Old Faithful stands in

This morning’s ride started with a flat rear tyre on the Dunelt fixed gear .

Luckily I hadn’t even left the garage and with damp underfoot conditions I wanted to use a bike with guards.

So the only other bike that fitted the bill was my daily commuter the Marin Bear Valley .

I decided straight away to change my intended route to take in the cycle path that runs from Thrapston to Rushden lakes.

This meant that the first 15 miles were all on tarmac and then the next 6 and a bit were a mixture of smooth and rough gravel surfaces.

The Marin always gives me a smile no matter what it’s being used for . The homeward journey was another 7 miles of tarmac .

As I rode through Irchester I decided to do a lap of Irchester country park .

The ride ended up being just over 29 miles in length , I have no idea how long my smile was but it certainly stayed for most of the day.

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 .


Raleigh Roadster


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 .


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 .

Martin’s Marin

I have owned my Marin Bear Valley bike since about 1993 so that’s 22 years , and I think that’s rather a long time especially considering the number of bikes that pass through our garage .
From what I know it had a sad start to its life as it was lent by the local Marin dealer to a Toyota dealership who had it on display fitted to a roof rack assembly on a car in their showroom. At some point it was vandalized whilst there and sustained two slashed tyres and various bits of the decals were also picked off . It was removed from display and left in the stores department . Once I had served my three months probationary period I enquired if I could purchase it and was told to submit a written offer and if this was accepted the bike would be mine.
 Marin Bear Valley
My offer of £250 was accepted at once which I thought gave me a bit of a bargain as they were retailing at over £500 at the time from what I was told . A couple of new tyres and tubes later and we were off on an adventure that is still going strong to this day .
 Marin Bear Valley
It’s never had a hard life , for the first 3 years in my ownership it was used mainly at weekends for various on road only rides that were never any further than 25 miles in length. It did get taken for a weeks holiday riding around the Isle of Mull one year . It then spent 10 + years wallowing in my parents garage unused as time was limited with a family coming along .
 Marin Bear Valley
It was bought back in to service for my daily commute approximately 8 years ago and has carried on either being my main commuter trudging up and down the local cycle paths backwards and forwards to work or one of my back up bikes . During its life it has had various consumable parts replaced but still sits on the original wheels , crankset , mechanisms, bars , seat post and brifter units .
Marin Bear Valley
The paintwork is still original and most of the decals on one side have long gone whilst the other side are only partially gone , I must admit I have considered replacing the decals a few times but have never actually done it .
 Marin Bear Valley
I have found this bike to be great fun to ride and it normally always puts a smile on my face when I am riding it .