A group of us went out for a huneliggers ride today, as usual on Sunday mornings. It was a bit warmer than two weeks ago, just hovering above freezing point for most of the day.
Wonderful weather for a morning ride in the Mango.
Last week it was quite cold. -8 C when I rode to work on Thursday morning, for instance. However, by New Year's Eve it had warmed up a lot and much of the ice was melted. As a result, we could enjoy the fireworks without getting frozen.
Today started with a very light sprinkling of snow. This meant I could tell in advance that Peter was taking part in the ride, as I followed the three tracks in the snow left by his Mango's wheels between Assen and the starting point.
There were four of us humans today, Anton (who lead the ride), Georg, Peter and myself. Georg brought along his world famous "velodog", Russell.
As usual, we rode through the countryside along cycle paths and minor roads. We were again lucky with the weather - everything looked wonderful. We had some very light snow fall on us for a bit, but it was nothing troublesome.
Our lunch stop was by a lake in the forest. It's not really a touristy spot. In fact, it's really a quarry where sand is extracted (hence the "no entry past this point" sign and the pipes. However, it was completely quiet today and it looked really beautiful.
One energy source on top of another...
I'd not got around to making sandwiches for lunch. However, I had something else: Kendal Mint Cake which my Mum gave me for Christmas. It's perhaps not normally the healthiest thing to eat, with the proud boast on the packet of "350kcal per 100g", however even though we weren't putting in quite so much effort as the British Everest expedition of 1975, it was very enjoyable.
I rode through Kendal back in 2006.
We stayed at the lunch stop for quite a while, talking, admiring the view, enjoying the sun and taking photos.
Most of us wrapped up to stay warm but Russell, like all dogs, seemed to enjoy rolling in the snow.
Last Thursday I had a bit of a fright on the way home from work as I crashed my Mango on black ice. It had been quite cold in the morning, but had warmed up just above freezing in the day, rained a little bit, and then gone back below freezing by the time I left for home. Very dangerous conditions. Even though the gritters were out on the cycle paths and roads before I went home, there were slippery patches.
I found one of these on the way home. I put the brakes on just before a junction on a minor road and my Mango span on the spot, fell over and slid to a halt on snow at the edge of the road. Luckily there was no damage to me or to the bike. When I went to look I could immediately see the cause: Where I'd brakes, there had been ice under the rear wheel and one front wheel, while the other front wheel was still on asphalt. When I got home I fitted a Marathon Winter to the rear wheel of my own Mango and went for a short test ride. In the same treacherous conditions the bike remains in a straight line, whatever is under the wheels when I brake. Much better.
Today was the first proper ride with this rear tyre and I'm very happy with it. Of course, I'll change back to a non-studded tyre when the danger of ice has passed.
After lunch, just as we were starting to cool down a bit, it was time to go, heading through more of the beautiful countryside.
We started off heading North, towards Groningen, which was good for Anton and Georg, but not really the right direction for Peter and I, so after a bit we left the other two and turned towards home.
Just under 65 km in all. Not a long ride, but a very enjoyable one.
Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you've also been able to get out on your bikes, whatever weather you have.
Read my review of the Sinner Mango Velomobile.
Car-Sick Glasgow | Documenting the atrocious conditions for cyclists and pedestrians in Scotland's largest city