In praise of Steve Abraham

Steve Abraham, Cyclist

In January 2015 Steve Abraham set out to beat the world record for the most miles cycled in a year, a record of 75,065 miles held by Tommy Godwin since 1939. Along the way he battled fitness, sleep, winter, winds, a change in diet, a reckless moped, and a broken ankle.

Just over twelve months and 63,568.2 miles later he ended his Highest Annual Mileage Record attempt. Defeated? In his mind without a doubt, but not in the minds of his thousands of followers.

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Zwift review – virtual indoor cycling

zwift screenshotIndoor cycling is boring, right? Mind numbing. A hamster on a wheel. In a cage. Wearing Lycra. Joy. Yet turbo training is undergoing a makeover with the arrival of smart trainers and virtual training websites such as Zwift, Bkool, Tour de Giro and TrainerRoad. The roads may be pixels but your sweat is real.

Virtual turbo rides have been invading my Strava feed for some time and given I’m a relative newbie to indoor cycling I was keen to log some indoor miles in Zwift’s virtual world. Could Zwift make turbo training enjoyable?

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Best cycling blogs of the year

Losing a little aero advantage

When not cycling or writing about cycling I’m reading about cycling. Addict! It’s time I share the love. Below is a short list of top blogs in no particularly order or rank bringing you a small selection of the writers who have fed my habit and kept me entertained this year.

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The year in review

result-6How has your cycling year been? 2015 has been a great year of cycling, one of adventure, of more miles ridden and more metres climbed than any other year. I’ve learnt how to train properly by becoming my own coach and I’ve seen many a beautiful part of this world on two wheels.

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Time crunched training plan. It works

Turbo training raceSeven seconds. I spent eight weeks training to be seven seconds quicker. Ha! Yet I don’t question the futility of my existence. Well, no more than usual. I’m pleased, satisfied with my progress and my new hill climbing prowess.

Two months ago I began Chris Carmichael’s Time Crunched Training Plan (TCTP) for new competitors. This was back when I was a slower rider. Now I’m a whopping seven seconds quicker up each of my two of my local hills, my previous PBs set as a man two years younger than I. Geez, I sound like a TV infomercial.

This of course is just one measure. There are many others.

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Why I cycle

CyclingFew things put a smile on my face. Yet when my vacant veneer cracks the cause is often a simple affair. Good food. Strong coffee. A shared joke. A blue sky. Simple pleasures one should not deconstruct. Add to this cycling.

I’m not talking about the epic cycling fables you read in well bound magazines with black and white images, oh no. Sometimes there’s nothing more pleasurable than a plain old “I’m just popping out” kind of ride. Such rides usually pass unnoticed. Yet sometimes the ordinary surprises.

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Get faster without training or spending money

Speeding cyclistIt’s the dream of all cyclists. Cycle faster with no training and no damage to the bank account. Sign me up, right? But is it possible? Very much so. You’ll be amazed how simple changes will make you ride faster.

The marketers may not like to admit that you’ll cycle faster simply by riding on the drops rather than buying an aero bike. Yet this is the reality. The tips below will make you a faster rider without any of that pesky cycling or spending any of your hard-earned dollars. So how do you do it?
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When is the best time to cycle?

cycling at nightDo we perform better in the morning or at night? Ask your girlfriend. Sorry, couldn’t resist. If it’s cycle training we’re talking, perhaps I can help. I experimented recently to answer that age old question, what time of day is best for training? The answer was pretty clear cut.

A little background. I’m not a morning person so immediately I should tell you that cycling later in the day is best. Yet living in London, nothing is so simple. Cycling very early in morning has the advantage of traffic free roads, plus all of the lovely things like sun rises, riding through the early morning mist, the morning chorus of bird song. I’m a huge fan of cycling in the morning, as I’ve blogged about previously. It may be more enjoyable but is it the best time of day for you physically?

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Not riding

Bike cleaningSomething is wrong. In the universe? No, just me. I have stopped cycling. For a little bit. Which is a big thing for this serial overtrainer. Rest time. Not that my body is listening…

I fall asleep, my legs spinning. No wonder I’m always tired, I’m logging extra miles in my dreams. Yet Strava registers no such rides. Spinning in my sleep actually happens. True story. And yes, I’ve asked my girlfriend to monitor my cadence.

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The ABC of turbo trainers – A buyer’s guide

Turbo trainer session

It has happened. I have turned to the dark side of cycling and bought a turbo trainer. I shun daylight, vitamin D no longer required. I now ride in my pain cave, aka, my hallway. Is this even cycling?

My first ever turbo session was an hour long zone two challenge. It will also be my last zone two session on a turbo. Why? Well I bought the damn thing for intervals not for pootling about or mimicking rides to the cafe. Yet I was excited whilst also being fairly ill. Man flu ahoy. Bashing out snot covered intervals was not a good idea.

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