Ok, so maybe I didn’t exactly tell the truth about how far I’d planned for the ride with my mate Tony (aka Ski) yesterday, I originally told him about 20 miles, then in my blog I’d kind of said 20 – 30 miles.
We actually ended up doing 36 miles, which was an enjoyable bimble over to Knowle and a loop back through Weatheroak. (Route at the end of the blog.)
Ski had got a Specialized Allez from the Specialized Concept Store at Fort Dunlop. Which is the site of the old tyre factory.
As I’d alluded to a day or two ago, it is Ski’s 50th coming up so I got him some required bits for his new bike. Which included 2 bottle cages, a Lezyne pump a Topeak saddle pouch which I filled with a multi tool, tyre levers, spare tube and a puncture repair kit. I also chucked in 2 water bottles I obtained from the rugby club! After a bit of allen key work that was his bike all bombed up ready to go.
So off we went over towards Solihull via the lanes around Wythall.
We’d only done 10 miles when we reached Shirley . We hadn’t even broken sweat yet so off we went a bit further and we went via Sharman’s Cross Road which is the site of our old Rugby Club ground before all of the financial upheavals of a year ago, so we went in and had a nostalgic look at the old place and had a comfort break.
Then it was off towards Knowle which was the place I was always heading for as it had a nice route back through the lanes. We stopped for a photo op.
Knowle was 17 miles in which was now the furthest Ski and his new Spesh had been in each other’s company. It was now a voyage of discovery for them both.
At one point further up the road Ski got out of his saddle and blasted past me up a hill as he wanted to get out of the way of a truck that was behind us. That wasn’t a good call, he had expended quite a lot of his ammo during that explosion of pace up a hill. He said he was blown at the summit, we still had about 16 miles to go. Not good. I pedalled along side him chatting for a while about relaxing, changing your hand position on the bars to relieve shoulder tension, choosing an easier gear to just spin along and trying to recover.
The irony of this was, that this was exactly the type of thing in running terms he used to say to me when we ran in our Army days. Ski was always a very good runner who competed in cross country and half marathons and I always just used to hang on. The rolls were a bit reversed now, but the advice and psychological tricks were just the same. Me pedalling alongside chatting took his mind off his troubles, although I kind of knew he knew exactly what I was doing and why.
Once we had crossed the main Redditch Road it was the home straight and the final bit of the ride. Ski was back in the groove and we were bowling along quite nicely when we happened on these creatures.
Ski commented that we’d gone that far we were now in Peru. Maybe not that far, but he still wanted a “catch me natural” with them.
As we were approaching the last 3 miles, Ski told me his cleat had worked loose in his shoe, he was still clipped in but his cleat was moving around. Oh well, not a lot we could do about it so we just had to crack on. Then a couple of hundred yards down the road the inevitable happened. The screws completely worked loose and the cleat was left stuck in the pedal with Ski’s foot now waving in the wind.
Again, without a pair of grips or pliers there was no way to get the cleat out without dismantling the pedal so Ski just had to man up crack on until we got home. Which he did admirably!
When we pulled up at mine, I set about getting the cleat out with a set of grips which I successfully managed to do and reset his cleat onto his shoe. No harm done. I then took the opportunity to have a pedal around my roads on his bike. What a lovely feeling machine. It is a bit more sporty than my Giant and seems very eager to get going. I gave it some guns up a hill out of the saddle and it just wanted to take off! There was no grey areas as to what was the weak link in our brief partnership of 5 minutes. Yep that’d be me then! Nice bike, he’ll have some fun on that!
So a trip of over 36 miles which didn’t harm him at all. The only thing was that he needs to look at his fuelling as I think that was what caused the tiredness towards the end. A 50 is easily withing his reach already I think. I enjoyed the trip immensley, I really have fun when I have company on a trip. And yesterday with my old buddy of 25 years was just brilliant. Feeling up to another one mate?