Monday, 20 May 2013

Tablet navigation

So I caved to modern technology and bought a tablet.  This you must understand was no small thing for a person who swears by paper maps and knowledge of how to read them.  So you may ask why the sudden change of heart.. well given the huge distance I am travelling and my not unreasomable fear of getting hopelessly lost (which would add to the mileage) carrying maps with enough detail would greatly add to the weight I have to carry.
So I bought a tablet with gps, the idea being that I could use technology to track my ride, pin poimt my exact location and direct me the correct way to go.
A week into test use and I have discovered a few pitfalls. 
1. Battery life.- The battery will not lastlong enough to track my ride for 10-12 hours of cycling
2. Wi-fi is not reliable enough to guarrantee a signal, especially in the desert!
So I  invested in an off line mapping system which has maps of the world that you can download when you have a signal. The problem being  that the free version doesn't include a search facility and this makes finding the area of the world that you are in difficult.
So given all this my plan?
I need to try a long ride (100) with the tracking to check the battery life and also perhaps try out the gps on the offline mapping system before investing in the paid upgrade.
Any suggestions, drop in to my facebook page, and drop me a line!
Keep an eye out for  updates on the tablet cycling saga!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

a quick note

So a small training ride 30 miles... lovely day but bit stressed out cos got things to do.  well into the ride and going well and i stopped for water and it struck me....

i was on my bike .. looking at a field with horses running around and I got that perfect moment feeling. . . . Have you ever had one of those? When the world stops around you and all other thoughts/worries disappear, leaving your mind free! Just thought I would share this with you. These are the moments that I cherish and generally get when on my bike in the middle of nowhere. . . try it, I think you will like it!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Reading to Brighton training ride

Destination Brighton ....  But it's not the destination that really's the journey!

So this was my first real ride for a long time... so perhaps it was a bit optimistic to aim for Brighton but the weather had seemingly turned in the past week and what could be better than end up by the sea on a sunny day.

Cue disappointment as I got up this morning to a grey, overcast day.  However I packed my kit and set off. I personally can't eat breakfast that earley in the morning but heading out on a long ride without it is not something I would recommend so this is a case of do as i say and definately don't do as I do.... It came back to hit me later as you will see! :)

So the first 10 miles out of Reading were in familiar territory.  that said i did have to refer to the map once which is a bit embarrassing but it did stop me having to do a massive detour so it was worth it.  The wind wasn't particularly strong (always a headwind when on a bike) and i probably set off a bit too fast... too enthusiastic. (Another mental note to myself.)  

The second 10 are generally when it hits a bit as the leg muscles get used to the repetitive strain injuries but generally the roads were good and i was making good time.

The same went for the next 10....

It was miles 40 to 50 when I hit the Wall.. not literally you must understand.  It is what is termed by cyclists as the bonk.. yes i did spell that correctly.  As any long distance cyclist will know what i mean.  suddenly any little 'bump' in the road is a mountain.  Your legs have difficulty turning the pedals on the flat...  The 2 mile per hour wind seems like a gale... you get the picture.  Any way i struggled on, knowing that this too will pass and i wanted to reach the 50 mile mark before i stopped for a proper rest and food.  
Also this was about the time I hit  the morale sapping A237 (I think that was the number) which undulates horribly!!

Admittedly at mile 48 i saw a nice spot to have lunch so i stopped, the reasoning behind it being that at mile 50 i might well be on a duel carriageway and that's not a nice place to sit and eat, although it does provide amusement for bored motorists!  Lunch consisted of a sandwich, chocolate, more chocolate and a packet of crisps = a couple of Dextrose tablets to top up the energy levels before the carbs kicked in.

FOOD works a treat cos mile 50 to Brighton (77 miles total) were a total breeze.. over the South Downs - I felt like I was flying along.  Then along the coast - Shoreham - Hove - Brighton.  Stopped for a coffee at Brighton Pier (mental note don't drink coffee on a bike ride - toilets can be hard to come by.

Took photos to prove I was there ( , then headed off to the station in the hope that a) I could get a train that would have a space for my bike and b) wouldn't break my bank account!   

Unfortunately it was via Clapham and then the slow train (and I mean slow) to Reading - as a side note you wouldn't believe how many stations there are between these two station unless you are forced to stand up for the entire train ride!

So ... happy to have reached Brighton, slightly disappointed that the journey wasn't 100 miles (the ride back to my house from the station made it 80 miles total), but pleased that I didn't feel totally dead when i got home!

All that remains is to see if I can sit on my bike tomorrow! :)