Category Archives: MiniMe

We are so darned proud of you

Wednesday’s child is full of woe.  Or at least he was threatening to be if I didn’t take him for a ride.  So I did the only thing to be done in such circumstances – I took him for a ride.  Well, I would have, if he was better at sitting on my ar*e and getting a tow…

As it was I mostly sat behind him or in front of him, wherever was most useful to make us visible to the inattentive car drivers.  It’s clearly very important that they get home as quickly as possible, and they’re doing it on auto pilot.  This is the downside of cycling after school – it may be light, but it clashes with rush hour.  In fact we were very nearly run off the road by a flat bed truck with van on the back on the single track back road into Banwell.  I don’t know what he was doing, but I don’t think he saw us at all…and he certainly didn’t move.  Luckily he missed us.  This however implies that he did something in order to avoid us.  All it actually means is that the gap that we were forced into between him and the hedge happened to just fit us.  And it was bl**dy close!  We had to pull over and take stock for couple of minutes afterwards.  Which is one of the reasons letting MiniMe cycle on the road is so scary :(.

Other than that it was a perfectly pleasant ride, though MiniMe was on a bit of a go-slow, and his gears means he was struggling going up hill, though he did his best.  There was a bit more wind that we’d have liked, but lots of low evening sun – which has it’s pros and cons.  Yes it’s pretty, and the views are long, clear and lovely, but the light tends to blind the aforementioned drivers.

As we came back up the hill past the Webbington, MiniMe informed me that he wants to be as good as me.  Which is sweet.  I pointed out that a) I wasn’t really very good as these things go and b) it won’t take him long since young boys get better faster than old women do.  He said I wasn’t old.  Aw bless *grin*.  I wonder if he’s after something? ;).

Cycling time: 1:35:11 hrs
Distance: 20.01 miles
Avs: 12.5 mph
ODO: 9268 miles

I know I should probably be taking it easy, so this was a good ride for that, but I was champing at the bit slightly.  My legs were feeling the need… It would appear that my DOMS isn’t Delayed, it’s just not coming, not that I’m complaining you understand!  Anyway, I never have been renowned for my patience, but I, like MiniMe, did my best :).

All together now

Variety is the spice of life, or so they say, which this week meant that MiniMe and I gave our Wednesday ride a miss, and went out today instead.  Which gained us a couple of degrees and dropped us a couple of knots, so it was clearly a pretty good call.

Now it’s all very well cycling in circles around the Levels, but after a while it does get a tad boring, and whilst it puts miles on the wheels, it does not put hills in your legs.  The time had come, the walrus said…   Unfortunately that makes me a walrus and I’m not sure I’m very happy with that!  Having said that I have heard that walruses are grumpy creatures, so perhaps there’s a grain of truth to be found there…  And according to wikipedia, it’s a long lived and social animal, so there’s something to aspire to.  So maybe I am the walrus?  Goo goo g’joob! *grin*.

Now, where were we?  Ah yes.  About to take eldest up hills.  It had to happen some time and I did warn him in advance so as to give him plenty of time to throw a teenage tantrum and refuse to go.  He didn’t, we did.

Out of Axbridge we went, up the hill to the bypass, and then up the A38 to go up Winscombe hill.  Round the back through Barton to the Webbington and then up the hill past there to go back to Cross.  Through Cross, over the A38 and up Notting Hillway.  We did consider going the longer less steep way but, ignorance being bliss and knowing no better, he chose the short (ish!) sharp shock way.  I think he ground to a halt half way up and had to get started again, but he did a fine job of getting to the top without complaining half as much as I would have done in his place!

From there it was past the windmill, down Rughill, and back home the usual way.  Apparently it wasn’t his back that was hurting as we went up the Cheddar Road this time, it was his legs!  So there’s progress for you ;).

My cycling PC has new bunny batteries – both halves of it – so hopefully my figures will be a little more accurate.  Having said that, they didn’t seem to add up, but maybe I set it up wrong, so I’ll give it one more chance…

Cycling time: 1:21:13 hrs
Distance: 17.43 miles
Avs: 12.9 mph
ODO: 9107 miles

It was good for me because I’m supposed to be tapering, and just spinning my legs.  It was also good for me to go up hills at someone else’s speed, sort of a reminder that it’s ok to go up them really slowly, and that actually, if you do, they’re easier!  I guess I tend to try and go up them the best I can, which is all well and good, but sometimes it’s just not necessary :).

So, roll on Sunday.  The forecast is currently ok, but I have little faith in forecasts…so we’ll see :).  It’s a very hilly ride *gulp*.

Don’t worry, be happy

It’s Wednesday.  Wednesday would appear to be the day I ride with MiniMe.  Wednesday is also, one week out of four, the day I deliver Avon.  The chances of it raining on a Wednesday are thus greatly increased and today was no exception.  Yep.  More rain.  Really.  Maybe people will stop talking about drought now?

But MiniMe was raring to go, and there wasn’t any wind, and it was distinctly humid, so all it was ever going to be was wet.  And last I checked skin is essentially waterproof.  But just in case it isn’t, I dragged out the waterproof for the second time in a week.  Which at least means it wasn’t hidden away.  And it proved unexpectedly useful in that being fluorescent yellow, I was far more visible than usual, a fact for which I was very grateful as I escorted him down the A38.

Well he wanted to do a flat loop.  Longer than the Nyland loop, but not as long as the last ride, so as not to make his back hurt.  He’s also not quite ready for hills yet.  Given all of that, options around here are a little limited.  The easiest way to do flat is straight down the A38, and left after Tarnock to go straight across to Mark, so that’s what we did.

To give him proper credit he did a really good job of leading all the way to the turning.  See, if I ride just behind and slightly further out from the curb than him, then the traffic sees us, has to go round us both, and also has to make a definite effort to do so rather than just squeezing past.  And, hey, if the worst comes to worst, they hit me first!  So I sat back there scaring the traffic, and in the meantime he kept a straight line, didn’t wobble, or waver, and was less worried about the traffic than me, though he did exclaim at what he thought was their proximity from time to time.  Sadly what he thinks was close is nothing like as close as they can get!  Ignorance is bliss, right?

Once off the A38 the rain eased, the roads dried a bit, and we had an uneventful and actually fairly enjoyable ride.  We were damp but not downhearted.  MiniMe even invented a new verb – to crest.  This is when you go down a hill fast enough to have enough momentum to get over the next hill – thus “cresting” it.  I like that.  So did he 🙂  Today’s other big achievement was learning how to drink whilst riding along.  First off without pedalling simultaneously, and then whilst pedalling too.  Who says men can’t multi-task? 😉 … I’m sorry, you’re reading, and I asked you a question…are you back yet? *grin*.  Time for the stats then:

Cycling time: 1:11:53 hrs
Distance: 17.23 miles
Avs: 14.3 mph
ODO: 8908 miles

This teaching cycling lark is tricky.  I want him to enjoy it, which he is doing.  I don’t want him to have an accident, so I have to warn/educate him about the risks and dangers, but I don’t want him to be unreasonably scared.  I’d rather he learnt by my mistakes than his own!  Fine line…  But he had a good ride, he was faster, less tired at the end, less achey, and more amenable to helping me deliver my Avon afterwards.  Result all ’round! 🙂

(PS: hello to my new readers!  Feel free to comment even though we don’t (yet?) know each other.  Hope to meet you all on the road one day… 🙂 )

Somewhere over the rainbow

“The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today”…

If you think rain, and not jam, and the fact that frequently that’s not true either since rain today is equally likely…and you find yourself on a sunny Saturday morning without a ride planned, there is really but one choice ahead of you…

OK, yes, I’m riding tomorrow.  But that’s going to be more like canoeing, and there’s a waste not want not principle to be adhered to.  Besides which there were several birds around, and a ride sounded like a good all encompassing projectile.  It would replace a likely to be tedious gym session, get me out of the house, and more importantly still get MiniMe out of the house!  There is this theory that he’s less likely to be objectionable if he’s worn out… 😉

So we went for a ride.  Following the last two successful rides, it was time to increase the mileage if not the gradient, so I took my usual training loop and abbreviated it somewhat.  Riding with MiniMe is hard work.  I have to pay attention to all the usual stuff for both of us, as well as to what he’s doing.  I think he enjoyed this ride more though – it’s a more scenic route.  Up to Winscombe and down the hill, round to Loxton, over the Levels to Rooksbridge and beyond, to Mark, and home via Chapel Allerton and the Wedmore Road.  Somerset was busy being sunny, scenic and still, pretty much ideal cycling conditions really.  A tad too much traffic though, not good for his nerves or mine!

If you consider that this ride was more than 50% longer than his previous rides, and also that he did it faster, you can see how much progress he’s making.  I think we reached his current limit though, as he did get tired, but he also developed a really painful back as his stem is too long and over-extending that far for that long is not good.  I need to do something about that sooner rather than later then – *note to self*.

One of the main things we need to work on is parallel feet – as his tend to be a bit splayed out.  This will be easier when he gets into cleats but we’re not rushing that.  He also needs to work on keeping his line, and on indicating, but he’s doing really really well :).

Having said all that, I’m reminded that there’s a reason I never went into teaching.  I’m doing my best, but my patience is a little limited when I’m aware I should be training for other things…and it’s sunny, and my wheels want to go ’round…(it’s them, not me, honest!).  It’s also hard to let him draft me to make it easier when he’s tiring, because his speed isn’t constant and neither is mine – I get distracted and speed up!  I guess we’re both learning 🙂

Cycling time: 1:42:06 hrs
Distance: 23.36 miles
Avs: 13.6 mph (13.2 for him)
ODO: 8831 miles

I feel the need, the need for speed…

Time to pick myself up, after the Dragon Ride fiasco, and get back on the bike.  To be fair I’ve been training at the gym, thanks to the less than ideal weather, but today was the first time back on the bike.  I didn’t even have my usual rest day on Monday as I didn’t feel like I’d earnt it.  I know – that’s not at all logical :(.

Today doesn’t really count in some respects, as it was a MiniMe training ride *grin*.  In fact it was almost identical to last week’s ride, although, possibly due to the nasty wind, he seemed a bit slower this time ’round.  Apparently he was less tired both during and after though which is good because maybe that means next time I can make him go further.  Or up a hill *grin*.

Cycling time: c1:00 hrs (my computer wasn’t hitched up properly to start with)
Distance: 13.2 miles
Avs: 12.7 mph
ODO: 8779 miles

However when you compare the stats he turns out he was actually a bit faster!  I shall have to apologise to him for suggesting otherwise.  I think it must have just been me finding it harder to keep to his speed, and to resist the urge to go hurtling off down my favourite straight bits!  I can’t help it – it’s the new wheels! 😉  Anyway he was definitely a bit more confident, a bit more stable, and a bit less accident prone, so I think we can safely say we’re making progress :).

While I’m here – hello to any new readers I’ve picked up courtesy of my Dragon Ride rant, for which I still make no apologies.  Welcome!  :).  GB and I have both emailed the organisers and have heard nothing in response, and all the website has is some blurb blaming the timing failure on the timing company whilst not addressing any of the other issues which they surely must be aware of by now!  We are not amused…*grrrr*.

However, whilst I shan’t be letting that drop, I have other fish to fry.  There’s something very nice about knowing that every weekend for the next few involves cycling.  This weekend is Bristol’s Biggest Bike Ride, the following is the Somerset 100, and then it’s the Dartmoor Classic which is looking fairly hilly…*gulp*.  That takes care of June then :).  Of course, that said, I can virtually guarantee that the sun won’t shine until at least July so I hope none of you have barbeques, summer parties or weddings planned.  If you’re desperate I can be paid to stay home…my rates are very reasonable 😉 .

Cats in the cradle

Today was the first proper outing for MiniMe’s new road bike.  Yes – eldest has been unleashed on the road.  Be afraid, be very afraid…*grin*.  Mostly of the fact that he’ll be outclassing us all in no time at all!

Andrew, of Scorpion CS fame, has put him together a lovely bike, as you can see below.  It may need a little tweaking – the stem is a bit long – but hey, the lad is constantly growing so that’s not going to be a problem for long.  Other than that it seems to fit him pretty well.

We did the Nyland Loop, which is mostly flat apart from the hills on the back road to Draycott and the on back up on to the Wedmore road.  And to avoid the main road we did the last stint home via the reservoir – probably more for my nerves than his!

He has double sided pedals for the moment, and other than one instance of accidentally clipping in on the wrong side and then not being able to unclip (we’ve all been there!) it went well.  Mind you, the large sprocket seems to be pretty sharp – poor lad has got war wounds from that.  I think they’re for bragging about though ;).

Anyway, apart from that he did a grand job.  There’s work to be done on his road sense, and so on, but that’ll all come with practice and experience.  The bike itself however seems to be working pretty well, and he had a great time.  He even ate a couple of flies.  Hey, we even got tooted at for being on the road, by (predictably) a white van, so I figure his initiation ceremony is complete! *grin*.

Cycling time: 1:04:12 hrs
Distance: 13.29 miles
Avs: 12.3 mph
ODO: 8661 miles

For his first training ride, I think those stats pretty much rock :).  But then I would say that, wouldn’t I? ;).


aka Eldest

Chip off the old block blah blah