So today I was planning to do a ride from a fellow gravelist but it turned out that most of the tracks were frequently used mountainbike tracks and due to the recent rainfall and weekend traffic they turned into mud pools. Now, I don’t mind a little mud and some technical passages but not for 90 % of the ride. So after a few kilometres I decided to cancel the track on my GPS and start finding tracks I haven’t ridden before.
I ended up finding som nice roads and some know places as well. When I was riding my race bike these was one of my favourite regions to ride. So came across some well known places but that made it easy to turn right the other way towards I had no idea where i might end up.
The beginning and the end are asphalt next to the river Rupel but once you get past that there is a lot of dust roads to discover on this 52 km track
Nice first decent gravel ride of the year. Very happy to find out that i didn’t loose all of my fitness over the winter. Near the end my gear train kinda gave up on me. Stopped in few times to try and fix it but unfortunately, no luck doing that! Single speed home 🙂
My youngest daughter, Liv, broke her wrist and strained the other one during an Indoor Snowboard camp. The sun finally got out and I wanted her to enjoy the nice weather. I took her for a spin with my e-Bullitt cargo bike and placed the Insta360 X2 in front of her. She was thrilled!
When it comes to bikes there is a simple mathematics rule that applies based on the Velominati rules.
Rule N°12 implies: While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n + 1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s – 1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner. Source: What is N+1 – NX Trails
I’ve owned several bikes in the past: from a Specialized race bike, a cinelli fixed gear, to an Achielle city bike, Mountainbikes, CX bikes and so on… I can honestly say that that owning multiple bikes make me happier in life, for the simple reason that all of those bikes are designed to be used for a specific purpose, season, ground condition. When I was riding my race bike I felt limited when I passed a cool kinda muddy gravel path and could not ride that. When riding a mountain bike in my region I felt a bit stupid that 70% of the track was on asphalt, … So every specific bike that I owned gave me more limitations than opportunities.
Finally had the time to do another ride away from home. Starting point would be “Oostduinkerke” at the Belgian coast. Those who know me are aware of my dislike for busy beaches and crowded areas. Nevertheless my friend @belgianbiker was there and that was the perfect excuse to get out and bring the family along: kids on the beach, boys on the bike. Everybody happy! Getting there in traffic jams is part of the deal when going to the beach and the fact that I was in sleep deprivation wasn’t doing me any good. But I was focussed on making the best out of it.
A very a-typical ride in my perspective. This 120 km ride is about 85% road only. The other 15 % off road is doable with a road bike and in case of doubt you can always found a way around the offroad sections.
I wasn’t in great shape this morning when I left but I decided to leave anyway and see how far we got. The gentle wind pushing me in the back gave me a false feeling of confidence. I paid that in cash on the way back. The winds from Saeftinghe until Antwerp, for about 50km, were very strong, head on and the landscape is unforgivingly flat with nothing to hide against the wind. But hey, part of the game we play. I had to boost myself a couple of times but in the end I made home tired but satisfied.
This is the first ride that I created completely with the new Strava Routes function. Underground was set to unpaved and distance to about 100 km. I was a bit sceptic about it because my earlier experiences weren’t that great. But I gave it a new chance and to be honest I was quite surprised by the result. Overall the route was great, it choose unpaved tracks over obvious shorter paved routes nearby. There were often times I wanted to opt for a little detour to get some extra unpaved pieces but I kept to the track.
5.30 am: Early Start of the day for this 85km track. I wanted to be out before the heat got on!This is actually a shortcut on my 120km track to Tielt-Winge: “GX – Stairway to Heaven”. I wanted an option for a shorter ride when I was in short of time or when the legs weren’t that great. The shortcut is a real nice piece of gravel, fits perfectly in my cycling philosophy. But to be honest If you take the 12O km track, the real beauty starts right after where the short cut is. Now you have a choice on the go 😉 On the way back made a detour for a coffee meetup and have some breakfast in Mechelen.
A fair bit of rain last night so I changed my riding plans from a technical gravel ride to a more straight surface. I don’t mind getting dirty and riding some muddy tracks but it had been pouring all night: there’s mud and there’s mud. Anyway, I rode another track that is about 130 km long and I’m still not convinced whether I like it or not.
You see, it has huge amounts of straight roads, asphalt and I don’t like that. But then there were also huge stretches of gravel, old fashioned hard soiled gravel. I’m not a great fan of that either. But still when I got home I was quit satisfied. Instead of doing slow and technical gravel rides this was a speedy gravel ride. I think a lot of my buddies would tag this as favourite. So it wasn’t the best type of ride for me but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this one. I left at dawn again, with some pancakes on my stomach and the rest of them for the family when they woke up. Once on the bike and out on the dikes close to my home I was already excited to see the great morning light. That is one of the main reasons of leaving so early, having that great morning light! The other reason is that I can ride longer or slower and still be home somewhere in the afternoon. and the clouds today where just stunning! #cloudlover
Since I’ve been doing some longer distances and all day rides, I’ve come to conclude that I needed to change the packing configuration of my bike. I gave it some serious thought and looked into different items that I could or prefer to use. The most important thing was the fact that I want it to be modular. Meaning that I have different options for different rides. I want the bike always to be as less bulky as possible. I also know I’m a gear hauler, I probably take too much with me, especially rain and warm gear. I don’t mind riding in the rain but I do like to stay dry & warm on my body.
The main problem I had during the last couple of rides was shortage of water. I drink a lot during my rides, carrying two bottles of 0,8 litres isn’t enough for me. That ‘ll get me trough half the day maybe three quarters. That’s still a fair amount of the day that needs water. The easiest way is to look for a house or someone outside his house and ask for a refill. That’s how I managed it up till now. But it sometimes took me quit the detour to find someone at home or even someone willing to do so. Corona times didn’t make that any easier.