Report after 9 months activity

This post follows on from the previous 2 activity reports – the first 3 months activity (summarising September, October and November) and  December to February activity. This post will summarises my activity for March, April and May after which I was 14 stone 4 lb. It has been a good 3 months with 8 lb weight loss. However, cycling activity has tailed off in June so fitness is probably static.

Turbo sessions, 3 hours 41 minutes, 1875 calories
Road rides, 51 miles, 4 hours 33 minutes, 3467 calories
End weight 14 stone 9 lb
Total weight loss 3 lb
Exercise 1.5 lb, diet 1.5 lb
Calories per minute 12.7 road,  8.5 turbo

Turbo sessions, 4 hours 1 mins, 1812 calories
Road rides,114.7 miles, 7427 calories
End weight 14 stone 7 lbs
Total weight loss 2 lb
Exercise 9239 calories = 2.6 lb so diet = +0.6 lb

Turbo sessions 2 hours 33 mins, 985 calories
Road rides 18.4 miles 1,269 calories
Weight loss 3 lb
Total weight loss
Exercise calories 2254 = 0.6 lb, diet weight loss = 2.4 lb

Weight at end of month, 14 stone 4 lb.

Bike fit

I have resisted the expense of having a professional bike fit. What I have read recently about achieving the correct position on a bike does not contradict what we have always known and practiced for the last 50 years as far as I can tell. However, I did add a video to the video page of this blog on adjusting your position. I am reproducing it in this post along with a link to a useful article in the Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperatives’s blog on the same subject. Graham Shortt of the Leeds branch was especially helpful when I bought my Giant Defy Advanced 2 last Easter.

Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative – Bike Fit

Ridgeback project

Shimano HG20 7-Speed Cassette Sprocket 12-32T

The bike I have used most this last year (and intermittently over the last 15 or so years) has been my old Ridgeback Adventurer hybrid. It has been badly neglected since I bought it from Woodrups in Leeds and still has the original equipment and tyres. I jammed the rear mechanism in Islay earlier this year and it hasn’t been quite the same since although it still works. And on last Saturday’s ride to Temple Newsam with Julia and the Leeds Cycling Campaign easy rider group it started  jumping gears whenever I put any pressure on up hills. So I’ve decided to do the old bike up. Even if it costs £100 or a bit more it will be worth it as the equivalent bike now is probably about £450 or so. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t last another 20 years, which is more than I am likely to. So I popped into Woodrups today and bought a new set of sprockets and a new chain, the old ones are badly worn and stretched and may well be part of the jumping problem. I also bought the necessary tools –  a Shimano cassette tool and chain whip for removing the locking ring and a chain link tool. The free body seems OK so I will just change the sprockets and chain and see how that goes. I have bought a 12-32 rather than the current 11-28 to give me some lower gears. The the following video shows the technique of removing and replacing sprockets on the free body. It also shows how to change the free body too but I don’t think I will need to be doing this. But one day, you never know. I’ll try to find appropriate video demonstrations of all the various refurb tasks I undertake.

Shimano Hg 6/7/8 Spd 116 chain £9.99
Shimano Cassette HG20 7 spd 12-32 £12.32

Fat Spanner Chainwip £9.99
Fat Spanner Cassette wrench (Shimano) £12.99
Fat Spanner Workshop large link extractor £22.99. This item is quite expensive and cheaper ones are available. However, this is heavy duty with replaceable pins so should last. I’ll get a cheaper light weight one in due course for a travelling tool kit.

I’m not counting the cost of tools as part of the project as I intend to use them on furbishing Julia’s Ridgeback hybrid in due course and other bike projects in the future. I bought a Park Tools PCS-9 – Home Mechanic Repair workshop stand a couple of months ago for £89.99.

I’m keeping a record and notes on the project and other maintenance issues on a page Maintenance. It is commentable so any advice or shared experiences are welcome.

Return to Laveyssière

We have just returned from another visit to Matt and Judy at Laveyssière where last August I was inspired to get back into cycling again after a long break of 25 or more years and a long slide into obesity and unfitness. That trip was mentioned in the first post to this blog last October, Starting Again. That post describes the 4.5 mile circuit from their house and how I got on. My best time then was 28 minutes. One year later, 3 stone lighter, my best time was 20 minutes and 40 seconds. The route and stats can be viewed at I also uploaded the data to Strava to get the additional information on gradients and power outputs. At the same time I defined the climb from Matt and Judy’s house to the D4 as a segment. This means if any other Strava users do the same climb it will create a leader board that records other times for comparison. At the moment I am the only one to have done this so I am top of the leader board for the Laveyssiere climb and therefore King of the Mountain!

I managed to put on about 4 lbs over the 2 weeks of our holiday but this is not as bad as I feared, given the drink and the great hospitality we received. I did the route 5 times in all burning about 1500 calories – less than 0.5 lb! – and would have done more but it was mostly too hot for me. Daily temperatures peaked between 35 and 38 and made cycling after 9.00am uncomfortable on the hills especially. We hope to return, perhaps a bit earlier in the year, and do some longer rides with Judy and Matt if possible. Their house is in a fantastic area for cycling and it would be great to work out and explore some routes. This might be of interest to other visitors as well.

The Loire a Velo

On the way back to Dieppe we stayed over night at Tours, a fantastic town to visit and spend more time at. We stayed in the Hotel Mirabeau where there was a lock-up garage to keep our bikes. This had quite a few others as well and we discovered that the Mirabeau, like many others in the Loire, had geared up for cyclists riding the Loire à Vélo paths and routes. This is a route made up of dedicated cycles paths and minor roads along the Loire for 800 kilometres, designed for exploring the beautiful Loire area and easy family friendly cycling. It is the westward part of the bigger Eurovélo 6 route from the Atlantic to the Black Sea that follows 3 major rivers, crosses 10 countries and extends 3,600 kilometres. Julia and I will certainly be returning to Tours to do some of this route. From mid June to mid September there is train service along the route that will carry bikes free and without having to make reservations. So, for instance, an ideal trip for a few days would be by train from Tours to Orleans and cycle back to Tours. There are also a range or pre-packaged tours with full accommodation and support if required.