Posted by: Ian | October 21, 2012

JOGLE Day 9. Best and Worse Accessories.

Today’s cycling began with fog and muddy roads in Shropshire close to the Welsh border. As yesterday, I had a deadline I wanted to make: I’d arranged to join friends Steve and Gill for midday lunch in Monmouth, which was half way through my 120 mile day. Paula made a late decision to join us too. This gave me the opportunity to trade the Astraeus for the Cervelo. After a long and friendly lunch I set off with my faster bike. The difference was amazing: the Cervelo has been so much easier to ride and far speedier. To be fair, I also dumped my luggage and had a Zipp 404 on the back instead of the tractor wheel I’ve been using on the Astraeus since Fort William so the improved performance isn’t just down to the frame. Even so, the ride along the road past Tintern Abbey was a joy (notwithstanding the constant procession of ridiculous raspy Harleys).

At the Severn Bridge I wimped the cycle crossing. My vertigo wouldn’t have done at all well with the long high ride on the narrow path alongside the low railing. I waited for Paula to come along and hitched a ride across on the Audi Ferry.

The bad Karma from this returned for its redress in Bristol. My Garmin route took me on a dumb loopy route through the city centre and, hard as I tried to avoid it, I ended up cycling across the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol’s suicide spot of choice. It was actually quite pleasant.

I met Paula again at my final point of the day, Mark in Somerset, and, after a week on my own, I had my second sociable dinner in a row, at The White Horse.

Today’s topic is the Best and Worst accessories on this trip. The worst is easy: the downright winner is the Lezyne front light I bought just before setting off. Usually I’m a big Lezyne fan but this is totally useless. Even fully charged and on flash mode, it lasts maybe an hour. On the few occasions I’ve needed it it has reliably let me down.

There is a contest between two flawed but fantastic devices for my Best Accessory award. In second place comes my iPhone. The camera is rubbish and the device gets very freezy these days but it has maps that have been great back-up, email, texts, podcasts, music and one or two useful apps. It also makes calls.

But Top Place goes to my Garmin Edge 800. It’s also far from perfect. The interference between Routes and Courses can be a nightmare. This morning it randomly reset itself, requiring me to re-code a whole pile of customized settings. At my fastest point today I noticed it recording the speed as 0 for a long stretch. And I was getting battery warnings by the end of the day. Having said all of that, it’s an invaluable aid to route planning and navigation and I love all the stats it gives me.



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