Friday, 17 July 2009

New Toys

You can't do a big ride like LEL without new toys, can you?

Certainly not!

Firstly, after the Cambrian Ride, the realisation that foul weather gear is needed. Everyone was raving about Rainlegs, thus I have a pair. Despite looking more than faintly ridiculous, they perform brilliantly, keeping the rain off the bits that get most struck by water, whilst allowing the fresh air to circulate round the back of the legs to avoid the perspiration. Clive rating 9/10. (Apparently, the Dragons Den lot weren't as impressed, but when do you reckon any of them were last on a bike?)

Secondly, bibshorts. I went into the Local Bike Shop last week to buy 'cheapish' Altura Shorts, and came out with many pounds worth of Specialised BG Pro RBX Bib Shorts (all those acronyms, they MUST be good). I wore them for the 205km Two Battles Permanent Ride last weekend, and assumed that I must have been standing on the pedals all the way round. Not a single twinge from the human-bicycle interface. Clive's backside rates them 10/10. The only problem will be justifying the expenditure (for the second pair).

Finally, there's no point in being relatively dry, and relatively comfortable, if you're going to get lost and cycle further than you need to. Third toy - a new Garmin eTrex Legend GPS unit. Amazon were selling this for about £65 under the RRP, so it was time to buy.

The basemap included in the unit is (as widely reported) utter rubbish, but I have quickly got to grips with the excellent OpenStreetMap ( which is an open source code alternative. On the downside, the UK map is not quite complete. On the upside, the UK map is not complete, and anyone with a GPS can upload, store and update GPS tracks, then add them to the map (which is a damn good excuse for getting out there, I've already added over 30km of local lanes). Clive rating 8/10 (mostly marked down for the poor basemap)

Toys at the ready! It's not long 'til LEL, but I've done sufficient miles already this month (300+) that a successful LEL will give me a 1200 mile month.

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