Preface, or catching up - The Middle of Sweden - CycleBlaze

Preface, or catching up

It's been a fair old time since I last posted a journal. I've generally been keeping up the riding, but between a writing up and getting new job away from the yeast, moving across the country and settling in with a house and a car, somehow the time has been taken up and there haven't really been any notable multi-day adventures that would bear journalling.

The last trip I recorded on here was almost 5 years ago, when I was still packing a young-persons railcard and riding the "Purple Haze", something of a Frankenstein's monster of a bike which I'd somewhat cobbled together from a 1980s French hybrid bike frame I got for £45, home-made wheels and lots of components shifted across from my even older bike, which essentially self-imploded on a ride through the peak district.

Despite its dubious provenance, the old haze proved pretty faithful over the intervening years, and I took it on lots of long (80-100 mile) day trips, as well as a fairly constant use in tooling around the lovely environs of Appleton, Oxon; Meldreth, Cambs; and Potton, Beds. I rode from Oxford-Cambridge a couple of times; Oxford-Gloucester (again); Oxford to Malborough with a broken toe (I could ride fine, but struggled to walk out the saddle - I ended up sitting in a pub talking to an ex-jockey). When I moved to Cambridgeshire, I had a great week off exploring the surrounding countryside, with the challenge being to ride to every surrounding county (there are quite a few ... I think Northamptonshire was the one I didn't make). I did a lot of riding across the Fens and up into Norfolk, and generally lost my ability to climb hills. More recently I've haunted the (relatively) hillier terrain of Beds and the reservoirs (Grafam and Rutland water) to the North.

The Haze did well on these trips, but the motley collection of parts and their limited quality, not to mentioned my mechanical (and maintenance shortcomings), meant minor technical faults were pretty frequent and it always seemed that something was creaking, about to break, or broken. The oddball biopace chainwheels had lost multiple teeth, I had a succession of increasingly crappy shifters, and after I put my back out reaching for a gate it became clear that the fit left a lot to be desired. One bike ride lasted less than 5 minutes after all the balls fell out of an inexpertly-repaired pedal bearing - at least it was a short walk home...

I missed my ambitions of more adventurous touring, and it was clear it was time for a better bike. Those two things would keep me occupied for most of this summer...

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Mike AylingWelcome bro/cuz as our Kiwi friends would say!

Mike and Mary in Australia currently on tour in Echuca Victoria.
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1 year ago
Jon AylingTo Mike AylingCheers! Yep, us Aylings are a bit thin on the ground, though we seem to pop up in the most unexpected places. Enjoy the tour!
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1 year ago