More views of progress

I like this new graph on Veloviewer


If you use Strava and don’t currently use Veloviewer then I can’t recommend it highly enough. A huge feast of wonderful ways to look at your rides (and runs). All for only £10 a year.

As another way of monitoring progress I’m playing again with the Leicestershire Sustainable Travel Challenge. The Stravel phone app is pretty poor (generally it measures distances very, very generously). Despite only starting to record all my work miles on 15th November I’m currently ranked 7th for the month, however, only 52 people have put anything in this month (which given the hassle is not really a surprise).

Anyway something that currently interests me is that I have been closing the gap on my 2012 ride distance. In year to date comparisons I’m about 300 miles behind at the moment. It would be nice to beat that (although I put in a lot of miles between Christmas and New Year in 2012 to complete a Strava challenge to ride 500km between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve).

Another new target from Veloviewer is to increase the size of the blue square in the map square

The blue square sows that the largest square in which I have ridden in every map square inside it is a 9×9 box. By cycling in 4 more squares I can increase this to 11 by 11 (although the lack of roads in some squares makes this more challenging).

I wonder how much bigger I can get this by the end of the year.

Nice way to make Eddington progress

So today I had a very early start (4:20am) but managed to ride to a 9am meeting in Chesterfield with 40 minutes to spare.

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain
03:56:41 03:43:00 54.96 14.79 35.12 2,365.49
hours hours mi. mph mph ft.

With a short 7mile ride round the block at home this evening it counts as a 60+ mile day for my Eddington score. Only 3 more days with over 60 miles and I’ll have that Eddington number of 60 (ridden at least 60 miles on 60 different days).

BearBones 200 live tracking

You can see this weekend’s ride on Spotwalla:

Or it should display here:

Note that the thick blue line is the official route. My actual tracking should be showing on top of it. This is the BearBones 200km bikepacking ride

If this is not working then see

Preparing to go light on the BB200

On Saturday at about 8am I start the BearBones 200. This means preparing to ride as light as possible because there is a LOT of climbing on this 200km ride. I’ll be riding my Shand Stoater “Bike for Life” in a very stripped down guise.

Initial estimates (which because of the way online applications measure height are probably an underestimate) are of 14,300 feet (4,360 m) of climbing. That is a lot more than I have ever climbed in one ride before (as well as by far the longest mostly off road ride). The elevation profile looks like this:


I do not intend or expect to do this without stopping for some sleep, which will be just a matter of crashing out in my bivy bag somewhere along the route. However, given the amount of climbing I’m trying harder than ever to keep the weight down. The most effective way to do this would be to not eat again before Saturday morning – but I’m not contemplating that 😉

What I am doing is going more minimal than ever before.

  • stripped down tools and repairs kit
    • tiny ratchet handle and heads for all the fittings on the bike
    • 8 & 10 mm spanner
    • 2 tyre levers
    • hand tyre pump with CO2 support
    • 2 CO2 cartridges
    • self adhesive tube patches
    • 1 spare inner tube
    • a few zip ties
    • some insulation tape
    • spare drive belt


  • No cooking kit at all. Just one titanium spork for eating takeaways.


  • For sleeping I’m taking just:
    • Bivy bag
    • Exped UL7 sleeping mat with pillow/pump
    • Sleeping quilt
    • thermal long johns, long sleeved top and socks. If I need more I’ll just add my cycling clothes. If I get too cold when cycling these could be added.




    • Some food that can be eaten cold. Full list later.
    • Some wet wipes
    • First aid kit including sudocrem
    • Fully charged USB battery and usb cable to recharge my Garmin sat nav
    • lights (Exposure Joystick [maybe helmet mount], Exposure Tracer, Dynamo front light, cateye rear light)
    • clothes to wear while cycling
      • 3/4 length shorts with separate padded inner
      • waterproof socks
      • Shimano MT91 Boots
      • Warm gloves
      • waterproof top
      • short sleeve top
      • thin long sleeve top
      • warm windproof and shower proof top
      • helmet
    • Mobile phone (switched off to save battery as there will rarely be a signal)
    • Garmin 1000 with the route loaded. Only extra sensor will be heart rate monitor to keep battery use down.
    • SPOT Satellite tracker (and you will be able to track me from this blog – but I’m not allowed to publish the route until I start).
    • some cash and one bank card
    • Car key


    My intention is to fit this in 3 bags strapped to the bike:

    • Seatpost: Wildcat Gear Tiger with Alpkit tapered dry bag
    • Handlebar: Wildcat Gear Lion harness with Alpkit dual 20 litre dry bag
    • Handlebar: Wildcat Gear Lioness

    I’ll be starting from Llanbrynmair at about 8am and trying to get to Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant at about 72 miles before 10pm when Spar shop closes and ideally while the chippy is open. I’ll make sure I can survive if I don’t get there in time to stock up.

    After that it will just depend how I feel and the weather. My only goal is to finish before the limit limit of 36 hours although the finish closes at 10pm on Sunday. Realistically in Wales I don’t expect to find any shops open on Sunday. Maybe I’ll find a pub at some random point in the day for some hot food.

Heaven for Strava nerds

If, like me, you love seeing your rides on Strava (and I have lots!) then I highly recommend VeloViewer. At only £9.99 a year it gives you an almost infinite number of ways to view your ride (and run) data. Some beautiful graphics as well such as this one from the Blenheim Palace Triathlon a couple of years ago:


A great British one man business that is doing something very creative and useful. Worth Supporting.

Conference travel coming up :-)

I’m attending a conference at Cliff College starting Friday lunchtime and ending Saturday lunchtime.

Fortunately, it makes a great cycle ride there and back. Current route is just over 63 miles so I might need to go the wrong way a few times to increase it a bit 😉 I’ve made it go on minor roads to increase the climbing to just over 4,500 feet as light training for the BearBones 200. It will mean a bit of an early start though.

You can see the route on Strava and it will tick off 2 of the remaining 7 60+ day rides to get my Eddington number up to 60 by the end of the year :-)

As I’ll have finished preparing my Bike for Life for the BareBones 200 I think I’ll sort out my packing to use it in light weight bikepacking mode (essentially 2 drybags in WildcatGear Lion and Tiger harnesses plus my Lioness bag for bits). I might add an Alpkit Stem Cell for snacks.

And for anyone interested the conference is “Marriage and Relationships: facilitation training event” for the Methodist Connexion 😉

Why such dangerously aggressive driving?

At lunchtime today I was heading home from the Harvest Festival Service at Rothley. Going up Hallfields Lane approaching the traffic lights at the Red Lion I was catching up a mix bunch on bikes.

Not sure who this group were (some looked like they were dressed for a Tweed ride, some clearly didn’t cycle much) but what I don’t understand is the way drivers were treating them.

Some of them were very slow going up the hill, but they were in single file. They didn’t jump the traffic lights and they had ride leaders who were keeping an eye on them. When they got split up by the traffic lights they regrouped by waiting in Hickling Close.

So this was a group of ordinary people in normal clothes out on bikes on a beautiful autumn Sunday lunchtime.

Yet drivers were being hatefully aggressive to them, swearing at them, hurling abuse and passing far too close (even when it was obvious they were going to be stopping for the car in front any moment).

What is it about driving a car that creates this aggression, hatred, violence, anger? Why do drivers get to believe that that have rights over everyone else?

Closer to home as so often is the case drivers basically abandon their cars all over the pavement, blocking corners and blocking dropped kerbs. Then other drivers try to force their way past people on bikes forced into the centre of the road by the parked cars.

All this from people causing deaths through pollution, through the crashes they cause and through wars and other injustices over oil.

Drivers should be approaching the rest of society on bended knee, begging our permission to take over our space, poison our air, squander limited resources and put our lives at risk through their lack of care.

Enough of this injustice!

Bike for life 9,000 mile, 3 year service

Big Service time for my Bike for Life! Although I am slightly jumping the gun by describing it as 9,000 miles and 3 years (currently 8,500 miles and only 2 years 10 months so far).

I’m jumping the gun not because anything was noticeably wrong but because I wanted to do the preparation for the BareBones 200 in two weekends time. I thought I would use the opportunity to catchup on a number of things that are on my when I get round to it to-do list.

So far the jobs include:

  • Removing the Plug II USB charger as it hasn’t been working since part way through my sabbatical. As that required the headset star nut I’m putting in a Hope Head Doctor.
  • Putting in some more Frame Saver to protect the inside of my frame from rust
  • Replacing the Rohloff Shifter with a “Wave” style one, courtesy of a friend. Should be easier to grip, particularly in the wet (replacing the cables at the same time as the ends are chewed and rethreading them is probably not an option.
  • New Ergon grips as the BioKork ones have worn out. Going to try Ergon GS1 Grips
  • New oil in my Rohloff hub (a bit early but while I’m doing all these jobs).

The rest is just cleaning and stripping off all the general transport stuff (mudguards, racks, stand etc) & changing tyres for offroading during the BB200.

Given the everyday use over nearly 3 years this is not much at all.

Fun and games :-)

Visualising my Sabbatical

I like this graphic of my sabbatical bike rides (click for larger version):


This is thanks to the brillant website which collects all my rides from Strava and presents them in lots of creative and useful ways.

Here is a similar wheel for my LEJOG ride in 2012:


Travelling in London

I don’t get to London that often. But I drove there late on Thursday. Cycled over 20 miles around the city on Friday and drove out to Surrey this morning.

My conclusion is that:
– London drivers are the most dangerous in the country.
– Too many Cyclists in London are reckless
– Pedestrians in London are completely looney.

I was overtaken many times in 20mph area when doing 20mph.

I saw drivers of buses, hgv’s, vans and cars plus cyclists and pedestrians all ignore red lights. All as bad as each other (albeit the consequences if you hit someone vary hugely according to the mass of the mode of transport).

It is not just the speed limits and red lights that get ignored. So do one way streets, restricted turns and parking restrictions. Pedestrians walk on the road, cross well away from official crossings. Cyclists use footways, zig zag, have no lights. Drivers don’t indicate, force their way through gaps that don’t exist, threaten others. Police records show that 3/4 hgv’s are illegally on the road.

The aggression and rudeness of so many people, whatever their mode of transport, was incredible. This seems to be self perpetuating, when everyone else cuts you up, pushes in front etc then you tend to respond in a similar way.

Yes it was a hot day. Yes it was crowded, made worse I guess by the tube strike on Thursday. But it seems so sad and destructive that you are all so busy making life unpleasant for each other.

You do nothing to make this midland yokel want to return to London.


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