All posts by Ian Aiken

Virgin Cyclone Ride B – 63 Hilly Miles

Well I’m signed up to the Virgin Cyclone ride B, which is 63 miles of hills apparently.  The Virgin Money Cyclone is 21st June 2014 so really looking forward to that.  I’m hoping my sore throat does one before then.

I knew I would have struggled with this ride because of the Road Gearing the AWOL has given my weight and the bike weight comes to 140KG approx.   So I went and changed the crankset to a MTB one.  This means going from 52T to 44T on top cog but more significantly the granny is now 22T rather than 30T.  The middle is 39T to 32T.  My rear 9 speed cassette is 11 – 32 so this means I can now spin up hills rather than exert immense power and tire my legs.  I may have lost top end, but that top end was only achievable down hill with the wind behind.  I can still get to 30mph no problem and my average is identical so the “Touring” gearing I now have is much better, especially if I was to stick some panniers on making the load even heavier.

Below is the map route which I translated into a Bikeroutetoaster route so I could download the GPX to my Mio Sat Nav (not that I will need it).

Map Route –

Virgin Money Ride B Route with BikeRouteToaster

SAS Charity Ride Completed – 71 Miles!

Well I completed my first charity ride of the year, and ever for that matter.  71 miles in total with a slowish 6 hour 20 mins active cycle time.  Mark and I managed to take a wrong turn on the way to Derwent Reservoir and managed to add 6.5 miles with a 200 ft elevation increase to the trip, which was cool, but did mean we were late in meeting the charity group at Derwent for the actual charity ride back to WWT.

Here’s the route Strava Cycle Route


That’s me in red to the leftSAS Charity Ride Group Photo

Sunderland Astronomical Society Charity Ride

On the 8th June this year a crack squad of bedraggled unfit overweight lunatics will be jumping on their bicycles for a gruelling 28 mile ride from Derwent to the Cygnus Observatory in Washington. Their mission, firstly is to survive so they can tell the disbelieving masses what a throbbing backside is really like. After that as they dismount at the Wetlands Centre grimacing like world gurning champions and walking like a group of lycra-clad John Wayne tribute acts, no-one will be in any doubt that they have suffered for the cause.  And what a cause, the Cygnus Public Observatory.  SAS carries out essential work in the community introducing the wonders of the night sky to groups of kids for nothing more than the sheer love of it.  If you like the sound of the above, please feel free to join us for a day of grunting, sweating, teeth gritting and a packed lunch. If you don’t fancy it then sponsor these crazy fools. Sponsoring the team is easy and you can do it from your mobile phone.   All you need to do is send a text message to 70070 with the society’s code which is SAST14 and the amount you’d like to donate. So if you want to donate £5 for example then just text SAST14 £5 to 70070, simple as that. We’ll post some updates on the day of the ride en route so you can track our progress. Wish us luck, pray for us, laugh at us , but please sponsor us!  Thank you.

To make this more of a challenge for the seasoned riders Mark and I will be riding from WWT to the start.  Our estimated distance should be approx 70 miles.  If anyone wants to join in let me know.

70 Mile – Should I be concerned?

I’ve got a 70 mile ride coming up in just over a week.  It’s for charity, well the last 28 miles are (I am cycling to the start).  Should I be worried?  The most I have cycled in one go is 50 miles, I’ve done 60 in one day but had a 3 hour gap in between.  For this 70 miles there will be no gap.  I just didn’t feel challenged with just the 28 miles, especially since the majority of it is downhill.

Something to ponder I guess.  I am prepared for it and have some SIS powder for during the ride so I don’t run out of energy, so I think it should be OK.

My first cycle event!

Yay to me for completing my first cycle event with my good mate Mark!  This was the Sunderland Big  Bike Ride 2014 and the 35 mile course completed with some good chats and some good scenery, some of it very nice!

(that’s me in Green top)IMG-20140518-WA0003 IMG-20140518-WA0000Next up I think is the SAS (Sunderland Astro Society) charity ride on the 8th June which will either be 35 mile or 70 mile depending if I cycle to the start or not.  Then the 63 mile Virgin Cyclone which I think is end of June, then the Great North Ride in August finishing off sometime with the coast to coast in September.

Looking forward to a fitter year :-)