Review: Sunwise Hastings cycling sunglasses

Sunwise Hastings SunglassesYour eyes are more important than your legs when riding a bike. You can freewheel but you can’t ride blind. As a beginner cyclist, it took me a while to realise this and my eyes suffered. Bug. Splat. Fly. Can’t see. Bumblebee. Ouch. In wind, my eyes housed leaves and plant debris. In winter, they cried tears of pain as cold air rushed against them.

So it was I invested in a pair of cheap cycling sunglasses with interchangeable lenses to protect me from the giant sun or the tiniest of flies beneath clouded skies. Sure, I still commute without riding goggles but rarely do I set off on a long ride without my eye shields.

Damn you interchangeable lenses

Of late I’ve been in the market for some new cycling sunglasses, or eyewear as some manufacturers prefer to call them, which doesn’t quite sit well with me despite the parlance of footwear, headwear and underwear.

I digress. Previously I’d spent small sums of money buying sunglasses with interchangeable lenses. In three years I’ve got through four pairs when inevitably the thin frames snap when attempting to change the lenses. Bah!

Such frustrations led me to riding around with a pair of super-glued sunglasses for the last god knows how many months. Even in the sunshine I was restricted to clear lenses. I should have been smarter when gluing the lenses in place (which held the frame together), perhaps opting for one dark lens and one clear lens, simply closing one eye depending on the cloud cover. Pirate style, arrrr.

So it’s safe to say I was in the market for a new pair of cycling sunglasses when my inbox chimed with the offer to review some new goggles.

I’ve been offered many a thing to review on this blog but have turned them all down because i) yes, I’m an artist and this is my canvas (obviously) and ii) I can only spend time writing about products of genuine interest to me.

Sunwise Hastings photochromic sunglasses

Sunwise glasses and case

Sunwise glasses and case

The Sunwise Hastings sunglasses come with many an ‘innovation’ that piqued my curiosity. Sure, nowadays everything is seemingly labeled innovative if only to create desire and loosen the money in our wallets.

In this instance, innovation is required to solve some genuine issues. One, cycling glasses that adjust to the light. No more changeable lenses if true. Bliss. And two, anti-fog lenses for those cold mornings.

Of course, sunglasses also have to look the piece too. We humans are a vain bunch, so let’s begin with first impressions before we get to the science bit.

Style and aesthetic appeal

sunwise-6The glasses are frame-less and look great. The single piece wraparound lens is a thing of beauty. Handcrafted apparently.

Style of course is personal. Much depends on if you like the current trend in cycling sunglasses for a rainbow mirrored finished, think petrol on a sunlit forecourt. There’s a choice of frames too, black, white and black/orange. Being a traditionalist, the black suited me fine.

Vanity aside, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Whether you like the style or not, the most important question is will these glasses perform on the road as well as in the mirror?

Photochromic light-adjusting lenses

sunwise-5Photochromic-what? The beauty of these glasses is that the lenses tint and darken when exposed to light. Finally, no more interchangeable lenses – hoorah! This was my primary interest in the Hastings sunglasses although you can find this feature in other cycling sunglasses.

I was genuinely excited to see how the lenses would perform in the cyclist’s worst case scenario – moving from bright sunlight into a pitch black tunnel. Not being based in the Alps, booking a flight to test this seemed a little extreme so I headed to the Chilterns to test what happens when you hit a road shrouded in shade beneath a canopy of trees, downhill at 50 mph.

Normally my eyes struggle to adjust to the changing light but the Sunwise light-reacting sunglasses worked brilliantly, so much so that I didn’t even notice the change in light. My test ride was the perfect day to test the Chromafusion lenses. Bright sunshine and cloud all day with lots of lost lanes covered in trees. The light remained constant throughout.

Even in very low light the glasses work well. There’s always a slight tint so you might want clear glasses for riding in dark country lanes but these glasses would be fine at dawn or dusk, or even well-lit city streets at night.

The science bit

How quickly do the glasses adjust? The manufacturer claims ‘seconds’ and it really is quick enough for you not to notice, so much so you wonder if anything is actually happening. This is a good thing. You don’t want the tint suddenly changing and jarring your vision.

Cycling sunglasses that don’t fog

That’s right. No more stopping at traffic lights in cold weather and your glasses misting up. Neither is there a need for your lenses to have little holes cut in them.

How did I test this in the balmy spring temperatures of May? That’s right, much to my girlfriend’s bemusement, I took a shower with the sunglasses on. Sorry for that image, but I’m a professional you know. I closed the bathroom door and let the room steam up to sauna proportions and even in this extreme test only the outer edge of the lens fogged up, keeping my vision crystal clear in the centre.

Whilst I was there I couldn’t resist testing how the glasses would perform in the rain, or shower water in this case! These glasses make no claims about how they perform in the wet, I was simply interested as cycling in the rain is probably the time when you need eye protection the most. My previous glasses have all been useless in the rain so much so that I can’t see a thing and have been forced to put them in my jersey pocket.

So what about these new glasses? Here there was no such miracle science – I was hoping the water would bounce right off but as with all sunglasses the lenses were blotchy with water. I guess science still has some way to go. Until then, it’s peaked caps in the rain to protect your eyes.

Weight and comfort

sunwise-2Perhaps the two most important attributes for any pair of sunglasses. Are they comfortable? Are they heavy? As with most sports sunglasses, the Hastings are so light you quickly forget they are on your face.

The arms of the glasses are some sort of soft composite, not quite as soft as rubber but not as hard as plastic, making them comfortable and strong whilst ensuring they have some grip to remain in place on bumpier terrain. That said, my one complaint of the glasses is they did slip forward a little when I was up and rocking out the saddle on hill climbs but it’s no deal breaker. My head shakes a lot when I’m on an eyeball bursting climb!

Fit, durability and sun protection

The Hastings single piece lens is a thing of beauty. It’s one piece design means the lens can flex to fit wider heads like mine! The glasses also feel sturdy (for sunglasses anyway) and come complete in a solid yet small carry case (previous sunglasses cases I’ve had have been huge).

The lens is also a fair size providing good coverage and protection from the sun. It goes without saying these sunglasses are polarized and provide full UVA and UVB protection. The glasses also have no glare, giving you crystal clear sight of upcoming potholes and road debris.

Cleaning the glasses with no frame is also easier as there’s no frame to clog with sweat and dust, so when cleaning the lenses you don’t continually smear the lens.

Price

The glasses are mid-range, coming in at £94.99. That’s a third of the price of Mark Cavendish’s latest Oakleys but almost four times the price of my previous purchases. Are they worth it? Yes. Given I got through four pairs of sunglasses previously, assuming I don’t sit on these or leave them on the car roof and drive away, then such an investment will prove to be good value.

The final verdict

sunwise-7Stylish, light, and genuinely innovative, I recommend Sunwise Hastings glasses for anyone who wants a single pair of sunglasses for all road conditions. My minor niggle with the glasses slipping forward on fast and furious hill climbs aside, it’s hard to find fault with the glasses.

An impressive 9/10 overall.
Find out more about Sunwise Hastings Sunglasses

Coffee and cake – A cyclist’s relationship with food

cycling-food-1We don’t call it food. It’s fuel. Yeah, that’s right. I’m not eating, I’m doing science. This cake? Ah, you are mistaken, this is a hi-energy sponge bar. Ha yes, I know what you are thinking. Crisps. These are actually potato-carb fuel thins. That Friday night kebab? Protein recovery to help me over last Sunday’s smash fest.

One of the many great things about being a cyclist is that we can pretty much eat what we like, when we like. We are gluttons. There are no guilty pleasures for the cyclist. Our food pleasures are innocent and go by the names of nutrition, energy and recovery. Never are we pigging out. Never. Calorie loaded, we stuff our thin faces until we can eat no more. Only to top up on cake. For tomorrow we shall burn more energy than the summer sun (on our way to the cafe for cake).

Food for thought

As cyclists, nay humans, we kid ourselves in all kinds of illogical ways when it comes to food. How else to explain the pseudo-science from nutritionists, or the alleged super foods, or the miracle diets people suffer, or the very existence of something that tastes as foul as cabbage soup?

“Superfood is a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits.”
Wikipedia. You can almost taste the scorn.

The marketing men and women of this world certainly play to the desire that everything that passes our lips extends our lives or gives us superpowers.

Apply food marketing to a sport like cycling and you’ve a lot of bad science to stomach. Which ‘hydrates’ you more? Water, sports drink or milk? Yup, milk. Well it does this week anyway. Until next week when research reveals tree sap is best for hydration.

Our dirty secret

Me, touchy?

Me, touchy?

Just like you, I have a confused relationship with food. I would probably say I eat fairly well with a balanced diet but I know I am lying to myself. I don’t eat enough fruit and even less vegetables. I love meat. And piles of carbs. I have a soft spot for nostalgic dishes that take me back to my childhood. Fray Bentos pie served on four potato waffles anyone?

If food is in front of me I will eat it. My solution to this is not to buy it in the first place. I often get hooked on one dish or ingredient and then eat this pretty much at the exclusion of anything else. When I first moved to London I ate sausage pasta every night for almost a year. And took the leftovers to work for lunch every day too. Nowadays I eat a cheese sandwich every day for lunch. Hummus is my go to snack, a pot of the stuff easily devoured with a bit of dipping bread. Or fingers. And let’s not talk about the food I eat with booze or a hangover. Oh deary me.

What about on the bike? I’m not much better although I do try to stick to ‘proper’ food where possible and save the gels only for when I’m really desperate.

Pre ride – Carb loading

Remember to carb load before the ride

Remember to carb load before the ride

I’m a big believer in building up your energy stores before big bike rides. I certainly notice the difference if I set off on a long ride with little in my stomach from the day before. The folk in white coats recommend carb loading a couple of days before a big ride. I find the day before is enough. When cycle touring, carb loading becomes even more important so you don’t deplete your energy stores.

The pre-ride breakfast is usually a struggle for me, especially if I’m up for an early morning ride. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been dry heaving when trying to force porridge down my throat! Porridge doesn’t actually work that well for me as a pre-ride feast. I often find I’m hungry within ten miles. Given I’m not inclined to cook eggs or some such that leaves me with a limited choice of cereals and toast. All hail Weetabix.

To drink I’ll enjoy a cup of coffee or tea depending on how I’m feeling. I sometimes find coffee raises my heart rate a little higher than I would like for the first part of the ride, only to send my energy levels crashing back down half way through the ride. No such problems with a good old cup of tea.

On the bike – eat and drink little lots

Cyclist and coffeeOn the road we’re so tired we refuse to chew. Mushy banana slides down our throats, gels are inhaled. Yet still our mouths open for more, baby birds constantly awaiting the return of their parents. Every kilojoule counts. Each ounce of energy is another spin of the crank, another metre of road beneath our wheels.

For long rides or medium length high intensity slog fests I’ll always carry a banana or two in my jersey pocket. These are supplemented by a whole loaf of Soreen malt loaf, which I somehow manage to chew my way through. Sesame Snaps are the little treat I take with me to cheer myself up when the weather is crap or I’ve simply had enough. This is usually enough to see me through 60-100 miles.

Gels are only carried in exceptional circumstances, such as rides with a lot of climbing or when there’s no shops on route. I also don’t pay too much attention to the timing of taking on x grams of carbs every x minutes or whatever the doctors of the internet blather on about. I eat before I’m hungry and drink before I’m dry, to misquote a Bob Dylan lyric.

I never stop during a ride. I don’t like to break my momentum or get cold and stiff legs by pausing for a mini in-ride feast. The rare exception is when I’m utterly exhausted when I find stopping for food (pork pie, scotch egg, chicken sandwich, pasty and the like) can really boost my morale. Sometimes you just need to stop mentally more than anything else.

Liquid – for a cyclist doesn’t drink, they re-hydrate – is usually one 800 ml bottle of water and one 800 ml bottle of water with the addition of a cola flavoured, caffeinated electrolyte tablet. Prior to using these tablets I really suffered from leg cramps but have had no such problems since. The extra caffeine helps keep me alert when I’m tired and I need to cycle back into London after a day out in the country lanes. Plus it’s nice to change the taste from water on a long ride. And yes, I love my big water bottles even if the ride is a little heavy to begin with!

Hunger and the dreaded bonk

Mark Cavendish attempts to avoid the bonk

Mark Cavendish attempts to avoid the bonk

We sometimes get it wrong. Miles done outstrip calories in. Bang, the man with the hammer strikes. Legs as empty as your jersey pockets. No shop in sight. You scan the highway for roadkill. Bushes are frisked for power rich berries. But alas, there’s nothing. Not even a leaf. You lick your fingers. Mmmm. Banana skin trace. That’s worth another mile. Must eat the salt laden sweat from my brow. Yum, recycled electrolytes. That’s worth another mile.

The world passes by in a blur. Trees look like giant broccoli. The road ahead a ribbon of liquorice. You’re so hungry you almost convince yourself that rabbit shit is chocolate covered raisins. God help any cyclists you see with a puncture because you’ll be tucking into their meaty thighs like the aeroplane crash survivors in the film Alive.

Hitting the wall is thankfully a rare phenomenon. There’s few excuses for it. We know we need to eat to keep going and yet each year there will usually be that one ride when the bonk strikes.

Post ride recovery

Recovery drink.

Recovery drink.

One of my favourite things about cycling is stuffing my face all of the time post ride. Usually this means eating anything I can readily access – eggs, milk, cereals, last night’s leftovers, or my personal favourite, ‘fash’, my very own invented student dish.

Fash is a contraction of fish and mash (you see what I did there?!). To make fash you need: one Pyrex measuring jug, milk, butter, a packet of potato flakes, a tin of tuna and a couple of slices of cheese. Make the mash and then add all ingredients to the measuring jug. Take fork and eat – you even have a handle on the jug to help bring the food closer to your mouth! If anyone asks you what you’re shoveling into your face, mumble something about fish pie and omega oils and protein and minding their own damn business.

I really should plan more but I know I won’t. I don’t want cycling to become a chore. A routine. Eating whatever I find in the cupboard is part of the many joys of riding a bike. Sure, I’ve read the science and have recently tried to eat more protein after a big ride to help me recover, which has essentially translated into me drinking lots of chocolate milk. Yum!

The rest of the day is spent eating, topped off with a huge evening meal of whatever the hell I like. If I’m away from home this usually means fish and chips with mushy peas. Yup, English to the bloated core!

What about you?

We’re all different and will eat differently. Whether half of the things we believe are beneficial are actually good for us is another matter, but that really isn’t the point. If the placebo works I’ll keep on taking it.

Some more food for cyclist ideas

Land’s End to London – A random cycle ride

Cycling Lands End to London
The road called. A distant road. Ride me, it whispered seductively. Feel the wind blowing through your hair. The satisfaction of miles, day after day. Nothing but cycling.

There’s no stress on the road. No emails. Your only meetings are with roadkill. Your memory the only photocopier. Sure, for some of us there may still be spreadsheets, but you get my drift.

My first thought was London to Edinburgh but to be honest I couldn’t quite face cycling through the dull flat lands of East Anglia and Norfolk. So it was I booked myself a sleeper train to the bumpier terrain of Penzance before my impulse could quieten. Besides, cycling Land’s End to London had a nice ring to it. Once the idea had formed it was all I could think about. Before I knew it the train was booked, accommodation sorted and route plotted. I was ready. Or was I?

The month had been warm, sunny, not a spot of rain. Weather spotting one week before my big ride and all I could see was rain. Every day. Lots of the bloody stuff. As if by magic the weather gods had seemingly detected my cycling folly. Bah. Did I regret it? Hell, nobody enjoys cycling in the rain for four straight days. I crossed my fingers and prayed the long-term forecast was wrong.

Day 0: Nervousness – Excitement

Guess where I'm cycling

Guess where I’m cycling

Praise be ye mighty winds who hath blown the storm into the English Channel and lessened my time in the wet. Sure, the wet stuff was still due but not four days solid. I hoped.

The final day at work passed in a blur. By 2 pm my stomach began to tingle. What was this strange sensation? Excitement? At work? Ah yes, the cycling thing. My mind wandered during meetings. My first proper cycling tour with panniers and multiple destinations since well, since cycling from London to Spain in 2011. I licked my lips. The sleeper train called.

The odd sensation of leaving my home at 10.30 pm on a Friday night, of gently rolling through the dark and busy buzzing London roads, late night revelers spilling out of the pubs and onto the streets. Tomorrow they awake with hangovers. Tomorrow I awake in Cornwall.

Stats: 6 miles to Paddington Station at crazy o’clock, a big bowl of carbs and too many meetings at work where I drifted off.

The sleeper train: London – Penzance

Cosy is what an estate agent would call it. Bijou. Yet I enjoyed my night in a rolling cave. Especially since I had booked to share a twin with a stranger who never did show. Bonus. Comfortable, I slept right through the night and woke as fresh as I’ll ever be on 6.5 hours kip. A free hot coffee and soft bacon roll together with my obligatory half a malt loaf and I was ready.

Day 1: Penzance – Land’s End – Luxulyan

Obligatory bike with signpost photo

Obligatory bike with signpost photo

Click. I shifted from big ring to little ring where my chain would remain for the next four days and 345 miles. Heart rate monitor left purposely behind, I had no plans to mash my way back home. This was a cycle tour after all, not ‘training’. Besides, I knew my legs wouldn’t last long if I tried any of the fancy stuff.

Nothing starts a cycle tour like seeing the sea, smelling that fresh air and feeling that humid, moist breeze kiss your face. I rolled around the coastline and within a couple of miles I stumbled upon Mousehole, a bay so calm and tranquil I felt an irrepressible urge to stop and take it all in. I stopped. Silence. Everything in life seemed to disappear.

This set the tone for the remainder of the day. Frequent stops, which is unusual for me. Normally I’m reluctant to scrub my speed for a toilet break let alone a whimsical look at the view. Before I knew it I had arrived at Land’s End, a lovely stretch of coastline somewhat marred by whatever it is someone has built on the land to take advantage of all those tourists. But yes, I did take the obligatory photo of my bike with the signpost pointing to New York and John O Groats. Good times!

I then wound my way through single track lanes, my route avoiding the dreaded A30. The sky above dark and solemn, that rain not far away. Still my pace did not quicken.

A lunch time stop at a tiny bakery led me to discover the joys of a flaky pastry pasty – wow, this was the best Cornish pasty I had ever eaten. And I’ve eaten many. I asked for the standard size which was as big as my head so goodness knows what size the large was!

Stomach full, the heavens emptied. Yet I remained warm and so enjoyed flying along the wet roads, enjoying the weight of my pannier as I lugged it up hill after hill, a shire horse plodding on all day without a care in the world. I arrived at my destination, legs still fresh.

Stats: 76 miles, 1,876 m climbing, 12.7 mph average speed, no punctures and one pasty.
Route and gpx file

Day 2: Luxulyan – Dartmoor – Honiton

Mousehole. Lovely.

Mousehole. Lovely.

Dread and excitement. A 90 mile day crossing Dartmoor awaited. I love cycling across moorland and had been looking forward to this day. Not so much when I saw the 19 mph headwind.

My first task was to replenish the grease on my chain, the oil having been completely stripped from the previous day’s soaking. I set off and immediately hit a steep incline. I huffed and puffed my way up, trying my best not to think of the 3,000 metres of climbing that remained. My legs were not quite as fresh as I had thought.

I ploughed on. The route would have been very scenic had I have lifted my head at any point. The headwind forced me low on the bike as I crawled towards the moors. In the distance I saw the road ramp up. I could barely face it and yet over 50 miles remained.

So began one of the longest 2.5 hours I’ve ever endured on a bike. That’s how long it took me to cross Dartmoor, battling that bloody headwind, trying to keep myself warm as the temperature plummeted at 500 metres atop the moor. Was it bleak yet beautiful? No idea. My chin was on the floor as I ground out mile after unrelenting mile.

Even with the moors behind me, another 30 miles remained. My moving time on the bike clocked in at over 7 hours. A long, lonely day on the bike.

Stats: 89 miles, 3,041 m climbing, 12.6 mph average speed, no rain, a beast of a headwind and one broken man.
Route and gpx file

Day 3: Honiton – Grateley

Glad I packed some spare legs

Glad I packed some spare legs

Legs stiff, I climbed on the bike a little reluctantly yet within an hour I was flying. Sun out, half the elevation to climb and a modest tailwind helped me fly through the lovely rolling countryside of Devon and Somerset. A smile returned to my face and the day flew by.

That’s not to say my legs had made some sort of miracle recovery. Sure they could power along the flat yet the merest of inclines turned them to jelly and I had to mash my way up minor gradients in what had been my [made-up word alert] ‘spinniest’ gear just a couple of days earlier but now had me clicking the gear levers in a vain search for an extra few gears. The weight of my pannier was now truly making itself known and I cursed my need for unnecessary items like deodorant and off the bike clothes. Despite the cold weather and shivering in four layers, I managed to get sunburn on my legs. Gotta love cycle touring tan lines!

A lovely route, highly recommended.

Stats: 90 miles, 1,629 m climbing, 14.6 mph average speed, one very red sun-burnt leg.
Route and gpx file

Day 4: Grateley – London

My legs were tender but holding up well given I was cycling more than I usually would in a month and that my biggest ride prior to the trip was 70 miles. I was now well and truly in touring mode, where your legs are numb yet somehow still a little spritely, so long as the road doesn’t go up of course.

Cycling back into London wasn’t really my idea of fun. Plotting the route back into the big smoke had been time-consuming and difficult so goodness knows how horrible it was going to be to actually ride it. If I hadn’t been so enchanted with the concept of riding Land’s End to London I would have spent another day riding the quiet country lanes of Cornwall and caught the train back into London. Pity the human mind ain’t as logical as it likes to think it is.

The one bright spot was the weather. Sun shining yet again, the blue skies were accompanied by a medium tailwind which propelled me back home through the counties of Wiltshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The sight of Windsor Castle was a treat, so too my first sighting of the river Thames, indicating that my journey was almost over bar some horrible navigation across huge busy roundabouts whilst avoiding the crazy drivers of London town. Tense, my shoulders were tight by the time I made it to my good old hunting ground of Regent’s Park. Home.

Stats: 89 miles, very little climbing, 16 mph average speed, a strong tailwind and lots of crazy drivers.
Route and gpx file

Final thoughts, Jerry Springer style

lands-end-4Thinking about going on a cycle tour? Do it. Cycle touring is amazing.

Thinking about cycling into London from the west? Think twice. Spend an extra day where it is actually pleasant to cycle rather than finding and negotiating a route that crosses so many busy A roads.

Avoid the busy A roads in the south west too. The A30 and A303 might look tempting when you see the nice straight lines on the map but they are very busy and unpleasant to ride on, even for the couple of minor stretches where I hit them. My route avoided these roads without adding too many miles to the overall trip. Besides, you’re on tour. Go the long way!

Eat pasties. Protein and carbs ahoy. Just be careful. A good one tastes amazing but a bad Cornish pasty is a little like eating your own vomit encased in pastry. Gamble.

LEJOG – Land’s End to John O Groats. Was I tempted to extend my route a little and go the length of the country? Not really. I had the time and maybe also the legs but I don’t really feel the pull to complete LEJOG. I almost went for it in 2011 but quickly thought that cycling London to Spain would bring better weather, better roads, better drivers, better food and better scenery. I have no regrets. I love cycling in the UK (short trips) but a lengthy UK tour like LEJOG can’t really compare to a big ride in more exotic lands.

Pack light. You’ll soon regret packing that extra onesie when you’re lugging it up a 20% climb. Don’t pack food either, there’s plenty of places to eat on route.

Take lube. For the bike that is. I always take oil when I know I’m likely to get doused in God’s finest wet stuff. Rain quickly washes out light dry summer oil and my chain was creaking before I lubed up post rain storm.

Pace yourself. You may be excited on day one but you’ll pay for it on day two if you’re not careful. Day one is the day you can really enjoy the tour as compounded tiredness will soon rob you of your excitement!

Carb up. Eat well, very well, each evening to avoid depleting your energy stores with day-on-day cycling action.

Do it. Just do it. No matter how many miles you have in your legs before you set off, you’ll quickly find your cycle touring legs.

An enforced rest – know when you are beaten

Tired cyclistLegs dead, they hurt climbing stairs. Pain strikes when standing from a seated position. Time for rest. I’ve been commuting every week and cycling every weekend since November. My legs have given up.

Mentally I’m shot too with 9-5 (more like 8-6 of late) office life taking its wretched toll. Colleagues have been talking at me for weeks now and I’ve somehow satisfied their needs by pretending to understand what the hell they are yakking on about. My incomprehensible grunts seem to answer their questions. Sleeping badly, every inch of me needs rest.

Yet still it takes enormous will power to take a weekend off cycling. The bad weather helped. So too the fact my bike needed some TLC after a winter spent slogging away on salty, muddy roads. It was less race bike and more a tractor. With the clocks going forward and stealing, that’s right, stealing an hour of my weekend, then I needed all the rest I could get.

Throughout winter my mileage has been short but intensity high. I don’t remember having felt so strong so early in the year. Taking a rest now will undo such work, my tiny mind thinks, when the reality is riding with tired legs will send me into a downward spiral. Progress will slow no matter how many times I shout HTFU.

And relax…

Sleeping with the bicycleSo what does a bike nut do when they’re not riding? Bike stuff of course! A half-hearted bike clean (wet wipe special) and a mini service to make sure all is smooth. Glass picked out from tyres. Gears re-indexed. Brake pads checked. Chain oiled. I’m now more eager than ever before to get out and ride.

Yet rest I must. I watched the pro’s bouncing over Belgian cobbles, the wind literally blowing them into the canal. Finally, I was happy to be indoors and practice my little Buddhist mantra to encourage my legs to heal… heal… heal.

What else? Well there were new routes to plan and lost roads to discover if only on a map. Cycling blogs to write and cycling videos to watch. The Woody Allen hypochondriac in me also Googled away in search of miracle recovery cures, of which there are none. Just time off the bike. Bah.

A big summer awaits. Scotland, the Alps, Majorca. Rest I must.