Thursday 27 June 2019

Getting my good friend on the road again.

This is my very good friend Alan Knott. He has been a great supporter of me and the legend for many years and I consider him a good personal & cycling friend, even a brother. He has always welcomed me with a huge smile & hug everytime I have met him & his lovely wife Janet for events over the years and always had great advise for me, not just on cycling but also life itself.

Unfortunately his health has taken a turn for the worst and has had to get rid of his Bromptons as he has lost his leg to cancer. But fear not Alan & his friends have a plan to get him back on the road with a modified recumbent bicycle. But these things cost abit of money so a friend has set up a JustGiving campaign to help out.

We NEED to get Alan back on the road where he belongs.....

EVERY donation helps no matter how small

till the next ride, bee safe.....

Thursday 20 June 2019

Happy 10th Birthday

This was the first ever photo I took of getting the Legend. This was about 10 mins after I bought him. I never knew that we would do so much, meet so many, smile so much, ride so many miles together.

We have changed, developed & evolved together inside and out. It has been a wonderful journey which i would never change for anything.

I have been though good and bad times but my Brompton has always brought me home, safe and sound.

HAPPY 10th Birthday

till the next ride, bee safe.....

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Review: Hardy Fisherman Poncho

As a cyclist I have to always check the weather for the day to see how I should dress while I'm on the roads, so this morning I checked and saw this.

So thats the weather for today eh? Time to break out something I've been waiting to review when the occasion called for it. The Peoples Poncho sent me Hardy Fisherman’s Yellow 3.0 to do a honest review.

Some of the details of this Poncho from the website.

Key specifics:
  • Dimensions: B 130 x 97 cm L (without hood)
  • Size: One Size
  • Weight: 460 g
  • Water resistant zippered front pouch to store valuables & keys. If in severe rain it is recommended you double bag your phone or electrical items
  • Adjustable peaked hood that can be tweaked for desired fit
  • Elastic toggles at neck and back of head to adjust to your head size
  • 3 Poppers at either side to make sleeves when required
  • High-vis piping all around edges of the poncho and two reflective panels to ensure visibility at night or in poor weather conditions
  • Extra stretch forehead panel to follow head’s movements
  • Bag with carry strap for maximum ease of use and transport
  • Total weight is 460 grams which is lightweight and dinky enough to be carried anywhere

Specific benefits for cyclist:

  • Reflective strips at the front, back and piping all around poncho for extra visibility
  • Waistband to prevent from flapping up in wind and ensure stability on bike
  • Straps fitted on the inside to hook onto handlebars so legs are protected from rain
When asked what colour I laughed out loud, of course given the choice I would always go for yellow.

So putting it on was a little tricky I should have looked at the website that has instructions on how to put it on and the extra features especially with cycling in mind.

The hand loops help keep the poncho up over the handbars and arms when cycling. Only thing I would say is if you have lights or cycling GPS you won't be able to see them as the Poncho completely covers the handbars, well atleast on Bumble B they do, but then again you will be more focused on getting to where your going and getting out of the rain as soon as possible.
The poncho also has a belt strap to go around your waist to stop it from flapping about in the wind  and keeps it close to the body.

The last time I used a poncho for cycling was a pretty much a cheap plastic bag that I got off ebay that was  a pack of 10 plastic bags. The Hard Fisherman is a whole other level. When in use I found it kept me pretty dry, the only thing that actually got wet was my cycling shoes and ankles. Next time I would wear my overshoes but which this 1 item I would be completely dry.
This is pretty useful on commuting or short rides, easy to put on and arrange, comes with is own storage bag. Only thing that I would be concerned about which there isn't much can be done about is that in high winds it pretty much acts like a  wind sail. I hate cycling when its windy as it makes the ride double the effort if you have a  strong head wind. But there is nothing you can do about that with or without the poncho anyways

You can order your very own from The Peoples Poncho webs site here.

till the next ride, bee safe.....

Sunday 9 June 2019

Otford to Whitstable 2019: The return

So this was a ride I had been looking forward  and dreading at the same time. I wasn't sure I would have been able to do it but managed to get time off work to go.
This would be be the first big ride I had been on for a good few years and I not as fit as I have been in the past.

Packed up Bumble B and was not goign to take any waterproofs as from what i saw the weather would be pretty godo but something in my head no, take my light wateproof jacket. I picked it up but it had a huge hole in it. I thought DAMN I going to have to take my old heavy one which i didnt want really. Searched though other stuff in case I had something else and found a brand new light waterproof jacket that I had forgotten I bought a month ago. Boo yah.

So off we went to Victoria Station to catch our train to Otford Station. I was also joining a few others on the train and made sure I caught the same one. Me, David P & Anna M, was great seeing them again as I haven't seen them for along time. Also had a nice surprise of seeing Geof S with his family heading off afew stops after we'd get off. It had been along time since I had see Geof S and was nice little surprise for everyone.

We arrived at Otford Station on time and had to wait to see where the hardcore that was coming all the way from Central London where at. At this point I was starting to get alittle nervous, this was my first major ride in  over 3 yrs and I wasn't as fit as i should be but promised myself I would do my best and not over do it especially on the hills.

So off we went following Pilgrims way a cycling route that lots of cyclist undertake. I already had the Mark W route loaded into my Garmin so kinda knew where the hills where.
At one point someone said that my nuts where falling out. I was abit shocked thinking eh, what? did I hear that right and started to laugh. She saw that I was abit shocked and said it was my cashew nuts was starting to come out of my saddle bag alittle. The things that happen on a cycle ride are crazy at times.

Was pretty much just focused on keeping my rhythm going. As we hit the 10 mile mark I could feel that my body was starting to get used to the stresses.

The country lanes where not very wide at all, some where nicely maintained others pretty rough with alot of branches and gravel which could make things difficult.

Mr.Orange's nemesis's 
It seems now I was right to bright along my waterproof jacket, in fact I should have also bought my overshoes as when the rain did fall, then with the wet roads and puddles everywhere my feet got wet pretty fast and stayed that way til we got home.

Hiding from the heavy rain
At around the 22 mile mark we stopped for lunch at a lovely pub The Kings Arms we had been to before.

While here I got a present from a very good friend Susanna via James H. As everyone knows I'm crazy about anything Bumble Bee related. Thank you Susanna it was a really nice surprise & I will see you soon to thank you properly.

Bumble Towel
While at the pub I ordered myself up a great Chicken burger with chips which really hit the spot as I could actually start feeling a headache slightly coming on. This means that I haven't been fuelling up properly on the ride so far. So made a mental note to make sure I drink lots of water and fill my waterbottle and take regular snack breaks.

With the hills before us I was always kinda lagging behind, I'm never any good on hills so I take my time getting up them with . After the big hills even the small ones felt like mountains. I rode up as many as I could but when the going on tough I got off and walked pushing Bumble B. Was hard going but I had already got this far so I wasn't going to turn back now or find an escape route back to a train station. 

When I was on my own I would enjoy the country side as it rolled by with all the smaller hills going up and down.This way I wouldn't keep looking at my Garmin watching the miles count down. Thats a good tip if your on a long distance rides, don't watch your the miles you have done or got to go. If anything only have the map up if you are following a route so you know what turns are coming up and to look out for them.

Great views
Seeing a few signs for the Pilgrims Way we probably pasted a few of the signs but this time I thought I better take  a shot as I probably wouldn't be stopping again once i got into a rhythm.

Now was the last big hill, this one was about 0.5 miles long and yup I walked up most of it

Lucky the others waited for me at the summit & I was able to have a short rest before heading onwards. Thanks guys.

Along the way I managed to get ahead of the group, I had the route on my Garmin so I kept going on track. We eventually came up on an over past and heard that Ann M had a puncture on her big bike and a Brompton was having issues with is rear rack. Seemed that the bolts that held the rack together had pretty much been shake off and lost. Puncture got fixed and a few zip ties for the rear rack and it was all sorted

In between showers the sun was bright and I was able to dry of pretty quickly. Sometimes I would overheat cause I still had on my waterproof jacket on so had to stop to take it off, as soon as I did I was able to keep a decent pace again.

With 15 miles to go we all stopped off at the same co op  super market I had been to before and filled on water and snacks. This is where I met my "Iced Bun" brother ;) Don't ask. What happens on a ride stays on a ride ;)

Knowing we was so close I got a second wind to keep going. I could smell the sea air

First sight of the sea but I still had a few miles to go before I got to the finishing point of the ride.

and finally we had arrived. The same spot we had finished at before. But this time nothing was open on the seafront, no ice cream truck not many people either. Well it had been raining pretty hard and wasn't all that warm either. After a couple of people actually went into the sea for a swim we went looking for some fish and chips. I didn't feel that hungry as it goes so only had a few chips offered to me which where pretty thick and I would have ever finished even a small portion of chips.

Whitstable Seafront
Finally it was time to get to the station which was only 5 mins away for our train back to the big smoke. Just as we got to the station it started raining pretty hard but we was on the platform under cover. Without riding so much I could really start to feel the chill in the air, the only thing that was still wet was my feet with my wet sock and cycling shoes. Mental note to make sure I bring my overshoes, may help in getting my feet so wet.

Ice Bun Brother
I have to say it was a good tough ride. I knew my first long distance ride would be tough but I managed it. I will be trying to do even more rides in future thats for sure. I had almost forgot how much fun it is.

As always here is my ride data, I may be getting myself a new GPS in the very near future.

Let me leave you with something I learned on this ride, Ice Buns will never be the same again ;)

till the next ride, bee safe.....

Friday 7 June 2019

The return to Whitstable

So tomorrow the legend & I shall be doing the LBC: Otford to Whitstable Ride.

Last time we did this ride was back in 2013 so 6 yrs ago. I'd be lieing if I said I wasn't abit nervous as this will be the longest ride we have done in a number of years.

Reading though my blog post on that ride I had almost forgot it was probably the most eventful rides we have ever been on & it wasn't until we was returning home that the real fun began. Have a look at the link below to read what happened the last time we went from Otford to Whitstable. Enjoy.

LBC: Otford to Whitstable, 2013

till the next ride, bee safe.....

Sunday 2 June 2019

LBC Ride: Ride to Chislehurst Caves

So after the legend's maintenance session at the wonderful folks at Compton Cycles it was time to get out there in the lovely sunshine promised by the weather people.

So with Bumble B all spanking new looking and feeling good we headed off into the hotness of the London Underground.

Came out of Waterloo Station and heading off to the London Eye, probably one of my most popular meeting points for all rides in and around London. With it being alot later than my normal start times it was pretty busy in the London Eye area with tourist and people just enjoying the lovely sunny Saturday. Met up with a few of the core LBC admin that I haven't seen in a long LONG time. Lots of big hugs for John M & Jenny H, leader of this ride. I was very surprised to see my cycling partner-in-crime come to this ride as he normally more for the long serious rides but was really good seeing him come along to this kind of social ride.

Getting ready for the group shot before we head off into the sun.

Once Jenny H gave us a little talk on where and how we was going and point out our back marker we all headed off into London's roads.

I have to say that Jenny H had planned a great little route, pretty calm route that anyone could handle and the pace was good for even the slowest of riders.

We only had one slight mechanical issue along the way but this was sorted within seconds as the rider knew how to handle his rohloff gearing if I'm not mistaken. I to had a little issue with my gear but it turned out that the gear chain had loosen a little. This is a common thing that happens especially after a good cleaning or replacement of the gear chain as sometimes the locking nut shakes loose and the  gear chain slowly moves and you loose the gears.

Sometimes we see some odd stuff along the roads of London town.

There was a couple of hills along the way closer to the Chislehurst Caves but I was able to do them pretty easily. This surprised me a little as I felt i was pretty unfit but still handled them pretty well.

Once we got there to the caves we had to wait a little while before the next tour. At first I was going to go in but having to wait so long for the next tour I pretty much didn't want to in the end. Good thing I didn't as afterwards I heard that you couldn't take any photos inside the caves, maybe because it would disturb the wild life or something but that was the main reason why I would have gone inside.

As John M and Orange was returning back to London I tagged along. The pace was alot higher than going to the caves as it was basically just the three of us. I was surprised once again that I was pretty much keeping pace with them, only slightly lagging behind on the hills which is always something I have had problems with in the past. Even with Mr.Orange's navigation we made it back to London pretty quickly. I must definitely see about getting the Wahoo ELEMNT GPS  or maybe the updated version Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM GPS which is coming out (mid June) just in time for someones birthday.
We all got on the same train heading though London but my stop was the first so I said my goodbyes and almost missed getting off.

It's always good riding with my LBC buddies and I have missed them greatly over the last few yrs due to me overcoming some personal issues. They have all supported me in various different ways which has made me alot stronger. I have many people to thank, way too many to list but you have all been there for me and I want to thank you deeply for your support.

till the next ride, bee safe.....

Saturday 1 June 2019

Compton Cycles for a major service

So it was that time again. I hadn't done much maintenance to my boy over the yrs. Yeah I know i should be reported to the B.A.T (Brompton Abuse Team)  for "Brompton Endangerment" or something. It's been about 3yrs since I have had Bumble B service by myself or a bike shop. I had some time so I booked Bumble B into the best Brompton cycle shop for maintenance in London.

I already knew the answer would be Compton Cycles in Catford. Over the years we have passed by on rides but I don't think we have actually got a service from them. It's abit of a trek for us to get there but worth it.

oooo shinny

Pre Op
After the guys had a quick look over Bumble B they said he would be in surgery for quiet awhile and I should be able to pick him up late afternoon. I was a little nervous but I knew he would be fine but still worried none the less, he is my boy after all.

Well I went walking around London abit, yes WALKING what HELL IS THIS? You don't see half as much just by walking and travelling on public transport I can tell you that now. Cycling is the only way to see a big city in my eyes.

Well you can only walk around London for a few hrs but I was getting abit anxious and was running out of power on my iPhone so wondered back to Compton Cycles. My boy wasn't ready yet so i waited like an expecting father waiting for the baby to be reborn. Yes I said it, B is my baby.  When he was finally brought out to me all I could say was "WOW" Everything was done and he was set for our next adventures. They also gave him a damn good cleaning to which yes I have not be doing alot recently, yes another charge for  B.A.T to list and charge me with.

Reborn again
Well we are ready for the next adventure, are you?

till the next ride, bee safe.....