Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Cunning Man Loop

We were due to go down to the New Forest for a few days this week but after (a) having a great deal of trouble finding any campsites with pitches available, and then (b) discovering that you can only cycle on certain designated paths with a penalty of £500 if you are caught on any other path, I decided not too. I had a look online at cycle paths in the forest and it just seemed that they were either short 4 or 5 mile ones or long 20 odd mile ones which I didn't think Karen or Ben would want to do.

So yesterday we decided to cycle along the Kennet and Avon canal towpath. My original intent was to go further than Ben and I normally go, hopefully as far as Aldermaston Wharf, but a couple of hitches occurred. I asked my eldest son Chris if he would like to come along too and after an initial "no thanks", he later on said that he would come, so I had to prep the MTB for him. Having only got 3 helmets I decided I was the least likely to get injured so gave each of them one and we set off.

It was immediately apparent that Chris had forgotten how to ride a bike. As strange as it may seem, riding a bike isn't like...umm...riding a bike! I couldn't believe he had forgotten how to do it but sure enough he kept flopping to the side. I guess its been 10 years since we have managed to convince him to ride one - I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but hes always refused & as hes an adult its his choice. So we walked the bikes down to the park at the end of the road and spent 20 minutes or so getting him familiar with the bike again. It didn't take him too long although he was a bit uncertain of himself and after leaving the park I stayed with him as we rode.

I made sure to stay off the main roads as much as possible and many of the paths initially were cycle designated, even so he became very agitated & a bit scared at even the slightest downward slope or bend after discovering the brakes didn't react as fast as he wanted them to. He even began to start putting his feet down first instead of using the brakes - a sure fire way to get your legs caught up in the pedals & lose balance. I think once we were away from any sign of cars or roads and onto the canal he was a bit better, but there were 2 occasions where he threw the bike down in frustration. It was becoming a nightmare, both for him and me!

I tried to advise him and offer support and confidence but he was set in his mind that something bad was going to happen and eventually told me to shut up because he couldn't listen to me and concentrate on keeping straight. I dropped back from the rest of the group then as I had had it and just wanted to ride by myself and enjoy it a little bit. By being way behind I could also keep my eye on him in case he needed me.

A few other things: I had to double back to home again at Speedy Gonzalez style after realising I had left the camera on the boot lid of the car! Thankfully it was still there. We stopped at the pub for a great drink (as usual). We did tag a bit of extra mileage onto the back of the pub which was really pleasant through fields. Chris came off and scraped his knee, I came off after being a show off on a grass bank, I scraped all the sides of my leg again on the metal pedals while walking beside it, and Karen got a puncture but it was slow enough we made it home okay.

That's pretty much all I want to say about the ride. It would have been great. Having Chris along didn't spoil it - hes my son and I love him - but having his totally negative & aggressive attitude with us as well was too much to bear.

Onto the Active 10 GPS - well I need to relocate the bike mount from the current location. Its mounted on the stem right now but because that's on the slope, the angle makes the screen hard to read.

I'll either move stuff about on the handlebars or mount it on the cross tube. Its a dilemma really as the cross tube affords the GPS more protection in case of falls, but the handlebars give better access and viewing. Unfortunately you cant adjust the angle of the mount at all. However, the GPS worked a treat on this ride pumping stats out and recording the route in exceptional detail, even the messing around in the park and my riding around the car park of The Cunning Man pub!

Here's some additional photos of the trip.

Bike Computer Stats
Mileage: 16.23 miles
Time: 2 hrs 34 mins 06 secs
Average Speed: 6.3 mph
Maximum Speed: 22.3 mph

Active 10 GPS Stats
Mileage: 14.6 miles
Total Time: 3 hrs 28 mins
Time Moving: 2 hrs 21 mins
Average Speed: 4.2 mph
Average Moving: 6.2 mph
Maximum Speed: 21.2 mph

Route HERE

I'm inclined to believe the GPS stats more than the bike computer as that takes a reading from satellites every second of travel.


  1. Biking Fun with the son. Good stuff. My younges son, now 22 kept his biking skills up every time his drivers license was suspended.
    Ride on.

  2. Awesome ride. I love the picture of Ben hauling ass behind your other son! And a cool little mount and awesome data output!