Hi, it’s been a while; happy New Year! A few weeks before Christmas I bought myself another bike as an early present (I’m worth it). I doubt bikes feature as much on kids wish lists as they did when I was younger, but for me a bike was always a prized possession.

I worked my way up through the Raleigh range, until I received my first ‘racer’. Bikes meant freedom and it was that Peugeot racer that meant I could easily travel to surrounding villages on adventures.

Sadly, my love of cycling waned after getting my first car, it wasn’t until a few years later that I bought my first mountain bike. Cycling not only makes me feel like a kid again (although I often act like one), but it’s a form of exercise I actually find enjoyable.

New bike – Cannondale Topstone Sora

Whilst I love my mountain bike, most of the rides I go on aren’t that suited to it. I’d often thought of getting a road bike, but they seemed a bit serious for me, plus I do like riding trails etc, so may have proved inhibitive. After much research I ended up buying a gravel or adventure bike, as they’re called. I’d not heard of the term until a couple of months ago, but in simple terms they’re a road bike with thicker tyres, flared handle bars and more eyelets for racks and mudguards etc. They originated in the USA, where they have long gravel roads, in the UK we have canal and railway cycle paths.

Having clocked-up my first 150 miles or so I have to say, I’m loving it. The ability to go faster and further than on my mountain bike opens up lots of new routes and possibilities. This coming spring will hopefully see me try my hand at ‘bikepacking’, Although on top of the camping gear I intend to squeeze some camera gear onto the bike too!

Leicestershire bike ride video

I often use a GoPro attached to my car to help document photography trips, and with a new bike, I couldn’t resist doing the same. I think the GoPro looks pretty good on the bike and blends in well. Time-lapse video makes the ride look more interesting, I’ve tried shooting in real time but even my fastest downhill effort looked quite dull. I might leave the real time video for the mountain bike.

A higher quality 4k version of the below video (looks great full screen) can be viewed directly on Vimeo with this link https://vimeo.com/382780751

The route starts in Castle Donington and takes in:

  • Hemington
  • Lockington
  • Kegworth
  • Long Whatton
  • Belton
  • Osgathorpe
  • Worthington (Cloud trail and village)
  • Tonge (Cloud trail)
  • Wilson (Cloud trail)
  • Melbourne (OK, that’s in Derbyshire)
  • Donington Park
    …and back to Donington.

A couple of interesting points in the video are when I followed someone on a Segway and when a plane came into land and East Midlands Airport.

I don’t intend to video every ride, but I’m sure they’ll be a few more to come, if only for my own enjoyment!