Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Mileage, winter and plans for the future

Last week was a big week for me, mileage-wise.Train cancellations meant that I elected to cycle the whole route home twice, resulting in a total for the week of 132 miles.This is not huge by some standards – it is only a small part of a single randonneuring event – but compared to where I was at this point last year (barely riding a bike ever) I feel a real sense of achievement.  The long and short of it is that I have now topped 2,500 miles on my Dahon and over 3,000 miles for the year!  I've also managed to insert a text box on the right hand tool-bar so "Mileage to Date" can sit at the top of the blog! 

It is testament to the effect of regular, short to medium mileage rides that I felt absolutely fine at the end of the week too.Todd Fahrner of Clever Cycles in the US also observed as much in
this article.He tackled a 700 mile ride down the US West coast on a Brompton with only commuting mileage as “training”.It’s a very inspiring and well-written piece which is worth a read. It is also fine testament to the capability of my Dahon Vitesse D3HG that these high mileages were as easy on a folding bike as on my 21-speed hybrid.Yes, on those small wheels and yes, with only three gears!*

On longer rides, my thoughts often turn to future cycling plans and high on that list is to do some longer distance things on my Dahon.To that end, I have been looking at some cyclo-sportive events in the spring with distances of 40, 60 and 100+ miles.I love the thought of rocking up on my “shopping bike” and going the distance with the lycra-clad, middle aged, Bradley Wiggins wannabes.Maybe not quite as quickly, but equally as far.But then again, you never know.One of my favourite inspirational articles is
this one by Kent Peterson who rode the 1999 Paris-Brest-Paris (in all of its 1200km glory) on a Bike Friday folding bike!And in a damn good time too – an awesome achievement!**Thusly inspired, there is a small part of me that is starting to believe that Lands End to John O’Groats on the Dahon is a practical possibility…

The mornings round here are bitterly cold (by British standards at least) at the moment.So cold in fact that my back brake froze up this morning!I tried to pull the brakes at a junction and found the rear lever to be solid – totally immovable!I had stripped, cleaned and lubricated the calipers on the weekend so I knew that they were mechanically fine.A quick exploratory wiggle showed that the capiers were indeed mving as they should, just not the lever.Once I reached the train station I was able to free it all up - there must have been some moisture in the cable which had then frozen.I will dose it liberally with WD40 this evening – that stuff sorts any sticky mechanism out.

I also went shopping on the weekend and bought a nice hi-viz cycling jacket and winter gloves (both bargains from Decathlon) Even so, with the temperatures as low as they were this morning, it takes a little while to warm up and some bits never quite do!However, I know that when I get round to riding longer events, these hard winter miles will pay back dividends in terms of physical and mental development.

As the saying goes, “The soft iron thinks itself harshly treated in the heat of the forge.The tempered steel blade looks back and knows differently.”

*To answer the two most commonly asked questions from non-folding bike riders!

** Incidentally, Kent’s write up of his
2005 Tour Divide race (on a single-speed, rigid MTB!) is also an excellent and inspiring read.

1 comment:

  1. WD40 can leave a sticky residue so you might be better with a silicon or Teflon based spray to lubricate the cables. I can't remember what it is we have and it's too cold to go rooting around in the shed.
    Brenda in the Boro