Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And If You Can't Wait That Long For The Tour of Britain

Whilst just searching for a repeat of The Professionals, I've found out that ITV4 are showing the Tour Of Ireland each night at 7pm this week. Come on Cavendish.

Tour Of Britain Comes To London

Having thoroughly enjoyed a couple of bike race events over the last 12 months (last year's Tour De France prologue in London and the Smithfield's Nocturne) I can recommend the upcoming London Stage of the Tour Of Britain on Sunday 7th of September. The line-up looks pretty strong, offering a chance to see a good selection of British riders, both those from the Tour De France (David Millar, Mark Cavendish) as well as those who've excelled at the Olympics over the last few weeks (Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins), not to mention riders from further afield.

The route forms a circuit along the Embankment between Tower Hill and Westminster. For more info, have a butchers here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Things I Learnt Last Weekend

  • Printed out Google maps are not really adequate for locating campsites down Peak's country lanes at 12:30 in the morning

  • You can, however, find sneaky spots in the Peak's National Park for doing some wild-camping, if needs must

  • The Goldeneye Map of the Peak District is great for suggesting cycle routes, but you have to be very careful when navigating as the level of detail is a bit lacking (I took at least three wrong turns thanks to the map)

  • If you are going to put your bike in guard's van on a East Midlands train (which has nothing for you to attach it to) don't then sit in the carriage next to it, otherwise you will hear your bike smashing to the floor, the first time the train rounds a bend

  • The Peak District is hugely pretty

Actually I already knew that last one, I'd just forgotten.

So as you can probably tell from the above, the trip turned out to be "eventful". In particular the whole finding-the-campsite/wildcamping incident meant I didn't get to sleep till 1:30-2am (and was then up again at 5:30am taking my tent down, before anyone official found me). This all lead to me being knackered on the Saturday morning and downgrading my cycling plan from the route mentioned here to this one. It was still 50 miles and about as hilly as I was capable of on the day. In particular Winnat's Pass (which has a 20% gradient) utterly defeated me at the end of the day, but was still an impressive geological feature. Coming down the other side towards Edale was lovely though (always enjoyable flying down a hill while others plod up with gritted teeth. On heavy mountain bikes). Other highlights included the Broken Road, the shady, forested hill around Cressbrook and the long, open descent from Wormhill.

The North Lees Campsite (when I finally got there at 6:30 on the Saturday morning) was nice. Just a shower/toilet block and drying room by way of facilities, but pleasant, wooded surroundings and a good, secluded location. Note - if you're walking/pushing a bike to the site, it's *far* quicker to take the footpaths up from Hathersage village centre, rather than walk on the road.

Unfortunately I didn't manage to wangle a diversion to Arbor Low, but did discover Night Watchman beer

Definitely could do with some more hill practice, so off to Leith Hill again, this weekend I think.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Best Bike Ever!

A write-up of my weekend's Peaks District adventures will follow soon, but in the meantime, I've just spotted this on eBay. Possibly the greatest bike ever. It can do "moderate off-roading" and has even take 3 adults once (there was a pub involved, inevitably)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ready for the Weekend (maybe)

I'm off to the Peaks this weekend, to give the new bike a thorough workout. I have:

  • bought a Goldeneye Cycling Map of the Peaks

  • picked out a route (looks hilly, looks hard, will probably end up doing something else

  • done some practice (up and down Crystal Palace Hill. Up and down Leith Hill/Box Hill/etc on the South Downs

  • bought a seat bag to put my stuff in.

  • bought some energy bars

Hopefully, it will be a weekend of hard, but rewarding climbs, beautiful scenery, Neolithic Stones and nice beer.