Some random ramblings

I haven’t posted on the blog for quite a while. This is partly because my work-life balance has turned very much in favour of work this year (which is exhausting, but in the current climate is good in the sense that I still have a job to go to) and getting quality cycling time in has been harder. It’s also partly because I don’t have much new to report!

We’ve come through 2020 probably luckier than most – living in the country it has been easy to get out for fresh air even during lockdown. My wife as a front line healthcare worker has been completely worked to the bone in some incredibly stressful and challenging conditions (alongside many other heroes of our healthcare system) and we’ve both taken a knock after contracting Covid although I got off a lot easier than my wife. Work in general has become somehow busier and more stressful which I think is the same for many people. I was already a home based worker before lockdown so that didn’t change much, but the nature of interaction and expectations of always being available at your desk for another Zoom call seems to have changed very much to the detriment of the employee. I know a lot of people have found the same thing.

Bike wise, I’ve managed nearly 5500 miles this year to date, which has been pretty good for me. Lots of tandem miles on ‘The Beast’, and an intense period of time trialling over the summer with the Cruzbike gang had me at my strongest ever. A bad crash gunning for a KOM round the Innerleithen loop had me retreating to Zwift for most of that (I was ahead of schedule too when I hit the deck!) and by September and the end of the challenge I was really glad to put Zwift away and just ride for the fun of it again. I’ve been doing lots of meandering low speed triking around the Borders since which has been good fun. I bought a fairing for the trike this year – my Raynaud’s continues to get worse each year and permanent damage to the fingers and toes is becoming more of a challenge to manage on the bike when it’s cold. I had hoped the fairing would help but my opinion so far is that they are not worth the money. You’ll get some benefit but not enough to justify the cost and they do have some downsides too. It looks pretty cool though! Cars also give you a wide berth so from that point of view it is good.

Here’s a cracking picture from one of my super early morning trike rides – top of Windydoors hill at around 6 am. I went through a period of getting up around 4.45 am to go out early – but it didn’t last 🙂

Early morning trike ride

This year has seen mental health issues from my early childhood rear their head again and I’ve been focussing lots of time on my Buddhist practice and keeping myself above water. This blog probably isn’t the place for that story but let’s just say that there are certain people in my immediate family that badly damaged me and my brother when we were very young kids with some rather unspeakable deeds. You realise as you get older just how much these things affect you and your path through life.

I’ve also been working on a new software application for doing aero analysis and creating optimal power plans for a given route. It’s nearing completion – hope to release it early next year. It’s been a lot of fun putting that together and for those who care about such things, I hope you will check it out as I do believe it’s a cracking little tool.

I have a day off tomorrow – I’m hoping this infernal rain will stop and I’ll get out for a few hours on the trike. I’ve made a few changes to the trike too – got myself a rear rack from Laid Back Bikes, added the fairing, and I’ve replaced the front tyres with Big Apples at a nice low pressure. With the mesh seat it is now truly a moving lawn chair. Not remotely speedy but so much fun to just pootle around and enjoy the scenery. The side pods are great bags but the amount of water on the roads has meant that you get a lot of puddles above the height of the bag bottoms and they were getting soaked all the time. The rear rack is a more sensible place for stuff, being able to take 2 panniers and a rack top bag. I’ll use the side pods for more demanding luggage scenarios now, such as triking to Gala for shopping.

The CHR has had a good outing this year and is now garaged for the winter. The Fuego continues to be my trusty companion and is always a blast to take out for a comfortable laid back ride. With Marathon Racers and a soft suspension it’s a nice secure ride with wide enough tyres to handle the cracks in the roads. I’ve also been doing some miles on both the road bike and my Crosstrail hybrid. I’d like to do a couple of events on the road bike next year if I can, but I need a bit more core strength to stop me putting so much weight on the arms and shoulders. I still enjoy a good blast on the road bike, I think old habits die hard. I can go about 2 hours in reasonable comfort now. After that I always end up thinking ‘whose stupid idea was it to come out on this’! 🙂

I haven’t seen many cyclists this year or managed to meet up with many people. I hope you are all doing OK, and that your families and those you love are healthy and dealing with these strange times we live in.

All the best for the festive period and here’s hoping for a brighter 2021. For all the kids’ sake, if not for ours.

6 thoughts on “Some random ramblings

  1. I’ve had a HP Streamer fairing on my trike (ICE QNT) for years and do feel that it makes a difference. Might be worth seeing if some adjustments might make a difference. I set mine up so the front of the fairing was as low as possible to the ground and the rear just cleared my knees. Comparing mine to your photo, mine’s further forward and more raked and so the last half of the fairing tends to direct the airflow over my head. Even if it’s not obviously covering my legs it does keep the airflow away and stop too much sliding underneath. Maximum speed with this setup is 55mph down the Lecht… not that I’d be in any hurry to repeat that!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Bike wise, I’ve managed nearly 5500 miles this year to date”

    Your motivation is higher than mine – not just an age thing as I know John S must also be higher than me on mileage and he’s a couple of years older. With your house as office you need to get out I suppose and the terrain round you can be accessed without crossing major juncyions. In city centre first bit of warm up riding are half a dozen stop starts at junctions. From LB shop I like to head west up towards Kirknewton as less traffic once off Lanark Road. Keen to get down your way though – did a 90 mile day out and passed by Heriot turn off a few weeks ago. Then Edinburgh was put into level 3 and we should’nt venture into your level 1 area.
    Radical do sell liners for your bag but as you say the lowness of them on a Sprint plus being closer to the front wheels may not be enough.
    Excited to hear about the aero analysis – appreciate your tech data on rides backed up by how it actually feels to ride routes too.

    Cracking picture of ICE Sprint btw.

    We’ll see what weather throws at us all over next few weeks. Hope to get out more in ‘weather windows’ as doing too much work cycling and not enough fun cycling!

    All the best to you and family over this period and thanks for your thoughtful writing and pictures. Once Edinburgh and Scottish Borders align then look forward to catching up!


  3. Hello David, thanks for the very interesting post. You are way ahead of me on the evolution of the M5. I thought I would share where I have got to this year. I have Brams side pull rim brake on the back wheel and a Tektro Novela on the front, which is a mechanical disc brake. The back braking improved a lot when Bram advised a thorough clean of the rim and changing to Swiss stop blue pads. I will probably upgrade the front to the TRP Spyre disk when the chain eating the front fork reaches the point where the fork also needs replacing. Like you I feel sorry for my knees when climbing steep hills, so have fitted Rotor 48-32 chainrings and Shimano 11-40 cassette with matching 11 speed derailleur. I can now spin up the hills and keep the knees happy. The 11 speed grip shift was not working well, so at the moment a Shimano trigger shifter is working better, until I can fit new cables, to see if the grip shifting improves. Regards David

    Liked by 1 person

  4. David here again, regarding Raynaud’s, I find the lobster gloves work well, the ones I have at the moment are from pearl Izumi, which work well with a thin liner glove. When it is well below freezing I use Buffalo mitts, with a medium size worn under a large pair, dexterity is poor but it keeps Raynaud’s at bay.
    Before last winter I upgraded my old Shimano winter boots to a pair of Lake MXZ304 which have been very good in the relatively mild but wet conditions they have seen so far.
    I think the correct size has been just as important as the added protection. Lake offer a wide selection of sizes.

    Regards David

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmm …Now a fairing on the trike !-Can you hear that velomobile coming down the track towards you!
    Would empty your wallet but protect you from our shit weather, keep you warm and satisfy your need for speed
    Also they seem to be getting light enough to deal with hills

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for all the comments. Too many Davids….

    Graham – is that optimised for speed or warmth? I’m trying to hide from the weather mostly for my feet and hands.

    David M5 – If your fork is getting damaged maybe you need to rethink the chain line or use a chain tube? Shouldn’t be eating the fork. Glad you got the bike in the end though.

    David G – Would be good to catch up when possible. Haven’t seen you for ages!

    David J – Thanks for the tips. I just got a set of Bar Mitts knockoffs that feel really warm. Windproof and fleece lined. I’ll see how they go. They are huge!

    John -stop polluting my mind. I would have to sell all my bikes and probably a kidney to afford a velo. I’m still tempted though!

    Liked by 1 person

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