Author Topic: RIDES 2018 — add yours here  (Read 36670 times)

lewis noble

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #120 on: May 21, 2018, 02:58:02 PM »
Me again . . . the first decent ride on my Audax. 

We were in Lochaber / Fort William at the weekend, my wife organising / participating in a charity Ben Nevis climb, I took the bike.  Camped at Glen Nevis, and rode down in the morning to Fort William.  I just missed the ferry to Camusnagaul, a small people / bikes only ferry - it only runs about 4 times per day, I thought it was more frequent and so hadn't bothered to check timings.  That meant I had to wait in Fort William for about 2 hours - a Ford Model T festival was going on, interesting, and several people stopped me to ask about the bike.

"Why all those spacers??" - because I'm a stiff old geezer who rides more upright than most drop bar users . . . Easier to cut down than build up . . .

"Where are the STIs? What are those funny things hanging off the bar ends?" . . . . .

"Brilliant rack and mudguard stay design . . ."

"Lovely bike . . . . ."

I eventually got over Loch Linnhe, and rode along the singletrack road on the south shore of Loch Eil.  Beautiful weather, sunny and gentle headwind.  I then turned L along to Glenfinnan, picknicked, and had the superb view from the Viewpoint down Loch Shiel.  A few years ago, when I had a Cube hardtail MTB, I rode down the forest tracks beside Loch Shiel, then over the top to Strontian and Resipole. 

But on Saturday, back to Ft William.  Time getting short, and the last ferry back over Loch Linnhe at 1630 hrs, so I came back along the main A830 road.  Still a headwind!!  But an enjoyable ride, and better for cyclists than many main roads with good surface and good visibility,

So about 37 miles in total, the most I have done since last August. The Audax felt good, happy with my choice, and everything now set up to suit me.  Av speed - 11.8 mph - not much compared to many riders, but 2 mph better than I ever managed on the Sherpa, and it felt fine for me.  The last 2 - 3 miles felt very uncomfortable bum-wise . . . I was cursing Anto for his Fizik recommendation, when I realised that the saddle clamp bolt had worked loose and the saddle angle was . . . not good.  I suspect that the 3-way hx key I used last adjustment does not give enough leverage to tighten that bolt securely.  Fixed now, you're forgiven, Anto.

So all in all very pleased with the ride and the bike.  Comfortable, wide range of gears (tho' I never got onto large cogs or small chainring on this ride) and reassuringly stable.

The Ben Nevis event went well also, long slog back to Sheffield on Sunday.

Lewis
 

geocycle

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #121 on: May 21, 2018, 05:34:42 PM »
Sounds like a great Ride, thanks for posting.  I did the road between Corran ferry and Camusnagaul a couple of years ago, lovely road and great ferry crossings.
 

jags

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #122 on: May 21, 2018, 09:55:23 PM »
Well done Lewis sure there a great bike .
you wont even notice the saddle after a few months riding.
well done sounds like you had a blast.

Anto.

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #123 on: May 22, 2018, 03:38:50 AM »
Old geezers build the best bikes! And here's the proof: only a single loosening saddle bolt on the shakedown ride of Lewis's new Audax. Well done, Lewis!

Danneaux

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #124 on: May 22, 2018, 10:57:04 PM »
Some pics at the moment, stopped for lunch midway on a 200km day ride of the roads least taken...

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 11:01:32 PM by Danneaux »

Danneaux

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #125 on: May 23, 2018, 12:08:35 AM »
Second freeway crossing of the day, an opportunity for a Seymour selfie.

Best,

Dan.

jags

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #126 on: May 23, 2018, 12:34:27 AM »
Looks fantastic gravel roads at least t hey would be traffic free.enjoy im away to me cot.

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #127 on: May 23, 2018, 01:46:52 AM »
Super photos of your office, Dan. Tidy ergonomics too, though it doesn't look like you'll need the inclinometer.

PH

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #128 on: June 05, 2018, 12:08:17 AM »
Another month another Audax, this one the Hot Trod 400 km from Ponteland in the North East.  Headed West through Northumberland, Scottish Borders - Hawick, Lockerbie and an excellent truckers cafe, Moffat, climb the Devil's Beef Tub which we couldn't see in the mist, Peebles, then basically follow the course of the river Tweed back into England.  25 hours in all, 2 less than the maximum allowed, that cut it finer than I'd have liked.  21 hours in the saddle and it was raining for at least 15 of those.  Not just normal rain, for several hours it was like someone blasting you with a high pressure hose.  For all that, plenty of dramatic and wonderful scenery, some interesting sights, a culinary discovery (Macaroni pies) good company and of course the Mercury was faultless. The Scottish Borders were a revelation, they're on my list to go back and explore more.  Had some issues with the Garmin flooding out and corrupting the SD card, swapped the one out of the camera, there may be photos when I sort it out.
Took the train up to Newcastle on Friday, camped in the barn to avoid getting the tent soaked, had planned to camp afterwards but the lure of a cheap Travelodge room with unlimited hot water was too much for me!  Couple of hours in York on the way home today, no cycling, left the bike in secure parking and had a look around the Railway Museum.
My legs feel a bit tight, otherwise fine, just the usual post ride starving hungry.   I'm tired and buzzing, I know I ought to rest but want to go do it again...

https://www.strava.com/activities/1617482827

« Last Edit: June 05, 2018, 12:44:49 AM by PH »

Andre Jute

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #129 on: June 05, 2018, 01:38:50 AM »
You're a genuine hard man, Paul!

PH

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #130 on: June 05, 2018, 02:26:15 AM »
You're a genuine hard man, Paul!
Is it the macaroni pies that make you think that ;)
Otherwise no, it was fun, even the bits that weren't, I could have stopped at any time it wasn't and I knew it, it did take some determination to leave the warm dry 24 hour transport cafe and go back into the rain that was a hard choice.  I do get a sense of joy from being able to do it, nature and nurture, but I meet hard men from time to time for whom being able to go on a bike ride would be an absolute luxury, that's not me. 

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #131 on: June 07, 2018, 04:30:02 PM »
Notes on an overnight cycle-camping trip – West Qué and Fitzroy Provincial Park

I managed to carve out enough space in the domestic maintenance agenda to do my first cycle-camping trip on the year this past Sunday & Monday. It was just a wee overnight, the route running through West Québec to a campsite at Fitzroy Provincial Park, on the south shore of the Ottawa River.  My loop was some 140 kms in length, with 90 kms on the first day—about 5 hours of riding—and then about 2½ hours’ ride home on the Monday.  Not nearly so heroic a distance as Paul’s Audax through the Scottish Borders, to be sure – but I did have the experience of Authentic Scottish Weather.

The trip gave me a chance to try out my spiffy new Arkel Dry-Lite rear panniers—capacity of 28 ltrs, and weighing only 540 gms (just over 19 oz.)  I’m thinking of using these on a weeklong non-camping tour later this summer, so wanted to see how they would handle a small load of clothing, sleeping bag, mattress, tarp, cookware, and food.

My overall load included my Tarptent on the rear carrier; frame bag with rain gear, clickstand, personal sundries and phone; and a lightweight Axiom handlebar bag with more sundries, camera, wallet, etc.  Photo #1 below shows the setup—Osi the Raven leaning against the rail on the ferry across the Ottawa between Quyon, Qué, and the Ontario side.

This soft carrying capacity was wholly adequate for overnight camping, with a total weight  of just over 28 lbs.  The loaded Arkel Dry-Lites weighed 12 lbs, and had space for a bit more on each side.

I left home just after 8 on a fresh clear Sunday morning, heading north and east across the Ottawa River through the southern portion of Gatineau Park.  Dozens of road cyclists passed me, part of an annual city-wide ride northwards to a dam on the Gatineau River, a 200 km round trip.  For the first hour-plus, I had to work against hills in the park and a brisk easterly headwind; that became a sidewind as I reached the Gatineau River, a major tributary of the Ottawa which joins the big river just east of Parliament Hill at the centre of the city.

The Gatineau is an historic logging river with its headwaters some 400 kms north of Montréal in the Laurentians.  The riverside road into the pretty village of Wakefield is picturesque, but you admire the river and its forested hillsides at your peril—the road surface is a dreadful patchwork of old tarmac, barely-filled potholes, frost heaves and cracks in every direction. I was running my Supremes at about 50 psi at the front, and just   under 60 at the rear, and they coped quite well.  Better to survey the river and the old covered bridge from the patio of the Café Molo, where I enjoyed a good bowl of mushroom soup and a toasted ham-and-cheese croissant.  Photo #2 below shows the scene.

As often happens, I had a brief but cheerful conversation with a couple of cyclists on the patio—Wakefield residents, not the roadies en route to the dam.  They were intrigued to see a dedicated touring bike, so I explained its beginnings in Somerset, and its hub—what’s the word for “hub”? sez I to myself, groping through my limited French technical vocabulary—the Rohloff made in Germany to survive urban cycling and the winters of northern Europe, with fourteen gears tucked away inside, if you please.  We bade each other au revoir and safe riding, and I headed west along a secondary rural highway to re-cross the Gatineau Park and the height of land between the Gatineau and Ottawa rivers.  The easterly now became a tailwind, and I made good time, revisiting countryside and small villages I hadn’t seen for a few years.  Photo #3 below shows the very grand church in the very modest village of La Pêche.

Near La Pêche, I followed the Eardley Road through hardscrabble farmland and then, as I re-entered the park, through mixed hardwood and conifer forest.  Last time I came this way, the road was hilly gravel for most of its 14 kms, and I wasn’t looking forward to the steep descent down the escarpment towards the Ottawa River.  I was pleased to find out that much of the road had been recently paved, and that the final descent—12% with a sharp bend mid-way down—was no problem at all.

A quick stop at the Eardley Dépanneur for ice cream and coffee, plus an energy bar and a tangerine—but with another hour or so of riding still ahead, I decided against the poutine or fried chicken at Chez Jack, the food truck beside the dépanneur.  A note on dépanneurs:  the dépanneur is an estimable Québec institution, though those in rural areas often seem to be in difficulty, like so many roadside cafés and rural small businesses more generally.  A dépanneur is not unlike a general store, but the name signals something different: if you (or your vehicle) are en panne, you’ve got a problem of some sort, and a dépanneur will help you fix it.  A well-stocked one will include food, hardware, dry goods, over-the-counter meds, and beer and wine—whatever you need for whatever ails you. 

The clear blue sky gave way to a bank of cloud advancing from the west as I neared the Ottawa River at Quyon.  The ferry between Quyon and Fitzroy Harbour in Ontario crosses the Ottawa at one of its narrower points.  The ferry route itself is about 700 metres, while just downstream, the river narrows to about 300.  On the brief crossing, I spoke with a forty-something dad and his late-teens son in a pickup truck. They had Yamaha dirt bikes in the back, and I asked if they were racing. “No,” said the dad, “just getting dirty.”  He wanted to know about my bike, and my journey. I explained that this was just a mini-tour, my first overnight of the year.  He was full of praise, bless him, for cyclists like me (that is, d’un certain âge) doing things like this.  And, he wanted to know about the bike.  Once again, I explained its British/German origins, and once again, he was intrigued by its purpose-built design and That Hub.

As we disembarked, one of the crew on the ferry said I’d better hustle, as there was rain on the way.  I said thanks, but I was only going a few kms to Fitzroy Park. “Ah,” he said, “you’ll be OK then. Stay dry!”

Fitzroy Provincial Park is fifty-plus kms north of my home in Ottawa, and lies within the metropolitan boundaries of the city.  It abuts the little village of Fitzroy Harbour, at the northern end of a peri-urban region of good farmland.  (Photo #5 is a relic of its history.)  For years, I’ve assumed that village and park were named after the skipper of the Beagle—but no, this Fitzroy was Charles.  It was his half-brother Robert who was the skipper of the Beagle.  Charles was a British aristocrat, a colonial administrator and governor in colonies such as Prince Edward Island and New South Wales. (His Wikipedia page reads like an extended footnote on a character in a Flashman novel.)  Canada is dotted with such imperial echoes.  On the road west from Wakefield, for example, there’s a signpost for “Ladysmith”—yes, that one—and there’s another Ladysmith in B.C.

I found myself a spacious and open campsite beside a small river which runs through the park and empties into the Ottawa.  I was on the east bank of the Carp River—really, little more than a creek at this point—but a small marshy bay meant that the far bank was 100-plus metres away, and happily, a freshening wind from the west chased off any mozzies lingering with ill intent.  And, the little marsh had nurtured a lovely swath of wildflowers, complete with a few bumblebees and a dancing-and-swooping pair of red-winged blackbirds. (Photo #4). 

Sunday's forecast had called for clouds and a 60% chance of showers in the evening, and the same for Monday morning.  So, I rigged my tarp to ensure some dry space outside my tent.  The downside of an open campsite was that there was no handy tree to anchor my tarp, so I used the bike, the tent and the picnic table as props.  After a fine warm shower, a couple of cups of tea well laced with condensed milk (!! – I don’t usually admit to such things in public) and my standard one-pot meal of lentils, cous-cous, dried/rehydrated veg with bouillon cube, olive oil and garlic sausage, I snuggled into my sleeping bag just as a light rain began to fall.

“60% chance of evening showers,” indeed.  The weather forecast from Environment Canada said nothing about Scottish weather.  The light rain morphed into heavy rain, and then the mozzie-banishing freshening westerly turned the whole plot into a monster rain-and-wind storm.  This lasted for about 10 hours, from 7:30 on Sunday evening until about 5:30 Monday morning.  The rain clattered down on my tarp and tent, and warm and dry as I was, the racket made real sleep almost impossible.

As the rain eased at last, the crows in the neighbourhood set up a colossal row which went on for a good 15 or 20 minutes. I have no idea what the cause of it all might have been, but this was no murder of crows at work—it was more like a full-on slaughter.  Their unavoidable presence made me realize how little wildlife I’d seen on my journey.  There were no deer in sight, as I had cycled through the forest during the heat of the day.  I did see a snapping turtle on a gravelly roadside near a lake in the Gatineau Park.  He was a big old fellow, his shell maybe 12” in length, so I said to him as I eased past, “Ah, jeez, mate, get back in the water where you belong, before some clueless SUV driver mashes you.”  I hope he made it to safety.
 
On my campsite, no raccoons showed up—I assume that they spent the rainy night tucked away in a lair in a hollow tree trunk, smart creatures that they are.  Happily, my new Arkel Dry-Lites are thus still unmarked and waterproof—though if the rain hadn’t been so overwhelming, I would have stowed them overnight in the men’s washroom, just in case.  (So far as I know, raccoons haven’t yet figured out how to pull open heavy wide metal doors.)

My ride home on Monday morning turned out to be a cool wet affair, and I was glad I had brought my heavier-duty rain gear.  I made do with a cold breakfast, knowing that I could stop at Alice’s Village Café in the village of Carp, some 20-plus kms from the park.  Even though it was only 9:30, they had an A-grade large pulled-pork-and-bean soup on offer, and that saw me home with no problem.  The soggy weather meant that I had the bike path all to myself as I rode into the city along the south shore of the Ottawa River :)

A final note on gear

1)   Rear Panniers:  I’m quite pleased with the Arkel Dry-Lites.  They’re well made, a feature of all the Arkel products I’ve used.  They’re light, compact, and waterproof.  And, at Cdn $100 a pair, they are less than half the price of my 32-ltr Dolphins.
 
There are two “buts”.  The first is really just a quibble:  I’d prefer them to be slightly larger, say 30 or 32 litres, and I’d live with the extra few ounces of extra fabric.  That said, I think that they’ll be fine for my credit-card 5- or 6-day tour in south-western Ontario later this summer. (Other stuff will go into the frame bag, seat bag, and handlebar bag, and perhaps also a trunk bag atop the rear rack.)

The second “but” is that the Dry-Lites are less convenient than Arkel’s heavier and heavier-duty panniers, such as the waterproof Dolphins or the T-42’s. 

There are two aspects to this issue. First, the Dry-Lites are fixed to the lower struts of the rear rack by two hooks on heavy elastic cords. (This is standard Arkel practice.)  At the top, however, you mount them by Velcro straps, two going across the rack, and one fore-and-aft.  Once you have fitted the cross-wise straps in place for the first time, they will locate the panniers readily enough thereafter.  But, you do have to raise and re-fasten the uppermost Velcro strip on each cross-wise strap each time you mount the panniers on your rack, because the fore-and-aft fixing strap is sandwiched between the layers of the cross-wise Velcro.  I was able to do this in 15 or 20 seconds with no problem, but it is a bit fiddly by comparison with Arkel’s simple, robust, and effective – and heavy – regular metal mounting system.

The second aspect of the convenience question is that you cannot mount or remove the panniers individually – they go on and off together.

On balance, there are pros and cons—as with most gear—but I’m satisfied with the Dry-Lites.  On a longer camping tour, I would mount my 32-ltr Dolphins at the front of my Raven, and use those for lighter, bulkier items such as clothing and sleeping gear.  I’d use the slightly smaller Dry-Lites as rear panniers, and they would carry denser items such as cookware and food.

2)   Axiom 7-ltr lightweight handlebar bag:  This swallowed quite a lot of smaller items—personal items like sunblock, glasses cleaner kit and sunglasses, as well as some electronics (camera, phone Anker battery), and the two front pockets were very handy for things like saddle rain cover, helmet ditto, zipties and QR ties.  The whole lot, bag included, weighed only 3½ lbs.  By comparison, my Arkel small handlebar bag weighs 2 lbs empty, and the mounting hardware is another few ounces.

BUT.  Although I used a rain cover for the Axiom on the rainy ride home, water entered the bag.  Nothing was damaged, because I use sealable plastic bags for protection and to organize things.  For future tours, however, I’ll continue to use my Arkel handlebar bag, and live with the weight penalty. The Axiom bags (I have two, the 7-ltr and the smaller 4-ltr) will suit for day rides.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 03:57:54 PM by John Saxby »

John Saxby

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #132 on: June 07, 2018, 04:41:59 PM »
Final photo attached, to go with the post above.

Danneaux

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #133 on: June 07, 2018, 05:18:53 PM »
Most enjoyable, John (I'm on my second read and look-see). Thanks for sharing!

All the best,

Dan.

PH

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Re: RIDES 2018 — add yours here
« Reply #134 on: June 07, 2018, 06:18:45 PM »
Lovely report and photos John, I envy you those big rivers, there is something magical in crossing them and the way they divide a country or continent,  they can add such a focus to a ride, we have nothing really comparable in the UK.
I don't like to sound a complete gear junkie (Even if there were some truth in it) -  how do you think the Dry-lites will hold up over time?  I'd expect them to need more care than my pretty robust Ortiebs which have had almost daily use for a decade (At least one of them) but with care? What do you think, robust enough?