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Aldershot to John o Groats – Into

With my 40th birthday coming up, I was looking to do some sort of cycling adventure. I’ve done a 600k Audax and I knew I didn’t want to do a longer continuous ride. A multi-day adventure would be something new, that I’d never really tried before. I’ve always thought about doing Lands End to John o Groats, but after much planning, I decided that getting down to Lands End was too much of a faff (and used up too much holiday), so I decided to start from home. I also like the idea of an adventure starting at my front door.

I was planning to use an extra day in the north of Scotland to take in and extra ride in very different surroundings, but we’ll come to that.


Birthday Ride

Took the day off work at the last minute to enjoy the sun and heat:

The first section up to Hindhead and back down to Headley Down was quick. I’m impressed how bad the surface up Beacon Hill has become, I wouldn’t like to descend it. However the road down the other side was nice and smooth.

I then had abit of routing failure as the sat nav wanted to take me off through a shut gate. After some faffing trying to find a path, I gave up and stuck to bigger roads until they joined up again.

Headley Down to the A325 was slow going, mainly because it was all sunken single track roads with poor surface and no visibility. It didn’t help that several times cars came round corners rather too quickly.

New surface on the Tweasledown road was a good way to finish.

Welsh Cycling – Evening Ride

With such beautiful weather all week, I decided to get in a late evening ride to see the sunset:

Definitely worth it!

The secret to improving my averages is to use more Welsh A roads. Even going uphill the pace is really good. This is in contrast to Welsh lanes / tiny mountain tracks.

Welsh Cycling – Mini Mountain Adventure

The largest boy has been getting more into his road cycling, so I though it would be a good opportunity to show him the “devil hills of Wales”:

The hills get near 20% gradient, so there was some walking involved, but a good effort.

The pictures really don’t do the gradients justice.

2016 Roundup

Starting with mileage against the last few years against 2016:

2014 2015 2016
Miles Count Miles Count Miles Count
Sirrus 153.81 9 152.69 4
Linskey 3357.64 160 3243.03 158 3793.61 161
Khatmandu 46.66 3 40.08 4
Khatmandu – ice 7.83 1 101.61 6 17.12 1
Raptobike 152.83 7 2.86 1 19.24 1
Other 18.4 2
TOTAL 3718.77 180 3540.27  173 3848.37 165

Working at home and taking the car in icy weather has hit the number of rides yet again last year, but the mileage has been boosted by my SR rides. Also, because of the SR, any riding I did was focused on being ready on the Lynskey (or large chunks used for actually doing the rides), so usage of the Raptobike suffered. Something I want to rectify in 2017.

Speaking of SR:


I’m really happy to have finally achieved not only a 600k, but also stringing together a 400, 300 & 200 in a single season. The 600 & 200 were marred by terrible weather, so it was good to get through them at all and I was really happy with my times for the 300 and 400.

Commuting speed was still decent:


Still not sure what the graph means apart from the fact that I go faster in the summer and that a combined average of more that 20mph is really hard.

The SR Series completion means that I can update my life in bikes diagram. This looks like my cycling stable has started to stabilize:

Bike life 2016.png


Cycling bliss


Cycling Belgium

I attended a friends stag party in the Belgium city of Leuven (about 10 miles from Brussels). Apart from the drinking, I managed to get in some cycling experience.

First, it was interesting to see what a nice town it was, in part because of the amount of cycling and the converse lack of cars. All across the weekend, I only ever saw a few cars at a time, but plenty of people cycling, often with their children. Bear in mind it was at least -4 degrees with ice and snow around.

Belgian cycle paths Leuven Giant cycle parking

Some nice pics of Belgian cycle paths, the bike infested town and nice big cycle parking provision in the centre of town.

As well as observing the cycle culture, I took a punt at looking for Challenge dealers and found one next door to the hostel. The excellent A bikes: As well as stocking Challenge recumbents, they also did a fine range of Rholoff bikes and child “solutions”. Despite clearly not having any intention of buying a bike then and there (and unlikely to return to Belgium just for the purpose), the owner let me have a go on a Fujin SL1.

My friends who had come to watch me fall over on the ice were surprised when I disappeared off round the block. Conclusion, very nice handling for something so laid back and it just felt like it wanted to move, would have been awesome to do a longer ride (not in the snow). Proximity to vehicles wan’t worrying, but I could have done with a mirror.