Category Archives: Cycling Diary

Key Biscayne by Bike

key-biscayne-mapA couple of weeks ago we went on a 32mile (52km) round trip from Miami Beach to Key Biscayne. This whole area is ideal for cycling due to its flatness and reminds me of the North Germany or Holland: no hills, only the occasional bridge to climb.

If you go by boat it’s only 5 miles tops, but due to the man-made island setup we have here you can’t always go in one straight line.

The way to Key Biscayne has a lot of sights to offer and only mild to medium traffic along the way. Incidentally this is where “Tennis from Miami” comes from: Crandon Park is located there, and at the very south tip at Mile Marker Zero is Bill Bagg’s Cape Florida State Park. It’s so quiet there it almost hurts your ears!

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Basic Bike Maintenance

The MUC-OFF Bucket: contains everything you need to keep your bike clean

We’ve been to an amazing Basic Bike Maintenance course yesterday at the new Evans Store in Crouch End. They run every other week at many of their stores now and are completely free!

It’s well worth popping down to pick up some tips on how to keep your new bike up and running with a little TLC every once in a while. The tools you need are inexpensive and of course they’re available there and then.

Speaking of which, since Evans Crouch End is a brand new store, they’re running a 10% off campaign until the end of July – that’s for accessories and even FULL BIKES as well! Get the voucher here.

Can’t get to Crouch End but still want a discount? Register for SkyRide and get 15% off accessories at Evans nationwide.

Enough plugging… here’s what we’ve learnt in the Basic Bike Maintenance course: Continue reading

… and then my front tyre blew out!

I’m having quite an exciting week when it comes to cycling: First I get ripped off with a rattling gearbox, then my brand new bike gets stolen, and yesterday my front tyre blew out on me unexpectedly!

The second patch... the first one didn't even make it

I was on my way home from MTV, riding up to Finsbury Park, when I heard a loud “pop” noise followed by a fairly loud and distinct “Pffffffff….” – the tyre was empty in about 10 seconds flat (see what I did there…?). What surprises me is that this came out of nowhere: no curbs, no potholes and I’ve even checked my tyres for debris and glass before I left.

Time for some serous investigating!

Since I’ve just had a bike stolen earlier this week, I didn’t want to take a chance and leave it at Finsbury Park overnight. Good timing too, because this was the one day I did not take my rucksack with goodies such as a pump and patches with me. Excellent! As Nicola said, the bike gods are not looking favourable upon me it seems.

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Some Fucker stole my brand new bike

The place from which they stole my bike

Yesterday on the corner of Umfreville Road and Green Lanes, some Fucker stole my bike! It was three weeks old and I loved it. I bought it from Evans for £549 – not to mention accessories worth over £100.

I had lunch at Harran, one of my favourite kebab shops on Green Lanes and had locked it securely against a lamp post on the street corner using a Kryptonite Evolution lock and an additional Kryptoflex band. When I came back after an hour, all that was left on the floor was a piece of Velcro from the Kryptoflex.

Apologies for some bad language in this post, but I feel it best describes my reaction to this incident.

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When things start breaking down…

It wasn’t enough that my 3yr old HP Pavillion Laptop stopped working the other day. I never liked it anyway so maybe it picked up a vibe there.

In an unrealted incident, my trusty hot-pink Saracen Pylon 4 had a gearbox problem this week – which means that the cycling trip with my wife is off this sunny weekend :-(

Or is it?

While we’re choosing a new bike for Julia on Saturday, I may just treat myself to a spontaneous backup bike. Sam and Daniel from MTV are both in favour so that’s a good enough excuse for me ;-) Continue reading

Cycling Diary 2009

The year is coming to and end rather quickly, and so is the life of the battery powering my Giant Axact 13w cycling computer. Before it loses all its settings, I thought this is the perfect time to put them somewhere safe. Like the internet.

This year, I’ve clocked up the following mileage. Keep in mind I only bought my bike in September and I hadn’t cycled in 10 years.

  • 742km in total (that’s 463 miles)
  • all that in 47 hours and 42 minutes
  • my last round trip to Chiswick was 43.75km (that was on Boxing Day)
  • and it took me 2hrs 37mins (probably longer in reality, because it doesn’t count time when I’m standing still in order to get an accurate average speed reading)
  • average speed was 16.7km
  • maximum speed was 91.3km/h (yeah right… must have been when I accelerated to the speed of light, which of course is too much to show on the small display)

When I pop a new battery in, I must remember that the circumference of my wheels is 2095mm. I need a CR2025, let me know if you’ve got one somewhere (I can trade you a CR2032 – which is the same size but a bit thicker).

Trips this year mainly included Finsbury Park to IMG in Chiswick (see above) and Finsbury Park to MTV in Camden (about 9km one way in 30mins). Lowest temperature encountered was -1C, which thanks to Altura gloves, a North Face hat and my Spyder Ski Jacket feels like saying to winter, “is that all you got?”

I’m back on my bike at 5:30am on the 4th of January for the first Tour de Chiswick in 2010.

Why not join me ;-)

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UPDATE 31/12/2009

Who would have thought that these numbers would change only an hour and a half before the new year? Turns out that Julia and I took a spontaneous trip down the Network Cycling Route 1 down to Greenwich on the last day of the year.

It was a lovely ride through very much undiscovered parts of the neighbourhood, highly reccomended to anyone with a bit of time on their hands. The trip took 2hrs each way, keeping in mind we did take it rather slow. Plenty of derelict buildings to discover, so we must come back with our cameras and take the last pictures of the Matchbox Toy Factory before the demolishing works will make it disappear forever.

41km round trip, at an average of 10km/h at mainly 3 degrees (0 on the way back at 10pm).

This of course changes the final numbers of 2009 to the following:

  • Total Distance: 785km (that’s 490 miles)
  • Total Riding Time: 51hrs 54mins

The Cyclopath: Jay Versluis on Riding a Bike

After 10 years I’ve taken up cycling again. It’s changed my life!

It all started with a quick trip to Bremen, where Oliver and I decided to hang out car-less to be free from parking spaces and drinking restraints. He decided to hire me a bike for the day (only €9.99 for 24hrs at 1-2-3 Radverleih). After the first 10 minutes of doubting myself, I got back into it as if time had not passed.

I have to admit though that I used to cycle a lot when I lived in Hamburg, a very flat fairly green city. My ride to work was 18km (11 miles) and I did this 2-3 times a week. It helped me survive my 9-5 existence, mentally more than anything. It was one of the very few things I took pleasure in… and I forgot all about that!

When I moved to London I never had the space to leave a bike, plus the concrete jungle full of Big Smoke isn’t really an exciting invitation to cycle at first sight. I never even thought about taking it up again, until that very day in Bremen. Thanks, Oliver!

So I invested a fistful of cash into a very jolly super pink Saracen Pylon with 8 gear internal hub and fluid disc brakes (nice!). It’s featuring 2.5” wide impenetrable Schwalbe Big Apple tyres, and in just over 4 weeks since I bought it, my board computer reveals the following incredible statistics:

  • Total Riding Time: 25hrs
  • Total Distance: 372km (that’s 232 miles)

Last week I’ve done 116km alone, that’s two round trips to Camden and one to Chiswick. I’m absolutely loving it and can’t understand how I lived without it for so long. I’ll see how long I can keep it up without getting bored (or the weather getting too cold).

I already had a puncture, so much for “impenetrable”, but I guess it’s all part of the adventure.