I will start with the topic I started with in the last blog, the logging in Hurn forest, I thought I would try my old route through the tyre track now we have had some warm weather, maybe it has dried out……..wrong. It is worse, I can only guess that the loggers went back through that section the other week when we had all the rains because not it is completely impassable even walking, it is twice as bad as it was. I am not going to carry on about it but just felt that I should add that little fact.
I opted to ride the Throop loop yesterday as there was a large road sportive kicking of from next door to Hurn airport today and I did not want to get mixed up with those lycra wearing weight weenies!! Nothing particularly special about the ride, left early to avoid the heat, felt quite good particularly as I had a horrible head wind at times.
Riding Throop on Saturday meant I needed to find a new ride for Sunday, after a lot of humming and arr-ing I decide on an extended Bandbury Rings to Witchampton loop. Basically it was two rides joined togetther, I plotted it all out on the computer last night, saved it, copied it over to the GPS last night and checked it was on the GPS, job done. So why this morning when I checked the GPS after the first mile and a half there was no sign of the route on the gps?? Back in the car park I had loaded up the route, mounted the GPS on the bike (which was another problem) and then set off. I knew the first mile and half so I never checked the GPS. I tried reloading it, while I got the map I did not get the route.
I knew most of the first ride (or so I thought) but it was nearly two years ago since I had ridden the other ride (which was to be the last section). Nothing I could do now but just get on and ride. I had left early again to get out and beat the heat, at least today it did not feel like somebody was holding a hair-dryer set to hot in my face.
Four miles into the ride I came to a grinding halt, a horrible noise coming from the rear gears. I was crossing a field where the path literally goes across the field rather than around the edge, the farmer had cut the cereal crop that was growing in the field along the line of the path, it was heavy going but I was close to the end when I had to stop. I looked at the rear gears and the bottom jockey wheel was jammed due to the amount of dead cereal crop wrapped around it, it took a good 10 minutes with the aid of my screw driver on my multi tool to unwrap it from around the jockey wheel.
Then followed a couple of errors of direction, one was ok as it showed an alternative route while the second was just a simple case of riding past the turning. Now it was the hill I dread and to day was no different, in fact it was worse as I had to walk it, I was not impressed.
I then made another directional mistake and went the wrong way, from here on in it was a case of working my way back to where I wanted to be and and trying some paths I had not ridden before. I eventually got my way back to the trail back to Badbury Rings but then decide to try and find the route of the second ride, this just turned into a case of joining up section of new paths to form a loop back to Badbury Rings which finished with s slow crawl up a long straight road with what seemed like a deceptive incline. A ride of 18.9 miles (the route I should of taken was 19.2miles) and by the time I finished at just gone 10am it was getting hot.
The bike seems to behaving it self at the moment, I have dropped the handles bars by about an inch to help put a bit more weight on the front when climbing, not sure if has helped or not but it does mean that my GPS does not fit any more (in it current position fitted on the stem). I now have an inch of steerer tube above the stems that now fouls the mounting bracket on the GPS.
In other business, life is struggling on, nothing has changed
Ok lets get the jokes out the way, yes you do need a brain and yes I have one and I know how to use it..
Since my crash earlier in the week and a post on another blog from earlier in year I have been thinking about what would of happened if my crash had been more serious? Before I go any further let me build the scene of where I was riding, I was riding in north Dorset near to a village called Tollard Royal. The actual ride starts about a mile south east of the village at the junction of two roads (Oakley RD and B3081) so not exactly a place where there is likely to be a lot of public passing by on foot (unlike a village or pub car park). Finally I was riding on my own on a route which I had never ridden.
So what would of happened if I had dislocated my shoulder or worse still broken my leg? For a start I was around 10.5 miles from my starting point (about 5 miles as a bird flies), the nearest house was about quarter of a mile away. Judging by how overgrown the top section of the track was, I guess people don’t frequently wander along the track. The particular section of track I crashed on was covered by tree foliage there no guarantee my mobile would work even if there was a signal in the area (although there was a signal half way up the hill going out the village).
I guess if my shoulder was dislocated (or broken) I could of hobbled the quarter mile to the nearest house to seek help but what could I have done if my leg is broken? Or worse still I was unconscious (remember the GPS reported I had reached 36mph down the track). You can’t just rely on shouting or using your mobile phone to make other aware of your situation or somebody to wander past and find you.
My main problem came once I got back to my car, while I had continued to ride without to much discomfort I was completely stuffed back at the car as I was unable to pick the bike up to put it on the roof rack, it would not of made much difference had it of been boot mounted cycle carrier as I still would not of been able to pick it up and put it on the carrier. Had I not been able to take the wheels off my bike with one hand and get the bike in the back of the car I would of had to try and flag down a passing car to help me. It would be even more complicated had I not been able to drive, phoning home would not of helped as I am the only driving member of the family.
Earlier in the year after I went on a night ride I realised that I was very poorly prepared on several front, one of those was telling the wife the route I would be riding, particularly as the route included riding along a river path in the dark. After that night ride I tried to make a point of telling the wife where I was going to ride and roughly how long I expected to be. Then should I not return at least she would have some idea where to advise the emergency services to look for me. While I had told her where I was going on Wednesday I don’t think she would of been able to efficiently direct the emergency services the vicinity I was riding simply because apart from telling her where I was going she had no knowledge of the route I had planned to ride.
So there are the problems what can I do to improve the situation?
Well first I need to improve the information I leave the wife (or family) when I go out riding, I had this route on my pc as a gpx route so there no reason why I could not make the wife aware where the route is on the PC so if I don’t return home on time (see below) at least the emergency service should have a good starting point in looking for me.
In regards to time the ride should take, it is easy to know how long a ride will take when it is a local ride I have ridden before but it is a bit more difficult on a ride like Wednesday. Not having ridden the route you can only assume the ride will take X hours. If you are not back within your expected hours or made contact to update a return home time then measure should be taken to find you. So I need to leave a time when I expect to be home unless I make contact with an update.
When I ride I normally carry a basic first aid kit, which should cover most cuts and bumps. Might look at investing a silver foil blanket. Another useful item which I will look at is carrying some ID, I don’t mean wallet or driving licence but these ID tags. Very useful should I end up off my bike and in no condition to answer any questions, they are currently on my shopping list.
On local rides I don’t normally carry maps or gps as I know the routes but on Wednesday I had both gps (batteries are good for about 5 hours) and I had an OS map of the area so should I of needed to make a turn for home at any point I could of worked my way back to my start point. It makes sense to carry your mobile phone particularly if the phone has mapping or gps facilities. Also how about a whistle, your voice won’t last long if you are stuck in a ditch calling for help but a whistle will save your voice. Also a torch\light not so much to be able to see but being able to signal your location to help other find your location.
I like to ride alone, its just me riding at my pace where I want to ride. I accept that Wednesday situation could of been worse and a lot of the problems from Wednesday could of been eased had I been riding with a fellow cyclist, but I like riding on my own. I guess I should curb my enthusiasm when I am riding on my own and\or I don’t know the trail I am on so I can try and limit the possibility of an incident.
Well there are my thoughts I would welcome anybody else comments or links to other web sites that cover this topic. Wednesday has opened my eye to what could of happened.
Went out just before nine for a ride this morning, sun was out and it was warm so decided to wear my shorts, short sleeved base layer and my cycling jumper. I had already decided on a new route down to Upton Country Park and had loaded the route (or at least part of it) onto my GPS. The first part of the ride is my normal route crossing Canford Heath and then into Delph Woods, then picking up the Castleman Trail (route) then the Roman road to the front door of Upton Country Park. Strange having lived in the Poole area for over 50 years, this was the first time I have ever been to Upton Country Park.
I was a little disappointed though, there is a path that goes all the way around the perimeter of the park but you can’t ride the section that runs along the shore line of Poole Harbour. There was a large gate which stopped you from going through with your bike, seemed a bit stupid as the path on the other side of the gate was the same wide path that I had been happily sharing with all the other park goers.
Once at Upton Country park it is a case of returning the way you came, there is a option to venture on to Upton Heath but then it back onto the Castleman Trail and heading back towards Canford Heath. Took a different route across Canford Heath (compared to the one I took going) just for the variety.
I got back home comfortably warm in just under 3 hours for a 21 .5 mile ride, thought that was a bit slow but then I did make some detours and stops on my way.
It is currently raining with the forecast for more rain tomorrow morning, so not sure if I will be riding tomorrow or not.
For the first time in many weeks I have ridden both Saturday and Sunday, for the last few week it has only been one or the other.
I was up early and again the weather forecaster were right, no rain, cloudy and bit cool. I opted for a short sleeve t-shirt and my jumper this morning along with the padded shorts. IT was certainly cooler on the arms and legs as I went down the road this morning but I soon warmed up. Like last week I had been concerned that the river would be up but there no sign of it flooding, there was more chance of drowning in mud than water. There was mud every where along the river and through Hurn Forest although the worst was saved till last. Did exactly the same run as last week and this time the GPS recorded the route without a problem, it was the Muvi video camera that did not work, might have helped if I had charged it up!!
When I got to the “Through the Forest Trail” I pushed it to see how fast I could do it (I thought at the time I was videoing it as well). I did the 4.5 miles in 28 minutes which is about 9.6mph and I slowed down quite a bit from the last mile, I am no fast riders that is for sure.
I was trying to keep up a good pace, I wanted to complete the ride in under 4 hours. I did not feel to hot like yesterdays ride, in fact in the shaded area I felt a bit cold. When I got to Ferndown heath I came across the worst mud of the entire ride, giant lakes of mud and water across the paths, I just dropped it into granny ring and plodded through the mud, quite impressed really as I cleared it all.
I got back home and checked the the GPS to see the stats, I did the ride in 3hrs, 49 min, I was disappointed to note that the route was not 32.5 which I calculated last week but 31.2. Of the three times I have ridden this route now, today I felt the best during and after the ride, which is even better when you considered I had the short ride yesterday.
Tomorrow is weight in night, I think I have had a good week, I will let the scales be the judge of that though………….
After my last thrashing when I visited the Purbeck hills I have been waiting for a return visit and today was that day. But I was not content to just try my hand at the same 5 mile trail that thrashed me last time, oh no, I bit the bullet and took on 16 miles and over 1100ft of climbing…….
I found the route over the Purbeck hills on the Internet just after I started riding again so hung onto the link, so over the weekend I decided the time had come to try it. The route includes two very large hills. I started from the Banks Arms at Studland and then made my way upto old Harry Rock, from there it on and over Ballard Down. Now this was not to bad to start with as this is a gentle climb to 523ft over 3.3 miles with some of the ride along the cliff tops over looking Studland Bay, the English Channel and Swanage Bay and I can honestly say there was only one section I walked. The views are stunning from the cliff tops around Old Harry rock (especially on a sunny day) but the view only got better as I made my way inland, looking to my right I could see Poole harbour entrance and to me left I could look down on Swanage.
As the old saying goes what goes up must come down and come down pretty quick, you drop 220ft in less than half a mile most of that in a long run down to the road. A quarter of a mile later you are looking at the bottom of 9 Barrow hill and grey rock strewn path that disappears up the side of the hill. Now this is where the Purbeck Hills gained its point as I only made it about 150yds up the path before I decided to save myself and walk, I could not compete with a path that climbs over 400ft in under a mile. So after a long walk I was at the top Of Nine Barrow, the view were stunning especially when I got to the Corfe Castle end of the hill and was looking down on the village of Corfe Castle and the remains of the castle. This is where I made my first mistake, I missed the path down to Corfe Castle and decide to find my own route down the side of the hill, not a good idea. I made it, but would of been a better idea to go back and join the correct path.
Once in Corfe Castle the route became like many other routes, running along forest tracks on the Remstone estate before meeting up with the main road back to the Banks Arms. As I headed back to the Banks Arms I remembered a little path (more like a shaded tunnel) that I took the last time I rode in the Purbeck so I shot of down the path only to be confronted by a deer. I stopped some 20ft away from it and it seemed quite happy to stand there eating the greenery while I grabbed a couple of pictures. It only decided to leave when I decide to ride on.
So all in all I think today’s ride was a fair draw, I got the better of it on most of the first climb and the remainder of the ride but I was well and truly beat on the second climb (ok more like submission).
Having seen what the traffic was like in Corfe Castle I decided that once back at the Banks Arms, it was a case of load the bike onto the car and leave.
Finally to round of the bank holiday weekend, it was weight in night tonight and it was a pound and a half off (the same pound and a half I put on last week) so I can go to bed tonight contented and tired.