When the weekend began, I thought I still had an outside chance of achieving the August150 target, so I mapped a 20+ mile ride with a bit of a challenge thrown in: a nice, big hill. I rode out of Rochdale through Whitworth to Bacup, then over Sharney Ford to Todmorden and back home along Rochdale Canal, the National Cycle Network’s Route 66.
The slow climb from Rochdale to the top of Britannia (about 8 miles?) was okay. None of it gets steep and it’s just a case of keeping the legs turning and not getting too bored. The scenery isn’t nice until you get to Facit where you discover that there is, in fact, a Fudge Village there. A whole Village, of Fudge? I kid you not. Sorry I didn’t get a picture but I’m diabetic so I didn’t stop. Sod you lot who can eat what you like 😉
There’s a nice quick drop into Bacup centre then before turning right into a helluva hill. I admit, I got off twice on the way up and walked a bit. As I was getting back in the saddle after my second breather, a girl on a yellow bike wearing cutoff jeans, with her mp3 player wired into her ears, pedalled past me slowly but purposefully and in a much higher gear than I was spinning. If that was you, good on yer! It’s a good job I don’t have any illusions of masculine superiority, that’s all I can say. I’d have sulked right then!
The drop down into Todmorden is brilliant! A nice wide, fairly gravel-free, very steep tarmac road all the way down the hill. Without a turn of the pedals I hurtled towards Tod, collecting flies on my grinning teeth and with tears being blown from my eyes into my ears. What fun! Oh, and I passed the girl who’d pedalled past me earlier. Did I mention how fearless boys are on bikes, compared to girls? 😉
From Tod, the ride home was a leisurely affair, with the grin plastered firmly on face until my gadj let me down.
Fail 1: Solar Battery. A few weeks ago I bought a solar battery from dealextreme. Now, I know that their stuff is a bit shonky, but I’d tested this thing once by putting it on the windowsill for a bit, then attaching it to my phone and I definitely witnessed it giving life to my phone’s battery. Definitely.
About 2 miles back towards Rochdale, I noticed my phone was running low. At 20% battery my GPS automatically switches off, so I pulled the solar backup from my pocket, connected the usb cable and plugged it in. Nothing. Wiggled the connections. Nothing. Swore. Still nothing. Shonky far eastern piece of poo.
Fail 2: Phone Handlebar Mount. This is the 2nd time my HTC HD2 phone mount from Mobile Fun has broken. Last time it was the bit that cradles the actual phone that gave in, and full credit to Mobile Fun for replacing it despite not being able to find a paper-trail for my purchase.
This time, I was bobbling along a short stretch of cobbles on the towpath when the main mount fell apart. It turns out that a bolt is moulded into the mount and not enough plastic covers it, so the bolt wobbled its way out of the assembly under repeated … erm .. use. Yes, use: just normal riding a bike. So I’m not happy and I’m not sure how I’m going to attach my phone from now on. I can’t replace the unit now that I know the design is flawed, because the next time my phone parts company with my bike it might not land on a friendly surface. Shonky far eastern piece of poo (2). Until I’ve devised and engineered a marvellous new mount contraption, it’s going to have to stay in my pocket and I won’t be able to see how I’m doing on the fly.
All I can say is: thank goodness it didn’t fail at 38mph on the descent into Todmorden. Yep, 38mph, my all-time fastest record so far, woop woop! I am chuffed about that despite the gadget failures.
I have no full stats since my phone gps tracker did indeed shut down at about 16 miles, but I rode 22.88 miles in total (completed map on this link) and achieved a maximum speed of 38.3 mph.
I didn’t mention my new Daypack at all, did I? I picked it up from Go Outdoors for £22.50 which was an absolute bargain, in my opinion. I wore it for the first time on this ride and although I needed to fiddle with it a bit for fit comfort, it was great. Comfy, easy to drink from and felt light on my back. It’s got a 2 litre bladder plus a bit more storage for gubbins and a nice little drop-your-helmet-here bit for when you’re walking about (which I didn’t, so I don’t know if that bit works well yet). I’ll review it a bit more when I’ve used it again, perhaps.
With some luck, I’ll get a few miles in tonight but the August150 is looking a long way away for me! 🙁