Monthly Archives: March 2014

Beautiful Syston Syclers club ride

So today I was leading a small group (3 of us) on the “yellow” Syston Syclers Club Ride. We started at the same time as the “slow” 45 mile Red group (which included some new riders as well as some progressing to the longer distance).

We had an absolutely glorious ride to Newtown Lynford, and this time we all returned on the road rather than through Bradgate Park.

My Whyte Suffolk was fantastic and I was pretty pleased to discover that I had broken 9 personal records on the ride. Seems like it must be a pretty quick bike 🙂

Methodist Cycling Pilgrimage keeps growing

Latest news always at Epworth Rides.

We have confirmed this evening that we are now up to 5 full distance cyclists taking part in our Methodist Pilgrimage from Syston to Epworth Old Rectory and back. We also have 2 part way cyclist and a part distance walker. More are welcome 🙂

Sponsor them here:

 

Friday ride on new bike :-)

First time I have been well enough to go for a nice ride on my own for a while.

20140314_101120

Rode my new Whyte Suffolk, which was excellent. 40 miles at an average of 14mph (despite lots of slow stuff by going in and out of Leicester).

So I am now a happy bunny, ready fro Messy Church this evening 🙂

How to join the Methodist Cycling Pilgrimage

Latest news always at Epworth Rides.

It is very easy to join the Methodist Cycling Pilgrimage

Just two simple steps:

  1. Tell me (Dave) either by email dave@warnock.me.uk or leave a comment here
  2. Join the Fundraising event on Virgin Money Giving to start collecting money. Details below:

To get registered with our event on Virgin Money Giving

This looks like a long list because I have spelled out every step. It is very straightforward (but easiest if you use the answers I give in item 3 below).

  1. Use your web browser tot our event page  on Virgin Money Giving.
  2. Click the “Start Fundraising” button on the right
  3. As you fill in the form there are two important questions to get right:
    1. Answer “No” to the question “Has your charity contributed to the cost of your event?*”
    2. Answer “Just me” to the question “Are you fundraising on your own or with other people?”
  4. When done click “Next”
  5. If you don’t already have an account with Virgin Money Giving click “Register” to create one.
  6. Fill in your details click “Next”
  7. Give your security details (note that it will only ever ask you for 2 letters of your password eg 5th and 7th). Click “Next”
  8. You will now get to choose a unique web page address for your fundraising. Remember this, it is what you will want to tell everyone you ask to sponsor you. Click “Next”
  9. It gives you my details so you can tell me you have registered. Click “Next”
  10. It tells you about creating your own webpage where people will find out what you are doing and where they can donate (it will be at the address you chose in  step 9). For example my page is http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DaveWarnock Click “Create my page”.
  11. You now get to customise your page (you can change this at anytime in the future). When you are happy click “Save” then “Next”.
  12. Now you get to control whether you are told about donations and are able to customise your thank-you. I suggest both are a good idea. When done click “Create my page”.
  13. You can now share your page on facebook, by email or through twitter. When done click “Go to my account”
  14. All done for the moment. You can come back and edit your page to keep people interested. Please continue to share it via social media and email.

Note that Virgin Money Giving is a free service for us to use and all the sponsorship money goes straight into the Church bank account!

I look forward to seeing your name added to the list of riders!

Epworth Pilgrimage Route Maps

Latest news always at Epworth Rides.

Main Ride: Saturday (repeated in reverse on Monday):
Syston Methodist Church to/from Church Laneham

Main outward ride on Saturday 24th May. The same route is used in reverse on Monday 26th May to return from Church Laneham.
Total 61.5 miles.
If this is too far then you can reduce it (on Saturday and/or on Monday) to 26 miles by using the train between Syston and Newark-on-Trent, this also cuts out the biggest climbs of the pilgrimage.

The southern section between Syston and Newark-on-Trent is mostly on minor roads (apart from the 5 miles to Newark North Gate Station which use an old railway line). The section between Newark-on-Trent and Church Laneham is mostly off road or on some very minor roads with poor surfaces.

Stops

There are not many places to stop. You might find a few pubs open, but the “official” stops are

  1. The only coffee shop/cafe we pass (fortunately an excellent one) which is at Long Clawson:
    Saturday 15 miles: Monday 47 miles.
  2. The support crew will wait for us at Elton near the crossing of the A52:
    Saturday 25 miles: Monday 37 miles.
  3. The support crew will wait for us outside Newark-on-Trent North Gate Station. NB our train connection uses Newark Castle less than a mile away, so train users will need to cycle between the stations.
    Saturday 36 miles: Monday 25 miles.
  4. There is a large convenience store just 1 mile north of Newark North Gate Station. The route uses Winthorpe Road, the shop is on Meering Ave (on left on Saturday, right on Monday):
    Saturday 37 miles: Monday 24 miles.
  5. The support crew will wait for us in the village of Eagle.
    Saturday 50 miles: Monday 12 miles

That means a maximum of 15 miles between stops. The support crew will have water, bananas and energy bars. Plus anything you want to give them to carry for you.

If you choose to stay at the B&B then the route is about 3 miles shorter (a little way south of the A57). Of course this means the ride on Sunday is about 3 miles further each way.

Main Ride: Sunday
Church Laneham to Epworth and then back

Sunday’s ride. The same route is used to get from the campsite to Epworth and then in reverse to return to the campsite. It is 21 miles each way and very flat. There are a couple of sections on fairly quiet A roads where we will ride in groups of at least 4.

If you are staying at the B&B then you need to add about 3 miles in each direction.

Stops

There is a very nice Garden Centre Cafe just before Beckingham at about the 1/2 way point for morning coffee (sadly may not be open on the way back, in which case the support crew will provide the usual fare).
We will get to Epworth in time to use one of the many cafes for lunch before the (optional) activities (tour of the Epworth Old Rectory, visit to the Parish Church, worship then tea in Wesley Memorial Church)

A very Methodist Pilgrimage progress update

Latest news always at Epworth Rides.

There is lots of progress to share about our very Methodist Pilgrimage in May this year. So some reminders:

A Methodist Cycling Pilgrimage

from Leicester to the Epworth Old Rectory

165 miles over a three day May Bank Holiday weekend

24th, 25th and 26th May 2014

Includes:

  • A beautiful bike ride over three days, with lovely people, through stunning Leicestershire countryside and flat as a pancake Lincolnshire.
  • Two nights camping (option to upgrade to a B&B). Both nights at the same site so you only pitch your tent once. Site has good shower and toilet facilities and electricity for all your gadgets.
  • A support team to carry all your luggage, rescue you if needed and cook breakfast 🙂
  • Guided tour of Epworth Old Rectory home of the Wesleys, founders of Methodism.
  • A chance to visit Epworth Parish Church where John Wesley preached standing on his Father’s grave.
  • Special celebration worship at Wesley Memorial Church, Epworth

Everyone is welcome to cycle with us and we have a variety of flexible route options to suit varying preferences.

The “Main” Ride is as follows:

Grand Total 165 miles

Route maps are already available and are on both Garmin Connect and Strava. Printed route cue sheets will also be available.

Options:

If 165 miles over three days seems a little too far for you, then there are plenty of options for you to reduce it to what suits you:

Option A: On either or both Saturday and Monday use the train between Syston and Newark-on-Trent. This saves 36 miles cycling each time you take the train. That reduces the ride to only 26 very flat miles (23 if staying at the B&B). You don’t need to decide this ahead of time as the route passes very close to the station at Newark-on-Trent, the trains are hourly and you don’t have to book to take your bike on the train.

Option B: On the Sunday the support team will be driving from the campsite to Epworth. That means you can choose to not cycle or cycle only one way (you choose). You could ride to Epworth in the morning (21 miles or 24 if staying at the B&B) and decide later if you are going to cycle back or get a lift. Or have a lazy morning with the option of cycling back if you feel like it.

Option C: We can provide a small number of people with transport all the way to or from the campsite on Saturday/Monday giving you the chance to simply join the Sunday ride to/from Epworth (21 miles each way or 24 miles if staying at the B&B).

Option D: the Our support team will be able to pick up a number of cyclists and their bikes at nearly any point if you find the distance is too great or have a mechanical problem that we can’t fix.

Getting to Syston for the start.

Option A: Drive to Syston with your bike and park your car for the weekend in the driveway of one of our Church Members (optionally arrive Friday night and we will find someone to put you up).

Option B: Arrive at Syston by train. Hourly service from Leicester or from stations up to Nottingham. No bike booking needed on this local line. Again if it is easier to arrive on Friday night we can find somewhere for you to stay.

Option C: Arrive at Leicester by train either on Friday evening or Saturday morning. We will arrange a guide to cycle with you from Leicester to Syston (7.3 miles). The guide will have a cargobike to help with your luggage. If you arrive on Friday then we will find accommodation for you.

Essentially all the same options (in reverse) are available for getting home from Syston at the end.

Money!

We will provide, at no cost to you:

  • Accommodation with a Church member on Friday evening.
  • Parking in a Church members driveway for the weekend, if needed
  • Coffee/Tea and Cake before we start on Saturday
  • Breakfast on Sunday and Monday for the campers
  • Coffee/Tea and Cake at the end on Monday
  • Support vehicle to rescue you if needed
  • Refuelling points on each ride, maximum 15 miles apart

You will need to pay for:

  • Getting to/from Syston
  • All train fares
  • Campsite or B&B costs
  • Evening meals Saturday and Sunday (two local pubs or cook for yourself at the campsite)
  • Cafe stops while cycling (very limited options on Saturday and Monday)

Sponsorship

All riders need to be sponsored. 50% of the money raised is to go to the Epworth Old Rectory. The other 50% to go to a charity chosen by the rider (although we encourage all to consider giving to the Syston Methodist Church Community Hub project which will allow us to open a Youth Cafe).

We will provide sponsor forms and will sign off completion of the ride. We expect all riders to raise a minimum of ÂŁ100 in sponsorship. We have an account on VirginGiving to allow you to raise your sponsorship through the Internet.

Any questions?

Britain has all the wrong sorts of bikes

In my earlier post “So many beautiful road bikes but” I was commenting on the number of “proper” road bikes I saw while driving to Rothley and back. Earlier this evening I cycled towards Leicester (Harrison Road Methodist Church) on my new road bike.

Suffolk

 

This time I saw several families cycling together, probably on their way back from Watermead or Abbey Park.

Sadly, the day’s experiences reinforced my view that one of the biggest problems facing the growth of riding bikes as transport in the UK.

We are riding the wrong bikes!

Road Bikes are the Wrong Bikes

Yesterday, I was a good example of that. I rode 3.5 miles to an evening service on my new road bike. It was completely unnecessary and not at all suitable (my excuse was that I just wanted to ride my new bike). It meant I needed to change from cycling shoes with clips when I got there, it meant that when I was too warm cycling there I had nowhere to put my jacket, it was too fast a bike to feel appropriate on footways shared (legally) with pedestrians, it’s speed means that British cycling infrastructure feels too slow (tempting you towards a dual network where fast cyclists use the road and the rest use the crap provided at as little cost as possible), it meant I had to watch for debris including glass and the lower handlebars make it harder to watch for bad drivers. Oh and despite the much higher riding speed by the time you have swapped your shoes four times (each end of each ride) you have used up all the time you saved (and if I hadn’t ridden in my “work” clothes including clerical shirt it would have taken even longer).

The more people we see on fast road bikes the harder it is to campaign for a safe, convenient segregated infrastructure. The addition to speed that makes car drivers so dangerous also infects cyclists. So we read of commuter cyclists who thrive on adrenaline and who use their commutes for race training. We see the barely disguised race bikes sold as being ideal for commuters. We breed cyclists who are unhappy with a gentle pace in your work clothes sharing a segregated infrastructure with school children riding to school.

This high speed view of “commuter” cyclists fostered by the “sport” image of bike that they ride is actually a false picture of speed. Look at this article (inc video) of a 5 km commute by bike in ’s-Hertogenbosch. Or the video in this post showing longer routes between towns. The Dutch make commuting using a bike fast by making it direct and non-stop not by making people ride super fast sports bikes in lycra. Then the commuters don’t need special clothing, they don’t need to shower or change when they get to work and they can use the same routes as school children, elderly people going shopping, students going clubbing etc.

For cycling in Britain our obsession with using sports bike for transport is holding us back from demanding the infrastructure to make cycling a safe, convenient, pleasant choice for all people.

Mountain Bikes are the wrong bikes

On the other hand, when you see people riding bikes to the shops or out with the children they are also generally riding the wrong sorts of bikes. We frequently see people riding from the supermarket on a full suspension mountain bike with plastic bags hanging from the handlebars. Or out for a short ride in the park with their children also while riding a full suspension mountain bike. A Dutch style bike (maybe with 8 gears instead of 3 for the hillier parts of the UK) would be so much more convenient, comfortable, faster and lower maintenance. When you are struggling with shopping on a bike with no rack, no basket, nowhere to carry things it is no wonder you ride on the pavement.

Mountain bikes as generally sold are useless for general transport:

  • no way to carry things
  • no mudguards to keep you dry and clean
  • no chainguard to keep your clothes clean
  • knobbly tyres to slow you down
  • no lights
  • full suspension makes them very heavy (and difficult to fit racks to)

We need modern, clean, low maintenance practical bikes in the UK for commuters and for everyone else. Bikes like this Workcycles GR8

WorkCycles GR8

When commuters, shoppers etc ride bikes like this, then maybe we will be encouraged to ask for real Dutch cycle infrastructure that is safe, convenient and segregated. Then we will be able to see cycling as transport return to normality.

Oh and as well as that our bike rides to work, the shops etc will all become a lot nicer!

So many beautiful road bikes but

This morning I had to drive to and from Rothley for the morning service as Jane won’t let me cycle until this cough improves. On the way there and back I saw more more beautiful road road bikes than I have ever seen out and about before but sadly what is needed is not beautiful lycra clad people on shiney road bikes but ordinary people riding ordinary bikes to work, to school and to the shops.

No country has moved to riding bikes for everyday transport from cycle sport.

The increasing numbers of recreational cyclists are not bad news, it is great to see more people enjoying riding bikes, but sadly alone this is not the change we need to see.

It was also sad to see a number of drivers failing to wait until it was safe to overtake and many others passing far too close.

From showroom to road

Having just bought a new bike (see Bike for Life plus one) it was time to get it ready. There is always stuff to do so you can take a bike from showroom to road.

For me that has included the following:

  • Fitting two bottle cages (I used 2 black Specialized Rib Cages as reasonably light, work well even with insulated coffee cups).
  • Fitting a cheapish Zefal pump to the down tube bottle cage
  • Fitting the RaceWare Garmin Bar Mount for my Edge 800 (puts it in front of the handlebar so works much better than the default Garmin mount). That meant moving the front reflector upside down to be out of the way.
  • Fitting a handlebar mounting for either one of our Exposure front lights (Strada or Joystick)
  • Fitting the mounting point for a Bridge Street saddlebag. I expect to normally use a small saddleback for u lock, cable, multi-tool, inner tube, tyre levers, waterproof, wallet. This meant moving the reflector out of the way.
  • Fitting a red Fibre Flare Shorty Side Light to the right seat stay (this way not blocked by the saddlebag).
  • Swapping the pedals from the basic OEM’s to my Speedplay Frogs that I used for LEJoG.

Then I ignored Jane and went for a very short test ride (2 miles). Absolutely delightful!

I am waiting for a very nice bell as a replacement for the cheap, useless bell included with the bike. It was a kickstarter project that is currently on it’s way across the Atlantic.

Bike for Life plus one

I’ll start with the confession. My Bike for Life is now Bike for Life plus one. Yes I have bought another bike 🙂

However, this should not be understood as a failure of my Bike for Life either as a project or the specifics of my Shand Cycles Stoater Plus. In fact quite the opposite!

My Shand is so delightful to ride (while being the most incredibly reliable, low maintenance and practical form of transport ever) that it has kindled more love and enjoyment of just riding my bike. Hence, for the first time in my life, I have joined a cycling club. The Syston Syclers are new this year and have their “Sygnature” rides on Saturdays which suits me very well.

What I have, unsurprisingly, found is that a fully equipped Bike for Life is fine for the slower groups. So I have been one of the ride leaders for the steady paced 30 mile rides where we average around 12mph. The next group up which is now moving to 45 miles and around a 14mph average is rather harder work. On those rides many of the practical, comfortable, low maintenance features of my Bike for Life make it more difficult to keep up with everyone else on road bikes.

If I could be bothered to adapt my Bike for Life it is perfectly suitable for keeping up with these rides. But I would need to save weight and windage by removing

  • steel mudguards (with leather mudflaps),
  • front low rider racks,
  • front handlebar bag rack,
  • rear rack,
  • huge bell

I’d also move to faster tyres than 40mm Marathon Plus and possibly drop handlebars instead of my comfy Jones Loop H-Bar.

Of course that is not practical on a regular basis. So with a big 50th birthday this year, with permission, I started looking.

If money were no object then I’d have gone with a custom Shand Skinnymalinky (custom in order to have hydraulic disc brakes) with the electronic Shimano DI2 gears. That would have given me another beautiful British steel frame but aimed at fast day rides.

I looked at a number of bikes. The Genesis Equilibrium Disc is very nice. I also looked at the Charge Plug (4 and 5) and lots more.

In the end, thanks to a very knowledgeable and helpful lady at Edinburgh Cycle Cooperative in Manchester I looked at and fell in love with a Whyte Suffolk.

SuffolkIt is a British brand even if not manufactured here. It is an aluminium frame which was not my preferred choice (mainly due to higher environmental cost). But it looks great, has unique cable operated hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano 105 gear/brake levers and rear derailleur. It also comes with 28mm tyres with room for bigger and they also have a matching mudguard set.

So I now have three bikes for use each week:

  • Bike for Life: Everyday transport, Leisure, Family rides, Touring
  • Whyte Suffolk: Club rides, fast unladen day rides, exercise
  • Bullitt Cargobike: Shopping, Transporting stuff for work

Surplus to requirements (open to good offers) Giant Full Suspension mountain bike.

 

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