Life getting in the way!

Sometimes life's balances shift and you find yourself hammering away at the anvil preparing for the future. I'm currently residing in one of those periods.

The life irons in the fire at the moment are forging both metalwork for war (work) and for construction (home). Leaving very little time for recreation. Now don't get me wrong both of those are going great guns with super positive results, but looking at the importance of certain things in the hierarchy of life's cycle some things have gotta give. At the moment, it's here…..

My blog and time to generate content has been severely limited, but hey it's just a blog right? It's not providing love for my family, keeping a roof over my head, or providing gainful employment so I think it can wait. Hey I'd just like the time to cycle at the moment!

I do have plenty to write about though….. the new Ribble R872, my semi vintage gravel bike build, restoring the Mercian, a vintage bicycles that have crossed continents, the bike show at the NEC coming up, group rides, where to cycle in the Bournemouth area, shopping for bike seats for little ones, improving fitness……. it could go on for ever!

Speak soon…..

Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance 11Storm Clincher Tyres

I've been lucky enough to get my hands on the latest road clinchers from tyre maestros Hutchinson. These guys know what they are talking about and make hundreds of thousands of tyres per year in their Châlette-sur-Loing facility in France. Even producing other big named tyres as well…..

These tyres are the Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance with the 11Storm Infernal Compound, are are their go to race ready clinchers (also available in tubeless). So apart from having one of the worlds most protracted product names, what else do I know about these tyres? Well Hutchinson are making some pretty bold claims on their website, going up against the big competitors directly in this little info graphic:

Looks promising yeah? But hey it's just a picture and probably formulated under lab conditions. So what are they like in real world scenarios? I have a few hundred miles on mine now and I have to say I'm impressed.

Fitting the tyres up they look a fair bit smaller than the Specialized Turbo Cottons I have removed, even though there is only 1mm difference in supposed carcass size (25c vs 26c), but that's probably down to one being an open tubular and the other being a standard clincher tyre. Design wise the Fusion 5s have a slight tread pattern on them to help with water dispersal, whereas the Cottons are baby bum smooth. The tyres are also pretty light with a 25c weighing in at a claimed 205g (even the 28c clincher version is only 220g!).

The first thing I noticed was the turn in on these tyres, its sharp even when first fitted, and they hold their line. Very confidence inspiring. On dry tarmac I don't think I've ridden a comparable tyre, yes even against the Specialized Turbo Cottons, the Hutchinsons have supreme feel under braking and banking. In the wet the 11Storm compound is pretty solid too, it took yanking on the brakes to get the tyres to slide. All round A super grippy tyre.

The ride feel is pretty good too, with great bump absorption. They aren't quite up to the buttery smoothness of the Specialized Turbos but they are a larger tyre with a 320tpi fully fabric case in comparison to the Fusion 5s 127tpi case. I ran 90 PSI in both tyres and it's a close call, but the Cottons have it. As far as longevity goes I'm only a couple of hundred miles in at the moment so only time will tell on that front, so lets see if they last over the winter as well.

Ok so the ultimate question that everyone wants to ask. How fast are they? Well I can't really tell you that. I don't really have a scientific way to test it. My cycling isn't consistent enough (both time available and fitness) to be able to carry out direct comparisons to anything else. But what I will say is this, they ride smooth, roll fast, corner confidently, and are silent on the move. All of those points add up to a tyre that is faster over most distances for your average punter. I.e mixed surfaces and stop go riding with plenty of direction changes. Most don't ride velodrome!

The final thing about the tyres is that they are only available in a black sidewall, which is a small shame as there is nothing more pro than a tan sidewall. Its a classic look.

Overall these tyres are great, but I'm most impressed with the grip levels. They inspire confidence and feel effortless to push about. Go get some! I can recommend.

2017 Ribble R872 first impressions

With the weather great and a few hours in my possession I was able to try out my new 2017 Ribble R872. Yes, I’m happy.

There she is, the new model R872, with a few improvements over the old model.

As you can see from the pictures above it’s had some fair improvements in stiffness. Fork, headtube, dropouts, and chainstays are all beefed up. BB30 bottom bracket has been ditched in favour of BB86 and chainstays have been increase in size because of this.

On the road the handling is near identical but the power transfer and handling accuracy have improved greatly. I’m not fit at the moment but I definitely impressed myself on a couple of climbs, purely down to the frames ability to channel my efforts.

Well anyway I want to get some more miles on it before I say much more….. full write up soon!

Ribble R872 warranty replacement

Those of you that follow my Instagram will know that recently my Ribble R872 had developed a crack in the seat tube just below the seat clamp.

Now the bike is four years old nearly but nevertheless it shouldn’t be failing like that, especially as I’m one for looking after my kit (and my time to get out on it has be severely capped in the last twelve months or so!).

I contacted Ribble via email to see what they could do, surprisingly they offered to pick it up with no charge so they could assess. This is where things started to go a little wrong…..

Ribble organised a bike case to be sent to me, a week later nothing had arrived so I chased them. It had lost its label apparently and had been returned to them. Ok I thought these things happen and I’m in no rush so they resent it, it arrived within two days. I stripped and packed my bike up overnight and it was ready to go next day, called Ribble and a same day collection was arranged. This was a Friday, 5:30pm came and the bike was still there. Monday came and at 5:30pm the bike was still in my possession. Again jumped on the phone to Ribble to see where the collection was, only to be told the request had definitely been put through to parcel force and that Ribble couldn’t chase them, they gave me the reference number and it was up to me! Now I’m quite capable of doing this I just don’t think I should be, I’m the customer!

Things really started to get amateurish at this point. I called the local parcelforce depot to find out the collection time, only to be told that the collection manager was busy and he would call me back. That happened three times on the Tuesday with no reply. Wednesday came and the bike was finally collected, and only then did I receive a call.

Generally you would expect a 48 hour delivery/collection to be there in 48 hours yes? Friday came and I emailed Ribble to check to see if they had received my bike for piece of mind, to which they replied no and it would probably be with them Monday. The weekend passed as did Monday, on Tuesday I emailed Ribble to see if they had received my bike. They still hadn’t. They then realised that they were able to chase parcelforce and started the procedure to make a claim from them for the value of my lost bike. This involved me listing the complete spec of my bike so Ribble could build a new one as replacement.

As you can imagine this was all starting to get very drawn out and tedious, not to mention embarrassing for Ribble, and it was all down to the involvement of parcelforce. I was disappointed that my custom built bicycle was missing, pissed off at the delay, but also a little excited about the prospect of a new bike. This still wasn’t the end though (but it’s in sight so don’t worry about having too much to read!).

Parcelforce, faced with the cost of a £3000 bill for a custom bike, miraculously found my bike. Amazing what can be done when there’s an official line of complaint isn’t it! Parcel force got the bike to Ribble and they started on the warranty work asap.

Ribble assessed the frame and replaced it. Now the old R872 is no longer in production so they have replaced it with the new model! This was completed pretty sharpish by Ribble and within a day of receiving they had turned it around and it was winging its way back to me.

Despite all the faffing about I was pretty happy with Ribbles service, to replaced a bike that was questionably outside of warranty period, and to do it so quickly when they did finally do receive was impressive. The only real issue I had was I wish they had taken the reigns for chasing parcel force.

Anyway I had a nice parcel waiting for me!

And here it is unboxed…. looking forward to ripping it up this weekend finally!

I’ll let you know how it goes, expect a full write up on how I feel thenew R872 performs!


Renovatio Bikes opens

Well, I didn’t think we had room for another cycle shop in Bournemouth but it seems we do! Just opened is Renovatio in Pokesdown, unit 2 in the calendula place development on christchurch road (opposite the Corpus Christi school).

Yet to visit but will fit one in soon enough, but from what I can see they have supply from importer Reid Cycles and they are selling both new and second hand bikes. 

Their details are as follows;

Address : 

Unit 2 Calendula Place

752-778 Christchurch Road



Tel : 07528568676
Website :

More when I have it…..

Wimborne Vintage Cycle Ride

There’s nothing quite like the gentle rythmic tick of a sturmey archer hub, and saturday we had them out in force.

Last weekend saw Wimborne host the VDub at the pub and Dorset goes vintage festivals. Included in the latter was the Wimborne Vintage Cycle Ride. What’s a vintage cycle ride I hear you ask? Well without wanting to sound patronising, it’s cycling in vintage gear on vintage bicycles. Dress up in your period outfits and pedal your aged steed.

My role during this event was marshalling and the position of ‘Lanterne Rouge’ (TDF terminology for the last man) to ensure all riders got around safely and in one big pack. Leading out was experienced cycle tutor and bike ability instructor Jason Falconer who held chief marshal position.

All riders were gathered together for a pre ride briefing to ensure all were familiar with group ride protocol backed up by a general reminder of cycling with courtesy. That’s not too much of an ask, this is civilised cycling after all!

The ride started out of showground just south of the town centre, we were all kindly guided out onto the main road by the event staff and we were on our way. Working our way through the town centre we headed through Pamphill and toward Shapwick down narrow, high hedged, country lanes synonymous with our south western countryside. The bunch held together with only one stop for a rod brake based mechanical issue. Shapwick was the halfway point of the ride, taking refreshment in the Anchor Inn. There were various takes on the mid ride recuperation with alchohol, caffeine, and good old H2O being quaffed in equal measures. I obviously opted for a swift ale but was limited in choice, if you are reading this The Anchor Inn you need to up your beer game – there were far to many lagers on tap! and not a new world hop to be seen. 

Once all refuelled it was back on the bikes with the second part of the loop taking in a nice gravel section skirting the back of Kingston Lacy estate. There were some lovely views from this trail looking southward over the hedges and across the Dorset countryside. Cycling in this area really is one of the local gems, and probably my favourite area to cycle to from Bournemouth so I recommend you make your way out there. 

Vintage bikes and gravel aren’t the most sound mix and we picked up a puncture on a Raleigh Kingpin, thank goodness for the ease of removing Sturmey archer hubbed wheels, and after a bit of a team effort (and a patch!) we were soon rolling again.

We headed back into Wimborne with a quick stop in the square for group photo and ended up drawing a fair amount of attention! Back on bikes we turned the pedals toward the show ground, and we were soon back where we started. 

Cream teas (with proper clotted cream!) were ready for all on our return, although probably not the ideal recovery food they were super tasty and a perfectly fitted end to our sophisticated cycling adventure!

A very well organised jaunt in good spirits and good company. Wimborne Vintage Cycle Ride was great fun and took in some lovely countryside. With plenty of other things to see and do on the same weekend (and the option to camp on site) the Dorset goes vintage/vdub at the pub/Wimborne vintage cycle ride festival collection is one to see. Testament to this were the people that had travelled to get there, London and Cambridge were two of the locations discovered after chatting to attendees. Just goes to show this vintage cycling thing is pretty popular. It’s well worth a visit, and from what I hear there will be another vintage ride next year! Maybe see you there.

Here are some of my ride pictures:

Wimbore Vintage Cycle Ride This Weekend

Yep, you only have 4 days to get you vintage bike and outfit ready because Wimborne Vintage Cycle Ride is nearly upon us.

I will be helping to marshall the 11 mile route from Wimborne that runs through the gorgeous surrounding country side.

So get your tweed, wool jerseys, plus four, caps, and dresses and come along.

I’m currently working on a new project for the ride and hope it will be finished in time….. featuring lashings of campagnolo! If not the trusty Carlton will come out to play.

The ride is being held as part of the Dorset goes vintage and Vdub at the pub shows just outside Wimborne on the B3078 over the 23rd/24th/25th of June. With the ride taking place on the 24th.

More info HERE