Category: cycling with the wife

weekend mud

With the rains we have had over the past couple of weeks there was very little chance of anything other than mud on the trails. Yesterday was a family ride over the local heath. For the wife it was her first return to the heath for nearly 18 months, for our son it was his first visit (on a bike).

I had opted for a simple figure of 8 loop around the heath avoiding the worst of the hills and leaving the biggest puddle (read lake) till near the end of the ride so if anybody got it wrong and got soaked at least we would be heading home.

Being as the heath is only about a mile up the road from home we opted to ride up there, there only one section of main road to negotiate and riding along there was done on the pavement, all the rest was side roads.

Once on the heath we started with an easy fire road ride before turning off onto a tyre track rutted trail. This is where we had our first faller, dear son being a little nervous and finding him self on the hump between the (deep) tyre tracks wobbled and fell over the handle bars, fortunately only his pride was hurt.

After descenting the hill we soon found the mud as we rode through a stream running down a narrow trail. We were soon onto another fire road and heading up to out next bit of single track. Here dear son quite happily took off like a rocket, near the end of the trail I had to shout to him to mind the drop near the gate (there quite a few gates on the heath) fortunately he saw the ramp section and went down that (the other side is two steps).

The next section I did not expect either the wife or the son to ride and I was not wrong. The first bit is a little downhill slope on loose loamy soil with a small bank at the bottom to go over then a 90 degree left into heavy muddy soil before turn 90 degree right, a short straight and then up a short very sharp slope. To be honest I have yet to get up the slope. I rode down and around and stopped half way up the slope and pushed the last few steps to the top as normal. I got a shout from dear son to give him a hand with pushing his bike up the slope. When I got to the slope the wife appeared riding her bike towards the foot of the slope having climbed back on the bike after the muddy soil section, seeing dear son stuck at the bottom of the slope she applied her brakes and stopped only to find that she had stopped on the centre section of the path and could not put her feet down, cue the wife falling sideways into the undergrowth. I decided to pull dear sons bike up the hill first before rescuing the wife from the undergrowth.

The next main section was the clay pit, basically it is a small pond that overflows across the path and runs off into the woods, unfortunately where it overflows is all clay, I know the easiest route through and I cleared it without a problem. My wife and son decide they are going to walk across (to save falling off, it smells foul). Dear son promptly try to walk through the middle of the clay with his foot disappearing into the clay to above his ankle boots, the wife walks through with no problems.

Next there is short descent then the big puddle, I told the pair of them where to ride, I then showed them where to ride around the edge (in the middle we are talking axle deep). Dear son sets off and with a lot of shouts of encouragement from me gets around the edge ok and joins me on the other side. Unfortunately the wife set off at the same time and right behind dear son and found herself cycling into the middle of the puddle to avoid running into the back of him, she managed to make it to high ground in the middle having drowned her feet but still had the second bit to go, after a few words of encouragement (you can stay there if you want but we are going, sort of thing) she eventually cleared the puddle with very we feet.

The rest of the ride was fairly straight forward before picking up the fire road and heading for home.

I did my normal Sunday Throop Loop ride this morning, for one reason or another I have not ridden it for a couple of weeks so I was not sure what various section of the ride was going to be like, to be honest it was not as muddies as I had expected.

There was nothing exciting to report apart from three minor events. First I was confronted with 4 young bulls on a very narrow path, fortunately they were close to where they got onto the path so I managed to shoo them back up the path and into there field. Secondly I fell off, front wheel dug in in some loose sand and I fell onto the handlebars before exciting the bike side ways and finally my saddle nearly fell off. It seems as though when I dismantled everything the other week I did not do the saddle clamps up tight enough. With the noise it was making I got to the point where I had already made a note to look at the saddle when I got back home. I had stopped to open a gate and as I pulled my bike round to get back on the bike, I grabbed the saddle and it moved all over the place stopped. I removed the seat post and tighten everything up again.

My afternoon consisted of cleaning the bike and putting a new felt roof on the shed, the temporary repair I did and couple of weeks ago came off sometime in the weeks and inside the shed was soaking. So I got some felt from B&Q yesterday and this afternoon I could be found sitting on our shed roof. At least that another job out the way.

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van 1 pheasant 0

More on the title later, this past week has been a different sort of cycling week. Two evening rides, nothing exciting, one ride over the local heath and the other ride was around Throop and Hurn forest. The reason for two night rides was the fact I was working away this past weekend so I would not have much chance to ride although we (the wife came with me) did take the bikes with us.

After an early start from home on Saturday I was soon at head office shutting the IT system down so I could do some work on the support equipment. Thankfully it was one of those day when everything went as it should of done (well almost) and by mid afternoon we were on our way to Tewkesbury for an over night stay.

Having sorted out how to get the TV working I watched the highlights of the Wales v France rugby and like everybody else felt Wales were robbed. We then went for a wander around Tewkesbury grabbed some food and then retired back to the van.

Sunday dawned sunny but by the time I got up it had clouded over, watched the first half of New Zealand and Australia before heading for the Croft Trail at Swindon. It was along the M5 that we bumped into a Pheasant. It decided to walk across the hard shoulder into lane one, he got as far as lane two and then turned round and headed back toward the hard shoulder, with us closing on it quickly, it then decided that it would try and out run us, Pheasant are not renowned for their speed (on foot or flying) and the inevitable happened, a loud thump from the front of the van and the Pheasant was last seen heading at great speed into the undergrowth at the side of the hard shoulder. On reaching the Croft trail car park it was not hard to find the Pheasant’s point of impact, there was plenty of blood, feathers and guts on the front bumper.

After three laps of the Croft Trail and some lunch it was time to head home as I now had to wash the blood and guts off the van.

Not sure what the week holds for me, feeling a bit below par at the moment

that did not go to plan

I went to bed on Friday night with a plan, in between going to sleep and waking up somebody binned it.

The day did not start well, I had intended to be up early as we were going for a ride and I wanted to beat the forecasted afternoon rain. I had even toyed with the idea of getting up early enough to watch the rugby, but waking up at 8:30am put pay to that idea. So after breakfast the three of us got ready to go for our ride. As were we loading the van my son suddenly started screaming in pain, at first I could not see what the problem was but I was soon made aware that I had just shut his finger in the cab door. Quickly opening the door and taking him indoors I put his hand under a running tap to wash the blood away and try and ascertain the damage. After calming him down the damage was not as bad as first feared, he could still bend his finger and it was only the top section of his finger (down to where his nail appear out of the finger) got trapped. On closer inspection with the door, it seems his finger was more like pinched than crushed, the coming months will let us know if he will loose the nail.

While we were sorting out my sons finger accident I was expecting the days riding to be called off but he was still keen to go riding with the aid of a plaster on his finger so who was I to stop him? We opted to go for a ride at Moors Valley around the Through the Woods trail. He has ridden it before but that was on his small bike, I was a bit concerned that with the wider handlebars he would be collecting a few trees on the way round. But no he shot off in front and I had to keep telling to wait or slow down so his mum could catch up.

After one lap of the trail the wife and son went to get a drink and something to eat and I went of for another lap of the trail which included checking out a few other bits on the way round. Ended up spending about two hours out there on a warm Saturday morning.

Sunday mornings ride was the normal Throop Loop, kept bumping into another group of cyclist as I went round Hurn Forest we would meet up follow each other for a couple hundred yards and then go off in different direction only to meet up again a little further on.

During the last couple of rides I have been bugged by a creak from the bottom bearing area, I was confused by this as I fitted a new bottom bearing a few weeks ago and new pedals about 6 weeks before that. So today I decided to check the bottom bearing, I was not happy with what I found, the non-drive side bearing had very little grease in it, not only did it have very little grease it looked completely different sort of grease to what was in the drive side bearing. I decided to repack both bearing and then see what it feels\sounds like on my next ride, but I feel a grumpy letter coming on…..

Talking of grumpy letter, Virgin Media don’t reply to letter of complaint any more or so it seems. They have failed to reply to the one I sent on the 25th Sept. despite saying they will contact me within 5 days and the second letter I sent them on 6th Oct I still have not heard from them again despite being told they would contact me within 5 days. Why are communication companies the worst companies to contact, why am I becoming a grumpy old git?

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three rides, three punctures

This morning ride was a little different, it was the first time my wife and my son would be cycling together since our son got his proper bike, secondly it was the first time that my wife and son would be going off on their own while I rode off on my own.

I had decided to ride a short loop from Badbury Rings to Long Crichel and back, while I was doing that my wife and son would start of riding with me but would then turn off and do a short loop round the fields and back to the car park at Badbury Ring. All the paths they were riding were very wide and quite smooth farm tracks with the last part riding along side the road on the wide grass verge.

Things did not start off well for the wife, we had stopped on a hill (after about half a mile) where the son had got stuck with his gears and ground to a halt, after manually changing them for him and then giving him a quick push start up the hill he was away and made it to the top. As I remounted my bike and started pedalling I heard some shouts from behind me followed by arghh and then laughter, on looking back I saw my wife laying on the ground with the bike on top of her laughing her head off. Apparently she wobbled when she started pedalling and then just keeled over.

When we got to the split I went over all the instructions with my wife and son again as they had never ridden on their own before, bid them farewell and rode off down my trail wondering when the first phone call would come asking for help. Thankfully that call never came.

My ride was pretty much uneventful, quite muddy in places with my third puncture in three rides coming about two thirds of the way round. This time the culprit was a Slime inner tube (the Dr Sludge tubes having been consigned to the rubbish bin) that I had stuck a patch on after getting a hole in the tube which was to big for the latex slime to repair. The patch I had put on the tyre had lifted and the slime was oussing out (as was the air).

Once I had replaced the tube I carried on back to the car park at Badbury Rings where I found my wife and son playing Angry Bird on their phone. I found out that they had not ridden up the grass verge as it was too heavy going (and I would agree with that, it was hard going) so they had rode the half mile or so on the road carefully, I was quite impressed. Their little ride was just over 5 miles while mine was just under 14 miles.

The replacement parcel from Chain Reaction Cycles for my lost parcel turned up, must say they were very good about it no arguing about it. To be honest it has been a bit of a quiet week, four trips for work this week all had early starts so I ended up having early nights to ensure I got some sleep. My intended mid week ride this past week never happened, school visit and acting as the family taxi put pay to that. Not sure where I am riding tomorrow yet, fancy something different than the normal Throop loop so I think I will go and investigate my list of saved rides and see what I have not ridden for a while.

Last night after returning from collecting my bike from CycleFix after having a new headset fitted I found a large nail hanging out the side of the rear tyre of the van and leaking air. It was 5:30pm as I franticly called a couple of tyre centers to see if I could get it fixed. In the end, nobody had a tyre on the shelf but I was able to get the spare fitted but now I am running about with no spare tyre until they can get a replacement.

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