“At least you’ve got something to blog about”

Isn’t camping dreadful!
We arrived in Yorkshire yesterday afternoon and proceeded to put up Ollie’s parents large tent, before realising that we had forgotten the groundsheet and the internal compartments. So we put up the small tent inside it.

The bikes are happy because they have space ‘inside’.

However despite being in a tent within a tent, and it being about 5-9 degrees last night, it was SO cold. When PJs, a beanie hat and sleeping bag weren’t enough I brought in the ‘bike duvet’; an old duvet which is used to protect the bikes when they are inside the car. It’s covered in chain oil.
When that wasn’t enough, I wore my jacket and big fluffy gilet with hood. That was better.
Pretty restless night though; rain and gales throughout.
However, on the plus side. The food has been very nice. Pasta warmed up on the stove last night , followed by pancakes, and we have just finished breakfast of veggie sausages, eggs and beans.
And, amazingly we were able to watch a film on Netflix last night. A tent with all the mod cons and a campsite with enough bandwidth to stream a film!

Anyway, we had better go and wash up. We came up here to cycle, and despite heavy rain and gales we are still going to try and attempt 80 miles and 8000ft of climbing today.

We managed ‘Cote de Cray’ yesterday a which was 32 miles and just under 3,000ft of climbing and that was hard enough, especially with the wind. I don’t think there are any flat bits in Yorkshire.
Wish us luck. We are going to need it.
Wish the Ribble luck – it’s getting wet for the first time. Poor thing. (Slightly odd sentence since the Ribble is actually a river).

Been there, done that.

It’s hurricane like weather today (not as bad as London 100 – obviously).


Today’s weather forecast

Ollie went out to chase some Strava KOM’s and was successful, but I stayed in essay writing (saved by academia…phew!)

20150329-KOM chasing

Off to enjoy a tail wind.

Keeping with tradition, essay-writing means blog post writing and I realised I haven’t posted anything about my amazing new bike! But I can’t take much time out from the essay as I really want to get it done today so that we can do lots of miles over the Easter weekend. Chris is riding his first road-race and we are going to cycle over to see him, and then we are going on a nice long siblings ride with the two Chris’ (Ollie’s brother and my brother) on Easter Monday – assuming the weather improves! I am not entirely convinced by the media reports of a heat wave next weekend!

I have done 143 miles on the Gran Fondo now and have won four Queen of the Mountain’s, it is incredibly comfortable and I just feel like I can carry on. I went out for a 40 mile ride with a new cycling buddy on Friday, Sarah, and discovered that I am pretty rubbish at estimating mileages. At the 24 mile point I told her that the cafe was 4 miles away. It was 11, into a headwind. Sorry Sarah! But I think the large piece of yummy Tiffin made up for it. 🙂 After breaking away I decided I would go the long-way home but just ended up carrying on until I got so hungry that I had to stop! It was great!

Although saying that, I was making the ride up as I went along and had no real plan in mind…which ended me up at the bottom of a 17% hill.


Pulling an ugly face, at the thought of having to climb a 17% hill.

And worst of all… I ended up with DIRT on my bike.


Going away until the summer.

All in all, very happy. My bike is now sporting bright, racing red, bar tape too so I am bound to go even faster!

Back to the essay – lots of cycling adventures to be had next weekend!

Until then..


A work in progress 

Ollie has been hard at work on the Ribble this week. No T.V for him, he’s far happier tinkering! I now have a new Derailleur, cassette, tyres, saddle and handlebars. Sadly no chain though, as the one I purchased has turned out to be too short by seven links. Frustrating! 

Apart from the chain (pretty vital) there’s just the pedals, bottle cages and pump to fit and then I may actually be able to have a go on it! 

I have been busy, selling the spares, from the comfort of the sofa.  So far I have managed to sell the Derailleur and the tyres. The cassette and saddle have proven less popular and I have been slacking tonight so the handle bars haven’t yet been advertised. The power of Facebook means that people in various cycling groups have benefited from purchasing lovely, brand new components, and I have managed to get some of my money back, without having to pay a sellers fee to EBay. Win win. 

And in the time I took to write this post…

Spot the difference.


Road trip posting 

We are on our way back down south on the M6 – the day has not been as successful as we had hoped it would be. Ribble put a spanner in the works by putting the Grand Fondo on offer this weekend, which as far as we can tell, means the following:

  • The bike I would like to buy is available much cheaper this weekend, but only with limited options. Options which do not meet my requirement. 
  • The bike that I would like to buy is also available as normal, but at an inflated start price. 


So I have several choices:

  1. Buy the offer bike with Di2 but with a 11-25 spec and wider than required handlebars and then seperately buy the rear mech, cassette, chain and handlebars. About £40 cheaper than the price I was originally planning to pay but with considerable changes needed from the off. 
  2. Buy the offer bike with mechanical shifting with an 11-25 spec and wider than required handlebars and then serperately buy the rear mech, cassette, chain and handlebars. Just under £1200, but with considerable changes from the off. 
  3. Buy the standard bike with Di2 with the spec that I require. £1924.85. Over budget – therefore not an option.
  4. Buy the standard bike with Mechanical shifting and the spec that I require. £1450. Not an option, option 2 would be preferable.
  5. Wait until Monday, when the offer is over, hope that the price goes back down on the Di2 standard. Buy as planned at planned price. Risk: if the price doesn’t go back down then Di2 is no longer an option.

I thought I had successfully made a decision and now there are more to make. 

Decisions, decisions, decisions…and a horror film.

Yippeeeee! It’s a lovely day, I am about to go out on my bike for the afternoon and tomorrow we are heading up to Bamber Bridge in Lancashire to purchase the new bike. All in all pretty exciting.

I am fairly rubbish at making decisions, I struggle with questions as simple as “how much dinner would you like?” – to which I generally reply “oh, the normal amount” and then go back for seconds. The purchase of my first bike (a Giant Defy 2) was so painful for the people in my old office that my boss mentioned it in her speech when I left, under “what we won’t miss”. And the procurement of my second bike has, if anything, been worse. I now know more about bikes and about the spec that I would like. I am not simply taking my brother’s advice or choosing the prettiest one.

So I always assumed that I would upgrade to another Giant. Due to neck pains on my current bike I did however decide that I would go for a WSD, so the Giant Avail Advanced 1 looked like the obvious choice and I would easily be able to purchase this from the LBS.  But that wasn’t to be, it met my spec but it isn’t available in time. Circumstance therefore forced me to consider other options, so we took ourselves off for a weekend in London and a visit to the bike show. My previous post summarises my thoughts from that trip.

I have since considered and ruled out the Scott Contessa Solace, a lovely bike, but then so it should be for £1700 – particularly when the components are only 105. When I say only 105, I mean for the price; 105 is very good, apparently. The Cannondale I have not given any further thought to; Cannondale were never on my radar before the bike show and I am really not fussed still. So that left Dolan and Ribble to fight it out.

Tomorrow I am off to Ribble. Dolan is half an hour away but I doubt I will go there. I think…I have made a decision. 

Ribble Grand Fondo, Di2.

I think I will need more than electronic shifting to get up here though: http://thecolcollective.com/col-collection/col/alpe-dhuez

I had better get out in the sunshine and do some training!