Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Weather Hits Back

I ordered a handlebar bag from Spa Cycles on Monday. I had spent all Tuesday morning finishing off a couple of jobs and organising paperwork and there it was at mid-day. I fitted it, together with a little extender bracket thingy, which keeps it away from other stuff on the handlebars and brake cables etc. It took a while but I think it will do the trick and I think I can now do without the front bags and racks which weigh quite a bit themselves and don't hold a great deal. I then ventured out and did 11 miles or so in the cold wind, proper spring weather, just like I am used to.

A bit more paperwork and organisation this morning, or was it Test Match Cricket, and I was off to see Robin the bike man in Newburgh on the way to my mum's this afternoon. He had sorted out numerous spare parts and helpful items which will certainly come in handy on the ride and for which I am very grateful. Robin is not in the best of health at the moment so it was great of him to go out of his way to help me and I sincerely hope things improve for him over the next few weeks.

I received an email this morning from the Hungarian Cycling Federation. I had informed them of my visit to their country a few weeks ago. Along with their good wishes they have supplied me with contact details and I will certainly look them up when I reach Budapest.

Six days and counting.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Lessons Learned

I've had a couple of days off the bike now, OK three, and I need to finalise my plans regarding overnight stays and the amount of luggage or equipment I'll be taking which are both interconnected in a way.

A few people have said not to camp. I would not need a tent, mattress or sleeping bag and there are plenty of hostels around, they say. The problem with not camping is that even the cheapest hostels cost more than campsites and there are less hostels and guest houses the further I go East and South. Also, I hope to have at least my next night's stay organised in advance and there is a lot less information on the internet about places to stay in Eastern Europe. I would hate to be stuck without a place to stay as darkness closes in and the tent and stuff give me that insurance. I have been careful in buying lightweight camping stuff and for now camping is still the chosen overnight stay.

The load I carried up to Cumbria was just too much and I am thinking of ways to get the weight down. I took a pair of jeans, a couple of polo shirts and other clothing items which I won't need and a lot of toiletries I can do without. Just don't get downwind. I also think I could do without the hair dryer and travel iron. Getting silly now. The plan would then be to do away with the front bags and racks and use a handlebar bag. I will give it a bit more thought over the next few days.

I've been figuring out the training I've done and these are the main bits that make me feel good.

Denby Dale         79km   892m total ascent      inc Saddleworth   320m in 5km (1 in 16 ave)
Guiseley there    104km   862m
Guiseley back    116km    830m
Oxenholme         96km    460m
Brampton            86km    714m                        inc Shap Fell       370m in 14km

I've compared these with my intended route and there are only two stages where the total ascent is more than the 892m I did on the first stage to Denby Dale. The obvious solution is to make these stages shorter which I can organise en route depending how I feel. So the cycling shouldn't be a problem. I can't see any other problems but will keep looking.

Finally, I received my first two bits of sponsorship the other day so a big thanks to "Our Pat" and to Cliff and Caroline.