Archive for the ‘Biking’ Category
After a year off due to non cycling life getting in the way – Team A just made a return to the Afan Valley in South Wales and as usual we had a fair share of fun and drama.
Arriving Friday night and heading straight to the pub regulars Andy, Mark S and myself welcomed Mark F and Tom to the team, sharing stories of breakdowns, accidents and broken riders from previous trips.
We predicted Andy having his usual accident on the first climb and Mark S having his usual mechanical breakdown – supported by Mark’s admission that he’d had his rear suspension ‘temporarily fixed’ by a shop with them predicting it would last ‘a day of riding if he is lucky’!
We also decided on doing the full W2 route on the Saturday. This route is made up by combining the Wall and Whites Level into one big ride (the combination being graded a black route)…
I’ve started training for a big cycling trip this year (more on that in a future post!). When one of my fellow riders emailed to say I should get on Strava I thought oh no – not another GPS mapping app – quite happy with Everytrail thank you. However – after a few rides I’m converted. The App is really easy to use and if you have friends that ride you get to see all their rides and compare each others trainers. And I think this is going to be super motivating!
Here’s the ride I did yesterday courtesy of my new favourite mapping AND social networking App Strava:
Yes I really did just ride the South Downs Way again – this time with my cousin Steve.
The ride came about when last Christmas he mentioned that it’s always something he really wanted to do. Never one to turn down a cycling opportunity I agreed to do the trip straight away. So, a little later in the year than we’d thought (due to me being in Mongolia for 3 months) we set off on the 3 day, 100+ miles, hill climbing marathon from Winchester to Eastbourne.
And… it went almost entirely without any problems. No fallings off, some light rain on the 3rd day but nothing to slow us down, no mechanical breakdowns, relatively few aches and pains and most of all: NO PUNCTURES! After my previous experiences (with between 4 and 8 riders) having just 2 people (and 2 bikes – both in good working order) made things a lot more straightforward.
Thanks again to Liz for luggage support on the first day (after that we carried it).
We also discovered some amazing vegetable curry pasties in the general store in a little village called Jevington – last stop (and 2 hills) from Eastbourne. So good we went back for a second one (though they got my second one wrong and it turned out to be cheese and onion – still bitter about this!).
Here’s a video I put together of the trip – some gimmicky stuff in this one:
A great way to round off the summer of cycling. Now I’m not commuting I’m looking for some more cycling challenges to motivate me to keep the fitness up through the winter. Anyone???
Team A’s third visit to Afan this year was as usual packed full of incidents. By now the B&B parking routine seemed like an old friend (you can only really appreciate this if you’ve been there but essentially parking dominates the first evening).This time both Chris and I hired full suspension bikes, leaving only Andy on a hard tail and we stuck to the best two trails: The Wall and Whites Level.
Full write up of Team A’s weekend in Wales coming soon but to whet your appetite – here’s a video of just the black run on the White’s Level trail.
The best of my summer with Hutch mountain biking in the vicinity of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Rather than riding south as usual, Hutch and I thought we’d head up through the Ger districts and up onto the hills overlooking the north of Ulaanbaatar.
This ride brought some sights I’d not yet seen in Mongolia including:
- A large white date marked on a hillside built out of either chalk or light stone. Thing was it was the correct date – presumably updated daily by the inmates of the prison in the valley below.
- Stunning panoramic views of Ulaanbaatar (see photos)
- Rubbish! Tons of it – on the hills just outside the Ger districts – sometimes we were riding over whole hillsides of broken glass and other rubbish. The hills just beyond that though – beautiful.
At one point we attracted the attention of a group of young boys who decided to ‘help’ me up a hill by holding onto my seat post and running alongside. Eventually I had to give up as I could barely manage the hill even without the unpredictable tugging on the bike in all directions. After exchanging lots of grins and waves I managed to break clear of them when the gradient eased. We ended the ride with a fast descent back through the Ger districts – great fun.
I’ve had my first taste of biking in Mongolia – Hutch and I took a ride out of Ulaanbaatar up to the hills that are still partly covered in snow. It’s just a 10 minute ride out of the city and what a contrast – in a few minutes you go from heavily congested roads, to open roads and then mountain trails.
Our ride took us up a valley, past lots of Gers (traditional and still much used Mongolian homes) and along some snow lined ridges and single track. I was struggling somewhat with a cold and with the altitude (Ulaanbaatar is at 1,350m and we rode up from there) but it was great to get out of the city – hoping to get more riding in soon.
Just back from a 3 day bike trip focusing on riding the Downs Link – a route along a disused railway that connects the North Downs (Guildford) with the South Downs (Brighton). We made it a 3 day ride by adding in some of the Thames and Wey towpaths and some of the south coast cycle route.
Lets start with the trip video:
A few people have emailed me asking for advice about planning a bike trip so here is a handy guide to get you started. These tips are aimed at someone organizing their first overnight bike trip with a few friends from picking a route through to types of accommodation, training and what to take… Read the rest of this entry »