Winter Bike Wanderings..

As I was at a loose end this morning I decided all of a sudden, with no forethought, to go out for a bike ride.   Its been two weeks as of tomorrow since my last ride.  I have been very inventive with reasons not to ride in the interim.  I had actually planned to go out for a ride tomorrow but seized the moment and just went today.

I chose the heavier Specialized day ride / touring / Audax bike as my steed for the day to give it a run out before winter comes and to check out some of the modifications I have made to it.  I haven’t done much to it really to be honest.  I changed the rear cassette to one with a 30 tooth sprocket as the largest one to help me up the hills with the heavier bike.  I added a couple of brackets to the handlebars for the Garrmin, the route holder for Audax rides and a front light bracket.   I also fitted a bracket to the seatpost to hold either of two Ricksen Kaul saddlebags I have bought, the smaller version was on today.

Here is the bike appropriately positioned by a country road just outside Quinton near Northampton with a view of some wind turbines and you can just about see the trucks on the M1 motorway in the distance, my thinking was ‘man power, wind power and horse power’ ??

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I had just come through the village of Quinton and it appeared to be rubbish collection day judging by the colourful display of plastic ‘wheely bins’ lining the street.

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Here is picture of me with another recent purchase, a nice new MET helmet with a peak that had its first outing today.  I decided I needed a peak to keep the rain off my glasses and sun out of my eyes, now its the time of year for it to be a bit lower in the sky.   Being England both weather events could be happening at the same time.  It also has a little red flashing or solid light on the adjuster at the back of the helmet as a useful safety device.

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I had no idea exactly where I was going when I left home, I just made it up as I went along.  I think I actually went further than if I had pre-planned a route as I was feeling better than expected once I was out.  It was soon fairly evident to me that I was going to be riding into a headwind for the second part of the ride after Castle Ashby and Cogenhoe, by the way, its pronounced ‘Cookner’ by the locals, one of those quirks of English place names I guess?  This first half of the ride was the hilliest with three fairly stiff but short climbs in the first ten miles .  Whiston Hill, Cogenhoe Hill and then up through the village of Great Houghton, so I was very appreciative of the extra low gears.  I reached Hartwell, just after crossing the M.  After that I was beginning to feel the benefit of a bit of tail wind and then I fairly whizzed home from Haversham at the very bottom of the map where I picked up the full south west wind at my back.  It was a ride of 55km or 33 miles and weather was lovely, so I picked the right moment I think.

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