Change of pace

Pacing a ride is all-important when pedaling with a group of varying abilities and fitness levels.

Much of the countryside is underwater after a week of torrential rain

Chapeau then to RCUK’s Technical Editor, Mr O’Rourke, for leading me through 62 miles of countryside, containing some 1,300  metres of climbing.

His considered tempo saw me blow up just three miles from home, a manageable distance even when running on empty.

Tim’s invitation to ride with him and a triathlete friend and her husband had left me fearing the worst.

The prospect of spending the Sunday before Christmas in the saddle as opposed to the shops was too good to refuse, however.

Thoughts of a long and difficult journey back to base from the furthest reaches of the county, had sown the seed of doubt in my mind. Would I not be better off with another solo ride of about half the distance to ease myself back in?

All things considered, I’d say no. My confidence levels are renewed, I experienced parts of the county on two wheels I’d only previously visited on four, and am now counting the minutes until my next outing, hopefully today, if it ever stops raining. Or perhaps even if it doesn’t.

The Vivelo ARC RS on test is now equipped with a set of Crud RoadRacer Mk2 guards, a fine achievement given the minimal clearance between its cutaway downtube and rear wheel. Its Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tyres coped adequately with Sunday’s occasionally barbarous surfaces, although continuing to ride rough roads on such slender rubber may be pushing my luck.

Additionally, the Vivelo now boasts a Light and Motion Taz headlight (full review to follow) and Lezyne Micro Drive rear light, and by running lowered settings on both, I’m able to increase my visibility in daylight to motorists peering through fogged and streaming glass.

Seven days of unbroken rain has left much of the countryside waterlogged. Roads in my neck of the woods are still passable, even if railway lines are not. Wet weather gear is a necessity and I ventured out on Sunday in Endura’s Equipe bib-knicks with waterproof crotch panel, and Castelli’s rain proof Gabba short-sleeved jersey paired with their Nanoflex arm warmers and topped with their Compatto rain vest.

Against all odds, I’m happy to report, the rain held off for the duration of the ride; one broken, in the best tradition, with coffee and cake.

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