Thursday, 2 January 2014

January First Ride 2014

Rain, followed by rain, with rain later.
Happy New Year!

I did my January First Ride yesterday.
First ride of the year, and January First.

The leaden sky kept up a mixture of drizzle and rain throughout.

I was on my wife's old bike, with just 5 functional gears, and a gear range of about 170 or 180% (surprisingly similar to the 177% of the classic Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed that I had on my Cinzia).

I plotted the route with MapMyRide, and it came out as twelve-and-a-bit miles, so more than enough for the first day of "The Challenge", a challenge set by a Google+ "community" to ride 5 or 10 miles a day, every day in January.

MapMyRide reckons it is what they call a "Category 4" climb, with a 70m gain over 8 km - it is basically uphill all the way out :-)
What that c.230ft in 5 miles figure hides is that it is a long, slight, climb with a steep section - as one goes up the side of the Chiltern Hills. In the steep bit it is a 135ft climb in 1100 yards, then it backs off as one approaches the summit.
Looking at what would normally constitute a "Category 4" hill, this one only just qualifies, it at all :-)

Quite a bump in the height chart!
Lowest gear on the steep bit of the climb, with burning lungs and a headwind.
Almost at the top!

Coming back was easy.
Downhill and wind behind me!
Still raining though :-(
I topped out my modest gears very quickly, and just free-wheeled for the best part of two miles, unable to pedal fast enough to keep up with the bike.
I kept it in top gear all the way home, just having to "stand" a little to cross the bridge over the canal.

The MapMyRide printout for the climb has garbled numbers - the graph and the figues below showing slightly different numbers, but they give you an idea.
If you have better terrain mapping software available on your computer, then look up the slope yourself - the road name for the rise is "London Road", then it becomes "Tring Hill" on the steep part. The ride passes through Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire, England, on the "old" A41 route, and I came back down the "new" A41 - the Aston Clinton Bypass.
Passed the "wrong sort" of Peugeot dealer on the way back.
Gosh, motor cars are expensive!
Not the toughest ride of my life, but hey, a good start to the year - and it just shows what can be done on a cheap bike with a bit of effort.
I got pretty wet, but hey, it was fun :-)

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