5982

So I finished 2015 on a respectable 5982 miles. That’s more than last year, which is always a good thing. I wasn’t really keeping an eye on my stats, if I’d known I was so close to hitting 6000 I would have gone for a cheeky spin around the block, haha!

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Happy New Year!

#keepcycling

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Pimp my winter ride!

After my fair share of commute miles back and forth on the Ribble, I thought it was about time I pimped out my commute bike. There’s always room for one more horse in the stable, right? I’d been eyeing off one of these babies for a month or two since seeing our expert mechanic build a few for customers. Staff pricing made it a bit of a steal so I just HAD to have one!

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It’s technically a cyclocross bike, but don’t worry I won’t be riding any of that dirty muddy cross stuff! I’ve dialled it similar to my summer road bike and switched out that chunky CX wheelset for my svelte Fulcrum Racing 3’s shod with Conti GP 4 Season tyres. The Ultegra Di2 shifting (although only 10-speed) is totally lush!

So now my “summer” bike has Shimano 105 and my “winter/commute” bike rocks super sexy Ultegra Di2. Haha! #pimpmyride

2015 Metric Century Challenge

Last weekend we had our club Christmas Party and Awards Evening to celebrate the year’s achievements. A fantastic evening and gets better every year. It’s been incredible watching the club grow from a half dozen guys meeting up on a Sunday morning to around 200 members!

12304432_10153677012055609_8344311491950538656_oA dozen elite level Woking CC athletes! (I am second from the left)

One of the club competitions for this year was the Metric Century Challenge, a little incentive I set up to get people out on their bike more often and pushing their limits.

CVfzh8FXIAE8R_WThere were 12 finishers present on the night. Steve (pictured centre with the microphone) took over from me as the club’s Competition Secretary a few months ago and he finished off the collection of ride data and organised the very smart looking finisher’s badges. I think I’m going to have to sew mine onto the back of my club jersey. Bring on 2016!

Five tips from my first 2000 miles of cycle commuting

Commuting to/from work by bike five days a week over the past few months has been quite the learning experience. I’ve witnessed beautiful sunrises, ridden in complete darkness, been caught in lashing rain, battled gale force headwinds and suffered the odd mechanical or two along the way. I love being on my bike and thanks to the commute, cycling has become an integral part of my daily routine.

Although it’s not that far (about an hour each way) the miles soon add up and you quickly learn how to smooth out the process. Here’s five tips little I’ve picked up along the way…

Be prepared. Pack a thin rain jacket or gilet on every ride. This is more for those in the UK where the weather can change in a matter of minutes. An extra layer can be a Godsend if you suffer a mechanical or get surprised by a sudden rain shower. I’m a fan of the Sportful Hot Pack 5 as it packs down to the size of an apple for easy storage.

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Ride confidently, but not aggressively. Get out of the gutter, take the lane if you need to, signal clearly and make your intentions known. Be safe out there – you’ll still get the odd close call. If you do have an incident, think about what YOU could have done to possibly avoid the situation. And most of all, don’t be a dick…

Invest in some decent lights. If you need to see clearly on unlit roads at speed I’d suggest 400 lumens is the minimum brightness necessary.

image4Pay attention to run times as a light rated at 400 lumens may only last on that high setting for an hour (or less). Work out how bright you need your front light to be, then buy something brighter! Choose from a reputable brand such as Cateye, Lezyne and Exposure and don’t skimp out with a cheaper set. If you buy cheap, you’ll buy twice!

Set up a charging dock. You’re probably going to need to charge multiple lights and your Garmin when you get home at night. The last thing you want to do is go hunting around for all those cables! Set up one wall plug in a convenient location where you can leave all your devices plugged in to charge. This will streamline the whole process saving you time when you get home after dark!

IMG_0593Clean your bike. If you are riding in all conditions, your bike WILL get filthy. Very, very quickly! Be sure to keep on top of your maintenance. Consumables such as chains, cassettes, cables and brake pads will wear out much faster if you don’t attend to that mucky drivetrain and grime splattered rear end! Also it pays to check the condition of your tyres on a regular basis. Check for cuts and anything stuck in the rubber.

Well there’s my first five. I’ve got a few more, but I’ll save them until I’ve clocked up a few more winter miles. I’m still new to this game so if you’ve got any cycle commuting gems, please leave them in the comments section below! #enjoytheride