A look back at 2011
Since getting my touring bike back in 2010, the amount I cycle has gone up tremendously. Its amazing just how much a good bike helps you to get out and ride more. So 2011 was the year that I would measure just how much I cycle. At the very least I will know how much I've worn out my bikes.
My recorded cycling distance for 2011 is 4,831km. At the start of December I could see that 4,831km would be an excellent target to get to so I made sure I got a couple of long rides in. (for me a long ride is 50-80km). The target is actually 3000 miles :-) I was decimalised by OS maps, and their 1km grid lines - its so much easier to calculate distance when you simply count squares.
About two thirds of my cycling distance is spent cycling to and from work. I really have found its the best way to keep fit when juggling a busy family life.
I've worked out that I manage to cycle half of my journeys to work. That's a fair amount of petrol and wear and tear saved, and boy, some days its saved me a lot of queueing time. The petrol alone on my 55mpg motorcycle is £1.50, and fully costed with depreciation etc, more like £3 a day. Actually, that's still quite cheap compared to the bus at over £5.
December was spent trying to pop my 2011 mileage over the 3000 mile barrier - it's one of those silly targets I invent to push myself. Offroad cycling is just not efficient for building distance so I put the effort in on my mile munching road bike. I decided that I do not get south of Cambridge enough so that's where I headed.
I followed the National Cycle Network's Route 11 out to Duxford.
It has a few gems such as the DNA path between Addenbrookes and the Shelfords ...
And this lovely path also near the Shelfords ...
That path was very popular with family walkers too - as is anywhere on the National Cycle Network that is not on a road. It's a pain slowing and mixing with pedestrians but its great to see such routes being used and enjoyed by all.
Another gem, at the end of the path above and just south of Sawston, is arriving at this beautiful churchyard. My picture doesn't do it justice. Cyclists Dismount :-)
I then made it to Duxford before turning around that day. There are plenty of road cyclists in this area. Possibly because the National Cycle Network and National Byway join forces.
For my next ride out, I decided to see how far south of Cambridge I could get. Again I got to Duxford but this time I bypassed the NCN. I love the NCN for recreational riding, pleasantness and safety, but sometimes you just need to get somewhere and that means getting off the meandering network and onto direct roads.
My target was to get to Clavering, only because I've never been there and Jamie Oliver's Dad has a restaurant there. I didn't quite make it, running out of time and turning back just South of Strethall, but enjoyed the quiet roads and hills with a view over the M11 running almost silently in the distance.
The Puncture Fairy Visits.
In the last three weeks I have fixed 7 punctures. I can't believe it.
Road bike had two, I blame using the glass covered Cottenham to Histon cycle path, the new section is clearly smashing for some. I should have stayed on the road grrrr.
I got four on one mountain bike ride on the Aldreth Causeway - I have named this Puncture Alley in the past - doing one change and pumping the tyres every few miles to limp home and avoid patching a tyre in fading light with cold hands caked in mud. At home I was pulling thick hardy thorns out of both tyres. Then I go though my normal thought process loop: right! I'm getting tubeless tyres and Tyre Milk, then read that you need a high pressure pump to seat the tyre on the rim. Darn it, who the hell has one of those at home?
And just when I thought my reliable touring bike's commute friendly Schwalbe Marathon (not Plus!) tyres have not let me down, I notice a slow puncture once at home. I pulled a long shard of glass from the tyre. I blame one of: Mill Road; The Tins, or the perimeter path around Cambridge Airport.
That's where I've been for the last few weeks. Busy cycling. Christmas. Fixing punctures. Getting Vitamin D while the weather is warm.