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First Recumbent Century (long)



 
 
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  #1  
Old June 7th 04, 01:38 PM
Danny Colyer
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Default First Recumbent Century (long)

There was a time when I would often go out at the weekend and enjoy a 70
or 80 mile ride, or occasionally a bit further. But that was before my
beloved and I became an item.

On 10 July 1998 (a week after I first asked Catherine out), I towed my
BoB 140 miles to a juggling convention. Then I took 3 days over getting
home. That was the last time I rode more than 60 miles in a day, and I
can only think of five occasions when I've ridden more than 30 miles.
Since then I've wanted to spend my weekends with Catherine (and more
recently with the kids), and she hasn't wanted to do that sort of mileage.

But I've missed my long rides, and for years I've intended to ride the
Avon Cycleway, an 85 mile (according to the leaflet) loop around the
outside of Bristol. Last year I agreed with a friend that we'd ride it
together this summer. As Catherine's taken the kids to her mum's for a
few days, and I've booked Monday to Wednesday off work to make the most
of a few days to myself, this weekend seemed an ideal opportunity.

To start with I wasn't at all sure about my ability to complete the
ride, it being my first long ride in 6 years and the first ever on the
recumbent (I arbitrarily define 'long' as anything over about 70 miles).
I was even less confident about Jamie, although he seemed sure enough
of himself. I had no doubts about his fitness, but I knew he hadn't put
in many miles on the Speed Machine. When it came to it, he seemed to
finish the ride a lot fresher than I did.

I arranged to meet Jamie at Warmley Station (on the Bath-Bristol
cyclepath) at 10:00 on Sunday morning. I had thought long and hard
about which of my 3 pairs of cycling shoes to wear for a ride of this
length, but one look out the window on the morning of the ride confirmed
that it had to be the sandals. Throwing fashion caution to the wind, I
also slung a pair of socks in a pannier just in case we were late back
and it got chilly. Thankfully I didn't need them.

With my ever improving slaphead credentials I deemed it prudent to wear
a cap, but that didn't last more than an hour before I decided it was
just too hot.

After a hearty breakfast of porridge, I left home at 09:55 and arrived
at Warmley Station dead on time, to find that Jamie had already been
there for a few minutes. The first 5 miles (along the cyclepath) were
of very little interest to me, as I ride them every morning on my way to
work. It all got a bit more interesting after we passed my office.

From Saltford, our route (NCN Regional Route 10) coincided with NCN
National Route 3. I was impressed by how well signposted Route 3 was,
and said as much. 2 miles later we found ourselves retracing our
tyre tracks having missed the turning for Burnett. It turned out that
there *was* a sign but it was buried in a tree.

When we found our turning, we stopped for a snack. I took my first
photo of the day and removed my sweaty cycling cap. While we were
stopped, Jamie was stung 3 times by a bee. Yes, I know it's surprising
to be stung 3 times by the same bee, but it was definitely a bee (I
helped him get it out of his jersey), it definitely didn't leave it's
sting behind (I saw it clearly) and there were definitely 3 puncture
marks (which Jamie hoped to use for sympathy from his wife later on).

2 miles later (after a fantastic descent) we stopped at Compton Dando to
take my second photo (of the church), only to find that my camera
battery was flat. Catherine had the digital camera in Sevenoaks with
her, so I had my old film camera with the 3-year-old film that I hoped
to use up. Until shortly before leaving I also had the disposable
camera that lives in my pannier, but I had discarded it because I felt I
was carrying too much.

We stopped again for another snack 3 miles later, in the shade of the
magnificent Pensford Viaduct. I wished I had a working camera with me.

Somewhere between Stanton Drew and Chew Valley Lake, Route 10 seems to
part company with Route 3. We hadn't realised this and, not having seen
any Route 10 signs, carried on following Route 3. This fortuitous
mistake led us to the Spar in Bishop Sutton, where I was able to buy a
camera battery. Then, once we worked out where we were, we were soon
able to find our way to the Northern shore of the lake where we stopped
for lunch. We were watched by a young boy who was fascinated by our
bikes and whose father, had he wanted to get away, would have had little
hope of shifting the child until he had seen us ride off.

Soon after Chew Valley Lake, Regional Route 10 rejoins National Route 3
for a few more miles, so we again had adequate signage. When the routes
again diverged, Route 10 was clearly marked. We rode the next 14 miles
to Clevedon with few navigational problems. When I noticed on the map
that we were passing close to Nempnett Thrubwell, I resisted the
temptation to suggest a detour to see just what The Wurzels were singing
about.

On the approach to Clevedon we had a continuous 3 mile descent. While I
reflected on how nice it was to have a bike that could be ridden at
30+mph with no stability problems even when heavily laden, I also
couldn't help thinking about the cyclists' theory of gravity. What
goes down, must go back up.

At Chelvey we stopped again and had a long chat with a local cyclist who
had stopped for a can of lager. He was surprised that we were planning
to ride the whole of the Avon Cycleway in one day, but reckoned we
should make pretty short work of it on the recumbents.

In Clevedon I prodded my scalp and decided it was starting to go pink,
so I put my cap back on and kept it on until the sun was low enough to
pose no threat.

From Clevedon, the route runs alongside the M5 for about 7 miles.
Somewhere along there, 39 miles into the ride, Jamie suffered the only
puncture of the trip. A snakebite caused by hitting a pothole with
underinflated tyres. Stelvios have a minimum pressure rating of 85psi,
but when I squeezed the other tyre I estimated the pressure at about
60psi. After helping him remove the wheel, I took the opportunity
to have a snack and replenish my sun cream. And to take a photo of
Jamie fixing a puncture :-)

At Clapton in Gordano, while we were stopped to look at the map, we were
passed by a couple of upright cyclists who seemed to be going our way
and to know where they were going. After catching them up on a descent,
it transpired that they were riding at the same speed as we were. So we
followed them for the next 3 miles. Just before Pill they turned down a
side road that wasn't signposted as part of the route, so we stopped to
check the map.

After a brief discussion with a very nice lady who told us we looked
great on our bikes, we concluded that they had gone the right way, so we
headed off down there ourselves. And got lost. We should have just
kept following the other guys.

The Wurzels sang about Pill as well ("Pill, Pill, I love thee still").
Dunno why, from what little I've seen of it it's a dump.

Eventually we found our way to the mile long bridge where the M5 (and
the cyclepath alongside it) crosses the Avon. On the ascent to the
bridge I was mildly amused by the signs saying "Maximum Speed 15mph",
but not as amused as if I hadn't already seen a sign saying that mopeds
and scooters were allowed to use the path.

On the bridge itself we leapfrogged each other, each taking photos of
the other riding. Standing on a motorway bridge when a lorry goes past
is *very* disconcerting. Then towards the end we checked to see where
we were going next, and at this point we noticed a difference between
our route guides. My 1998 edition directed us up the B4055 towards
Henbury, while Jamie's 2001 edition directed us up an off-road cyclepath
that presumably didn't exist in 1998. We decided to follow the more
recent guide, ending up on Route 41 and seemingly on a route marked on
Jamie's map as "proposed future route for the Avon Cycleway".

Then we got lost again. We continued to follow Route 41 in the hope
that it was going where we wanted to go, but we really didn't know where
we were. We'd have been much better off following my older route guide.
Still, by following Route 41 we eventually found a sign for Route 10. I
also got some great pictures for my farcilities page - the gates on
Route 41 are ludicrous.

The rest of the route was reasonably well signposted. Somewhere around
Olveston (about 60 miles in) I started to tire, and for the next 15
miles the hills seemed cruel. At about 70 miles Jamie phoned his wife
to tell her he'd be home a couple of hours later than expected, and got
an earful. Then somewhere around Yate, knowing we were on the home
run, I caught my second wind. Unfortunately that was also when it got
dark, so we really had to keep a sharp eye out to see the little brown
route signs. Lighting wasn't a problem, as both our bikes are fitted
with SON hub dynoamoes and Lumotec Oval Plus lights. Jamie also had one
of his Lumicycles with him, but I only had a couple of LED's for backup.

On the outskirts of Yate we joined another off-road cyclepath for a few
hundred yards. It was tarmacced, with a bridleway running alongside it
and a sign instructing equestrians to keep off the tarmac. So,
predictably enough, the tarmac was liberally sprinkled with horse****.

The next 9 miles seemed a lot easier than the previous 30. Jamie and I
parted company at Mangotsfield Station, by which time it was nearly 2
hours later than he had originally told his wife to expect him home.
And he had to get up for work in the morning. I felt very glad that my
wife was away and I /didn't/ have to get up for work in the morning.

I had another mile of the loop left to ride. Jamie had already ridden
it on his way to meet me in the morning. But before tackling it, I
stopped for a flapjack and drained the last of my water.

I had always intended, if I felt up to it when I reached Warmley Station
for the second time, to add another loop to take my mileage up to the
magic 100 mile mark. I was actually feeling pretty shattered by the
time I returned to Warmley Station, and I'd been getting twinges in my
right knee for the last couple of miles. But with my computer reading
94.97 miles, I decided to go for it. Perhaps not a wise decision, given
the knee twinges, but who knows when the next opportunity to complete a
century will be?

I headed first for the drinking fountain a few hundred yards further
along the cyclepath. Then I went to explore some of the local sections
of the ring road cyclepath that I've never bothered with before,
discovering some interesting links. When I finally reached my front
door, at one minute to midnight, feeling very ready for the big bowl of
pasta that I had thankfully prepared the night before, and with my knee
killing me, my computer showed a trip distance of 101.21 miles at an
average speed of 11.2mph. I would have liked to have gone a little bit
further, knowing that my computer could conceivably be out by as much as
2%, but I really didn't want to ride any further with that knee.

(I remember that I used to allow for an average speed of 10mph for long
rides, but I couldn't remember whether that included stops or not.
After taking 14 hours to complete a century, I can only conclude that it
probably didn't).

I don't think I've ever felt less like stretching, but stretch I did.
After a good night's sleep the only serious aches were in my Achilles
tendons, which I hadn't thought to stretch because I've never had a
problem with them before. At no point did I suffer any of the back or
neck aches that would have resulted from doing this ride on an upright bike.

Overall it was a good ride, and my first long ride with company, which
was nice. And now we know that we should be OK on the 60 miler that we
plan to do next weekend (Clevedon Challenge in Bristol's Biggest Bike
Ride, plus the ride to the start and home again at the end):
URL:http://www.bristol-city.gov.uk/tourism/bbbr_2004_index.html

Much of the route is along the same roads that we rode on Sunday, but in
the opposite direction. I did the same ride on the Street Machine 3
years ago, so I hoped I should be OK, but of course you can lose a lot
of fitness in 3 years.


--
Danny Colyer (the UK company has been laughed out of my reply address)
URL:http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/
"He who dares not offend cannot be honest." - Thomas Paine
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  #2  
Old June 7th 04, 02:16 PM
Peter Clinch
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Posts: n/a
Default First Recumbent Century (long)

Danny Colyer wrote:

snip nice TR

I'm sort of waiting for an Obvious opportunity rather than particularly
planning one. I thought the moment might have been when I had to pick
up the bike from Ben after leaving it to have its new HS33 brakes
fitted, and I set off from Bearsden along the Forth Clyde canal path,
figuring I'd take a look at the Falkirk Wheel and then popping in a
deviation or two to get up to 100 back at Dundee.

All went well up until Falkirk (the Wheel is very cool!) but then it
started pleuting. Decided to head for Stirling and if it had turned
into serious rain I could bail out c/o my return ticket and if it blew
over I could carry on with another bail option at Perth. Unfortunately
it turned into Serious Rain and wanting to enjoy myself I caught the
train home :-(

Ah well, another opportunity will arise, I'm sure...

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/

  #3  
Old June 7th 04, 02:26 PM
Graeme
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Default First Recumbent Century (long)

Danny Colyer wrote in news:ca1nm4$36h$1
@news7.svr.pol.co.uk:

Throwing fashion caution to the wind


We've seen the photos Danny, we know you threw that into a raging gale some
time ago :-)

Nice trip report by the way.


Graeme
  #4  
Old June 7th 04, 02:40 PM
Graeme
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Default First Recumbent Century (long)

Peter Clinch wrote in news:ca1pku$drr$1
@dux.dundee.ac.uk:

Unfortunately
it turned into Serious Rain and wanting to enjoy myself I caught the
train home :-(


I've always found Serious Rain to be good fun. Mind you, a few hours of it
might be a bit much. Does heavy rain affect you more on a 'bent as you're
more "face up" compared to a wedgie?

Graeme
  #5  
Old June 7th 04, 02:55 PM
Peter Clinch
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Default First Recumbent Century (long)

Graeme wrote:

I've always found Serious Rain to be good fun. Mind you, a few hours of it
might be a bit much.


Well, quite. And there's rain and there's rain. This wasn't a light
shower with festive rainbows, this was prolonged, cold and driven pretty
nastily by a good supply of wind. The "take off glasses to see where
I'm going" kind :-(
I did have the waterproofs, and was very glad of them too by the time I
got to Stirling.

Does heavy rain affect you more on a 'bent as you're
more "face up" compared to a wedgie?


It'll depend on the exact vehicle. A lowracer with no mudguards would
be no fun at all, pop a Streamer fairing on something like the
Streetmachine and you'd be significantly drier.
I don't find that much difference aside from a tendency for small
puddles to form in creases on the front of my jacket, plus my feet stay
drier.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/

  #6  
Old June 7th 04, 03:12 PM
JohnB
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Posts: n/a
Default First Recumbent Century (long)

Graeme wrote:

Peter Clinch wrote in news:ca1pku$drr$1
@dux.dundee.ac.uk:

Unfortunately
it turned into Serious Rain and wanting to enjoy myself I caught the
train home :-(


I've always found Serious Rain to be good fun. Mind you, a few hours of it
might be a bit much. Does heavy rain affect you more on a 'bent as you're
more "face up" compared to a wedgie?


I have a streamer fairing for the trice that keeps most of me dry.
I do find rain a bit ununcomfortable on the face - I do not like water
in my eyes and usually wear a small peaked cap on the bike.
It is certainly less effective on the 'bent.

John B
  #7  
Old June 7th 04, 03:22 PM
PK
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Default Cycling in the rain. Was: First Recumbent Century (long)

Graeme wrote:
I've always found Serious Rain to be good fun. Mind you, a few hours
of it might be a bit much.


FUN!

Was cycling in the Jura (France) last week. Saw the sun for 3 hours the
whole week. The first day was the wettest i have ever been out in never mind
cycled! My waterproof was not up to the job and my wife's very expensive
goretex cycling jacket worked for a while then it too gave up in disgust!

Spent 3 hours in a cafe at lunch waiting for the rain to ease - it just got
worse!

And you say serious rain can be fun!

Bah! Humbug!

Great holiday though - tremendous food and organisation (Headwater) -
despite the weather.

Drove back 12 hours yesterday - blazing sunshine all the way!

pk


  #8  
Old June 7th 04, 03:32 PM
Peter Clinch
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Default Cycling in the rain. Was: First Recumbent Century (long)

PK wrote:

And you say serious rain can be fun!


Some major mud-based silliness on the MTB for maybe an hour or so, yes,
especially if you're in a position to say "Enough! Off to the Tea Shop"
and (a) be there and (b) not be refused admission in a matter of minutes.

If, OTOH, you have no choice but to keep hacking away along very long
roads or tracks as you get wetter and colder then...

Bah! Humbug!


is, I'd say, about the size of it. Hence my bailing out of my proposed
Century after about 40 miles :-( Still, the first 30 or so were most
agreeable.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/

  #9  
Old June 7th 04, 06:27 PM
Danny Colyer
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Posts: n/a
Default First Recumbent Century (long)

I wrote:
Throwing fashion caution to the wind


and Graeme responded:
We've seen the photos Danny, we know you threw that into a raging gale some
time ago :-)


Ttthhhrrrppp! :-P

I almost hoped I'd have to resort to the sandals, so that I could write
something like:
"I'd already donned my legwarmers and gilet. Now I took the fashion
plunge and put my socks on under my sandals, despite still being more
than 9 years shy of my 40th birthday."

But at 23:00, the digital thermometer on the building opposite Warmley
Station was reading 19C. I put my gilet on towards the end of the ride,
but I really didn't need any more than that.

--
Danny Colyer (the UK company has been laughed out of my reply address)
URL:http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/
"He who dares not offend cannot be honest." - Thomas Paine
  #10  
Old June 7th 04, 06:31 PM
Danny Colyer
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Posts: n/a
Default First Recumbent Century (long)

Peter Clinch wrote:
snip nice TR


Thanks Pete. I wasn't sure if anyone would read it to the end, but I
thought it'd be a nice way to remember the ride.

I was about to write something about it being the first ride report I'd
written, then I remembered a couple of unicycle ride reports that I'd
written in the past. So I used Google to track them down, and I've
brought them all together on my website. Once I've got my films
developed I'll add some pictures to the latest report.

All went well up until Falkirk (the Wheel is very cool!) but then it
started pleuting. Decided to head for Stirling and if it had turned
into serious rain I could bail out c/o my return ticket and if it blew
over I could carry on with another bail option at Perth. Unfortunately
it turned into Serious Rain and wanting to enjoy myself I caught the
train home :-(


That sounds like a wise decision (and 'pleuting' has added to my
vocabulary).

--
Danny Colyer (the UK company has been laughed out of my reply address)
URL:http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/
"He who dares not offend cannot be honest." - Thomas Paine
 




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