5 Apr – Essex Spring Lamb
31 May – Essex Explorer
?? Jun – Essex Orchid
14 Jun – Essex County
21 Jun – Tour D’Essex
4 – 5 Jul – Dunwich Dynamo
19 Jul – London to Southend
2 Aug – Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100
?? Aug – Foulness Island
?? Sept – Southend Bikeathon
20 Sep – Essex 100
28 Sep – Essex Autumn Leaves
Other Essex rides http://www.essexdaysout.com/cycling-in-essex/
My aim for 2015 is to do a 100 mile ride.
… especially if the bike is being used as a shop sign.
According to Mad World News, the man came in to the shop the day after the incident to explain what had happened. Apparently it resulted in him suffering “several broken bones,” with some people claiming two broken elbows and a concussion.
Over the summer, I started to lose the drive I had for getting up and going out on the bike for long rides. Even shorter rides started to become a chore. Certainly the inner chimp had something to do with it. But so did the rigmarole that a lot of us go through before getting out on the bike. You know the sort of thing: checking the bike, pumping up tyres, finding the right cycling clothes (which I always swear I will put away in the same place but never do), fill-up water bottles , find shoes, find sun-glasses, etc, etc. And finally, get out on the road.
Once out I’ll be constantly checking my average speed, average cadence, the length of time that I have been riding, the distance covered, even the road gradient!
But what about the joy of cycling?
I know a lot of cyclists go through this sort of thing and just need to rediscover their mojo. But thinking about it, what had happened to that great feeling I had when, as a kid I would just grab my bike and head off somewhere? Not really knowing where I am going. No special clothes. No Garmin. Just riding for the fun and freedom it gave me. Escaping from my neighbourhood and exploring pastures new.
I remembered listening to a Resonance FM Bike Show podcast a couple of years ago which had an interview with Grant Petersen who thinks most cyclists need to ‘unrace themselves’. That is, stop trying to do what professional racing cyclists do. He suggests that instead we should all ride more comfortable bikes in more comfortable clothes and be more relaxed about the whole experience. It’s about simplifying cycling to the essentials – a sort of ‘minimum viable product’.
So over the summer I have been giving it a go. Just grabbing my hybrid when the mood takes me and heading off somewhere. Making my Sunday morning ride less of a ritual. And trying to stop worrying about the data from the rotating screen displays on my Garmin.
And do you know what? It’s put the fun back into cycling.
Everyone who rides a bike will have battled against headwinds at one time or another. I remember one occasion when cycling along the seafront on a particularly windy day, that it was so strong, I almost came to a standstill. It wasn’t quiet that bad when I was out a couple of weeks ago but it was strong enough to make me start to ask the question ‘just what effect did the wind have on my speed / time’.
Now before I get into the data (or what there is of it), I must point out that the bike (Ridgeback Motion) I was riding is about as aerodynamic as a brick. It’s a very comfortable ride and does exactly what I bought it for, mainly leisure and getting around town when I try to be more environmentally friendly. It has a very upright riding position, so the effect of the wind will be amplified.
And there was no methodical timing, doing the route several times to get an average, making sure the wind was blowing at a constant speed (although goodness knows how I would have done that!). And to cap it all off, the road was not perfectly flat. Pretty flat, but not perfectly flat. But at least the distance was exactly the same coming back as it was going out.
So with all of that in mind:
- Wind speed: 10mph
- Time going out: 37:35
- Time coming back: 25:29
So the time difference was 12:06.
Now if the effect of a headwind slowed me down as much as a tailwind assisted me, then a 10 mph wind over a 6 mile journey could either get me there 6 minutes quicker or make me six minutes late.
I am sure this is completely flawed, but hey, this is about bikes isn’t it :-)
Southend seafront cycle lane
I have blogged several times about my dislike of cycle lanes and how, in my opinion, they can be downright dangerous for me and other people (as well as children, animals being walked, etc) who (mis-)use them. I am also fed-up with the abuse of motorists when I choose not use them, mainly because of the speed I am riding at. If I hit a child, or even an adult come to that, when cycling at 15mph, we are both going to get badly hurt. Believe you me, I have lost count of the number of times that people have just stepped out in front of me without looking. It’s even worse along Southend sea front where on-street parking runs next to the cycle lane.
Today I came across this little snippet of information which shows that the government (Department for Transport) agrees:
Ride at a sensible speed for the situation and ensure you can stop in time. As a general rule, if you want to cycle quickly, say in excess of 18 mph/30 kph, then you should be riding on the road.
So there you have it. Goodbye cycle lanes!
What a great day it was today for cycling. Warm sunny weather, slight breeze. Just perfect. And it just so happened that today was also the South Essex Villages bike ride organised by the Rotary Club of Basildon. It was advertised as:
A fantastic challenging route for the experienced rider traveling through varying countryside and many quaint Essex villages. The route will be well signed with food stops, water stops and marshals at strategic points.
And it sure lived up to it, The marshals were fantastic and it reassuring to see them writing down bike numbers as we rode past (well at least I think that was what we were doing). At least if someone didn’t make it back then the organisers would where they were last seen.
I have to say though that at the start, I wasn’t too sure if I would was ready for the 70 mile course. My training hasn’t been up to much due to bad weather, holidays and a number of other excuses. But as I settled into my rhythm there was no way I was going to cut it short and drop out at 35 miles. For the first 20 miles or so I was cycling in a group of about 10 other riders and going at a fair pace. But as often happens the group breaks up for one reason or another.
The profile close to the finish
I was starting hurt at around 45 miles and was glad to have a short break at the final refreshment stop at 50 miles. But what I was ready for were the two hills close to the finish. They did break me!
Verdict – Longest ride of the year so far. Brilliantly organised and a perfect day. The hills at the end were a bit of a bitch.