Sunday, 24 January 2010

Learning last weeks lesson...

This week I came prepared - following advice from Fenlander I've picked up a pair of 'Crocs' (just plain ordinary Cayman, not the fur lines type) to use as camp shoes. As they're some kind of impervious plastic they also served well for wading through the icy floodwater carrying the bike where I wasn't daft enough to try riding again this week - doubly so as the level looked deeper than last time...
Would have been a nicer ride if I hadn't had a visit from the fairy of holes-in-tyres-that-let-the-air-out-but-who-should-not-be-named courtesy of Farmer Giles who left an unavoidable trail of hedge flailings across the road when he went from one farm track to the other...

Friday, 22 January 2010

Camping Kit List

I've been asked by a few friends about my kit list so here is my planned basic camping kit list for my Glyde trip. I have a selection of other items that I'm considering adding to increase comfort or as backup items in case of breakages so I'll update this list as I finalise my decisions. Weights are of the actual packed items I have here as per the photo, not claimed weights and generally include bags, etc. The size 9 shoe is in there for scale only...
For now basic minimum list is:

Tent(Left, green sack):
Terra Nova Laser Comp (bagged) 960g

Tarp (backup/fast pitch option to tent, right blue stuffsack - squishy):
Backpackinglight Microtarp 145g
Alpkit Hunka bivvy bag + carrysack 417g
Poly-io Groundsheet 70g
5 x Alpkit 'Nails' + tags 43g
Cord 30g
Mountain King Trail Blaze 128g
(walking pole)

Sleeping (orange centre top, red middle and green top right):
Thermarest Prolite 4 full length 626g (2 years old - much lighter options available now)
Alpkit PipeDream 400+waterproof sack 854g
Silk liner 111g

Cooking (dark orange top right):
MiTiMug (700ml) pan/mug/lid 110g
Tibetan 375ml mug (bagged) 68g
Folding Ti spoon 19g
MiniBullDesigns HN-Bongo-Deluxe meths burner (incl fuel bottle) 126g
Lighter 21g
Firesteel 10g
Pot cosy 25g
Windshield 10g

My spreadsheet says that lot comes in at just under 3.8kg. Obviously on a shorter trip it isn't necessary to take both the tarp and tent but at the moment I'm feeling on my long trip I want different options that I can choose on the day (or night).

I have a host of clothing, water carrying, fire lighting and other accessories that I'm sure I'll be throwing into the list for the Glyde trip but I believe the above is a working set of gear. I've not yet used everything in this combination - items are lighter replacements for my original 'high street shop' weight kit or, in the case of the cookset, a kit that I've been testing over the last year or so and finetuning.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Getting the miles in

After a series of 10 miles rides in the snow since New Year I got out for a longer ride today - I managed a 36 mile loop around the southern Derbyshire Dales. And very pleasant it was too.
Apart from one problem.
Approaching a railway bridge on a quiet back road there were flood signs. It didn't look that deep and was just a puddle - no flow to it risking getting washed away. So I geared down and pedalled on in. It came up to the wheel hubs. It came up to the chainring. It came over the top of the wheels at which I point I realised I was floating above the seat but was still clipped into the pedals. I kept pedalling, pushed the front wheels around to give extra grip and slowly emerged from the other side... Lovely. Chest deep cold water, with the final traces of ice and snow on the ground around. Fortunately this was the start of a hilly section so I was at least generating enough body heat to drive off the worst of the wet. Bah!
The car driver who rolled up as I emerged didn't even risk trying to get through...
But hey, a 36 mile loop is a good effort in my return to fitness.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Time is getting short...

The good news is that I've been out riding several times since the new year without any problems. Only 10 miles at time so far, but after Friday afternoon's ride I had my GTX in to give it a bit of a service and fit new parts and it is ready to go. Saturday is looking rather damp and dismal and I'm feeling tired. Sunday is forecast to be sunny so I plan on taking the GTX out for a longer run tomorrow. I plan to head up towards the Derbyshire Dales, somewhere I've not cycled for over a year...
In the post today came a tarp. It is a very minimalist shelter weighing little more than a couple of mars bars and it mainly provides head cover making the use of a bivvy bag more pleasant. This is 'Plan B' for if there are any problems with the tent. In reasonable weather it could become 'Plan A' as it will be far quicker and easier to pitch than the tent...
Once I've got a few more miles in my legs (and hopefully it starts to look a little more like spring) I guess I need to get my camping gear together and start trying some overnight stays to put this gear through its paces. For now, with the threat of snow I'll hang fire on that idea!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

The Distance is known

My task over the holidays has been to plot my route for the trip....
This has been done using, a website that can generate the necessary navigation files to use in my GPS. It might seem like the simple option of keeping the sea on your left would do the job but there are an awfully large number of dead ends and I really don't need the extra mileage.
So, the route is plotted and the sections added together - the distance on the map is 4094 miles. This is a little bit of a relief because I was worried I'd come up with more than the inital advice I had that it was 4300 miles.
Of course a route plotted on a paper map does not mean that is the mileage that will be recorded in real life - even without taking wrong turnings! For that we will have to wait and see....