Category: routes

two in two days!

I have not been able to report two good rides in two days lately but today will go down as one of those good weekends.

I decided yesterday that I wanted to do something different, I was weary of my lack of fitness of late but in the end I decided on riding from Badbury Rings to Chettle in a big loop. I had my concerns as my legs were aching after yesterdays ride and that was only 18 miles, this was 22.5 miles.

The day dawned misty and over cast but by time I had got to Badbury Rings the sun was shining, short sleeved shirt was the order of the day, my arms started cold but my body was warm, certainly to warm for wearing the jumper I was carrying. For the first time I was going to try some electrolyte drink, after the mess of Cannock Woods in January I worked out that I should be using electrolyte based drinks not energy drinks, hopefully this would solve my cramp problems.

The ride starts as a slow steady climb up bridleways and Drove paths, up but slowly enough not to notice, unless your thighs are aching from the previous days ride!! I was remembering to drink the electrolyte drink (along with the plain water I took as well), while my legs ached there was no sign of the cramp.

My doubts about the distance of the ride were well founded, by the time I got to the steep climb at Sovell Down (16.5 miles) my legs were gone but at least there were no cramps. It was a slow push up the hill, followed shortly after by another push up the next hill near Moor Crichel. After that my legs were able to cope with the other small humps I came across on my way back to the car park at Badbury Rings. It was a slow ride completed without cramp and the bonus being that my legs don’t ache after the ride as they have done previously. It looks like the electrolyte drink was a success.

Tomorrow nights ride will just be a simple short ride, nor exactly sure where yet, just a simple ride to put some miles under my belt.

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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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phone calls and rain

So there I was quietly working away at home on Monday and my mobile rings, nothing new there then, it normally never stops ringing. But surprise surprise it was Virgin Media Complaints department (yes the same department I have e-mailed twice without reply). First they apologised for not contacting me earlier, they have a back log of complaints (not something you want to broadcast). For the next 20 or so minute we discussed the problem I had and the work that Virgin are supposed to be doing, the end result is that the work is in hand with no time-scale, I currently have 1 month credit for the broadband and I will be calling in 4 weeks time to get another months credit if there is no improvement and will keep doing so until it is fixed. I think this will be going on for a few weeks yet…………

I have a few days of for the sons half term, so as he decided to he wanted to go with his aunt to Southampton, I was free to go for a bike ride…………in the rain. The day did not start well, I woke up the second the alarm went off and could not go back to sleep, I had planned to stay in bed till at least 8am but got up at 7:15. I went to get my GPS out and check the route I wanted was loaded on the gps and I could not get it to switch on. This meant a change of route so instead of the New Forest and exploring new routes I would go to Moors Valley and ride some bits I have not ridden for a 12 month or so. After loading the van in the rain I decided to give the gps one last chance and it worked, so it was Burley here I come.

I had packed my rain jacket and trousers ready for the onslaught but as there was very little rain when I set off, they stayed in my bag but I was expecting to be getting them out sooner rather than later. So I was more than a little surprised about an hour later to be taking my jumper off as the sun was out and I was getting a little warm. A short while later my gloves were taken off as my hand were sweating in my gloves (first time I have worn them since last winter). The route was a shorter version of the Autumn falling leaves ride, I was trying to avoid riding some of the roads (I’m a mountain biker not a roadie) and trying some alternative paths to the wide gravel fire roads. Well some of those paths were wet, muddy and flooded, it was er, interesting. I enjoyed my 20 miles round the forest, was expecting to get absolutely soaked but never got wet (if you don’t include anything below my knees).

More riding later in the week but apparently we are shopping tomorrow……….

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down the pan……….

As Sunday moved to Monday I became more unsure about sorting out the blocked drain, not because of the job itself but the fact I had made a bad assumption. I believed that outlet of the drain (the bit that goes from the drain to the sewer) was a straight section of pipe from the drain. The problem I saw (wrongly as it turned out) was that from the top of the man hole to the bottom was about 5ft, If I was to stick rods down the manhole and into the sewer pipe that was going to be one hell of a bend in the rods and my concern the rods could break and\or get jammed.

In the end I opted to contact the local council and see if they would help as some of the house that connect to the drain are council house while others are privately owned (all were council at one time). Well they past me from one department to another before I landed at environmental health who were helpful but could not do anything unless I refused to clear the drain (had I gone down that route it would take several day to resolve by which time sewage would seeping from the drains and our toilets out of action). So I contacted the local water company and they said they understood my problem but if I called them out and they had to use a high pressure hose to clear the blockage it was down to me to pay and then recoup the money from my neighbours. So I opted for one of their engineers to come out and make an assessment of the problem before deciding what to do next.

The guy turned up within the hour and let just say he was there for 5 minutes and all my problems drained away. Apparently on the outlet side of the drain there is a U bend (like you have on the back of a toilet). This is to stop sewage from coming back up the pipe if the main sewer floods. So the actual outlet pipe is at about 45degree downwards to the main pipe so there no chance of having a severe bend in the rods when you use the rods to clear the blockage.

One thing that did come to light is that from October 1st, the water company will be responsible for all the drains from the point of leaving the building. So had this of happened after the 1st October it would of been a simple call to the water company.

As I had been sorting out the drains I never got to go for the planned morning ride. I had planned a ride with the wife for Tuesday, she has been out of the saddle for over 12 months following a knee injury and then hayfever induced asthma. So we decided to do the ride in the afternoon. I spent the rest of the morning checking her bike over and fitted a new padded seat cover. In the end all the bike required was air in the tyres, not bad for a bike that has not been used for over 12 month.

I had decided on a simple flat route along the river down to Throop round to Merritown and back to Throop and along the river. Number one son was coming with us as well so not only did I have to ensure the wife would not do anything to injure her knee again and I had to make sure number one son did not ride into the river. Turned out to quite an uneventful 7.8 mile ride, the wife rode of into the distance as I sat back and guided number one son, even he never complained about the distance. He made up for it later that night, he woke up screaming as he had cramp in both his calf muscles….

Last night was weigh-in night and I can happily (if a little bemused) report another 2lb loss. I thought thing were going to be a bit iffy after a meeting with several packets of biscuits last week. I am once again back into the 16st arena and this time I intend to stay in the there unlike the last couple of visits.

Tomorrow I off to somewhere new for a ride and more usually it is a trail centre, after my last trip to new riding area was followed by a visit to A&E I have dug out my knee pads just encase, won’t help my shoulder if I come off but at least my knees will be a bit safer!! More of my road trip tomorrow if I make it back in one piece.

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get up and go got up and went…..

Last week I used the rain and the first ride back after my shoulder injury as an excuse just to ride on the Saturday, this weekend I just could not be arsed to ride Saturday, just did a little bit of tinkering on the bike and then put it away. So this morning I decided that I really should get up and ride so I dragged my sorry arse out of bed, had breakfast and left the house at 8:40 for my normal Sunday Throop loop.

While it was my normal Sunday route I had decided to check out a couple of new sections, the first was in Ramsdown forest. I had seen a path leading a way at the top of a short climb so I though I would try and find the bottom end of the path and see if it was a better\more interesting climb than the short climb I usually take. Unfortunately I could not find the start of the path so having cycled up the short climb I could not be bothered to go back the newly found path, so I left that for another day (maybe when I do the ride in reverse which I do from time time to relieve the boredom of doing the route in the same direction).

The next new bit was at the top end of Hurn Forest (part of the route when I go out to Moors Valley). When I leave Hurn Forest I turn left down an unmade road, looking at the map there seemed to be an option to turn right and head of into some more woodland. So I headed out that way this morning, turned right instead of the normal left and about 100mtrs from where I turned right I was met by a large sign saying “Private- Keep Out”. So I returned back down the unmade road deciding what to do and I opted to carry one like I was heading out toward Moors Valley but look for any access to the area I had seen on the map which was on my right. Once I got to the main road I turned right as normal, after about 200mtrs I found a gate that led onto Ashley Heath Country Park (not to be confused with Avon Heath Country park which is about 1 miles to the west). Must admit I never knew the place existed. Had a quick ride around having a little explore but I became weary of the weather as dark imposing clouds were gathering on the horizon. There is certainly more to explore here so I will be paying a return visit.

While I was working on the bike yesterday, I noticed that my bottle of chain lubricant was nearly empty again (second bottle of dry lubricant I have bought this year) and it got me thinking. I use either Finish Line wet or dry lubricant dependant on the season and for the most part I am happy with either product bar one thing, the cost.

Do you realise that buying it at £6.99 per 4fl oz bottle from CRC, it works out at £279.60 per gallon (see maths below)

160 fluids ounces to 1 imperial gallon
160 \ 4 = 40 (4oz bottles to the gallon)
40 x £6.99 = £279.60

That is a disgrace (I don’t purely blame CRC as many other retailers are selling at the same or more for the 4fl oz bottles). I know Finish Line do a 1 gallon container of the oil but I have not found a price for it although one guy did say that he picked up a gallon for £183.60 on special offer!!

So I posted on the MBR forum asking the questions what chain lubricants do other mountain bikers use, several of the replies listed chainsaw oil, so I will be looking at getting some of this and see how thing progress. At the end of the day, it can’t be any more expensive than buying the Finishline products. Be interested to hear what other use and there relevant costs.

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