Monthly Archives: May 2011


I chose to drive as I had access to the car. For some reason I couldn’t face a pedal this morning.


Bank Holiday Monday

And it’s absolutely chucking it down.

That is all.

Winter Commuter

Since the Cycle to Work Scheme debacle last week I’ve been thinking about what I can do to address the winter hack bike situation.

Although the Charge Mixer 8 was close to what I wanted and would have done really well, and the Milk Bike was even closer, nigh on perfect in fact but a tad too expensive. But worth it in all fairness, none were quite exactly right.

Just for a bit of emphasis, both bikes were/are great and would have served me very well. But me being picky, now that I can be because of the situation, I can now build exactly what I want.

I’m a MTBer at heart, even though because of circumstances it’s the type of cycling I do least a MTB is the kind of bike I love pedalling the most. The towpath commutes first on my deceased and much missed Ridgeback and now on wifey’s Rockhopper are easily my favourite way to get to work.

I like the way you sit “in” a MTB rather than “on” it like you do a road bike or a hybrid. It’s just a whole lot more involving to me than when I’m pedalling my road bike. Don’t get me wrong, I love my road bike and going for a road pedal, but no where near as much as pedalling my MTB.

So, my new commuter is going to be based around a MTB frame. But a 29″ MTB.

This one from On One.

I’ve deliberately gone for a 29″ as it’ll be a rigid bike and the bigger wheels will roll better over the bumps. I just think a 29″ will be more comfortable.

It’ll be done slowly, due to availability of funds, but it’ll be ready before the winter hits.

I’ve ordered it already. But it’ll need a bit of work to get it where I need it to be. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know I think belt drive is certainly the way forward for commuting. So when the frame comes I’ll be sending it to Argus Racing Cycles to get a frame splitter bracket fitted. Actually one of these. From this company.

So, the story of my winter commuter has started. It’ll be an ongoing process over the coming months and obviously it’ll be fully documented and reported here.

This whole winter bike thing has just reminded me and reinforced something I always knew to be true.

If you want anything doing, do it your bloody self!

Cycle to work scheme

Here’s the situation regarding my Cycle to work scheme application. It’s not happening.

Last September according to my emails I asked the company to register on the scheme so I could have a winter commuter as my Ridgeback had gone to the great towpath in the sky and I certainly wasn’t going to kill my Giant road Bike or my Marin MTB over a winter of hard usage.

I kept on at them and they were always “in the process” of doing it. But nothing ever happened. I had to press wifey’s Rockhopper in to service to see me through last winter. She wasn’t too happy!

I still kept on at them, and eventually back in March they actually registered on the scheme and told me to do the necessary. Which I did expecting things to happen very quickly from there. After a while I rang the scheme and asked where we were with my application and they said they’d sent the invoice to my company but they hadn’t paid. I spoke to the person organising it, a senior person at my company and he said the email with the invoice was corrupt and he couldn’t read it, so I got the scheme to email another one and that was fine. They still didn’t pay it for reasons (nothing to do with me) that it wouldn’t be appropriate to go in to here.

I reached the point this week with yet more promises and no bike that I decided that there was a very real chance that I probably wouldn’t have a bike for next winter and this was never going to happen. There would be always reasons why they couldn’t pay the invoice to the scheme.

So, where does that leave me? Winter bikeless for a start. But it’s still spring and I can sort something out myself. More to revealed about that in due course.

All in all very disappointing. I just wish I hadn’t asked the company to join in the first place as it is now clear that certain people didn’t want it and were always going to put as many obstacles in the way to prevent any one from ever getting a bike.

It’s not as though it was a great amount of money in the business sense, or that it takes a huge amount of admin to do. A pretty sad state of affairs really.

Site visit

Have to go on a site visit this morning to sunny Peterborough, although it won’t be very sunny. The wind is still high, the skies are grey and rain is forecast for the entire Bank Holiday Weekend. I suppose we can’t moan if May is a bit dodgy after a splendid April.

There is news about my Cycle to Work Scheme application which is obviously deserving of a whole post of its own.

As the cliche goes TGIF as I’ll be at the Dodford this evening.

Yesterday’s pedal home was spectacular in it’s capacity for foul weather. I was blown about, downpoured on, thundered and lightninged on and generally soaked just as badly as earlier in the week. After I got home and cleaned up, I went to collect my daughter and I bumped into Mum in Law who asked jokingly if I’d pedalled home in this bad weather. As I no longer have a car to use for work I was wondering how she thought I had got home. But when I said I did she was dumbfounded. Especially when I said I’d ridden over Frankley Beeches. But as I always say you only get wet once.

Just to continue the numb hand/arm discussion, thanks for commenting by the way, I hear what is said about a bike fit. But just so I’m clear, this condition appears when I ride my road bike with drops, whatever hand position I take, it happens on my flat barred commuter with bar ends and my MTB with riser bars.

I’m sort of thinking I’m paying the price for 30 years playing rugby in the front row of the scrum.

On the drops

Coming in to work lately by road bike, I’ve noticed that I’ve been spending far more time on the drops of my handlebars. When I first got my Giant Defy I was always on the hoods. Why would that be? It certainly wasn’t a concious desicion maybe the reduction in belly mass is the cause and I can actually reach the bars?

Whatever, (as my daughter Fay so eloquently puts it) it has quite obviously helped my speed. I averaged 17.5 mph into work this morning.

Nothing I do is helping my numb hand/arm issue though. Every bike I ride, every bar position I take, every form of gel/cushioning I use doesn’t do diddly squat. After about 20 minutes I’m fighting a losing battle. The only relief is to stop, lower my arms to my sides and manipulate my fingers for a couple of minutes to get the life back into my hands and arms. But I know 20 minutes down the road/trail I’ll be in the same position. I’ll just have to accept it and crack on.

Not entirely sure what tomorrow holds bike wise, I may be on a site visit so I may be getting up and doing a local bimble to get my daily pedal done.

Slowly moving on.

As you’ve probably guessed and I’ve hinted at a few times, things have not been easy for the folks at Chez Chapman since the beginning of the year. I’ve struggled with going into detail as a few of the things happening concern people who read this blog and I certainly don’t want to upset them or make any potentially difficult situations worse.

But a small step was taken in the right direction yesterday in one of the issues. Hopefully I can elaborate more soon. Sorry for the enigmatic bit there, but please bear with me.

What has that got to do with weight loss and cycling? 

If you’ve a weight problem and are in the process of trying to do something about it, then it’s easy to use any happening outside of the weight loss as an excuse not to crack on. It’s never the right time, or you have to see to this issue, or you’re just too knackered or even you can’t be bothered today and you’ll start or re-start tomorrow.

I know I wobbled last week because of the above. My glass is usually half full, but last week and over the weekend even my normal good humour and optimistic outlook was severely tested. Almost to the point where I went fuck it all. Pardon my French.

But as I’ve banged on about plenty of times on here, this is when you need to dig in and stick with it. I know I didn’t do exactly what I should, but I didn’t completely let myself down thankfully and the damage wasn’t too severe.

When everything is sorted completely I will elaborate. It’ll be difficult to do as I’m notorious for keeping my cards close to my chest, just ask wifey, but better out than in as they say.