North Yorkshire Moors – Free Route Download

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It has become increasingly apparent over the last few years, that Yorkshire is a bit special when it comes to cycling. Having grown up in the North York Moors National Park, I have to say that I did just find the relentless and ridiculously steep hills quite hard work. It is only now, as a passionate and travelled cyclist, that I appreciate how unique the terrain is back in North Yorkshire.

I have put together a little route as a great introduction to North Yorkshire cycling. Download the file for your Garmin (other navigation systems are available) from the links below.  Continue reading

Trigger’s Winter Bike

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As I approached the blind corner I get out of the saddle, kicking a bit harder to help me up the hill that lay around the bend. With a car tucked in tightly behind me, waiting impatiently for a clear road, I heard a loud ping from behind me. Nowhere to stop and check, I glance down: Garmin and lights, still there; saddle bag, in place. In the light of the car headlights I see my wheel weaving wildly beneath me. Another spoke gone, the third one in 5 weeks. These wheels are done! Damn it, this cheap winter bike is becoming a bit “Triggers Broom”*.

There will be no awards for me saving money. I’ve only just replaced the frame! Now I’m looking at a new set of wheels. It’s a fixed wheel winter hack; nothing to go wrong they tell me. Except so far the frame has snapped, the chain and sprockets have worn out and the rear wheel has had enough. So apart from that, and few punctures; yeah apart from all that it’s been very reliable. And with a list like that, you will be asking the same question as they did about Trigger’s broom: “So how is it the same broom(bike) then?”

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Winterproof Cycling Routes

Winnats Pass (Peak District) with a sprinkling of snow

The forecast temperature doesn’t always tell the whole story; wind and wind direction, clouds, sun, freezing fog, humidity and rain can all affect the “feels like” temperature on a long ride. Often it’s fingers and toes that suffer in the cold and I lose the ability to brake and change gears, but sometimes I overdress and experience the “boil in the bag” effect. With too few pockets to contain an unwanted layer what am I supposed to do? Eat it? Tie it round my neck like a super hero’s cape? In short it’s a true skill to get the kit right every time, and the more I buy the more choices I have to make. On a short ride I can tolerate the discomfort, but I’ve had an idea about how to “design” longer winter rides to optimise my clothing for the day’s conditions, let me explain… Continue reading

Book Review – The Rider by Tim Krabbé

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I first became aware of this book when I was reading Bert Wagendorp’s Ventoux. As the main character describes how his cycling obsession began “The urge to sit on a racing bike again came back later. That was after I had read The Rider by Tim Krabbé. I was 15, read it at one sitting, and knew instantly what I had to do.” With both books being originally written in Dutch I suppose it was inevitable that the later would mention the original Dutch cycling classic. Continue reading

Ireland, The Highlights – Ireland Part 3

Cycling the majority of the Wild Atlantic Way, from Cork to the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland. Here are some of the highlights of the 1089 mile journey:

The Beer

You can’t visit Ireland and not drink a few pints of the black stuff. Apparently it’s for strength and it’s good for you. I drank a few of these along the way and I made it to the end, so it didn’t hinder my progress too much.

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Guinness Brewery, Dublin

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Cycling the wild places – Ireland Part 2 

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The Burren, wet and gale force winds but still stopping to take photos after camping in a storm in Doolin

The West Coast of Ireland (Wild Atlantic Way), a wild and rugged coastline, battered and eroded by huge waves and driving storms. Littered with islands, lighthouses and wildlife. There is certainly plenty to see here: whales, dolphins, puffins, 20,000 gannets, you can even go looking for Luke Skywalker (I didn’t manage see him on my boat trip to the Skelligs).

The landscape of this coastline has been shaped by its weather, and in my opinion the unpredictability of the weather actually adds something to the excitement of cycling here. Continue reading

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail! – Ireland Part 1

There were many things that I worried about in preparation for my 1000+mile cycling trip around Ireland. My trusty Tubus steel rack was looking a little worse for wear after five winters of commuting, so was promptly upgraded to a corrosion resistant titanium one. I had a last minute panic to replace the rear derailleur hours before I set off because it was a bit stiff and not changing properly, an issue that just days ago I thought would be fine with the help of some WD40. Continue reading