Category Archives: Cycling

Tour de Frank 2014


By the time I post this I will be into the last week of the Tour de France 2014.  What a roller coaster it has been. I bypassed the Yorkshire stages and went straight to London and we plonked ourselves on the Mall at 300 meters to go.

A journalist interviewed Val and I with Val noting his name.

Screenshot 2014-08-10 at 07.21.20Next day we were in the Financial Times!

I think I made the right choice to stay out of Yorkshire even though millions made it to the stages.  London did what it does best with a stage finishing on the Mall.

The Chunnel had a fire in it so the crossing on Tuesday was delayed by an hour or so, but we made it. Then it was straight to Arrenburg for the cobbles wildcamping for the night. Two stages were cancelled due to bad weather right next to us

No pictures at the moment. Plenty to come when I get back.

Now at the base of Hautacam waiting for the stage in 2 days. Two weeks in I have enough of the road, the final week will be here. Stunning views a trip to remember, as for the race there is on Nibali left.

11 July Epernay to Nancy stage.

The day before the stage I decided to go for a ride and rode 3 Kms on the wrong side of the rode.

Straight roads as ever. There was a french family parked up on the part that the Tour wasn’t taking.

The French Cycling Federation were busy giving the local kids a trial of BMX and other events.

This came through after the roads had been closed.

With that it was time to get back to the campsite through one of the nicest villages we had passed through.

Google Camera Compilation

Google is now processing your photographs in the background giving shots like the above or panoramas.

 

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Screenshot 2014-08-09 at 21.08.48 Just to prove your tracker works abroad with no data roaming. Say bye bye to monthly tracking costs.

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Can’t fault the Snooper 9500 other than the fact that France does not do DAB very much. I could have done with the race radio frequency but the app was just as good. It’s nice to know the tracker is there working away in the background. From the start other than Crystal Palace there where only 3 sites booked and that was at last minute with a few complications.

Be advised French IT systems may not accept your phone or Ipad for booking online, that was the biggest learning point this year.

It was a monumental trip and a lot will not make it into this post each day was an adventure. At one stopover I gave the woman that ran the site the Yorkshire Tea we picked up in London. It was one moment of many.  We arrived late to what was a restricted entrance. It didn’t stop her  bollocking a waiting driver saying that we were on “holiday”.

Campsites
Name Arrival Nights Stars Cost £ Cost € Mileage
Crystal palace 05/07/2014 3 4 £58.00 9152
Orchies Wild Camping 1 0 €0.00 9327
Ribemont 1 2 €10.00 9430
Camping de La Pelouse 10/07/2014 2 2 44.32€
Camping les Cigognes 12/07/2014 3 3 55.38€ 9798
Camping Les Merilles 15/07/2014 2 46.52€ 9944
Camping St James Les Pin 18/07/2014 2 3 44.40€ 10214
Camping Du Mas De rey 20/07/2014 1 4 €33.10 10432
Camping Du Lavedan 21/07/2014 5 186.20€ 10743
Camping Nontron 26/07/2014 1 2 17.24€ 11016
Camping Mamers 27/07/2014 1 2 11.00€ 11285
 £58 €448.16

 

There is another night of wild camping to add to the above. If I knew what I know now it will be a lot less next year.  Two star sites were half the price of 3 and 4 star ones with the only difference being entertainment being laid on and a pool.

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Week ending 20 Apr2014

It’s been a while since I posted so the following is in no particular order at the moment. I’m still getting out on the bike but not as much.  The receipt below was for 2 Subs and 2 coffees at the NEC  caravan and camping show. At first I thought it was for £11,000 no wonder I now need glasses.

A fair bit has been going on behind the scenes and I will fill in the blanks later.

I’ve been playing around with blog themes again and getting in a right knot at times as you can probably tell

2 Subs and 2 Coffees
Catastrophic Wheel Failure

If ever you get the chance to test ride a high end bike, take it. I took two of the Storck bike out for a test ride that was at Eureka Cyclesports and was really impressed by them.

With each pedal stroke you could feel the effort being transferred  to forward motion.

CTC ride to the Shire horse Centre

It’s been a while since I rode with the CTC and it turned out to be a lumpy one. The weather was fine and it was time to bring the bibshorts out. Led by Janet who has a Contador style when climbing , I was near the back with Roy and his Saggan descending style (sitting on the cross bar). The stop above is where the group had a double puncture. I departed at Queenferry to come back via the Dee cycle crossing, a great days cycling

Things have been moving on the motorhome front with a few trips to local Caravan club sites. It was at Cheshire Oaks on a ride to the Eureka Cafe that the Sabbath rear wheel collapsed.

Worse was to come with the news that Dandy Storage and Truckstop was closing and we only had 3 weeks to move out.  It meant a trip back to Zone 1 Storage which was filling up fast, about 10 people had been down that afternoon. A few calls to other local storage sites were not answered or they were full too.

At least the road has been done and the topsoil mountain next door has been leveled.

 

Liverpool waterfront

Sabbath at Harrison Drive

Pubstop at The Ferry

Ridewise  I’ve been doing the Wirral Coastal trail a lot, which features a lot of traffic free cycle routes and paths. Anywhere midweek is a quiet ride if you stay off the A roads.  Liverpool looks good from the Seacombe side and you could get a good 60 miles in if you wanted to take in the Dee cyclepath to Chester.
Finding stuff like the Birkenhead Drill Memorial makes it an interesting ride.

CTC Spring 50

Panorama from Borras Head

Things didnt quiet go to plan on this ride as I arrived late after cleaning the chain with the Lidl chain cleaning tool.

The panorama picture above was the MotoG £100 smartphone working out I was taking a panoramic shot, stitching the pics together and uploading it to my Google Cloud with no intervention from myself.

Lunch stop

The Edge 800 got thoroughly confused by the figure of 8 Course that had the lunch stop at the start/finish. I should have just followed my nose as it’s not like I haven’t ridden it before.

I was getting false directions in Fardon about half a mile in. At Kinnerton it said I had finished and that was last years route! After lunch it proceeded to send me around Carden Park golf course, retracing to the gates where i met Chester Tri ladies doing the short route. It found itself back on course a mile or so after the Carden Arms.

Pub stop

Weekending 02 Feb 2014

I’ll start with a picture from last Saturdays ride were a fair few were caught out by the freakish winds and hailstones.

Hail at Cheshire Oaks Cycles

I’d ridden out to Steve Webb Models in Frodsham for some bits for the latest thing to divert my attention, mainly getting Pauls 20 year old radio controlled car back on the track. More of which in a later post. I took a trip out to the Ice Cream Farm with the grandkids on the Sunday and it was totally devoid of cyclists. Given the weather I don’t blame them.

Today was my first Sunday ride for a long time, with an early trip out to the Eureka. It was standing room only with large groups of Northend, Sunlight and Century packing the place out.

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This was after the Northend had already left for their ride.

Todays ride was with the CTC to the Grosvenor Garden Centre via Burton Point and the Dee Cycle path, which incidentally has had all the washed up plastic cleared.

Along with the tidal bore the Guppy was landing at Broughton for some more A320 wings.

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The phone camera doesn’t do it justice. You can’t see the screen to compose the picture so what you get is really pot luck in these conditions.

I ended up having a really good day saw some new faces and a lot of old ones.  The pace was relaxed but it still ended up as a 40 mile ride.  I split from the returning group at the end of Greenway continuing on to the Dee cycle crossing where I picked up a slow puncture.  Another stop at the square at Parkgate and again at Heswall golf club where I was diverted off the Wirral Way onto Well Lane and then home.

It turned out to be a 58.5 mile ride and would have been a fair bit more barring the slow puncture. I had planned on doing the Wirral circular to give the new light a try out.

On a different note  The Armstrong Lie is at Vue , Cheshire Oaks. 1 show a day  it’s going to be a short run by the look of things.

One is a Churchill victory salute the other is what English longbowmen waved to the French

Charging your Garmin Edge on the move

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This post is to address the issue of charging your Garmin Edge on the move. It’s been an ongoing problem for the long distance cyclist since the days of the 305. Battery life for an 800 is about 12 hours from 100% charge.

I resorted to trying to charge up my 305 in Audax control points with mixed results. As you can see an Edge 800 draws 440mA whilst charging a 50% discharged edge.  You can’t get blood out of a stone and whatever system you use your biggest enemy is going to be time.

The charging port on an 800/810 is on the bottom edge as above, this precludes the use of K Edge and Garmin Barmounts20130403_155632[1]

So for an Edge 800 it has to be the stem mount, conversely for an Edge 705 a bar mount may be the better option. On a 705 the charging port is on the bottom and an oversize stem may interfere with USB plug.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ultra-Compact-Lipstick-Sized-Sensation-ThunderBolt-Blackberry/dp/B005QI1A8C/ref=sr_1_20?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1388695578&sr=1-20&keywords=power+monkey

Do an Ebay or Amazon search for Power Bank or Power Monkey. There is a vast choice.

https://buy.garmin.com/en-GB/GB/shop-by-accesories/batteries/external-power-pack/prod86599.html

£70 is too much imho, bear in mind it has to charge on the move and the battery needs mounting somewhere. It needs to be robust.

Your Edge shutting down 100 miles is not something you want to see on a 120 mile ride.

The cheap emergency phone chargers are not up to the job for todays devices, like I said you cannot get blood out of a  stone. They are designed for a Nokia and who uses them these days.

The same applies to smartphones perhaps to a greater degree as battery life is hopeless with all the bells and whistles on.

If your already using something that works let me know what it is

In the near future I will be making a charging regulator designed to make use of the MagicShine battery pack.  The pack is rated at 8800mA/hr and will power the light for 3.5 hours.  It will consist of a 7805 regulator and plug for the battery.

October 2013

Another bit belated post as I try to get back into things I have put to one side, this blog being one of them.AppleMark

This was the highlight of the summer, Alpe d’Huez  before the Tour came through.  It was a fantastic trip doing about 2800 miles  taking 3 days each way to get to the Alps.

Next thing on the agenda is what direction to go with the blog, I cant post Strava links, Garmin connect links or anything that has<iframe in the html. It may be time to move off the WordPress platform and onto something else.    So the adds will be coming down as you need $100 worth of clicks which is an awful lot.

September saw a trip to Burrs Park Caravan club Site at Bury which was very good despite being prisoners in the van as we didn’t take any wet weather gear.
Boy did it rain.

It’s been increasingly difficult to get a Friday and Saturday night at any of the Northwest Caravan club Sites and they book up very fast, a bit further afield no problem, Derbyshire  and the lakes no problem. I can only put it down to the price of fuel.

The WRC is coming to Deeside next to the Toyota Factory so just making some preparations to watch that, it is a couple of hundred yards from the van storage.

September 2013

A bit belated but here goes.
September started with an attempt to ditch Windows by purchasing a ChromeBook that came with a great offer on it. The now old laptop has seen better days and now cuts out at times due to overheating.

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The above is the offcuts of a recent carpet that I had edged by the carpet shop by the roundabout by Wallasey village. Really knocked out by the speed and quality for a remarkable price. All done in less than 20 minutes . Link to follow.

Went back to a few more spinning classes at the Oval, with the downstairs showers in a worse state when I last moaned about them. Wirral Council now fine you for not turning up for any classes, perhaps the should spend some of the cash here. Missing ceiling tiles to void space, mould in grouting, door catches broken, with a look that it hasn’t been cleaned for a month.

Close it down rather than operate it in that state.

Took the bike out on a few Wirral Coastal path runs with the magicshine lights getting a charge as the nights are drawing in really fast.

Missed the TOB at Loggerheads as I had an early dental appointment which result in the possibility of an emergency appointment that afternoon. Headed out to an empty Eureka Cafe and headed home only to get the dreaded call.

Tried to fit the twin reversing camera to the van only to give up after a couple of hours with a few cuts as the rear moulding would not come off, it has to come off as the old camera is bolted to it. Now need a plan B. Van got booked in for a habitation service at Flintshire.

The whole motorhome dealer/warranty scene has left a sour taste in the mouth. I know who I WON’T be going to for a new van. It’s bad enough trying to get anything done let alone warranty work.

Off out for 3 days in a few hours. I will update things over the next few days. Next up is whether to pull the ads and change the theme for some thing I can customise.

Tour de France 2013

The Tour is nearly upon us again with the van having had it final trial last weekend. The Chunnel is booked for the 1st July with no firm plans in place at the moment .

The Trek got its pedals put back on today having ridden the Sabbath since last years Wild Wales.
I’m booked in at Bourg d’Oisans for 13 days and plan a leisurely drive down avoiding the toll roads as as a Class 3 vehicle I get charged the same as a coach or a truck. Paris to Grenoble is 137 euro. More in due course.20120901_143851Now a year old with just 3,600 miles on the clock it takes a lot to keep it in that condition. This will be its first Continental trip.

Friday: Email Campsite about extending stay from 3 July to 22 of July. Got a prompt acceptance back. The weekends promptly book up on most sites and we’d be dawdling down through France for 6 days. Not only that the Marmotte was penciled in for our arrival on 7 july. leaving on the 22nd means we can watch the final stageat the site before making our way home.

Contacted EuroTunnel about any height restrictions which shouldn’t affect me now as it’s 4.3 M.

Mailed Stu Boyd about the plan, he is thinking of taking a small tent up the Alpe, one thing I do know from the weather apps is that its down to 1 deg C at the moment.

A quick plug for Cycling the Alps

http://www.cyclingthealps.com/#tour-de-france-2013-stages

The loop around Alpe d’Huez is set to become the Worlds best Strava segment.

You’d want to use this site to plot where you want to park your motorhome on the Course.

Monday: Hit the road for 7.00 , last panic was where was the Nuvi satnav as I had only managed to upload the French Aires into it. Luckily it was in the passenger glove box. Gave the van another roof clean and we were on our way.
It turned out to be a 13 hour day.
Hit traffic at Birmingham after avoiding the toll road and the Garmin said I was running late, as I had set it to european time I was in fact up on time. It is not pleasant driving in truck traffic in the UK these days. Speeds are governed and the likes of Argos limit theirs to 54 mph.
Up to 65 mph the van drives great, it is subject to buffeting from coaches and trucks towing trailers. They have the aerodynamics of a brick.

Recycling Center Fire

I’ve an autobox with cruise control and it is an option that must be considered if you ever purchase a new van. There is enough to worry about without having to worry about changing gear.

I really liked Euro tunnel, gas checked, polite staff and 35 mins to France not that you would notice.

Calais Pretty clueless at this stage as we had not planned anything. Only one near miss, but did see my first crash. Parked up at Auchan for supplies. As I only had a vague itinerey the next stop was Reims.

Came off the peage too soon thinking it was an Aire. The good side was I only got charged as a class 2 instead of a class 3. Got to explore more of the French countryside before rejoining the same peage. Next stop was a big stop with most facilities, it was not for us and we headed of to Reims with the cruise control on and wondering about the scale of France. Val and I have been here before.

Checked out a few more Aires and most seemed to be full of trucks, as time was getting on and we were near Reims we called in at Mont de Nizy and stayed the night. Cost nothing and trucks were leaving at 4:30am.

Tuesday: Short trip into Rheims in rush hour, bit terrifying as it sent us up a tramway. Luckily the tram was stopped and it was all part of the traffic system. It did hilight how you need an up to date map in your garmin. A trip to an Ikea centre had a 3mtr height limit. I know where I am not wanted. programmed in Dijon as the next stop, avoiding toll roads, probably the best part of the journey so far. Rolling french landscape is unique but on a huge scale.

What did the Romans do for us

Some poor bastard got pulled by the gendamerie but we were warned :>)

Serious Van fright at Digon, riverside stop is not for me . 3m height limit!

On the plus side France is abound with fantastic places.

Mussy Sur Seine

Mussy sur Seine

Lunch Stop

Had a few issues with the garmin at times.

Low Bridge at Dijon

 

Took this after reversing out of a tricky situation. With the Dijon Aire now out of the picture we had to park up and work out what to do next. Things turned out best in the end as the next location in the app proved to be a good find.

Marssanay Marsannay La Cote Marsanay La Cote Town Hall

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New Dee Crossing.

The new cycle path between Burton and Deeside is open and word is spreading about it.

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Coming out at Zone3 it is best to stick to the signed route.

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There is no easy route out of the the Zones other than the signed route. I ended up at Tata Steelworks. I will post a gps link up when I download it.

Dee Cycle Path by frankkinlan at Garmin Connect – Details

Best viewed with the OSM overlay set. Cant post an embedded map as the blog can’t accept <iframe> commands.

There going to be some great routes out to Chester and Wales from now on.
One way or another you need to get over the River Dee if you are venturing into Wales.  Follow the signs for Chester to use the Dee Cycle Path.
If you have a  routable  OSM map in your Garmin you should be able to follow the cycle paths by Route number.

Thanks to DodgyD for the OSM mapping update.

Weekending 2 September 2012

Monday:  Post Wild Wales proved to be a total washout with typical Bank Holiday weather just like the good old days. I had planned a trip to the Mathew Street Festival but it was called of at the last minute due to high winds.

Rather than stay in a trip up to Preston to look at motorhomes  took shape. It was pretty treacherous to start with but as the day wore on things started to brighten up. Saw a few motorhomes that caught the eye  with one of the criteria being a large garage at the rear to take a bike. The other being a seatbelt for every passenger.

Shouldn’t be too hard a request you may say but the motorhome industry has been turning a blind eye to this problem for years. The two grandchildren would take up 2 three point seatbelts by law and after that anybody else is free to do pretty much what they like. I had looked at a Tribute 725 that ticked a few boxes but no 5th or 6th seatbelts. It proved to be a deal breaker given what it was going to cost. A trip back down to Cheadle  proved to be a waste of time as the dealer was closed.

Tuesday: Work but only for 2 days.
Wednesday: Work last day.
Thursday:  Trip to The Light to see Bourne Legacy. Nice cinema, reasonable prices during the day, haven’t been at night. Drinks license too, it’s nearly as dear to drink coke as it is beer.
Friday: Rode out to the Eureka for a BLT and a tea when Stuart turned up from his Anglesey camping trip with his Hewitt tourer on the back of his car.
He had a bit of a bad time recently so we resolved to ride out to the Knowsley Tour of Britain finish probably taking the ferry across the Mersey.
Saturday:  Took a trip to the UK motorhome and caravan Autumn Fair at Newark showground, Notts. Didn’t quite know what to expect but spent a couple of hours climbing in and out of motorhomes.  Had the worlds worst burger, £6 for a burger and 2 teas.
By this time we had settled on our new toy:

 

Just as well we made an on the spot decision as families were comeing to have a look at the motorhome as I was trying to sign up for it. Learn’t later that 2 had come back only to find it sold.

Given that the drive down to the show took us up to Leeds I tried to take a more direct route home that ended up taking 2 hours longer. Going over the Cat and Fiddle the average speed cameras didn’t seem to be bothering the bikers screaming past.
Arrived home late for a new start.
Sunday: Late start with a trip out to the Eureka for a BLT. Had been wet in the morning but dried out for what proved to be a fine day.

This marks a new chapter in my life, touring Europe, regaining the form that I have lost and just plain getting my act together.

Week Ending 17 Jun 2012

This is my new toy a Sabbath Silk Road.  It weighs in at 8.8 Kg with the Fulcrum Racing wheels that it came with. It’s pictured above with the Speedy Li tubs.

My first outing will be the Chester and NorthWales  CTC Bob Clift Memorial ride which starts at TheWaverton Institute, Village Road  Waverton. 9A.M for the 100 mile ride.
Entries are available on the line, not online.

Last year most opted for the 50 mile route with only 17 taking the 100 mile route.  It was a torrid ride but I’ve come back for some more of the same by the looks of the weather.

http://www.ctcchesterandnwales.org.uk/pdf/BobCliftEntry100.pdf

Been an interesting couple of weeks, Vita wise Chris has deceided to split and form his own club. Steve Smith (Springy) won his first race for the Vita race team and Dave finished 2 seconds behind Dave Zel in the TLI Oulton Park Road Race last Tuesday.

I’m getting increasingly annoyed at pointless Strava segment updates. Yesterday  I lost a KOM Segment that someone had uploaded recently. My ride was on last years Liverpool Chester Liverpool. The segment Levers Causeway to Barnston Road 2 miles.

On a slightly different tack gearing is starting to become an issue for me again. An 11-28 cassette has too big a gap between gears at the top end 21-24-28 doesn’t seem to work in the real world. One minute your OK and the next gear has you going backwards so to speak.

This is on a totally different track.

http://nabilt.github.com/diy_eshift/

Instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Electronic-Derailleur/

Photo

Good shot of Springy doing the business.

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Bob Clift Memorial Ride 2012

Some last minute fettling had me fitting a Crudracer  guard to the rear and then finding out minutes before I set off that I had left my Tool bottle in the shop.

Come the 9:00 start the heavens opened, made a bit of progress only to find out the chap I had caught up wasn’t on the ride.

Going up the switchback at Delamere Forest didn’t seem too bad, the rain was starting to ease off but I was still pretty damp.
Willington Corner had a scarecrow competition but the couldn’t match Great Budworth.

Tea and flapjack at the Ice cream farm. No dog begging for scraps this year.

Climbing out of Alderley Edge I got off at one stage to see if I did indeed have a compact chainset.  I’d have took a picture of the Wizard of Edge if it didn’t have cars parked in front of it.

Things start to go a bit pear shaped at Bollington as the Cafe Stop has move past Pott Shrigley, it means a fair bit of climbing with no sign of the cafe. The Routesheet comes out again. Out of desparation I ask a cyclist going the other way.

There is another event going on too as I pass a sign saying 5 miles to go . On the return I see 2 Rapha Condor Sharp riders decimating the Sportife riders.
The Coffee Tavern is further than I expected and not what I expected at all. It was packed. Our ticket entitled you to a pot of tea, sandwiches and a piece of cake. There was a bit of a delay but it was worth it. Can’t see how they made money out of us.
Top place, a bit quirky. Should be on everyones Cafe list.

If there is one thing I don’t like it’s retracing steps specially hilly ones. Heading back to Bollington there was a group of 8 who hadn’t found the Cafe yet. They were at least an hour behind and it would be a long day for them.

Thought I would have to walk on Redway looking at it but it was not to be and I made it in one go. Stopped at the top and took the picture  above which has Jodrell Bank in the back ground. The Tannoy from a Fete also set the tone for the afternoon.
Got passed by Bianchi guy but he was held up by the canal swing bridge in operation.

Some classic road names in this neck of the woods, how about Maggoty Lane with Maggoty wood. Next stop was the Canal Centre where I was last to sign in before it closed.
You start to get an appreciation of just how big Cheshire is or at least how little there is out there in the sticks. Phone signals are optional.

Last checkin is the Jessie Hughes Institute  at Eaton. Made it with 10 mins to spare. Got offered more cake but I was all caked up by this time. Made the finish just before 7pm, it had been a long day, 104 miles.

Saw plenty of wildlife on the ride bunnies, a duck with it’s ducklings crossing the road, squirrels and by the same token there was plenty of roadkill too.

On the final leg there was a chap in a faired recumbent tricycle coming the other way.  Looked a bit like one of the RedBull soapbox entries. You can’t miss it it’s canary yellow.

Had a good day in the end, knee twinges didn’t get  any worse and did ease off in the end, I need to make an effort to get my weight down again.