999 Rides

This isn’t about phoning 999 for help (911 if you’re in America). No, it’s the number of rides that my trusty commuting bike has done.

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It wasn’t intended to be a commuting bike. I bought a cheap frame to replace my old Cannondale, using the groupset and wheels. Unfortunately the Forme doesn’t have much va-va-forme, so I started to use it for touring. When I moved to Hull it became my long distance commuting bike, 18 miles each way. Back in Lancaster and I upgraded the groupset to 10 speed tiagra, and then started to commute between Wigan and Leigh.

Any commuting bike will soon rack up loads of rides, hence why I have no completed 999 rides.

Some stats for you: Distance – 17,000 km. Climbing – 115,000 m. Kudos – 18,000. Ave distance – 10.7 miles per ride. Climbing – 6.7 m per km. Climbing – 115m per ride.

Distance per ride, climbing per ride and climbing per km are all shrinking as my current commute is only 11 km each way, with only 50 m of climbing.

I’ve had this old beast for 5 years, and it’s performed admirably, although the end could be near. In three weeks time my work moves to a new office and I will no longer cycle there. The end of an era, although I’m sure my old friend will still get some use.

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Milestones – Part II

Last week I blogged about reaching a milestone, namely reaching 100,000km of cycling since I joined Strava (read about it here). This is the second part of three Milestones that I have reached all at about the same time. Part II is, wait for it, 100 rides on my Trek 920.

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The moment I saw this beast in the Trek catalogue I knew I would be getting one. I wanted a bike that I could go touring on and not worry about the odd trail as well as a bike that I could do some gentle off-roading. ‘Barry’ is the perfect bike for all that, and my wife named him after an ice-cream desert from a Chinese restaurant. I’ve had him for almost 18 months and I’ve blogged about adventures with him many a time, including earlier this week around Skipton (here) and last year’s Easter tour (here, here and here).

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I continue to smile every time that I take him out, and the only changes I’ve made since he rolled out of the shop is a replacing the saddle with a Brooks Cambium.

As expected, some stats. Total distance 4,144 km, climbing 47,000 m, kudos 6,780, average distance per ride 26 miles.

Another bonus about this bike is to do with tile or square hunting on Veloviewer. Some of the more hard to get squares invariably involve dirt tracks, farm tracks or bridleways, which are not always accessible on your more regular road bike.

When I’m out other cyclists often comment on the size of the tyres, and I joke about how great the bike will be when I’m crossing the deserts of Kazakhstan. Next up is a four day touring break with my beautiful wife at Easter, although a bit closer to home as we head off to York.

Here’s to the next 100 rides.

A Mini Adventure Around Skipton

Today was an unexpected day off, combined with a weather forecast suggesting it would be relatively warm and free from rain. To make the most of it I caught the first train of the day from Lancaster to Skipton. Northern Trains, so I wasn’t able to book my bike, but it wasn’t a problem. I also bought a return ticket as it only cost £1 more than a single.

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The idea of going to Skipton was so that I could grab a few more Veloviewer squares, with the long term plan of linking my cluster with the riding I did in Hull a couple of years ago. If all this means nothing to you, I have blogged about Veloviewer a few times (here).

With a carefully set out route I set off from Skipton station just after 8am, and headed to the hills. As I mentioned, the weather forecast suggested that it would be 5-7 degrees and dry. The actual forecast around Skipton was 2-3 degrees and plenty of rain, combined with a smattering of hail and sleet. My route was also phenomenally hilly, with snow and ice on the tops. Another reason for taking my Trek 920.

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At the bottom of the first big descent I crossed over the Leeds to Liverpool Canal, although I had to wait as a boat passed.

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A few more hills and a winding route to maximise square grabbing, before heading back into Skipton. I was pleased that I had bought a return ticket as my feet were cold and wet, as was much of the rest of me, despite putting on an extra layer. My revised plan was to follow my route to Gargrave and then return to Skipton to catch the 10.55 train. A couple of hilly dead-end dirt tracks meant that I had to revise my plan once again, to catch the return train from Gargrave. I had intended to cross over the busy A65 and ride along the canal towpath, but with less than ten minutes I had to get my head down and push it into Gargrave, making the train with less than one minute to spare.

The next train wasn’t for another three hours, and if I’d missed it I would have just cycled home. The route from Gargrave is a bit boring and I had done the same only ten days earlier, and with no easy squares I wasn’t too worried about my ride only being 30 miles, albeit it with over 1,000 m of climbing.

Back home and once uploaded to Strava I updated Veloviewer. The end result was 23 new squares and an extra 33 squares added to my cluster. I’m into the top 50, although I still have a long way to go to catch up with my old friend The Prof.

The before and after can be seen below.

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The next challenge will be to link the cluster to Keighley and over to Otley. There are still a whole load of squares required to link up with Hull, but I’m sure I’ll manage it this year.

 

Milestones – Part I

Since joining Strava back in May 2012, I have notched up over 100,000 km of cycling. Fairly impressive, or not, depending on your point of view. Not as impressive as some of the mile munchers on Strava, but I have a full time job, and I like spending time with my beautiful wife and loyal dog, instead of long rides all weekend every weekend, which is what I used to do a few years ago.

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The weather today was terrible, almost freezing and cold rain/sleet to contend with. As I only required 6 km to reach my milestone, my ride today was a paltry 6.3 km. Just enough.

Some stats for you. My first ride on Strava was on 27th May 2012 from the Universities Triathlon Championships in Nottingham. Strava upload is here. Pop over and be the first to give me kudos on my first Strava ride.

My 100,000 km has taken 2065 days, which works out at 48.4 km per day. I’ve ridden 2951 times, so each ride works out at 33.9 km. From Veloviewer I can see that I’ve climbed 914,500 m and received 52,895 kudos. My longest ride was 402.9 km and my hilliest was my Everesting attempt with 8879 m of climbing.

The Rapha Festive 500 – 2017 Edition

The Rapha sponsored Festive 500 has become a bit of a Strava tradition, with the aim being to cycle 500km between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. It works out at 62.5km per day, or just under 40 miles. I’ve now completed six editions of this challenge, and you can read about the 2016 challenge here.

If you completed the challenge then Rapha send you a nice cloth badge, although I forgot to update my address last year, so I never received it, which was a shame. I mentioned last year that in 2012 only 4,000 people completed the challenge. This year I finished lower than 16,000th, and I did a bit extra so there could be another thousand or more behind me, which is an amazing achievement.

As expected the weather can play a big part in the challenge, and there were a couple of days when the temperature was below freezing with plenty of ice about. For that reason over half of this year’s challenge was completed on my Trek 920, the big tyre’d beast. Below is an image from Veloviewer showing where exactly I cycled for my 500+km.

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Last year I posted some stats on how much of the total festive 500 distances has been completed on each of my bikes, so here is an update to include 2017.

  • Trek Cobia 112.7km 3.7%
  • Cannondale 145.9km 4.8%
  • Forme 219.2km 7.2%
  • Trek 920 276.5km 9.1%
  • Colnago 1051.9km 34.6%
  • Scott 1230.2km 40.5%

Last year I mentioned that I would have expected to still have the Scott, and as a consequence it has completed the most miles for the combined festive 500 challenges.

Looking forward to next year.

Le Tour De Bolton

Yesterday me and my beautiful wife took part in the Le Tour De Bolton Sportive, organised by Epic Events. You might think that a bike ride around Bolton might not be too much fun, but it’s not an area that we cycle around very often. In fact, Helen hadn’t previously cycled a single segment over the whole 60 miles. We arrived nice and early so that we could be off first, as we didn’t want to be out too long. H was also worried about the hills, especially The Rake, which is described by Simon Warren in his iconic climbing books thus – catch your breath if you can and turn right into the almost impossible 25% stretch to the top. If that wasn’t enough, we also had to climb Crown Point, Anglezarke and Sheep House Lane, along with a fair number of less spectacular climbs, adding up to over 1600m of climbing.

The route and profile can be found here.

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The start/finish was at a local school and as we set off out through the gates and onto the road I noticed a group of about a dozen cyclists off to one side who joined us as the moment we started. I know that some people like to ride sportives without paying, but at least don’t do it blatantly. Maybe wait a day or two, or even the following week. The event wasn’t that expensive and the organisers have spent many hours putting out all of the directional arrows, so don’t be a complete d*ck. Rant over.

The first few miles were busy with other riders, but fortunately very little traffic, so it was generally plain sailing until we hit The Rake. Although there was one guy riding a TT bike who was a bit wobbly. Not the bike for the course thought I. When we hit The Rake there were plenty of people walking near the bottom. H felt a bit trapped in and put on a burst to get some room, before reaching the very steep section. She didn’t quite manage all the way up without getting off, but made it far higher than many others. With a grin we continued, passing that one guy who hates to be chicked and just had to try to overtake us at any opportunity.

The feed stop was located in Oswaldthistle, and was busy but fully stocked with everything you could want, manned brilliantly by some local cubs and scouts. My brother-in-law was doing Velo Birmingham on the same day, and the first feed station had nothing left when he reached it.

We didn’t stop long, although I had the bright idea to tip my black coffee into my half empty water bottle. Lemon hydro plus coffee – not a good taste. Unfortunately the roads were now starting to get busy with cars and we also had to negotiate a couple of main roads, so it wasn’t until we hit the lower slopes of Anglezarke that we could relax again. Amazingly this was the first time that I had ridden the whole climb, and what a place for the official photographer.

We then turned onto Sheep House Lane for the last big climb of the day, although H nearly missed the turn. The Lane was also very busy with cars and motorbikes, combined with some very narrow sections of road. You can see why Ironman UK has such a fearsome reputation, as this Lane has to be climbed twice. We zipped down into Belmont, avoided a prat in a crap car, and made it back to the finish area with big smiles.

Epic Events put on some great events, including the Howgills Triathlon which I did last month (here), and it’s always good to be able to download the photos for free. We probably wouldn’t do this particular sportive again, but H does want to return to have another crack at The Rake. Finally, even though it wasn’t a race, my fit wife did manage to win her age group.

300 Rides

I’ve now done 300 rides on my trusty Scott Addict, bought second hand two and a half years ago. I’ve blogged about it (him) before (here), but I thought that I would blog again as I’ve reached a good milestone.

300 rides is about 2-3 rides every week, although he does get used more in the winter as my Principia, even after 17 years, is my summer bike (here). Back to my Scott, and my Eddington scores are 67 miles and 91 km. If you don’t know what Eddington scores are you can read about it here and here. My longest continuous ride was 323 km when I was training for a triple ironman (here), although I managed further during the triple with a few hours sleep.

The hilliest ride was when I had an unsuccessful Everesting attempt, where I made it 7200m of climbing. Monsoon conditions, numb hands and a puncture ended my attempt, although you can read about my other Everesting attempts here and here.

My total mileage in 13,500 miles, which works out at 45 miles per ride, which isn’t too bad, especially as my commuting bike works out at less than 8 miles per ride. Climbing works out at 695m per ride, which again isn’t too bad as I spent a year riding on the flat lands of Hull.

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Final pointless statistic is that I’ve received on average 56 kudos per ride, making my Scoot my most kudos’d bike.

So, here’s to the next 200 rides as I’ll blog about him once again when I reach 500.