tl;dr: I cycled 1500 km from Somerset to Sutherland, and realised I wasn’t as prepared as I thought.
Last weekend I rode the inaugural TINAT audax, devised in memory of Mike Hall by a team including Mark “Black Sheep” Rigby, James Gillies, and Gareth Baines. The 600 km option seemed the most audacious – and the best value for money. It ended up being the hardest ride I’ve ever done, but also the most rewarding.
A few days ago I rode Andy Corless’s infamous Mille Pennines 1000 km audax in the north of England. It was my first ride over 600 km, and my first ride where sleep is a serious consideration.
It was a seriously challenging ride, both physically and mentally, but certainly worthwhile. Here are some reflections.
I got a new set of take-me-home lights recently: the USE Exposure Trace/TraceR set, an evolution of the brand’s previous small front/rear pairs. I’ve been riding with them for a couple of months now and love them.
My pair was working perfectly well until a few days ago, when I washed the bike while the rear light was still onboard. Already a bad idea, probably, but I’d forgotten to batten down the charging port cover and, predictably, the light succumbed to the hosepipe. Of course, once a waterproof thing has water in it, it’s rather difficult to get it out. In this case, the only way the water could come out was through the tiny micro-USB port machined into the side of the otherwise sealed body.
To my surprise, though, I eventually managed to get it working again by leaving it for a few hours in my friend’s food dehydrator (where rice, salt, and a hairdryer had all failed). So if you have water-damaged electronics, a dehydrator or dehumidifier might give them a new lease on life…
My first thought on getting back from a ride is usually to plug in my Garmin and upload my ride data to Strava — often before stretching, I’m ashamed to admit. In fact, I’m often thinking about my average speed while on the bike, to the point that I avoid the corresponding readout on my Garmin until the end of the ride. It’s good motivation for training and I doubt I’d push myself as far without a way of seeing (and sharing) the results but, knowing that Strava will expose my laziness, I feel guilty taking any rest. I’m not sure whether this is good or bad for my fitness, but it’s definitely changed how I see cycling.
I was hit by a car the other day while riding back into the city after an afternoon on the bike. An old lady pulled out from a side-road on the left onto the main road I was on, not thinking to check for traffic to her right. Thankfully I saw what was coming and wasn’t hurt by the collision, but for the rest of the day I was quite shaken. I’ve had a few encounters with cars in the three years I’ve been cycling, but this was my first physical contact, and I won’t forget the feeling of oh-crap-I’m-going-to-hit-that-car.