Winter is here

Tim Selfie
Hello!

I’ve had a self induced few weeks off the bike while doing a mini challenge and some intense training for a half marathon that I completed last week.  Yes, I ran 13.1 miles on the road in just under 1 hour 59 minutes.  I may be a little hooked on the idea of doing more of this, but more on that another day. For now though…

It’s on!

Yes its on, the heating is on. Winter is here! I have caved and let her put the central heating on (but I will be checking the thermostat everyday) and as every bike ride is likely to include a mud bath, its nice to know I can come home to a warm house and a hot shower!

Its the season to “make the most of it”. Getting out on those cold and damp days, rather than when its chucking it down with rain, and get out and do some “Winter miles” for those “Summer smiles”.

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Winter miles they say…

The trails on my doorstep are muddy from about mid November through to March.  We pray for the frost and stick to the ones with rocks, roots and less clay content. There is no winter/mud tyre that can cope with clay!

This limits  our options so its time to get some longer rides in. So I got my Winter Season off to a good start on Sunday with about 35 miles of pedaling.

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Mud bath

It was just me on Sunday; though I did make plans to meet a few others from MB Swindon for a coffee stop in Marlborough. However that didn’t happen due to the other group of riders having some mechanicals and running over an hour late.

So I did what I like to do and rode, explored, made it up as I went along and stopped to take a few photos.

I had my own “mechanical” that involved forgetting my keys and the rest of the family had gone out. Luckily like a good Boy Scout (I was never in the Scouts), I was prepared.

I was wet and beginning to get cold, so armed only with the contactless paying capabilities of my iPhone I somehow found sustenance and warmth by way of a visit to my local Costa for a cup of tea and cheese toastie. I changed my wet socks, broke out my spare gloves too…  I survived Bear Grylls eat your heart out!

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Not a very exciting blog post, but with so many photos taken on Sunday I had to write something and share them…

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Coffee Stop #1 of the Day. Greggs in Marlborough
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Obligatory Instagram photo

 

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Here’s some of that mud I mentioned
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Somewhere under there is a crank and chain ring
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That’s nice!
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Cold Fingers: It Snow Joke

SealSkin Gloves
It Snow Joke

Its been more than 24 hours since I returned from my ride and my fingers still tingle from a horrible experience on my Sunday morning ride.

I’ve had cold hands before but never this cold and absolutely never since buying/wearing a set of SealSkinz winter cycling gloves. So what happened?

It was cold yesterday, there’s no doubt about that but I have been out in colder weather recently – my trip to North Wales was bitterly cold. Was the so called “wind chill factor” that bad yesterday? Or have my gloves “worn out”?

Best practice is to put warm hands into your gloves, as with a sleeping bag, warmth generated from within is the only way you will stay warm.  I may have been a bit slack with some faffing about and did stop early on to check a meeting time on Facebook as I thought I was late.  But I didn’t think my hands were out of the gloves long enough for any real cold to set it.

After about 30 mins of pedaling I started to feel a bit queezy – I thought I had pushed myself hard up our first climb and maybe exerted myself too much, but as we stopped for a breather I began to feel really ill.  I opted to leave the gang and turn around and return home, a mostly road ride of around 5 miles.

By the time I got home I had stopped 3 times, started to feel faint and began to lose all feeling in my fingers. I could no longer feel the shifter or the brakes, making riding a very odd and slightly dangerous experience as I was grabbing brakes fully rather than feathering or modulating in anyway.

It took around an hour before I could touch anything and during that time I was in excruciating pain. If I had been silly and not worn my winter gloves I could understand but these gloves have been fantastic for 4 years and worked fine up until now. I should add the rest of me, including toes and torso were absolutely fine.

So this post has two purposes:

  1. A reminder to make sure you wear sensible winter cycling clothing
  2. And to ask “is it possible for my gloves to have stopped insulating my fingers?”

If you have any glove recommendations, similar stories or any thoughts on why my gloves simply didn’t work yesterday please comment below.

Bucket List Bike

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WTB Vigilante / Trail Boss

If you find a list of “10 things a mountain biker should do“, building a bike is there among them. I honestly didn’t understand why you would do this. I had been looking for a new hard tail for some time and often came to the same conclusion most do, that “you couldn’t build that spec for that money”.  The buying power of bike manufacturers means that its very hard to beat them on price if you want to go down the self build route. Continue reading “Bucket List Bike”

Where do you put yours?

MagicShine MJ-880
MagicShine MJ-880

It’s getting dark, the nights are drawing in (whatever that means), and it’s time to charge those batteries and get the lights out. But where do you put yours?

MTB Batteries Luminator
MTB Batteries Luminator – Helmet Mounted

I have two sets of lights as you can see. One for the bars and one for my helmet. When I first started riding at night I couldn’t help but get spooked by mysterious sounds from the bushes and trees around me. When you are travelling quicker and concentrating on the trail ahead or you are riding with others it’s not so bad (Safety in numbers!). But ride slowly on your own up a tree lined track and evil creatures just out of sight make the strangest of sounds!

Continue reading “Where do you put yours?”

Rapid Racer Products – NeoGuard

Rapid Racer Products – NeoGuard

Rapid Racer Products - NeoGuard

Its about the simplest and one of cheapest add on you will buy for your mountain bike. So why has it taken me 3 years to get one!?

The Rapid Racer Products NeoGuard is simple and effective. As your wheel spins forward, the muck and water that doesn’t get sprayed straight up between your legs gets flung forward and upwards in front of you. That’s OK I hear you say. Well yes it is if you are pootling along at a snails pace, but anything other than this and the spray of mud and water, dirt or even tiny stones will be presented neatly in front of you fo you to ride straight into!

For around £15.00 this is a must buy especially here in the UK.

They come is different sizes to allow for different fork travel and can be fitted in a few minutes by a some velcro fastenings. Don’t even think about this any longer, if you haven’t fitted on to your bike yet go and order one online or pop into your LBS right away. I need to get one for my second bike and one for my son.

For more details on the sizes available take a look at the official website – http://www.rapidracerproducts.com/NeoGuard.htm