So final day in Paris. Back to Blighty in the morning. Really enjoyed today, nothing could be better than lounging around the sights of Paris with a beautiful lady enjoying sorbet and lunch in some amazing scenic places. Makes it difficult to want to come home!
And so the final push, little sleep really due to the ferry but think I made a couple of hours.
Finally on French soil and what a cycle path. It’s basically an old railway line, like so many. The difference is the surface, wide, flat, very very few roots, trees are mostly set back to prevent this, cafes, bars, bbq spots and picnic areas line the route. Works really well. Most interesting was the no e-bike sign on it. Asking a local basically they got banned as people were being Muppets and de-restricting them, it was becoming lethal on the route with them flying up and down when it comes to busy times. Idiots spoiling the fun of others always a shame.
Pressing on the heat was really becoming a problem. The forecast said about 25C but riding I was baked. Insulin off and shoveling in fuel want helping and levels were being a pain (pump is off but levels are being drained like silly things). Blood meter kept overheating and hiding it in a pannier helped a bit… No so easy to access though. Even the phone went crazy with temperature warnings and refusing to run more than one app at a time due to heat and even shutting down for a while. It was hot. I needed more drinks and food as I had depleted my supply of gels, Shotblocks, and Cliff Bars. So I followed the signs for a Carrefour and restocked filling the bags with chocolate brownies, it’s the same as an energy bar right? And a load of bananas and Pringles, need the salt of course! Sitting in the car park under a tree refilling my bottles and getting some lunch in. Was nice actually if it raised a few eyebrows.
Well, that’s half way to Paris (from the ferry) and the heat is a killer (25C). Pumps off but levels are being drained like silly things. So having lunch in a Carrefour and filling the bags with chocolate brownies, it’s the same as an energy bar right? And a load of bananas and Pringles, need the salt of course!
Venturing on the route for very weird, thank you again Google! It started off fine avoiding main roads, then through back roads which were nice, then through little tracks which started to feel like yesterday going all cyclocross again, before it ends in a middle of a field with nothing but wheat for miles and three tractor tracks. Google note maps tractor tracks and uses them as cycle routes?! Alternative route offered by the Garmin was a further 50 odd miles so that was out. Rattle, rattle, rattle this isn’t fun, rattle, BOOM, what the!! Some blinkin’ yakka (for those who don’t speak Cumbrian a yakka is another term for farmer) was taking pot shots, feck, feck, feck, did set a Strava time if seems, phew!
So I finally reach Clergy, on the doorstep of Paris. The wonders of Googles, I’ll find a faster way through here was a slight snag (not like it wasn’t earlier). As ever it did it’s best to find a route which doesn’t put you on roads. Great!? Not so much when it sends you on diversions through a total warren of tunnels in a tower block nightmare. Up and down ramps and places, at least I blended in so well in this surrounding no one noticed me 😛
Upon escaping using the Garmin find the Eiffel Tower search it found a nice road route away from the tower blocks. Paris traffic is interesting, you get cars, bikes, buses, scooters, lorries and pedestrians seemingly just making things up as they go. But oddly no one seems to get hurt. The more you ride it, the more it kind of makes sense. Red lights are optional for all, but if someone stops you all must. Bus and bike lanes can be used by anyone. And bikes can use anywhere they feel like, just as can pedestrians. Total sense!
Eventually, I made my way to the tower and got a few pics. Say for an hour almost just admiring the view and the long fight to get here on the trip. But I best get to the hotel… *facepalm* it’s 12km away!
On the way to the hotel, when sitting in a bike lane with actual bikes in it, I get chatting to a lad who Kickstartered his own bike brand. He designs the frames, then ordered in from abroad to be built in France. All city bikes mind, but interesting to hear how he started it. Then we got onto Lancet and we were still blocking traffic 20mins later.
So Monday. I had a plan, a good lie in. Did that. A good breakfast did that. A bit of maintenance Monday to keep everything bike related nice and happy, done that. All nice and good… Well right up to I told the Garmin to take me to Brighton, it was spinning and spinning and eventually found Brighton Hill, ah close enough, so off I went. Slight snag, Brighton Hill isn’t anywhere near
Slight snag, Brighton Hill isn’t anywhere near Brighton and 18 miles in the wrong direction. By mid afternoon I was a tad ticked off with myself. The Garmin had a route to the ferry at 86 miles, Google had it at 48 miles. Like, come on, what’s going on?! Here began a massive learning experience if the differences. The Garmin didn’t really bother about cycle paths or bridleways, Google threw in any way possible. So this was 48 miles off road verses 86 on. With this load out I’m slow enough on the road so why not! Time to see if any of Lancet’s cyclocross design make up actually worked.
Today we did something resembling the Monster Miles, we had deep mud, gravel, flint, roots, slabs, steps, broken paths, but even fully loaded it actually became great fun throwing through corners and climbs. The background mountain bike elements came to the fore with the Hope Technology Ltd RX4’s and the incredible 20 Fives, with the razor saw sound effect of the Pro 4 hubs cutting up the trails. The XTR rear end and the awesome 10-42 cassette made easy work of everything. Makes me really want to see how she handles off road without these bags on and some proper CX tyres. Can’t wait to try some Sammy Slicks on and a bit of ragging it around Whinlatter. Anyhow, I was panicking, I’m seriously late, can’t stop, no more
Anyhow, I was panicking, I’m seriously late, can’t stop, no more sightseeing, need to get to a ferry… The good news is I did. Now sitting past security waiting to board. Next stop Dieppe then onto Paris!
A messy day today. The “original plan”, dreamed up last night, was to wake up super early and blast (yes that might be also a slight issue when riding the bicycle equivalent of a super tanker) down the “empty” main roads. Lights charged, all set for it. Slept in! So that utterly went out the window. Eventually got going and decided on the lovely cycle path down the canal…It was a foot wide single-track! Think next time I’ll use the Marathon Touring Plus tyres as they have some side knobblies and deeper tread which could of been handy today. With the weight of my kit it was a very dicey ride and it was nice to get onto National Route 6. Wow, it’s amazing (well this bit was but later learned it was just a good bit of it) wide, smooth, lines of trees both sides of the route perfectly placed. While a beautiful ride it was really destroying my progress and I needed to get on with things. Although the whole getting going thing wasn’t wanting to happen much as felt very fatigued. Although it may of been more related to the next issue.
Eventually got going and decided on the lovely cycle path down the canal…It was a foot wide single-track! Think next time I’ll use the Marathon Touring Plus tyres as they have some side knobblies and deeper tread which could of been handy today. With the weight of my kit it was a very dicey ride and it was nice to get onto National Route 6. Wow, it’s amazing (well this bit was but later learned it was just a good bit of it) wide, smooth, lines of trees both sides of the route perfectly placed. While a beautiful ride it was really destroying my progress and I needed to get on with things. Although the whole getting going thing wasn’t wanting to happen much as felt very fatigued. Although it may of been more related to the next issue. Bloods decided to play silly things, sky high all day and throwing insulin at it to no avail. Became more a case of wack-a-mole with BGs. 2x, 3x, 4x the insulin and the sods wouldn’t get into single figures. Not even needing to throw any food into the mix, I knew I needed food, but couldn’t with the
Bloods decided to play silly things, sky high all day and throwing insulin at it to no avail. Became more a case of whack-a-mole with BGs. 2x, 3x, 4x the insulin and the sods wouldn’t get into single figures. Not even needing to throw any food into the mix, I knew I needed food, but couldn’t with the bloods up there. So find a nice spot for a roadside infusion set change. Sorted!
Next problem, food! Saw a pub so thought great. Pubs seem to be a huge rarity down here. Seen more closed ones, for sale ones, or looking for lease ones than open pubs! So dropped in and out was packed, huge beer garden, barbecue bar (think a shed that had been creatively modified to cook food outside with a good selection of drinks), or the bar itself which had beams which scraped my head on! The barman was huge, well over 6 foot and was crawling around the place. Great lunch! Back on with the afternoon I may have got involved in a Sportive somehow. Was clattering my way downhill and got on the back of a small group just add we went through the camera… So somewhere there’s going to be pics of a loon on the back of this group… Will have to work out which it was!
Back on with the afternoon I may have got involved in a Sportive somehow. Was clattering my way downhill and got on the back of a small group just add we went through the camera… So somewhere there’s going to be pics of a loon on the back of this group… Will have to work out which it was! Interesting thing (and yes very odd to comment on) for the day, the drains in Windsor are recessed into the kerbs. Not into the road at all. Very American in style and not sure if they do it for the horses here, lots of deposits left by them on the roads, but it makes for a car better road surface for everyone, cars, and bikes as there’s no sinking wheel breaking death pits in the road. Wish all our roads used them.
The interesting thing (and yes very odd to comment on) for the day, the drains in Windsor are recessed into the kerbs. Not into the road at all. Very American in style and not sure if they do it for the horses here, lots of deposits left by them on the roads, but it makes for a car better road surface for everyone, cars, and bikes as there’s no sinking wheel breaking death pits in the road. Wish all our roads used them. Had some nice chats with people, was this old grandad Sikh
Had some nice chats with people, was this old grandad Sikh with with niece in Slough. We got chatting about the ride and all the tech. He was fascinated by a bike having a “Tomtom” and was amazed by the radar. I skipped on the other bits as I could still be there. Also met another Chris. This one came alongside while riding through a forest and had a chat about the kit and the charity. Tomorrow is
Tomorrow is rest day…Yay! By that I mean I only have to ride 48 miles and have to get to the ferry for 11pm. So should have plenty of time to have a mooch in the Evans I saw nearby (if it’s like the one in Glasgow I spent 15mins roaming the place and no one even said hello), this is totally out of checking out the competition you understand, and also get a good breakfast in I also noticed nearby. Then off to Brighton to nose around for the afternoon, early evening before the boat and leaving Blighty.
All started well, was making pretty good time and even planning how much further I could push things and maybe eat a bit out of tomorrow’s ride. By the time I got through Rugby I was totally cocking around and had found a new game, instead of saying hi to people say something else, so after a few verses of Klingon and a bit of Sindarin I think I’ve left Rugby baffled 😀
So I decided on some breakfast and made do with some things I picked up earlier in my travels… Not such a good idea rapidly can’t to mind. Terrible stomach cramps, blood levels going crazy, wanting to throw up. Ugh not good! This went on well into the afternoon and all the stopping and starting it was causing really scuppered progress.
By Northampton the Garmin decided it would be for the best to put me on the A5 AGAIN. What’s with the thing?! I’m beginning to think it’s deliberately trying to kill me! Saw some cycle paths so took off down them. Sorted much to its annoyance. Soon I was on the CMK, a smooth wide track for bikes into Milton Keynes, which connects to a brilliant bike path structure going everywhere and keeping well away from the roads. It’s how all bike path systems should be!
Soon I was on the CMK, a smooth wide track for bikes into Milton Keynes, which connects to a brilliant bike path structure going everywhere and keeping well away from the roads. It’s how all bike path systems should be!
Lancet developed an off pssh sound coming from something drive train related. Not sure what but the amount of crud on everything can’t be helping. So that will be tonight’s plan! The rain which had been on and off with quick showers since mid morning then went full on Keswick. Lovely, to went and hid for a bit under some trees and find this lass with a puncture so loaned her some proper tools. The
The rain which had been on and off with quick showers since mid morning then went full on Keswick. Lovely, to went and hid for a bit under some trees and find this lass with a puncture so loaned her some proper tools. The tyre levers she had were part of a multi tool so utterly a waste of time. Pedro’s to the rescue! And a proper pump too.
So given in for the night, early finish for once and decided to rest my stomach and prep for a good ride tomorrow.
Early morning ride to make up for yesterday. In the Keswick Bikes green jersey this morning, not quite the sprinters jersey but hoping that it will help make up plenty of time!
With the disastrous start yesterday I needed to make up some ground so set off at early hours on the back roads of Cheshire which felt very much like home which was a huge bonus. Even paid a quick visit to Jodrell Bank which is HUUUGE! I would say WOW but might get that’s probably really playing with words 😛 Sadly I couldn’t stay long to get a proper nose around as it was early hours, and I needed to get some miles in.
Eventually reached the town I was meant to stay in last night, Mow Cap. I’m pretty glad I didn’t get here last night as it would have killed me. A real swine of a climb right from home with a heart and lungs busting killer 25% summit. As some of the mHealth folks know I tend to have two modes with climbs, the grind and mutter, or the full on Jensie mode calling the hill every insult in the book! Will let you guess which this one was 😛 Total agony but at the top was an amazing tower ruin. On a clear day, the view is fantastic.
The descent gave my brakes a good workout with the load but still feel they could easily do far more. Starting zapping through towns and also taking a few pics of the various churches and old buildings. Reached Stoke in no time and a silly 6 lane A-road in the middle of town really wound up. So, in the end, thought sod it and took off down a cycle path which upset the Garmin no end. The path was great, right through the centre and I just kept on it. The Garmin kept attempting to correct me and go back to weaving though no end of back roads and traffic jams! Pfft to that!
Soon after the Garmin decides the route we are on is incorrect, so it attempts to divert me to Derby! OK, it might be fine to drop in and see my Aunt but not by adding an 80-mile diversion! So after losing a few miles to it besides figuring it out it was very annoying. Seems good old turning it off and on again fixed it though. Solution to all tech problems!
Passed the JCB factory, exactly at 12.30 as lines of cars, bikes, and everything exited the place filling the road. They had a huge toy sandpit, as in 6+ football pitch sized filled with people playing with all of JCB’s toy collection. Very impressive!
The day progressed along nicely. Found a nice lil Pinarello shop for a quick nosey. Later on, a group from it went flying past which I couldn’t stick with at all with me at my pedestrian pace. I did meet up with them down the road, and they have a shop ride out in middle of a Friday afternoon and the company van comes out to a pub they’ve ridden to and gives them the lift back to the shop. An interesting concept it seems.
Soon after met another group out, felt sorry for the poor guys at the back getting passed by someone with panniers on though. Was a bit of a shame the rest turned off as I was really looking forward to introducing them to the 10 cog on the next descent 😀
Eventually neared Nuneaton. Uttoxeter was great, very bike friendly to get through so was expecting similar. But sheesh no. Not even a handy pavement to hop on when trying to navigate the A5. The road has a 50 cap, not like anyone used it! Scared me witless and I had to get off the road almost instantly. Daft thing was I needed to get preferably 5 miles down it, but couldn’t see that happening without getting killed! Jam packed with traffic all going 70+. Terrifying! In the end though I had no option, it was the only way. Considered sitting or out till like 10pm and hope it got quiet. In the end found by dayglo’s, fitted my amazing Bontrager Flare RT to the rear, charged the radar, and dived into the maelstrom. Dove down the first exit road I could much too the annoyance of the Garmin but I didn’t care, I was off that road! Tomorrow wise I’m looking for another early start to get well away from the traffic chaos of Nuneaton and to give me plenty of time to deal with Milton Keynes and hopefully get a chance to visit Bletchley Park.
Tomorrow wise I’m looking for another early start to get well away from the traffic chaos of Nuneaton and to give me plenty of time to deal with Milton Keynes and hopefully get a chance to visit Bletchley Park.
First off it took forever to escape the hospital. Yes, I had a “normal” checkup before leaving before the good ol’ handshakes and best wishes as this lunatic setoff. Think I wasted a good 90mins in the Hospital before getting going *sigh*.
Ten miles down the road in Garstang, my front rack failed… Not a happy bunny! But also all my own fault for not being thorough enough on checking every last nut and bolt. Thankfully not far off though was Green Lane Garage, and Chris there was an utter star and helped me out to get something together. Without him, I would of probably just got a taxi back to Lancaster and thought sod it all! I was really getting pretty downbeat by this time, and even more so when looking at the clock and I was two and half hours in and I had only done ten miles.
Eventually, I did get going and heading south and was soon in Preston and having no end of hassles both navigating the city and so many of places around it. It felt like being trapped in the backend of West Cumbria and unable to escape, but without the scenic areas to escape into. Scary! Also found it to be one of those places filled with bike hating jackasses who had no time for any other road user other than themselves in their metal boxes.
Escaping Preston and getting moving I was finding time slipping away badly and I was making very slow progress. In the end, I simply thought I had had enough for the day and needed to find a place to hide for the night and get rid of this day as soon as possible. I was about 13 miles away from my destination for the day from my initial plans but that could have been much worse. Tomorrow I hope to get an early start and if the roads keep like the ones here in Cheshire it should be pretty easy to get some decent miles in. Better luck tomorrow I hope!
The Royal Lancaster Infirmary last month opened its new Diabetes Hub to aid in even better care and research. Setting off on Thursday 18th May Allan will be riding from the Diabetes Hub to the Eiffel Tower, again on his own with just a bike, a tent, and panniers loaded with various pieces of equipment, medical supplies, and food. Along the way, there will be both a blog and live tracking on this site.
A point of interest for the ride is also the bike which Allan will be using. Made by himself, hand cut, shaped and welded by the lad himself. He is actually finding it somewhat amusing as he classes it as “the most advanced bike in the world” which raises many eyebrows as people wonder what it is he is going on about as it’s just a steel framed bike, lugged, resembling something to some degree as something from the sixties or seventies. Upon closer inspection things tend to differ though, the quiet monstrous hydraulic brakes which are routed internally, the electronic gearing, all of which are state of the art but hardly making it that advanced. An even closer look and the gearing system is some very strange hybrid, half mountain bike and half road bike, while very unusual still not that “advanced”. But then there is all the other strange electrical going’s on’s. The bike is sporting all manner of strange sensory equipment, various wireless systems, it is talking to a phone, the cloud. What is going on with it?!
The bike, or Lancet as he refers to it in reference to finger pricking devices used by diabetics (and a running joke in the diabetic world as they are made from steel and last forever never getting swapped) uses it’s sensors to read Allan’s insulin pump and takes his insulin levels and amount of food he’s taken. It is also taking his blood glucose readings every four minutes and attempts to predict the direction of his blood glucose and reducing or increasing his insulin levels based on those directions. Reading sensors on the bike for his power output and heart rate it’s also able to make predictions based on the amount of food he has taken as to if he’ll need more based on the earlier readings for insulin in his blood stream and the direction of his blood glucose. All this information is sent to a small Garmin screen so he can view his current blood glucose level and see what the onboard systems are doing to him, alongside normal navigation and riding information. Along with his self-made concoction of a bike this also self-made ridable artificial pancreas based system makes for a very unusual and unique bicycle.
Allan expresses a huge thank you to everyone for the response and donations thus far. He also thanks his local GP’s over the years who have aided Allan with this condition. And for the fantastic team looking after him at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary he is immensely grateful for getting him where he is now, and for the check-up, he has to have before he’s allowed to set off. Ok, maybe not so much that last point!
If you wish to make a donation they can be made online at http://bit.ly/2rfEucC