Monthly Archives: January 2012

Actual London Route

I didn’t go quite the route I had expected from Methodist Church House to the Wembley Premier Inn.

Instead I did this route.

I’ll try and get the other route onto the Garmin for the morning, I must have accidentally saved the GPX file from the balanced route.

Anyway it was fine, despite taking it gently I still arrived at the same time as some who had taken the tube (and that was a direct route with short walks and only 2 stops).


Off to London by bike

Later this morning I am off to London for a meeting of the Methodist Council. Riding my bike will make the journey much nicer (and because I am combining it with the train it will also be gentle).

Some is easy and obvious. I have time for a leisurely route from Syston to Leicester Station and so will go through Watermead Park (despite it being 50% further it is a lot more pleasant than the direct route down the Melton Road).

When I get to London St Pancras the route to Methodist Church House uses the only almost reasonable cycle route in London along Tavistock Place. Thanks to for planning it.

We are staying at the Premier Inn at Wembley tonight, so has planned a route. Nice in parts (along the Grand Union Canal) but includes a bit of the North Circular (hopefully with a separated cycle path).

In total it should be about 20 miles and on Tuesday I’ll repeat it in reverse with the added bonus of an evening meeting in Birstall which will add another trip through Watermead and an extra 6 miles.


Lands End to John O’Groats ride schedule and preparation

In Lands End to John O’Groats route planning I listed the draft of the route I plan to take this summer. Now to flesh it out with dates and planned preparation:

The ride plan

0: Drive to Cornwall on 17th June 2012 after the morning service

1: Lands End to Tywardreath 62.82 miles on 18th June 2012

2: Tywardreath to Taunton 99.11 miles on 19th June 2012

3: Taunton to Monmouth 84.45 miles on 20th June 2012

4: Monmouth to Melverley 97.39 miles on 21st June 2012

5: Melverley to Eccleston 86.25 miles on 22nd June 2012

6: Eccleston to Threlkeld 95.09 miles on 23rd June 2012

7: Threlkeld to Sanguhar 100.9 miles on 24th June 2012

8: Sanguhar via Arran to Whitehouse 79.7 miles on 25th June 2012

9: Whitehouse to Fort William 100.33 miles on 26th June 2012

10: Fort William to Tain 102.36 miles on 27th June 2012

11: Tain to John O Groats 100.05 miles on 28th June 2012

12: Drive home to Syston, Leicester on 29th June ready for a wedding on 30th June

Total 1,008.45 miles in 11 days which is an average of 91.7 miles per day.


My basic training consists of two continuing elements:

  • Ride my bike everyday. This is now a pretty well established daily habit after 448 days in a row
  • Ride an average of just over 15 miles per day to reach 5,500 miles in the year. That is just over 105 miles per week and I have managed that for the first 3 weeks of the year

Beyond that I want to get as many 100 mile rides in as I can. I have only done a couple so far and want to get a lot more used to the daily distances that I will be riding on LEJoG. So far I have the following planned:

  1. On Monday January 30th I am hoping to take a long route to Launde Abbey for our district retreat. By default it would only be about 14 miles so I have created a more roundabout route, sadly I have to be at Launde by 4pm so it will be an early start as I will be carrying fairly full panniers and it is a pretty hilly route. I won’t be particularly surprised or worried if I need to shorten the route somewhat.
  2. Although I have an evening meeting when the retreat finishes I have realised I can still try fitting in a 100 mile ride on Thursday February 2nd. We finish after morning coffee so I’ll combine an extended route home with finishing off the extra miles after my evening meeting (obviously very weather dependent).
  3. On Saturday 1oth March I am going to a lunch and then afternoon celebration worship in Market Harborough (celebrating 5 wonderful people from our Methodist Circuit who have completed an 18month course in Mission Shaped Ministry) . Currently I plan to ride almost straight there (say 35 miles) and then take a longer route home to make a total of 100 miles.
  4. I am going to the Methodist Council Meeting at the Royal Holloway College between 24th to 26th March. So I can repeat something like last years ride there on Friday 23rd March (that was my first ever ride of over 100 miles in a day).
  5. Obviously I can then ride home from the Methodist Council when it finishes at lunch,time on Monday 26th March. That will also be a repeat of last year but with some better routing and much better nutrition.
  6. On Thursday April 12th I am taking a day’s leave to recover from Easter week with a nice gentle 100 mile plus ride. Maybe something like Skegness and back (something like 160 miles).
  7. On Friday May 18th I am going to use my normal day off to ride another 100 mile plus ride, my last before LEJoG.

So 7 attempts at rides over 100 miles in the next 5 months combined with something over 2,700 miles of ordinary riding.

Will it be enough?

Any thoughts on what else I should do to be sure I can complete this challenge?

Oddly enough if I succeed then this training programme will put me well on target for the craziest challenge I found for 2012 and so I can’t help wondering whether I’ll find some other excuses to do 100 mile rides after June.


Easy Family friendly miles

I managed a few family friendly miles this evening, although sadly that was at the expense of our green credentials and the environment.

We had decided to go out for a meal (makes discussing GCSE options more congenial) so I put my bike in the car and we went to TGI Fridays in Nottingham. After the meal, I cycled home. Just under 22 miles mostly using the route chosen by my Garmin 800 (A60 until nearly Loughborough, then through Priesthood, Barrow, Sileby & Cossington).

You can see the route and details on Garmin Connect. In summary 21.86 miles at an average of 14.1mph – fuelled by Nachoes, 1/2 rack ribs & popcorn, brownie sundae 🙂

It was getting a bit cold. I saw -3.7 on the Garmin at one point when I swapped from my SPD’s to my winter trainers cos of cold feet. If it had been a bit warmer I would have added a few more miles but by the end my feet were very cold. Think that is the coldest ride this year, any colder and the Bullitt is much nice to ride as the cargo box keeps your feet out of the wind and so much warmer. By the way when I say cold I want to point out that by the time I got home the water in my water bottles had started to freeze enough that it was impossible to get a drink 🙂

As far as the route goes although I would not generally chose as major a road as the A60 in fact it was pretty good, wide enough for nearly all cars to be sensible and give me plenty of space.

Anyway a nice evening. Amused that our son thought I would have beaten them home, some way to go in increasing fitness before that is likely! 😉


Lands End to John O’Groats route planning

It looks like it is on. Lands End to John O Groats this summer!

I have only 11 cycling days available so I have been working out a route to see if it is possible. This is what I have so far:

1: Lands End to Tywardreath 62.82 miles

2: Tywardreath to Taunton 99.11 miles

3: Taunton to Monmouth 84.45 miles

4: Monmouth to Melverley 97.39 miles

5: Melverley to Eccleston 86.25 miles

6: Eccleston to Threlkeld 95.09 miles

7: Threlkeld to Sanguhar 100.9 miles

8: Sanguhar via Arran to Whitehouse 79.7 miles

9: Whitehouse to Fort William 100.33 miles

10: Fort William to Tain 102.36 miles

11: Tain to John O Groats 100.05 miles

Total 1008.45 miles

A big gulp at this point. These are very high mileages for me which make me very nervous. Feeling very daunted at the moment.

The route is adapted from “Lands End to John O’Groats: The Great British Bike Adventure” by Phil Horsley some are changes where Google Maps does not know about some of the cycle paths (biggest changes are around Runcorn). I’ll need to take the book to advise on some of the bits of cycle path that are obscure.

I’ll update this as we make progress with finding accommodation. We are planning for Jane to accompany me (well sort of as she will be in the car) carrying the camping stuff (not that we will camp every night).

I am going to be looking for sponsorship to raise money for Mission Projects at Syston Methodist Church, so start saving now!


Sneaking in a longer ride

After the shocking news that my Superintendent Minister rode more miles than me yesterday (and even worse went for a run as well) I decided to see if I could add a few more miles today.

So having been to visit people in Glenfield Hospital (in one case to take some tablets that apparently none of the 3 hospitals in Leicester can provide, yet you can buy them over the counter in Wilkinsons!) I came home by a somewhat roundabout route.

In all just over 25 miles which is the longest ride of the year so far (h’mm that isn’t very impressive is it).

Generally good apart from one young hooligan in Birstall who overtook me just after I had waited for a van at a pinch point. He came very fast, very close, beeped his non standard horn and yelled something. I nearly jumped out of my skin and came close to swerving into him, left me quite shaken. It is the sort of thing that makes me think a video camera would be handy. I had definitely not done anything to provoke him (had not even seen him before he did this). Even more a reminder of why we need to massively change our infrastructure to get people cycling in large numbers.


Planning a local 100 mile ride

Earlier I was jokingly referring to a challenge to complete a 100 mile ride every month in 2012. As I said one of the problems for me is that a 100 mile ride essentially takes all day and I am short of days.

However, as I hope to complete the Lands End to John O Groats ride this summer (given the time I have available I will need to do approximately 1,000 miles in 11 days) I do need to get some more 100 mile rides in my legs.

Anyway as far as January is concerned I had a brainwave. I was already planning to ride to our District Retreat at Launde Abbey on Monday 30th January and so have the whole day blocked out. Yet I don’t need to be at Launde until 4pm. While it is only about 13 miles to ride directly to Launde there is no reason why I have to ride in a straight line.

So I have had a quick go at planning a longer route there. 100 miles to be more precise. It includes diversions into Melton Mowbray, Rutland Cycling Centre and Uppingham as potential food stops.

See the route at Garmin Connect – Syston to Launde 100 miler.

Not sure yet whether this will become a reality as it does depend on the weather etc and it will require a fairly early start of around 6am. That assumes an overall average speed of 10mph – including stops (or 12mph average riding speed with 1hour 40minutes of stops).


Leicester to Syston Route Improvements or not

The Cycle Route from Leicester to Syston has been improved in recent weeks.

For the first time there are now signs that specifically mention Syston as a destination. It looks like these have come as a side benefit of the work to create a route to Cossington (I still wonder when they are going to deal with the bridge that still has steps on that route).

Sadly as might be expected the signs don’t mean the route is any better.

  • Nothing has been done to make the shared route any wider or demarcate it so that cyclists and pedestrians are kept separate.
  • Nothing has been done to remove the bollards where the route goes under Watermead Way
  • Nothing has been done to improve the surface between Abbey Park and Abbey Pumping Station
  • Nothing has been done to actually connect the route into the City Centre past the Central Ring
  • Nothing has been done to surface the muddy path between Fosse Way and Broad Street (or even mark it as a cycle route at the Broad Street end)
  • Nothing has been done to clear the slippery leaf sludge from the route just north of Birstall
  • Nothing has been done about the fact the subway under the Central Ring at St Margarets Bus Station / A6 which floods every time it rains
  • Changes are being made in Syston on Brookside and School Street to implement a shared path and a 20mph speed limit. But despite the narrowness of these roads they are only putting in a part time 20mph limit (I can’t for the life of me see any point at which it is safe to do 30mph on that road).
  • Little provision has been made for cyclists at any junctions, with no cyclist priority given. At the junction of Bath St, Thurcaston Rd & Loughborough Road the traffic lights frequently fail to detect bikes.
  • Thurcaston Road has not been given a 20mph limit and the restriction to only cycles, buses and taxis on the bridge is not enforced

Of course even if all these bad elements of the route between Leicester and Syston were to be fixed it would still not be a good route for all cyclists between Leicester and Syston for two key reasons:

  • It is about 50% further than the direct route down the Melton Road and much slower due to all the twists and lack of priority at junctions
  • Many people will never feel safe on a dark route through a park at night.

Rapid Hospital Visiting: only by bike

I spent Wednesday afternoon doing some hospital visiting. This is complicated in Leicester by having three main hospitals (General, Royal Infirmary & Glenfield) and by the generally shorter visiting hours now in force (you can often get past these as a minister but out of fairness to the staff I try to visit during normal visiting hours as much as possible).

Just like buses the need to visit people in hospitals comes in bunches. On Wednesday I needed to go to Glenfield and the Royal Infirmary. The order makes a big difference as it is essentially downhill all the way from Glenfield to the Royal.

Here is the route:

You can see lots more detail on Garmin Connect at Visit Glenfield & Royal Infirmary Hospitals

If you are observant you might notice a slight pause on the way home from the Royal Infirmary as the route took me straight past Starbucks where I sent this tweet


and here is the picture

It seems to me that with the queues for hospital car parks and the longer route that drivers would have to take that you would struggle to be faster by car than I was by bike. Plus you wouldn’t pass Starbucks (and I could buy a very fancy coffee for the price of parking at one of the hospitals).

Although it was a wet and horrible day I didn’t get very wet. The heaviest rain was while I was in Starbucks, most of the time I was riding it was not actually raining although there were a lot of puddles.

Plus of course one of the best ways to avoid time in hospital yourself is to cycle there to visit other people 🙂


My Garmin Stats

I thought some numbers might be interesting so here is a summary report from GarminConnect of all the activities I have uploaded to there in 2011

Count: 477 Activities
Distance: 4,696.88 mi
Time: 381:32:20 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 67,692 m
Avg Speed: 12.3 mph
Avg HR: 141 bpm
Calories: 334,563 C
Avg Distance: 9.85 mi
Median Distance: 6.58 mi
Max Distance: 120.91 mi
Avg Time: 48:00 h:m:s
Median Time: 31:02 h:m:s
Max Time: 9:05:48 h:m:s
Avg Elevation Gain: 142 m
Median Elevation Gain: 92 m
Max Elevation Gain: 1,706 m
Elevation Loss: 61,864 m
Avg Elevation Loss: 130 m
Median Elevation Loss: 76 m
Max Elevation Loss: 1,737 m
Max Avg Speed: 28.5 mph
Max Avg HR: 166 bpm
Max HR: 227 bpm
Max Speed: 111.8 mph
Note some figures are a bit bizarre for example the Max Speed is very wishful thinking 🙂 This was on a Garmin Edge 705 until the end of September and then a Garmin Edge 800.
Note that I have used a Garmin for all but about 100 of my recorded miles in 2011 (I have not always used it on rides I do a lot, for example to the Churches I serve). Also note that I don’t use the heart rate monitor all that often (just for longer rides focused on exercise).
In the last year the report includes rides on the following bikes:
  • My Bullitt Cargobike (more in the 1st six months)
  • My Trek Pilot Road Bike (the longer rides and more in the Summer)
  • My Peason Touche Fixie (generally wet rides, local rides and rides where I have taken it on the train)
  • Boris Bikes (in London obviously)
  • My Giant Mountain Bike (mainly when on holiday in France)
  • My Birdy Folder (to Leicester Station and in London)
  • Our sons Giant Escape (I was doing a bit of testing).

Sadly Garmin Connect does not appear to read the Bike setting from my Garmin (and given the odd way to set this I often forget to set it correctly anyway) so I don’t have much in the way of breakdown between the different bikes.


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