn’t stop there so I made my way over to Hackpen Hill and up on to the Ridgeway. Continue reading “Accidentally on the Ridgeway”