Originally uploaded by Andrew Birkett
Finally into familiar territory, and restaurants which are open too. Today was much hillier than i expected and after last night’s somewhat botched pizza dinner i felt short on fuel later in the day. So, i looked out an italian restaurant tonight and have just eaten all of the pasta, ahead of tomorrow’s ascent of shap hill.
Gearwise, how are things working out? Aerobars, mirror and mudguards were all late additions to the bike and have all been brilliant. After i downgeared the bike, i still took the original sprocket with me – waste of time, never been close to using it. Kindle has been mostly a waste. I thought i’d have lots of free time to read, but in practise my evenings are pretty full with eating, clothes washing, showering, route checking and sorting out bnb’s. It was worth bringing the ipod; i was great to listen to it on my half day in Ross on Wye and i’ve used it a couple of days on boring quiet roads. I would’ve used it today too, except i had forgot to charge it. Riding clothes have all been fine. My sealskinz rain gloves are really too warm for this weather though. Only taking one set of clothes has been fine. I was my riding gear in the sink when i arrive, dry it by rolling it in a towel and it’s always been totally dry by morning. Waterproof map case was something that i figured i might need after the one and only training ride where i took a map – very glad to have it. The bungee cord i took has served several purposes, and now holds the map on my pannier pack. My Ortleib panniers have been bulletproof, but i’ve had them for years and knew they would be. I’ve talked lots about the gps before and how useful it is. Finally, i would not be without my high viz jacket. It’s a bit of a pain, being an extra layer, but i’m convinced it has made a huge difference to drivers being able to see me. I had a good example today whilst i was descending a wet hill at reasonable speed. Driver appeared from junction at left, slowed and looked both ways. He took his foot off the brake for a fraction of a second and then slammed it back on again as his brain registered the approaching cyclist. To be fair, he might have spotted me regardless, but it was setting up to be a textbook ‘look but don’t see’ situation.
The bike itself has been fine. I’ll need new brake blocks after all these descents! The only niggle is that the seat post keeps gradually slipping. No problems with the gears, and with all the rain and mud i’ve been through i’m quite glad for the sealed hub gears! I’m now very glad the other bike i was going to buy fell through.