A forecast of a glorious summer’s day, a start at Shalford and a ride which should be rolling rather than hilly – what could be better? Just one issue – how do I get out of West Horsley given that all the roads I need to use to get to the start of the ride are closed for The Prudential-Surrey 100 ride (or whatever it is called)? The riders must have started at a ridiculously early time to be in West Horsley just after 8am. Hope I can cross Ripley Lane at the Guileshill Lane – Hungary Hill Lane junction and then head off to the A3 cycle path. Plan formed I set off and get to the junction – and there is a solid wall of riders, a car at the bottom of Hungary Hill Lane has its engine switched off, the driver looking very board and the marshal said it had been like this for some time and was likely to remain like it for, oh, at least another 15 minutes. I wasn’t looking at the riders to see if I could spot Peter, I was looking for a gap. How big a gap do I need to squeeze across? That big, so I went for it.

Over to the A3 cycle path – how overgrown was that going to be? It wasn’t – some kind council official had decided that it was time to be cut back and made cycle-able again. And At the Ladymead traffic lights I spotted Dane. We arrived the start point to find Jo waiting and others soon arrived. I didn’t check the time to see when Clive rolled in – but it must have been 9:10, when else does he turn up up? Seven of set off for Camelia Botnar.

It was a delightful ride – Clive set a good pace but not excessive and the temperature was perfect for riding. He clearly has his mojo back and was happy on the front. But you know what they say, “When the cat’s away the mouse does play.” So he leads us right past Café in the Park in Horsham – practically through the tables – without stopping and against the protestations of many of us who could just use a coffee and cake. And then just outside Horsham a sign says bacon sarnies to the right – we go left! We will have our revenge, don’t you worry. We went the direct route to Camelia Botnar and to see two recognisable bikes already parked up – Don and Paul.

Coffee was a drawn out affair in the sunshine before we finally retraced our way to Copsale and then headed for Southwater Street and on to Rudgwick. As we passed The Milk Churn at Rudgewick bricks works a halt was called by the pack. I wouldn’t call it a mutiny but a show of hands persuaded Clive that we were having lunch here and not at Nottcutts. We knew that Don would not be there waiting for us and it was around 2pm so we ruled out anyone else turning up unexpectedly. The Milk Churn was a great success and I hope we visit it again sometime. I can recommend the harvest apple cake with ice cream. Over lunch one who is not known for a love hills said that we had not done enough and Warwicks Bench would done on the way home. (Alas I am forbidden to name names and give the direct quote – but this will be remembered and might be used in evidence against you.) Someone else, rather foolhardily in my humble opinion, suggested that I ought to do the tour of the hills as I was good at climbing or some such nonsense, whereupon a discussion ensued of how many metres of climb had to be scaled and how fit Peter must be – we are expecting to hear of a record time for Pru 100. Anyway, as I have finger to keyboard let me just say I like riding, not suffering and I think the hot sun must had got to them. Hope you get better soon.

Clive did his usual disappearing trick and the rest of us made our ways to our homes. A decent 88 miles completed and home at a reasonable hour – only to find the wife had disappeared to watch the pro race on Ranmore Common. Just for you Paul – normalised average power output of 179 watt. Quite a bit below what I would do it I was if I was having a burn.

But what a lovely ride in glorious weather down some of the pleasantest lanes – just a perfect summer’s ride.

  1. Julian’s measurements nicely confirm how sensible it is for the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle Regulations, to disallow assistance motors with a continuous rated output higher than 250W.

    The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that such vehicles can be regarded as just like pedal cycles, i.e. that their performance does not markedly exceed that of pedal cycles. Some argue it’s enough that the motor is required to cut out whenever the bike goes faster than 25kmph. But it isn’t. To avoid utterly un-bicycle-like acceleration and hill-climbing performance, the motor power must be and is also limited – to a level comparable with a reasonably well-tuned human engine. Much more than that would surely stretch the definition of ‘assistance’!

    Just like the human engine, an electric motor is capable of delivering more power for a short interval, however it’ll get hot and cut out (or melt!) if overrun for long. The continuous rated output is defined as that which the motor delivers once it’s warmed up and without getting any hotter, which for Julian appears to be something between the old UK EAPC power limit of 200W, and the 250W limit accepted by European legislation, that is soon to be adopted by UK.

    Two hundred and fifty watts actually seems rather generous, given that even a feeble rider will also contribute a few watts. However I don’t begrudge the users of these machines a little extra help, to compensate for the extra weight of motor, battery and a strong enough frame to support them.

  2. Chris
    The difference between normalised power and average power is best described here: http://cyclingtips.com.au/2009/07/average-vs-normalized-power/
    On Sunday I did average power = 135; normalised power = 179; instantaneous peak power of 702; peak power sustained for 5 secs = 672 watts.

    In comparison on a ride when I pushed quite hard but it was a very flat route (hence lower instantaneous peak) the numbers are: average power = 190; normalised = 221; peak 610; 5 sec sustained = 517 watts

    The other measures that were collected also suggest a relatively lazy ride:for 40% of the ride my heart rate was in the recovery zone; for 16% of the ride I was not pedalling and my perception of the ride was that it was a very easy ride.

    With the title of the piece I had the phrase “lazy summer days” in mind as it was such a glorious day. On Monday I was not able to finish the piece until the evening and I wanted to get it posted rather than write another epic and make the most of the title but have to delay posting until sometime on Tuesday.

    I can sustain about 215 watts for 30 mins, 285 watts for 5 mins and 750 watts for 5 secs and that is suffering.

    The software I use is not as clear as I would like – so I assume that all wattages given are actual except the “normalised power” which is as described in the link above.

  3. Hmm… I don’t know what ‘normalised’ means in this context, but 179 watts doesn’t sound lazy to me. I’m intrigued. You say you like riding, not suffering. Do you happen to have noted the wattage at which the transition from the former to the latter occurs?