Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The Travel Master

I've been back from my shopping trip to Amsterdam almost three weeks now and in that time have been able to cover  a few miles on the bike. So these are my considered first thoughts. It's gorgeous!

I thought I had got the old commuter bike well set up, what with road tyres, Brooks saddle and Ergon grips but the Travel Master is just a revelation. Don't get me wrong. I wasn't contorted by the old bike but after 20 miles or so the lower back started to ache, the hands craved a new position and I just had to get off and stretch. 

I've not had this with the new bike and feel 30-40 miles could be done before any significant rest was needed - it is just so comfortable. It also rock steady carrying the front and rear pannier and the power is easily translated to the road - it just seems to eat the miles! The butterfly handlebars were a shot in the dark but I knew I wanted more hand positions than a flat bar offered but don't like drops for touring so I went for it - no regrets at all. They look a bit different and have been the subject of a couple of comments but they work and that is what I wanted. 

The other shot in the dark was the Rohloff Speedhub internal gears. This was the most expensive non standard option and was a significant portion of the bike cost. I decided on them mainly as they are: very robust and very much maintenance free (compared to a derailleur set up). I was also influenced by the number of long distance touring cyclists who use them, such as Mark Beaumont, James Bowthorpe, Ivana Coria and Harry Kikstra, and Cass Gilbert to name a few as well as Eric's recommendation at the shop. So far they are working well, I like being able to change gear while stationery, the range is more than adequate for touring and I don't find them too noisy (some people comment they can be noisy particularly when new). I am so used to thumbs shifters though I keep forgetting which way to turn the handle! Certainly not a required option but I like them and am sure they will last well.

I am planning to ride a mixed surface, variable terrain, 40+ mile route this weekend with full panniers so I'll know more then but I don't really anticipate any problems - just need to decide on my route now!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Marfan Banners

In aid of getting as much interest in the Pennine ride as possible I have been messing around with Photoshop and a laminator this morning. I'd rather be out cycling but really should be at work all day. However a nasty cold/manflu has knocked me for six at present and pressing a few keys is about all I can manage today.

I plan to put the banner around the top tube and the triangle hanging off the rear rack. Hopefully it will drum up some more interest and maybe a bit of money at work as well as when I am out and about, particularly on the ride itself.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Hill Training

In preparation for cycling 50-60 miles a day on a fully loaded bicycle for 6-7 consecutive days up hill and down dale on the Pennine Cycleway I thought I better start doing some hill training. I know I can do the distance but want to make it a pleasant journey rather than an outright struggle to complete each day. To this end I have devised a 38 mile loop that goes from Prestwich to Rivington and back and hope to complete it once a week or so.

I did part of it yesterday and only cut it short because I promised to meet my wife, daughter and associated nieces at Rivington Great Barn. So I completed 22 miles of mainly up (some of it very steep 'up'), on a fully loaded bike and averaged 11 mph. I am hoping to do the whole loop at an average speed of 13 mph but we'll have to see about that.

This is the elevation profile going from Prestwich through Bury, Brandlesholme, Greenmount, Hawkshaw, Edgeworth, Turton Bottoms, passing Turton and Entwistle reservoir into Belmont and finally the very fast (42mph fast!) down section to Rivington and a lovely ice cream. A very nice ride indeed.

Map Help

I have been in touch with a fellow blogger called Andrew from Eurovelo5. He is riding from England to Italy this Summer. I stumbled across his blog as last year he cycled the....Pennine Cycleway!

I was interested in any tips he might have but also to see if I could buy his maps from him as some of them are currently out of print. Not only did he give me some good info he also offered to send me his maps to use and then return completely free. Good as his word they arrived this morning.

Thanks ever so much Andrew and good luck with your prep and trip this summer. I'll be following you.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Pennine Cycleway Ride 2010

This is the route of the Pennine Cycleway I am cycling July 2010. It is 355 miles long and I intend to complete it in 5-7 days, camping along the way. I will be tweeting about the trip as I am doing it and you will be able to  read them on this blog. If you know the route and can suggest any places worth visiting or staying at then I would be very interested hearing from you. Leave a comment or drop me an email here.

While I am doing the ride for fun I am also hoping to raise some money for, and awareness of, The Marfan Trust at the same time. The charity is very small and does not have a 'Just Giving' affiliation at the moment as this costs them. If you wish to sponsor me (even a small amount) the charity does accept donations at its website. Please leave me a comment if you do this so I can thank you. All the money I raise will be going to the charity. My trip is entirely self funded.

Oh, you can zoom into the map for more detail if you wish.

Pennine Cycleway - National Route 68