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Now retired but busy still living..

Wednesday 30 July 2008

LEJOG- Training update.

We are all training for our LEJOG as often as possible. One of the main problems that we have is not being able to go out and train all together due to conflicting shift patterns. I have been building up a base fitness by cycling to work each day and then going out in the evenings for an additional 20 mile dash. This week I have had some 0400hrs starting times at work and so have been leaving home at 0325 in the mornings-this is a great time for a cycle ride-cool air and not a car on the road, perhaps we should cycle LEJOG during the nights !!!
Gareth has been out doing some 10 mile runs as part of his training programme so at least if his bike packs up on the trip he will be able to run to John o'Groats !!
John has been out each day doing a 25 mile circuit and during one of these circuits he was forced off the road by a car. It happened on a roundabout and the car cut John up forcing him in towards the curb. Johns pedal caught the edge of the curb, his front wheel turned inwards and John was launched skywards and over the handlebars. On landing Johns head made contact with the curb stone and John reckons that if he had not been wearing a helmet he would now be in hospital or worse! John sustained a bad graze on his forehead and was badly shaken up. The driver of the car either did not see what he had done or even worse saw what he had caused and decided not to stop. Lucky for John another driver did stop and gave John some help. John's bike was not badly damaged but one of his bar ends was broken off.
The important point I wish to make here is that if it was not for the LEJOG John would not
have been out on his bike. John is not a cyclist and it is only because John believes strongly in the charity that we are doing the ride to support, that he is out each day training hard on his bike. To cycle from Land's End to John o'Groats consists of more than the 9 days that we intend completing the distance in. It's all the hours of training required in order to achieve it. It's the crash that Gareth and I had on the Isle of Wight whilst training and the broken ribs that I sustained and the bad grazes to our legs and arms that we both collected- and it is the accident described above that could have had a far worse outcome for John than it did.
Please support us by going to www.justgiving.com/revproteamride and read about the charity that we are riding to support and then make a donation on line.

Saturday 19 July 2008

LEJOG Cycle Ride in September.

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that in September I will be cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats.
I am doing this ride with three of the guys that I work with and we are intending to complete an average of 100 miles plus a day for nine days in order to raise money for the Dorset Kidney Unit based at Dorchester Hospital. John Donoghue who is one of the team doing the ride gave a kidney to his daughter about 18 months ago and the care they received has inspired us to complete this ride and raise money for the unit as a way of saying thankyou.
I have just set up a charity page regarding this event in order to make it easy for people to sponsor us and make a donation and you will find it at: www.justgiving.com/revproteamride
You could be one of the first to sponsor us by clicking on this link now!
We will set out from Land's End on the 9th September and we will all be cycling the entire route (no relays here). The average age of our team is 52 years with two of us over sixty.
For the past nine months we have all been training hard and for the next few weeks leading up to the start date the training will be stepped up a notch.
During the trip I will be posting updates of our progress on this blog so you will be able to see some of the pain that we will be going through!!
I realise that these days there are constant demands for our spare cash but this is a very worthwhile charity- one that I feel is worth cycling ONE THOUSAND MILES to support. I hope that you feel the same.
Please send on this link to all your friends, family and contacts in order to make all the pain that the team has coming their way in September worthwhile.
Just a reminder of the address : www.justgiving.com/revproteamride
Keep logging on to this blog to follow the progress during the rest of our training and also during the ride itself .

Friday 18 July 2008

Grand Union Canal Cyclepacking.

Tomorrow I was intending to set out on a three day cyclepacking trip from Paddington along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal to Birmingham a distance of about 140 miles.
Due to the recent death of my Father I feel that I am needed at home for now and have had to pull out from this ride. I was going to complete this ride with Howard Kelly who I understand will still be doing the route on his new Dawes bike.
I did walk this route about five years ago and I enjoyed the route very much. There is always something happening along the banks of a canal, lots of wildlife as well as people out on their boats or fishing etc. Early in the morning there is a tranquility about the canal that always seems rather special particularly when you remember that it passes right next to some very busy urban areas.
If you have never walked the length of a canal give it a try. It's easy walking compared to some of the 'wild' places that I like to backpack in but still enjoyable in it's own way. As an added bonus you will always find plenty of convenient pubs right on the canal bank-not that I would use them of course !!

Thursday 17 July 2008

Dorset Boundary Cyclepacking / bike in porch.

Dorset Cyclepacking-Postscript and Test Reviews

Further to the rather swift end to my Dorset Boundary cycle trip I can happily report that both Colin and Peter finished as planned. Peter managed to obtain some brake blocks for his bike although the shop in Bridport only had one set in stock that fitted. Due to the steel rims that Peter was riding on combined with the wet weather, he was forced on at least one occasion to slow up by aiming for the nearside hedge/ditch. Lucky that he did not hurt himself!! On the last night they camped at the Moreton C&CC site moving on from there on the last day by way of the Purbeck Hills and then the chain ferry across to Studland and back to Bournemouth. Peter did say that he enjoyed the last two days the most, as the roads were not so enclosed as at the start of the route and the views were better. Also the gradients although steep, were found to be easier. As I have not completed this route yet I do intend to go back in August and complete it in three days as part of my LEJOG training.
The Tent: Wild Country Duolite Tourer.
I like this tent! Although not as light as my usual mobile shelter, the Hilleberg Akto, it is as described 'great for cycle touring'. It is an easy tent to erect taking only a few minutes longer than the Akto and once inside you have lots of room. It has a huge porch which according to Terra Nova the manufacturers, is 'ideal for storing bikes.' Now I do question this. By bikes do they mean childrens bikes? Yes my fullsize folder was stored in the porch without any problem but that's a folder- I do question whether you would fit a normal tourer in the porch without compromising your own access to the tent. I think that I could get my new tourer in the porch if I dropped the front wheel first and if I am lucky I might even manage without removing the front wheel ,but as for bikes-plural-NEVER! But this is the only black spot on what I think is a very good tent. I liked the quirky shape with it's exterior pole system on which you hang the fly and inner. The tent is very stable in windy conditions hardly moving at all and in all the rain that we experienced not a drop entered any part of the porch or main tent area. The Duolite is as it's name suggests a two man tent. I am using it as a one man tent and for one person the space inside feels vast. There is enough room in the main tent for two campers but if they were both cyclists I think that one of the bikes would have to be chained to a fence outside the tent. When I do my Boundary trip re-run in August I intend using my new touring cycle and I will report back on how I get on fitting it in the porch.
The Cycle Computer/GPS: Garmin 605
I had only obtained this a few days before the trip. It comes with a 'Get you Started' quick reference guide consisting of ten pages,the main instructions are supplied on a computer disc. I did look at the disc before I set off but once on the trip I could not remember some of the important items. This is the problem with instructions on disc which seems to be more and more the norm with electronics- a mistake I feel! However using the 605 with what I could remember and what I have learned from the disc since my return I can state that the Garmin is an awesome piece of kit. You can configure the readouts to suit yourself. All the usual things are there such as speed-average speed-time-time of day etc etc. But you also can add in things like elevation-calories used-pace-gradient-distance to destination and ETA at destination etc....... In fact there is so much information that you can access that you get two pages on the computer on which to display it-just a flick of a button takes you between them. Another push of the button takes you to the map page which also gives you turn by turn instructions for your route. Yes, you can read the screen in bright sunlight with no problems and for night use it has a backlight. When you get home you can download all the information regarding your ride to your computer. You can see a track of the route that you rode as well as all the information on speed-average-pace etc...It is brilliant and I have really enjoyed learning how to use it and seeing all the information concerning the rides I have made displayed on my home computer. No need any more to keep my ride history in a little log book- it's now all done for me. I obtained the Garmin with the European road mapping package which seems pretty good. Dave Topley who had the 705 version with the offroad mapping told me that he wished that he had gone for the road mapping as he has not found the offroad mapping to be that good. If you are in to cycle touring and like to do the odd sportive and cycle training then the Garmin 605 with the European road mapping package seems to tick all the right boxes and more. Expensive but worth it !

Monday 7 July 2008

Dorset Cyclepacking- day four.

First thing this morning I received a phone call from Anne informing me that my Father was in the Q A hospital at Cosham and was very ill and not expected to survive- I was required there as soon as possible!
We all packed up our gear as fast as we could and cycled to Bridport. I went to the taxi office to get a taxi (bike in the rear) and said goodbye to Colin & Peter.
Peter was going to pay a visit to the bike shop for badly needed brake blocks and other repairs and as far as I know,bike permitting, the two guys were going to complete the ride that we had started together.
When things have settled family wise I will write up the review on the trip and report on the Garmin 605 and the Duolite Tourer tent.

Postscript: My Father died- but I got to the hospital in time!

Dorset Cyclepacking-day three.

Today we awoke to the sound of heavy rain on the tents. It had been raining almost all night, or so i am told, as i slept like a log. Dave Topley set out at about 08.00 hrs as if had to head back home ready for work on monday. Peter had to do some work on his bike- sort out his brakes and repair two punctures- one back and one front, that had appeared overnight. Due to this and the rain we did not get away till 12.30hrs. By this time the rain had stopped. We managed to avoid the rain for most of the afternoon except for one very heavy shower whilst we were having lunch in the churchyard in the village of Evershot. Peter continued to have problems with his bike all day. Brakes(none at the front) broken spoke-saddle position etc etc. In Evershot a small childs bike was outside a house with a for sale sign on it. I am sure Peter considered the purchase! We are now camping at a small site at a place called Slave Cross. Todays picture shows Peter working on his bike before we set out today.

Saturday 5 July 2008

Dorset Cyclepacking-day two

Today set off at 1015hrs and headed to Shaftesbury. Plenty of hills, plenty of effort! When we got there the town was packed-some sort of summer Fete. We stopped for a break, admire the view and look at the bad weather coming our way! We set off again and stopped for lunch under a tree on a small village green. We decided not to visit Sherborne but get to the campsite and put the tents up before the bad weather hit us. Our timing could not have been better, as soon as the tents were pitched the rain came down. This evening has been spent at the Rose and Crown in the village of Longburton. The weather forecast is not good!

Friday 4 July 2008

Dorset Cyclepacking-day one.

Well i am now in my tent and wondering what the overnight weather will bring. We have heard that we could have gales and torrential rain. Today though has been great, nice and sunny although it did start to rain when we arrived at the campsite here at Sixpenny Handley. Nice easy distance today-only 32 miles according to the Garmin which is being recharged as i am posting this entry. Peter, Colin and i did the ride today fitting in a number of stops and we were joined at the campsite by David. Three of us ate down the pub tonight and in the morning we plan to have a cooked breakfast at the 'shed cafe'. The campsite owners do a breakfast so it will save us the effort. The picture today shows our tents pitched at the site-my wild country is the third in the lineup. I will write a report on this upon my return.

Thursday 3 July 2008

Dorset Boundary Cyclepacking.

Tomorrow I am setting off on another jaunt. This time it is a cycle ride over five days keeping as close as possible to the Dorset County Boundary. Two or three other Backpackers Club members will either join me for all or part of the trip.Interestingly each days mileage on this is about half of what I will be doing on my LEJOG in September as is the number of days of this tour ie: five days instead of ten. The plan is to leave home tomorrow morning, camping at sites over four nights and arrive back here on the fifth day.
As normal I will be testing some kit. I will be trying out a Wild Country Duolite Tourer. This is a tent that the blurb tells me is designed with the cycle tourer in mind. Apparently there is 'plenty of space in the porch for storing bikes'. Well we shall see how good it is. Chris Townsend tested the Sololite version in TGO magazine and gave a good report on it. I will also be trying out a Garmin Edge 605 GPS/Mapping/Cycle computer. This should be a tip top item of kit as the 705 version is being used by the Slipstream Team in this years Tour de France. I am really looking forward to trying this out, powered of course by my continued use of the FreeLoader solar panel and hub.
As normal I will make postings to my blog,mobile signal permitting.

Six weeks off.

 The visit to see the Consultant went quite well really ...   My ' numbers' have started to creep up again so I am going to be given...