Just a test of Polaroid Cube attached to top of the mast using the same strap as I’m using for bicycle handlebars. Unfortunately battery died quite quickly as wasn’t fully charged. Anyway, camera survived. A bit of tweaking and next time will test it in big waves…
Jumped in train on Saturday and went to Southampton. From Southampton we rode to Portsmouth with ferry from Gospot. Next 3 days we spent pedalling along the cost from Sword Beach to Utah Beach visiting museums and Arromanches 360 cinema (incredible atmosphere, must see). All together more than 200km.
At least something which I’m happy about. Century ride with Wiggle on 31st May. 29.4km/h on 165km course, comparing to my other rides, this one went quite ok. Weather was spot on, no wind no sun 19C, no punctures, no mechanical adventures, absolutely perfect.
Long bank holiday weekend pushed me outdoors. Initial plan was Dartmoor (possibly Project Eden) but I’ve ended up just touching outskirts of Dartmoor.
Anyway, as always lack of planning is a plan for disaster. The links to bikemap.net with routes are just as an example, I’ve done each day from 110-120km circling around towns or trying to find better way, or trying to find shops etc..
I was in rush as I ended earlier on Friday and still had to change tyres, change pedals, tighten crank buy a food etc, etc… Effectively I forgot couple bits and pieces and climbed quite a hills on National Cycle Route no 2 on the way back, plus insane hills just before Cerne Abbas itself. In some places the road is insanely steep reaching (from my Garmin) 18%. Not funny with trailer and panniers, but what won’t kill you will make you stronger.
Between Devon and Dorset Route no 2 is in some places just magic…
… but very steep in some places which makes problems with climbing, but as the rule no 2 saying: harden the fuck up. On the other side you can reach easily 70kmh going downhill. Not good at all… As a result after Alps and this trip brake blocks are not existent.
Started with brill weather as you can see…
… and then gradually was darker, and darker and of course started pissing. I thought will be worse so turned back and decided to shorten whole trip one day and get back on Monday.
On the way back I took ferry which saved me probably an hour or so. Ended up, after painstaking hill, on the posh camping near Sidmouth feeling slightly strange between campers worth 50k quid ;-).
The steepest and probably hardest hill on the last day Eggardon Hill, but the view was rewarding. On top, one guy just asked Don’t tell me you cycled all the way up?!
Gear camping and some thoughts.
I’ve tested couple of things as always. At first of all what works.
Coffee maker – coffee sack ;-). Basically I’ve made simple method for coffee on the go. I made small sack made of synthetic (polyester?) fine netting fabric. Whole procedure is similar to making tea from leaves and the sack can be used for that purpose as well. Weighs nothing can be squeezed and stored anywhere. Quality of coffee is more less same like from french press.
New sleeping bag Vango F10 Catalyst 250 goose down (95/5). Just delighted with that thing. Spent 120 quid (RRP £200!), quite a money for me, but I’ll be sorted for early spring and autumn. I must admit was slightly too warm, as in the night was about 14C. Only one night been col enough to zip it up.
New tent Terra Nova Zephyros 2. Seems to be quite ok tent for the price – double skin, under 2kg, spacious tent for around £100. I’ve made two mods: replaced lines with dynema and line-loks and replaced 60cm end masts with foldable ones same length as main pole (43cm) which effectively reduced whole package to almost half size. Terra Nova is claiming that is two person, but really you need to be close with someone to count it as 2 person tent ;-). I’ll call it man-with-a-dog-tent. Plenty of space inside for one person, and in bad weather I believe will be able to cook inside. I’ll post some pictures in the future.
Gearing in front double 46-34 on the back (10 sp) 11-36. Basically mix of Deore DynaSys with FSA Omega crankset SLX Cassette. Works really well with trailer, quite happy with that setup. Can’t see any reason changing to anything else.Allows me to climb even steepest hills (the 36T cassette looks absolutely ridiculous ;-))
What wasn’t work
Pegs from my new tent. Fucking joke! Almost half of them bent after first use.
Bloody Garmin and 705 calculating route 2o minutes, soooo annoying.
My planning skills sucks. No major mistakes but plenty smaller quite annoying (that’s why I haven’t got output from GPS- batter died and I didn’t have cable to charge it…).
Keep them rolling.
As spring in Europe is officially cancelled I went with family to Gran Canaria. Trip looked from the start as standard “lay-on-the-beach” borring time , and that’s kind of vacation people mostly looking for. BTW. Standard British way is: wake up in the morning (about 10am), go to the pool and take sun bed (by placing towel on it). Then get back to hotel room, eat, drink, and then spend whole day next to pool on sun bed, stuffing yourself with chips, coke, candys etc, trying to survive massive hangover from previous night. Occasionally go and have a shower, or dip into pool. About 9pm is time to move down town, for a slap-up meal (trying avoid vegetables if possible, apart from potatoes of course). After dozen pints of lager about 1am, get back to hotel room. Sounds like fun, innit?
Not really for me…
My college days are gone, and as a middle age doughnut I won’t survive such stomach and brain abuse. So I decided to spend half a holiday cycling around the island.
I went to free motion company as they where on top of the list displayed by google. Choosen cheapest option Canondale CAAD10. Pretty basic alloy model, but solid as equipped with Shimano 105 groupset/wheels and Conti tyres. The company seems well organized and professional. Very friendly stuff, no problems whatsoever.
The island is quite small but there’s plenty different routes. You can go along coast line, which is up and down with refreshing breeze or you can choose mountain with spectacular valleys (barranco) different climbs and smooth tarmac.
I was focused on mountains mostly as coastline I have at home in Dorset ;-). Below is an example route to Ayacata and some pictures.
Couple of hints if you want to rent a bicycle there. What you’ll need? Helmet (mandatory there), standard summer setup of clothes, plus arm warmers and gilet. Shoes (pedals if you have some exotic system, but if you have Shimano shoes/cleats shouldn’t be a problem). Lights!!! Front (basic blinking white led) and rear. This is mandatory as well, if you want go trough tunnels which is almost unavoidable in most cases (of course you can rent light but it’ll cost money). Also: spare inner tube (as you’ll have only one) or patches, allen keys/multitool, bottles (or you can buy sport drinks already in bottles, but they usually 0.5l and you need at least 2×0.75l). At last, if you want/need your favourite saddle (don’t forget allen key 8mm!). Looks like quite a list, but really everything you can squeeze into helmet and some hardware into pockets. Washing clothes is not a problem, as the sun is oppressive there and everything is dry in no time. Talking about sun, remember about sun care otherwise you’ll look stupid like me, with peeling skin on nose, sun tan on chicks and pale around the eyes 😉
Summarizing. I didn’t expect such a nice time on the bike there. Must say it took quite a while to get used to the heat, but higher in mountains wasn’t too hot, and all you need to remember is sun care. As cycle holiday place strongly recommended, or like me part of family holiday.
Keep them rolling. Adam