2023 - Our Rides in Words, Photos, Maps and Videos

Nice! Hard to believe I was wearing a short-sleeved jersey a week ago. It reached -8 C (17F) midway into yesterday’s ride but I got away wearing just a poly/fleece layer with a wind/waterproof shell over top. Due to the deep snow, I did rely heavily on my boots and gaiters. Mercury plunged to -16C (3F) today which is where it currently sits now.
Sounds like Denver, where big weather changes can happen in a matter hours. Often due to the Arctic masses that you Canadians dump over the border when you get tired of them.

When you're on the 6th day of -5°F highs, that starts feeling like an act of war.
;^}
 
Sounds like Denver, where big weather changes can happen in a matter hours. Often due to the Arctic masses that you Canadians dump over the border when you get tired of them.

When you're on the 6th day of -5°F highs, that starts feeling like an act of war.
;^}
With the exception of an expected overnight low of -17C, the forecast for the next 10-14 days here looks somewhat more promising. Shame about those darn invasive polar air masses, eh.
 
Yesterday was much colder than it was on Tuesday as a cold arctic air mass descended upon the area and as a result required me to make a few changes to my wardrobe. An insulated primaloft jacket and a pair of 45North winter boots made the ride more bearable. My only concern would be my hands but I managed quite well during the last outing with liners under my lobster mitts. The temperature was -14C and I was tempted to swap the liners with electric heated versions but decided to stick with my original plan. Half way into the ride my fingers were already feeling the effects of the cold wind but it was too late to turn back so I pressed on.

Close to home in Kin Kanyon, a vibrant mural lines the tunnel under 32 Street.

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Before pushing off to the north end of the city, I decided to ride a short side trail nearby that runs along Piper Creek.

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Not gonna happen. I can’t seem to catch a break no matter where I ride. :rolleyes:

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A brief stop to warm up along MacKenzie Trail before making my way towards the Pines single.

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MacKenzie Ponds - If it looks cold in the image you can bet that it was when I took out my camera to take this shot.

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Arrived at the Pines trailhead and it proved to be timely as the trees acted as a buffer against the bone chilling wind.

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I stopped midway to warm up my digits which were pretty numb by now. The 8 oz of insulation in the mitts along with the liners were not enough to provide sufficient warmth. My decision to not opt for the electric liners proved to be a wrong one and I learned a valuable lesson. My boots on the other hand were awesome and my feet were warm and toasty.

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With my hands slightly warmer, I took to the trail once again. I normally ride it in the opposite direction which involves more of steady climb uphill but with so much soft snow on the ground, I opted for a more sensible downhill approach.

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This section of the single didn’t appear to used at all and so it was great to see the Norco create its own trail plowing through 4” of snowy goodness without a losing a beat.

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On my way home, I spotted some geese on the river that didn’t appear to be in any rush to fly south.

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Another mural that was recently completed this summer beautifies the supports underneath the Taylor Drive Bridge.

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Went to Grafham Water today and did a couple of laps around that.
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The weather was a very misty and chilly 10oC (50oF). This eventually lifted after a couple of hours, but remained dull.
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Had a few showers, then just after we had packed up and put the bikes in the van, the sun finally came out.

DG…
 
Been on a few rides here in the Cotswolds, some nice mixed trails, bit muddy in places..as in mudbath muddy.

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The wife has shown her fitness by doing a 25 mile round trip with endless rolling climbs and energy sapping miles of boggy bridleway on an acoustic mtb.
We were out for five hours!

The ride to Jeremy Clarkson farm shop was simply stunning, gorgeous paths through dense forest and long overgrown trails.
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It is utterly sublime down here, off-road tracks from one magical village to another, all very posh second home London set, but just immaculate and timeless, so relaxing, so set in another world.
Overun with Chinese and Indian tourists and I can see why, its like a film set for Ye olde England.
We rode to the Train station at Toddington, all the staff wear vintage outfits.
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The sight of the steam train chugging into the station was simply epic, and what a majestic looking beast it is.

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It's also very snobby, lots of Rangerovers, riding boots and queens English, we sound like commoners..because we are 😂.

None of it matters, everyone is painfully polite..unless you wander into their private driveway!
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You pay 30 quid for two coffees and cake, but the surroundings are worth it.
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I know Stefan has been, I'm sure he'll agree it quite a beautiful area.

Most of the pics are on the GoPro and I'm not messing with that microsd, they corrupt just by looking at them.
 
we sound like commoners..because we are 😂.
Welcome to my world.

Nice area, have been there many times.

I will have to look up that railway station and I do want to go and see Clarkson’s Farm.

I thought his shows on Amazon Prime were very good, showing the issues that Farmers are facing. Living in a rural farming area, I can appreciate that.

Carry on having a good time.

DG…
 
On a family visit trip down to Charlotte, NC… of course the Creo came with me. Took at very nice ride on a brand new section of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway trail that runs right down into South Carolina. Extremely attractive system, some very nice bridges along the creek here and there. Hope to go the other way tomorrow north into the Uptown area.

You’d never know you were in the middle of a large city. I was very impressed.

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On a family visit trip down to Charlotte, NC… of course the Creo came with me. Took at very nice ride on a brand new section of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway trail that runs right down into South Carolina. Extremely attractive system, some very nice bridges along the creek here and there. Hope to go the other way tomorrow north into the Uptown area.

You’d never know you were in the middle of a large city. I was very impressed.

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Sublime...
 
I know Stefan has been, I'm sure he'll agree it quite a beautiful area.
It's gorgeous! As you know, I was taken to many beautiful places in Britain, and I would say only the Isle of Wight or North Wales could match Cotswolds in their beauty! Besides, what is all about the brand "Cotswolds Clothes"?

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Arlington Row, Bibury, Cotswolds.
 
A Boring Żyrardów Workout

I had to go for a ride on Sunday. I simply had to. With the predicted good weather (dry, sunny, not cold, and a moderate wind from the South), I could not let the day go to waste. Set off on my Vado with a single battery just after 10 a.m. I used a ridiculously low assistance of 20/20% for a better workout!

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A brand new train stop built just recently. Regardless what Government we have, the EU makes us think of the infrastructure!

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I'm constantly surprised with more and more new reconstructed roads in the neighbourhood. You will certainly agree catching a flat on such a road is virtually impossible?

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I have to be honest: Not everything is perfect in Mazovia. It is a long, boring straight road between Błonie and Wiskitki. The asphalt is cracked on most of it. Still, the road is clean, and the day of the reconstruction will come!

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I and some friends ride to catch funny place-names. The name of "Dry Bus" carries no meaning in Polish, and it must have been invented by the ancient Haulander settlers!

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Komoot forced a gravel detour, and took me off the boring cracked asphalt road. Here, the place-name means "A Gypsy Woman". I wonder what was the story behind!

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Wiskitki (a.k.a. Wisconsin), one of the smallest towns of Poland (population of 1411). A nice church and main square, nothing else interesting there!


I stopped for a lunch in Żyrardów, formerly an important industrial city (yarn production), no photos!

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Gorgeous Radziejowice Park & Palace. The place is a cultural institution now. The park is full of statues of artists. (Barely visible is the bust of Ignacy Paderewski, a pianist and politician).

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"Beware, squirrels!" "Beware, cats!" - murderous beasts... :D

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The Golden Polish Autumn. A day full of sunshine!

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Having ice-cream and coffee in Podkowa Leśna. It was not even imaginable for people of Poland to eat ice-cream in the cold season in the past. Now, everything has changed!


We had the time change to the winter one on Saturday. I completely missed that! My smartphone and PC have updated the time automatically. As I connected Mission Control to my Vado to set the assistance, the display time had updated, too. I uploaded a route to my Wahoo, so the Wahoo got synchronized, too. To my biggest surprise, my solar Casio wristwatch updated to the winter time without any synchronization! I only found out as it started becoming dark after 16:00... :)

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It was not an exciting ride but I got a good workout, and returned with my legs aching, I wonder why... :D
 
Squirrels everywhere in the Wolds.
All Grey's of course, my local forest is one of the last havens for the Red, but I haven't seen one for years.

On our last day we rode to the wife's friend who works as a carer for a very well off couple in a small town called Churchill, they are both in their 90s and live in a rather decriped old farmhouse attatched to their sprawling stud farm

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She said they were very high up in the horsey set in their day,

This was confirmed by a hand written letter hung in the toilet from the Queen thanking them for dealing with a horse problem they had sorted for her.

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The Stud manager turned up, a really down to Earth guy in his 50s, the wife asked where Jeremy Clarkson lives,
Oh just over that hill,
'he"s a complete tw@t, everyone hates him'.

I thought his farming show was helping farmers getting their problems aired.

'Possibly..but he's still an obnoxious twt.'
 
Squirrels everywhere in the Wolds.
All Grey's of course, my local forest is one of the last havens for the Red, but I haven't seen one for years.
There are only red squirrels in Poland!

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The street where my Old Home is located is Squirrel Street (ul. Wiewiórek). There are many red squirrels living there (my own photo!) The squirrel here is grayish as these animals change the fur colour for winters! It is unusual to spot a wild squirrel from a close distance in the warm season as squirrels have a lot of food at that time and do not approach humans. However, there is a yew-tree in the corner of the Old Home, and squirrels happily feed on the yew in the winter. On the other hand, public parks are full of red squirrels that are used to the human presence. (You are guaranteed to see many "domesticated" squirrels in the Royal Baths of Warsaw).

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A London grey squirrel (photo by @Brix).
 
It was a spectacular sunny morning as I hit the trails once again. As I suspected all along, ground conditions at the Ranch were optimal with a solid layer of hardpack for the studs to bite into after a week of continuous compaction from other riders frequenting the area. This allowed me to corner with more confidence and pick up a bit more speed down the straightaways which would render me a far more enjoyable and fun ride. So much, that I rode a double loop X 2 inside Ranch’s perimeter for a total of 20 + kms.

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Even the once bare log berms that I would normally find myself pushing the bike over, were easily rolled over with a bit of help from the recent snowfall.

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A train which travels parallel with traffic along the north/south bound QE 2 sounds its somber horn as it crosses the local tributary.

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I had the trails all to myself which allowed me plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the beauty of the early season snow and solitude within the forest.

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Todays ride, a little trip to and around Milton Keynes.
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This may be the last ride on the NCN Route 51 for a while. They are planning to build 4000 houses, two schools and shops in 18 fields alongside the cycle path. Presently, they are undertaking the archeological ground survey, which should finish by the end of the yeat, with the groundwork’s starting in January 2024.

Consequently, the cycle path is already badly damaged with pot holes, and plenty of mud, so will only get worse. Although, I’m expecting it to be temporarily closed whilst the main building is on-going.

DG…
 
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After a week off the bike it was so good to get out again and it was a lovely day to boot, a chilly NE wind greeted me though and it was around 25mph! On my last couple of rides my cranks were slipping now and again and I was pretty sure it was due to wear in the freehub, I had the same problem with my last set of Mavic Allroad wheels but they managed over 14000 while these ones have only just passed 10000 miles! So during my downtime I managed to source a real bargain set of Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels which had a Black Friday 55% discount, when the wheels arrived I thought it would be an easy changeover but that wasn't the case!

My rotors are 6 bolt and the wheels are centrelock but I bought adaptors for my Mavic wheels which were also centrelock and thought they would do the job, it turned out I needed different adaptors which were going to be just under the price of a new set of centrelock rotors so it was a no brainer to buy new rotors and it made the job so much easier! I have the same wheels on my 2009 Giant hybrid and they have covered close to 18000 miles and still like new so I'm hoping I made the right choice, first impressions today were very good with a speed of 42.2mph achieved on a big downhill into the 25mph wind!

I decided to head NE into the wind to enjoy the wind at my back on the way home, I was very happy when that wind was behind me and very much warmer! I jumped on to the cycle path at Plains not long after leaving at just before midday, this used to be the old railway line and is in really good condition!

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Its only a couple of miles long before arriving in the middle of Caldercruix where I used the back roads to Shieldhill, I was tempted to use this road down into Falkirk but its pretty rough further down and I didn't want to risk damaging my brand new wheels!

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So I continued into Shieldhill and used the main road down into Glenn Village which is a very fast steep descent, this was where I did 42.2mph into the wind! This is quickly followed by another nice descent down into Falkirk where I continued NE to Grangemouth and then due north to Airth where I had the Ochill Hills in full view right in front of me with the sun lighting them up nicely!

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I continued through the village of Throsk with the hills still in view!

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I was nearing the city of Stirling now where I would turn south and finally have that biting cold wind at my back, I now had the Campsie Hills in sight!

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I was tempted to go up over the hills but changed my mind and continued through the city and took the road to Larbert instead! I passed the high school and had the Ochil Hills in sight again, not a bad view from the north facing side of the school!

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After Larbert I turned SW towards Bonnybridge on a road I hadn't used before, it had some nice downhills but wasn't in the best condition so it won't be getting used again unless they resurface it! I arrived in Bonnybridge and timed it nice to catch one of the narrowboats on the canal!

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The man standing next to the boat boarded and I was hoping he might be travelling along the canal which would mean the bridge opening up but I was out of luck this time! I then took the lovely back road back into Falkirk and had another nice view of the Ochil Hills from part way up the big climb!

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Soon I was at the top of the climb and grabbed another couple of photos, the first one is looking north and the second looking south where I was heading!

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Its a narrow road but very quiet so it gets used a lot as its such a fun road to ride and although I was heading into the wind again there's a lot of tree cover to shelter you from the wind!

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I was getting close to Falkirk now and grabbed another couple of photos before the hills disappeared!

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The road brings you out at the top end of Falkirk on the road to Slamannan, I don't think I will ever tire of these awesome roads! This is at the top of the first climb looking south!

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The road then plunges down into the valley before rising up steeply again, followed by a nice descent down into Slamannan! From there I headed due west to Greengairs and turned south on the back roads to home, I had such a nice ride and was more happy with my new wheels and my brakes are so much better with the new rotors! The day after I fitted them the rain stopped for a short time and I grabbed the opportunity to bed my brakes in on a nice flat road near my street! I also fitted new front pads, my rears were almost new so I just cleaned them up! They were truly awful until I bedded them in, I had to be very careful at the end of my street to make sure I was able to stop and that was on a flat part! 😂 The next 2 days are looking horrendous, especially tomorrow! A possible ride on Friday time permitting...
 

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