About Me

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Now retired but busy still living..

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Three becomes Four but will become Two.......

No....It's not a new social distancing rule sent out by our mop headed leader Boris...nor is it the title of an episode of the 1960s series 'The Prisoner'. What it does concern is the situation regarding my bikes.....

 I have had all of my bikes for over ten years and have never felt the need to replace any of them which must say something about my bike choice in the first place.
 
Over that period I have made some upgrades to both the Tifosi and the Revolution Touring bike but the bikes have served me well as they still do.
 The Felt has never needed any upgrades as it was full Dura-Ace when I bought it and apart from replacing chain and cassette during servicing it is as it was supplied to me. 
One interesting fact is that I have never ridden the Felt in the rain and she still looks just like a brand new bike...

So... the bikes are still all good and continue to give good service... What's changed??
Well it's me! 

As many of you will be aware a couple of years ago I had a diagnosis of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and up until recently I have been asymptomatic. 

My cardiac consultant spelled out for me the dangers of continuing to ride hard and imposed a strict maximum heart rate limit that I must keep below when cycling. 

On the flats it doesn't pose a problem and I can manage my heart rate at well under the limit that she set. 
However the moment I hit the hills my heart rate obviously starts to increase and it becomes very difficult to keep out of the red zone ... 

Being based in Devon as we are now doesn't help matters as there are hills in every direction. Constantly worrying about my heart rate has to some extent taken the joy out of my passion for riding my bike and to ignore my heart rate could (not to put too fine a point on it)  kill me...

Recently although only minor I have started to display some symptoms of my condition. The condition is progressive so will not improve.

So that's the reality that I am faced with ....
Do I stop riding altogether and be safe or do I continue to ride and put my life in danger by doing so?

A few weeks ago I read an article about Sean Yates the ex TDF stage winner (amongst many other cycling successes). Apparently he has a similar heart condition as me and although it is not exactly the same he also is limited to a reduced heart rate. 

Faced with the same dilemma as myself Sean went down the route of e-Road bikes.
Currently he is an ambassador for Ribble e-Bikes and reading his story got me thinking....  

Would this be a route that I could go down, after all if it is good for an ex Tour de France stage winner and has allowed him to continue to follow his cycling passion then it surely must be good for me at my minor level of cycling successes.

I have written about e-Bikes a number of times on this blog mainly because I feel a lot of the people riding them seem to be fit and well enough to manage without the added assistance of an e-bike but I have always said that there is a place for them for people who have a physical or medical reason to have to ride one ...... Never did I ever think that I would find myself falling into that category..... Such is life ... 

After reading lots of reviews and magazine articles on the subject.... Looking at the various systems and motors available and the different bike manufacturers producing them the choice of system came down to two... 
The Fazua evation system and the Mahle ebikemotion system. 

The Mahle ebikemotion system uses a motor in the rear hub and this 
is what the Ribble bike ridden by Sean Yates is fitted wirh..... I however decided to go with the Fazua Evation system as used by Focus bikes amongst others such as Lapierre and Pinarello to name just two.

Anyway.... I decided to buy a Focus model from my local bike shop RockinBikes in Yelverton. Focus currently have a 20% discount on the model that I have ordered so that gave me a saving of almost a thousand pounds which made the price a bit more palatable..

So where does 'three becomes four but will become two' come in?
Well the new bike sits in between my Tifosi and Felt in a number of ways which I will go into in my next post so those two bikes I will be selling on at some point...
 I currently have three bikes the new bike makes four less the two that I will sell will leave me with two bikes.... my tourer and the new bike.

Currently the new bike is being built up at the bike shop (images below) .

In my next post I will introduce you properly to the new bike.....  explain my choice and tell you more about it........





Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Motorhomes and Campervans everywhere.....

 The days around and including the bank holiday saw Dartmoor inundated with Motorhomes and Campervans..... They were everywhere and it appeared that half of them had not booked a pitch on a site ahead of their visit and were therefore parking up for the night in any space that they could find...

Normally it's not a problem but this year because of the covid pandemic it seemed that everyone who owned a motorhome or campervan was determined to have a holiday come what may...... The situation became so bad that the Dartmoor National Park Authority was forced to put up lots and lots of notices reminding people of the local bylaws....

There were lots of caravans in the area as well but caravans tend to book their pitches in advance as it's not so easy to wild camp if you are using a caravan. Caravan owners tend to stay on a pitch for longer anyway as they generally tend to set up and stay whereas Motorhomers and Campervan owners like to move around more often. Our site had to turn away numerous campers because they hadn't booked and we were full...

The major problem that was experienced on Dartmoor was some campervan and tent campers camping wild and trashing the area.... They were leaving fire pits... general rubbish and even old camping equipment and tents.... I must admit I can't understand why anyone would want to trash an area of beauty that they have come to see and in doing so ruin it for other visitors to the area. 
The Park Authority banned all wild camping on Dartmoor (it's normally allowed) but were sensible enough to say that they would still allow proper backpackers to camp.  Backpackers carry everything in and everything out again leaving no sign of their passing and overnight stay.

On some of my backpacking trips over the years I have carried some of my rubbish for over a hundred miles before I was able to safely dispose of it properly..... 

Since the bank holiday I have been doing a number of little jobs around the caravan and Anne has been doing lots of gardening jobs..... This year Anne has grown our own beans...peas...peppers... tomatoes and more. That was one of the positive things that came out of the covid lockdown..

One of the jobs that I wanted to complete before any cold weather was to insulate the mains water pipe into the caravan.
 I carefully measured the length of the pipe.. in fact I did it twice to make sure I purchased the correct number. My careful measurements told me that I required sixteen one metre lengths of insulation....see below.

I started at the water tap end where I had recently fitted a splitter tap. I fitted the insulation tubes one by one along the 15+ metres of water pipe.....
When I eventually got to the caravan intake end I found that I was just under one metre short..... This proved one thing..... that I should go to plumbing school or somewhere similar🙂. I never was any good at anything that involved numbers...ha..ha

Anyway, after another trip to B&Q and the purchase of one more section of insulation pipe the job was finally completed..... 

I have a few more little jobs to do but luckily none of them involves measuring anything....

Even more in the locker...

 We now have even more meds in our top locker. The longer the treatment goes on the more meds I am taking .....  On Friday's and Saturda...