Yesterday I made it up to Kettlewell, which is the furthest I’ve ridden for a long while. I had an operation on my hip this May, which went reasonably well. I still have a few persistent niggles, so it is a bit start and stop. But, yesterday was an enjoyable ride.
On a good September afternoon, with a light tailwind pushing you along – the run from Kettlewell, Grassington, Burnsall, Ilkley, Menston is one of the great joys of cycling. A few short hills, long winding fast descents. If you have the power to get up the little drags, you can really fly home as the amazing scenery wizzes by. Some of the run from Burnsall look different to the last time I was up here as trees have been chopped down on one side and have grown on the other.
It wasn’t all plain sailing, my Shimano Dura-Ace battery started to die on the way out. I don’t think I’ve charged it up all year. The problem with not cycling very much is you get out of the habit. I don’t think I’ve changed the chain for two years… But it seems to keep moving.
Anyway, Shimano’s designers did a great job of cutting off power to front shifter but still leaving you the rear shifter for a while. So I could go home on the 39. But, even so, I thought I should be conservative with gear changes, in case the rear one packed up too. It made me try harder up steep drags before trying to get it back in the 11 sprocket for the descents. After Ilkley, I met a guy plodding along quite fast, and when I caught him he stuck to my wheel – so you get an incentive to try and show off and cycle fast and faster. It was great fun going down Burley bypass in 39*11. We said goodbye at the end of the bypass, then I cycled very slowly up the little drag to Menston, starting to pay for the afternoon’s excitement, but it was worth it for the buzz of flying back.
I uploaded my ride to Strava, but my Garmin 130 is starting to fail. To get it to start I have to hard reset and delete all rides. But, now the GPS is failing too so I couldn’t see any segments – just a straight line. It’s a shame because the Garmin 130 was a good little machine. But, I never seem to have the best of luck with Garmins – they always seem to start failing a few weeks after the 12-month warranty ends. I’ve been in tortuous conversation with Garmin help. They take about two days to respond, and then end up often repeating the advice of two days ago – it inches forward very slowly; I think they want you to give up and just buy another.
[An hour after publication, Garmin offered to replace the Garmin 130! So it might be worth the wait]
Anyway, the inability to look at meaningless strava segments paled into comparison of being on the bicycle.