Tuesday, 6 December 2016

SealSkins Fix

Do I really need to find a fix for a £160 pair of boots?

Well, its more of a Bodge than a fix and nothing is broken to be fair.

And I do Love these boots. After all, they do this....
Which is completely mental.

No boot will ever be 100% water proof, unless you were to some how buy a pair molded to your very being. I got these in a shop.

My ankle's are poxy. No winter boot I purchased was ever going to fit snuggly around my ankle making it impossible for water to get in, EVER.

I think I have found the perfect solution, in the shape of a hacked up pair of SealSkins mid weight socks. I wouldn't suggest doing this to a new pair of SealSkins, they are far too good a sock for that but mine were on there way out a long time before this happened.

I wore these Specialized Defrosters in minus 7 temperatures last week and they were spot on, ok it was cold but my feet were fine. They do however, have a gap around the ankle, which isn't an issue when its freezing but I knew it would be in the rain.

The boots do have a lot of adjustment round the neck if required but I still get a small gap either way ow and a rubbing boot. These are new so I'm going to 'allow' the rubbing element.

Anyway, whatever. Half the ankle of a mid weight SealSkin and boom. The perfect fix to any potential leakage. My commute is about 1hr 30 so chances are, my feet will get a smidge damp at some point but this has prolonged that massively.

Well, I'm excited.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

We've Been expecting you.....

Garmin Live tracker.....or Group Track

If Only I had buddies, that rode in winter, on similar routes to me, that I could track using this. The idea is so freaking cool.

Ok it was a gimmick to sell a new product. I'm lucky enough to own a Garmin Edge 1000, so knew it would be imminent on their flagship device, rolled out rather quietly.

Now I just need friends.......

Finally, some space......

The wife is always banging on at me to get my bike out of the kitchen......

It's a fair point. Bike's don't live in kitchens. I've got a shed. It's always been there. It's just full of crap that required movement before making space for the bike.

It's been on my list for a while. I don't need to be reminded every 6 weeks, it'll get done yeah....

Ta daaaaaa

There is even this shelf which has the perfect sized slats to fit a road bike wheel, who knew! I've had a bike in the house here for as long as I can remember, part of the furniture. Up against the kitchen wall, its own little carpet, not bothering anyone, next to a radiator to help dry it when its wet. Worked out lovely.

With the addition of our nearly 6 month old baby son, I can't be having a bike ready to fall on him once he's crawling/walking, think of the damage to the bike.........just kidding, its not worth thinking about what could happen in that situation, to the boy obviously!

It's been soooo cold these last few days, I took the chance to work from home today, so this is the result of a free lunch time at home. Space saving. 152 miles ridden this week, I don't want a medal but it would be nice.

Just so pleased I bought my Defrosters when I did, they've been an absolute god send. My feet would have been toast without them. A great addition to the winter wardrobe.

I'm loving this Strava add on for Chrome. At the end of each week I ride, I just about catch up with my yearly total progress, only for it to slip away when I work from home until I start chasing again the following Monday. Great to know your progress though.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

-5 and counting.....

So I needed a test for the new winter boots. 

I had to wait 2 days. Literally my second day of riding in them and its -5. great. 

I mean, 0 would have been ok. I'd have been ok with 0. 0 is cold enough.

It was a cracking morning, my ride didn't get above -4 until I reached the outskirts of Staines where it maxed out at a balmy -2.5

Honestly, the boots were good. It was below freezing and my toes knew that but they were cool with it :) . I could have ridden all day in those temps and my toes wouldn't be uncomfortable. 

So yeah, a decent addition, bought just in time. 

Monday, 28 November 2016

Defrosters and the box of bargains!

I ride a lot. Well, a decent amount. In all weather conditions and I'm partial to a good bit of kit.

I don't have a lot of spare cash especially at this time of year. So when I see a bargain, I've got to take advantage.

I rarely spend money on myself, my clothing cupboard is in serious need of an upgrade but when it comes to bike stuff, I can usually make ends meet.

Now I live in Fleet, not by choice but that's where I live. As luck would have it, Fleet happens to be the home of a Kick Ass bike shop called Pedal Heaven It's a Specialized Elite store. They do a cracking bike service and the shop is dripping with beautiful stuff.

Black Friday is usually a painful experience, I want no part of. 300 emails in the space of 48 hours about utter crap you don't need at prices you think you can afford. Whatever, delete, delete, trash, unsubscribe.

So I am currently rocking a set of DHB R1 road shoes and some DBB Shoe covers, which doesn't make sense at this time of year. I need me some winter shoes. Badly. I'll use them, I have no qualms about paying the required price as I hope these will last me 3-5 years and they'll be worn November through to March/April.

So Pedal Heaven had a Black Friday sale. I had a quick peruse for a boot I wanted made by their brand of choice. I bought this lot for £156!!! The Defrosters, some DeFeet Merino socks and a set of SPD SL cleats. What a Bargain. I couldn't say no, honestly, I just couldn't.

Check of the reflectivness of the Defrosters. I mean WOW how cool are these boots! Those pics below are simply taken one with the flash off, the other with the flash on.

The temps round my way will be in the minus figures these next couple of days so It'll be a great test of the boots warmth. Testing of their waterproofness will need to wait for another week. I'm bedding them in for now and have skinny ankles, so just as well really.

Properly made up with the box of bargains above though. Winter feet sorted for many a year to come.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Missing Bridge

Who thought you'd actually miss a Bridge.

I asked m fiance to marry me on a small bridge in a location special to us. I'd miss that bridge if it was to be removed. I chose it because I assumed it wouldn't move. EVER.

I like to re-visit that bridge.

So, a bridge over the M3, Woodlands lane bridge to be precise, went missing this last weekend. I mean, it wasn't stolen, it was planned, it didn't just vanish overnight, look here is the video of them blowing it up....I love blowing stuff up, well I would if I was allowed and fire, Love fire.

The Missing Bridge

I hadn't really thought about the implications. I didn't live near it, ok I'd ridden over it a fair few times but it didn't really bother me.

Or so I thought.

Turns out, in winter, this is one of my best and the quietest routes I can ride. Keeps me away from the traffic and runs adjacent to the A30 from Staines to Camberley. Bit dark but nothing a decent light won't sort. I had a KOM down that way too, not over the bridge, kinda wish I had now, would have stood the test of time, unlike the structure....

My KOM got stolen by 1 second. A guy liked my ride on Strava, then buggered off and stole it. Good skills. I won't get it back now because I would only ride that route if the bridge was there, damn bridge.

Apparently the bridge will be replaced at some point but this could take years. Hopefully something like this one. It is going over a 'Smart Motorway' so it can't be crap.

So if you've read my previous blog post you'll know I'm (we, cyclists, scourge of the masses) not allowed to cycle though Windsor Great Park at night, cause we create so much hassle.

This is a picture of the park at night. It's not accurate as there is no warden and no green flashing lights.

So the fact of the matter is, my two best routes home in the dark are no longer available to me. Which sucks. So I need to ride up the A30, partially at least. I know there is a lot of traffic (boo) but the roads are wide and lit, So at least there is a better chance of being seen and safe.

Now I miss a bridge.

He had flashing lights!

It was a wet and damp night, the wind was picking up, I needed to make a decision on the best route home and fast. History told me the park would be dark, REALLY dark. I remember riding it before and my mind wondering on to Ghosts and Zombies. Cause that's what I need to think about in the dark, when i'm alone.

I have a handful of options but this year it seem's drivers are getting closer and driving faster. I'm not sure why. I didn't want to ride on my best lit route because the roads are crap and the traffic always heavy. The M3 bridge has been taken out on my alternate route so that has now become more dodgy as a result of it. More traffic, less options, brilliant.

That left a solo ride through WGP (Windsor Great Park) as my best option.

Wicked, I got this.

Off I went. As I approached the park from Bishops gate, the road leading to the access gate was dark, I could see the faint light of the guard station on the right and not much else until the large white gates loomed. I knew it was going to be dark but this was bleak. Pitch black beyond those gates. It was a terrible day, so the natural light was very limited.

You know those postcard's you used to get at seaside towns with 'Devon at night' and just a black card. Yeah that Dark.

Screw it, I'm here, I got this. I ventured in. My Lezyne Power Drive was EPIC...., I'd gotten about 500 meters into the park and a warden drove up next to me......he tried to talk to me so I slowed but couldn't hear him, I'm not sure if he thought I was ignoring him or not but he drove faster and then......PUT ON HIS FLASHING GREEN LIGHTS....I mean come on man, WHY does a park warden need flashing lights of any colour?! What kind of power trip are these people on!.

I thought flashing lights were saved for the emergency services, road side assistance and the like, not a poxy park ranger.

This picture says it all. I'm sure cyclists are a big threat to the park......haha erm.

The guy was nice enough, told me I couldn't cycle through the park after dark but he'd allow me to this one time. This did kick off a little panic in my mind thinking 'why can't I be here after dark, what is so bad in here that a cyclist can't witness it', nah I'm so not afraid of the dark.

Ah rules is rules but its so nice to have a route which isn't accessible to public traffic, having it taken away just seems unfair. Honestly, what harm would a cyclist do after dark? I just want to get to the other side.