Sunday ride

Well, looking back, no doubt I had a superb cycling week end!

Friday I went exploring the city by bike and with my film camera, then I met PB after work to cycle home together, but half way home he surprised me by treating me to a nice Japanese meal : D

Saturday, as posted earlier here and here, was all about Wheelers’ Brunch!

And on Sunday, as you can never do too much cycling, PB and his friend Ste invited me to tag along for a bike ride… destination… a cycle wonder that eventually ended up in Chorlton.

A cold, bitterly winter day but with a glorious sunshine was the perfect day for it! I wore nothing techy, just my usual layering of warm clothes 😉

Woolly tights, smartwool socks plus another pair of socks plus my warm boots. My trusty pair of black linen shorts, which work all year round and few layered t-shirts. Not forgetting the woolly wrist warmers. With those and my combo gloves+mittens I have beaten the ‘frozen fingers’ problem, yay!

I noticed that one of my foot is slightly bigger than the other, so for my left foot I forwent one sock layer, because I’ve noticed that if feet don’t have room for maneuver (aka wiggling your toes) then they will freeze just as if you aren’t wearing warm stuff… and as my left foot was far too snug, I removed one sock layer, and voila! Problem solved, two warm feet!

We met Ste in Fallowfield, then headed into town. Towards the MMU the boys stopped, conferred and decided to go towards Castelfield via the ‘back way’ (i.e. down Medlock Street, then onto to City Road East, which turns into Great Jackson St, then on Chester Road and down Castle St, where Dukes92 is)… and I followed. Glad I was on Barolo (the tourer) as its lightness helped me keep up with them, although in all fairness they were very nice and made sure not to lose me ; >)

Once we reached Castlefield, we joined the canal (the Bridgewater Canal) and headed towards Salford Quays and Stretford.

I’d never been down that way, what an amazing scenery! The canal was frozen in most parts, quite a sight… Although the path was rather narrow at times, and I was too close to water for comfort… but you know, I just got off and pushed the bike in the tightest spots… don’t have to be a pro first time round!

The boys aren’t fast racers, but they are both over 6ft tall so their legs-pedal-power is… well… double mine! But it is nice, once and a while to up my tempo.

Wished I’d taken more photos, but it was freeeeezing… and I didn’t want to take my gloves off!

We ended up in Chorlton, at The Bowling Green pub… for a nice pint with friends and a bowl of chunky chips!

I look forward to going back in the spring, the muddy tracks made for difficult cycling, which was a shame. I don’t think it’d take a lot of money to provide a better surface.

One thing I noticed, annoyingly, is what a neck/shoulder ache I got from riding drop-down bars. I realised it’s because I still keep my head up high (as much as possible) so I have clear view of where I am going, road traffic etc… maybe I am too used to Pashley? I really like the riding difference I get with the drop-down bars, but if this pain is unsolvable then I may have to revert to straight handle bars… booo! Any suggestions?

Wishing you a great start to your cycling week 😀

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15 responses to “Sunday ride

  1. I have the same problem with drop-down bars! I still keep my head up and it’s really paintful after a while. Sorry, I dont’ have any suggestion because I also need it 🙂
    I’ve searched Castlefield on the internet and it seems a really nice place!
    And lovely outfit 🙂 seems very comfortable.

    • thanks for your comment, at least I now know I am not the only one… If I find a solution, I’ll let you know 🙂

  2. Hey that’s my stretch of canal 🙂

    It’s not a specific issue of drop down handlebars but anything with the more aggressive riding position, my shoulders get really tight n sore from my hybrid. On a straight bar you can buy grips which reduce the strain and spread your weight across your palm more effectively, other than that the tip is meant to be don’t rest on your hands, tense your stomach and tighten your core and only lean lightly on the handlebars..

    • you know?! That makes total sense… I will follow your advice 😉 cheers! And do some good old stretching exercises… but I am soooo lazy though!

  3. Sound like you have change to straight bars on your touring bike as I had same problem with neck ache when using drop handle bars and neck ache when after change over to straight bars.

    • Thanks Simeon! I will keep that in mind, especially as I would like to use the touring bike for long(ish) distance rides…

  4. Are you finding that you’re too stretched out? You could try raising the bars, if you’re able to, or maybe going with a shorter stem, or one with more of a rise (the angle between the fork steerer and the bit that clamps to your bars). If you look at your current stem, if it’s already sloping down, you might gain some height simply by flipping it upside down. Another option might be a compact bar – these have a slightly shorter reach to the hoods. OR you might have bars that are too wide (making your arms form a triangle from your shoulders to the hoods, rather than a rectangle).

    There are loads of options, really, and I think it’s not a problem with drops per se, but the way you’re positioned on them, I reckon. I’d persevere with them because of the variety of positions they offer – really nice on long rides, and, pace the posters above, better than bar ends.

  5. LC I would also recommend raising the bar by one riser and tilting slightly up. I recently had my drop bars tilted at more of an angle because I was getting pain in my hands from reaching the breaks and that seamed to help.

    • @John and SM – I think I’ll definitely look into raising the bars, I think that may just do the trick! Thanks! 🙂

  6. Hi LC – can I ask where you bought your Smartwool socks? I’ve been trying to find this brand in the UK since seeing it mentioned on the US blogs I read. Thanks.

    • Hi Jennifer! I got mine from Blacks, if I remember well, but any shops like that will sell them. I think they were £13. Well worth the price! I am looking after mine well, wearing them everyday, well more or less, during this winter months and I think they’ll last for at least 2 years, they end up working out only few pence a wear! 😀

      • Great, thanks. I’ll have a look in Blacks. You’re right – these kinds of garments are a good investment.

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