Monday, 28 February 2011

Rapha - Cycle Clothing Par Excellence!

After twenty years of cycling in whatever smelly old t-shirt was on top of the washing pile, something has changed...

The picture at the top of the blog sums it up (here's a close-up).



Old green (well, it was green originally, it's now a sun-bleached greeny-white) polo shirt, cycling shorts with loose shorts over the top and flimsy, cheapo long-sleeved top round my waste.

Monday, 21 February 2011

You'e Got To Start Them Early!

Our son, Oscar, turned 1 a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was about time I introduced him to the joys of cycling - particularly as my long-term plan is to convince him it's his idea to cycle America coast-to-coast with me...!

So we popped down to Toys'R'Us (what a lexical car crash that is!) and bought a great little multi-coloured trike.  It starts off with a parent handle and straps for your toddler and you can gradually convert it into a normal trike which he can pedal around.

As you can see, he loves it!


Phase 1 of cycling indoctrination complete, next I've got to buy a baby seat for my bike...

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Col du Tormalet...in the West Midlands?

One of my bug bears about cycling in Birmingham (apart from having to cycle at least 6 miles to get out of the city) is that the landscape is pretty dull.

On the 30 miles ride to my Dad's in Warwickshire there's a grand total of 800 feet of elevation gain.  It's not exactly Holland, but hardly the Pyrenees...

However, I've discovered that by cycling to the West from where we live in Hall Green I can tackle some half decent hills, including Frankley (near the M5 services), Romsley and Clent, plus further south to the Lickey Hills.

The view from the Clent Hills...
In fact, the combined elevation gain from my 35 mile ride last Saturday was over 2,000 feet.  That's 600 feet more than the climb up Shap Fell, more than twice the height of Ditchling Beacon on the London-Brighton ride - and half-way up the Col du Tourmalet (not in one climb, mind!).

I'm not sure where this new-found desire to cycle up hills has come from.  When I was a mountain biker it was all about going down them...

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A Couple Of Inches Makes All The Difference...

Inspired by Rob Penn's book - and TV programme - about his ideal bike, I decided it was finally time to get my road bike sorted out.

To give a little background: after years of riding a mountain bike to commute to work, go off-road and tour, I decided a couple of years ago - as I was spending all my time cycling on the road - that it was about time I got a specialist road bike.  So I bought a carbon Trek Madone 5.2 - I'm embarrassed to say I didn't realise it was based on Lance Armstrong's Tour de France bike until after I'd bought it...!

My Trek Madone 5.2 - Note the hi-tech bike stand...