New Year’s Day Bike Ride 2016

Photo by Kevin Mayne

The New Year’s Day ride has a special status for Idonotdespair. It is the anniversary of my first blog post here in 2012 and has generally provided me with excellent days out and a great start to the year.

This year was two hours excellent mountain biking around the tracks and trails of Wallonia, enjoying the benefits of the unseasonably warm weather.

I also needed a little redemption because last year’s New Year mountain bike ride was a disaster. I had to call out the rescue squad because of an irreparable bike failure, but it seems I got most of the year’s bad luck out of the way in that one day and this year there was no repeat.

Photo by Kevin Mayne

The special joy of this ride was its tranquility, in two hours I think I saw one moving car and that was only when I crossed a minor road. This was not just luck, I picked a route that wove around farm tracks, cobbled lanes, steep sided valleys and golden floored beech woods because I had a new ride companion.

Photo by Kevin Mayne

Ozzie the Australian Shepherd Dog is staying over for Christmas and he is a bit of a shock to the system. Our old collie used to be a great riding dog but now he is old and arthritic he hasn’t run with the bikes for a couple of years.

Photo by Kevin Mayne

Ozzie is young, plus he is taller and faster than Murphy ever was which means he spent most of our two hours looking back at me wondering why I wasn’t keeping up. (In that way he is like most of the other people I ride with.) Perhaps I will tire him out next time.

Photo by Kevin Mayne

Finding a completely car free route that lasted two hours means I even got to add some new paths which is always a bonus, some of the woodland tracks were stunningly beautiful.

A great way to start 2016. Happy New Year.

7 thoughts on “New Year’s Day Bike Ride 2016

  1. Kevin, a question. When you go out cycling, what do you take with you in terms of tools or spares, as a precaution against, for example, a puncture?

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    • Good question Denzil.

      I have two formats. I have a “low maintenance” bike set up with features like puncture-proof tyres and very sturdy kit. On that I tend not to take anything by way of spares or tools, but it does more local rides and all my commutes. One puncture in 15 years for the Schwalbe Marathon Plus, that’s some record.

      On all other rides there is always a small pack under the saddle and a pump on each bike. In the pack always multi-tool including chain tool, tyre levers, 2 inner tubes, puncture repair kit. I have not repaired a tube by the roadside in years but it is a habit I cannot let go of.

      The only issue is when the bike has to be left, then I sometimes take the tools with me, certainly for an overnight stop.

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      • Thanks for your advice Kevin. I have a basic puncture repair kit and a couple of levers, but am always anxious when riding long distances because, to be honest, my puncture repair skills are not great, and even in my garage with all the tools available it can take me ages. So I am not sure if I would be successful on a canal towpath or in the middle of a forest. Particularly if it’s on the rear wheel.

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        • Schwalbe Marathon Plus then Denzil – worth every cent. There are several models aimed at different uses, I have some with quite a raised tread for mixed on and off road use.

          They don’t roll as well as some lighter tyres and roll better being when well pumped up, but that is worth it for the security of almost never puncturing.

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          • Thanks for your recommendation Kevin. If they are indeed puncture-proof that would give me great peace of mind. I’ll look into fitting these during the spring bike overhaul ready for the new season.

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