24/03/2013

30 DAYS OF BIKING, Spring 2013

For those who are new to my Blogs & 30 Days of Biking, then I suggest you should read these 2 earlier blogs 30 DAYS OF BIKING & 'Autumn' 30 DAYS OF BIKING from last year.

Now if you haven't heard of it then here’s the site which tells more about this global event '30 days of biking story', quite simply it’s a pledge: Ride somewhere every day for 30 days then share your adventures online.

So why do I do this 30 days of biking? Well its more about me achieving a goal as before which I've succeeded (twice) & it was a struggle on both occasions but the 2nd one was an improvement on the 1st in performance & mileage, so thought I do it again to see if A. I still can (very much think so), B. I can do better, which is the main goal.

So in just over a weeks time I'll be starting the 30 Days of Biking on 1st April, now dependant on weather I'll be aiming to travel further than I have before at least once a week & hopefully there will be more sun & no snow by then. I will also be trying to record my travels, which will go on YouTube as well as log the rides on Endomondo.

And at the end of the month on the 28th April, I will be doing a 35 mile sponsored cycle ride 'Pedal for the J's' for J's Hospice. For me this is going to be a big one as I've never managed cycling that far or anywhere near that distance, so far 15 miles is the average for me & only once done 18 miles. So I've got to get some longer rides in during the 30 days of biking before the 28th.



Map of the route

But part of the ride is the sponsoring, it would be great if I get loads of sponsors to show support but also to encourage me more to actually complete the 35 mile cycle ride. It doesnt have to be much, so if you can please sponsor me at Dark Wolf Sponsors as it is for a good cause too.

I will be trying to do a daily account of my rides with logs, pics & hopefully video. So watch my blog for further updates as I am hoping it will be the best one so far...

20/03/2013

'lil changes make a big difference!

When I first got my Beast at the end of Summer 2011, it was a simple plain bike but I loved the frame colouring & decided it was the bike for me.


Now the wheels were knackered & I asked for Christmas some new ones & I did get them thanks to my parents.


Now they are good wheels & was a bonus they came with tyres too, so they got me on the road. But I wasn't comfortable with it, partly as the last bike I had was 20yrs ago & things had moved along since then. So I changed the handlebars, saddle & added mudguards & this was just how I liked my bike to start my riding & has been like this for many months so in 2012 I started to try cycle again.


Now as most who been following me on Twitter & Facebook, I only could do a few miles when I got to cycle & not every day. But as time moved on, I slowly improved & even did 30 days of biking for 1st time in April 2012 & again in September where I even went on a cycle ride as part of a group to Hyland House & that was my 1st long distance cycle ride. 
But now I am cycling more, further & faster so bike was starting to feel not right for what I was trying to use it for. First thing to change was the Saddle, the one I had on it was more for comfort when I started cycling as I wasnt used to it. 


But now it was impeding my faster pace so I changed it to a more streamlined style to give more movement to my legs.


That really made a difference, but was still finding I was hitting a wall (not literally). No matter how far I cycled, I struggled to get up the top end of my gears & cycling further than 10 - 15 miles even tho I was getting stronger in the legs (I did 18 miles only once). So after I chatted to other cyclists & cycle shops, it was clear the possible cause was my tyres due to the fact they are knobbly ones & designed for off road use & more traction (a bit to much traction for road use). 


So I decided to go for hybrid Schwalbe Land Cruiser tyres as they seem to be a good brand, puncture protection & affordable.


So how did they do? I let the videos show. :D

  
(Main screen is the new Schwalbe tyres, windowed screen is the old knobbly tyres)

 Well I found I've gotten faster & it takes less effort to cycle at those speeds. So now to try & go further than I have ever done & next month I will try to break the 20 mile limit & even try do a 35 mile sponsored cycle as part of the 30 days of biking.

The bike is now becoming more of a road bike so other changes were needed, Handlebars were upgraded but nothing different to what I had before as well as the following:

 
New thumbshifters

Full metal mudguards

So now the Beast has gone from this a year ago:


To this in March 2013:


Its all subtle differences, but performances are a lot better than it was (a bit like me) of about 25% improvement in speed & as for distances only time will tell. I will stick to this as it is, not to much else I can change to be honest. Maybe changing the gear ratios to get more out of them at a later date.

14/03/2013

Cycling isn't kind to my Jeans...

Since I started cycling, I have had an issue with my rear. no it's not saddle sore if you're thinking along that line. No its my jeans...

This is the 1st Saddle I had.


You'd think it being a nice soft & comfy saddle, it be OK on my rear. Afraid not...


Next saddle I got due to change in cycling habit & need for more movement of the legs, so I got this.


And it did this to another pair of Jeans...


Which I put to the design of the saddle as the plastic edge rubs. 

So I ordered another similar design with no solid edge.


And is a nice saddle, not to bad to ride on but like the others it's taking another victim...


So after 3 saddles & 3 pair of Jeans, I am at a loss. It's not the saddles so must be either I have a bony rear which is unlikely or the Jeans just aren't made like they used to be (most likely), so if anyone has ideas of hard wearing trousers/jeans (not lycra, you do not wanna see me in lycra) then please leave a comment of what & where I can get them in the comment box. 
But not anything over £30, above that & its out of my financial capability & until then I'm just gonna have to keep buying the cheapest jeans to hold out 'til I can find something harder wearing.






13/03/2013

These are my bikes I am using...

Before I do any further blogs, I should really introduce my bikes which without them I wouldn't be doing much cycling & improving my health.

So to start with I will introduce you to my 1st bike since my disability...


Now most of my new followers wont have seen this bike, I didnt have it long. Basically I tried to "run before I could walk" with my leg & it not ready for cycling, so after a few months it was sold & I got back what I paid as I did get it at 1/2 price. Had so little use, it had no markings on it.
You can read up on my attempts here: Back on road again after 18yrs & 2010 Time for changes.... 
So would be a lil while longer before I tried again & not until I moved to Essex.

The next bike I decided to get & try again was this one, most of you know I refer this bike as The Beast.


Dont look much does it, it was bought in June 2011 at a car boot where I went round trying every bike I thought suitable with a nice gear ratio for easy pedalling. Cost me £35 & that was fine with me for if it didn't work out again, then I haven't lost much. Well it did work out, so I asked for parts for Christmas & so started its transformation to what is now The Beast & is still evolving...


This is my main bike, it has done many miles with me & even has a trailer for heavy shopping. Kinda bonded with it, both the Beast & I have grown over the past 18 months & have done the 30 DAYS OF BIKING & 'Autumn' 30 DAYS OF BIKING last year & planning to do 30 days of biking again next month but with 1 extra added bonus, at the end of the month I will be doing a 35 mile (Pedal for the J's) sponsored cycle ride for The J’s Hospice. So I'm getting the bike & me ready for that this month, it will be the furthest I have ridden a bicycle since I've got back on one...

Now for the latest addition to the collection...


I got this bike only a couple months ago in a 1/2 price sale, its gearing is different than The Beast so is harder work to cycle. But that is why I got it, the lower gear ratio be good for snow & at higher speed it will get me to work harder on my legs. But hasnt been used much just yet as been changing some parts to suit me, especially the Handlebars that are to narrow for my liking. But also getting mudguards, lights, rack etc to have it as a functional bike for me & when ready it will be used more...

So there you have it, the start of my cycling after my disability that I am overcoming.

But before I end this blog, here is the bike that got me into cycling a lot...


The Raleigh Maverick, was the best bike I had & is the style I am trying to replicate i.e. handlebars. And if I can ever get one again at a price I can afford, I would as I just want to relive the thrill this bike gave me.

12/03/2013

Welcome to my new Blog site 'The 2 Wheeled Wolf'

Well I have decided that I should now start a separate blog for my cycling experiences, so welcome to my new Blog site 'The 2 Wheeled Wolf', here I will be starting to put my cycling experiences from riding to working & maintaining my bikes.

If you haven't read my blogs before on my other blog site, you can find them at Wolfies Blogs where it has some cycling blogs. But most are about my disability & how I'm overcoming it after a major operation & that part of the recovery is cycling which has now become part of my life again after a 20yr gap.

So if you like to catch up on my previous blogs, please go to Wolfies Blogs & then you'll have a better understanding on my experiences I will be posting here that I hope you enjoy as well...