the Wessex Ridgeway, an easy/not-so-easy approach to BikePacking

So, after a few short expeditions road-based, I guess it was time to evolve those 20+yrs of XC mountain biking, into longer adventures. Call it BikePacking.

There’s a few options in UK, and I didn’t want to go abroad, nor had the time for a trip over 2 days. It had to be a micro-adventure again.
And because I believe that one learns in small steps, there it goes, 130+km between Wiltshire and Dorset seemed appropriate.

The original track is shorter, starting from Tollard Royal, so I’ve managed to do a patchwork of bridleways/tracks in between very few B-roads. Those 30+km added from Salisbury were actually enjoyable.

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And since I’ve started, I was actually grateful to NOT having changed the tyres to something less knobby. Thinking that it would all be flat-ish bridleways with a bit of gravel, and the odd rocky section; my thoughts were like the Pilgrim’s way, which I did in May on a road bike with 700×25 road tyres…. erm, it wasn’t like that. Bless the Mtb and Continental X-King tyres for their supple ride and brilliant grip.

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The Wessex Ridgeway trail is not “that” technical, but it can be demanding.
You’ll be riding many times on proper grass/ploughed fields, so yes you DO need >2.1″ tyres to float above that mess. Most of them hills can be short but steeeep, so low gears come to help, but sometimes you just have to push.
There’s lots of gates to open and close, and the route is not always well signed; but that does spice it up. Also, cattle and sheep in the field can be a surprise. The latter, get pretty noisy so it may be necessary to make a diversion!

Another thing to put into account for this ride: nettles and brambles. Some parts can be like a jungle, it’s not “single-track” but “quarter-track”: you’ve got 15″ or room in between two walls of sweet thorns ripping off your skin/clothes, and lovely nettles gently carresing your exposed skin until it becomes red.
After the first day my arms and shins were a real mess. Lesson learned: next time bring long sleeves and shin-guards!

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Aside from that, the ride was rather enjoyable, the campsite at Cerne Abbas was nice and reasonable priced, on top of being right on the track. Before that, the hill in Shillingstone is brutal, it’s probably 2km very, very steep going up, and with some of the jungle mentioned above to keep you company. I have to say that I had lost loads of time there, forcing me to take a shortcut (oh, the shame, the shame!) to reach the campsite on a decent time. I was running out of water, too; 2.5lt proved not to be enough on a hot sunny day of July. Thankfully, water can be obtained in one of the many Hamlets/Villages along the route. Cemeterys most often have a water tap, oh, and you may be lucky to find some of those ladies setting up the saturday afternoon tea&cakes. I was unlucky enough to leave when they arrived with piles of cake :-(

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Some of those villages have amusing signs around their streets!

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The second day proved to be harder for me, for some reason my legs felt empty, so the average speed dropped below 15km/h.
I had to reach Lyme Regis before 6.00pm, or Axminster before 7.45pm. I managed to arrive at the former destination just before 6pm, so I could enjoy a good 45 minutes sitting on the beach. That was a good reward for all that effort, it was actually a lovely day and I felt very happy.

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I took my time to reach Axminster, nearly 1hr, but still plenty of time ahead of the train scheduled time. I like to wait for the train and not the train been waiting for me.
It all went smooth, albeit the train was packed (always reserve the space for your bicycle, especially on sunday evenings!), so I reached home before midnight and fed my cat who was waiting for me :-)

Here you can find the track that I’ve used:
http://ridewithgps.com/routes/8822485
Note that I made a diversion, to end in Lyme Regis rather than Charmouth, the two are pretty close.

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Amuse me….

Sometimes I do get pretty amusing stuff down here.
It could be very nice, as those classic bikes…

Cinelli_Laser1 Cinelli_Laser4 Cinelli_Laser5
Cinelli_Laser2 Cinelli_Laser3

or this

E_Mercx_titane1 E_Mercx_titane4
E_Mercx_titane5 E_Mercx_titane9 E_Mercx_titane11

 

Or a rather unusual repair and request to replace/modify some stuff….

IMG_0777 IMG_0778
(I’m afraid, for safety reasons we REALLY have to remove the plastic bag around the pedals!)

 

But surely, it all goes up to a certain extend! :-)
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Happy new year, check this video

This video dates back from 1989, a documentary about bicycle design/production/etc. from Channel 4.
There's some really nice stuff in.

Here is a glimpse of Mario Camillotto’s workshop when he wa building for Cinelli. Lovely and tidy workshop, can’t praise him enough

Columbus factory

And Monty young from Condor Cycles, shown building wheels.
It is great to think that some of those tools are still around here, along with his truing stand. I do feel honored to have worked for a couple of years with him

And a shot from Condor’s old shop in Grays Inn road, nice to mention that the shop is still on that road, and grown to need a much bigger space nowadays

Campagnolo factory.
A nice look at the hubs production line, those do look like been Chorus rear hubs.
The music in background is the famous “Và pensiero” from Giuseppe Verdi’s “Nabucco”

And dr. Alex Moulton (who sadly passed away last year) showing his legenday space-frame

 

And last, a view of a Cinelli Laser track

Ah, Italy…

Ah, Italy...

Xmas holidays, sometimes is great to escape that dull weather.
It’s a shame that the weather was a mixed bag. Good rides, tho :-)

Giovanni, Andrea1, Antonio, Andrea2 :-) Antonello, Andrea2, Antonio  photo HPIM5380_zpsce7fa38a.jpg Giovanni, we're in Villasimius and the clouds are thick above us...

Thanks to Andrea and Antonio, plus Antonello and Giovanni to follow in 40 km under pouring rain!

Back again!

And what happened in the meantime?
Oh well, seems nothing, but there’s been a lot going on :-)

Let’s start with some sort of never-ending-tale like moving house can be.
Jeez, moving all my things and moving the fleet has been quite a task. It took several weeks to be complete.

Hell, had to make a custom solution to store all the sisters.
So far it worked well in this way
http://www.ikeahackers.net/2013/11/from-stolmen-post-to-a-5-cycles-storage-2.html


Not too bad :-)

Uh, and yes there’s a new star there. By far the best bike I’ve ever had. Dario (Pegoretti) has done a fantastic job sizing up, crafting and decorating this MxxxxxO frame.
It is simply superb, an incredible combination of stiffness and comfort. It doesn’t glide like the (red) Supercorsa, it simply jumps like a spark out of the fireplace.

I am very proud of it.

Constant 24mm diameter chainstays linked to a two-piece stainless-steel 7mm thick dropout. Can’t get beefier than this
(“Andrea, metteti a posto! Dario e Pero”)

Hello, sis. You’re not forgotten, we’re part of the same family with an obvious different soul and attitude :-)

You gotta be kidding!

You gotta be kidding!

Shit the bed!

http://www.eroicacicli.com/forsale/frames/cinelli-supercorsa-donna/
A women’s Supercorsa???

=:-O

Random madness that passed by here

“my hubgear is not working….”
(yes man, you thrashed it)

funny stuff2 funny stuff1

“why this crank broke??”
(erm…. a little bit of rubbing from your shoe??)

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My bottom bracket is making funny noises….!
(How about the frame??)

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“my bottom bracket is making noises….” (2)

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“Do I really need to keep my bike clean??”
(Yes, alluminium too doesn’t like much salt/grit on the roads)

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It does exist!
Shimano UN72 bottom bracket inFRENCH thread 35×1
:O

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This looks like air bubbles withing the rubber mould. See what happened when the tyre has been inflated

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“my Di2 doesn’t work….”
(let’s talk about how to avoid the build-up of crap around?)

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