Archive for April, 2009

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Whitstable – A Long Ride

Thursday April 16, 2009

With a week off work my plan has been to catch up on all the things I should have been doing over the past five months but also to get out on the bikes and get some exercise and fresh air.

The holiday didn’t start well with a cold kicking in on my first day off and a mysterious sprained ankle (?!) on day two – I woke up and could walk!  That lasted a day or two before it strangely fixed itself during another night of sleep.

Easter Monday’s ride was pretty good and got me into the swing of things.  It was the longest ride I’d been on in many years and being able to switch off from the hassles and stresses of everyday life was very nice.

Wednesday was forecast to be a nice day so I got up and prepared the Trek.  Sandwiches, bottle of squash, cash, sunglasses.  My Topeak Aero Wedge DX was fitted under the saddle with a spare inner tube, Topeak Mini 9 multi tool and other bits and pieces.

Today was going to be a BIG ride.  My destination was Herne Bay, which was a round trip of over 60 miles.

When I set off, it was foggy and damp but with a forecast for sun and a great day ahead  I set of in good spirits.  There were to be some big hills on the way and the first one was only a couple of miles away in Chatham so it wasn’t going to be an easy start.

The ride went well and although the roads were pretty busy the majority of drivers were respectful of my space and gave me a lot of room whilst overtaking.  Even when I slowed them right down on the steep climbs they were patient and ensured that they passed safely.  Only one driver, on the return journey, passed far too close and just missed my handle bars – dangerous and idiotic.  However, that was one in many.  So top marks for the drivers of the area.

I’d estimated around three hours to complete the journey and decided to stop on the hour to stretch my legs and have a quick drink for a couple of minutes.  Just under an hour got me to the A249 and I stopped on the bridge over the busy dual carriageway.

My next stop was at a Little Chef road-side restaurant on the A299.  This was a very busy dual carriageway with cars travelling at 70+ mph so it wasn’t fun!  At this time I was very hungry so I thought I’d stop at the Little Chef for one of their Olympic Breakfasts.  The restaurant was quiet and they had no objection to me wheeling the bike inside and propping it up next to my table.  The first thing the waiter said to me as I entered was “You look knackered!” – after a 26 mile ride, I was!

Heading away from the Little Chef, now refuelled, I passed a sign saying Whitstable 7 miles, Herne Bay 11 miles.  Hmm, I thought, Whitstable it is then!

Change of plan took me to Whitstable rather than Herne Bay so I’d have a little more time to relax at the destination prior to heading home.  I was aware of the time and was keen to get home before sunset so Whitstable seemed the wiser choice.

Having grown up on the coast of Pembrokeshire, Whitstable, and the Kent coastline in general, is too bland and flat for my tastes.  There was nothing photograph-worthy in my mind on the seafront.

The town centre itself was extremely busy and I was glad that I could nip through the traffic on my bike whereas the cars sat in near gridlock.  I found a small park with a refreshment hut and sat down to enjoy a well deserved Coke and choc ice.

Then I was off.  Back onto the bike and heading North to Rochester.  This time I was keen to avoid that busy dual carriageway so I followed the coast along the back roads to Faversham.  The sun had by now burnt away the fog and was working on my exposed skin.  I could feel myself dehydrating and all I could think about was cold drink.

It was a great ride.  It wasn’t leisurely, I pushed myself for the majority of the journey and at the end of the return leg I was very tired and began to slow down.  Reaching Rainham I was seriously running low of energy and I slowed considerably but I was still pretty positive and was still enjoying it.  The sense of achievement was great as I headed into my local area and finally reached home.

With the Cateye computer reading 58.88 miles, I dismounted at my house and I was home!  The computer only records actual cycle time and it read 5 hours 46 minutes – no wonder I was a little saddle sore!

The Trek had performed well – as had my now aching legs.

(Flickr holds larger photos from the day)

GPS Track

Coke and Choc Ice

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Easter Monday Ride (30.5miles)

Monday April 13, 2009

With no work today (Bank Holiday) I  left the house at 0730 for a long ride on the Trek.  I packed my GPS receiver, a map and a drink and cycled towards the Castle.

Prior to leaving I’d fitted a Trek bottle cage and my Crankbrothers Power Pump Alloy to the bike and checked the tyre pressures (pumping them up with the Topeak JoeBlow).  I was looking forward to this ride and with no time limit I intended to just cycle and explore.

I headed past the Castle and across the River Medway into Strood and then onward to the Isle of Grain/Hoo Peninsula.  I just took any road that caught my eye and on a number of occasions I had to turn back due to dead ends.  I had a rough idea as to where I wanted to go but no set route.

It wasn’t too cold but the sky was very cloudy and foggy in places.  Only towards the end of the ride did the sun begin to break through.  With these conditions, the camera didn’t come out at all; it was packed but it was so gloomy that it wasn’t worth snapping anything.

It was a great ride and it was fantastic to get out and away from the traffic.  Only birdsong broke the silence for the majority of the ride.

Today’s discovery was *another* castle which I’d never seen before: Cooling Castle, which is apparently owned by the musician Jools Holland.

My geek-side was interested to see that upon arriving home the Cateye computer and GPS both gave very similar distance readings – it’s nice to confirm the accuracy of the cycle computer.  The difference was around 0.2 of a mile.  The journey, as captured by the GPS receiver, is shown below.

The Trek performed well on the ride with no chain/gear noise to interrupt the silence.  However, I did have a chain incident at around the 27th mile.  Changing down to the smallest cog on the front set, the chain slipped off.  Normally, turning back downhill and changing gear whilst pedalling would drag the chain back onto the gears but for some reason the chain had become caught between the gears and the frame and just wouldn’t budge.  I had to stop, up-end the bike and with some grunting and pulling free the chain.  This took about five minutes and left me pretty oily.  Oh well, never mind…  🙂

The route was a little over 30.5 miles in total.

Edit – 15th April ’09 @ 0927: Profile of the route added in response to Robin’s comment (data from GPS track log).

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GM/Segway’s PUMA Vehicle

Sunday April 12, 2009

Last week saw GM/Segway unveil their PUMA (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility) Project, a self balancing two-wheeled vehicle capable of reaching speeds of 35 mph for 35 miles.

I’m a gadget geek so I think this vehicle is pretty cool and the videos of it shows that it’s a great gadget!  (mmm, love gadgets!)   However, I was reading on the Practical Cyclist blog some interesting comments in response to the PUMA and their introductory blurb:

“Imagine moving about cities in a vehicle fashioned to your taste, that’s fun to drive and ride in, that safely takes you where you want to go, and “connects” you to friends and family, while using clean, renewable energy, producing zero vehicle tailpipe emissions, and without the stress of traffic jams,” said Burns. “And imagine doing this for one-fourth to one-third the cost of what you pay to own and operate today’s automobile. This is what Project P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility) is capable of delivering.”

Yes. Imagine that. Let’s imagine this as a series of bullet points, shall we?…  [Robert Anderson – A Practical Cyclist – click link to read more]

Robert makes some good points – read them over on his blog.

But thinking more about this car/vehicle/buggy/golf cart, I think that it could have a place on our streets.  Not everyone has the ability to cycle and there are times when a bike won’t do, so the PUMA could step in and help.

One thing I struggle with on my bikes are larger/bulkier objects and then a car is needed.  Unless… I could buy  a bike trailer…  hmm… interesting.

Link: PUMA on Autoblog (image above is from Autoblog)
Link: PUMA on Engadget

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If The Blog Helped…

Saturday April 11, 2009

This is my 100th post here in the Dave On Dahon blog!

I hope that my posts have helped sway you to the Dahon side of life or cycling in general.  Maybe the posts have helped with purchases or the photos have been of interest.

I’ll keep posting and letting you know what’s going on with my cycling life and hope to hear more from you.

If you’ve found my posts interesting or they have helped and you’re feeling generous, please consider donating to my cycling funds!  ChipIn collates any donations and the transactions are handled securely via PayPal (you don’t need a PayPal account to donate).

WordPress.com prevents me posting the ChipIn boxes in the blog so nip over to my website to chip in and see how the funds are going.

If you don’t want to donate, please feel free to comment on the posts or email me to let me know of your cycling experiences and views.

Thanks in advance.  Keep reading!

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Topeak JoeBlow Sport II

Thursday April 9, 2009

I was pumping my Dahon tyres up last weekend with the Crankbrothers Alloy pump I’d bought earlier in the year.  As I pumped away I thought that there must be an easier and quicker way to inflate these tyres.  Don’t get me wrong, the little Alloy pump is great but more suited for roadside repairs than general maintenance.

So I ventured to Halfords this afternoon to pick up a Topeak JoeBlow Sport II track pump.  Now this makes pumping quick and fun!  It’s definitely something for the shed/garage and not for taking out on a ride, but with its size and weigh comes rapid tyre inflation and minimum effort.

It’s very well made: steel tube and base, aluminium thumb-lock lever.  The hose swivels 360 degrees, it inflates to 160psi/11bar and includes ball adaptors.

Now I have no excuse not to keep my tyres inflated.

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The Ride, The Challenge And… Failure

Sunday April 5, 2009

The Trek was the chosen bike today.  I was out for a ride which ended up being around 14 miles to see some friends.

On the way, on the A2 heading east, I pulled up at the lights just as they turned red.  As I coasted to a stop, I twisted my feet out of the pedals before gently pulling up at  the line.  The guy to my right slowly eased to the line and we looked at each other.  There was a slight acknowledgement before we both checked the lights again – still red.

We waited.

I raised the left-hand pedal into position.  I checked my gears.  I checked the road behind.  I checked… my challenger.

The Trek 4300 felt good.  It was a warm and sunny day.  This bike could handle this.

Red.  Still red.  I looked to my right, he was there, he was watching.  We were both ready.

I changed my mind.  Right-hand pedal up this time.  Quickly.

Red and Amber lights.  Here goes.  The challenge begins.

GREEN!

I push down hard and accelerate away from the line.  My feet lock swiftly into the pedals and I’m away.

But it’s already over.  I have lost.  My challenger has beaten me and I have failed.

The Trek 4300 was no match for the bright red Ferrari 430.

🙂

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Dahon Race at BikeRadar Live

Sunday April 5, 2009

Stumbled across a Dahon race planned during BikeRadar Live in May.

Dahon Folding Bike Championship of the Universe
It’s a four-lap race with a challenge between each lap, and riders will have to fully fold and unfold their bikes between laps. You can enter on your own or get together a team of up to four riders to share the fun – and the bike.

Dahon are sponsoring the race and bikes are available for loan on the day if you haven’t yet bought your own Dahon.

BikeRadar Live is the biggest ever mass-participation cycling event to hit the UK, and will take place on the weekend of 30–31 May 2009 at Donington Park in Leicestershire.

The weekend will be packed full of races and challenges, with something for everyone, whether you want to compete, watch your friends and family or just check out some of the world’s best riders.

BR Live sounds interesting – need to think about attending…

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