Evening pootle

After a dull day some sunny intervals started to appear in the evening, perfect for a slow and easy spin around the Parks and Greenways around Belfast.

On to the Comber Greenway and in to Orangefield Park then down along the Connswater Community Greenway.

Onwards to Victoria Park and a lap of the interior gravel trails between the trees.

Out of Victoria Park on to the Airport road and Sydenham road round to the Titanic Quarter and out as far as the Titanic pumphouse and HMS Caroline to get a look at the most recent Cruise Ship to Dock in Belfast Port.

Back up the Sydenham road, Airport road through Victoria Park again and home via the Comber Greenway.

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Steady spin

Back on the Summer Bike this Evening for a steadier spin, keeping a limit on the energy output just getting some miles in without accruing too much stress on the leg muscles. I set off through Dundonald on the Newtownards road then a draggy climb up the Belfast road for a nice descent down Bradshaws Brae in to Newtownards passing Kiltonga.

From Newtownards it was up the Scrabo road with the scenic views across the fields to Strangford Lough and beyond. Descending the Ballyrainey road exercising caution due to the recently laid loose stone chippings I started to feel a few spots of Rain against my skin. The Sky was looking grim and I briefly thought about cutting my ride short and returning home but quickly snapped out of it and continued on up the Ballystockart road, down the Hillsborough road and in to Comber then out the Killyleagh road and up the Tullynagee road to Kilmood.

The threat of Rain never materialised despite the ominous Clouds overhead so I cracked on along the Ballybunden and Moss road in to Ballygowan then along the Ravara and Lisdoonan roads to come out at Carryduff and with the main road now relatively quiet I took the main road down to Forestside and home for a nice steady evening spin.

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Building my new Bike

Watch in pictures how I built my new Canyon Endurace Disc Bicycle.

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n + 1

Rule 12 // The correct number of Bikes to own is n+1

While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.

Whilst undertaking the Rapha festive 500 cycling challenge over the Christmas period last year I was very aware of the damage the horrible UK road conditions were doing to my Wheel rims each and every time I applied my rim brakes. I knew I needed to make the switch to disc brakes and so the seed for a new winter / wet weather bike was sewn.

I guess I could have just used by disc braked Cyclocross Bike but its a heavy, sluggish beast, built more for off-road cycling. What I really wanted needed was a lighter bike with disc brakes and ideally the ability to run a slightly wider tyre for comfort and grip reasons. Something quick enough to not leave me getting dropped on Club spins.

After looking at numerous Bicycles and framesets out there within my limited budget I finalised my choice on the Canyon Endurace Aluminimum frameset, one of the lighter Aluminimum framesets available in my pricepoint. Canyon are an Internet only retailer and I had never ridden a Canyon before so I was a little uncertain on the size to go for and had no idea if the frameset would suit my needs, but I decided it was a risk worth taking. I had various Bicycle bits and pieces in my Shed that would be compatible with the frameset and help reduce the build costs and so the order was placed.

The excitement of delivery day arrived only to be tinged with a little disappointment when unpacking the frame I noticed a chip in the paintwork 🙁 I debated packaging it up and sending it back but the chip was so small I opted to keep it. But not before negotiating a discount with Canyon 🙂 helping reduce the build cost even further 🙂

The next issue was that the Brake Calipers I had in the shed were not compatible with the frame and so I had to buy new Brake calipers 🙁 luckily I was able to sell my incompatible calipers the very next day 🙂

Having never built a Bicycle before I questioned whether or not I could actually complete the Bicycle. I have always been quite mechanically minded and just took my time, learning as I went along. Some parts of the build (bottom bracket and crankset) were much simpler than others (front mech!) but I got the bike built and after a short loop around the block on it to seat the cables and bed in the brakes, it was now time to get out on it and use it in anger to see if the bike would perform as I hoped or would it prove to be a poor choice and leave me disappointed?

My chosen route took me through Dundonald up the new line and Ballystockart roads. My initial impression was that the Bike was good, plenty fast enough only to look at my Cycle computer and realise how slow I had travelled, was it just the headwind and hills or was the bike disappointingly sluggish?

Briefly along the Hillsborough road then the Ballycreely road, in to Ballygowan and along the Moss road and Ballybunden road to Balloo. Again my head was telling me the Bike was performing well but this time I decided to not look at the Computer and continued on along the bumpy Craiganusky road and along the Ballydrain road back to Comber where I decided to end my workout and just ride home nice and easy from this point. I looked at the stats on my Cycle computer and was very pleasantly surprised at how briskly I had covered the distance so far to Comber 🙂 The new bike is a keeper, comfortable (despite me needing to make a few small adjustments to the bars etc) and definitely quick enough for my winter / wet weather cycling requirements.

The Cycle home from Comber through the town and along the Greenway was at a much reduced effort from myself, just chilling out enjoying the continued good weather.

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Back in the day II

The twelfth of July, the quietest day of the year on the roads with very little traffic, perfect for getting out on the Bicycle and clocking up a few miles.

Setting off from Portadown on the Mahon road I took the recently stonechipped Markethill road up to Marlacoo Lake then along to Mullaghbrack, Gosford and Markethill. The long draggy upwards climb of the Coolmillish road was next before veering off to the right to Seagaghan dam [another lake I frequented in my teenage years for some Trout fishing].

A fast descent down through Lisnadill and in round by Cavenacaw then down the Markethill road in to Armagh City and a short stop at the old Jail and the Mall.

With traffic being so light I took the main road all the way from Armagh passing Richhill through to Portadown for a nice 30 mile spin.

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Back in the day

Whilst I currently live in the Belfast area I grew up in County Armagh, today I popped the Bicycle in the back of the Car and drove to Portadown to visit the parents and was straight out on to the Bicycle to ride along some of the roads of my youth.

Setting off along the Mahon road then in to the MArkethill road briefly in to the Derryhale road.

Then along the rolling roads of the Mullalelish road to Richhill where I lived during my primary school years. Through the Village, left at the War memorial and up the Maynooth road passing my old house in Woodlawn then along the Tirnascobe road and across a lane to Lowrys lake where I spent many an hour fishing for Trout in my teenage years.

No Trout being caught #trout #troutfishing #flyfishing #lowryslake

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From Lowrys I took the Hamiltons bawn road passing through the village and on to Marlacoo Lake then back in the Markethill road and Glenbank road for a nice 20 mile spin.

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Early Bird spin

I awoke at 4am, it was already daylight, I briefly considered getting geared up and going out on the Bicycle to enjoy the quiet roads whilst the World around me slept. Instead I returned to the Pillow and tried to get back to sleep.

Almost an hour passed and still not sleeping so I got up and started prepping to go out for a Bike ride. A Black Cat in my back garden attacked and killed a big Wood Pigeon, calmly walking off to the hedge with its capture in its mouth.

After all the sweltering heat lately getting out at this hour of the Morning felt distincly chilly but I knew it would warm up as the Morning wore on. I set off through Dundonald enjoying quiet roads and stuck to the main road up to Comber rather than hop on to the Greenway.

Out early on the Bicycle with no food since my evening meal the previous day I decided to ride at a gentle effort and keep to the flatter coastal roads stopping frequently to grab a few Photographs with my Phone.

A beautiful Morning to be out and about. 31 miles clocked up at a sedate pace and I barely met another person/vehicle the whole time.

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Spin with Vin

My mate Gavin travelled down to Dundonald this Morning to catch up and go for a Cycle with me. We set off through Dundonald then in to the new line and hillhead roads. Ascending the Ballystockart road Gavin mentioned that his gear indexing was off and even though he had attempted to index it correctly it still was not shifting correctly. I had barely just said the words that maybe he needed to replace the gear cable when the cable broke and left him stranded in his hardest gear. We made the decision to ride back to my house, replace the cable and then go back out for a shorter spin in what time he had left.

Back at my house, his Bicycle in my workstand and we set to work on replacing it. The SRAM hydraulic shifters on Gavins bike were a little trickier to recable than my Shimano setup but the internal cabling on the rest of his bike was very easy with good access ports and we soon had the cable replaced and fine tuned the gear indexing.

Back out on to the road and with Gavin now on limited time we decided on a much shorter route, a steady spin straight out to Daft Eddies for lunch and straight back.

A nice gentle 34 mile spin in very warm sunshine. Gavin then drove home with my Winter Bike in his Car to try and sell it for me as I have decided to build from the ground up a disc braked bike. Having stock-piled some Bicycle parts over this past couple of years the bulk of the new Bike is already in my shed and already paid for so this should work out a very cheap build, and a good learning project.

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Sunny Evening spin

Another day and another Cycle, I set off before 8pm and was surprised at just how warm it still was, but the arm warmers and Gillet were in the back pocket anyway as I knew the temperature would drop at Sunset.

Out through Dundonald and up the New line then in to the Hillhead road and the first stop to grab a Photograph.

Onwards and up the Ballystockart road and round the lanes to Ballygowan, up the Ravara road in to the Ballyknockan road.

Staying in the quieter lanes I took the Lisdoonan road travelling directly in to the Sun which was blinding, luckily that road is well surfaced otherwise I would not have seen any potholes. On up the Lisnasallagh road crossing the Comber road and up the Clontonakilly road to Lisnabreeny.

Rolling down the Lisnabreeny road to Manse road then over to the top of Church road, the light across Belfast was a bit hazy.

Back down to Manse road, across the Ballygowan road and in to the Upper Braniel road and then a short detour across part of the Middle Braniel road to watch the Sun drop down behind the Antrim hills.

Back down the Middle Braniel road to the Upper Braniel and a short sharp climb before a nice descent to the top of the Gilnahirk road and a stop for one last Photograph before descending down to Ballyhanwood and home.

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Peninsula loop and a lesson in hydration

A beautifully warm and sunny Morning for a Bicycle ride. The Club spins had left at 8am and 9am neither of which had I any chance of making this Morning so instead I opted for a solo spin and decided to hit the coastal roads of the Peninsula.

Off through Dundonald a brisk descent of Bradshaws Brae then an ascent of the Movilla road and across Moss road passing Ballycopelland Windmill on my way to Millisle .

From Millisle I kept up a fast pace through Ballywalter, Ballyhalbert, Portavogie and down the Bog road passing Kirkistown race circuit where I made a brief stop.

Weaving around the quieter interior roads I made my way back to Newtownards maintaining a fast pace. I was now cramping up quite badly having neglected to keep myself properly hydrated in the heat so I took the easy option of a lift home from my brother rather than cramp more and become more dehydrated.

Another great day for a Bike ride but another learning day. 45 miles clocked up at my fastest ever solo pace for that distance. I have gone faster in group rides before and faster on solo rides but never on solo rides at that kind of distance.

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