The latest in amazing trials riding! source: Steev
Archive for the 'Cycling' Category
As winter comes to an end, its time to get back out on the bikes! My commuting bike (called the bus) has taken a hammering over the winter months and the chain is not in a good way.
Sheldon brown shares a good tip on cleaning chains. Sometimes when you think that you should buy a new chain for your bike, all that it needs is a good clean.
Drop the chain into a plastic Coke bottle with a couple of ounces of un-diluted citrus degreaser, cap it, and shake thoroughly. Fish the chain out with a spoke, rinse in water, and you are all set! (I am told that Pepsi bottles also work, and are easier to remove the chain from, because they have a wider mouth…but I’m a Coke guy, not a Pepsi guy.)
I have had ok results with this method. I only managed to get solvent based degreaser which is horrible smelly cancerous stuff. The bottle top was pretty wee so a larger one in future will be better. It also only worked quite well and not as good as I thought.
I will need to try with real citrus degreaser in the future and see how that goes.
Today we were feeling quite lazy and did an easy jaunt through the jagged mountains of Lofoten (Austvågøya) to the town of Solvær (capital of lofoten). Solvær as OK and we had a tasty snack and bought some delicious bread. (Vestfjordbrod from Kringla Bakeri in the main square.)
We continued onto hip and happening Henningsvær, the climbing captial of Lofoten. We relaxed in the climbing cafe over some Nordland Pils and partook in a magnificent shower. Finally we retired to PARTYWAVE the cool climbers wild campsite and evaded the clouds of angry mosquitos.
I tried to get a pair of Norrøna Lofoten ski pants for cheap (RRP circa £400) but the climber dude wasnt having any of it. Note to self: when haggling its better to make sure it is a one on one haggle and there are no other advisers in the vicinity.
960.6km fae NK
Woke up to find out that a beast of some kind had got into our tent porch in the night and eaten most of our food!!
Very picturesque beautiful cycle on one of the recommended motorbike roads. Finally got my ipod out and have started listening to music when I am cycling.. pumpin!
Helen had a dark day today.
Found a ‘mall’ and had some tasty ice cream. Tried for find a some snow and ran to a white patch on some hillside. Unfortunately it was a very white stone slab . This ends my 32 month stint of being on snow every month!!
Stopped off at a proper campsite and made some funny sunset pictures.
1051.4 km fae NK
A slow start to the day at Ramberg Gjesthus Campsite but a heart warming story of a 90 year old Australian man who had been in nearby Skelfjord aged 19 and returned to witness the opening of a war memorial. He has been reunited with a 76 year old man whom he gave a box of delicious chocolates to 71 years ago.
We cycled the remaining length of flakstadøya to Moskenesøya and all the way to the famed å. We spent the rest of the gloriously sunny day relaxing and pottering about in å and moskenes.
At the ferry port we met a kiwi / south african couple who were driving an insane mercedes camper van. (something similar to “this”“http://www.flickr.com/photos/cinemadreams/3027634842/in/photostream/”) They were driving it around the world and had heaps of good chat.
Our time in Lofoten was coming to a close as the sun went down behind the jagged peaks. We munched on our final wild dinner, washing it down with some Nordlands Pils.
20.6 kph AVG
58.5 kph MAX
1097.2 km fae NK
Weather good / amazing! Had the best ferry waffle experienced so far. (Brensholmen -> Botnhavn). Staying at obscene hut called Senjabu. Buily in 2002 it is in very good nick and seems like someone’s own house.
Did a beast of a shop and cooked mince n tatties for dinner. Bought some beer to drink despite the weight!
19.6 kph avg (NR)
54.4 kph max
699.4km fae NK
Left senjabu and had a beautiful and amazingly fun circa 2 hour ride to Gryllefjord. Saw lots of jellyfish, trucks and shags. One moderate mountain pass.
Arrived at 11:43am to find out that the ferry had gone ar 11. Next one was due at 7pm!! We spent several relaxing hours reading and fishing. (fishing with rudimentary equipment didnt work out too well.) Went to shop for dinner at 5pm and found out that the evening ferry to Andesnes was cancelled!! Bad weather apparently.. but I think it was a Birthday Party as the weather was lovely.
Basically we have been proper winging it with the ferries so far on the trip. Just rocking up and waiting a short time for a boat. This was the first time that the flying by the seat of your pants approach has bitten us in the bum after years of success. So the jury is still out… fly by the seat of your pants or plan?
Biked a few kilometres back up the fjord and found a stony campspot. Enjoyed a delightful beach dinner in textbook sunset conditions. (Prawns, salmon, sweetcorn, cheesy pasta, Tuborgs.)
(started the regular consumption of beer)
20.3 kph avg (NR)
59.1 kph max
741.5 km fae NK
Finally escaped from Gryllefjord in a ferry that should have been in a museum. Rip off costs for shitty coffee (30kr (£3) + 5kr (50p) for a refill!!) We spoke to the captain about the previous days cancellation and it was clear that they just couldnt be f*cked the previous day. Annoying to say the least!
Due to the pitiful distance covered the previous day we decided to pound out a big one.
After some choppy seas we made it to Andøya (Awesome Andøya). Andesnes is a surprisingly big place and with the wind behind us we smashed through 50km in 2 hours.
Went for a 1hr effort, 10 min break schedule for most of the day, grinding out 6hrs of cycling effort in this manner. Sunshine and obscene views most of the time!
Arrived at Melbu and didnt like the look of it so decided to go even further than planned at get the last ferry to Lofoten. Possibly the best sunset I have ever seen was experienced as Helen danced to some attrocious pop music on the ferry. Would have been better without the pop music!
155.21 km (NR)
23.4 kph (NR)
56.4 kph Max
2588 Kcal (NR)
896.8 km fae NK
Glorious blue sky weather. Three mountain passes. Longest day so far. Cycled until 9pm.
Hammering it down a mountain descent in the dying light, racing a jeep, with the majestic tops of lyngen is what its all about.
Stayed in our first hut! Shock! Was top class to have a shower and wash away the filth that has accumulated when wild camping.
58.7 kph max
440.3 km fae NK
From Rotsundelv late start, all clean after shower and bed sleep in a hut. (luxury) Chillaxed 31km to Olderdalen where we had a delicious ice and caught ferry to Lyngseidet.
Amazing sunshine and views of lyngen alps’ glaciers all day. Cycled past Svendsby and round the top of Jægervatnet. Bit of a dirt track into forest then hike into Jægervasshytta in fierce evening sunshine.
Relaxed night in gorgeous and well equipped hut with a calm watery view. Ahhh! Deilig? Ja.
18.0 kph avg
61.2 kph max (equal best)
507.7 km fae NK
From Jægervasshytta we walked out to bike transition then back to Svendsby to catch another ferry. German tourists.
Met kjent mann at Fagernes and he showed us some quite back roads into Tromsø. Also cycled part of the Tromsø marathon route.
Demolished a monster of a pizza at Peppes Pizza in Tromsø. American tourists. Kjent mann #2 helped us out of Tromsø. There was an incredibly steep hill to cycle over. Got filmed by the google maps street view camera for the umpteenth time this trip.
Onto kvaløya (whale island) and eventually found a mosquito-rich camping spot. Made a fire to scare them away.
19.8 kph avg (new record)
63.7 kph max (new record)
617.5 km fae NK
After building the bikes at Nordkapp. We bought the most expensive sandwiches of our life (circa £9 each) and headed off south in gale force winds.
We cycled past some reindeer who looked at us strangely. The weather was rough with it feeling like winter and almost sleeting. The leaves were turning brown on what trees we could find.
We had to cycle through an obscene tunnel that was 7km long and went 208 metres under sea level. It was actually good to be out of the wind.
At one point we had to walk with the bikes it was that windy. The campsite was super bleak and it was great to get into our sleeping bags and warm up. Dinner was replaced by salami sandwiches as it was too wild to get the stove on the go.
18.6kph Avg Speed
61.2 kph max
3:52:39 pedal time.
Note: the stats come from Helen’s bike computer. I am certain that throughout the trip I broke 70kph on some descents but cant prove it as I threw my computer away before the trip.
First use of the stove today allowed us to eat some tasty pasta. First use of the statoil cup got us some free coffee at a statoil petrol station. We saw a library bus:
We bumped into a guy from Belgium who had been cycling for the last 3 months. He had a youth hostel key for Alta which we are going to pass tomorrow. We promised to hand it in for him.
Found a nice campsite next to a salmon river.
181.2km fae NK
Started badly. We left the wire lock at camp 2 and Ally had to cycle 5.6km back to fetch it. Helen felt weak for the first 1-2 hours. Met loads of cyclists heading North. Had fun in the Metropolis of Alta, visiting a supermarket and another Statoil (free coffee). Handed in key for Belgian dude at Youth Hostel.
With the evening came our first sunshine and we caned it well past the target campspot of Talvik, mainly because campsite searching took so long as finding spots in farm areas at the side of fjord can be tough.
We found a sweet spot in the end so it worked out well.
302.7km fae NK
Im just back from a 2 week cycle touring trip in the North of Norway.
Below is an equipment list which lists individual items and shared items for 2 people. Having more than one person is great because it allows you to shared items and therefore carry less. Lightweight is the way to go here, we even threw things away and Helen sent stuff home to minimise weight.
spare inner tube
spare brake blocks*
Bike lights for tunnels.
2 water bottles (litre each)
sunglasses + case
semi waterproof gloves
light insulation jacket (eg. primaloft)
thermal x3 (long sleeves)
leisure trousers (lightweight)
sawn off toothbrush
medication (eg. inhaler)
sun tan cream
Stove + Lighter
Washing up stuff
wee book + pen
wee bit of shampoo
puncture repair kit
maps and route info
Basically all the other cycle tourers we met had much much more stuff than us and were on slow bikes.
I went for an approach of converting an actual racing bike for cycle touring on which went really well. It was essentially the same setup I used for credit card touring through the alps a couple of years ago with the addition of an alpkit drybag on the back which held the tent and 2 thermarests.
As a side note, often when saving weight people scrimp on underbody insulation. This is a bad move as it can make sleeping really uncomfortable. Therefore we decided to take the thermarests which ensured for a cosy nights sleep. They also pack down relatively well when wrapped round a tent.
The bike was very fast and once up to speed would cruise at 25 – 30 kph no problem. The downside is that it is a bit of a weak bike for load carrying so you have to be nice to it when it comes to bumps / gravel / curbs etc. The wheels have not that many spokes so will buckle easily.
For Helen’s bike we went for a more solid solution. A burly cyclocross racing bike with a rack and some carradice waterproof panniers. This setup is a reliable setup for touring as the frame and wheels are strong with high gearing for when the need arises to go fast.
The downside is that the panniers end up holding more stuff, dont have very good handling and are not as aerodynamic as the racing bike bags I was running. This meant that on downhills my bike was a lot faster. As it cut through the air a lot better.
In general I think the best solution would have been for both Helen and I to use similar equipment as often it was hard to stay together as my bike was that much faster.
I am starting up a new weekly series called wicked wednesday where I upload something that I think is wicked. I first saw something like this on the nonimage blog so its not totally fresh!
This week we have one of the best trials mountain bikers I have ever seen, riding in my ex home town of Edinburgh.
Off to club med!
Left the super ghetto hostel. I wish I had got a photo of the owner and the flies in the morning. Went to the boulangerie for a top class croissant breakfast. Got going pretty early enjoying the ‘littlest hobo’ feeling once more. I thought it was going to be a super easy cruise into Nice.
However I missed the 1500m col that I had to do out of the box passing the last ski resort of the trip. Squeezed that one out (THE LAST COL!) in the morning sunshine then descended for like 30km making really good time.
Stopped for lunch at a top class viewpoint with some friendly tourist information people who listened to my story and gave me free coffee. You could see they thought I was a little odd tho, lycras n all.
Then some further hillside roads and then lots of speedy descending into nice, got a nice photo of some trees.
The outskirts of nice are traffic hell, there is an insane amount of motorised transport kicking around. About 50% scooters! I thought I was making a mistake coming into nice; tried to get into the youth hostel; it was full. All the hotels were also booked up for some conference. I tried a couple, all booked up.
I thought screw this and found a posh hotel on the sea front. Much more upmarket than I am used to and I had to get a deluxe room also. I did have the best sleep I can remember and the air conditioning was premium.
Going to spend a few days on the mediterranean cost now. Still cycling tho, through Monaco to Menton then onto Italy.
Geneva to Nice! DONE!
A few cheeky extras
Did some extra cols today (which were actually part of the official grand traverse of the alps but not the route I was following.) As arguably its better to do the bonnete as its the highest paved road peak in Europe.
Big day today – 120km over three cols. Col de Cayolle (2310m), Col de Valberg (1672m) and Col de la Couillole (1678m). Probably, biggest day so far actually. The Cayolle had come ace canyons on the way up. On the way to the summit it started properly raining. I chatted to a dude at the summit who said that he thought the Grand Traverse of the Alps is the best cycle route in Europe. I think I agree in my limited experience. A few other people I have spoke to have thought it funny that in my first venture into the alps I am doing the beast.
I descended from the summit in the rain and cold and sheltered in a cafe where I could use my shit french to get some food.
Stopped of for lunch later in the valley but I was too late for anything. So bought shit-loads of chocolate instead. Then polished off the next two cols in the sunshine.
Col de Valberg
The final descent of the day was fighting for the descent title. It almost took it but didn’t manage due to the road surface.
Tonight I am in a real ghetto hotel. Most crazy so far. I found eye lashes in my starter tonight (a pile of weird looking spam type meat.) I wrapped it up in a napkin and deposited in my room to avoid problems with the other meagre courses.
I hope I don’t get the food poisoning tonight. Met a swiss cyclist who had a pretty serious crash today on the descent from the bonnete. Something about a stainless steel bridge in the rain which made a mess of his face and head. Helmet saved him; No hospitals here so fire brigade sorted him out!