Saturday, 21 June 2014

major incident free saturday shop ride

The aim of the game today was to have a Saturday shop ride that started and finished safely with no repeat of the disastrous crash of last week. The route selected was the tried and tested Oundle loop and the plan was Big Steve to  lead and me to act as his tailgunner. However at the shop Andy wisely split us into two groups of 9 with Steve and I leading a group each. This decision became even more wise as we picked three more up at Grafton Regis. My tailgunner for the day was the ever reliable Iain Tingle and as soon as I realised this I knew we'd be ok.

Traditional stop at Barratts corner

Another angle

Traditional puncture

I had loads of flats with those tyres

The others caught us at Aldwincle

Steve is the man for fixing stuff - unless its IT

My my Simon that's a beautiful bike!

The ride went well from my perspective and I hope my group felt that way too. With my cateye stealth doing it's job I aimed to keep us at 14-16mph. Inevitably someone got a puncture and it was no surprise to me to see that it was David Tough on an identical longcliffe 2.0 to mine. He's still running the original Kenda tyres that the bikes come with. I ditched mine after a few months because it was just endless flats. Since switching back to my tried and trusted Gatorskins I haven't suffered a flaccid tyre. The drama for the ride wasn't over as we discovered a dog in a car near Twywell. All the windows were open but the poor thing still looked way too hot. It was difficult to know what to do with no owner in sight and especially as the dog was irritated by us being near the car. We didn't feel we could let it out with no lead available because it then ran the risk of being hit by a car. Since we left Iain has been back to check and the car had gone so I hope the dog was OK.

Today as you can imagine I was very safety conscious and did a lot of thinking about how we ride as a group. To me, the group regulars need act as role models for any newbies on our ride. The key to a successful ride is communication. Hazards need to be communicated, as do approaching cars. 

The two conventions here are 'car front-car back,' or 'car down-car up.' It doesn't matter which you use, it does matter that riders are switched on to these calls. It's even more important when someone calls that people don't immediately turn to look because if you do your handlebars tend to follow your eyes and you veer sharply. Trust your fellow riders, if they shout car, there is a car. 

Our accident last week was caused by a rider going through the gap between other riders. I never want to see this again on a group ride. My preferred option is to pass on the right and let others know by announcing 'passing right,' or 'on your right.' Again it's best not to look over your shoulder to check this. Riding two abreast is ok but overlapping wheels with the rider in front isn't. That's how wheels touch and we know how that ends. 

As a leader I want to know what's happening behind me. If we are dropping someone I want to know before we start leaving them behind. 

Most people are familiar with the method for pointing out potholes and this is widely used in. less widely used is the signal for parked cars and other hazards such as dog walkers. For those we should be pointing behind our back to make people behind aware.

I know Andy will be formalizing the rules of group riding for our club and these are not intended as those rules at this stage. There just the ones I'm using at this time based on my experience and the research I did after last week. 

As I said I think we need to role model for others. We have a good club culture already but it doesn't mean we can't improve. My plan is to do the things I want others to do and and avoid things I don't want to see. 

On club culture there was tonnes of other lycra clad groups out today. Most said hello but a few seemed to look down their nose at us lot. I overheard one group (who I won't name because nobody is perfect,) commenting on a rider they were dropping:
"He'll be alright we don't want to bring our averages down!"
Our club isn't like that. The club motto is that no man gets left behind. I hope that never changes.

When we got back to the shop it was good to see Nathan looking fit and well. Hilariously Claire hadn't noticed our club Hagrid. I'm not sure how you miss him. Specsavers might be a good idea. Nathan had brought some cake for us and Heather supplied some too. Andy showed his Ninja cake skills balancing Heather's cake on the box.

New products

Time for some product feedback. I used the cateye stealth 50 for the first time today and I must say my first impression is good. Setting it up would have been a lot easier if I'd read the forums first rather than just diving enthusiastically like a labrador with a new bone. The best piece of advice I found was to chuck away the useless manual and watch the set up video. Once I did this it was all sorted very quickly. 

Clive was a very dirty boy and we can't have that can we. This time my cleaning product of choice was the dirtwash citrus degreaser. This stuff works just as well as the mucoff stuff but has the added advantage of a directional nozzle which I really liked. I lubed back up with TF2 plus+ a dry lubricant with teflon. As I haven't ridden it yet I can't comment on performance, i was suprised by how 'thin' the liquid is and how quickly it comes out.

The last piece of equipment I tested out was this splendid recovery food provided by my lovely wife. For once this was not cake.

Hopefully there's a lot more rides to write up next week!
Happy Pedaling

PS Whilst I've been writing this blog, Lee has knocked up this little beauty for tonight's 100 years of Brownies celebrations.

My wife is a genius

1 comment:

  1. Nice one Rich, I even get a mention :) Will try not to get any more punctures!