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Cycling things I have learned this week

Written by Fiona

July 21 2016

1 When the weather is less than kind a shorter bike ride that includes lot of hill reps can feel just as satisfying (in terms of training) as a longer, less hilly ride. I did five reps of Cuilt Brae near Strathblane as well as the Milngavie Reservoirs hill and the Khyber Pass for a shorter but hillier training ride on Saturday.

2 Cycling up hills usually feels far more sheltered than riding down them or on the flats.

I met Des, Campbell and David while cycling on Saturday.

I met Des, Campbell and David while cycling on Saturday.

3 So often I meet other outdoors people and we either already know each other through Facebook, or through friends. This happened on my fifth ascent of Cuilt Brae. Three guys cycled with me and we found out we have a friend, Ray, in common and we had all enjoyed cycling holidays in Mallorca. (We have thew same socks from a bike hire shop.)


4 Sometimes you see the strangest sights while cycling. I met a man walking his hawk on Saturday.

5 The road between Bearsden/Milngavie and Aberfoyle is always far, far longer than I imagine. I passed a sign while cycling out to Ben A’an on Sunday to meet my friend, Ellen, for a walk and I thought it would say “3 miles to Aberfoyle”. It said 8 miles. I was gobsmacked!

6 The Duke’s Pass is a brilliant hill climb and descent on a bike. I always enjoy it and find it easier than I think it will be.

Ben A'an hill walk and  "man leg" with Ellen's Boy 3 after my ride over the Duke's Pass.

Ben A’an hill walk and “man leg” with Ellen’s Boy 3 after my ride over the Duke’s Pass.

7 When it’s sunny in Scotland it’s best just to get out and get on your bike. If you faff or delay for too long the rain will come on and then the ride will be far less attractive.

8 Testing new cycle kit is usually a good incentive for getting out on the bike. The beautiful designs and fit of the Stolen Goat short-sleeved jersey that I have been testing made me feel really good.

New Stolen Goat jersey.

New Stolen Goat jersey.

9 Sometimes a puncture can be the end of a bike ride. I have rarely been defeated by a punctured inner tube/tyre but this week I was forced to accept the “car lift of shame” back home.

10 Continental inner tube valves do not work well with some types of mini bike pumps, namely Lezyne and Top Peak Pocket Rocket. What happens is that after screwing on the pump, inflating the tyre to a good PSI and then unscrewing it, the inner part of the valve of the tube also unscrews and lets all the air out. I learned there was little I could do about this on the roadside – and after inflating it three times.

Puncture repair is usually straightforward.

Puncture repair is usually straightforward.

11 Apparently, I am not the only one to discover, to my cost, the poor valve/pump combo design. I did a search of Google and there are tons of complaints about this.

12 The problem can be remedied by a) Not buying these tubes. I have now fitted Bontrager tubes successfully, b) Securing the valve with i) super glue, ii) PFTE plumbers’ tape, iii) pinching with pliers, iv) Taking the value out and filling the tube with an anti-puncture gel, c) Using a different “push on” pump or a track pump.

13 Emergency tyre patches don’t always work either. I tried to fix the punctured inner tube with my back-up LifeLine patches but they didn’t contain the air. Admittedly, it was a pinch puncture (I felt the tyre puncture as I went over a drain/bump) but what’s the point in selling these if they don’t actually do the job? Apparently, Parks work better, although I have no experience of this.

14 Thankfully there are many kind cyclists and drivers who are only too happy to stop and offer assistance when they see a cyclist stranded at the side of the road. Usually I say no thanks because I can manage on my own but I was very grateful to one Good Samaritan, Derek, who stopped to help me.

15 Some days, there is no chance of fixing a puncture and it’s likely that fate is stopping you from going on your way. When Derek stopped he gave me his spare inner tube. After half an hour of trying to inflate it we realised this tube was also punctured. His offer of a lift home in his car was very gratefully accepted.

Belt and braces approach to emergency puncture repair kit for my bike rides from now on.

Belt and braces approach to emergency puncture repair kit for my bike rides from now on.

16 It’s best to leave the cycling for a couple of days to forget the whole annoying incident. Finally, when you do take to the roads again the ride will feel so much better. Which it did today when I enjoyed the route I had planned to do when I punctured and a) the roads were quieter b) there was less wind c) it was nice and sunny.

This time last week on Hvar Island, Croatia.

This time last week on Hvar Island, Croatia.

17 Cycling in sunny Scotland is far more enjoyable than attempting the same in very hot conditions in Croatia.

13507152_986277908159364_3468910618359836299_n18 While I feel tired after cycling for a few hours, a friend Paula managed to ride 1500 miles during an unsupported race in Ireland. She rode this in just over a week and was the only solo female rider to finish and placed third overall. I am very impressed.

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