Another great ride today. My training is on course with 40 miles done. I was also very pleased that I maintained last week’s average of 14.5 mph. And that was with battling through 20 mph headwinds gusting as hard as 32 mph. Looking good for the 60 mile Essex Countryside Ride. Now for a nice hot shower.
This got a lot of media coverage like all things ridiculous so. But I thought I would also record it for prosperity anyway. At little more than the length of a single bicycle, the £2,000 road marking has left cyclists in Cardiff bemused. The feature, thought to be the shortest cycle lane in Britain, has been installed to encourage green transport.
Cardiff Council claims that it will help riders safely navigate a turn on a new road layout. But riders in the city say the brevity of the red and white marked stretch of road renders it pointless. Kevin Hughes, 47, a cyclist from the Welsh city, said: "It's just hilarious. I saw it as I was cycling past and couldn't believe my eyes. "Obviously nobody could cycle in it because it is so small. You just have time to get in the saddle before getting off again." Mr Hughes, a member of Cardiff Ajax Cycling Club, added: "I posted a picture of it on the club forum and it's started a bit of a laugh. "I've got no idea why it would be there. You couldn't ride a bike down there anyway because cars go flying past." Campaigners also questioned why the local authority has spent money on the cycle lane, which takes less than a second to cover before rejoining the main carriageway. Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It is just this sort of waste that raises the hackles of taxpayers. “At a time when taxes are rising, people are rightly angered when they see their hard-earned money being thrown away on schemes like this.” A Cardiff Council spokesman said the lane is intended to "highlight the interface between the eastbound carriageway and the beginning of a new contraflow facility". He said it would help cyclists cross the busy city centre and give them somewhere safe to stop before turning. He said: "The purpose of the new facility is to enable cyclists to ride safely and legally in the opposite direction to the flow of traffic. "The marking helps to highlight the point at which cyclists can turn left off the carriageway to join the contraflow facility."
It is time to forget about fair weather cycling and get out there no matter what.
With four weeks to go until the Essex Countryside ride, I need to increase my training by five miles a week to even stand a chance of competing. Yes I know it is easier riding in an event than solo, but confidence also counts. And this is my least favourite ride of the year – but it still has to be done. So here’s the plan:
London's promised "revolution in cycling", based on the Paris velib bike-hire network, will begin on 30 July, Boris Johnson will announce today.
Londoners and visitors to the city will be able to pick up and drop off one of 6,000 hire-bicycles at 400 locations across the centre of the capital.
The scheme, originally proposed by Ken Livingstone, Mr Johnson's predecessor as London Mayor, hopes to avoid the problems that have plagued the popular Parisian velib network, where half the bikes have been lost or stolen.
Users will pay an initial membership fee of £1 for 24-hour access, £5 for seven-day access, or £45 a year. They can make unlimited journeys and the first half-an-hour will be free. On top of that, the London Cycle Hire charge for members will be £1 for a journey of between 30 minutes and one hour, £4 for up to 90 minutes, and £6 for up to two hours. Cyclists will use a new smart-card – similar to an Oyster card – to unlock the bikes.
Mr Johnson, said: "In just four months London will glitter with the twinkling dynamo lights of thousands of shiny hire bikes, zipping around the streets unfettered from timetables, queues and crowds."
That was a great ride I had today. I am slowly pushing the distance back up again and covered 35 miles. I am doing this by the book this time round and adding 10% to the distance each time I go out. That should give me plenty of time to get up 60 miles before the Essex Countryside Ride for the Little Havens children’s hospice. The weather today was rather windy with 40 mph headwinds coming from the west. This meant a headwind for the first 4.5 miles. Still, I did the whole 35 miles in 2.5 hours, averaging 14.4 mph. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/28242099
Oh the joys of having a bike computer and being able to churn out meaningless statistics. Apparently, over the past 12 months I have
Cycled 1,035 miles (the distance from Los Angeles California to Auckland New Zealand) It took me a total of 72 hours and 49 minutes Which works out at an average speed of 14.2 mph I have burnt 62,033 calories doing so The average distance on any one ride was 32.3 miles and the longest I cycled was 62 miles
Well that’s that done, signed up for my first sponsored ride this year - The Essex Countryside. So I now have 8 weeks to overcome the enforced lay off because of the crappy weather over winter and get ready for a 60 mile ride.
Mind you, this has always been my least favourite ride. I don’t think it’s because it’s the first of the season, just that there have been some really bad parts of the route – last year going across a broken down disused car-park and round the back of Chelmsford shopping centre. Then getting soaked and frezzing cold in a downpour. And both years going virtually off-road which is not good news for road wheels and tyres.
Mind you, this year’s route will be different as it is starting in Chelmsford. And it has to be done and I am itching to get a descent ride and back into the groove. This will give me something to train for.
And it is for a very good cause – last year I raised nearly £800.
Another good training ride and back to something like my normal speed over my 26 mile training ride. I am now starting to get itchy feet, or should that be pedals, and after the bad weather layoff want to line up a longer ride. I’ll have to wait a couple of weeks though as life is going to get in the way of cycling.
Congratulations to Team Sky on the success of their first outing in the Tour Down Under (I still don' like their kit though). At long last we have a professional GB team and what a fantastic start they have made. When the Tour Down under first opened a week ago, team Sky marked their debut with a victory in the Cancer Council Helpline Classic, Greg Henderson leading home Sutton on that occasion. Then today they did it again as Chris Sutton led a one-two in the final stage in Adelaide.
And on the final day, to round off a stunning day for Team Sky, Henderson's display saw him move up to third on the overall standings. His victory in an intermediate sprint early in the final stage proved all-important in him taking the final podium place.
And the other new kids on the block, Lance Armstrong’s Radio Shack? Lance was placed 77th out of 129 riders in the stage to finish 25th overall. But I wouldn’t write him off just yet.
I am not sure what sort of madness has come over me this evening but I have just suggested cycling 12 hours non-stop (apart from comfort breaks) as part of the Relay for Life fundraiser in Southend on 31 July http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=247516879849&ref=mf. And just to make life interesting I will be start at midnight and cycle through to mid-day with a couple of warm-up laps before then pulling Seraphina on her trailer bike.
What is Relay for Life I hear you ask?
Check out: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/relay/
Relay For Life brings you and your town together to help beat cancer.
Throughout the year, teams fundraise in their local communities to support the work of Cancer Research UK. Then everyone comes together in an inspiring overnight celebration and commemoration that the whole community can be part of.
Relay events focus on fun for all the family, regardless of age or fitness level – everyone is welcome!
At the event everybody gathers at their local race track, park or sports field (Garons Park in the case of the Southend event) and take turns walking laps. Each team keeps at least one member on the track at all times, while all around them a party is in full swing.
Relay events have a friendly, festival-like atmosphere that the whole family can enjoy. Camping, music, stalls and entertainment will be laid on, and many of the teams taking part camp overnight
Requests for sponsorship will follow nearer the time!
Ahh what joy to be out on my bike again today after a snow enforced lay-off. I was actually singing out loud at one point.
Five weeks of no-road cycling has taken its toll though. My time over my 26 mile training course was down by a full five minutes – bad! And my endurance has suffered too as I doubt I could ride 60 miles without really having to pay for it. Still, now that the snow has gone I can put in a more concentrated training effort to be ready for the 150km (93 miles) Essex Spring Lamb sportive in April.
Today’s ride was full of the usual tom foolery which comes from being invisible once you get on a bike – even wearing multi-coloured cycling tops that poke your eyes out. Like the women crossing the road with her dog who, rather than waiting for a gap in the cars decides she can run fast enough to give Frogger a run for its money. Trouble is, she doesn’t stop when she gets to the cycle lane (there is a small kerb sort of thing between the road and cycle lane) and just keeps running straight out in front. She was full of apologies, which was nice, but what people don’t realise is, we could both get seriously hurt if I run into them at 20 miles an hour.
Then there was my Tom Foolery when I was a couple of miles from home and decided to overtake group of five riders. Having overtaken, I couldn’t let them overtake me now could I? Three of them did take up the chase though but I still got home first – and the other two rode past about 30 seconds later.
And then there was my philosophical moment as I pondered the sadness of the last of the unmelted snow, eeking out its life by hiding from the sun in the wintery shadows. Then I laughed as no more snow means cycling can resume!
This is my 13 mile training circuit which I ride in reverse as a figure of 8 to extend it to 26 miles. This equals out any hills and headwinds. It is the same route as the Southend Bikeathon in recent years.
Click on the map title for a full screen version
It’s a risky business being a cyclist in the UK, there are a lot of people who really dislike us. It’s the Jeremy Clarkson influence – we’re hated on the roads. We just hope people realise we are just flesh and bones on two wheels.” Victoria Pendleton, gold medal winner in the women’s sprint at the Beijing Olympics, 2008.
“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.” Sherlock Holmes author, Arthur Conan Doyle, Scientific American, 1896
“Riding a bike is everything to a cyclist. The friendship and camaraderie you have with other cyclists …to a cyclist, it was the be-all and end-all of your life.” Tommy Godwin, double bronze medal winner in the 1,000m time trial and the team pursuit in the 1948 Olympics in London.
“There is something about the miscreant cyclist that seems to get people more exercised than they are about the misbehaving motorist…When people get into cars, their metal encasement turns them into robots in our minds, and we’re grateful to them for any act of courtesy. We’re grateful that they don’t deliberately kill children, then laugh a rasping, metallic laugh…[Cyclists] are more civic-minded than anyone else travelling in any other manner, bar by foot. If they do run into someone, they at least (like the bee) do their victim the favour of hurting themselves in the process, which is why, if you had any sense, you’d save your hatred for the motorist, who (like the wasp) injures without care.” Zoe Williams, The Guardian, 4th February 2006
Felt is an American bicycle manufacturer based in Irvine, California. Felt specializes in high-end bicycles at low prices. In the early 1990s the company was founded by Jim Felt. Felt have managed to keep prices low by having no formal advertising campaign, choosing to let brand recognition come from word-of-mouth. Felt has gone from strength-to-strength, going from just six bike models in the USA to over 140 bike models, sold across 27 countries. Felt have created a niche group of highly skilled and dedicated people who work together to create bicycles that consistently exceed their riders’ expectations by providing a sense of individuality, inspiration and pride in ownership. Felt are not governed by their competitors’ measurements of success - the desire to push beyond the limits of technology never allows Felt to rest on their laurels. As their universal mission statement suggests, Felt’s reason for existing is “To design, develop, and deliver the best bicycles in the world. Period.”
FELT Z70 Specification
Frame FELT Relaxed Racing Specific Geometry Felt F-Lite Butted 7005 Aluminium with Smooth Welding, Forged Dropout and Replaceable Hanger.
Fork Carbon Design with 3K Carbon Fibre Blades, 1-1/8" ALLOY Steerer and Alloy Crown (20%)
Headset FSA 1-1/8" Integrated with 20mm Cone and 4X5mm Washer Stack
Stem FELT 2.1 Adjustable 6061 3D Forged with +/-8-16 Degree Rise, 51cm=80mm, 54cm=90mm, 56cm=100mm, 58cm-61cm=110mm.