Setup Is Everything.

The Brotherhood Check In – When you ride a bike you sort of forget that it is in actual fact a machine and as such has moving parts and components that wear. You might ask why does this matter and what are they going on about? Well let us tell you.

When you ride these parts are under constant strain. You are changing gear constantly and breaking. all this puts stress on to your bike. the wearing down of parts such as chains and cogs happens so slowly that you might not even notice. However, it is important! VERY IMPORTANT to make sure that when these things wear out that they get fixed. That’s why before every major bike ride we do we get the bikes checked out. But it is also important to make sure that you have someone look at the bike that knows what they are doing because the last thing you need is for gears to start flipping or breaks to be catching when you are on a ride.

This year we were very lucky to have a friend of Simon’s (Who is a bike mechanic) to come over to look at all three bikes. And boy did we learn a thing or two!

FACT – Setup really is everything!!!

As we said before in a lot of cases the changes in your bikes wear are so subtle that you don’t notice. But they soon add up. With David going over the bikes we soon found plenty of things that needed to be looked at. But simple things can make all the difference. Here are some tips that we learnt;

  1. Check your tyre pressures! If you intend to do any ride make sure you have the right tyre pressures for the terrain that you will be on. we found that on all three bikes our tyres were too soft. this lead to there being more resistance on the road to slow you down.
  2. Breaks – everyone thinks that they know how to set up breaks. but the truth is that if you get it even slightly wrong then they simply won’t be as effective as they should be.
  3. Cables – Break and gear cables age. They can deteriorate and become stiff in the sleeving. better to check to see if they are running freely.
  4. Keep it clean! this isn’t just about the bike although it does help but also about the chain set and gears. if you over oil the chain you will do more damage than good. Grit will stick to the oil and will then wear against the moving parts this will cause them to wear out faster. Not good.


As you can see there were a lot of things that needed to be looked at and David Bell did a fantastic job of putting things right. Our advice would be however good you think you might be with your bike sometimes it’s better to pay and have a pro look at it for you. Peace of mind indeed.

David very kindly offered his services for free to us as a sort of sponsorship offer. to which we are very grateful. Please support us and his good work. you can find his contact details on his website – Currently being built or contact any of The Brotherhood if you would like contact details. The Web address is below;


Three Men Ride Again.

On friday night, three of those that will be riding through London were together to have a training ride on some hills. to make sure that we were fit enough as there is very little time left to train.

Although quite a short ride at just 8.54 miles, it was quite hilly which is good as this helps to test recovery times from hills that we may find on the route. all those on tonights bike ride did well. Simon particularly because he has been recovering from surgery to remove his appendix!!! Now if thats not dedication then we don’t know what is.

So with any luck it looks like we are starting to get to a point where we feel ready to take on our challenge. Over the weekend the bikes are going to be serviced and made ready by a good friend. And then here will be time for one more ride before the big event.

If you haven’t done it yet then please show us your support and sponsor us. It means a lot to us all.


Psychological Barrier Broken

Today I attempted the big one. I know in my mind that once I have passed the 45 mile barrier, no matter what the distance, I can manage the target I have set. So today I set off for Portsmouth with the intention of crossing both the harbour and my invisible barrier. The weather was with me which was nice for a change so I headed foe Lea on the Solent via Stubbington and Tichfield – a very pretty ride on a sunny day. This was followed by a ride along the coast to Stokes Bay and the little Gosport Ferry.

In Portsmouth there is a hidden cycle track that takes you through all the little back streeets and around the harbour, across to the Eastern side of the island. This is quite sheltered so is an easy ride. Eastern Avenue follows the shore of Chichester Harbour with views across to Hayling Island. Eventually you end up on Southsea front. Its about a 3 mile ride along the shore back to the ferry – and a welcome rest!!

Once into Gosport its back along the old railway to Rowner, Stubbington and the usual route home. All in all a lovely ride, although I have to say I am completely cream crackered!! Never mind, I did it that’s the main thing.


Distance – 45.29 miles

Average Speed – 11.1 mph

Total time (including ferry and and lunch stop – 5 hours

Run Forest Run

The next stage in my training regime called for a change of pace and direction. Rather than heading east as is my usual direction, I decided to head west and into the New Forest. This also entailed a move away from the flat, distance ride to something more ‘lumpy’!!!!

I started with my first attempt this year to conquer my nemesis, the infamous Bursledon Hill. I was very pleased to report that I did actually manage it in one go – a bit puffed but still there. This was then followed by a second hill up to the Hamble road and then down into Royal Victoria Country Park, up the Netley Hill (yes there’s a theme developing) and out along Weston Shore to the apparently unimposing Itchen Bridge. All this is, by the way with the wind behind me! The Itchen Bridge is very deceptive. It doesn’t look steep, but it is – and long – but the ride down is fun!!

Then I wound my way through Southampton on Cycle Tracks, avoiding the horrendously busy main roads and into the very pretty village of Eling, the half way point. Here more hills started to present themselves together with the fact that I had now turned into the wind. Eling turned into Marchwood and Longdown before crossing back towards Hythe via the very lumpy Applemore. This part was tough trying to keep the pace up as well as coping with hills. Although they were not large, the constant up and down exercised everything severely!

Hythe was a blessing because they have a nice promenade there looking out over Southampton Water – and a very nice Fish & Chip shop!! I spent a pleasant half an hour’s rest eating sausage in batter and chips and fending off the seagulls! When it came to return via the Hythe Ferry, I had a bit of a shock as they had decided not to run the next ferry and I had an hour to wait. The bottom half of me rejoiced that it was spared another hour in the saddle, but the top half reminded me that it would get cold and start to seize up. Sure enough, coming off the ferry everything was very stiff and not very powerful.

The return was back over the bridge and down Weston Shore, but I found a shortcut that thankfully avoided Netley Hill, and then on to the Country Park, turing right towards the Hamble river and the Ferry. This latter was ready and waiting for me thankfully so a swift crossing ensued. Final bit was up another hill into the village and back home to Gemma’s to be rewarded with a nice cup of tea and homemade cake – Yum!!


Distance – 36 miles

Average Speed 11.1 mph

Time – (not counting the wait for the Ferry but including other stops) 3 hours 45 mins

Knees – painful

Bottom – well oiled with Moo Cream!!

Hospital Visit Puts A Halt To Training.

Simon check in – ok well this has put a stop to the training. On Saturday morning I was not feeling very well and ended up going to hospital in an ambulance for what is now believed to be an appendix problem.

Rather than being out getting a little bit of training in this weekend, I am sitting on a hospital bed feeling quite ill and not having eaten anything since Friday. Not an ounce of training in sight. I have been waiting for an operation to have my appendix removed now for two days and am getting a bit fed up of no food or action. Normally I am quite active even when feeling ill but this really has knocked the stuffing out of me. There is nothing that I can do though until I get the pain sorted so just have to sit here and wait.


At least the bed is quite comfortable!!!

I suppose the one thing that I am most worried about it that if I don’t heal too well bearing in mind how little time I have to train that I either won’t be fit enough to ride my bike even for the event itself. Does anyone know how long it might take to recover from my op? Because I have no clue. Lets just hope that its not too long I really don’t want to miss out on this one.

A Ride To Swimming and Back.

Simon Key check in – So the idea today was to combine both swimming and riding the bike to give me a double work out. You will see from the MAP TRACK that I left the timer on while in the pool so that I could keep both parts of the ride on the same route.

Combining the two seemed like a good idea because its the ultimate cross training to get the leg work out on the bike and the cardio in the pool it also increases my work out.

Because of family commitments I could not be out all day. So had to make sure I made the best of the time I had available to train. And it’s better for the environment too 🙂

The bike training is best viewed on the MAP TRACK where you can see the route and the hills along it.

For the swimming I managed;

49 lengths on swim level 2 session 85 same as previous weeks but adding 4 lengths of leg kicks for extra pain.

What Goes Down, Must Go Up!

Simon Key Check In – Today’s ride was not about distance but more to do with performance. To test to see what my fitness level was like. With training for events in the past we have built up a memory for curtain routes and this is a good way guage your current fitness level.

This time I chose Burseldon hills while they might not be intimidating to some, these hills are a good indication to me of my own fitnessi do seem to quite like a hill challenge I don’t like to be beaten by one. As such, doing this route would tells where I was in comparison to other years. Normally we only do part of the route that I did today but I really wanted to push to see what I could do and to be honest, I’m quite please with the result.


This picture doesn’t really do the hill credit. But this is the first big hill I climbed in Burseldon today. It might not look like much but if you look at the map track you can see its not small climbing about 140 feet.


This second hill is much longer and in places steeper than the first and is a killer at mile 6 !! But yet this was not enough punishment I then took a longer route home to take in a smaller but still significant hill around mile 12 which after completing the feast of the circuit, still felt a lot longer.

The one thing that I have learnt today. If you go down a hill, there will only be another one round the corner!!!!

Please take a look at the MAP TRACK to see details of the full ride.

An Afternoon By The Sea.

Roger Key check in – My next step in the training programme was to manage 25 miles. So todays trip was to Stokes Bay on the coast at Gosport. Its generally a nice ride as it starts and finishes by cycling along the coast. It was a bit cloudy but that’s OK as it can get hot. However, the wind today was very strong reacing 18mph coming out of the south west – a bit heavy if its in your face – which it was all the way back!!

Still I managed 28 miles at an avearge speed of 11.6 mph. Not bad in the circumstances.

One Third Distance

Check in Simon Key – OK so this particular post is a little bit late. I went out on the bike on Sunday morning thinking that I really need to make sure that I had put some miles under my belt. The issue was trying to motivate myself after being ill for a few weeks. I had to make sure that I was careful not to make the situation worse but needed to make sure that I was getting the fitness level right for the ride.

I decided that I would go all out and try to go for one third of the distance of the bike ride to see how it went. I managed the distance quite well with only a few stops along the way. I had tried to reduce the number of stops that I needed to take so that I still pushed hard but stopped when my body was telling me that I needed to.

As you will see from the map track below, the ride is quite intensive and takes in some small but steep hills which can really take the energy out of your legs. I had the wind in my face all the way back and as you can see from the split times that can really ruin your day. in all I think that I did pretty well considering not feeling very well too. but still feel like I would like to improve a fair amount before the ride. After all its not just about finishing the ride it’s about doing it and being able to enjoy it too.


Bike Ride 2013-4-21

You can also see further information about the ride including spit times and speed by clicking on the following link.

Click here to see my Bike Ride Track.

Please support us by spending a few pounds to sponsor all our hard work. All the money goes to a very worthy charity. if you would like to find out more there is a link on our links page of the site.

Click here to sponsor the brotherhood.