"I'm not a Mule, they tend to be competing at the highest levels or world champions. I'm just your normal MAMIL who's got hooked on cycling. Some people seem to think you're slightly mad even considering cycling 200 miles, others think it's a challenging target that would be good to complete. I let various people know that I was considering such a ride on Sat 20 June 2015 and 5 were free that day and wanted to join in the challenge.
The ride was to leave Salisbury at 8am on the Saturday morning and ride over to the Somerset coast at Brean, then head SE through Yeovil down towards Poole and Bournemouth before heading north back to Salisbury.
We all met up in Salisbury and headed west at a nice gentle speed, we wanted to make sure we too thinks steadily to ensure all got round. We did have a look at some of the sights such as Gold Hill in Shaftesbury (from the old Hovis advert) …
A few spots of drizzle as we made our way over to the coast, although nothing significant, and a head wind as well although with 6 of us to spread the time at the front things went well and we soon arrived at the seaside.
The challenge for me started at the 101 mile mark. On a bend I managed to hit a huge log with the front wheel. OK, so it wasn't exactly huge, it was about 10cm long and 2cm in diameter, so more of a twig really, but it did mean I lost the front wheel and did a dive at the tarmac. This was only on a country lane, at 17mph, so no real damage done to me. I was expecting some road rash at least, but I managed to get away with it fortunately. The bike didn't come out of it so well, slighly bent handlebars and the rear dérailleur hanger was bent. Fortunately I carry spares of most things (including hanger) with me.
Some 20 miles later the rear gear cable appears to “snap” as I changed gear, so I couldn't change gear. Rain was a little havy at this point so although I had a spare cable with me decided to carry on and change at a more appropriate spot (bust shelter or other suitably dry spot ). As we continued though I realised I could change up gears, just not down. Something within the shifter had broken.
Whilst I have spares of many things with me, I don't carry spare shifters around (not surprising really) and hence the last ~100 miles (total ride was 115 miles for me) was with the rear largely in the smallest cog. I did have 2 gears because the front shifter was working fine. The effect of this was though that I couldn't spin most of the time, rather had to “grind” away in a higher gear than I would normally have used.
Thanks goodness for MuleBar, their bars for general energy and much needed 'Kicks' for the hills. Whilst spinning the legs isn't too bad, being in too high a gear for that distance meant some extra carbs that were very much appreciated.
We averaged 16mph over the distance, which was good for a 200 mile ride, and overall we all had a great time. I'll certainly be doing such a ride again at some point, although hopefully with fully working gears next time :). Cheers, Andy."