Time for my yearly round-up of statistic-filled cycling nerdiness, and this time I’m even including BAR GRAPHS!
Since my ride through France in June, I’ve fallen out of the habit of blogging about my cycling, so a summary of 2014’s two-wheeled adventures seems like a perfect excuse to start back up again, for what promises to be a year full of changes, challenges, and definitely a lot less cycling.
2014: The Numbers.
Total distance: 6245.24km
Time spent cycling: 289hrs 47mins 10secs
Average speeds: 21.74km/h (Ridgeback touring bike) / 24.98km/h (Giant road bike)
Top speeds: 62.2km/h (Ridgeback) / 67.1km/h (Giant)
Crashes: 2 (one chin split open and glued shut, one horribly bruised hip)
Punctures: 2 (both in France, one piece of metal, one thorn)
Here are two nerdy graphs, the first being 2013’s riding and the second 2014’s:
My year of cycling began about as badly as it could, when on only my second outing I came off on a patch of ice, landing on my chin and splitting it open. A trip to hospital followed, where I had my chin glued shut, and then whiplash set in and kept me off the bike for the next ten days or so.
Over the next few months I enjoyed some relatively mild weather, gradually building up my distances in preparation for June’s adventure to the south of France. April saw me complete the ’30 Days of Biking’ challenge for the first time (annoyingly I never got round to writing a blog about this), riding my bike every day during the month of April, and racking up 636.72km in the process.
Then, in May, I took park in my first Friday Night Ride to the Coast ride, cycling overnight from York to Hull, via Garthorpe with a group of 30 or so other cyclists. Again, I don’t think I found the time to blog about this ride, but perhaps I’ll join them again for another ride this year or next. I did manage to post a YouTube video of the ride, which can be seen here.
Other than my ride with the ‘Fridays’, May was a fairly quiet month, other than a couple of 100km training rides at around the same time, and I spent much of my time making final preparations for what turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and challenging trips of my life – a solo ride from Caen on the north coast of France to the Mediterranean coast and Ceret in the foothills of the Pyrenees. I wrote a daily blog entry during the trip, the first of which can be found here.
On my arrival in the south of France I received the amazing news that I was to become a father, and as I write I’m just over six weeks away from the arrival of my son! Naturally, 2015 will be a year of much less cycling, and I won’t be setting any targets to get anywhere near this year’s total of over 6000km. The touring will be on hold for a while, but only until I can get the boy in the back of a bike trailer… I plan to get my touring fix by completing the ‘C2C‘ route from Whitehaven to Sunderland towards the end of the summer. (On my own, obviously. I’m not sure six month olds are very well suited to cycle touring).
Much of my summer riding after France took place in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, including a Lincoln to Sheffield ride, a gruelling circuit from Sheffield into the Peak District taking in part of the Tour de France route, and a trip along the Monsal Trail with two of my colleagues.
In preparation for the French tour, the Ridgeback was treated to a bit of an overhaul this year. I built a new set of wheels from scratch, with a Shimano Dynamo hub built into the front wheel, and Mavic A719 rims. These wheels have proven to be well worth the expense, and remained rock-solid and totally true all the way down through France with the bike fully loaded with panniers.
The dynamo did an excellent job of running front and rear Busch & Muller lights and powering a battery pack which in turn kept my GPS fully powered all the way through France, eliminating the need to carry spare batteries. I’d strongly recommend a dynamo hub and lights to both touring and winter cyclists. Knowing you’ve always got lights and power without worrying about batteries running out is a big bonus.
I also fitted an Ortlieb handlebar bag, which was invaluable in France, allowing easy access to small bits and bobs like my phone, wallet, snacks, and jacket. It’s now a permanent part of my bike, and I wonder how I coped without one.
I’ve been following some great blogs and podcasts throughout 2014, the standout ones being the Pedal Hub podcast, presented by three cycling fanatics from Minneapolis/St Paul, one of whom is the brains behind 30 Days of Biking, and The Path Less Pedaled, a blog about all things cycling, run by a couple from the USA. Their Facebook page is definitely worth a follow, and provides lots of cycle touring inspiration. The Sprocket Podcast is another highly recommended show, presented by Brock Dittus and Aaron Flores from Portland, Oregon, who sample a new beer or other alcoholic beverage during each show whilst chatting about bikes.
And so, into 2015, which promises to be a year full of new experiences and excitement. My riding will probably be made up of mainly smaller, local rides, and perhaps I’ll even be able to post an entry to mark the first time I take my little boy on the bike! I’ll have a go at completing 2015’s 30 Days of Biking, and will be looking forward to a three day mini-tour in September when I ride the C2C.
Finally, I can’t finish without mentioning my colleague Martin Winslade, who has set himself the highly ambitious challenge of using his bike every day of 2015, and is blogging about his progress. Good luck Martin.