Monday, 28 March 2011

London to Brighton (and Back)

Sadly no time for a summer tour this year - if I want to remain married, at least - so I've been looking for an alternative.

One ride I've wanted to do for some time is London-to-Brighton, but - at just over 50 miles - it didn't really seem quite enough of a challenge.  So, how about London-Brighton-London...?

That's more like it: 106 miles and 2500 feet of elevation gain.  Not exactly L'Etape du Tour, but a challenge, nonetheless!  Here's the route (it's the same in reverse on the way back, of course):

Bike route 856462 - powered by Bikemap 

I'm not going to be alone, I'm being joined by Channel 4 colleague, Peter Heneghan. I fear he's a more serious cyclist than me - he's done La Marmotte, which is over 100 miles and includes three famous Hor Categorie (ie off-the-scale) climbs - Col de la Croix de Fer, Col du Telegraphe/Galibier and Alpe d'Huez!

This will be a warm-up ride for him for an even nuttier ride he's doing later in the summer, the 150 miles Ötztaler Cycling Marathon in Austria.

I'm going to combine the cycle with a family trip to London for the weekend, which should please Mrs Robinson.

The provisional date is June 4th and it we hope to meet some mates at the end for a beer...

Monday, 21 March 2011

2 Wheels Good, New Wheels Better (Part 2)

A couple of weeks ago I explained why I was selling the Bontrager Race Lite wheels from my road bike and buying some hand-built wheels instead.

After searching the web I found a highly-recommended wheel builder called Harry Rowland, based in Kent.  The benefit of hand-built wheels is that you are asking an expert to assess your needs, pick the right components and build them using years of experience.  That leads to better quality wheels that should stay true for longer than those assembled by machines or low-paid, semi-skilled factory workers in Malaysia.

As suggested on his web site I gave him a call to discuss what I needed - basically a pair of (reasonably) light, reliable (and hopefully shiny!) wheels.

Ambrosio Excellight Rim
Harry was very straightforward, really helpful, and - like many of the best tradespeople - persuaded me to spend less on the wheels that I'd budgeted for!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Cycle Computers join the 21st Century...

A couple of months ago, after more than two years of dedicated service, my cycle computer finally gave up the ghost.

It was a Garmin Edge 205, the base model and a refurbed one (though you wouldn't know the difference) and cost about 80 quid.

Garmin Edge 205
I have to say that it's demise was rather theatrical, as well as final - diving off my handle bars before being run over by a passing car - but it did pave the way for a snazzy new replacement...!

Monday, 7 March 2011

2 Wheels Good, New Wheels Better (Part 1)

Inspired by Rob Penn's desire to create his perfect bike, I've been tweaking my road bike to get it just right.  The latest change has been a new pair of wheels.

Of course my wife wants to know why I need a new pair of wheels and what's wrong with the current ones.  A wheel is a wheel, right...?

Well, yes and no.