A jolly jaunt 

Set out on my bike for an easy spin, and it ended up slightly longer than I had planned. And with having nothing to eat before I went out, turned unpleasant for the last part.

Its one of my favourite routes, with some minor hills, but generally quite flat. From Ripley I headed out toward Brearton Lane, before going into Scotton with its fast sweeping bends.

Then comes that hill. Some call it minor, I call it a challenge. For me anyway. After that hill, time to recover on the long fast descent into Stavely. But watch that wind, it’s always in your face increasing the work your having todo. Hunker down and cut through it as best you can.

Through Stavely and onto Minskip Road. A long undulating road, but strangely fast. Next thing you know your crossing the A1 and into Boroughbridge, with its ever present aroma of cowshit.

Finally head out of Boroughbridge and into Roecliffe and its massive industrial area, but a lovely village. Following the road all the way to Bishop Monkton. A wonderful road to ride, but be careful as it is liable to extreme floods and it also gets very narrow toward Bishop Monkton. I looked down at my Garmin here, and noticed my power meter had died. I’ve had more issues with stages than anything else. So stopped, removed battery and reset the crank and it appears to be working again. Off I pedal through Monkton and toward Knaresborough. By this point I’m feeling really heavy legs, with hunger pangs rippling round my stomach. Knowing there’s another steep lump to climb I battle on wishing I had a banana in my pocket.

Through Knaresborough and the gauntlet of shitty drivers and zombie pedestrian idiots I make it onto the Beryl Burton Cycleway. No way in hell I can muster anything to get up the hill, so I get off and push the bike up. Finally close to home, there is only one long slope to climb before home.

Bilton Lane isn’t steep, it isn’t even difficult, my best time up it is 2:15,generally I do it in just over 3. But this time, with zero energy and a serious bonk going on, I plod up it at a very sedate 9mph against the ever present headwind.

Finally all downhill to home, bike back in the garage and food. And drink.

A second is a lifetime.. 

I really thought that I might of got PB on this segment, but alas, I missed it by a second. One measly second. Oh well. I did however get a PB on the longer segment that this segment is part of, so that’s something at least.

wp-image--487355481However, I’m hoping the cyclist that came off on the A61, which is a nasty road to ride is ok. I stopped and asked if he was ok, said he was but looked a bit shaken.

That particular stretch of road is really bad, national speed limit and lots of twists and turns, and with it being a route to the motorway system sees a lot of heavy traffic.

The Ride

 

Loose cows

Today’s ride was an eventful one. As I’m heading down the cycle path, a rider goes by warning me to watch out for cows. 

Struck me as a lite strange as all the fields around there are arable, and there are no live stock farms for a good few miles. 

Round the corner, and bam. Straight into the buisness end of bovine hell. Shitting everywhere. They cleared down to a field containing wheat, trampling it to nothing as they went. On the way back, they seemed to be content to munch their way through the field. There is going to be one very pissed of farmer to deal with later I’d imagine. 

Hills. Pfft 

I suck at hills. Always have. But I’m determined to get this route done in a better time. 

 

Its not steep, it’s not difficult. But the length of the hill just gets me every time. It didn’t help that I had a 12-25 cassette on the back for this ride, but a bad workman blames his tools. It certainly wasn’t impossible, but noticeable.

Next time I’m up here, I’m using a 11-28 and see if it’s any better. And of course, losing some weight 🙂

 

A change of pressure

image

So, today’s ride was a little interesting.

Before I set out, I pumped up my tyres. I couldn’t be bothered to get them to the pressure I normally ride, which is about 100, instead I put 90psi into each.

I set out on my ride, and I thought I took it easy. It certainly wasn’t pushed, it was just a nice easy ride. However, getting a rather nice surprise when I finished and looked at my stats 8 personal bests, and a new best time for 20km.

All I can think of, is that tyre pressure heavily influenced the rolling resistance of my wheels.

I remember thinking one particular segment I have issues with, appeared to be stupidly easy, and I never went out of my way to beat any personal bests, it just happened.

Now, doing some research on this, I found out that on buttery smooth roads, higher pressures are best, as less tyre will be deformed to the road surface, so should have less rolling resistance.

On rough surfaces, such as the worn potholed rough roads I was riding on, a tire at lower pressure is able to absorb more of the bumps than a tire at higher pressure, with less deflection of the bike and its rider. This is the same “sprung vs. un-sprung weight” argument that demonstrates why suspension makes a bicycle faster on rough terrain — it takes less energy to keep the bike rolling if only a small amount of weight is lifted (like a small section of the tire) than if the entire bike and rider is lifted by the bump.

So, from here on, I’m running at 90 psi..

A Few Upgrades

So, its been a little while, and a few extra miles covered on the bike.

I’ve upgraded a few parts on the bike, and noticed a significant increase in performance. First off, after speaking to my Mechanic  with a issue with the front wheel extra bearings, he recommended Racing 5 wheels from Fulcrum. The spin rate of the wheels was amazing, when spun on the work stand, they just kept on going.

Riding the bike saw a vast decrease in times, with a good set of personal bests beaten.

On my first proper outing with them, and the new drive chain,

Second replacement was a new drive train, as the bike had done well over 1000 miles and the chain had stretched well past replacement.

Now the times really started to fall, on almost each ride, I noticed how much less power I was having to put down to get the same forward motion, and how easy they coasted. The best ride was out to Wetherby, a fast route once your past Rudding hill.
Untitled pictureThis Section, from Folifoot to Spofforth saw me have an average speed of 22mph, topping out at 31mph. And I wasn’t really trying there. But the bike just zipped along.

Some of this is without doubt, due to improved fitness, but alot is down to the wheels. They are simply the best upgrade you can make to a bike to improve its speed. Especially over stock factory wheels.

So, if your wanting to upgrade your performance, replace those slow factory wheels with a better solution.

Squeeze!

On my recent ride, I was heading up Starbeck high street. There are alot of stopgap traffic up there, as the road is being fixed.

I was overtaken by the knaresbough bus, but the driver failed to estimate the distance, and ended up squeezing me to the curb.
But to be fair, we can all make mistakes, and this could of been worse.

In my time of using the roads, and travelling on the Buses, transdev drivers are polite, professional and courteous. So this may of been an underestimated distance, stressing to make time due to the roadworks or just human error.

I’ve contacted transdev about this, and will update when I hear back.