Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cycle Touring Day 210

Ahead of finally getting back on the road tomorrow, now that the new bike has arrived, today I took it out for a couple of test cycles today, just in case a wheel falls off or something 50km away from here!

The last time I was cycling, it was in hot and sunny Barcelona, today though, back near Poitiers, it's bloody freezing out. The winter cycling clothes will certainly be residing in the easier-to-get-access-to front panniers from now on! It took until I was already undertaking the first test cycle to realise it though. Christ my ears were cold!

By doing two test cycles I wanted to see how the bike handled compared to the aluminium Specialized Tricross I had before. This new Kona Sutra is steel, so I wondered how it differed and if I would be able to notice a difference even.

Unladen, I didn't really notice much of a difference at all but was delighted that the Kona still felt like riding a road bike rather than a possibly cumbersome tourer. My fear was that the ride would feel completely different when I wanted to go for a ride without all my gear, but I am happy to report that it doesn't at all. Fully loaded, the steel ride certainly felt a lot firmer and more responsive almost immediately. Being aluminium the Specialized often felt quite "spongy" and unresponsive.

Materials aside, it will take me a while to get used to the different gear changing position, I think. Previously I had brake lever/gear shifters and they were a dream to use. Changing up and down with my index and middle fingers felt so natural. With the gear levers now at the ends of the drop handles, one has to keep taking ones hands off of the bars to change gear. This is not too much of a hassle on the flat, but when climbing I can envisage it becoming a real pain. The beauty of the brake lever/shifters is that you can change front and rear derailleurs at the same time. A feat which is now impossible.

Only time will tell if these new rims are really suitable for the job, so the only thing that needs addressing right now is that saddle. Even on the 38km I did today, I was starting to get a little uncomfortable. The only other problem at the moment is not having a stand. Although I intend to order this Click-Stand as soon as I can.

"Breathe better with maize. One hectare of maize absorbs the CO2 emitted by 18 cars", apparently. It doesn't say over what period of time though, unless that's in the small print which I couldn't read. Maybe it's over the lifetime of the crop.

Fully loaded and all set, ready to get back on the road once again. It's a real pain at the moment though, not having a stand.

Elevation and Statistics

Click on the elevation profiles to explore the route maps in RunKeeper

Daily Totals
Distance : 37.73km
Cycling Time : 1 hour 45 minutes
Max Speed : 48.5kmh
Max Elevation : 155m

Cumulative Totals
Distance : 7,126.55km
Cycling Time : 421 hours 15 minutes
Max Speed : 70.8kmh
Max Elevation : 2001m

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Family and Other Animals

So far this year I have encountered a vast menagerie along the way whilst cycle touring. Here are a few of the star turns.

You gonna need a hand eating those sandwiches at all are you?

What so you think? Convincing? Apparently those Golden Retrievers made a bleedin' fortune at this during the 70s and 80s with their Guide Dogs for the Blind scam. No, none of it! Blew it all on big roll for the little ones. Wasted most of that too, so they did. All they did was run around the house dragging it behind them. Bunch of criminals that lot!

You want to take me with you! @JasperJRT who belongs to @FestinaGirl trying to hypnotise me into taking him with me. Look into my eyes...

Looking nonchalant, just before he stole my map. Git!


Oh, Jesus Christ!
With worm in beak en route back to feed the little ones in the nest.

Offspring fed, heading back out to find more grub.

I thought it was an otter but apparently it's a Coypu.

I was jolly surprised at the close-up quality of this taken with the iPhone.
Who you calling a slag? Stag! I said Stag Beetle. You watch it! I could take your finger off with these bad boys!

Woof. Woof. No, that's not right is it?!?

Oh, I've hundreds of impersonations in my repertoire. Check this one out... Run over by a car!

The biggest papillon de nuit that I ever did see. You can't really tell from the photo but this thing was about 3 inches long!

At the disaster that was wwoof five. This "thing" is a cat apparently. It looks more like a Jawa to me!

Ugly little bleeder ain't he!?!

It's a donkey jacket! Thank you. I'm here all week! In fact, I'm here all the bloody time. In the same field! I'm thinking of taking this stuff on the road though. Maybe forming a band or something, y'know. Him? Nah, he's not interested in that stuff, all he wants to do is eat grass all day. He's got no ambition at all that fella.

How on earth do all the other guys land on these things without crushing them? I must be doing something wrong!

I'm the black sheep of the family!

You talkin' to me?

Then who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? 

Well I'm the only one here.

Who the flip do you think you're talking to?

Please will you play "pull the blanket" with me?

Where's all this corn then?

Oh, I think I remember seeing some in the far field over yonder ;) Why don't you go get us some.

Heh, heh, heh. He fell for it again! Nom, nom, nom.

You're killing me!

Ok, what shall we play next? Yoghurt box on the head?

Quick! We gotta destroy the evidence before that brown fella gets back!

Job done.

Let's waddle!

What do you think of my beard? It's a goatee!

Heh, heh, heh.

What do you think of my beard? It's a go... He's told you already hasn't he? He's always stealing my lines that fella!

Eye. Eye.

You're not! You're a goose! But I can do the neck thing and everything! Go on then, let's have a gander. Oh yeah, so you can. But you're still a goose!

Wanna hear a joke?

Ok, it goes like this. I say, "What do you think of my beard?"

I've heard it before!

What do you think of my goatee? Do you mean beard? Oh bollocks, yeah! What do you think of my beard? You haven't got a beard. Shit!

If you see those ducks...

...will you let us know?

If you see those geese...

Hold on, it's in here somewhere.

He'll never find it. Seen it. Pinched it. Spent it.

Right, I'm gonna keep an eye on him from now on.

Are those two at it again? I can't watch this anymore.

They bore me rigid with their cat and mouse show.

Wake me when it's time to eat!

Try and take an arty one this time. Those lady cats go crazy for that stuff.

Did you get it then?

Honestly, there's something scratching around outside the window, I can hear it!

You were right. It's a bloody praying mantis!

See, I told ya. I'm just glad it wasn't a spider. I don't like spiders. Right, I'm going for a sleep.

Wake me when it's time to eat!

He'll love this when he wakes up!

If he wakes up that is! Although, even when he does, he won't be going very far since the other fellas tied his tail and paws together!

Right Colin, do you remember what you're supposed to say? Of course! Up here for dancing, down there for think...that's not right is it?!?

So, we're thinking of forming a band. You've heard of the Animals, the Beatles, Gorillaz and the Monkees right?

Well, we're calling ourselves Muse... No Colin, it's Mules! You're such an ass!

Jesus Christ! ...  Sorry :(

Please come back and see us again someday @Specialized_Guy.

How could you leave us? I never got to play yoghurt box on the head either!