Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Bad Wind

No this is not a post about me eating too many greens! So the sun in London has definitely come out to play. The roads are swarming with cyclists and all in all it is a total pleasure going into work by bike, but when I say “going into” I really do mean the morning ride – in the evening going back it is a whole different story.
Firstly let’s start with gradient – on the way onto work (as I have mentioned before I have a lovely long slope of ¾ of a mile which starts steep and then gradually levels off – this is perfect for getting to top speed and then maintaining it. The problem is I have to navigate this same hill on the way back – so at the end of the ride I have this killer hill that sucks all your energy out on a long gradual slope and then kills you off with a final steep bit at the end. Well I could deal with this slope a lot more effectively if it wasn’t also for the fact that I also seem to be cursed with a strong wind blowing into my face for most of the journey home and the wind seems to double on this final hill.
There are two things in cycling I am not dealing with fully, one is hills and the other is wind. When the two are combined I feel like crying! So I am thinking on finding a solution. I could maybe put drop bars on my bike (currently it is a T bar) but this would ruin the whole reason for buying the bike in the first place. Or maybe I could put those triathlon aero bars on the bike – but this looks so try hard. To be honest I am at a total loss, every time I think about looking like a Muppet I decided not to change or add to the handlebar, then every evening I hit that hill and the wind blows and I regret being so timid.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Daily Commute - a curious accident - Ouch.

Right now I am working on a long post about how to get more people on their bikes (very Norman Tebbit of me) in London. But I had a bit of a weird accident on my way to work today so I thought I would just post about it and let you have a laugh at my expense again.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Make mine a short - pair of that is.

An important topic of discussion, now that we have had a sudden jump in the quality of the weather this week, is that of which shorts to wear.

Now these lycra / spandex shorts are all well and fine when you are on the bike, nothing out of place there, but the minute you get off the bike you look like a total Muppet wearing a nappy. So the obvious solution is to wear a pair of shorts over them, any such shorts need to meet a few requirements.

  • Look good off the bike 
  • Look good on the bike 
  • Not be too flappy  
  • Hide the nappy underneath 
  • Be comfortable (sealed seams and all that malarkey). 

Now wearing a pair of sport shorts etc. may look good in the gym or on the beach, they are just not going to cut it if you walk into a pub or restaurant, basically you will look like a builder just come off site and what is the point of owning a bike if you can’t stop off at a pub mid journey? Besides their nappy hiding abilities are at best limited.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

CycleStreets App

So I hunted high and low and I found it – yep an app I don’t really like, neither do I find it that useful (hang on aren’t those two things one and the same)?  The name of this wonderful find is CycleStreets.

So what is it?
Well it is a route planner – much like Google maps – the only difference being it is not a very good map that is shown with poor resolution but it is supposed to map out perfect routes for cyclists - I wish.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Internal Combustion Engine Vs. The bike

Maybe this is a little politically incorrect of me, this being a cycling Blog and all, but I cannot fail but to be impressed by the internal combustion engine. I mean really think about it, I have on more than a few occasions, as I have been sweating and puffing my way up some steep hill, thought about the fact that I could be reclined in a nice comfortable leather seat – the sound system wafting music set at the right level into my ear and with a little extra pressure from my right foot I will bound up to the top of the hill at 50 mph without a by your leave. Really it is a marvel of modern engineering that my 2 tons of cars can fly up the same hill as I am working so hard to get up on my carbon fibre bike. You may not like the car but you cannot fail but be impressed at how brilliant the engineering is. Two tons of car me and 50 mph – all for ¼ a cup of fuel, and this is before we get into all the safety factors, air bags, crumple zones etc. Sometimes I really wonder why I push myself up that hill when 3 pence of fuel (even at current prices) could do it for me.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Daily Commute 2 (part b)

To continue my story of last week’s commute....

Despite the ignominy of two comedy dismounts, I also had a couple of successes and a useful lesson.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Daily Commute 2

Well with all the pothole related posts at the tail end of last week I didn’t even get to do my Daily Commute update which is a shame because a few things happened both good and bad and quite a few my error!

So let’s deal with the humiliation of last week first and get it all over and done with – I was not cool on a number of occasions last week. To expand let me give a little background, I have as a few keen eyed readers will have spotted had “issues” with pedals (you can read about it here if you care) so I took the plunge and went for some clipless pedals (basically I started using cleats). I read all the reviews, determined that this would be the last pair of pedals I would buy in a long time – I will go through all of it in a later post – anyway the reviews were full of glowing recommendations about the pedals and listed how they had not had a comedy dismount with their new pedals, righty ho I think to myself these are the ones for me.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Fill That Hole!

Following on from my rant yesterday about potholes I feel it is time to up the timing of this post and provide you all with some additional advice on how to report potholes.

Why report a pothole?

A reasonable question but there are two very important things to know one legal and one political.

A Holy Rant

Time for another rant I feel, my bile levels are up but, to be honest, I don’t think they could ever be high enough to deal with this topic. Being of sound and reasonable mind and as I may have mentioned before  “Oh best beloved” (look at me coming over all Rudyard Kipling) I am rather good at buying the right things. So when I bought my bike I went for Carbon Forks – these had Specialized FACT carbon legs a system to dampen bumps in the road, so sorted!

No matter how early I get up in the morning I seemed to be programmed never to leave the house until 08:30. This is fine in the sense that I can cycle to work in 38 minutes, but then comes the hassle of waiting for the dopy doorman to open the electric gate to the underground parking where I leave my bike, pulling off the various detachable bits on my bike that can be stolen with ease, next I have to lock my bike, get the lift up to the ground floor, walk to the office and then struggle to find my door pass that has moved to some hidden recess in my rucksack. All in all it is usually about 09:20 by the time I am at my desk - I also have to get changed into my suit, but I have always remembered the wise words a senior manager told me when I was a callow youth “never take a dump at home, always make sure you do it on company time”. So therefore I am not overly concerned about the time I take to get changed into my suit.

Nevertheless, I would dearly love to leave the house at 08:15 or earlier, so I could just take a casual ride into work sometimes and arrive fresh and not covered in sweat. Also it would give me a chance to avoid the topic of my rant. So there you are, you have struggled up a hill and are now bombing down the other side, the wind is in your face, you have selected the highest gear and you are breaking the speed limit – result! Then it happens, thunk, front wheel wobble no padding in your pants, let alone your fancy carbon forks, is going to deal with the Potholes that you have just hit.