The Adventure Dispatch – by Specialized

 

Spring is here (honest it is) and Summer is on the way (it really is you know!) so its time to start thinking about those camping and bothy trips again – this year I WILL do it.

These Adventure Dispatch shorts from Specialized are just the ticket to get you inspired to get out and explore. No MTB action I’m afraid but some Cyclocross and FatBikes.

The first one by Steve “Doom” Fassbinder with the fat bikes is the best film visually I think but perhaps the most unattainable for the majority of us.

Sarah Swallow’s adventure is the most likely experience for us here in the UK – yes it rains throughout her film!  But again its wonderfully shot.

 

You can find out more about the bikes and some of the cyclists featured at the following URL –https://www.specialized.com/gb/gb/adventure

And finally the best of the bunch maybe? Because there’s a real possibility of doing something similar to Ty Hathaway. I love the cyclocross shredding and the bothy visit. This film just sets you up for the weekend nicely I think.

Heaven Of The South

What a fantastic event HOTS is.  I have never been before but my MTB mates from MB Swindon had said its one of their favourites of the year. They are not wrong. A big social weekend revolving around riding bikes and making money for charity – would could be better.

It all starts Friday night with a social gathering featuring some great food and drink from Beckys Bhajis and The Wild Cider Co .  Pitch your tents and get some rest for the big day ahead.

Saturday is a 9.30 ride start time once 400 or so riders have had breakfast and wondered why they drank so much on Friday night.

The ride is well marshaled and marked out with a basic 50k loop and 3 optional extras to top it up to 75km if you are for it.  With no race cut off as such (though you will be left alone while everyone else is drinking), you can take as long as you like, which is handy as some stop for a pub lunch as well as feasting on free bananas and flap jacks at the feed/water stations.

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HOTS photo – Courtesy of Andrew Musty

Its non competitive and the atmosphere and camaraderie is great.

Come Saturday night, there’s more socialising (drinking), eating and comparing stories from the day. Followed by a huge raffle and some charity auctions.

It was a great event and one that I will be looking out for again next year.

For more details – http://www.heavenofthesouth.co.uk/

 

Stand up for Strava

Where the wild things are
Where the wild things are

I thought it was time someone made a stand for Strava. We see increasing amounts of bad press about speeding cyclists in public places or even the daft need for speed cameras on bike trails. And a blame of sorts is often landed on Strava.

I wont and can’t deny that Strava doesn’t allow and promote competition with its Cups and KOM Crowns; but surely these cyclists are competitive by nature and some how they would find a way of racing no matter what? Strava allows them to seek out other riders times and segments – yes. But if those segments are on shared paths and parks surely Strava is helping by highlighting where the problems are and who the riders are that cause the probelm?

Its an easy target, as are cyclists in general when it comes to public spaces – we should just ride sensibly or away from these locations and the problem wouldn’t exist.  Talk of banning or closing down the app is ridiculous in my opinion, the authorities should work with Strava to target the offending cyclists.

There are some negative sides to Strava, or the way it is used but the benefits of the app and the usefulness is far greater.

The Strava Effect

This article on SingleTracks covers it quite well. Strava has taken the soul out of cycling in some ways and it bugs me to see a bunch of cyclists at the end of a ride all checking their phones for their “results”. How many new PBs, any KOMs etc?

There is nothing wrong with this per se, but when it becomes the focus of conversation after a ride it really bugs me.  “I’ve hit my climbing challenge this month” “How many miles you done now?” “I beat you up that climb by 4 seconds”…  Yawn!

How about we talk about how great it was to be out together? How about we we talk about the stunning views from the top of the mountain? How about we talk about how technical that climb was and laugh at how someone fell in a puddle? How about we talk about when are we doing this gain? How about we talk?

Its not quite as bad as all that but it does annoy me.

And please don’t get me started on the constant shares on Facebook! Why?

ooh Well done mate you road your bike today.

Strava and Me

Since signing up to Strava I have become a little addicted to it myself, but I rarely talk about it or my achievements (or lack of). This doesn’t mean I’m not competitive and don’t strive to become quicker its just means that Strava is a personal thing for me.

I don’t really mind if you are quicker, though I am interested in how you manage to go so much quicker than I do.

“sometimes it is nice to smell the flowers, doesn’t mean you can’t measure how far you went to do it” – Nik

I rarely sign up to challenges either – If I do its to motivate myself as Strava gives a handy prompt to let you know how you are doing on a distance or climbing challenge. Not to compare my progress with others – it helps me keep track of my exercise, my progress on regular routes and gives me a gentle reminder to get out more.

Check out Mr Morzine’s thoughts on the same subject.

I am also a map fan so love looking at where I’ve been and where I could have been. Strava highlights segments and I have used the segment explorer on many occasions to plan routes – this ride was created using the Segment Explorer. Not so I can smash someones time, but so I can see what that little orange wiggly line is like in the middle of those woods!

You can use strava for this too
Smelling the flowers

Benefits of Strava

When I see others have been out and I haven’t it prompts me to ride. I check Strava to see where a few of my more adventurous biking friends have been to see if they have found some new trails. Now I want to go out and I know where to go!

Recording routes and trails is vital when exploring especially if you are far from home or want to easily explain the location to a friend – “Have a look on my Strava.” is a pretty common element of many a mountain bike conversation.

As mentioned above its also helpful for exploring new routes using the Segment Explorer…

Basically you get out of something whatever you put in – the same goes for Strava.  A number of people I know have given up on Strava as it was ruling their rides, I wonder why they let this happen and why fun biking and Strava can’t coexist for them and for the media as whole?

Oh well, I guess that’s their problem.

#StandUpForStrava