The road to Bordeaux starts here

I’m now 2 weeks into the PROPS Bristol2Bordeaux Saturday rides, and a few things come to mind.

It is very cool to join a friendly band of cyclists who take things easy. So far everyone on the PROPS rides seems really happy and friendly, and the only thing getting in the way of communication is my tinnitus. Nice one. Eh what?

Road riding is a PITA with cars in a continuous stream. I’ve mostly switched to off-road riding over the last few years, and had almost forgotten the nervous twitch of constantly looking behind.

Road safety. I drive a fair bit. I always overtake cyclists with as much space as possible. Too much sometimes. I’ve noticed not everyone bothers or cares, and there’s been a few close incidents already. I’m sure I’m not being over sensitive here. I’ve been riding on roads for about 40 years.

Cold weather cycling this time of year is hard. Numb fingers unless your working hard. Cold wind too. Oh well. Man up I guess:

Always eat and ride. I’ve found that I need something tangible every 45 mins or so riding, it seems to let me go on and on and on. Otherwise the bonk comes into view.

Case in point: Last week I was riding for around 3 hours and 47 miles. My legs were empty with nothing much left. Later, I had to change a bathroom tap in the afternoon, and really struggled with energy. This week after 35 miles with a banana and an energy ball (more later), I washed the car, pruned the hedges and organised the garage. New found endurance? No, just eating…

OMG moment. Clevedon on a Saturday is full of road riders, and they all seem to congregate in the cafe on the front. Nice cafe, but cold outside as inside is so busy.

Clevedon Pier
Road mudguards, they keep the owner/rider dry. They still spray a bit to riders behind (sorry). I level this with myself as I’m carrying the half a kilo of mudguard, so it should keep me dry. 😉

My bike is different to many, it has:

  • 700c wheels? Check.
  • 50-34 Compact chainset? Check
  •  Alloy rims? Check.
  • Carbon? err no.
  • Machine built wheels? err no.

The first thing that differentiates is the tig welded steel frame, made by Salsa. Not Salsa of old, but more recent times. I saw one in Bristol once, but that was some time ago. Secondly, I chose every component and built it up by hand. This includes the wheels too, and wheel building is something I really enjoy. I’d even go as far to say I’m quite average at. (I would be able to work in a wheel-shop, but I’m not super slick, as I only build about 2-3 wheels a year.)

I need more cycling clothing. And I don’t really like lycra… There’s got to be another post coming up on what I’ve found works and what doesn’t. I’m largish for a rider, about 6 foot, broad and ~15 stone.

Lastly, what have I noticed about me. My trips to the the Osteopath are helping a bit, but my back will be the limiting factor. I also found that my heart was a little bit ‘noisey’ on the last ride – something to keep an eye on. I have history there.

That’s all the observations for now. This is the first blog of the PROPS Road-to-Bordeaux series. Till next time.

A moment in Dorset, 2016





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