Should I join a cycling club?

Joining a cycle clubThis was a question I’d been asking for a few years. Me, procrastinate much? I’ve been a solo rider for five years now. Riding my bike has always been an escape, a time to forget life’s ills. Cycling has been my meditation.

Yet I’d been thinking about joining a cycling club yet never committing. Why? Firstly, I’m pretty anti-social, not in a throwing beer bottles at police English football hooligan kind of way, I just enjoy my own company, where I’m always right, funny and intelligent! Yet alongside this was also my fears of the unknown and my perception of cycling clubs in the UK being a bit cliquey and snobby.
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Cycling in Pembrokeshire

Cycling in PembrokeshireA warm up ride through the Brecon Beacons seemed like a good idea when sat at my laptop, not so much when sat in the saddle. It’s been a while since I last cycled in Wales, how quickly I’d forgotten the only flat roads in this land are supermarket car parks.
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The little things I love about cycling

Cycling's little joys
Life is all about the little things. A cold beer on a hot summer day. Sleeping late. The smile of a stranger. Theme tunes from 1980s TV shows.

The little things make life what it is, they have to, for the big things are few and far between. Which is just as well because our tiny human minds would explode if life was a series of never-ending drama à la British TV soaps.

Cycling too lends itself to the little things. In a social media age of ‘epic’ everything and a billion kudos or likes, it’s still the tiny details that make me fall in love with cycling.
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How (not) to clean your bike

Bike cleaning
Cleaning your bike is something you do less than you should
. We don’t all have pro mechanics to hand, waiting to take the bike off us immediately after our ride with a big sponge in their hand. Yet there’s nothing quite like riding a freshly cleaned chainset. You can see the cyclist’s dilemma. We can’t go out and buy a new bike every time we get our bike dirty. Well, not all the time anyway.

Cleaning your bike is horrible. For years I managed to clean mine in a one bedroom flat with no garden, commandeering the bath on the promise I’d leave the room as clean as I found it. Bike upside down, I would dress the room in more plastic than your average murder scene. Most of the time I would fall in to the bath. Here then is a basic guide of how not to clean your bike, the benefits and also a cheat’s guide to cleaning it quickly.

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Review: SKINS cycle clothing – bib shorts and jersey

Skins cycle clothing review
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.

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The art of resting – A cyclist’s guide

Cyclist resting

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].

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The aftermath – How cyclists actually recover post-ride

Tired cyclist
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.

Minute 1

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.

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Shhh… The 3 secrets of commuting by bike

Tweed cyclist smoking pipeOh. 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.

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A love letter to my bike

I Love My Bike

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.
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Climb! Zwift Mountain Expansion Course Review

Zwift mountain expansion route

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.

You can read my full Zwift review in an earlier blog and also Zwift group rides so here’s a quick update on the new mountain routes followed by a short overview of each of the new climbs.

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