Category Archives: Video

The Two Matt’s race to the summit of Mont Ventoux! (video)

Hi Guys!

Here is the long awaited video of our epic ascent to the top of Mont Ventoux. Just watching this video is enough to bring back painful memories for the both of us. It was an incredible ride, up the same road that Chris Froome mounted his assault on the yellow jersey of last year’s Tour de France.

We hope you enjoy the video!

The 2 Matts’s

Excitement is Building!

Hi guys & gals!

Just over a month until we leave and things are coming together nicely! Yesterday was spent in Charlie the Bikemonger’s putting the finishing touches to our bikes. They are now ready to be loaded up and ready to go!

Our Bikes

After much research and advice from our various contacts, our choice for bikes happened purely by chance.

Matt 2 had heard through social media that there was some German TV filming going on not far away and they needed some cyclists to use as extras. As it was a nice (if a bit chilly) day, he thought it would be a good laugh to go along! In the end, the film crew didn’t have time to include the cyclists. However, Matt got a lot more out of that day than a few £’s and some food!

Another cyclist at the filming just happened to be a Bikemonger by trade. Matt got chatting to him about touring, and it happens that not only had this guy been touring himself many times, but his shop stocked some pretty darn good touring bikes! Matt then looked these bikes up on the internet, and found that these bikes ticked all the right boxes. After chatting to Matt 1 about this discovery, the decision was made. They’d tour Europe on Surly Disc Trucker’s.

For all you budding cycle tourists out there (I know you’re hiding somewhere!), we thought we’d put together a few points on what we looked for in our bikes. We’ll take this opportunity to go through the features of the Surly Disc Trucker and explain why it was the number one choice for us.

Frame & Forks.

Key point- made of steel. Steel was our choice. It’s heavy compared with Carbon and Aluminium, but it is far easier to weld. If we are in a distant corner of Europe and need a frame repaired, all we will have to worry about is the language barrier and finding someone with welding tools!

Crankset.

26/36/48t. Key point- granny gears! The crankset offers us a brilliant range of gears, which will be invaluable when hauling our gear up the numerous mountain ranges on our tour route.

Brakes.

Disc. Key point- Safe and reliable. Having disc brakes will help us on long descents as they can offer superior stopping power without overheating like many standard rim brakes.

Gear shifters.

Old school bar-end style. Key point- Easy to adjust and fix. As opposed to many of the gears used on road bikes nowadays, there is less indexing on bar-end shifters. Far simpler to fix when they brake. (we love the old school look too!)

Saddle.

Brooks B70. Key point- Old school leather that moulds to your bum! This was an extra that we decided to add to the bike. After looking around and remaining undecided on Brooks’ saddles, we looked around and noticed that many other tourers choose them. Following advice from Andrew P Sykes (Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie, cyclingeurope.org) we decided to go for it. So far they are hard, but are breaking in nicely!

Other features on the Disc Trucker were that they include 2 spare spokes on the frame of the bike, and all frames are drilled for pannier racks as standard. Charlie also stocks wonderful items called wisecrackers. They fill the double purpose of being both a headset spacer and a bottle opener!

wisecracker

Surly really seem to look at small details of touring, which all culminates in a bike that looks, feels and rides as a tourer should. Solid, yet comfortable.

The Bikemonger’s

Bikemongers

Having ordered our bikes, we endured a few weeks waiting while Matt 1 finished off his commitments with university. Charlie (the Bikemonger) had been kind enough to allow us into his workshop so we could learn (and input) how the bikes were put together. This was brilliant as we could pick up all the information on how to adjust the gears, calibrate the disc brakes and generally gain a deeper insight to how they work. Hopefully this knowledge will come in handy if our bikes decide to break down while touring! We even brought our cameras along so you, our awesome followers could gain a glimpse into this process too. We hope you enjoy!

Tour of Europe Bike Construction on Vimeo.

Matt 2's noble steedMatt 2's steed

Training with Matt 2 (part 2) Pre-Wiggle sportive

Hi Readers!

In addition to the previous post on training, I thought I’d write a short introduction to a sportive I’m riding with this weekend. The Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive is set over a gruelling course which follows many of the roads in the New Forest. A few friends and I will be tackling the “epic” 84 mile course.

On Tuesday I rode around much of the course and gained a good idea of which areas to be worried about. To name one, Blissford Hill includes a 25% incline which threatens to force many cyclists to get off and walk. On my recce ride, I managed to grind my way to the top, but the incline definitely has earned my respect! Below are links to the Garmin Connect and the Strava logs of this ride.

Garmin Connect - Sway-Lymington-Highcliffe
Strava - Wiggle Sportive Recce

I’ll take some photos and video as much of the ride as possible, along with the usual Garmin Connect and Strava logs. Please keep your fingers and toes crossed for some good weather! Expect another blog post early next week (that is if I’ve survived the sportive!)

Thanks for reading!

Matt 2

Training with Matt 2 (part 1)

Hi there readers, Matt 2 here!

Many people have been asking both of us about how we are going about training for the tour. I have been riding long rides (50 miles +) at least once a week, most weeks since the beginning of winter. I began by getting in touch with my local cycling club, Bournemouth Arrow CC, just asking for what regular rides go on in the local area. They put me in contact with a very experienced local rider who sent me a long list of all sorts of rides leaving at various times each week from all over the Bournemouth area. All levels of riding are very well catered for, which instantly put me at ease as I had no idea of the level I could ride at. I promptly joined a steady group which leave every Saturday for a fair distanced ride to and around the Burley area of the New Forest (most Saturday rides involve a loop around Burley, mainly for its fantastic tea rooms!). This ride went really well and I felt welcomed into the group instantly.

In the following few weeks, I built up a good enough level of fitness (or so I thought) that I could begin trying to mix it with the big boys! These guys typically do a 60-70 mile loop at a strong average pace, meeting at the tea rooms in Burley before heading their separate ways. I was very wrong on this first ride, as I was left behind from the group on one of the first climbs! A couple of riders, who I know very well now dropped back to see me to the tea rooms safely. This was needed as virtually every muscle in both of my legs had cramped up at this point.

Since that day, I’ve been slowly but surely building up a reasonable level of fitness, and now really enjoy the Saturday morning rides, painful as they are!

Garmin 810Recently I’ve purchased a cool new gadget: the Garmin Edge 810! I bought it both for its brilliant reputation as a cycle computer and for it’s effectiveness as a mapping tool. Both features should help us out massively when in Europe. The live tracking and auto uploading features should also keep all our followers in the loop as to where we are, and how well we’ve been riding! So far the Garmin has far surpassed my expectations.

Throughout my training I’ll be uploading data to both Strava and Garmin Connect. Both of these websites are fantastic for analysing rides, especially Strava’s “suffer score”

Last week I did a 50 mile ride around the New Forest with some friends. It was my first opportunity to use both the GoPro camera we’ve bought for the tour and the Garmin 810.

Here is a video which contains a few clips from this ride, as soon as we find a decent editing software we will be pumping out videos of a much higher quality:

Ride 03/04/2013 from Matt Wallis on Vimeo.

Garmin Connect - Sway-Lymington-Highcliffe
 

The Garmin Connect log for this ride can be found by clicking on this icon.

Strava - Sway-Lymington-Highcliffe
 

The Strava log for this ride can be found by clicking this icon.