Cycling Stories  
1999     30 / 40 / 50 Miles   95/115 Miles     200 Miles
2000  Linear Trip 1   Linear Trip 2   Linear Trip 3 + 3a    Trip 4

2001 Humber Foreshore

2002 City Centre to Coast -- Off Road  

2003 City Centre to Coast -- Off Road Part 2 
Commuting mileage 15 OCT 02 - 15 OCT 03 = 5018 miles.

2004 Fondriest Megalu won on ebay.

2004 Hull - Pickering - Hull 101 miles.

2005 Bristol - Hull - 235 miles.

2006 First Time Trial.

2007 New TT bike + season.

2008 2008 Racing season.

2009 2009 Racing season.

2010 End of racing.

Commuting mileage 15 OCT 03 - 15 OCT 04 =  5352 miles.

Commuting mileage 15 OCT 04 - 15 OCT 05 =  6230 miles.

Commuting mileage 15 OCT 05 - 15 OCT 06 =  5384 miles.

Commuting mileage 15 OCT 06 - 15 OCT 07 =  5476 miles.

Commuting mileage 15 OCT 07 - 15 OCT 08 =  5750 miles.

Commuting mileage 15 OCT 08 - 15 OCT 09 =   5350 miles.

On these pages I tried to put my experiences of undertaking a journey of 200 miles in one day. Thanks are due to the members of the uk.rec.cycling news group for their advice and encouragement.  Each increase in the mileage travelled is described and the final journey includes a map and photo account of the trip.

My cycle started off life as a Townsend Daytona, cost UKP 200 and is a lightweight bike (29 lbs) for the price.  I  fitted Nokia City Runner tyres, Shimano STX rear derailleur and cassette, Sachs chain and Cat Eye lamps. A Boss cycle computer and a wide seat were also added.

CONTENTS: This Page: 30 miles up/40 Miles or Bust/The Half Ton Run.

30 MILES UP                                             7 FEB 99
Thanks to those who have given encouragement to someone who has been out of cycling for 25 years, it was appreciated. On Friday I did 25 miles and then on Sunday I decided I would try 30 as it seemed to be getting much easier. The knee pain had almost gone and the stamina was increasing. So at 4 p.m. on a wintry Sunday afternoon I set off, sunglasses on against the low Western sun.

As there was a gale force bitterly cold Northerly wind and I always prefer to head into the wind at the start, I decided to go North to Beverley. On the Walkman was the prog Dutch 70s group Alquin. The wind wasn't much of a problem as long as I kept my face tucked into my coat, like Smiffy out of the Bash Street Kids. When I arrived in the village of Cottingham, the Alquin album suddenly ended and what was originally on the tape came on, which happened to be a recording of Radio Northsea International from 1973. I then found myself cycling down the road that I delivered papers in 1973, as a fifteen year old. I would have been listening to RNI on my round 26 years ago. Just then the record "W.O.L.D" by Harry Chapin was played, which has the line "Feeling all of 45, going on 15", Spooky.

Anyway, on to Beverley and it was getting dark now, so glasses off and lights on. I was heading East now, towards Hornsea, with the North wind pushing at my left shoulder like a spare engine to get me home. At the village of Routh, I decided to gratefully accept the free ride and headed South. I had 12 miles of the "free ride" until I hit the River Humber. The landscape here was bleak to say the least. The sky was cold with high Cirrus clouds, the bare hedgerows bracketed the road and the flat bare landscape that is the plain of Holderness stretched out to the left. I was sweating and freezing at the same time.

 After ages the welcoming lights of the village of Wawne came and went, shortly followed by the Northern boundary of the city proper. I had done 20 miles by now and the knee was causing no trouble at all and I felt good for another 10 miles, even though it was below zero. After touring the city centre it was time to head home  into the wind again which had veered North West by now. I looked at the computer as I was wheeling the bike into the shed. It read 29.99 miles, so I lifted up the front wheel and gave it a spin until it rolled onto 30.00. Job done.

It was time to grab the latest Short Wave Magazine and Record Collector and enjoy some steam in the Sauna. This was a great feeling, warming up the bones and relaxing the muscles. My wife and I then arrived in the pub at 8 p.m. and as I guzzled down a pint of Titanic Wreckage, my mind wandered to the couple who married by winning a competition and were now bored to tears and wanted to come home. "Sometimes I get this crazy dream, where just take off in my car. But you can travel on 10 000 miles and still stay where you are", Harry Chapin again. I couldn't help letting out a contented laugh, which got some strange looks and a dig in the ribs from "our lass".

40 MILES OR BUST :               11 FEB 99

After last week's 30 mile trip, I decided to up the ante and go for a 40 mile sojourn. This would take a few hours, so some sustenance would be required. I had some advice from Myra to take some cake, but I don't usually eat cake, biscuits, chocolate and other similar foods in order to keep below 12 stones. However, there were some fruit scones that my daughter had made at school and no one had eaten, so I took three of those.

 I also wanted to take a flask of coffee, but the flask was one litre and quite large and it wouldn't fit in my pocket. My other daughter had the small rucksack I needed at the swimming baths, so I had to come up with an alternative. After much thought I decided to suspend the flask from the crossbar by its large handle. The straps I used to fix it in place were borrowed from a Halford's car cycle rack, the straps that are used to hold the bike wheels in place. They were ideal for the job and fixed the flask firmly in place like an orange bomb hanging from a 'plane's wing.

Next the problem of spare batteries; as it was 4 p.m., I would be cycling in darkness for at least a couple of hours. I have read the criticisms of rechargeable alkaline batteries and accept the fact that they are only guaranteed for 25 or so charges. In the case of my rear Cat Eye l.e.d. which takes two AA cells, one set of batteries last for many weeks, so 25 charges is a long long time. In any case, if I am in the middle of nowhere and had to choose between a set of fully charged alkalines or NiCds, I would take the former every time. I know exactly how long they will last, whereas NiCds could go (rapidly) anytime, especially at temperatures near zero Celsius.

You can have some fun with NiCds though as I remember from my teenage years when my father made me a "master and slave" front and rear lamp combo. The front lamp had 2xD NiCds and a wire lead to the empty rear lamp. The front incorporated a socket so that when the charge was getting low, I wheeled it into the garage and plugged it into a charger overnight. One summer my friends and I went off into the countryside and decided to make a fire, but we had no matches. I actually made a fire by getting a thin coil of wire and shorting my batteries. NiCds have the property of allowing a huge amount of current through a very low resistance in a short time and the wire glowed red-hot, which lit some straw, and we got a fire going.

So, I took a spare set of AAs for the Walkman and a couple of C cells for the front lamp. I also decided to take a Global Positioning System receiver with me to try out on a cycling trip, it has a screen which includes a small map that shows roads, rivers, lakes, railways and so on. I decided to take it instead of a map as it shows your exact position as a small arrow, your distance from home and a pointer showing the direction to get home. As I would be going in to the Yorkshire Wolds, it was conceivable that I could get lost in the dark.

At 4 p.m. sharp I set off North to Beverley no problem and indeed on going through the town I was bombing along at 25 m.p.h. with Golden Earring playing on the Walkman. Leaving the town on the B1248 on bike for the first time in 25 years, I noticed an improvement; a cycle track to Cherry Burton which was most welcome, apart from the fact that it was a very rough surface. The weather was still sunny around this time as I started to climb into the Wolds. Snow was still lying in the surrounding fields as I passed through Lund and shortly turned off the road towards the village of Middleton on the Wolds.

After 18 miles I decided to take some refreshments and looked around for a park bench. In the centre of the village were 3 or 4 benches, so I chose one out of the traffic stream. As I enjoyed the piping hot coffee, which was very welcome and warming, as it was very cold in the hills, I smiled as I bit into a scone. The last time I was here, I was 15 years old and now I was eating a scone that my own 15-year daughter had made. Life is short indeed.

I now took the GPS out of my pocket and set it on the bench and after a couple of minutes my position came up as an arrow directly on the A163 and looking up there indeed was a road sign showing A163. Time to change the tape and I chose "Cyclone" by Tangerine Dream and set off East. 20 miles were up and it was time to turn the lights on. It was getting very bleak now; I was on a very minor road in the Wolds with snow all around and it was getting cold and dark. If I kept going East I should come across the A164, another road that would take me back to Beverley. After 6 miles, I came across it and headed South.

It was starting to drizzle and my legs were feeling a little tired, but I could see some bright lights in the distance which I assumed was Beverley, when I reached them it was a bit of a letdown, the lights were Leconfield and Beverley was another few miles. It did mean that I could watch the Search and Rescue helicopters at close hand taking off from the RAF base and heading for the North Sea.

At Beverley itself I decided to get some cash from the bank and had to wheel the bike around the cobbled town centre in the pedestrianised bits. I then was in a dilemma; my speedo was now reading 4 mph. My average speed was taking a hammering, but if I took it off then the distance would be wrong. I got my money and quickly set off after changing tapes and batteries. This time it was "Force Majeure" by Tangerine Dream.

 As I started off again, I thought that this was the ideal music for cycling. It starts off quite slow and then when the sequencers start going you get a tremendous rush of almost belligerent power. Indeed it seems that Uncle Edgar's Mellotron and Chris Franke's Sequencers are bypassing your brain and going directly in to your leg muscles. You feel as though nothing can stop you and you can go on forever.

As I hit the outskirts of Hull's Northern border I realised that I didn't know how far I had travelled. The display had gone to its time default, so I pressed a button and it came up 34.5 miles. By now my thigh muscles were beginning to ache, but I kept going until the 40 miles was reached. On arriving home, the computer read 40.5 miles in just over 3 hours; average speed 13.7 mph, which I was quite pleased with.

 It was now 7 pm and after  a quick spell in the sauna, it was time for the pub. My wife arrived home and we went off for a few. The first Big Lamp Premium was like nectar and I was already dreaming up a 50 mile run for next week, weather permitting. This time, because of the increase in distance, I am going to use AutoRoute to compute an exact 50-mile route using only minor roads. I reckon I will soon find a limit if I keep increasing by 10 miles every week.

THE HALF TON RUN :              3 MAR 99

I had intended to try a 50 mile trip last weekend and set out to upgrade my bike on the Saturday and do the run on the Sunday afternoon. I had a new rear cassette, chain and rear derailleur to fit. After removing all the old parts and throwing them in the 'bin I discovered that my bike frame did not have the requisite lug or hanger. I then wondered if there exists a sort of  adapter and of course there is, which I duly purchased and fitted on the Monday.  After setting up the grip shift with the bike up side down all was back in one piece.  However the weather was horrible with a gale force NW and sleet showers,  so that was that. The Tuesday I had the nerve wracking exercise of buying a new car and trading in my old one, so I wasn't in the mood for biking.

During the week I kept my hand in with evening rides of 20 and 30 miles and considered what my long term goals were in terms of cycling. I had read a lot about this nutcase on the bikebrats homepage who is biking 10 000 miles around the USA with no money and he is always going on about God helping him to do c.170 miles a day. Being a devout atheist (most ex catholic school kids are) I decided to make my personal goal, before this decade is out, to send myself on a 200 mile ride in one day and return safely back home. This will be attempted in June to give maximum daylight and the experiences I am getting in increasing each trip will help to achieve this goal. Although this is no great shakes to serious cyclists, to myself on a modest mountain bike it is a big undertaking, so I am going to have to plan carefully. Anyway, that is 3 months away. To today's trip.

It turned out to be a bit of a damp squib, literally. Monday I had to play soccer, so that was out. Tuesday I had to collect the new car. Wednesday I had promised to take the kids for a meal after school, but I was determined to do the 50 miles that day. I finally set off at 6-30 p.m. and as it was dark I would stick to the city streets. Firstly, I had to get some new front lamp batteries and cycled to the Focus DIY place 3 miles away. I was shocked to find that they wanted 6-49 for two C size alkaline rechargeables, although the D Size were only 5-49. I decided to get the normal alkalines as I felt that the pricing was wrong. It was raining heavily now and I had covered only 6 miles and was already fed up, but I really wanted to get the 50 miles done. After about an hour, I looked down at the mileometer which was reading 19 point something, I was really pleased but in a few miles I noticed it was still showing 19 miles. Then I realised it was the time. It had reset when I was getting the batteries, the real mileage was 14 miles.

My heart sank as I headed into the pouring rain. I tuned into the Man Utd v Milan game and drew some inspiration from their efforts. One of the advantages of cycling around your home city is that you can pop back home anytime for a drink and something to eat, I promised myself that after 25 miles, I would get a coffee and a sandwich. After getting the coffee and taking a carton of drink with me it was off into the night again. The rain had stopped now and the full moon was coming out, it was also getting chilly, but with the waterproof jacket I had I was sweating instead. As the moon was out I decided to go along the banks of the Humber, which looked great with the moonlight rippling in the choppy waters.

 Going past the trawler "Arctic Warrior" gave more inspiration. I don't envy the people who sail to the Arctic Ocean and White Sea in these things for four or five weeks. Especially when it is dark nearly all day. At 41 miles I called back for some water, by now it was 10-15 p.m. and cold. I put some sausages in the oven and turned on the sauna. I then set out to do the remaining 9 miles. By now, fatigue was setting in, but the most pleasing thing is that my knee was not hurting. In fact, whereas at one time 20 miles would have brought on a stabbing pain with each stroke, now there was absolutely no reaction.

 At 11-05 I arrived home and took the sausages into the sauna and relaxed. The scores on the doors were 50.63 miles in 3 hours 45 minutes at an average of 13.4 mph. I was quite pleased that the average was holding up with the increase in distance. If I could keep up the same level of performance then the 200 miles could be done in under 16 hours. I have already worked out the 200 mile route with auto route and after eliminating a 14 mile stretch of the A1 the route looks quite benign. But next I will have to do a 100 mile trip sometime when the weather is more suitable.