Weekending 30 Jan 2011

Bit of a quiet week this week with only 37 miles under the belt. It did incorporate a Eureka Cafe stop and four bike shops. Cleaned the dirty Toy before I set out only to get it dirty again within a couple of hundred yards.

Sunny on the way out with a bit of a chill in the air it was another trip for the Shimano MW80 mountainbike boots. I’m really impressed with these as the battle with cold is about 50% won with warm feet and these stay warm all day with no overshoes. Got home to read a good review of them in Cycle, the CTC magazine which was waiting for me when I got in.

Once sated with a Eureka breakfast and the banter you only get at the Eureka it was time to head out for the purpose of the ride, a Mavic spoke holding tool. Took the Dee cycle path which was really quiet. One of the sights you get see which is unique is an A380 Airbus wing about to make it’s way by barge to Toulouse. No barge today but the loading is a sight worth seeing.

Once at Chester it was a trip around the Racecourse. I’d say this was one of Chester,s cycling secrets. It brings you out below the Courts and The Groves.

First up was the EdgeCycleworks, some nice Treks in there with Endura clothing. None of the highend stuff which is probably a good thing. Next up was Maplins for an Edge cadence sensor battery. £3.49 was a bit steep I thought.
Bike Factory next where the Mavic spoke holder was ordered. Caters for all abilities but there is some top end kit from Trek and Pinnarello. Next up was the Specialised Concept store, Grahame Cummings invited me to bring the Toy inside(I liked that).  Some nice kit including a Specialised Shiv that looks like it breaks the UCI 3:1 rule.
Might end up taking one of the demo bikes out at one stage to see if the zerts inserts in the seatstays work.

Next up was Keith at Eureka Cycle Sports. Here the new opening times for the Eureka were confirmed. From next week the Eureka is open on a Thursday and a Friday, use it or lose it.  I also got around to explaining about Twitter and 4Square. Twitter can work really well for a cafe or restaurant as I follow a few Wirral ones.

There’s the rub most of us are walking in with Smartphones and Satnavs, the Garmin bleep is quite distinctive at the Eureka. A bit like this site you need to stay with the times.

 
http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/65709383

Ride home was a bit bleak as narrow roads mean traffic can’t pass you cleanly and even on the dual carriageways traffic bunched due to the traffic lights. Once off it you are fine.

Next stop was Willaston for a Lucozade Sport as I’ve spent too much time yapping in bikeshops.  Perusing the post cards  in the Post Office window was one offering brazilians and other topiary. Where’s this leading you may ask.Well I’ve finally secumbed to some of the fake replica kit from Hong Kong.  Lycra doesn’t last forever even if it does have a Nike logo on it. No one is ever going to tell you your shorts are semi transparent in a certain light.
That should be the back row of the spinning class spared but just as easily applies to a club ride. Thinking about it, at least in a spinning class you can look the other way, on someones wheel your pretty much stuck with the view.

The shorts seem well made with a coolmax pad that seems a step up from the cheapest versions. Most of the top teams seem to have been copied with options of winter kit which in it’s original form is hard to get hold of or for team use only.

Had the battery fail on the laptop with two 18650 cells going down. These are the same cells used by the MagicShine  bikelight so I’ve ordered 4 from Dealextreme to be made into a new battery pack. A pattern battery for the laptop cost £50 from a UK supplier.
The battery failure is not a good sign for all those new electric cars coming onto the market as it’s useing the same technology.

Thought I’d add a bigger picture of the missing cobbles near the One O’clock Gun.
Thursday: Spinning class at the Oval followed by a trip to Birkenhead . I thought I’d overpaid for the cadence sensor battery as I picked a card of eight up in a £1 shop. Mind you I wouldn’t leave a £3K bike outside.
Managed to get Keith signed up for FourSquare in the afternoon with the Eureka to follow soon. Twitter is on the cards too. One advantage is your probably going to know what the soup is going to be on a given day.

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Weekending 23 Jan 2011

Didn’t quite get to finish of last weeks post but the course is on GarminConnect.  First job was to get a wheel magnet for the Cadense sensor. Problem was Wheelbase (Colin Brick) is shut on a Wednesday.  Next port of call was Clifton Bathrooms to photograph the shower  enclosure I’ve just bought. If you think Garmin instruction are a bit lacking wait to you try shower enclosures, the print out of the pdf was next to useless so it was a trip out on the bike to see it in the flesh.

This led me back to the new Wirral Trail, after last weeks debacle I had to get it sorted.  After Rock Park I’d have to say it’s a bit mixed, you get routed through a housing estate on side of Brombough Pool (now a landfill site) and then get routed through a brownfields industrial estate to reach to path along the the coast to Eastham Country Park.

The coastal bit is is nice but a bit short, there was a walking group of about 50 walkers going through the estate. Conversation with like minded holding it all together as there is nothing to recommend  most of it. Nice river views though.

You’re at a bit of a loss after the Tap and The Eastham Ferry hotel route wise as there are no scenic routes  through a tank farm, Vauxhalls and Oil Sites Road. All a shadow of their former selves. Tankers not giving you enough room  being the main hazard. Next stop was the Cycle shop at Cheshire Oaks with some nice kit on display but no wheel magnets.  Hope light is down to £59 but next to a MagicShine that I didn’t get a price of, probably RSP @ £129.
There were two old guys from the Eureka there that had done the L’eroica in Italy  last year.   A mudguard fitting pre-ride did not go to plan as you can’t get the blade under a  carbon seatstay bridge on what looks like any of them. Got to the Eureka just after 12 and eventually got talking to 2 chaps about Garmins and eventually the site which one of them had already come across. It’s a small world.
The ride home was back along the Chester High road and it’s not a nice ride at times. Lorries cut you up, vans deliberatly block you from filtering down the inside but today it’s not a problem. I’m out in the sun on my bike and they are still at work.
It’s much the same in Heswall, anyway the destination was the new bike shop in Irby to look at some bling bikes. Not content with a shop full of carbon exotica , Sabbath are dropping of their test fleet today. It’s all Tittanium and looks very nice. I’m in the mood for the September, audax model. It’s a pity you can’t get mudguard eyes welded on to the top of the range models or maybe you can.

I’m just looking for the ultimate winter bike, my Trek is great but from what you read newer, stiffer is not better. The bikes are getting too specific now, bottom brackets are now massive, chainstays likewise. Great on a smooth road, but 0n what I ride on I need a bit of comfort.
35 miles, 1 Cafe stop, 2 Bikeshops. Magnet bought in HALFORDS.!!!!!!

Weekending 02 Jan 2011

Another year has flown by with only 42 miles to show for December. Mind you the average temperature for the month was in minus figures. When off the bike and not at work it was spent in Tex,s morning spinning classes at the Oval including one on christmas eve. Other than that it was a case of making sure my mums central heating functioned. The condensate drain freezing up like many others.

A trip to one class had the temperature at – 9.5 Deg C. The 42 miler was another Wirral ride, picking up a set of SPD cleats on the way as I’ve just bought a pair of Shimmano MTB boots for winter rides. After that ride the chainset and cassette came off for a clean to reveal a problem or two.

Mainly the chainset, it doesn’t change like it did mainly down to having 3 different chainrings on it.  The big ring is showing signs of wear, the middle ring is a 7005 straight cut ring with no lifting pins or profiled teeth to aid shifting.
It works but has lost the indexing you get with a new bike with a full groupset.

The first ride of the year was a ride out to the Eureka via Rest hill and Route 56, takes in a statley home with attached village (Thornton Hough), Raby and is by and large a good surface except for the stretch from Redhill to the M53 underpass. It’s now pot holed and the verges have been deliberatley ploughed up by 4×4,s. Throw in a herd of cattle and it’s a mess.

Time to chat about how bad  December was at the Eureka before Weaver Valley CC came in en-mass. A ride has to have a destination after all and there aren’t much better than the Eureka. Most were spotless due to a strict mudguard policy at other times I’ve seen clubs come in looking like they have been on a cyclocross through Delamere Forest. The reality being the slurry of the Cheshire Lanes.

Headed back out through Puddington to the Dee Marshes where the birdwatchers were peering through hedges with camera,s with 2 ft long lens,s.
Whatever it was it must have been worth it. Took the Cycle route along the Dee to The Harp where the road resembles The Somme. Walked for a stretch in the new shoes, which by the way kept my feet nice and warm despite the low temperatures. That is without overshoes.

Nearly forgot, purchased some Sealskinz socks at OutdoorWorld on the way back, dumped the packaging and put them in

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the back pocket.

Went through Neston, Heswall along the High road to Thurstaton and down the cutting . Left at the roundabout and just as I’m coming into Calday vilillage the left shoe didn’t feel right, I had visions of me toppling off the bike with the shoe still stuck in the pedal. It came but only just.
Tightened up the offending cleat which was well loose only to find the right shoe was starting to slacken off. The cleats hadn’t bit into the shoe sole enough.
Here the saddlebag zip started acting up so the Multitool went in the back pocket as Ididnt want it bouncing down the road.

Took to the front at Hoylake and then onto the sea defences to Moreton. Here the rythmic clump every time you rode over a concrete joint had the MagicShine light loosen off it’s bracket. Nothing for it but stop and tighten it up.
Kind of expected things like this to happen as you get what you pay for. If it had happened on a Lupine original I’d have been furious.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry is taking their dog out for a walk today, probably been stuck with them in the house for the last 3 weeks. The vast majority seem to have invested to time to keep the dog under control via obedience lessons.
Probably because vet bills are expensive. At the other end is the family with kids, if the kids are running amock you have no chance with the dog.

Anyway further on I reached the new development at New Brighton, now given all the fuss about it, it seems to be coming along very well. The prom surface in front of it is as good as it gets, billiard board smooth.

First stop was Vale Park which was open, leaving here, going down the slope by the bandstand I came to a complete stop. Kids and dogs everywhere going in all directions. About 8 to 10 dogs in all, utter chaos, a little girl says ” Theres too many dogs” , an understatement.

Next up was the trip to the front by the Birkenhead Sea Ferry Terminal and the One O’clock Gun. I took to the path that has bushes to the left and railings to the right. It bends around to the right and the opens up to the entrance of a filled in dry dock. Here the is a transition to what should have been granite cobbles but some thieving bastard has stolen about 50 M squared of them which has been filled in with a gritty sand.
Sand and 700X23C tyres don’t go, the front dug in and down I went.

The side of my knee took most of it and the tape on the bars took a small rip but it could have been a lot worse. It was getting dark, the temperature wasn’t high to start with and was going down and this is the backend of industrial wasteland.

Thought I’d take it easy after that, so had a look at the Priory and took to theback road by Cammell Laird,s. Here I came upon at signs for a new cycle path to Eastham Country Park, blacked out with binbags but worth a follow.

A taster , Magicshine light shook itself loose, cleats came loose, fell off bike, saddle bag zip split tightening cleats, got lost in New Ferry, Edge 800 screen locked up. A great start to the year.