Early Morning Rides

I get quite a few people ask me why I go out cycling pre 6 am in the morning !

 

sixoclockbook

There are quite a few reasons really  but it is difficult to put them in any specific order.

quinn11

Harry Quinn

I normally ride for between 45 minutes and just under 2 hours, so it gives me some good exercise which is something we all need to try and stay healthy, without eating into the normal family time .

Empty road

Another reason is that the roads are a lot quieter than they are later in the day that’s for sure which also should make it safer as well .

This also allows me to keep a look out for the wildlife that you would not normally see , in the last few weeks I have spotted deer , a couple of owls , pheasants , rabbits along with the normal hedgerow birds.  It is quite nice to ride along as they flit from branch to branch.

fungi

Along with the wildlife are some of natures other wonders you see like this fungi that was growing out of the base of a tree right on the road edge .

Aende Tourer

I quite often find myself changing route as I go along just to try and get a decent picture be it the sun rise or a stunning scenery  with a strategically placed bike .

sunrise

Another reason why I go cycling early is so it does not eat in to the precious time that me and my partner get alone .

 

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Monday’s Waffle

So hands up, who can honestly say they can tell the true difference between frame materials ?

 BH Carbon Road Bike

I think I can honestly tell the difference between gas pipe and a better quality tubeset i.e. Reynolds or Columbus , but as for being able to tell the difference between Steel , Alloy or Carbon I am not so sure .

Sigma

Yes of course I can by feel and appearance of the bike but once sat upon the saddle I am not so sure I could , there are loads of cyclists who claim a certain material is better than another for various reasons some of which make sense whilst others don’t if you ask me .

I can see the obvious difference being weight but then some of the better quality steel frames built with weight weenie parts can be lighter than some alloy machines and I can imagine the best alloy ones can get close to Carbon ones as well .

 Single speed Pollard

So the only way to do a proper test would be for all machines to be built using the same components i.e. cranksets , tyres in fact all parts would have to be same apart from the frameset material .

One of the other things to take into consideration would be road surface as these all vary so much which has a knock on factor to how a bike rides. Some people say all carbon bikes soak up the lumps and bumps better than an alloy framed bike with a steel fork or even a complete steel frameset . Surely the quality of the material used must also have an effect as well .

Over the past 7 years I have ridden at least 100 different road bikes I know this for sure as I have sold that amount plus a fair few more. The vast majority are ridden for a short period most having completed over 50 miles as a minimum before being put up for sale so I get a fair degree of time to evaluate each bike .

The first couple of laps around the block which is 1.5 miles in distance can easily give me an indication as to whether it’s a nice bike or not , I must admit there have been a few which have not made much of an impression on the first couple of short rides but have made a good impression on the longer rides I do for different reasons .

This week end has seen 2 new bikes arrive in the stable both being steel framesets. One is an Orbit America constructed with Reynolds 531c and Reynolds 531 forks the other being an Agenda Time Trial machine that is constructed with Reynolds 531 professional tubing as far as I am aware all the way through .

 orbit america

So far only the Orbit has been ridden and I must admit it rides well and seems to soak up the bumps well and has a nice turn of pace to it when pushed as hard as I can do . It is fitted with a fairly basic Shimano Exage gs300 running gear but in the past I have found that to be enough and this one seems to as clean and functioning well . Whilst the Aende arrived as a project and came in pieces , some of which I am not convinced are suitable for the bike .

Aende TT

The final spec or build up spec is totally left up for discussion with the following bits to be taken in to consideration , originally it was built for time trial usage and only has one down tube gear lever mounting boss and a fairly short wheel base like so many of “ Pongo’s” creations do have .

 AENDE TT

My first thought was to build it in to a single speed bike so I can evaluate it before deciding what to do in the long term , but in all fairness it is in a lot better condition than I was expecting so very tempted to just clean up some of the loose decals and give the paintwork a nice polish and see how good it comes up .

 AENDE TT

I think I have decided to just go with the one down tube shifter and retain the already fitted bottom bracket which seems to spin nice and freely so seems little point in changing it. Now the crankset that was supplied is a Campagnolia Triple so I will remove the two smallest rings and mount the remaining ring on the inner of the arms rather than the normal outer mounting pads which I am hoping will give me a nicer chain line  , my current thought is to use a 7 speed equipped rear wheel as I have been advised that trying to run a 1 x 9 set up is asking a lot for the chain to stay in place at each end of the spectrum .

Now of course all the above could and more than likely will change but I will post another blog to update as I go along and when time allows .

Today’s ride

Well this mornings ride was the furthest I have done so far on the Aende touring bike that I recently acquired .

I was impressed with it when I did 18 miles the day before with a few smallish hills en route which the bike handled with ease thanks to a 3  x  7 set up that looks like it could almost get you up Everest .

Aende Tourer

I left home and headed up out of the Boro via the mad mile straight , now normally I turn left but decided to go right today and along to Little Harrowden and on to Orlingbury where I forked left by the village green and along the gentle incline of Redhouse Road up to the A43 where I crossed straight over and headed down towards Hannington .

Empty road

The road descends down into Hannington till just before All St Church where I exited the village heading towards the next village of Holcot where there are some lovely houses, some small and some on the larger size . After winding through the village I turned left at the cross roads along Sywell Road past the car boot site and up the hill towards the roundabout on the A43 where I crossed straight over heading towards Sywell .

Just before the Horseshoe pub I spotted a tree with some massive fungi sprouting out of it,

fungi

these were easily 12″ across and stuck out about 10″ from the bark . In and out of Sywell via church lane and headed off towards Mears Ashby, again the roads were still traffic free which is one of the main reasons why I enjoy dragging my backside out of bed early .

syw

A nice fast descent where I saw 32 mph appear on the Garmin quickly followed by a short sharp rise where I saw the only other cyclist of the day going in the opposite direction we swapped a nod and carried on our ways . Next village on route was Earls Barton and then along to the cross roads at the top of Hardwater where I turned left up towards the rugby club quickly followed by another speedy descent into Wilby where I headed off up Mears Ashby Road .

popp

I stopped and took a picture of the poppies growing on the verge and had a drink as well, then on we go again along the undulating road into Mears Ashby village where I headed for Highfield Road and back towards Wellingborough, through the aptly named Moonshine Gap before turning right down the Mad Mile and towards home , all in all a very nice ride that covered 23.58 miles at an average speed of 16.3 mph.

The Aende tourer rode well and I enjoyed the ride .

Aende Tourer rr stay

Aende’s

Well i was lucky enough to finally get my hands on not one but two Aende’s last week .

A few years ago I had a John Fearne (Leicester) road bike which was a glorious bike to ride , but I never managed to track down who made the frame , Hillary Stone thought it could have been an Aende but that was an educated guess .

I have not seen many Aendes come up for sale at all over the years and the ones I have seen go for good sums of money , so never really expected to be able to own one never mind two .

Aende Tourer

Both of these machines were obtained off the original owner who told me the following about the bikes:-

” When were they built?” ” Well, I think the tourer was built in 1986, so the racer would have been a year later. I could be out by a year, making it ’85 and ’86 instead.”

“Back in the day, the bespoke approach was to buy a frame and then build it up with the components of your choosing. Having a ‘made to measure’ frame was taking this approach one step further. A good friend of mine at the time worked in a bike shop in Hull called Ken Ellerker’s (I’ve just googled it and it’s still in business but my friend passed away some years ago). Being a cyclist all his life and knowing the trade, he was able to advise on what components to buy. So, I visited Pongo and got sized up: he could look you up and down and know what size frame you’d need! Once the frames were built and collected from Pongo’s my friend built them in his shed with the parts I bought separately from ‘Ellerker’s’. The bikes as they currently stand are just about the same as the day of their maiden voyage. I changed the saddle on the racer and, as I mentioned, it’s front wheel is a Campag from a second set of wheels I had – I’ve no idea where the front Dura Ace wheel has gone or for that matter where the Campag rear has gone!”

“As for their use, well, one or the other would have been used most weekends, holidays and some evenings during the summer months until around 1990. Once I got the racer on the road I did tend to favour this over the tourer for general riding too, although you could get a few negative comments from the CTC group I road with over the lack of mud guards. But hey, if my memory serves me well all the summers back then were long dry and hot! Racing wise I’d do 10’s, 25’s and the odd 50 mile TT but never got around to road racing.”

“I returned to full time education in 1989 and didn’t seem to have the time to cycle much. Over the years I made the odd ‘come back’ which lasted a few months but seemed to fizzle out. All the while the two bikes have been stored in sheds, garages and spare bedrooms ”

Aende Road Bike

They both have some very nice parts on them  like Campag & Shimano aero posts , Campag & Dura ace pedals , Cinelli bars and stems , Brooks Professional and Rolls saddles.

Aende tourer saddledura ace post

So far I have covered more miles on the tourer and have found it very nice indeed to ride , but I have been itching to try the Road bike , so stripped down the very stiff and notchy Dura ace headset , and re assembled it with some fresh grease. It’s now a lot smoother but it just doesn’t feel right . I also need to either ride it with the sprint & tub wheel supplied or find a 19c Clincher tyre as a 700 x 23c tyre rubs against the underside of the front brake caliper, it’s that tight for clearance but the 2 short rides I have had on the road bike have certainly been very nice rides , I will keep you updated as time goes by .

I dropped the tourer down to my local bike shop yesterday for them to do their business on the wheels and bottom bracket then I can carry on with the simpler jobs upon its return.