Stupid Strava

So, I rode a route I hadn’t ridden in quite a while yesterday, and was interested to see my timings.

On one segment, I was beating my previous time by about 10 seconds, until the end of the segment, where the time ahead started to drift back down. And much to my surprise, I finished at exactly the same time as the previous PB. But when I looked on Strava, the times, where exact for each of my efforts over the years. What are the chances of that?

7 Minutes and 38 seconds, and its the slight uphill at the end of the segment that kills it for me. So, I need to try harder!

Using the compare tool on the segment page, I’m able too see I was faster all the way down to the base of the hill, then that gap really started to close in on me, before the lead just went.

I’ll keep trying the segment, and now I’m loosing more weight, I’m sure given time and effort I’ll be able to pull it back down to under my current PB.

The Single speed bike is badly unwell. A few spokes started to come loose, and pinging while riding, which also kicked the wheel out of true. Like a proper idiot, I tightened the spokes without thinking, and of course made the wheel a damn sight worse than it was. These are horrible wheels that came stock with the bike, and with a non removable freewheel. So instead of wasting time and effort on properly truing the wheels, I just decided to replace them and be done with it. A quick trip over to Santa Fixie, and a wheelset was ordered. Nothing special, but better and lighter than what I have. Maybe one day, I’ll buy a wheel truing stand, but I don’t have much, or any need for it apart from these cheap Chinese wheels. But I might save them for learning how to true and wheel build, which to me at least, is a dark art.

A Pootle Around

I’m not sure why, but my recent 12 mile ride, was quite possibly the one thing that’s really got me wanting to be back on my bike. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was the comfort of the bike, the correct use of the gears, the ease I found it, or maybe it was the look of pure joy on a toddlers face as he sat in front of his father on a mountain bike.

I don’t know what it was, but it’s what cycling does, it makes you forget all your problems and worries. It gives you that feeling of euphoria as the endorphins flood your brain. It’s pure and unaltered fun.

A simple route

The only part of the ride, that I hate, is the initial run down the A61, it’s a fast road, and some cars don’t give you the room you need. I always feel slightly sick while I’m on the road. But it’s a short run until the right hand turn onto Nidd Lane, and not long till your at the entrance to the very posh Nidd Hall Hotel.

Skirting along the wall of the Hotel grounds, it’s almost a mile of quite easy flat, you’d be hard pressed not to get a 16mph average, before you hit the main downhill section as it dips down a tiny valley. Watch your speed, as there is a tight right hand bend. Then, a short sharp whack up, you should be able to carry a lot of speed up the hill, drop the gears and power up the last bit before the flat and back to the ripley roundabouts. But a warning to everyone. The relatively short but fast downhill you can if you push it hit 40, but that corner forces you to lean hard and be quite close to the centreline. There is also a lot of run off in the corner, which leads to a loose gravel surface that you could easy wipe out on. So care is needed.

Then it’s a gentle push back up the cycle path to home. The cycle path is fantastic. Depending on the time of the day, you’ll see Rabbits, weasels, pheasants and all other random animals. Once I had a barn owl fly right in front of me for a good 4 minuites before it got bored of playing that game and veered off. It was one of those magical moments that just make it special.

Pain free!

As you’ll know, if you read this, I’ve often suffered with pain on the bike. However, that may now be a thing of the past.

I’d made a couple of changes to my position, lowered the saddle until it was clearly too low and moved it back up in increments until it felt just right. I also moved the saddle forward in the rails to compensate for the lowered position. The stem replaced down to 90mm, with a 7 degree rise. I also changed the bars from a 44cm to a 42. The bar is more of a compact than my fizik cyrano bars. The difference was incredible. I felt a hell of a lot more comfortable, my shoulders weren’t bunched up, a bend in my elbows. My knees are a little close to the bar ends, but I can cope with that.

4 miles in, no pain and my wattage was up and cadence had increased. 4 miles back home, and just the regular sore thighs because I’m fat and unfit. But non of that crippling upper thigh pain.

A few more rides just to be sure, but I’m fairly confident that these changes might of worked.

First ride for ages

It’s been awhile since I had the old boy out the garage for a ride.

But today was the day for it. I got changed, checked all the batteries, and set off. Just a short run out to Ripley. My backside was aching quite quickly. Guess I’m going to have to get used to sitting in a saddle again. I felt every pedal stroke. It seemed like an effort, more so than I remember. I guess my fitness really has dropped off. For some odd reason, my fingers would not recognise the fact I’m using a wahoo elemnt computer, and kept trying to use the button presses for a Garmin. I’ve not used a Garmin for years. Weird how muscle memory works.

And my old friend thigh pain hit again as I was climbing the small hill into Ripley. Well, I say thigh, it’s more hip than anything else. I’ve lowered the saddle from where I had it, so let’s see if that makes any difference. I hope so, because it’s a crippling pain.

You’ll notice the new See.sense Ace lights. I’m still waiting for a half decent Android app for these lights. It’s been a long long time in the process. Truth be told, I’m not overly impressed with them. But I guess that’s another story for a post I’ve been meaning to write for awhile.

On the way home, I was unfortunately reminded some people’s driving leaves a lot to be desired, with people pulling out of side streets, left hooks and close passes. But alas, I’m not surprised.

Never stop learning

ConfusedHeadscratchSo, on today’s ride, I had an issue with gear changes. The rear Derailleur would not shift down from one particular cog. So it was onto the repair stand when I got home.

I looked at the rear Derailleur, looked fine and moving fine. The hangar looked straight and true. So the process of elimination was almost complete and I moved on to cabling. I shifted to the highest gear and made some slack in the cable system. The rear housing looked fine, cleaned it off and applied some oil to the cable.

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” — Arthur Conan Doyle

The bike still did it. Would not shift down over the second highest cog. Thinking I’d checked almost everything, and it was down to a cable tension issue I was considering ripping out the whole system and re cabling. But before that I thought I’d just try adjusting the barrel adjuster at the top of the down tube. Low and behold, the bike shifted fine after slacking that off slightly. So with no cable tension, I removed the cable from the adjuster, and there was a shed load of grit in there. It must of been thrown up by the front wheel during a rather wet ride I had a couple of days back.

Sprayed a good helping of GT85 in the adjuster, oiled it over and reassembled. It was shifting like a dream again.

So the whole moral of the story, is one of trouble shooting the system, work backwards, don’t head down blind alleys and you’ll get there.

Silly Point scoring..

I recently read on one of the cycling websites, a little game that can be used to liven up rides, but would be a great way to give the commute some spice.

In general, you award yourself points for burning off certain categories of riders, or traffic.

Generally, the food chain looks like this, with scooters being the ultimate challenge and electric bikes the lowest.

  • Scooters
  • Roadies with shaved legs*
  • Proper rapid singlespeeds (hard men and women, messengers, tarty shiny fixies)*
  • Roadies with hairy legs*
  • Faux singlespeeds (fakengers, dirty/functional bikes, silly spinny little gears)*
  • Touring bikes (mudguards)*
  • Fast hybrids*
  • MTBs on skinnies*
  • MTBs on knobblies
  • Bromptons/collapsing bikes
  • MTB full-sus on knobblies
  • Shoppers
  • Shoppers with wicker baskets
  • Electric bikes

*Pedal adjustment factor: Flats: +1. Toe Clips: 0. Clipless/SPDs: -1

  • 6 essential rules
  • No dangerous manoeuvres. Don’t be a danger to others or yourself. Falling off causes pain to you and others around you, and you lose your points!
  • Don’t ride like a dick/vulva, we’re all just trying to get somewhere!
  • No passing at lights, junction, crossings, etc.
  • All passing on open roads only.
  • Filtering in traffic is null and void (you’ll know deep down if you’ve dropped someone fairly, turning off immediately afterwards is cheating)
  • Pavement passes – either you or the target is void
  • Show no pain – unless your face is just like that

So that’s just a little game you can play to liven things up. Let me know in the comments if you have any thing you do to entertain your self on the bike.