Tag Archives: Strava

Preparing for a Pilgrimage

So as I have mentioned (once or twice) this weekend is a Methodist Pilgrimage. The Methodists of Syston are heading to Epworth Old Rectory, home of the Wesleys. Five of us are planning to cycle the whole way (165 miles over 3 days) and another two are cutting out Leicestershire’s hills by starting and finishing at Newark-on-Trent (about 100 miles over 3 days). And yes you can still sponsor me! 🙂

I thought I had done a lot of the preparation but as the ride leader there has seemed to be a lot to do this week.

A friend is driving our car as a mobile support/rescue vehicle, so I have been sorting out tools and spares to cover lots of eventualities.

We are camping for Saturday and Sunday night, with cyclists, families and support team there are 17 of us at Trentfield Campsite, I volunteered to cook bacon rolls for everyone on Sunday and Monday and that plus our tent etc is going up in a caravan with more of the support team.

Meanwhile, I have been sorting out my own bike. While my Shand Stoater Bike for Life, was my first choice my knees have been so bad that I am using my road bike as the lighter weight should help save my knees. Following the Leicester Triathlon I have now taken off the tri bars, added three bags:

This will be my first ride with this combination of bags on this bike. So far they look great, I am very interested to see how well they work in practice.

I have also added my new and very bright See Sense rear light although I’ll swap it onto whoever is bringing up the rear of our group. Now I just have to put the mudguards back on (have you seen the weather forecast!).

It will also be my first ride with my Mio Link heart wristband so I’m very interested to see how well that works, sadly at the moment the heart rate is only picked up by my Garmin Edge and not by my Android phone or tablet.

For the first time too I am trying out live tracking of the ride, you will be able to follow us at http://42bikes.warnock.me.uk/tracking/ I can run the app on both my phone and my tablet so I’m hoping to get enough battery life even with the GPS on continually.

One thing I have not yet fully sorted out it getting data off my Garmin without my laptop. I’ll have one more try today, if it works I can get the rides onto Strava and Garmin Connect each day without having to take my laptop computer.

By the time of my sabbatical in 12 months time I hope that I’ll have a newer Garmin and they will have updated their website enough for live tracking to be possible with the Garmin picking up the heart rate and using my phone to upload both live tracking and daily rides. That will make a big difference, especially as on my Bike for Life I can charge USB devices while I ride using the dynamo.

Charging USB devices is getting to be a significant issue. For Jane and I this weekend we have the following USB devices:

  • 2 x Android Phones (Samsung S3 mini)
  • 2 x Exposure front lights (actually shouldn’t need to be recharged)
  • 2 x Garmin GPS
  • 1 x Android Tablet (Nexus 7)
  • 1 x Tecknet USB Battery
  • 1 x Camera (small Olympus)
  • 1 x Bluetooth keyboard for my Nexus 7
  • 1 x See Sense rear light (our other rear lights use rechargeable AA or AAA batteries and won’t need charging for just a weekend).

So 11 devices. They include 4 different connectors and two different charger outputs.

Fortunately by the time I take my sabbatical things should have got easier in terms of USB. On my Bike for Life both bike lights run straight off the dynamo. I am hoping the dynamo will be able to fully charge the Tecknet battery each day and maybe also put some charge into my phone and tablet. Hopefully then the Tecknet battery will be able to recharge/top up the tablet, garmin, camera, phone, bluetooth keyboard, bluetooth speaker and a tent light each night. Also that I’ll cut out at least one non standard USB connector (for the exposure lights).

I am taking my sabbatical coffee kit to try in real world conditions, I’m be happy to make anyone a coffee but they will have to grind the beans themselves (all those winds of the grinder handle for each one of 17 people sounds tiring) 🙂

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 🙂

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)

January 100 mile ride route. Syston to Launde Abbey

Unsurprising I have had to change some of the details of my Cycling Goals for 2014. So my 100 mile ride for January won’t be on Friday 24th (I have a funeral to take), instead I am going to take a roundabout route to Launde Abbey on Monday 27th.

I need to be there by 4pm ready for a retreat that I organise for Ministers in the Northampton Methodist District.

So an early start for a loaded (stuff for 3 nights away) ride.

I have updated the route from previous years to include plenty of coffee shop locations. For anyone interested the route is available on Strava.

A winter, loaded ride of 101.9 miles with 5,421 feet of climbing sounds like the sort of thing my Bike for Life was created for 🙂 A route that passes independent coffee shops in Melton, Long Clawson, Bottesford, Oakham and Stamford sounds like it was created for  me 🙂

Breaking in my knees for running

So I have entered the Leicester Sprint Triathlon on May 5th and this involves running 5k. I can’t currently run anything like 5k and the last time I tried the NHS Couch to 5k programme I had to give up after about a month because my knees were so bad that I could barely climb the stairs. So this year I am trying to more carefully handle breaking in my knees for running.

Today I started with a 5k walk (for pedants it was 3.3 miles or 5.3k). The weather is disgusting, heavy rain and strong winds so I was dressed up in hike boots and waterproofs. Here are the details from Strava (recorded using the Android Phone App).

As I don’t normally do much walking and almost never any running my theory is that doing a week or two of regular walks should be gentler thus breaking in my knees for running without breaking my knees.

What do you think?

The hazards of supporting running

This morning Jane and Rachel did the Braunstone Parkrun and I cycled over to support their running as it was Jane’s first ever “official” 5k run. In doing this I discovered first hand the hazards of supporting running as a cyclist, especially on an icey Saturday morning.

I got to Braunstone Park without incident. Despite leaving home ages after them I arrived in plenty of time to cheer them on about 1/2 way round their first lap. Then as I moved on the road to a suitable spot to catch them on their second lot I came off my bike. I was turning into the car park near the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and the whole corner was just ice. Still no real harm done, it does make a nice change to come off without ripping a nice jacket though, which I was grateful for.

After seeing Jane and Rachel the second time I moved to the finish and then through the woods to catch them a bit earlier. I cam across a woman with a dog who was so out of breath that it was very worrying, turned out her other dog had run off and she couldn’t catch him. So I did a bit of off road riding and herded the dog back to her.

After seeing Jane and Rachel heading towards the finish I went back through the woods to the finish to keep out of the way of the runners. The good news is that Jane finished her run, helped a lot by my support and possibly also a little by Rachel running with her 😉

I had no more problems after that except that the crash has knocked my seat post a bit loose so every so often it swivelled around a bit. I took a roundabout route home, partly to avoid the debris covered paths in Watermead following recent flooding and also to make sure that I made it up to 20 miles. Besides being such a great running supporter I used the ride to test a couple of things

  • whether riding before breakfast helps with weight control
  • the effectiveness of a new thermos mug that fits in a water bottle holder

More on these later, meanwhile here are the ride details from Strava.

Personal Syston 10 mile time trial

I have a 10 mile loop that I use like a little time trial.

I rode almost exactly the same route as yesterday only today I was 2.1mph faster which is nearly a 7 minute saving (same bike and quite similar weather conditions).

Still very windy but I was pushing myself quite hard although usefully fueled up by both Christmas Pudding and Christmas Cake 🙂

Not sure how often I’ll do this on my Stoater, Bike for Life, which is rather over equipped for a 10 mile time trial 😉 In the past I have done almost the same ride at 17.7mph on my fixie. Still in terms of trying to improve my fitness riding a heavier bike makes it more intentional and intensive (see my post Approaching the year end and considering future goals).

In fact I am not really sure how often I will do the same time trial ride, I like variety rather more than simply trying to do the same thing faster each time. Although it would be interesting to see how much quicker a full road bike or even a proper time trial bike would go.

Given that 10 mile time trials appear to be so important in British Cycling I guess I vaguely wonder approximately what sort of performance level just under 41 minutes for a 10 mile time trial is (especially when the type of bike and weather is taken into account).

Hoping to see a result when I step on the scales in the morning, but for the moment having to learn and play “Munchkin” with the family!

Recent Rides

Here is the Strava recent rides widget (my rides) 🙂

You can see my complete profile at my Personalised Strava Page.

From the Strava weekly stats widget my ride stats for the current week are:

Some past data indicates the following annual totals:

  • During 2010 total miles ridden was 1,220 (I don’t think I recorded properly for part of the year)
  • During 2011 total miles ridden was 4,700
  • During 2012 total miles ridden was 5,500
  • During 2013 total miles ridden was 3,500
  • During 2014 total miles ridden was 3,400

Just for the record I like using Strava for a number of reasons, they do not include racing or riding dangerously in order to achieve a better ranking.

One of the very nice features of Strava (I think it is the only tool with this option) is that when I display a ride in this blog it hides where I live. The other features I like include:

  • like many others it can load rides directly from my Garmin 800
  • it has some quite nice analysis of rides
  • it has widgets that work with wordpress (here and on my ride pages)
  • it has one of the better route planning tools and the routes which can be put on my Garmin 800 (although more manually than Garmin Connect).

Some of the more powerful analytical features of Strava are not of any use to me as I don’t have a power meter. I also rarely bother riding with a heart rate monitor which I think Strava would use in it’s analysis.

There are two features that I would love to see in Strava (or any other tool).

  1. My Garmin allows you to set what bike you are riding but no software seems to read it and set the bike you are riding automatically.
  2. I want a way to mark and export all the rides that I do for work so that I can produce an expenses report more easily.

Just for fun the new Syston Syclers Club page on Strava:

Evening test ride

So tonight I nipped out for a quick 10 mile test ride. What was I testing? Well several things:

  • My first real ride since having a wisdom tooth and the tooth next to it out on Christmas Eve.
  • My first real ride with my new mismatched Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres (35mm on front 40mm on the back). See my earlier post.
  • My first ride since moving this blog from wordpress.com to a hosted WordPress site which should allow me to embed Strava ride reports.

The first good news is that the ride was a good distraction from the remaining aches in my jaw 🙂

The second is that the Marathon Plus felt good, hopefully the 35mm on the front will be a bit quicker than the 40mm, however, I don’t want to waste the good 40mm tyres so having one on the back which carry’s more load and where I have been able to create more mudguard clearance seems a good compromise.

Below is a test of the Strava report

Site move is live

The site has been moved to a new hosting service. I don’t think subscriptions have moved over though. So you will need to re-subscribe. Apologies for that.

I will be experimenting with a few of the new features that are available with a fully hosted wordpress instead of wordpress.com

One of those is visible in the “Recent Rides” tab at the top of the page where I have the Strava widgets to track my rides.

So far the other things include “related posts”, “popular posts” and some new tagging. Any other recommendations are welcome.

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