Who am i kidding? Taming Arti these rides are all about training me, training me and getting used to the kit and being reliable developing a routine that works for me.
But most of all its about getting into the right head space
My routine seems to be building into a stop every 40 – 50 KM to take on food and coffee, this seems to be working well but the eating not so good i just seem to lose my appetite and i am not eating enough whilst riding.
This trip started a lot earlier in the day and i started off in the wet the day seemed to just get wetter or i was in cloud.
Shit what didnt work:
I had my Strada 1200 running on low mode for most of the day as it was so dismal and grey, i hoped that i would be able to charge it and run it at the same time. Wrong the Strada 1200 will not take a charge and run at the same time.
I attached the Strada to my power bank hoping that it would take a charge but this was too slow so i was without lights, it would eventually take a full charge.
I was using the iphone with Ride with GPS again which was great, however it really chews up the power on the iphone so i am really thinking about buying a Garmin Etrix 30. The issue being that the iphone will prevent me from charging other devices while i am navigating.
Shit what worked:
Starting out in the wet meant that i had most of my layers on immediately, the normally reliable Rapha Hardshell started to leak but i think it might have been from the inside out, i managed to stay warm.
My shoulders were cold still, I need to test a merino baselayer.
My feet were still dry at the end with having Rapha overshoes and Seals Skinz over socks.
My Rapha deep winter gloves kept my hands warm but were very soggy i imagine this is going to be a problem to get dry over multiple days.
My Rapha deep winter tights were warm all date despite the rain and even started to dry quite quickly in between times.
Overall my legs felt good my my head was a bit of a loose canon at some points not enjoying the ride at all and others it was just great to be out on the road.
The aim of this ride was to test out a few bits of equipment and to acclimatise my self some more to riding a loaded touring bike loaded at about a third of its final weight in baggage.
I was riding for the first time with the Apidura Handlebar Bag and clip on accessory pack containing a sleeping bag – wanted to see how this affected the handling and gear changing whilst riding – I was surprised as to how little difference it made to the handling and having the disc brakes meant that braking was still no problem.
I was also testing out the Rav battery pack, Ride With GPS and my front light Exposuree trada 1200 and my Proviz Gilet.
Rav power Pack
The Rav 4 performed really well I used this to power the iPhone and on the return I was charging the power pack via the Dynamo whilst powering the iPhone.
A couple of points to note, whenever you plug the phone charger in you have to press start on the power bank.
The Tout Plug does not like charging devices that are near full or full, it complains, best to run the pack down and then let it charge up.
I did however finish with full power on both the phone and the power bank.
Ride With GPS
so this is the second time I have tested RWGPS and I am still not impressed, it’s fine when you have a route to follow but as soon as you are relying on RWGPS as a stand alone it all goes a bit Pete Tong.
when you squeeze the maps together the place names are still so small that you have no idea where you are ( poor eyes I know but there is no setting to help).
the goddamn blue blob (which is you) will not stay in the middle of the goddamn screen this means you have to take your gloves off and drag the screen, a real ball ache on a cold day.
i contacted the RWGPS Facebook page without much hope of getting a reply which is the usual standard of service these days and low and behold I got a response to my questions.
1) Small fonts, this is something that you have to change in the accessibility functions of the iPhone itself. It works great
2) The GPS blue dot not staying in the middle and scrolling.
There is a location button on the screen which you press to set the button in the middle, whenever you move the map away to pan over it you need to press this again to set it back!
A huge well done to a big company that bothered to stay in touch with its customers.
So i will give this app another try.
Exposure Strada 1200 Front Light
It was the first time that I had ridden Arti at night which means testing the Exposure Strada front light.
Absolutely top drawer see and be seen to an extreme degree. One gripe oh ok two gripes.
The charger socket is very different from anything I have ever seen, an even bigger sin is that the charger is different for the Exposure rear light FFS this is a massive problem for the cycling tourist as it means yet another cable, come on guys sort yourself out
The power gauge cannot be seen as you are riding unless you move the light!
Mountain Bike Pedals and shoes
Being the snobby Roadie I have always frowned at MTB pedals (except on a mountain bike that is).
It was fine no hot foot very warm feet which is great as it means I don’t have to carry 2 pairs of shoes on a trip.
I had purchased a Proviz reflective Gilet for riding at night.
Today was cold so I wore it all day, it was comfortable to wear but I guess could get a little sweaty if it got warmer.
the Proviz Gilet is a very poor fit even though it was an extra small it didn’t seem to fit in all the right places especially in riding mode.
The reflective surface is super good in fact I was asked by a motorist what the make was as it was so good!
I felt pretty good all day and had an early coffee stop at 40k this worked real well as I was pretty motivated after, could not believe it when I bumped into my neighbour in the Cafe it really is a small world.
I aimed to stop every 50K for a drink and feed this worked quite well but had the effect of stopping me from eating and driking on the road – I need to get better at this else I will pay dearly when doing multiple days.
It took me 60K to stop fighting Arti and give in to the fact that I ain’t going anywhere fast, as soon as you do this and just ride what’s in front of you it becomes a much more enjoyable experience.
Craft baselayer (got cold) need a merino base layer
This is a transitional route to Join up with Royan, it involves a ferry trip the whole route is wastesfull as it sticks to the Cycle path and a straight line is much quicker so let’s see how this goes in the day
The plan is to use this route as much as possible as it offers few climbs and traffic free roads, if as is sometimes the case the cycle route is slowing me down I can switch to the map nor roads which run alongside it to get a move on.
I will be passing through les sables d’olonne which will be very emotional for me as it resonates profoundly with my late Father.
I have planned my first route of the trip to my Mums, off the Ferry at StMalo and head straight for St Nazaire on the Atlantic coast (the Atlantic will be a friend of mine for some 600K I hope she is friendly).
Its a bit of a saw tooth profile i am expecting a tough ride through Britany which is of course Hinault country.
The thought process is to get to the coast as soon as possible and to avoid Nantes at all costs.
the route will hopefully leave me at the foot of the amazing StNazaire bridge which is 5 in long and spans the Loire, there is much talk on the web about not riding this but hey that’s what adventurists do eh?
Once across the bridge I am on the Velodessey Cycle route – the plan is to do as much of this as time allows
My first big trip is in the planning phase, the purpose of this trip is to test out my ability to plan and execute a long ride with as much “wild camping” as possible.
My Father lived near Nantes for years and i always regretted not riding down to see him before he died so here i am not wanting to regret riding to my Mums in Alicante.
I plan to take the last week of this years Holiday allowance and the first week of next years allowance which leaves me undertaking this folly in March with all that that means, rain, wind, snow (in Pyrenees) .
“Leaves me undertaking this folly in March with all that that means, rain, wind, snow”
As you can see the route planned itself with an almost straight line from StMalo to Alicante. I will be riding big chunks of the “Velodysee Atlantic” Cycle path which in itself should prove challenging into the Atlantic winds. https://www.velodyssey.com/
I then take the chickens route over the Pyrenees to skirt Pamplona. It is definitely going to be a ride of two halves with long flat windy Atlantic and Hilly Espagna.
“It is definitely going to be a ride of two halves with long flat windy Atlantic and Hilly Spain”
The long one 1600 KM