The bike renamed

As the preparation for this coming weekend’s trip gets underway I’ve even taken to the first bike cleaning session.

The beast looks good and the panniers are packed in order to see what the overall effect is like.

I’ve renamed my Trek to Truk as it is carrying plenty of stuff, what with my clothing for on and off bike as well as plenty of tech essentials:

  • Garmin Edge Touring Pro GPS
  • Cycle computer
  • Iphone 6 plus (crossbar mounted)
  • Lights (usb rechargeable)
  • Earphones
  • Ipod shuffle
  • Assorted cables
  • Portable power pack
  • Cheapo Pro video camera
  • Digital voice recorder

There will be the range of liquids, gels, nutri-bars etc as well as a miniature bag under the saddle with tools, inner tube, repair kit, coins and notes.

The bar bag well take care of all the essential items not already strapped to the bike or in the panniers, including a range of credit / debit cards, Dales Rail Card (in case of a disaster), minor clothing accessories and routes cards in case of a tech catastrophe.

So it’s a proof of concept in a small way. Fifty miles out and fifty miles back the next day with a fair amount of climbing along the way.

Skipton has a really nice bike shop (hope it’s open on Sunday) and the town is lovely anyway. What with a halfway point at the delightful Hawes what could be nicer?

Kev (aka Cav since he’s met him) and yours truly (aka Lance since I have been known to be “off road” with respect to the pharmaceuticals at various points in history) are putting the first pedal rotation in on Saturday morning at 9am.

We only need to double the daily distance (90 – 100 miles per day) and repeat for the equivalent of six weekends concurrently (12 days consecutively) to equal the End to End journey.


When is a hill not a hill?

I was pondering where to take my break from work for my 50th bike ride (and more to the point getting to the 750 miles marker) and I settled upon a loop of about 15 miles but in reverse of a couple of previous rides.

The route features a fair amount of climbing, in the original direction over the ‘Tommy Road’ down to Pendragon Castle, turning left into Nateby (optionally Kirkby Stephen) and then up the long drag that is Ash Fell.

Now Ash Fell when travelling North East to South West (from KS to Ravenstonedale) and measured from Stenkrith to the fell summit is 610 feet of ascent over 3.5 miles, so around 3.5% gradient and that’s a fair amount of puffing and panting after the previous 10 miles of significant undulation, but today the hill turned into it’s own mini Eiger as I tackled it from the opposite direction.

The base of Ash Fell after just 1.5 miles downhill from home gives the legs, the lungs and the heart a triple workout, gaining 310 feet in just 0.7 of a mile, which is an average 8.4% and enough for this old timer to start wishing for a set of ropes, carabiners and a harness.

I’m led to believe that Great Dunn Fell and Hardknott Pass have sections of 25% but I’ll leave those until I’ve mastered correct warm up sessions and consumed at least three Shredded Wheat.

Inspired by a touring Guru

This evening I had the pleasure to join Darren Alff’s live YouTube webinar for about an hour and a half.

Darren is the cycle touring professional and can be found at where you can find a treasure chest of articles, photos, videos tips and tricks all revolving around his fifteen years as a serial cycle tourist. His country list is too long even for him to recite and his numerous trips in the USA (starting with the West Coast and including no less than six rides across his homeland) are truly inspiring.

What I found most interesting during the Q&A part of the live session were just how much self-sufficient kit he carries (not so much living essentials as pro-work equipment, laptop, cameras, hard drive back devices [2] and so on) and how he finds the best part of his (long) travels to be the solo wild camping,

I was also interested to discover some of his most listened to podcasts (including “This American Life” which is my personal favourite) though I might have turned away to check the evening meal and missed a subtlety as to whether he listens whist riding or only when he’s not in the saddle.

For my teeny-weeny cycle outings I listen sometimes to music and other times just to the environment around me, With the weather closing in and the clocks soon to change (Spring forward, Fall back as the saying goes) I can see that it all soon be time to turn to the indoor turbo trainer, at which point I will have the iPad mounted straight ahead with the brilliance of something like to pass away the exercise time, otherwise compensating for not being outdoors.

That said I am blessed with a beautiful view of Wild Boar Fell from the comfort of the garden room so with the combination of tech, warmth and a view, there’s really no excuse not to exercise is there?.

GoPro, NoGo. Hero to Zero

So I succumbed to a GoPro Hero video camera for the bike adventures. More kit to carry and more time then up before and after the rides I know, but it all adds to the enjoyment. At least that’s what I thought at the time.

My one and only trip out with it mounted on my cycling helmet was on a beautiful sunny day (last Sunday) and I found myself with an opportunity for a bit of a sporting ride. Four cyclists passed me as I paused at the Fat Lamb to make some adjustments and I took that as my cue to spice up the ride to Sedbergh with a bit of a race.

The miniature peloton soon split as two of the guys pushed on swiftly, leaving one male and one female rider further separated.
I used this little scene to add some commentary at different volume levels such that I could work out after the event how to get the best real time audio (anyone passing me might have thought I’d lost my marbles but they’d have had to be quicker than Cav or Brad at the speed I was going).

I quickly tagged on to the back rider, spinning for a while as I took on some liquid. Then I made my mini attack and set my sights on the next rider. Meanwhile the front runners had paused to take pictures so I overtook them, by virtue of the fact that I was moving and they weren’t. Pretty good tactics thus far I think you’ll agree.

I’d made a fair advance and decided I could afford a short stop at Cautley Spout for a sports gel. Just as I was getting on the bike the peloton had regrouped and came zipping past me (and was that a smirk I detected?).

This little dance for positions was turning out to be fun. The group probably out for a nice leisurely ride were wondering what this joker with a camera on his head was up to but I wasn’t to be put off. I branched off into Sedbergh more or less alongside them so we’ll call it an honourable draw. The fact that I went up a one way street (deliberately) invited the wrath of an oldie in an open topped sports car. He shouted and gesticulated that I was going the wrong way. I thanked him politely and told him that I knew.

On the return journey I had the camera running the whole time and captured scenes of the big event of the weekend, a wedding catered for by BigPanManCatering.

Time to head home and see what footage was in the can.

GroPro’s software would’t even install on Windows 10, nor in compatibility mode.
I called the USA. Support was US.

Their software installed on MacOS, started loading in data and then crashed, Eleven video sessions were imported but went down a black hole and the data card had been wiped in the process.

The Camera was boxed up and shipped back and I bought another from a competitor (cheaper but with good reviews).

The footage looks ok but it is well bleached out by this exceptional summer weather on October 1st (White Rabbit, Whilte Rabbit),

I’ll need to spend more time experimenting properly, but I think it could be a useful addition to the tech bag.