Sunday Ride

My ride on Sunday morning was one of the best rides I have done for ages .

I can’t really say why it was so good , perhaps it was a mixture of things that just added up to a great ride .

As I stated in my previous blog I used my 1950’s Raleigh Roadster so I made sure it was all ready to go the night before, I fitted some lights, inflated the tyres and filled my small saddle bag with the essentials .

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Raleigh Roadster

 

I had already decided on a route to take as I wanted it to be fairly flat so as not to make it too hard for me or the bike as I would not have the normal amount of gears available to me . The bike is fitted with a Sturmey Archer AW 3 speed hub with 2 external rear cogs to give me a total of six gears to choose from .

 

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1950’s Raleigh Roadster

 

I had wanted a 1950’s Roadster for a while before this one came along. One of the qualifying factors was it must be useable on a day to day basis as the right bike would be part of my commuting fleet. This rules out a lot of bikes fitted with steel rimmed wheels as we all know about damp weather and steel rims with the lack of braking they provide so when this one came up and I could see it had alloy rimmed 26 x 1 ¼” wheels I jumped at it .

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1950’s Raleigh Roadster

 

This ride, if it went to plan, was intended to be my longest ride to date on this machine. I was up and out of the house by 5.20 am and headed out of Wellingborough on the A510  which meant I had the worst of any hills on the intended route within the first 5 miles of the ride , these were coped with ease using most of the gears that were available. Once clear of Finedon I was able to actually relax and start getting a nice rhythm going and before I knew it I was cruising along at 18 mph with just enough light being provided on the mid power setting on both of the lights I had fitted so I had some extra light in reserve if I needed it .

 

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1950’s Raleigh Roadster

 

This bike rides so smooth and quietly it really is hard for me to believe it’s actually older than myself and with some Koolstop brake pads fitted it even stops quite well which is always useful . Once I had crossed over the A14 I was on to more secondary roads so the extra lighting was turned on to try and help me negotiate the various pot holes and lumps that strewn our network of roads these days . As I cycled through sleepy Cranford village I realised how well I was actually doing as I was averaging just under 15 mph .

 

As I entered Barton Seagrave I dropped on to the pavement to avoid being held up in the road works that were present , this meant a reduction in pace as a lot of the driveways that crossed the pavement were not very smooth at all . Once clear of the Warkton Lane turning I was able to rejoin the main carriageway and head down towards Wickstead Park before taking a left turn that takes you past the Weetabix factory and into Burton Latimer. This stretch of road is always busy with fellow cyclists  either going to work or coming from doing the night shift, it’s just a shame that none of them use lights !

 

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1950’s Raleigh Roadster

Once I was past the Weetabix factory it was off towards Isham and the nasty stretch of the A509 that runs through the centre of the village. So once again up on to the pavement till I got to the Orligbury turn where I could rejoin the main carriageway on this country lane that has a few up and downs on it so again quite a few of the gears were used to keep up a good average pace . Upon arrival in Orlingbury I decided to elongate my intended route as all was going well and instead of heading homeward I headed off towards the Red House Garage crossing .

 

This section of road from Orlingbury to the crossing on the A43 is a long gentle slope that only really starts to show as you approach the wooded section at the far end near the crossing, so by the time I reached there I found myself in gear 2 in the hub and the smaller rear cog and still going well which was a pleasant surprise. It was also starting to lighten up a bit so I could go back to middle mode on both of the front lights .

 

Once across the A43 the road has a gentle drop all the way into Hannington, as you pass the quaint church it rises gently on the way towards Holcot before dropping down to the edge of the village where I headed into the centre and took a recently discovered short cut which saved me about 150 yards . The road out of Holcot rises gradually past the car boot site and on towards the island with the A43 where I crossed straight over heading towards Sywell .

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It was as I travelled along this section of road I noticed my average had dropped to below 15 mph and with quite a few more little hills to go I thought I would be happy to maintain the current average all things considered . The road between Sywell and Mears Ashby has a nice quick descent and again a sharp little rise where I noticed that I had achieved 28 mph down the slope before crawling up the other side and straight on over the cross roads into Mears Ashby. Here it drops and rises again before getting to the Wilby road where it is mostly flat with a couple of little hills just to catch you out and a quick descent into Wilby before you hit the main A4500 and head back towards Wellingborough. With total miles just short of 25, as I rode past Sainsbury’s I decided to head straight home and up the Queensway with the last climb of the day completed I felt it was time to pat myself on the back and say well done to man and machine . This ride also took me past the 4k mark for miles covered in 2016.

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Weekend Ahead

Another weekend is approaching quickly , so hopefully I can get out on one of my bikes and finally crack my 2016 target of 4000 miles .

 

 

Last time I did my adding up for the year I needed to cover 400 more miles, when I checked earlier this week my total was up to 3929.9 so just over 70 miles short of my target . The target was set meaning I had to cover 333.33 miles per month or just over 13 miles per day. With my daily commute of 8.5 miles this would give a yearly total of 2210 miles so leaves me with 1800 miles to do at weekends where most of my miles are done .

 

 

So with the above in mind I am expecting to cover at least 50 miles on my early am Saturday and Sunday rides which hopefully combined with my daily commutes will break the 4k barrier . Now, this leads to a couple of questions like what bike to use and what should my target be for 2017 ?

 

 

The bike question is relatively easy as at the moment there are only 4 of my bikes all ready to ride and I feel the need to use my Marin Bear Valley MTB and take in a scenic road ride across to Pitsford Reservoir where I can do a couple of laps of the cycle path and head back home which should give me about 30 miles depending on which way route I take . Then Sunday I could use my 1950’s Raleigh Roadster and give it its longest ride to date by doing a gentle 30 mile ride around my local lanes .

Marin Bear Valley

 

The Raleigh has been with me for about 6 months and has been my main commuter bike during a lot of this time. It has only been out of Wellingborough twice in my ownership and has never been on a ride longer than 18 miles for one reason or another , but I feel this bike is capable of doing a longer distance now its rear hub has been swapped to a more reliable sturmey archer 3 speed aw hub assembly after its original 1950’s FM 4 speed hub died a couple of months ago .

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Raleigh Roadster

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Raleigh Roadster

The Marin on the other hand has been with me since 1992 so has seen quite a bit of usage although it did have a 10 year gap where I did no cycling at all and it languished in my parents’ shed . Its current role is as back up commuting bike so does not get a lot of use at the moment . A lap or 2 of Pitsford will be nice early in the day with a couple of bright lights attached to the bars to light the way along the track around the reservoir .

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My 2017 target is another story I am not sure whether to see where I finish off this year and just add 10% or whether to just pluck a figure out of thin air and see what happens .

A Giant Leap for me

Yesterday was the day I take a leap forward in technology.

 

 

 

“Why is that?” I hear you all ask, “Are you about to try some indexed gearing on one of your retro steel bikes or perhaps some dual action calipers to help with the slowing down process of those heavy old steel bikes you ride ?”

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G.E.R Lomas

 

Well compared to the two reasons stated above it’s a huge leap forward especially for me .

 

 

I was gently perusing one of the Cycling forums I visit, late yesterday afternoon, when a certain For Sale thread caught my eye , the thread went as follows .

 

2014 Planet X Pro Carbon

Colour-White
Groupo-FULL 10 sp 105
Wheelset-Mavic Aksium
Tyres-Vittoria Rubino slick-Unused(new) 23mm
Size-M. Check PX site for sizing guide.
Saddle-Selle something or other.
Recently re-cabled and not used since
Almost 2 years old in December.
Lack of space is making this sale ever more urgent

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Planet x pro carbon

Well after selling 3 bikes last week I thought I deserved a treat and this looked just up my street. I contacted the seller to see what else he could tell me about it . He confirmed he bought the bike new so he is the original owner and rider and has covered a lot less than a thousand miles in the time he has had it , all this seemed like music to my ears . He even volunteered to deliver by hand for no extra charge at a convenient time .

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Planet x Pro Carbon

 

The only downside was the colour, it’s white and in all the years I have been buying and selling bikes I have avoided white bikes for one reason or another , in fact I can only remember one other white bike and that was a Carrera  .

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Planet x Pro Carbon

 

So as you can see I am finally making the leap from riding a steel bike to having a full carbon bike in the garage which means I have completely bypassed the Aluminium machines . At this moment of time I have no idea if it will be a keeper or sold straight on, a lot depends on the ride quality etc. etc. , and how I adapt to all the modern gizmos it contains like Sti’s , Dual action calipers and 20 gears to choose from .

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Planet x Pro Carbon

 

On most of the bikes I ride if I have more than 10 gears I feel lucky and a lot of the time I tend to ride them like I would drive an American v8 powered car i.e. stick it in a high gear and let the torque pull you along rather than keeping the revs up .It’s a style of cycling I enjoy and have got used to over the years so again it will be a change of riding style .

 

Once I have actually ridden it I will be able to make a few more comments .

2010 Specialized Allez Triple For Sale

For the last couple of days I have been using a 2010 year Specialized Allez Triple model road bike .

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Specialized Allez

 

It’s a complete contrast to the last few bikes I have been using for whatever cycling activities I do .

 

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G.E.R Lomas

One of the strange things is that its only a 52cm sized frame yet it doesn’t feel too compact or small for me , which is a surprise as I normally ride a frame in the 56 – 60cm sized area . Admittedly I have the saddle set at the same 39” from the floor measurement and the bars at approximately 36” from the floor .

 

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Specialized Allez Triple

It is fitted with a Shimano 2300 gear set which works very nicely in my opinion , ok others might say it’s a bit clunky in operation compared to the latest versions of 105 and Ultrega but I am not complaining about it . The modern unbranded brake set pull the bike up swiftly although a bit noisy in operation.  I have put this down to the pads hardening up after sitting hardly unused for the last 6 years having covered less than 70 miles from new , so these are due for replacement once the new ones I have ordered arrive .

 

The Alex S500 rimmed wheels run nice and smooth on the unbranded hubs they are laced to and the Specialized Mondo sport 700 x 23c tyres seem to roll along the tarmac well without any undue noise . Not sure if I fancy riding on these on wet or damp roads as they are pure slick tread type .

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Specialized Allez Triple

 

The one thing that always puts me off newer style bikes compared to the older ones I normally ride is the tube joints. On my normal retro rides these are encased in nice frame lugs and if I am really lucky they are ornately cut away whereas on modern bikes the welds are not hidden. Some makers seem to get them nice and smooth whilst others are less so. In all fairness the ones on this bike are not too bad at all .I am always amazed at what shape profile down tube and cross tube are on the more modern bikes compared to the traditional old round ones .

 

The Aluminium frame set and carbon bladed front forks give a nice smooth ride without being too harsh when riding along the smooth roads we have in my local area !!!

 

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Specialized Allez Triple

Overall I have found this bike a very nice machine to ride on the short distances I have covered , if it was a keeper I might find myself replacing the standard stem for one slightly longer that has a slight rise on them . It’s an ideal road bike that I think a lot of cyclists would enjoy riding no matter what they used it for .

When I was out on my Ian May last night pounding the black stuff I could not get my mind away from the fact that the front wheel had only been fitted about 10 minutes before hand .

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Ian May

I hear you all ask what difference does that make? It’s not so much the difference, it’s more about the fact that a couple of days before I picked the wheel up from my Local Bike Shop after they had replaced all the spokes for me as well as giving the bearings some fresh grease and adjustment .

 

As I rode up our drive the spokes were busily talking to each other and by the time I got to the end of the road they had gone quiet and were getting on with the job they were designed to do instead of going twang as they settled in against each other . Why I was thinking about this I have no idea as it’s not the first wheel they have rebuilt for me and I have not had an issue yet .

 

All the way round the 13 mile loop I was listening out for any strange noises and feelings that might occur with a freshly rebuilt wheel , it was no surprise that nothing happened and all went well as I sped along the tarmac , I even did a bit of pedal dancing as I climbed the small rise into Mears Ashby after descending down the previous hill at 25+ mph between Sywell village and Mears Ashby .

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Ian May 4th

The bike itself was as normal a pleasure to ride and did all I asked from it . The two front lights were cutting through the darkness just enough for me to see and be seen by any traffic coming in the opposite direction whilst the rear was on full blinking mode to warn traffic approaching from behind that I was there. As well as these light I had my flashing vest on with the lights turned on , this is the 2nd year of using this vest and I am well impressed with its performance .

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Ian May