Thursday, 30 April 2009

Cycling the Isle of Wight.




A couple of months ago I promised that as soon as I managed to get a picture of all 'The Revolutionaries' together I would post the photograph on this blog. Well here it is!! The picture was taken yesterday at the start of the team's cycle ride around the Isle of Wight. We had chosen the day well as it appears that yesterday was a window of good weather between two days of bad weather. The other picture is of Gareth and myself re-enacting the crash that we had last year when we both sustained a bad dose of 'road rash' and I also ended up with two broken ribs. The shot was taken on the same corner where the accident happened although this year the weather was 100% better. The purpose of the trip was to get the team together for a full days ride in order to assess the overall fitness of the team and highlight any problems that there might be. The route that we rode was described by various people as 'challenging' and it certainly was that. As far as problems go, it showed those up within the first 20 miles.
Last year when we completed our LEJOG, John Donaghue was at a good level of fitness and surpassed all expectations for the trip (it must be remembered that John only has one kidney).
On yesterdays trip it became clear all to quickly that John was struggling. John was finding the terrain very difficult and at one point he dropped off the rear of the group and took a wrong turn. It took us over an hour to reconnect with him-not helped by the fact that John had turned his phone off. After the full team had regrouped John continued to struggle even walking up some of the hills. We were falling well behind time and it became clear that John was not going to complete the circuit of the Island. Eventually that fact became clear to John. We left him at Ventnor clutching his bike in one hand and a twenty pound note in the other-he was going to taxi back to the ferry at Yarmouth. The rest of the team completed the circuit although I split from Gareth and Jason after dropping them after leaving Ventnor and then stupidly missing a turning. Today John was on the phone to me explaining what his plans are to improve his fitness over the next five weeks prior to The Atlantic Coast Challenge Ride down through France and into Spain ,although I do fear that there is insufficient time left to make a significant difference. At least when we do the ACCR we will have Dave Vaughan driving the support/broom wagon so he should be able to sweep up John if he experiences similar problems to yesterday.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

NEWSFLASH-One of the Sisters Grimm Smiles.

Yes it's true-during our weekend meet at the Sisters Grimm one of the Sisters smiled at Stourvale Walker. SW told me that not only did she smile at him she actually struck up a conversation with him. This is a real breakthrough because in all the time that we have been going to this site the most we have had from the Sisters Grimm is an open palm (for the camp fee) and strict instructions on where to camp and a long list of 'do not's'. I must state that the only other person who saw her smile was Peter Calcutt (but then he thinks that everyone is smiling). Of course I didn't want to point out to SW that ancient folkelore states in the Book of Dorset Doom that if one of the Sisters is seen to smile the recipient of the smile could be plagued by little Grimmlets that pop up where ever the recipient pitches his tent. This could mean that SW might be wild pitching in the wilds of Wales or somewhere similar and in the middle of the night he could be disturbed by a snuffling noise followed by a small hand being thrust under his fly sheet demanding payment for his pitch (this is the hand of a Grimmlet). Poor old SW-no more free wild pitching for him- not now that he has the Grimmlet curse upon him.

As I predicted the other day I enjoyed the weekend meet far more than if I had attended the AGM and after reading Whitespiders report ( go to Whitespider1066.com )I am glad I stayed in Dorset. The weather on Saturday was far better than the forecast would have had us believe and it is always good to meet up with walking pals. We all enjoyed it so much that we are going to fit in an additional static meet later in the year - I will keep you posted on the Date and Venue.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Site to ourselves.


Once again we have the Sisters Grimm site all to ourselves. Six Dorset group members have decided to attend this alternative to the AGM. It rained during Friday night but apart from one ten minute burst of hail stones saturday has remained dry. The group had a good fifteen mile walk today.

Which way is it:?


Trying to work out where we are during todays Dorset group walk.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

AGM-This weekend.

This weekend (Fri to Sun 24th to 26th of April) the Backpackers Club is holding it's AGM in the Peak District. I WILL NOT BE ATTENDING! This will be the first time for a number of years that I have not been to the AGM. The reason? Well John Hee touched on some of it in his report on the 2008 AGM in his blog. Let me explain some of my reasons for not attending this year.(My opinions only of course)Being crammed together in a field with some people who appear to not be aware that other's are also camping there.(noise!!) The politics that always seem to go with Club AGM's. What seem to be quite reasonable questions being pushed to one side with the statement 'we are running out of time so we must move on'. In my opinion more time should be allowed for all questions to be answered fully- after all that is the purpose of an AGM isn't it?-members having an opportunity to have their questions and queries answered. For a number of years now I have felt that the entire meeting itself is just bulldozed along at speed almost as if to get it over and done with. It all seems a total waste of time!! It's a long way to go just to feel frustrated by it all. So this year we have a Dorset Group Spring Static meet as an alternative and even if I am the only member there I know that I will enjoy it more than the AGM.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Another IDIOT cyclist.


I never cease to be amazed at how bl**dy stupid a lot of so called cyclists are. Check out the attached photo taken recently at a local railway station. The idiot who owns this bike decided that he did not want to risk it being stolen so he padlocked it to a seat in the waiting room and in so doing effectively blocked off two seats so that fare paying passengers could not use them. Is it any wonder that cyclists get a bad press when we have such total blockheads amongst us..

Monday, 20 April 2009

More Bike Bling





A few pictures showing my new Fulcrum Racing Zero wheels fitted to my Felt Z series bike. I have been out for a short blast on them but I am hoping for a longer ride later this week. The wheels are fitted with Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX tyres. These wheels and tyres are less than half the weight of the Alex R2.o wheels that I usually use on this bike. Of course it would have been a lot cheaper just to have lost a few more pounds bodyweight!!!

Stourvale Walker-News Update

Pleased to see that Stourvale Walker made it home ok- although not under his own steam (to use a railway expression). Go to my link with his blog to see what caused him problems !!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Stourvale Walker - Where is he?

For the past week I have been following Stourvale Walker's blog as he has been walking back to Bournemouth from Prestatyn. It becomes strangely obsessive following someone else's journey with up to date information day by day. Each day I have found myself checking my computer for details of his whereabouts made even more interesting as this is a journey that I have made myself in the past. For the last two days there has been no posting from Stourvale Walker and I am now experiencing the frustration others must have felt when I was unable to make postings to my own blog towards the end of my Cycle LEJOG last September. There are lots of reasons why SVW has not made a posting- running out of power or no signal being the most obvious but knowing this does not help me with the need for my daily fix !!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

White Mill



I have been past the White Mill at the bridge near Sturminster Marshall many times whilst out riding my bike but I have never been inside. Today Anne and I decided to pay a visit to the mill and have a look around and very interesting it was too. Following our visit we walked along the banks of the Stour following part of the Stour Valley Way and we even stopped for a picnic near the river bank. After our lunch we joined the lane and headed back towards the mill stopping off at a local farm for some delicious home made (or should that read 'farm made') ice cream. A great way to spend a nice lazy Easter Sunday away from the crowds.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Loads of bikes !!




Two pictures of loads of bikes. The first is at the bike hire centre at Brockenhurst rail station. It shows bikes stacked up all around in readiness for the fast approaching bank holiday weekend. Lots of these bikes are brand new -note the boxes containing bikes. 24hrs after this picture was taken there were only 3 bikes here- all the rest had been hired out. Obviously not hit by the recession ! The other picture was taken inside a bike compound in Dorset where abandoned bikes are kept. Most of these are now beyond economic repair but there are one or two little gems amongst the rust..............!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Creech..........20% ouch !!


Another great spring day so there was no excuse for not going on a ride for a few hours. I started by heading down to the Sandbanks ferry. After I had crossed over to the Studland side I headed out to Corfe - I then turned north in the direction of Wareham and after about 3 miles I took a left and headed towards Creech hill from the north side. This was the first time I had attempted the hill from this side. The route starts flat but soon heads skyward with the gradient increasing until it finishes at 20%. Well worth the effort though because when you top out at the carpark/viewpoint you get some superb views (see photo). After a short break to take in the view-eat a power bar and take on board some fluids I set off towards home again by way of Swanage. Not a huge distance today - 42 miles for the total ride. My time achieved was on target for the Duncton Sportive in May that Jason Boynton-Lee talked me into doing with him.(Fool that I am!!)

Lot's of Changes Ahead ....

I thought that it was about time that I posted another entry on this blog, although to be honest most days have seemed a bit like Groundhog...