At last. A true “journey”.

After many months of riding from a place, to a point, and then back again (and not dropping a ring in a volcano in-between either), yesterday I finally did a proper journey.

I rode along the 5 weirs from Sheffield to Rotherham (via Hotel Chocolat of course!).

The start of my journey was Sheffield Cathedral. It’s an interesting building with a really beautiful church in there somewhere and then an odd modern extension on one end.

Via Hotel Chocolat I rode down to the start of the five quotes weirs. Again I found what I have found in other towns. The cycle network is very fragmented and often gets you lost (I know my way around Sheffield very well, but had I tried to follow the signs it would have been a very different matter).

The start of the five weirs (part of national cycle route 6) is a really cool bridge running through one of the wicker arches. The coolest thing being the really funky percussive sound your wheels make on the flooring they’ve used.

This bit is very Dutch in how it is laid out. I could imagine something like this in the Netherlands.

I carried on down the Don Valley, only to be disappointed that a section is closed and the diversion takes us along a section of the main road and has no cycle lanes. See what I mean about fragmented? Even though there are signs indicating cycles. Grr!

I carried on, losing the temporary signs at one point and so just carried on the way I know best; eventually making it back into the route near Meadowhall.

The rest of the route to Rotherham is both well maintained and clearly marked. It’s also fairly flat so for the most part I just stuck with seventh gear, occasionally dropping into sixth for the gentle hills. I have to say though that the first bit of the journey was very enjoyable. The middle bit was terrible (due to the closed sections) but once I reached Meadowhall it was a great ride and very picturesque.

Anyway here’s my map on Strava. I honestly can’t believe I’m actually doing these sorts of distances now. As kids we used to ride loads but never this sort of distance – but then we were on BMX bikes.

100 miles in May?

The reason I added a question mark is because I think this will be a challenge for me – not just because of my fitness levels, but because of my time commitment – it takes me about an hour to do 7 miles at present, so that’s around a 15 hour commitment – however – I have started cycling to shops and am now planning to keep the folding bike easily accessible.

So this thing is for Prostate Cancer UK. It’s here: https://cyclethemonth.prostatecanceruk.org/fundraising/nomenloonys-100-miles-in-may-challenge so I’d appreciate a sponsorship if you can.

So far I’ve done just over 14 miles – all of it on the folding bike as I currently don’t have the mountain bike and as much as I love the BMX it really isn’t a distance bike as it has one speed.

So far so the rides have all been up the Manvers roads due to be being on a road bike at present. Wee Red can’t really cope with anything too arduous and Frankenbike is currently having a full new derailleur set fitted as the back one is really badly bent and keeps snapping mounting brackets.

I have to say though that I’m really enjoying riding Wee Red. There’s something really funky and quirky about it. The other half says I should ride it in a pinstripe suit in a Blott on the Landscape parody, although his folding bike looks like a Bickerton to me.

So I’m going to keep plodding on and trying to get myself to 100 miles; and I’m gonna look cool as fuck doing it!

New bike!

I was passing a farm sale on Wednesday and something caught my eye… It was a folding bike in bright red – very unusual, and definitely rather cool!

I went and enquired about it, expecting it to be about £100 and the old chap said £20. It had been in his barn for years and was covered in chicken shit; but I saw through the coating and saw there was a really nice condition bike underneath all that grime so I bought it.

On arriving back at my unit I gave it a good wash down, and then a good lubrication. The chain and cables all moved straight away and the Sturmey Archer three speed gear hub engaged all three gears perfectly.

So it turns out it’s a DaHon III; made in 1989. The tyres and brake blocks are actually original articles and the bell is also from the 80’s.

The gears are really what drew me to it though – Sturmey Archer gears fascinate me, and unlike derailleur gears there’s no mechanism hanging down to catch on all matter of things – the gearing is all done inside the hub.

All the metal surfaces have a very slight rust pitting, but no rust is penetrating any metals and a bit of chrome polish and elbow grease will sort that.

The cutest thing is the tiny kickstand attached near the back wheel. It really is so dinky! Again, factory fitted.

The company who sold it no longer exist, and the BS it was made to has since been superceded.

Of course the ultimate thing is the USA Design logo – it looks like something from the late 80’s, because in essence it is!

It folds down to a really neat package too, and although it isn’t quite as light as newer folding bikes it’s still very portable – and having 16″ wheels it’s definitely compact enough to take on a tram.