This is the first installment in a series of blogs from Tim and Laura Moss, who will be cycling round the globe from August this year. They will be using the tried and tested Ridgeback Panoramas for their journey.
All of us here at Ridgeback are wishing them the best on this fantastic adventure.
Boxes and Panniers
My wife quit her job last week. My contract at work won’t be renewed when it ends and we’re moving out of our house. All of our belongings will be packed into one of two things – boxes or panniers – because, come Monday 19th August, we will be leaving our London lives behind and pointing our handlebars towards Australia.
It has been a pipedream for years and a joke before that but, as life moved on our idea stayed resolute. We bided our time for the right moment and, although there’s never a perfect time to quit your job and go cycling instead, this summer is as good as any.
The longest cycling trip we’ve done together is two weeks and this will be closer to 12 months but we have a world map hanging in our living room covered with marker pen, our fridge has a magnetic whiteboard with a ‘to do’ list on it and we are accumulating a large pile of lists and spreadsheets.
Our bikes – two World Panoramas – are better than any other bikes we’ve owned and we’ve accumulated a large cupboard’s worth of camping kit over the years. There are visas to obtain, maps to order and border crossings to research but, for the most part, they are ephemera. What is really needed next is the first stroke of the pedals.
Tim runs the adventure website The Next Challenge offering free advice and encouragement to those tempted by an expedition. He and Laura will be blogging, filming and photographing their journey at www.thenextchallenge.org.
In September 2012 Ettienne de Beer will set off on Foot & Bicycle to cover the circumference of the UK. He will be attempting to set a World Record for the distance, but more importantly is aiming to raise £100,000 for a charity close to his heart – The Haven which are a National Breast Cancer Support Centre.
To follow Ettiennes training, progress or for more information on the Charity and the story behind Ettiennes challenge visit AroundTheUKin50Days or if you’d like to offer your support Ettiennes Sponsorship page can be viewed here
The schedules relentless from the moment Ettienned leaves Brighton on September 1st, needing to Cycle approx 3403miles and Run 771miles during the 50 day challenge. For the bike days he’ll be riding a 2012 Ridgeback Platinum. The Platinum which will need to cover anywhere between 60 and 140miles at a time. Then its onto his feet for some extreme running endurance, the shortest of which being 37miles!
We dropped by to see the guys at ‘Saddles & Paddles’ in Exeter. Not only do they have a good selection of Ridgeback Models in store, they also have a hire fleet of Ridgebacks for your use around the area. Based in Kings Wharf on the Quayside you could have yourself a relaxed day riding around Exeter then treat yourself to Coffee & Cake next door.
Two of our unique Ridgeback Panorama’s are now on sale with Johns Bikes in Bath. These share the same build spec as the 2012 model but are painted in two unique classic colours. The first (pictured) is the metallic green, whilst the other sports a metallic bronze. These were frame colours used in our research & development stages back in the design room here at Ridgeback. But if you happen to fit a 56cm frame & your looking for something a little unusal then drop along or contact Johns Bikes -Bath.
As usual some of the best idea’s start as a bit of joking around between colleagues in an office, but this one ended with a mixture of guys from Ridgeback, our UK Distributors Madison and a few fellow cycling mates putting our names down for the Ronde van Vlaanderen (or Flanders as its better known here in the UK).
This is an event that gives everyday riders like ourselves the opportunity to ride some of the roads & climbs that we’d only normally sit staring at on TV. With 3 distances available 87km, 138km & 244km (only suitable for those wishing to test their own sanity & endurance). We opted for the 138km – which would prove more than hard enough.
Madison Brand Manager Oli Collins was the Ridgeback contingent for the weekend, riding a converted Flight Titanium. A set of drop bars and cable operated disc callipers were retro fitted, together with a set of Continental 4 season tyres and Oli’s trusty San Marco Concor Saddle. The Titanium Flight proved a pretty sound choice, especially over the cobbled sections where any little help to soften the impact to your hands, arms and derriere is gratefully received.
The adventure began with our group of 7 Road tripping with 2 cars piled high with bikes & kit down to Hesdin in Northern France where we were kindly supplied with accommodation. . Friday morning was a reasonably relaxed affair as we pedalled out for a steady 35miles in beautiful sunshine & quiet country lanes (I say ‘reasonably relaxed’ as 7 guys riding together inevitably results in a macho Sprint finish, or King of the Mountains competition … and it did). The remainder of the day seemed to be taken up with quite possibly the largest pre-race feast I’ve partaken in.
Saturday was somewhat cooler & windier but that would take nothing away from what proved to be a exciting, challenging route. Starting in Oudenaarde we set out into the Belgium countryside & villages, Cobbled sections and short sharp climbs of the ‘Bergs’ beckoned. Riding a road bike across cobbles simply isn’t comfortable and a different technique was employed by each rider, for me opting to cover the ground as fast as possible seemed logical, if nothing else the bone shaking is over so much quicker.
Our plan to start very steady and enjoy the day lasted approximately 1km, with so many thousands out on course it’s easy to sit with a larger group of riders hurtling along … well that’s until the climbs when it’s every man for himself. The infamous Koppenberg arrived soon after the first drink station, topping out at over 20% with narrowing cobbled surfaces, the sheer number of riders caused bottlenecks that frustratingly meant a few foot dabs as we ascended. Fast flowing descents allowed for a breather in between climb. Our band of merry men split up as legs tired, meeting at the final drink station everyone was however still in fine spirits. This was to prove vital as the climbs from the 105km mark inflicted serious suffering, a mixture of fatigue combined with a sugar come down off the Belgian Waffle diet was taking its toll. The final 2 climbs – the long cobbled drag of the Oude Kwaremont followed by the Pateberg (approaching 25% in parts) were enough to see many of the days riders dismount, but undeterred those of us that could hauled ourselves over for the flat, windy run into the finish line.
This is an event I can’t recommend highly enough, especially in the dry. I should imagine its a little more nerve wracking in the wet. We all enjoyed it so much so that next years already in the calendar.
Thanks to the organisational prowess of Chrispy Smith, Andy ‘I’ve been sneaking in some training’ Lou for driving & the fine company of the Collins Brothers, 60kilo Copeland & Richard ‘tape it to your top tube’ Walters.
Erica Bund of Zest Magazine has set herself the Challenge of riding this year’s London – Paris Cycle event. But starting from scratch with her cycling it’s interesting to see the progress, and as lifelong cyclists it’s easy for most of us to forget just what an undertaking it is to build up to this level. There are also the entertaining trials & tribulations that come with acquainting yourself with long distance riding.
“Erica’s London – Paris Training
I did it! I set myself a target distance and actually achieved it. A 40mile round trip to the office in Central London and back home. It ended up being a little further than I planned though (43.4m) as I managed to get lost a few times. I’m finding that my navigation is fast becoming my biggest downfall in my cycling training. If I knew where I was going then I’m sure I’d get there much faster! I’ve learnt my lesson (slightly) after last week’s trip and my technology failure.
This week I printed out the route to take with me, and armed myself with Transport for London’s Local Cycling Guides just in case. And it worked brilliantly – if you take out the element of human error. Because, as it turns out. I’m not very good at following directions. I mean, I’m happy enough looking out for a road name and knowing that is the next turning to make. I just tend to forget that the next turning does not necessarily mean the next junction, and it might actually be more than a mile down the road! And, it does also rely on me realising that the reason I can’t find the next road is because I’m missing one of the pages in my directions (in fact, I was missing two! I didn’t even realise this until I got home as I resorted back to the gps map on my phone!) What I need is a bike equivalent of a car’s sat nav – which will tell me not just where to turn, but also when.
Despite these problems, I made it in to work, through areas I only know from seeing the names of stations on the train. It did take me nearly three hours though! I’m not sure how that fits in the league table of commutes but think I’ve got a bit of work to do if I’m going to make it a more regular trip! It was nice to get a contrast from the country lanes of last weekend. The sights in a city can still be impressive, even if they aren’t rolling hills and fields. I got to see Wembley stadium fairly close by and cycled along the Grand Union Canal, some of which is very pretty.
It’s also strange how much more quickly my ride seemed to go this week. I’m not sure if it is because I always had people around me, even though I was cycling on my own. Or if it was because I had recognisable landmarks for me to gauge my progress. The hardest part was the final 5miles or so, when I knew I was nearly home but not quite. I’m much happier with my progress this week though. I’ve upped my previous longest ride by 51% – not a percentage I’m going to use as a benchmark for the future. I’ve also now managed more than half of the length I’ll be cycling in first day of London to Paris.
I’m beginning to understand how it feels to be in the saddle for a long period of time (and so far have only suffered minimally from the usual cyclists complaints!) Although I haven’t yet done it, I also think I’d be able to go out cycling for a second day as my aches and pains are significantly less than they were when I’d started out. Not bad with 20 weeks still left to train.
Cycle Training Weekends
Throughout my training I’ve been trying to get a bit of variety into my rides, heading out in different directions wherever possible, sometimes on my own or sometimes as part of a group. I am really looking forward to mixing it up even more though in the next few weeks as I’ll be getting out of my local area for my training rides. And for one of them I’ll even be in Spain. What could be better than fresh views, with new people and getting some great advice along the way, hopefully with a little bit of sunshine!
My first weekend, over Easter, will be spent on the Cycle in the Sun retreat in Murcia at the La Manga Club resort with the team from fitness 12 retreats. With 3 rides over the weekend, expert advice, stretching and a chance to relax in a luxury spa – what more could I want! I’ve always loved Spain but haven’t really had chance to see much of it. This is such a great opportunity to see more while getting out on a bike.
I’m following this cycling weekend closely with another so I won’t have any time to get bored!
Heading off to Salisbury on the 14th April for the Discover Adventure Cycle Training Weekend. These weekends are specifically designed to prepare you for a longer charity ride such as London to Paris. It’ll be a great opportunity to gauge my fitness levels and work out any areas in which I might need to put in some extra work (I’m already thinking hills…) And with 80 miles covered in total, it’ll definitely give me an idea of what it’ll be like to cover longer distances two days in a row!
Over the rest of the summer, before I take on the 4 day ride to Paris, I’m also hoping to get in a couple of one-day rides such as Cycletta or Diva 100, one of the other rides run for Action Medical Research. These give the chance to cycle up to 80/100k in one day (depending on venue) so then I won’t be far off the 135km needed in my first day! I’m so excited about the chance to see different areas – the dates just can’t come soon enough! “
So, this weekend I went out for my first ride of the New Year. It was the first time I’d had a chance to take my new Ridgeback Radium road bike out for a try. It was quite a different riding experience from the upright hybrid bike that I had been riding previously and I knew it would take a bit of getting used to. After making a few adjustments, I found that it was a lot more comfortable than I’d expected. The thin tyres aren’t as scary as I’d thought either. The ride is very smooth, and I found that changing gear was easy once I got my head around how they worked! (I never had gears on my bikes as a child.)
Once it was all set up, off I went. I’ve been a bit lazy until now and have always chosen the easy routes (by this, read flat). Today though I added a gentle slope and felt very proud of myself when I reached the top, even if I was puffing! I rewarded myself with a drink of water before setting off again, only to turn the corner and see another, less gentle, slope heading off in front of me! I did make an attempt at it but, I have to admit, it was a bit much for me on my first ride, so I turned around and headed back the way I came. And here is what surprised me the most – going downhill was a lot more difficult for me than going up! Not in terms of effort – of course I could just freewheel down picking up more and more speed as I went, but, at the end of the day, I’m a bit of a wimp! The riding position of a road bike means I’m leaning forward so that downhill feels even steeper! So, instead I managed to go down at snails pace, hands gripping the brakes and with one foot hovering protectively above the ground, until the road levelled out and I could go back pedalling on my way. Ok, so I think a little more practise will be needed…
It was a fantastic opportunity for us to display many of our current 2012 models and the new additions due on sale shortly. Over the 4 days we had the pleasure of meeting both existing Ridgeback owners and those new to cycling alike.
For those still looking to make a decision on your next purchase then the local Ridgeback Dealer’s in your area will be well placed to discuss your individual requirements and get you underway. If your not sure where your nearest dealer is then visit our Dealer Finder.
The cold weather was no reason to stay in this weekend… In fact it was the perfect oppurtunity to take the Cerium out on the Club run – kitted up with Disc Brakes, mudguards and a plush ride courtesy of its 28c Conti Contacts.
In fact it seemed better suited to these conditions than at any other point during the year as those on Carbon Frames and narrow 23 & 25c tyres tiptoed around.
Riding with the guys from VC10 we took a picturesque trip out through the lanes of the Aylesbury Vale via Waddesdon Manor then on to the village of Stony Stratford before looping back round the Vale as we headed towards every club riders favourite stopping point. Being the first truly fresh ride of the Winter a welcome stop came in the guise of ‘Little Italy’, a rider friendly Cafe in the village of Haddenham.
Following a brew, cake and a brief thaw out it was a swift ride for home.
80miles on the clock, a great day out in the countryside ….. and a justifiable excuse for raiding the fridge!
Have you ever pondered what you’d build a Flight Ti Frameset into ….
When one of the guys from the Shimano/PRO product team at Madison mentioned he was putting together a Flight Ti Winter Bike we knew it was likely to be something a little special.
And he didn’t disappoint!! White PRO Stealth Evo Bars, PRO Seatpin and Colour matched San Marco SKN Saddle take care of the contact points. But the combination of Ultegra Chainset and Derailleurs, mated to Shimano XTR hubs, and Handbuilt wheels shod with Conti Cyclocross rubber are the highlights for me. Fitting a Steel Disc compatible fork shows that there’s every intention of riding this throughout the Winter, whatever the conditions, and not just on the Tarmac!
By the very nature of Ti, you can ride it year round in the knowledge that the salted winter roads are not making a bid to eat away at it.
To start your bespoke Flight Build then see our Flight Ti Framesets .
If this route is not for you, we’ve taken away the hassle of choosing parts and offer the Flight Ti as a Factory Built bike, for further details click here