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Now retired but busy still living..

Wednesday 30 June 2010


Over the next four days JD is embarking on a charity ride that he has devised. It consists of cycling to about forty locations throughout Hampshire delivering letter's requesting support for a childrens charity. The ride starts in Bournemouth and then goes on to locations that stretch from Shanklin/ Sandown / Newport etc on the Isle of Wight in the south of the county and Aldershot and Farnborough in the north - lot's of other places in between as well.

I have agreed to ride most of the route with him in order to give him support and I am meeting up with him on the Isle of Wight tomorrow. I hope to send the odd posting back to this blog as we make our way along the route.

After all the really good weather we have been having recently- tomorrow's forecast is telling me about rain! I don't get much pleasure cycling in the rain so I am keeping my fingers crossed that the forecast is wrong- let's face it they are 50% of the time.

Thursday 24 June 2010


On one of my recent full day rides with JD he had a couple of very hairy moments. Creech hill is one of our favorite 'cheeky little numbers' that features in a lot of our day rides with a 16% on one side and a 20%+ on the other. On this particular occasion we went up the 16% (see picture of JD at the top of the 16% side). We took a break at the top to take in the view and then headed on down the 20% descent. (Since my accident I am very cautious on my descents so JD usually goes down ahead of me.) JD was off like a cyclist with a rocket stuck up his saddle. He went down at breakneck speed. I caught him up where the road levelled out and about a mile along the road just as we were going to take a left turn he pulled over and stopped. I heard a noise that sounded like a broken spoke. We checked all the spokes both back and front on his bike and found nothing. We rode on about another mile and stopped again with the same spoke tinkling sound in our ears. Further investigation revealed that the two legged stand had worked loose and was swinging into the path of the revolving spokes (see picture). JD had been so lucky on that descent. He was touching 40mph with the stand swinging loose near the spokes of the rear wheel. If the stand had swung across just a small amount further it would have been dragged into the wheel and ripped out all of his spokes causing a total wheel collapse. At that speed it doesn't bear thinking about what would have happened to JD. I managed to break a collarbone and a number of ribs at 27mph last year so at JD's speed he would probably have launched himself into the next life. John admitted to me that he doesn't normally check his nuts/bolts and screws on the bike for tightness-well let that be a lesson ....!

Later that same day towards the end of the ride JD was descending the 'hill of death' at about 40mph. He was in a very bright hi viz gilet and had taken the centre of the road. About 2/3rds of the way down there is a road which joins from the right. Yes you have guessed it- some muppet with a driving licence decides to pull out right in front of JD. How this driver didn't see JD I will never know. You couldn't miss seeing him-you can see his hi viz for hundreds of yards. JD pulled hard on his brakes in a vain attempt to slow up - the driver tried to accelerate as fast as he could and somehow a collision was avoided. If JD had hit the car it would have been a major impact. Drivers really must THINK BIKE.

All in all a very lucky day for JD as he had managed to avoid being launched into the next life not once-but twice in one day..!

Wednesday 23 June 2010


The first ride on my new training bike (nicknamed 'Tiffany' the Tifosi) seemed to go well. I rode for 44 miles over hilly country and the bike proved pretty good in all areas. The Selle Italia saddle is very comfortable and will not need to be changed and my choice of Conti Gatorskin tyres at 25mm was a good one.
The bike is not as eager on the hills as my Felt Z1 but lets face it - it's a sixth of the price but on the downhills it was very stable and felt well planted.
One thing I did notice was a clicking sound that seemed in time with the chainwheel. When I checked this out the following day I traced it to the seatpost. Although I had tightened it up I had not torqued it to the proper setting-my torque wrench solved the problem.
The retro good looks of the bike have already attracted attention and got me in to conversation with other cyclists whilst waiting at the Studland ferry. One guy was very suprised when I told him what the bike had cost as he thought it would have been about a thousand pounds more - It just goes to prove that not all attractive ladies cost you loads of cash.......!!!

Wednesday 16 June 2010


A couple of days ago a van arrived on my drive and unloaded a large box. This box contained my new winter/training bike. I think that you will agree it is a very pretty retro style paint job. The manufacturers inform me the frame has had anti rust primer and then five coats of paint no less. Hopefully this should mean that it will be tough enough to deal with the harshest of environments.
The appearance of the bike is very reminiscent of a classic road bike. I really love the way it looks. Although the bike has an Italian name Tifosi is in fact a Belgian company.
Apart from the drivetrain which I specified as Shimano most of the components are Italian including the brakes and wheels which are made by Miche. The lower picture shows the Tifosi in my bike 'stable' with the other two studs- my Z1 Felt Sportive bike and my Revolution Touring machine. Tomorrow I intend going for a ride on the Tifosi to see how it behaves. The bike received some good reports in the cycling press including Cycling Weekly so I don't think that I will be dissapointed. Oh! I forgot to mention that I have also obtained some cycling kit in retro style to wear when I am riding the new bike. Nothing like living in the past.....!!

Sunday 13 June 2010


Last night I decided that I would go out for an early morning ride. I planned to get out on the road by 0630hrs. I thought that it might be a good time to go for a quick spin of my regular training loop before all the weekenders-holidaymakers-etc got out on the roads in their cars.
Also I figured that a lot of people would not be out too early this morning- as last night England had a World Cup game and judging by the amount of booze that was being purchased yesterday by 'football supporters' in their England shirts down at our local supermarket I thought that they might still be sleeping it all off .

I got down to the Poole/Studland ferry in time to catch the first 4min crossing and then set off on the loop taking in Corfe and Swanage. I was back home and eating a well earned breakfast at 0900hrs after having cycled 35 miles.

It really was a good time of day to go for a quick spin- the roads were empty-it was not to hot-I could hear the birds singing as I rode along and I really enjoyed it. The only other people who were out and about were other cyclists.
Since I retired the only other time I got up this early to go for a ride was just a few weeks ago when we headed off for Normandy.

I really must do it more often...!

Friday 11 June 2010


Three bikes is really the most that I have enough comfortable space for here at the seaside...

For some time now I have been thinking that what I need is a winter/training bike. It had been my plan to use my Revolution Tourer as a winter/trainer but now that I have upgraded all the groupset and wheels etc I have changed my mind. The Revolution was so good to ride when I was in Normandy that it convinced me that it is now too good to use throughout the winter.

What I needed was a bike that I could use all year round in all weathers. At the moment my small bike collection consists of my top of the range Felt Z1 (carbon/titanium/dura-ace) Sportive Bike.(Strictly fine weather use only).
The Revolution Touring machine-now upgraded and a joy to ride all day long over long distances.
Finally there is the Dahon (customised) full size folding bike that I rode in 2008 on our LEJOG charity ride.

Since LEJOG I have only ridden the Dahon over about 400 miles-this year for instance I have only ridden it for 70 miles. As I needed more space to accomodate another bike I decided that I would sell the Dahon and so it has been found another owner.

I ordered the new bike upon my return from Normandy and today the suppliers contacted me to tell me that it has now been built up to my specifications and will be delivered on Monday.

What am I getting? Well I decided on something a little different to my existing bikes. I decided to go a bit Retro. The bike is a Tifosi CK7 Classic Road Bike in a retro colour scheme. It has basic componentry as it is to be used as a winter/trainer and as such sports narrow mudguards as well.
I am led to believe that the word TIFOSI is an Italian word meaning a 'fanatical enthusiast' or 'enthusiastic supporter'. Suits me just fine...!
I suppose that I will now need some retro style kit to wear whilst riding it.

When it arrives I will post a picture of it on the blog.

Tuesday 8 June 2010


On our recent Normandy cyclepacking trip we had a morning of disasters.... this was the day when I had a major blowout in my rear wheel ripping a one foot long hole in the inner tube. Whilst I was repairing this Peter decided to 'inflate' his tyres and in doing so managed to tear out his valve from the inner tube. John then makes the announcement that he had a broken spoke- as I said at the time- not a good way to start the day's ride.
One thing that came out of this was that not one of the six of us could come up with a pump that managed to pump the tyre's to the required psi and didn't require a body builder to do it for you.
Yes-we all had pumps- and we had all been taken in by the sales blurb of 'easily inflates a tyre to 160psi' etc...etc.
The reality fell far short of the promise- the pump that Mike had was probably the best but there was no way that it was going to inflate my tyre beyond 75psi and after achieving that you were totally exhausted by the effort and didn't feel much like riding your bike afterwards. I vowed there and then that when I got back home I would do some research and come up with a pump that was able to do the job and not break your arms in the process.
There were certain criteria that it would need to meet:- It needed to screw on to the valve and have a flexible hose so that it didn't place to much strain on the valve. It also needed to have a pressure gauge- it is no use pumping up a tyre and not knowing what the pressure is. My track pump meets all these criteria but is obviously too large to take on a touring trip.
After spending hours trawling the internet reading reviews etc let me present you with the LEZYNE MICRO FLOOR DRIVE HPG PUMP.
This little baby actually works..! I have tested it on my Race tyres (145psi) as well as my Touring tyres (95psi) and it gets to these pressures without me feeling totally exhausted.
It is light for a floor pump even a mini floor pump at 187g-it is made from aluminium cnc machined. It is rated to 160psi (11.0bar) and I believe it will get there. It screws on to the valve-has a flexible hose and an inline pen style pressure gauge. It is 12'' in height.
Now for the negatives: It has a RRP of £37.99. The handle is small and could be uncomfortable. The pressure gauge does not appear to be too accurate and 'only'reads to 120psi.
Let me deal with these negatives in reverse order. Once you have established how far adrift the gauge is it isn't a problem-(when mine was reading 120psi it was really only 100psi- so you are not going to cause a blowout). Over this pressure it is easy to mark the gauge yourself after checking it against your own track pump.
Due to the small size of the pump the handle in turn is also small-again not a problem if you wear your padded cycling gloves whilst doing the pumping. Now for the cost- yes £37.99 is a lot of money to spend on a pump-but then so is £20.00 if your pump doesn't deliver. The good news is that currently Bike Plus are selling this pump at £29.99 check it out at http://www.bikeplus.co.uk/ and they offer FREE DELIVERY.
This pump will slip down the side of your panniers and you will not notice it is there-however it is supplied with a clip for fitting it to you bike frame if you prefer.
This is a Purpletraveller recommendation........!!!

Saturday 5 June 2010


Just a few more shots taken on our recent Normandy Cyclepacking trip.
Sorry for the one week delay in getting these posted but since we returned I have not been well.
Being a foolish kind of person -I made the mistake of indulging in alcohol whilst I was in France- only the once-but it was enough to mix badly with my medication . I had been warned NOT to drink but hey I was on holiday. The result was not good- disorientation-bad mood swings and pain. It's taken a week to get things back to how they should be. I have learnt a lesson...!
The photos are just a mix of why we went to Normandy.
Sitting around doing nothing but maybe drink a coffee.
D-Day beaches and war graves.
Don't ask........! What was Mike doing?
Ride our bikes.

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...