All 195 entries tagged Cycling

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December 18, 2008

Annual target reached – 3000 cycling miles!

Follow-up to November cycling summary from Steve's blog

While out cycling yesterday lunchtime my 3,000th mile of the year ticked over. I wasn’t expecting it to happen quite so soon, but I’ve managed to get out quite often this month. The weather has been chilly but otherwise pretty good so I’ve managed to get out 8 lunchtimes and cycle a total of 100 miles on top of my usual commute. I will probably be taking it a little easier for what remains of the month, but I’m guessing I’ll end up at 3025 miles or thereabouts for the year.

I’ll do a proper summary later, but here are a few numbers for the year so far: 3004 miles (1130 miles at lunchtimes), 190 hours, 463 separate journeys.


December 01, 2008

November cycling summary

Follow-up to October cycling summary from Steve's blog

November got off to a bit of a dodgy start, but picked up towards the end and I ended up gaining a few more miles against my target. I think that is simply down to the rain stopping, allowing me to get out more often at lunchtime. So, I now have 193 miles to go to hit my target of 3000 miles for the year. At first, that sounded pretty straightforward. Then I realised that I’m probably not going to get any cycling in after 23rd, and that means a slightly higher daily target than normal. Not hugely higher, but it means I can’t afford any slacking! So I do need to get out at lunchtimes despite the cold. I’m determined to make it, though…

The numbers:

Month Time Distance Target Difference Ave Speed
Jan 15:38 222 254 -32 14.2
Feb 13:03 196 238 -42 15.0
Mar 14:00 210 254 -44 15.0
Apr 20:01 313 246 67 15.6
May 18:00 281 254 27 15.6
Jun 25:02 400 246 154 16.0
Jul 9:50 162 254 -92 16.0
Aug 16:58 272 254 18 15.7
Sep 15:00 250 246 4 15.0
Oct 13:42 241 254 -13 14.7
Nov 15:57 260 246 14 14.7
Total 177:13 2807 2746 63 15.3

November 10, 2008

October cycling summary

Follow-up to September cycling summary from Steve's blog

October was an odd month. For most of it I really wasn’t in the mood for cycling. The weather hasn’t been great either, but normally in those circumstances I’m eager to get out at lunchtimes whenever it is dry. But the motivation seems to have gone a bit. Things picked up a little towards the end of the month and surprisingly I only lost 13 miles against my target. I was anticipating much more.

Overall I’m still 48 miles miles ahead of my annual target, but that assumes I keep riding to the end of December. The last week of the year will be cycling free for sure, which actually puts me behind. And it is hard to believe the weather is going to get better as the year progresses so keeping up the miles is only going to get harder. And November hasn’t started well either. Not good news. I need to get some motivation back, and I’m not sure how. I can feel that 3000 mile target slipping away.

The numbers:

Month Time Distance Target Difference Ave Speed
Jan 15:38 222 254 -32 14.2
Feb 13:03 196 238 -42 15.0
Mar 14:00 210 254 -44 15.0
Apr 20:01 313 246 67 15.6
May 18:00 281 254 27 15.6
Jun 25:02 400 246 154 16.0
Jul 9:50 162 254 -92 16.0
Aug 16:58 272 254 18 15.7
Sep 15:00 250 246 4 15.0
Oct 13:42 241 254 -13 14.7
Total 161:16 2548 2500 48 15.3

November 09, 2008

New chain fitted, and more

Follow-up to Chain life from Steve's blog

Yesterday, I finally got around to fitting the new chain. A pretty straightforward job, especially as I used an SRAM Powerlink to join the new chain. Very quick and easy. For the record, I replaced the chain with an HG-53 – like-for-like in other words. The original chain managed just a shade over 3400 miles so I’m assuming I’ll get the same again from the new one. That should last me until early 2010 unless my mileage goes up a lot next year.

Every time I changed the chain on my old bike I had let it wear too much and the cassette needed replacing too. At that point, if you change the chain and not the cassette, the chain doesn’t run properly and it can be unrideable. What happens is that the teeth on the cassette change shape to match the chain as it wears, and a new chain simply doesn’t work. Anyway, this time I changed the chain as soon as it has stretched by 0.75% according to my chain gauge, and I was very pleased to find that it works perfectly on the original cassette. Money saved. Always a good thing. Not sure now long I can expect the cassette to last if I always change the chain early enough…

I also needed to change the front brake blocks. I had been a bit lax in keeping and eye on state of the blocks until they started making a worrying scraping noise! Oops. I only had Thursday’s commute to ride that way, so no damage was done. Those blocks lasted 1900 miles. The new ones are the same type so they should keep me going until late summer next year.

After all that yesterday, I managed 9 miles this morning just to check it out. The chain seems fine. Every gear change was clean bar one, which is about average for this bike so that seems good enough to me. When I set off, I did forget I had changed the brake blocks, so the first junction was, er, interesting. It will take a little while for the shine to wear off so I do need to remember to brake just a little earlier for a while.

Anyway, the bike is now all set for a while – all I need to do is ride it. Good news!


October 29, 2008

Cycling in the snow (not)

October snow

So, yesterday afternoon Coventry turned white. Very Christmasy! I had every intention of cycling home, and even set off on two wheels, but very quickly I started to find lumps of compacted snow and wimped out. I walked most of the way. I did see one cyclist still braving two wheels, and they had one of two “moments” while they were still in sight, so I’m glad I made that decision.

This morning, things looked distinctly icy on the roads. Even roads with lots of traffic had occasional patches of black ice out in the middle where I would have been cycling. So, again, I’m glad I decided to walk.

I do cycle in most conditions, but I’ve come off a couple of times in icy conditions and so I’m more wary when things turn cold and white. More cautious than I need to be, for sure, but falling off isn’t fun and I’d like to avoid doing it again if at all possible! A couple of days on foot isn’t a big deal – I only have a couple of miles to walk.


October 28, 2008

Chain life

Follow-up to Chain maintenance from Steve's blog

Since I got my chain gauge back in May been checking my chain about one a month and the chain gauge has always told me the chain is fine. I found that a bit surprising, but since it seems that these things overestimate chain wear rather than underestimate it, I was happy. After all, the worst that could happen is that I’ll end up having to replace the cassette too.

Finally, though, this weekend, things changed. My chain has finally reached 0.75% wear, after a little over 3200 miles. That’s the point where I should be able to change it and have the new chain still work on the old cassette. If I leave it until it has worn by 1%, I’ll likely have to replace the cassette too. At least, that’s the usually quoted rule of thumb. I guess we’ll find out soon. I’ll order a new chain now and replace it at the weekend…

Any thoughts on new chains? By default I’ll go for whatever Shimano chain usually goes with Tiagra 9-speed stuff – HG-53?


October 21, 2008

Lighting up time

For most of last week I had my lights on for the cycle home at 5:30. It was that irritating light level where you felt like you really should use lights, but knew there was no point because bike lights just aren’t bright enough to be effective. But I used them anyway.

Yesterday was different. I almost felt like I needed lights for the ride in in the morning, and it was definitely dark enough to need them at the end of the day. On top of that it was raining, so visibility was further reduced and lights yet more necessary. I was surprised, although by now I shouldn’t be, that most other cyclists were not using lights.

This weekend marks the end of BST. The clocks go back an hour so it will be an hour lighter in the morning, but more importantly an hour darker in the evening. If you haven’t yet dusted off your bike lights and checked they work, now is the time. By Monday, you will definitely be needing them at the end of the day.

Here endeth the sermon…


October 01, 2008

September cycling summary

Follow-up to July & August cycling summary from Steve's blog

The obvious acheivement for September was completing the MacRide. 68 miles in a little under 5 hours. The longest ride I’ve ever done. And I was quite pleased that I coped pretty well with it. After Bakers Hill near Hidcote Boyce I did have to take it a bit easy to look after my knees, and I had to stop once because of cramp. Otherwise I was fine and had no problems at all afterwards. Makes me think I should aim for something more ambitious next year. I do have a plan, but I’ll keep that to myself for the moment!

Otherwise September was quite a quiet month. I was taking it easy for the week before the MacRide, and immediately afterwards work got very busy and I found it hard to make the time to get out at lunchtimes. If it wasn’t for the MacRide I’d have been down on my target. As it is, I only made up 4 miles, and was actually quite slow.

Over the year I am now 61 miles ahead of my target, but I do need to make up a bit more ground if I’m going to make 3000 in the year. The weather is now going to get less and less conducive to lunchtime cycling, and December isn’t a full month anyway. I really need to try this month. October was my highest mileage month last year, so there is hope. I just need to keep up the enthusiasm somehow.

In other news my bike clocked up its 3000th mile this month, during the MacRide in fact, and I’m still really happy with it. I’ve had it for over 12 months now, and made the final payment through the Cyclescheme this month so it is finally mine! I’ve also now had over 2000 puncture-free miles on my Continental tyres. Very impressed. They’re actually doing better than the Armadillos on my other bike.

The numbers:

Month Time Distance Target Difference Ave Speed
Jan 15:38 222 254 -32 14.2
Feb 13:03 196 238 -42 15.0
Mar 14:00 210 254 -44 15.0
Apr 20:01 313 246 67 15.6
May 18:00 281 254 27 15.6
Jun 25:02 400 246 154 16.0
Jul 9:50 162 254 -92 16.0
Aug 16:58 272 254 18 15.7
Sep 15:00 250 246 4 15.0
Total 147:34 2307 2246 61 15.4

September 29, 2008

An iPhone compatible alternative to SportsTracker

Follow-up to Sportstracker revisited from Steve's blog

This morning I discovered an iPhone app called “TrailGuru”, along with a corresponding website. It does much of what SprtsTracker does, and more. The iPhone app records a track as you are walking/running/cycling/whatever and uploads it to the website. The app gives you just basic information – distance, time, max speed, etc., unlike the Nokia SportsTracker app which generates pretty graphs and stuff on the phone. You have to go to the TrailGuru website to get the extra analysis. My lunchtime ride is here.

An improvement on SportsTracker, though, is that it keeps cumulative statistics, so if you record and upload every route you’ll get nice pretty graphs with monthly distance, duration, etc. This is much more useful. There’s more analysis it could do once there’s more data in there (year-on-year comparisons), and some other data it could hold against the rides (cadence and heart-rate data, for example), but it is pretty good as it is.

There is a problem with the recording process, though. The “moving time” it records is longer than the moving time recorded by my cycle computer. By quite a lot – over 2 minutes during my 52 minute ride today. I know my cycle computer is pretty much spot on, so it seems the GPS software is taking its time noticing that I’ve stopped. Hopefully they’ll fix this soon, unless it is Apple’s fault in which case it will take years to sort out!!

Still, if you have an iPhone and regularly run or cycle, this is definitely worth a look…


September 17, 2008

Sportstracker revisited

Follow-up to Nokia N82 – GPS stuff from Steve's blog

Back in January I wrote about Nokia’s SportsTracker, which is a phone-based application that uses GPS to record a “workout” including the route itself and various other stats, and then provides a set of mostly useful reports and pretty graphs. Since SportsTracker is on the E71 I got a couple of weeks ago I thought I’d try it again, and in particular I recorded my MacRide cycle a couple of weekends ago.

The end result is here. There’s no easily embeddable version, but you can wrap it in a simple iframe:

The workout profile is interesting, and you can clearly see Bakers Hill in the Cotswolds, about 45 miles into the route, where I had to get off and push because the hill was so steep. Oddly, you get more graphs in the phone version of the app than on the web version, which is a bit surprising.

It seems like not a lot has been done to this since I last tried it. I would really want cumulative distance and time figures to support my quest for annual totals. Those should be easy to do. A moving average speed would be good too. On the plus side, last time, I complained that you couldn’t import GPS tracks from other devices. You can now, as well as creating them manually by clicking on a map. That’s good.

Overall, this is still interesting, but not interesting enough for my purposes. I need to record every route and have cumulative statistics, like I currently get from MyCyclingLog. SportsTracker could be really good, but it isn’t yet. And given some of Nokia’s current focus on community services, the community functionality in SportsTracker is somewhat lacking too. I’d expect groups and friends in there somehow.


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