Brief update - 09/02: Bike bags and bans.
This year has been a bit of a manic start to the year with work, so blogging has been a little more hap-hazard. Plus evenings are now "different." Free time is spent differently or has a different focus.
- This years progress.
- Bags and bollocks
- Bike bans.
This Years Progress
January: done in a flash by the feels of it. This year feels if it was a little in the wilderness at the start with no firm plans, but now post Athens, LEL registered, holiday dates and meeting being planned and booked, it feels like 2017 is underway. There's excitement around our house as to what we as a family can do this year and what we want to fit in. Ambitious plans are being played with and 2017
may will beat what was an epic 2016
Cycling wise, the weather has been mixed. Only a couple of days has it been really that bad and I've ridden nearly every commute that i could. -6C is cold and I switch road to Zwift for some sessions due to safety worries, but January felt good. I even went for a run!
For those whole like pictures:
Going into Feb (with the exception of the liver thing), I feel good and riding a bike is still kick-ass. Riding home from work this week at dusk on a clear night on a decent country road, I got that feeling of "this is one hell of a way to commute, glad I get to do this every day."
It feels as if there is a different ethos too. LEL and TCR have exciting Facebook pages and ideas are being shared between groups. This year it's not just me doing a long ride, but lots of voices. Also, a year ago I was going into the carbohydrate testing phase and about to start training with Lynsey. This year I would love to do another Uni based research project, but with my current liver question, my data validity would be questionable.
Bags and bollocks.
In the last couple of weeks I had been looking at what kit options I want to use this year. Yeah, seeing the LEL Facebook pages of "I'm on LEL, so I'm getting a custom built bike!" is a magnitude of difference to what I'm looking at. Instead, I've been more interested in the logistics of how to have self sufficiency through all the training, the event and anything else I want to while playing around on two wheels, so bags.....have been my bag baby!
Last year I spent a lot of time with both bottle cages with bottles plus a extra cage behind the saddle with tool tube and pump. Everything else went into my back pockets on every ride. It was minimalist to the point where on one long ride I had to ring for rescue as the temperature was dropping below my kit threshold. Running so light may have been fast, but I was always on the verge of being stranded should anything have gone wrong.
The antithesis of this is my work set up - Carradice saddle bag with bagman support. It's heavier, a lot more space and far from aero but 7 - 15L capacity with different bags, it's perfect for commuting. I have and do use the set up for post work training, but I want somewhere in between.
So bikepacking bags kick in. These are more aero, wedge shaped, very large saddle bags used in lightweight bikepacking, credit-card touring and Transcontinental style racing. There are a number of options and after reading reviews and questioning Reddit, I went for an Apidure. Then riding home in torrential rain and 0.2C, I went for the dry version because this is the UK - it rains.
Last night it arrived. So while Mrs Stav went to the pub, I had a play to see how it fits and I can't wait to get using it in anger. Only thing is, my usual bagman blinky light point will be gone........and the only replacement light I can think of looks like this:
Yeah, they will be swinging behind me around the lanes, late at night.
Now the bit that sucks, but is for my own good. I have 3 more commutes left before the bike ban kicks in so I've spent them playing around a little and kit testing. It's cold but on the 65 minutes commute, I can at least see if a top tube bag will annoy me, or if gloves, hats or overshoes keep me warm or rub. I was getting really excited about riding off on holiday - it might be predicted zero temps etc, but I really wanted to test my new set up, bags, ride on new roads, get back to over 250 km riding and add a red line to Strava, But all that is now shelved. After Friday the wheels stop until the 27th. Next week I will be bike-banned to let my body return to "normal" for further blood tests. In the long run, it's in my interest so I'll do it......but who wouldn't want to ride 250 km across the UK???