Finding the right shorts for cycling is something akin to finding the right girl or boy. You know, The One. You’ve got to try many before you find that special something unless you get lucky first time and never stray again. It’s true to say I’ve yet to find my true match – I’m talking anatomical chamois padding here, not the boy girl thing!
When the team at SKINS came knocking with an offer to review some of their cycle clothing I was intrigued. Their clothing has great user reviews on Wiggle and Chain Reaction plus they are big into their compression clothing, technology they have transferred to cycling bib shorts and jerseys.
A guide to what, resting? Are you serious? Yes, very. Knowing when and how to rest is the single most important consideration if you want to become a faster, stronger cyclist. More important than how to train properly, more important than nutrition or aerodynamics or losing weight. More important than the bike you ride. Whaaaa? I know!
Oi you, get off that bike and take a break will you? Without rest all of the above is simply wasted effort because you will be too tired to benefit. I’ve been on a quest dear readers. For two years I’ve searched the farthest recesses of Google, of my body [eugh].
The suffering is over. Many hard miles logged, metres climbed. You’re so tired you’re unsure of your own name. After a hard ride there’s only one thing on your mind. It’s not stretching. Or active recovery, or even your ‘nutrition strategy’ otherwise known as eating. No. Get me off this bike, you think. Now.
You’re off the bike. For once your precious is far from your thoughts. You’ve abandoned it somewhere, you’re not sure where, you don’t care. Feet on the ground, the earth seems to move, a sailor returning to land after months at sea. Only it’s your legs that are quaking, quivering under the load. You fumble with your door keys like a drunk after a big night out.
Oh. My. God. How do people cycle to work each day, like this, are they mental? This was my reaction to commuting in London recently despite the fact I’ve commuted in the city by bike for over ten years.
So what changed? Well I moved house and had to find a new route to work. Lazy, I began with a direct route on major roads. Never, ever, ever again. No room to manoeuvre, to enjoy, to breathe. Cars, buses, motorbikes, cyclists. Everywhere. Swarms of the things. Overwhelmed, my brain fried and nerves frayed.
You were not my first love. No, I wrongfully deceived both you and myself for many a wasted year, flirting with football, frolicking with running, and goofing around with golf. And let’s hear no talk of the sordid affair with alcohol. What was I thinking?
Yet throughout you were always there, waiting demurely in the shed. Oh forgive me for locking you away in there and letting you rust. It wasn’t you, it was me. Continue reading →
Hailing outside, I decided to go for a spin grind up the new Zwift Watopia mountain routes. First impressions? The graphics are stunning. From the mountain vistas and single track winding roads, to the snow and the mist, and the small details such as the cracks in the road.
Once upon a time riding a bike was something I did to get to a friend’s house. Said friend lived colossal distances away. About 200 of your adult metres. We would go on bike adventures that strayed a massive 500 metres from our homes. We were 7 years old and bikes were something to play with. Not exactly what you might call a cyclist.
For many this is where our relationship with the bike ends. A tiny minority stick with their two-wheeled friend but most progress to sex, drugs and rock & roll before er, progressing to cars, a mortgage and buying bikes for their own kids.
Yet an increasing number of us are rediscovering the humble bicycle. This makes me happy. Although I’ve always cycled, mostly as a commuter, I followed a similar journey myself many a year ago. Cycling begins as a crazy notion of going for a bike ride and before you know it you’re wearing Lycra, carrying bananas on your back and riding insane distances.
Here then are the seven stages of becoming a cyclist. Which stage are you at?
Nothing, usually. Mind empty, this is why I cycle. Complete escape. Meditation without all of that sitting around nonsense. The ability to eat a banana without tasting it. To hurt without feeling it. To drink and dribble down my chin without a care in the world. I am a Zen cycling master. Most of the time.
My cycling thoughts will vary depending on where and why I am riding. Here’s a glimpse into the mind of a cyclist. Be warned, it ain’t pretty!