Wirral Way Punctures

What started out as a circular Wirral ride  with some pretty foul weather thrown in had me picking up three punctures on the Wirral Way. Someone has it in for cyclist using this path as they were all tacks which didn’t get there by accident.

It started out as a ride to test out the wet weather gear for the coming winter. This meant it was going to be an Iceni winter bike ride. Meant to be out for 9 with it throwing it down. Found the new front tyre flat with a pinch puncture. Conti Ultra Sport Kevlars are hard to put on and I hadn’t been out on it yet.

Found I’ve been carrying 3 tubes around for a couple of thousand miles so one went in the front. Out for 10 now with the roads soaking wet and glad of the mudguards. NCR 56, up Rest Hill and through to Birkenhead where I take cover under the flyover by Central Station.

This ride is about testing out the gear for wet weather riding. Today it is Crane Sports Floro Jacket which didn’t pass the test. Crane Sports overtrousers which did. Aldi socks from last weeks offers, also a pass.
Gloves were Sealskinzs, the thin ones. Waterproof, but not that warm. Nike bibshorts and legwarmers and two shirts, one long and one shortsleeved. Probably a shirt too many. Cap and a helmet.

Stopped at Seacombe tunnel vent to take some pictures of the Mersey, bright up towards New Brighton, foul across to Liverpool. Once I’ve turned into the headwind at New Brighton things are really hard. I’m down to 6 mph in 39 X 28, this is a hillclimbing gear. Good weather for kite surfing but I can’t stop.
The tide is as high as I’ve seen it and took some more pictures of the surf and Moreton lighthouse.

At Hoylake once you were off the front it was a totally different ride. Recession is starting to bite everywhere, empty shops, plenty of to let signs appearing over the last six months.  Looks like we are to become a Country of charity shops.

Morrisons for an afternoon tea, clean my hands and then  book a spinning class at the concourse.

Onto the Wirral way, came across a group of 6 women  walkers that let me past no problem. A couple of dog walkers and then my first puncture.

Took my time over this one but it was more involved.  Used the bench to support the bike, found the first nail and set about putting a new tube in.  Came off the Wirral Way at the visitor centre and headed up towards Church Farm. Puncture number 2 was right by the gates on the climb to the juntion. This time in the front. Took a picture of it for good measure.

Tried to patch the tube which didn’t work as I hadn’t removed the talc of the tube. So out comes the tube again.  The new tyres are a tight fit on the rim so you have to be careful not to pinch the tube.
There is plenty of time to contemplate what sort of idiot sprinkles tacks all over a path. I’m now about an hour down and out of tubes. Heading along the cycle path on Telegraph Road the rear tyre goes down yet again.

The puncture outfit is getting a bit of a hammering now not helped by the fact theat one of the tubes won’t hold any air. Traffic meant I couldn’t hear where the leak was. There is also a chap in a green Lambourghini blasting up and down the road. It sounds like it wants looking at rather than music to a petrol heads ears. He was still out when I was returning from the spinning class gone 7 pm.

Pictures when I sort things out. The Aldi jacket failed the test as the sleeves are too short. They continually rode up past the watch. I had the sealskinz gloves on beause of the long cuff but to no avail.

Weekending 28 Sep 08

Monday:Work.  Home to have a session on the Tacx I-Magic turbo trainer.
First time on the Real Life Video run and I chose the short 12 mile climb. To say things didn’t quite go to plan is an understatement.
Bear in mind the Sportsmans that I did on Saturday is quite a climb. Well this one in the living room had me sweating buckets within a couple of hundred yards. The screen said up to 10% gradient at times and it did feel reasonably close.
There is the rub, in the UK you just don’t get climbs that are as long as this, steeper , but not as long.

Managed to eventually get it up on the LCD TV and did 5 miles in 35 minutes. It was a 12 mile climb and I was averaging around 200 watts , max was 437. Really impressed by the video, you have cars passing you and you overtake other cyclists. You are constantly working and it does allow you to play with your pedal stroke by pulling up on the upstroke while seated.

How does it relate to a ride, well it is hard work straight from the off, you need a fan to cool you down. I’m looking at an hour of climbing at least just to do one ride. Sweat is pouring off me and I now see why they have the sweat cloths over the bikes in the adverts. They are needed. Compared to a spinning class there is no comparison.
You set your own level and it is only going to be the length of the CD track before you change styles.

Here the route sets the resistance for you, it varies but long parts of it are between 8 and 10%. Flat parts are 3 % but like the climb there is no rest. No HRM on me tonight but boy is this tough.

It has opened up a whole new dimension of training rather than pratting around like I have been doing this year.

Tuesday:Work. Starting to look at the Real life Video for the Tacx.
Wednesday: Work. On call, try keep on top of things.
Thursday:  Work. Last day. Spinning class at West Kirby, a few bikes left on the front. Another first timer going out with a sore backside.
Friday:  Maybe a ride, or try and complete a Tacx RLV climb. First thing was fix the Scenic starter motor. Removed the one I replaced in Febuary only to find Europarts in Moreton has gone into liquidation. Off to Senars for a replacement after calling into to Renault.
Sorted for 2 pm, then watch the under 23World Champs on EuroSport.

Was going to try the Tacx but looked at the NEW rear tyre I fitted last week and a 5 mile climb on the Tacx has ripped shreads off it. Rolls of rubber every two inches.
Finally got the assembly of the unit right.


Stunning demo, I’m just waiting ror the release.

Fire an email off to Tacx about assembling the thing then sorted it for myself. DOH !!
With it all sorted I’d thought I’d try the Col de Peyresourde an 8 mile uphill time trial.
It was the same route I first tried but this time I had to finish it. 8 miles doesn’t sound a lot but this was all uphill and it was tough. I ended up doing it in 54 minutes 55 seconds, averaged 228 watts burnt 714 kcals. Sweated like never before, had the heartrate up to 184 BPM with an average of 151. The heartrate chest strap was an Aldi Crane Sports analogue one from my first HRM.

This was one hard hour, the average heartrate of 151 says it all. It is taking a lot longer than I thought it would and is harder than I thought it would be. An 8 mile hill is unknown in the UK. There is more to come with some HD dvd coming out from Tacx I’m going to be spoilt for choice. This is all leading leading up to next year. Armstrong doing the Tour is one of those must see moments. First time  I’ve had to change kit for for a spinning class.
Still had a good go in Barbara’s spinning class but it’s not in the same league. Shower and home. Turned out to be a good day, car sorted, rode a climb (in the front room) and did a spinning class.
Saturday: Ride day. Well it was until I got told it was mum and dads golden wedding anniversary. Ended up going to Chester had planned to visit The Edge but found it closed, thought it had gone bust but they have moved. Called in at the Bike Factory and the Specialised outlet where they have the 705 HRM & Cad with NT SD card bundle for about £359.
Missed out on the Audaxes in Shropshire and just had an email from Janet about the CTC Presidents ride which I’m also going to miss out. Chester Races were on and it couldn’t have been a better day for it. Back just in time to see Nicole Cooke win the Womens World Championships.
Sunday:Jack day, feed the ducks. Get Paul to upgrade WordPress.
Paul upgraded the site to WordPress 2.6.2 without loosing 2 years of my life. Next up is a new Theme, something similar to this but with widgets. A few problems uploading pictures but it may not be WordPress.  Ducks, the swan and just about every thing else got fed at Crosby. Home for the World Champs. An Italian 1 2 so off to West Kirby for a spinning class.
Just got a bike and I mean just, stuck on the back row in the corner were all the newbies try to hide.
Charlie gets a reprieve this week.

Ride wise a poor week.  A ride is what it is all about, your can do spinning classes and turbo sessions until the cows come  home but it isn’t the same as a ride.

Weekending 21 Sep 08

Monday: Work
Tuesday: Work. Tackx I magic Turbo Trainer arrived as did a fridge freezer.
Wednesday: Work.
Thursday: Aldi Cycling offers first thing. Spinning class at West Kirby. Tough class then the gym. Try and sort out the turbo trainer sofware. Getting in a real mess with the frame, it doesn’t seem to take a 700×23 wheel. Went to Deeside to get a turbo trainer tyre. Software is working fine and I have a go with a wedge under the lever  to hold it against the wheel. It soon had me working up a sweat on the demo.
Ordered a HD DVD for it and then went for the evening spinning class at West Kirby. Full class with a couple of first timers. Tough class with most of it zone 4 and a few peaks in zone 5. Met one of the blog readers at the end of it.
Coupled the PC to the 40″ Sony LCD Tv and started the Fortius Real Life Video. Looks good. The plan is to do some indoor training when I get in from work, the nights are closing in and the weather hasn’t gone my way this year.

Picked up an injury to my left leg as some moves are sore. I don’t think it is cycling related as cycling is fine. Felt it in the gym a few times. Remembered Rons words about not doing anything as the rest of me is fine.
Friday: Work, pay for the toys. Maybe Margarets friday class. Clean the Toy for ride.
Turned up to Barbara’s class and just about got a bike at the other end of the class that I normally ride. Another tough class. Started reading some of the Tacx training articles. Now I’ve got some wattage readings it’s another variable to play with.
Saturday: Ride day. Northend Mel and Jack Memorial ride, probably the eighty mile one.

Eureka Start, originally uploaded by Frank Kinlan

Attended both the funerals and rode in both processions.
Great day. Fell off the back but did the full ride. Cafe stop at Ruthin wasn’t to be but had one further in to Town.
The Old Blych by you.

Took the Old Bylch route and boy was this steep, after the first step bit (20%) there was a drink stop. Spent an hour here
Sunday: Jack day so no ride, Church farm, the only pedalling I got was on a pedal car with a two year old on my  lap. Surprisingly hard work. Ended up pushing him around for three laps.  West Kirby for Morrisons, buy a kite and half way round the lake with it.
No ride but a good day. Had planned to ride a Pyrenees stage on the Tacx but the blog is playing up.
Can’t upload any pictures as the box doesn’t appear in WordPress anymore.
Got one of Chris at the Eureka on his first Northend Ride.
Old Bylch looked good, well the bit after the 20% hairpin looks stunning but you can’t stop as it is really tough. A bit further on there is a feed station which is manned by Dave.
Dave’s heard of me through the weightloss but spots the 705. Well I’m here for about an hour with Peter talking about various things. After Loggerheads Peter takes the more direct route through Mold. I stick to the  Route  and by the look of things finished last. Eureka closing and Clive asking if I had done another loop.

Refilled the bottle with the SIS we had been offered at the Old Bylch. There was a bit of a cock up here as they were under a negative pressure and not much was coming out  untill we released the vacuum  and then it was everywhere. A steady ride home , it must have been steady as I was passed by two guys at Thornton Hough.

Been a good weekend, Saturday was a great ride, sunday was good too. Didn’t get to ride that pyraneenan climb but watched Charlie Boorman  as I write this. Still regard him as a prat.
Won a Discovery Channel shirt on Ebay and thats it for another week.

Aldi Winter Cycling Offers

Time to be first in the queue  this Thursday if your interested in winter cycling.
I’ve rode in Aldi winter gear for the last two years and it just gets better each year. They have raised the bar for winter cycle clothing. The value is unbeleivable.
This week also includes some cycle shoes for £20.
Winter gloves are the same as last year and good for a couple of degrees above zero.


Like all cycling clothing fit is everything, you’ve a month to take it back. A refund is offered but if your not quick you are unlikely to get a replacement.

You’ll find double layers on the front for wind and water resistance. Reflective 3M piping too as it is now dark at 7 pm and the clocks haven’t gone back yet.

The cap and overshoes for £6.99 now come in shoe sizes but you need to check the fit around the ankle. Last year they were a bit loose. Looks like they have addressed the problem this year.

Some of the trousers had footstraps some didn’t, if you have waterproof socks these need to under the strap to stop water running in. It’s hard to notice these things in a scrum to get the size you want.

I’m not about to fill my boots this year as I still have some stuff unworn from last year.
The £8 waterproof overtrousers are at least as good as match for the cheapest (£30) Altura overtrouser I have.

With any fluorescent jacket you don’t want to be getting it dirty by riding with no mudguards.

Fill your boots, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Bought a Jacket and a pair of trousers this year. The prices have crept up a bit but thats inflation for you. Improvements to the jacket are a zipped chest pocket and zipps on the cuffs so fit is improved and the arms are longer.

Weekending 14 Sep 08

Monday: Work. On call.
Tuesday:Work. Spin at West Kirby, hard work at a heartrate zone down than what I normally do. Vuelta for 15 mins then watch Steve Cummings in the Tour of Britain on ITV4. Now 5th on GC. Steve took a minute out of me in two miles on the Brimstage Time Trial. It was a life defining moment for me, ex 21 stone Discovery Channel wannabe gets a minute taken out of him in two miles by an Olympic medalist.
You can’t make this stuff up, the following Sunday Steve broke his arm in the Team Time Trial at Eindhoven.
I love my Disco kit, spin in it, ride in it. The only time I ride in Northend kit is for club events. Got bollocked for not riding in club kit but what do you say to a chap that was nicknamed “Blackadder”. This was before he joined the club. It was commented on that not many get a nickname before they join the club. Last year  was a good year for me  I’ve got to admit. 
Wednesday: First day off, ride from the Eureka. Sign up for the Eureka ride on Sunday:
what a conflict. I’ve taken time off to do the ride and that is what I’m going to do. 79 miles with a ride to and from the start. Tour of Britain,  got to give it a miss as my ride is more important on this occasion.
Windy ride to the Eureka for breakfast. Lots going on opted to go with Murial to Vale Royal. The big hitters are marking out the Mel Vasey  and  Jack ride for the 20th.( A Saturday) Lionel has maps and the route profile which is hilly. This is a two bottle ride.

Todays ride. This was at a leisure pace which was 14.7 mph average. Just under 70 miles , Cafe stop for an hour, cafe is optional as this was a true greasy spoon. Struggled to get anything to eat. All day full english breakfasts a speciallity.
Had breakfast at the Eureka  so I wasn’t riding  on empty.


Evening spin class at  West Kirby, hot, lost a load of fluid. Shower, home.

A good day, seen a few more bits of England that I haven’t seen befofe.
Thursday: Morning spinning class at West Kirby. Got there too early so went the gym. Mentioned about last weeks parking ticket as one of the class was in the same restricted space I picked the ticket up on. She found a space when she went back out.
Picked up Cycling Weekly on the way back. They rumoured Lance Armstrongs return last week about 4 days before the news broke.
Northend club night.
Friday: Work  OT, Margarets spinning class at West Kirby, sweated buckets. Shower,home catch up with this blog. Northend doing the 79 km Eureka ride and riding to Liverpool for the Tour of Britain. With a 9 prompt start on Sunday. I’m tempted to change routes and kill two birds with one stone.
Had an email off Martyn of Marego fame saying he has a new version of the Route planner in beta.
Saturday:Off. Nice day for a ride but plenty to sort out. Not least what I am doing tommorow. Plenty of cycling on Eurosport too.
Swapped rear tyre on the Toy as it had squared off.
Sunday: Eureka ride. 79 miles this year. Doing it as a Course on the 705 when I get the route. Tour of Britain is taking second place.
This is the ride in TCX format using CoursePoints from BikeRouteToaster.
Saved it straight into the 705 as Toaster is GarminCommunicator enabled, great stuff. Took three attempts as I hadn’t saved it and had refreshed the page.



Above is the short 79 km Course that it looks like we will be doing tommorow

Turned out to be quite a day, misty for most of it the sun coming out for the Tour of Britain which I made just in time. Ride to the Eureka for the short ride had the rear light flashing away and Trek had condensation froming on all the frontal surfaces as it was on me too.
The planned link up with the Northenders for an early start on the short route didn’t come off. Set off with an early group and it all went well till the bit where it said continue to T and turn right over canal. Which I did as it was programmed into the 705. The others had a different idea and that was the last I saw of them.
The plan was to do the 50 miles at 15 mph average.
At Long Green I’d been on my own for a while and the Sunlight passed en mass and I grabbed a wheel. I’d been chugging along at 15 mph and they were doing 17 mph. It was short lived as they were on the long route and I was on the short route.

Anne had warned me at the start about getting to Holt too early and things were going well. Heading towards Farndon it’s still misty and soon enough I’m heading over the Dee only to find a car jumping a red light at the other side.Signed in at Holt village hall at 10.45. First there no queues so 15 minutes later I’m back on the road with still no one in sight. Next stretch is to Borras where on a good day you would stop at the top and take a picture of the Cheshire plain. Today is not that day but the Edge is doing its job and calling out the turns.Now the Edge is feeding me lots of info. Time and distance to next CoursePoint(turn)  so although I don’t gain time at least I don’t loose any. There is also a small Icon indicating the direction of the next Coursepoint  so you know in advance which direction the turn is going to be. Arrived back at the Eureka at 12.30 .
Tea and a cake later I’m on my way to the ferry and the Tour of Britain finnish.
Wasn’t expecting to pay £5.30 to cross the Mersey but Sunday ferry trips are classed as cruises. Met Dave and his 705 on the ferry and we arrived just as the riders were completing their second lap.Took some pictures but didn’t have a place on the barrier and I’ve yet to see how they turned out.Rode home with Dave along the sea front. 87 miles and another cracking day out.

Just had a look at the pictures. Can’t seem to upload them to the editor. 








Weekending 07 Sep 08

Monday: Work but left at 5, managed to get a place at Europa Pools. Gym beforehand for some weight machines, 2 km of rowing, 5 minutes of crosstrainer then Louises spinning class. Only 9 in the class. Good class just what I needed. Spoke to Louise after the class. One of her workmates is riding the London to Paris charity ride next year after doing the Wirral Bikeathon. It is a big step up.

Anyway she is looking for Wirral rides to do some training. This was my Wirral loop last Wednesday, rode it on my own at a pace I choose. Realistically you should be looking at doing this TWICE to get anything like the mileage in your legs.
It may need a new bike and this is what I’d recommend.


£500, 9 speed triple. A really good road bike.

Narrow tyres for reduced drag, has mudguard eyes for all that winter training your going to be doing. The first step is to buy a speedo with average speed on it. You need this to work out your average speed, @ 13mph you’ll cover 26 miles in two hours, @ 15 mph you will cover 30 miles in two hours.


Seacombe to the Ice Cream Farm would be a good ride and would get you outside the Wirral, Once outside the Wirral the world is your oyster.
Tuesday: Morning spin, more laminate flooring by the look of things.
Wednesday: Ride day. Northend ride to the IceCream Farm. Got drowned getting there dried out a bit and got back for the Vuelta time trial.
Website went down which took the edge off things.
Lifestyle and weight management course followup class had us being introduced to another new class. More later.
Thursday: Morning spinning class and a session in the gym. Packed class with all the kids back at school. Really hot. Came out to a parking ticket for parking in a restricted area as when I arrived the place was full up.
Friday: Not the weather for cycling. Gym then a Friday evening spinning class which was half empty because of the weather. Left the HRM in the shower and it was still there when I returned for it. Honest bods in West Kirby. Still no sign of the Tacx I-Magic turbotrainer.
Saturday: Work. Came out of the tunnel down Dale street to find the mechanical spider by the Liverbuilding in a fake snow scene. The things you see when you haven’t got a camera.
Sunday: Work. Birkenhead tunnel closed as the spider is in it. Site is back up and running. Lifestyle and Weight management links don’t work as healthlinks is no more.
Only way of getting on the course is through your GP or practise nurse.


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