#TAW2018: Day 3 – Manorcunningham to Killybegs

200km, 2,725m

Great breakfast from the b&b then hit the road 8ish. Really pleased it was overcast so a bit cooler.

I’m the morning I met Andrea who is competing in the TAWR along with her husband; they are riding their own races. Andrea has been camping each night. We had a great early lunch together at Glenveagh national park. Later on down the road I met her again – her gear cable had snapped. She had brought a spare cable and was going to have a go at the repair. Later on I saw she had checked in at a nearby campsite so I hope all went ok.

I also bumped into Tomas, a courier from London on a very nice Canyon bike.

And then later on at the top of a pass I met Joshua from Sydney. He had set up a bivvy but giving up on the camp spot as he was being attacked by midges.

We rode on through the countryside at night – good fun.

I had to get the miles in so rode until quite late and then eventually found a spot to bivvy. I put on my midge head net (SO glad I bought it!) got into the bivvy bag and even without airmat or pillow I soon fell asleep.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1628518573 Read More

#TAW2018: Day 2 – Omagh to Manorcunningham

221km, 2792m elevation

Total so far: 412km, 4459m elevation

Despite being in hotel last night I didn’t get any sleep. The glow of the sun exposure and tired muscles keeping me awake. Had a nice chat with the night porter the who had lived in Tottenham for 30 years. He brought me a breakfast at 5am which took a while to eat and I didn’t get ready and going until 6:30ish the night porter stood at the hotel entrance, watch me unfold and waved me off down the road. The first part of my ride was to cycle the 50km to Derry Peace Bridge. I thought I would make it by 9 but was quite a bit later due to there being a lot of hills.

After cycling to the centre of the bridge (check point 1) I found a petrol station that was serving food, and had two fried egg rolls – my first hot food since breakfast yesterday.

The road out of Derry was not very cycle-friendly – having the option of lurking at the left hand of the car lane with fast traffic, or cycle along a badly surfaced hard shoulder. However, it wasn’t long before the coastline came into view, making things a lot better.

After a while the road turned inland and upwards, climbing up and giving a great view of the coastline. But it was steep and there were large chunks where I had to push the bike up. The next couple of hours offered lots of short steep hills and amazing views.

I heard a rattle coming from the front of the bike and stopped to discover the mounting bracket for my front light had snapped. Some sheep came over to watch me fix it with a bit of tape.

On the road again and low on water I passed through a village and spotted Julie who I had met yesterday and we caught up. I had a lunch at the pub.. ravioli and chips (piling on carbs!) – the ravioli was amazing.

A short while later I bumped into Iona who was planning to have a catnap. Both Julie and Iona had pressed on to Derry yesterday and when they arrived nothing was open so they shot through and bivvied and had uncomfortable and brief sleeps.

Cycling around Malin Head was amazing. The route stopped short of the view point at the top so I added a hundred metres so I could catch the view.

By then it was around 5pm. I aimed for a BnB on the route which I could reach by 11pm.

Well at least that was the plan. I didn’t count on Mamore Gap being such a steep or high climb. It just kept going up. Really beautiful though. And the downs were as impressive as the ups.

I then had to press on quickly to make it to the BnB. When I arrived I was presented with some scones and a pot of tea. Really welcome!

In other news: My clothes stink! Read More

Day 1 – Dublin to Omagh

#TAW2018: Day 1 – Dublin to Omagh

Day one went well. No aches or pains. Quite a few hills. Felt sick and had a severe headache from 2-4 pm because of the sun and heat(!) but felt better as soon as it cooled down. Fell over the bike whilst reversing it to take a photo of a cow. Bike and rider ok. Cow scarpered; no photo. Met lots of nice riders on the way. I think we’re like the cool kids at the back of the bus. Already regretting decision not to bring deodorant. Checked into hotel at planned time. This is as far as my planning went. From now on I’ll be ad-libbing it. Tomorrow to Derry and then onto the transatlantic way. Not looking at the weather forecast as there isn’t any point!

https://www.strava.com/activities/1624035227 Read More

Rapha Festive 500 – 2016

Yesterday I completed this year’s Festive 500 – an annual challenge set to the cycling community by the cycle clothing company Rapha. The challenge is for individuals to complete 500km (310 miles) of cycling over the eight days between Christmas Eve and the end of the year. Read More

River Tyburn bike ride

River Tyburn, Regents Park

Over the past year I’ve explored many of London’s lost rivers on bike and foot: The Westbourne, Fleet, Walbrook, Ravensbourne, Earl’s Sluice, Peck, Neckinger, Effra and Wandle.

This weekend I gave a small bike tour of the Tyburn, and have produced a very condensed version of some of its history which is available here: River Tyburn bike ride

Cadence controlled LED bike lights

I built some cadence controlled LED bike lights this week to put on my bike for this weekend’s Dunwich Dynamo – an annual overnight cycle ride from London to the coast.

Here is a quick demo of the thing in action:

Hardware

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July/August cycling

Back on the bike after my ankle operation, and in addition to the usual commute I got in a few long, fun rides. I pressed ‘pause’ on long rides in the first week of August to concentrate on running for a bit. There’s more to life than cycling after all! More of that later…

Dunwich Dynamo 2015

Dunwich Dynamo is an annual semi-organised cycling event which starts at London Fields on a Saturday evening and after cycling through the night you end up over 100 miles away at Dunwich beach sometime on Sunday.

It was a nice night. The weather was kind to us right up until we arrived at Dunwich, when it started raining.

Old brake padsDaylightDaylight pedalling

One advantage to doing this ride on the Brompton is that we were able to just fold our bikes up and put them in the hold of the coach rather than stacking them up with loads of other bikes in the trailer.

Cycling throughout the night is a tiring experience. This is what the coach home looked like(!):

Knackered

Mid-weekers

In the summer we did a few extra rides mid-week after work, and explored routes in Essex, Hertfordshire and Surrey.

Country laneNice horseyTower at sunsetCycling in the suburbs at twilightPizza deliverySurrey sunsetSurrey promiseBoxhill at dusk

Saturday river ride

On a particularly sunny Saturday, three of us rode to Richmond and then continued along The Thames. This was such a nice ride we’ll have to repeat it in a larger group on another sunny day.

Sunny dirt trackRegatta on The ThamesRiver boatAt the palaceWith the deerThe Bridge

Dartmoor Hills

‘Four go down to Dartmoor’ – the sequel. We went on a day-trip to Devon, taking an early train down, a cycle around, and a late train home. Daniel planned this route, and it was packed with hills, breathtaking views and sunshine.

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100

I did the Pru 100 on my big-wheeled bike. It was really well organised and cycling through London on closed roads is an opportunity not to be missed. There was a bit of congestion up the hills in Surrey, but otherwise a very enjoyable ride. It was really nice to see so many spectators lining the streets too. My time was 5h44m. I’ve signed up again to be considered in the ballot for 2016. If I get in I’ll probably do it on my Brompton to add extra fun 🙂

Pru 100 finish lineMedal winnerMmmedal