Sunday, 29 January 2012

Ice Tyres

I finally got to try my ice tyres, Schwalbe Marathon Winter.  The forecast for the second half of the week was for sub zero overnight temps.  Wednesday morning there was ice on the cars.  I decided to go on the Pompino with the ice tyres.  There were a couple of spots were it was a bit icy, but nothing to tax the tyres.  Same for Thursday and Friday.

But by Friday evening, coming back from the pub, it was noticeably colder.  We had arranged to go riding on Saturday but I got a call from Alison saying that Ian and Simon had got to their house and reported that the roads were quite icy in places.  So instead of coming out to me and heading for the hills, I would ride to them and we’d go along the coast a bit.  Riding out of Kirkham was quite hairy.  There was a strip of ice alongside the rows of parked cars.  Coming through Wrea Green the pond was frozen over and there was a big stretch of ice on road out of the village.  I met up with the others and we gingerly headed into Lytham.  There was some ice, but not too bad.  We headed down the bike path to St Anne’s then on to Blackpool, Cleveleys and almost to Fleetwood.  Apart from a short stretch from St Anne’s to South Shore it was bike path all the way, along side the sea.  It was a bit slow through Blackpool and we were funnelled down into a couple of busy spots.  Out by Rossall School the surface wasn’t great, pot holed and washed over with pebbles and sand from the beach, but on the whole quite a nice ride.  We tend to forget we live near the sea.

So, did the ice tyres work?  Its difficult to tell.  I didn’t slip over, but neither did any of the others.  I think I was a bit more casual about riding and there were a couple of stretches where I ploughed through while the others tended to pick their way with a bit more care.  It’s going to be cold all week so I may get chance again to try them out, although I’m in Bristol for most of next week.

Miles for week – 133

Running total - 197

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Baby Steps

Finally managed to get out and do some miles today.  Not a lot but its a start.

I was in Bristol at the beginning of the week, meeting my new boss after our latest round of restructuring.  Lets see how long this one lasts.

I had to drive in on Thursday and Friday so no miles there.

Today the core team arranged to go out for a long ish ride.  I wasn’t sure but said I’d tag along, see how far I got.  There was a very strong wind blowing, but even with a 25mph tail wind I was struggling and holding everyone back.  I got as far as Inglewhite but could not face the climb up to Beacon Fell.  So I turned off and headed home on my own, zig-zagging through the lanes trying to avoid the wind.  28 miles in 2 and a bit hours.

At three weeks in to the new year I am 300 miles short of my target.


Sunday, 15 January 2012

Big Fat Zero

Zero miles this week!  I’m been full of a cold earlier this week, took Monday and Tuesday off.  I drove the rest of the week,  we’ve not felt like riding over the weekend, but we did go for a walk over the fields today.  I’m in Bristol next week, so that will be low mileage week as well, but hopefully by next weekend I’ll be fit to ride again.

One thing I did do this week was book a hotel in Bormio in the Italian Alps for a week in June.  It is at the foot of the Stelvio and the Gavia, not far from the Mortirolo.  A week of Giro d’Italia climbs.  I’ll need to train if I’m going to survive.


Saturday, 7 January 2012

2012 Starts Like 2011 Finished

It has been very windy this week, 50-80 mph winds at times.  Vey hard work.  Jayne and I also seem to have got our colds back.  I’m not too bad, just sore throat and coughing but Jayne is completely laid out.  Both of us are knackered from lack of sleep.

Monday we went for a short ride out to Bond’s and back.  It was Jayne’s first ride in about 6 weeks so we took it very easy.  Fortunately we had a strong tailwind on the way out. At one point there was a real heavy shower of hail.  Unfortunately we discovered the strength of the wind on the way back.  It was horrendous.  I think we averaged about 9mph.  We were in and out of rain, bright sunshine or hail all the way home

I didn’t ride Tuesday, it was too windy.  Jayne met me at lunchtime and we had our sandwiches on Lytham front.  You could barely stand up in the wind.  Wednesday I risked riding.  The wind had eased a bit but I was still crawling into it, less than 10mph with my heart beat going like the clappers.  Riding home was a tail wind most of the way.  There was a bit of a hairy moment past a bridge and two farm gates where the wind was swirling around alarmingly.  It was chucking it down with rain and occasional hail.

I’ve not ridden since, too windy on Thursday and too sick/knackered on Friday.  Don’t think I’ll be out this weekend either.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Women’s Shoes

I promised Jayne some new cycling shoes for Christmas.  She has a few pairs for different stuff.  A pair of Shimano boots with SPD’s for winter tandeming.

Jayne's Shoes 003

A pair of Mavic Creuze’s we bought in April for our Isle of Man trip, again SPD’s and again for the tandem.

Jayne's Shoes 002

Her favourite shoes are an ancient pair of flat soles Avocet shoes we bought about 20 years ago.  The Avocets have been glued back together several times and are getting beyond repair.

Jayne's Shoes 001

They don’t look too bad but the soles are becoming brittle and the heals have split, so we decided to get her some new ones to replace them.

The big (little) problem is that she is a size 36 or 37 and it is very difficult to get shoes that size.  The other problem is that for the solo bike, she doesn’t like SPD’s and wants flats to go with her half cup toe clips.

I know, we can get SPD shoes and not cut out the clip cover area.  To fit the toe clips, the shoe needs a fairly pointed, a big bump toes MTB shoe will not fit in the clip.  They also need to be fairly smooth soled so that Jayne can slide her foot over the ridges of the pedal cage into the cup.  Together with the small size this was a huge challenge.

We tried Evans in Manchester before Christmas.  They had two shoes in a 37 and one in a 36.  The Specialized Tahoe in a 37 fitted well, but the other 37 was a proper road shoe, requiring a cleat.  We also tried Hewitt’s, who are a touring specialist and from whom we got the Mavics, but they had no shoes that fit.

W went to Leisure Lakes on Boxing Day and rather than asking for specific shoes, we just said bring out all of your size 36 and 37 shoes, no stipulations about type or sole or SPD/Look/Whatever compatibility, just any 36 or 37’s.  One shoe, a size 36, was found and was too small!

I the end, we decided to go on the Evans’ website and see what shoes with flattish soles and size 37 were available.  We then rang our local (ish) shop and asked them to get them in.  We requested three Specialized models, the Tahoe, Sonoma and Spirita Touring.  The Tahoe is a casual/mtb shoe that Jayne had already tried and liked but was a bit concerned about the aggressiveness of the sole.  The other two have fairly smooth soles and are very much touring oriented.

This morning we went out on the solo’s with Jayne wearing her Mavics with the SPD’s removed and the cover replaced.  It is a little more aggressive sole than the Tahoe, so it was a good experiment.  She got on fine with them although the toe was a bit big for the cups, which confirmed our feelings about the more MTB oriented shoes.

We headed out to Evans this afternoon and tried all three.  The Spirita was a no go right from the off, Jayne barely got her foot in one before dismissing it.  The Tahoe and the Sonoma were a closer call.  The Tahoe had the MTB sole and more nylon/mesh in the uppers but fit nicely.  The Sonoma had a much smoother sole, suede uppers, off set lacing and was generally a better built shoe, but it was wider than the Tahoe, didn’t quite fit properly and was a bit weird to walk in.

In the end she went for the Tahoe’s.  I suspect we’ll save them till the summer, use the Mavic’s with the cleat cover over the winter for the solo and the Shimano’s on the tandem.  We’ll see where the new ones fit in.

Jayne's Shoes 004

One weird thing we found was the sizing.  Euro 37 should be a 4 or there abouts.  These were listed on the size as follows

Jayne's Shoes 005

I think it might refer to a UK children’s size.