Friday 28 February 2014

Impatient Drivers on commute

A couple of nights ago after work I was heading home as always.

The last couple of weeks they have been resurfacing a big junction & had reduced the lane to single alternative working with manned temperary traffic lights. At the start of the works the road is wide enough for cars to pass bicycles without problems which a number did. I was approaching a pinch point where the road narrowed and bent around to the right. About 2/3rds into the works. Looked behind me and saw nothing behind me so I took a better positioning on the road to make sure I wouldn't be passed at the pinch point that was coming up. 

About 20seconds later I heard a car coming up behind me and getting VERY close to my rear wheel. I held my position as I wasn't going to get pushed off the road cause someone couldn't be patient and wait for me to get though the works after which the road opened to 2 lanes of traffic. 

I heard the engine being revved, I didn't yeld. 

I heard a beep of the horn, I didn't yeld & took even more of the road to make sure they where not going to squeeze past me. They got REALLY close and I felt uneasy & with that, I slowed, wobbled and came off. I wasn't hurt when I fell as I knew I was going to. The BMW Z3 it turned out stopped and I was pretty annyoned to say the least and walked up to the driver and said 

"Could you not have waited 30 seconds for me to get though the road works?"

Nothing. Looking straight ahead like I wasn't there. 

I said " Did you really have to get so close to me with a 4 tonne car, revving & beeping you horn at me?"

P.s I edited it the language abit as I was pretty damn angry

By this time the traffic coming the other way started to come down. 

For the first time ever I really wish I had onboard cameras to film this kind of thing. It doesn't truly bother me now but at the time I was pretty angry which I don't often get.

Anyways that's my little rant over with. Just be careful out there folks and make sure you keep your positioning and don't let anyone force you off the road. You have as much right to be on the road as everyone else.

P.S. I wasn't hurt when I fell as I knew I was going to.

Monday 24 February 2014

Windsor Great Park & Virginia Water in Infra-Red

While we was on the LBC Ride Windsor Great Park & Virginia Water ride over the weekend I took my infrared camera out for the first time in a very long time.

I normally don't bring my Canon EOS Digital Rebel which has been converted to take photos in the Infra-red part of the spectrum.  It is most effective in the summer with clear skies, bright sunshine & in bloom trees & flowers.

So in this case for trees and grass and other natural materials even some man made ones reflect the infrared part of the spectrum so in turn show up as a lighter colour or white.

InfraRed actually penetrates the human skin a few millimeters so can appear to be smoother and in some cases if you have very fair skin & veins close to the surface these may also be seen.

Sunday 23 February 2014

BumbleB visits Windsor Great Park & Virginia Water

Woke up to a great looking morning. well I woke up around 05:00hrs as always.

Forecast for the weather said it would be a nice and sunny day and it surely was, perfect for cycling.

Fuelled up with porridge with a huge spoon full of nutella & plenty of water. I didn't want to be doing the "Cramp Dance" later on tonight.

Me and the legend would be heading near to Windsor by car so we headed out early. Just about arrived at the parking spot same time as my cycling partner in crime, Mr. O. Not long after Andy L, Anne M & David P, Andy L & Michael B arrived and chatted a little then headed into town to the main meeting point.

We are ready...
While we headed to the meeting point next to Windsor Station we passed some of areas effected by the recent floods we have been having.

Flooded Rugby Pitch

Windsor Royal Shopping Centre

Meeting the LBC Gang

Final planning of the route
After everyone met up  and even Brendan from USA doing abit of article on people's passion for our little Bromptons & photographer on a fixed wheeled bike we set off down the road on our little adventure. I mean this guy basically just stepped off a plane to come on this ride. KUDOS for that one

As always the sight of so many Bromptons in one place always draws the attention of the public and as always as me and the legend always draw whispers of Bumble B or Bee.

Our first little stop was at The Hawker Hurricane. A full size Hurricane fighter plane.

Hawker Hurricane

Cousins ?
Now it was time to head on over to Windsor Great Park itself. The route to the park was interesting and with a nice sunny day, perfect.

Just a little muddy still in places

Blazing sun

Entering Windsor Great Park.
I have to say Windsor Great Park reminds me of Richmond Park quiet abit just not as many cyclists about.

Stopping off for the now classic Brompton line up photo. Has to be done with so many in one place.

 Onwards we head into the park but then we have our first and only puncture of the day but Michael M jumps in and fixes the puncture in record time and we is off

A couple of now smallish hills and we heading into abit more muddy areas.

 David P making sure we are all together and warning us about the steep muddy down hill part we are about to enter. Full focused we DESCEND into the unknown.

First small fallen tree

Second bigger fallen tree

Big fallen tree

Muddy path

Now this is the start of a hill up to the great student pub, The Monkey's Forehead. The LBC have had a few rides going though here so I knew the hill was something I wanted to attack and kill. But disaster struck just before I hit the hill, it seems that my chain tensioner had come off and the chain started to slip when I put any more effort. Simply just put the tensioner back on and we attacked the hill.

I have to say I kinda got into "The Zone", I was so focused on my cadence and breathing that I almost went past the pub we was having out lunch at. It felt damn good as I like to go back to hills I have in the past and see how I do. Well I really killed this one compared to the other times so I was extremely happy about it and gave my self a present of a really nice Fish & Chip dinner.

Mini O Bag on BumbleB

My prize of Fish & Chips , Hot Chocolate
After we had lunch it was not far to the start of the ride and was just the rest of the hill we came up and then back to Windsor Great Park.

Sorry B, not allowed down there

 Just before we got out of the park we found these 2 guys just coming into the park walking their unicycles. I have to say what caught my eye was the colours I have no reason why.

Little & large unicycles
After this it was a full on slog to get to the start point for a quick coffee, some photographs & then back to where we had parked the cars.

Was another GREAT day out with my Brompton buddies and have to thank Andy L, David P for the navigation & organization of the day, even making sure the weather was perfect.

LBC Ride Data: Windsor Great Park & Virginia Water

Thursday 20 February 2014

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Recently a member of the London Brompton Club (Geoff S) got some cycling rollers to help with his training. I've always wondered about these and have seen the professionals warming up on these before a race.

Got these rollers from Chain Reaction at a good price and arrived pretty quickly too right on time.

Elite Parabolic Training Rollers

A simple and effective training aid that provides a unique workout, ideal for developing pedalling technique.

  • Sleek, minimalist and compact design.
  • Three thermoplastic drums mounted into an adjustable frame allow all sizes of cycle to be used.
  • The cycle can move freely and therefore requires constant balance - giving a more realistic ride feel indoors, whatever the weather outdoors.
  • The parabolic shape helps the cycle stays in the centre of the rollers for safer use.
  • Sealed bearings guarantee a smooth, efficient pedalling action.
  • Simple to fold away and transport.

Fully folded

Fully folded

Half folded

Fully extended and ready for use
PAD: 20th February 2014
Elite Parabolic Rollers & BumbleB

For my first ride after watching a number of videos on youtube and suggestions I decided to have my first ride in the hallway. This way I could balance using the walls & my elbows till I got used to riding on them.

Very strange at first I will admit and took a little while to figure out that high cadence and wheel speed was the key to keeping upright and stable. Also looking ahead into the distance also keep me in a straight line. So don't have people around distracting you as you will tend to go in the direction your head is pointing and come off the rollers.

I may add a fan as I felt I was overheating alittle or out int he back garden but then if the weather is nice enough to roll in the back yard you may as well actually go out somewhere instead.

Here is the video of my FIRST ever ride on the rollers, I was pretty surprised at how stable I was getting after 5 mins and set myself a target of atleast 10mins with my cadence in the 80-90rpm range.

LBC: London Eye to Gatwick Airport

Having been watching the weather reports of late in the UK you would think that having a long distance ride would be crazy.

Well us Brompton riders are, so we ride.
This would be our first big ride since Christmas & I was looking forward to it to get some serious miles under our belts.

Made sure I was full fueled up with porridge & bananas. Even took a few with me for the ride. The meeting point is the very iconic London Eye along the River Thames next to Westminster Bridge. I was surprised to find I was the first to arrive so me & BBB spent sometime enjoying the sun for the first time this year.

After awhile my fellow club members arrived & after a brief talk about the route by our navigational Jedi Master David P we all headed along the river zipping between the tourist who were also enjoying the sunny bit slightly chilling day in the big smoke.

Big Ben & Westminster Bridge

Albert Bridge
Passing this odd looking building which I have never seen before, after a little research I found this information about it. Looks like a Alien space ship kind of thing to me or a Dutch pot.
Albion Riverside, in London, is a high-end residential development located between Albert Bridge and Battersea Bridge on the River Thames. Completed in 2003 for client Hutchison Whampoa Property, it was designed by Foster and Partners in a high-tech modernist style to include an unusual asymmetrical crescent plan for the primary building with two independent rectilinear blocks to the west. The architect’s own office, built in 1990, is immediately alongside to the east.
Albion Riverside

St. Mary's Church

Most of the way was along paved pathways near the River but then as we started to head south the paths were starting to get abit rougher.

Beside the Thames River

We started to come across a few victims of the recent stormy weather & encountered our first fallen tree across out path. By the end of the ride there would be atleast 3 fallen trees.

We then came up to our first little rest stop for toilet break and refreshments at Katavento Brazilian Restaurant. They had a awesome Pineapple & Mint Natural Juice which I simply LOVED. Have to go there again in summer.

Little rest stop

As you can see the recent weather we have been having in the UK has been pretty bad and all the canals are almost at bursting point. This would come into play even more on this ride.

Overflowing Canal
After this we started to get into more open roads where I started to get left behind a little. I don't mind so much as it gives me a chance to focus on my breathing and cadence to get up the hills we came across and ofcourse the others waited for me with big smiles on their faces and every once in a while giving me words of encouragement as we go.

Our half way point was at the Oak Park Tea rooms which I have to say was very busy with lots of dogs of all kinds, big and small.

At this point many of us had a good hearty meal I on the other hand for some reason just wasn't feeling too hungry and only had Cheese on Toast & Hot Choclate. Although very nice it wasn't enough of a good meal on a cycle ride which I would pay for DEARLY that evening.

After lunch it was announced that we would be starting to hit the big hills.

Farthing Hill was first up & was pretty exposed. Everyone else zoomed off into the distance while I pedalled on best I could keeping my cadence around 90 rpm. Did stop a couple of times as my breathing wasn't right but my stops are coming shorter these days I've noticed so I know I'm slowly but surely improving on my hill climbs. 

When I did finally get to the top of Farthing Hill my cycling buddy, Mr. O was fixing a rear wheel puncture he had got just as he got.

After this point it really started to get nasty. We was getting into proper countryside type places at the cycle paths we started to go on didn't look like they got used a a whole lot. Some where littered with toilets, building materials & other rubbish that has been dumped illegally I  would think.

It was pretty hard work as along with the rubbish you had to watch out for the muddy parts as well as making sure you didn't go over anything that could cause you to get a puncture. By the end of the day there was about 3 punctures.

Lovely mud
Another blockage
At this stage we just powered on to the final push towards Gatwick Airport. We had to double back atleast once due to flooded canal and more fallen trees but it wasn't as bad as we was expecting.

Our goal, Gatwick Airport
 Finally we got to Gatwick Airport's South Terminal.
The legend arrives
It was a good ride, a hard ride for me as it was the first big ride of 2014 and cause of the weather I knew I was well out of shape.

Catching train back to London

Garmin Data: LBC Ride: London Eye to Gatwick Airport

Now you would have thought that was the end of the story but no there was more.

After I came home I had a hot shower as normal and gave my legs a good hot rub down like i have in the past to make sure I didn't get cramps.

A few hours after i came home and was relaxing I started to feel a intense pain in my left thigh muscle. I knew it was cramps so I quickly jumped up trying to straighten out my leg out. In the end I jumped in the shower again and directed the cold & hot water on my thigh but kept it moving til the cramps died down and my leg settled. It was more painful than I had before and I almost started crying it was that bad.

I thought ok thats it its passed it wont do that again. How wrong was I?

15 minutes later the right thigh started doing the same and I had to jump into the shower again with hot and cold water on that thigh to settle it down after about 10 solid minutes.

After this I started to do a little research after some members of the LBC commented when I told them of my cramp and alot saying that I was low on salts and probably dehydrated as well. I have been told that electrolyte tablets will help in my water bottle.

I didn't drink enough water & didn't have enough at lunch time so ended up with bad cramps. Atleast my brother heard me doing the "cramp dance" but didn't get to see it cause I ran into the bathroom so fast to get the water on the muscles.

Its all good as I'm learning much more and will help me become even better and become even more legendary....

Til the next ride, 

Bee Safe all