Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Milton Keynes - clear but nippy!

After the bright sunshine of Woking, I think we were asking too much for another warm weekend. The weather at the Milton Keynes event was far from miserable though, staying dry and cloudy for both days, some might even say good cycling conditions

Off Road - Saturday

180 riders tackled the hills and trails around Bow Brickhill, just south of MK. The previous warm spell had made the trails a whole lot more rideable than last year, and had dried even more in the last 2 weeks since I came down to ride around Aspley Woods. This still didn't make the first stretch any less muddy though! The later riders really suffering after the trail had been churned up by the first 100 or so going through. I've now been given a bit of local knowledge that might mean by-passing this section in the future, so lookout for this next year. This year we'd managed to get permission to use Aspley woods in the route to add a bit more off road (After last years route was extended to include more road after someone decided to put a new road through our trails) These woods are usually permit only, but nice people that we are, we paid for you! The long route went on to do an 8mile, self navigating loop on the other side of the M1. There was some confusion with the placement of clipper 5, with some finding it, some finding it and saying it was in the wrong place and some not finding it at all - Keith put this one out and spent the afternoon being huranged!

Some of you may have spotted a photographer out there. He was taking pictures to promote biking in MK, so look out for some of you appearing as the face of MK soon.

Sunday - Road ride

Clearing down the off road ride on Saturday was a bit problematic as 2 of our 3 course clearers got punctures towards the end and we didn't finish until about 6.30pm. With the clocks going back and knowing that our restaurant was going to be busy, I decided to get the bananas for the drink station in the morning. Only to remember in the morning that the shops didn't open until 10am - oops! This in the reason that the bananas were at the last drink station and Tony only had cake on him - sorry about that.

Anyway the ride was another well atended affair with about 170 turning up. The route looped itself south from MK, skirting around Leighton Buzzard and into the 3 hundreds of Aylesbury for the manned drink station before heading back to base. The long route split off at the drink station and looped for another 25miles of climbing and descending on quiet country roads. Some of the comments from riders when they got back suggests that MK is not known for it's hills and the amount of climbing suprised a few. Two hills to note were Aldbury, which clocked in at 250ft in 1/2mile, and the killer at the end, Lidington which was the same gradient but came at the 55/80 mile point of the route.

Times are here -
Milton Keynes Rider Times


Friday, 27 March 2009

Milton Keynes off road route

We've just finished putting tomorrows mountain bike route out and it's hailing! Conditions are pretty good, just a couple of muddy sections but a lot drier than last year! There's some great sections through Aspley woods that you normally need a permit to ride and just off our route there's a large jump area if you're that way inclined...

Gpx routes will be available about 8 o'clock tonight.

P.S The sun has come out now!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Milton Keynes road route

Milton Keynes, the city of roundabouts and concrete cows...... Well there are a few circles to go around but not a solid bovine in sight. In fact the wildlife highlight is riding through Woburn Deer Park and seeing all the .......well, Deer.

Todays weather was a bit of everything as we put the course out, rain, hail, wind, sun all made an appearance during our ride. The route itself actually starts south of MK and heads further south towards Aylesbury where it climbs up the biggest hill on the route (1:8) before either dropping down along the medium route or going on to the Long route. The long is a really nice loop which gently climbs and descends for 26 miles before returning to the Medium at the drink station.

Some nice roads in some beautiful countryside.


Gpx routes coming soon

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Woking - Sun, Barbecues and Biking...

Thanks to the 500 or so riders who turned up for the Woking event, looks like the good weather tempted many of you to dust the bikes off after the winter and come out and enjoy the sun.

For the mountain bike ride on Saturday we had some pretty quick times, especially compared to last year, which is either due to the dry trails, the fairly flat route or everyone racing back to be first in the queue for the barbecue.

For the road ride on Sunday it was a bit cooler and a bit windier but that didn't slow all you down, especially the two riders who blitzed round the 84 mile long course in just over 4.5 hours.

Thanks to the guys who helped clear the course markers at the end of the day

All the rider times should now be available to download -

Rider Times Spreadsheet

Also ,as most of you will have noticed we had a photographer out for the road ride on Sunday, if you want to check out the pictures click on the link below.

Phil O'Connor Photography

We're off to Milton Keynes now for the next event so maybe we'll see some of you there.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Woking Off Road Ride Preview

We've just finished marking the route out for tomorrow's off road ride.

The trails are drying out nicely, there are still a few muddy sections but a lot less than last year and nothing that you can't ride around.

The route heads up towards Sunningdale (watch out for stray golf balls as you ride through the golf course!) then through Windlesham towards Bisely and the National Shooting Centre before heading back to base.

For the long route riders the extra loop has 5 checkpoints around the Pirbright Common and Stanford Common area.

According to the always 100% accurate BBC weather forecast it's going to be 16 degress and not a cloud in the sky tomorrow. Dean's even getting the barbeque ready!

Woking Road Ride Preview

The pictures say it all, the suns out, the roads are dry, the routes looking good, what more do you need to know? We'll see you on Sunday.

We're back up to summer distances for this event so the long route is around the 90 mile mark, if that's a bit more than you fancy there's a 12 mile fun route, a 30 mile short route and a 60 mile medium route to choose from.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Woking road ride

Not wanting to rub it in at all, but today we've been out in the sun riding our bikes for a living!!! Makes all those cold, rainy days over the winter worthwhile. The road route around Woking is generally very pretty, no stunning views like Scotland, but plenty of rural roads and on generally smooth tarmac. There's a few closed roads at the moment, but all are passable by bike and most should be open before Sunday. Let's hope the weather lasts ..........

Gpx routes on the right (If not there, will be soon)

Monday, 16 March 2009

Woking this weekend

Woking is fast approaching and it looks like it's going to be a busy, sunny event! Added to the usual goodies we offer, we'll also have a large selection of sale items at the event and some more bikes for you to look at.

We are bringing down a huge selection of our sale items for you to rummage through, with bins and racks of cheap clothing and accessories to sift through!

Colanago are also dropping off 5 of there lovely road bikes for you to drool over. Unfortunately these won't be available to demo, but we do have 2 in the fleet so you can always book a ride for this event or an upcoming one.

We have a photographer on the Sunday ride as well. Cycling Weekly are featuring the ride in an upcoming magazine - so smile, you might be in print. Photos will be available to buy after the event.

As always, more reports through this week as we put out the courses.

Milton Keynes - trails

Just thought I'd mention that I've arranged for the ride to use Aspley Woods this year. Usually you're only allowed to ride there with a permit but for the day of the ride only, Evans have covered it for you. This adds some dedicated cycle trails into the route and there is even a bike park to one side with jumps and a rabbit warren of trails (although this is off route and if you do ride in the area, it's at your own risk!!)

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Recalling Scotland

Last weekend saw us taking a bit of a road trip to visit out most Northerly store in Scotland. The Braehead store is our only Scottish store and, with the nearest others being Gateshead and Kendal, is pretty remote. To give you some idea, if your nearest store is in London, then the equivalent distance to Braehead would be to the Bristol shop. With effectively only one shop promoting the event and the time of year, I wasn't expecting a great turn out and was pleasantly surprised when I found out that we had 100 pre-entries! So, onto the rides....

Saturday Off Road

Starting from the David Marshal Lodge, the route wove a bit of a complicated route around the Forestry Commissions adjoining land. This was to enable us visit the interesting view points and sections of singletrack in the area and comply with conditions set by the FC. There were a fair few hills to climb and we kept these to the firetracks as much as we could, leaving the descents to the more fun trails. The route also took in two Lochs in the area including the delightfully named Loch Drunkie which was the scene of the days only drama. Now, some of you know about this and it's been touched on below, but here's the reason some of you might not have seen a drink station.

Tony, who was running the drink stop, left us in time to get to the appointed place before the first riders came through. Unfortunately one of the first things he did was to turn right instead of left on FC land. This took him south for quite some distance before he realised his mistake and turned back. Back on track he was a little unsure and phoned us to find out where to go, assuming he was further along than he was, we assured him the track he was on was OK to drive. A little while later I phoned him and after being told "Got to go, there's some people pushing me out" decided I'd better go and see what was happening. When I got there I couldn't believe my eyes. I have to say well done to Tony, how he got that van that far down that track shows some determination and skill. Unfortunately the grooves created by the 4x4s were too deep for the poor sprinter and it had finally come to a rest on the front cross member. As i walked up to it there were about 5 bikers jumping up and down in the rear as Tony tried to reverse it! To cut 3 hours short, we finally managed to find a man with a 4x4, a rope and a winch (Harder than you'd think!) and dragged/drove /pulled the van out. Miraculously, there was no damage, not even a scratch, although I did have to pull some vegetation from underneath.

Thanks to everyone who helped, especially Ewan from the Coach House pub. Without him and his winch, we'd still be there!

Sunday Road

Putting out the road ride was one of the easiest we'd ever done. The short route was 32 miles and was basically 11miles turn right, 14 miles turn right and over Dukes pass to the finish! That said, what a stunning route it was. The first 11 miles was an undulating climb up a dead end towards Loch Lomond, although we didn't get that far. This was because we turned north onto a private road around Loch Katrine and onto the 14mile stretch. Gated at both ends, the only traffic was local access and the surface was amazingly good. This gave you the chance to have a look around and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings. Then came the sting in the tail. Dukes pass is a local favourite and brings riders out from Glasgow for the challenge, although generally in the opposite direction. The tarmac climbs steadily on a quiet scenic road to the top and then drops into fast swooping bends for the descent. Back at the DML, riders either finished their ride (some prematurely after a drink in the Cafe (you know who you are!)) or went on to ride the medium and long routes, passing many more Lochs on the way. Both, however, had to ride the Dukes Pass again to finish.

Agian many thanks to everyone who helped with this event, Stuart from Chill Out at the DML, Morag from the FC and Mark from our store to name a few.

Mobi portable washers

After listening to some of the comments about bike washing at some of our events, we thought we'd do something for venues that have little or no access to outside water. The solution was to grab two of the new Mobi Portable Pressure Washers out of stock. These are portable pressure washers and are designed to be put in the back of the car/van to clean your bike after a day on the trails. They run from the 12v socket in a car and come with an adatpter for mains supply so you can use them from home as well.

We used them for the first time in Scotland and I have to say, I quite impressed! First of all they are not full blown Pressure washers so don't expect the nozzle to jerk back in your hand. 130 psi it may be, but through a small nozzle so it's a strong but not large jet of water. If you think about it, a large jet will use too much water and mean you'll only get a bit of your bike washed instead of it all. If you look at the picture of Papa Smurf using the Mobi, you'll see the kind of pressure achievable.

Downsides? Well there's two that I can see and they won't apply to the normal user. First is that we have to keep filling them up to wash all the bikes at an event (we may have to impose a time limit at events) secondly the hose fittings are plastic and I'm not sure how long the're going to last with riders pulling at them. We have cable tied the ends to protect them, so time will tell!!
For more product details visit the main Evans Cycles site - Mobi Portable Pressure Washer