Tragedy at Indi Pac Wheel Race

Incredibly sad news coming from the Indian Pacific Wheel Race across Australia as we learn that competitor and world class ultra cyclist Mike Hall has been hit and killed in a car accident while taking part in the 5,500km race from coast to coast.

For the past two weeks we have been watching the dots on screen as riders made their way from one side of Australia to the other, totally unsupported and racing under their own steam. We’ve watched their progress, their photos on Twitter and updates through media as they endure incredibly tough conditions along the way. We admired their determination and athletic ability to even attempt such a challenge.

Then disaster strikes. One that should never happen. The Indi Pac has been cancelled with immediate effect as word is being delivered to the other competitors. RIP Mike Hall. A dark day in ultra cycling indeed and our thoughts go out to his friends, family and every other Indi Pac competitor. Stay safe out there folks…

Zwift’s Watopian Landscape

Hats off to the programmers and developers at Zwift. They really have created a fully immersive and impressive landscape in “Watopia” for us to lose ourselves in. It sure beats staring at a garage wall or numbers on a screen! Paired with a smart trainer that changes resistance to simulate gradients, it’s the ultimate in indoor cycling.

From cruising along the Ocean Road boulevard to climbing through Swiss style villages into the Watopian Alps to circling an active volcano, there really is an abundance of highly detailed landscapes to amaze the rider. Of course it’s hard to soak it all in when pushing hard, but it does take your mind off being on the trainer! #RideOn

Winding roads through the virtual Alps.

Descending like a pro as the sun rises over the virtual ocean!

The “Zwift Me” is totally cool and calm when climbing hard, just like real me…

Watopian whale selfie though the underwater tunnels!

Wheel Balancing for Road Bikes?

I saw this video over on Shane Miller’s YouTube page. I’d mulled over the idea of balancing road bike wheels a few times in the past, but never taken it any further than the odd thought. You balance your car and motorbike wheels, so why not your very expensive road bike wheels? Check this out:

As it turns out, balancing your road bike wheels actually does make a difference and is another one of those marginal gains for the OCD cyclists out there. This weekend I’m going to check out my deep section wheels and see just how out of balance they are!

Tandem Travels!

In almost a polar opposite to my recent power training post, I also absolutely love riding tandem bikes. It’s simply what cycling is all about once you strip away the fast ride politics, the endless number crunching, the Strava files and training plans. Being on a tandem is about getting out there and having fun just enjoying the journey together.

10003662_737741379590434_191494495161767985_oTotally pro…

My wife isn’t a sporting cyclist so riding a tandem allows us to cover much, much more ground than if we were on a bike each. Probably five times as much at least. All with a smile on her face and as you know – happy wife happy life!

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The photo above was taken during a laid back ride through the vineyards and lakes of Hungary a couple of years back. Such a beautiful country. There’s nothing quite like exploring pastures new by bicycle. Plus she can take scenic photos, read maps or guidebooks, pass up glasses of wine, etc. All from the back seat! #winning 

Sometimes though the tandems on offer at the local cycle hire shop are not exactly high tech machines! This particular one below we hired in Slovenia. I had visions of it busting in half with any out-of-the saddle climbs! It did the job though and got us to Croatia and back – even though it was close to 40 degrees C that day. As you can see from the photo I am resting in the shade after some hard graft on one rickety looking contraption…

A hot day for a tandem ride on one strange looking machine.

Sometimes us tandem cyclists even travel in packs! One of my favourite tandem rides was the inaugural Woking CC Tandem Club Ride, where six of us tandem enthusiasts took to the quieter roads of Surrey and Berkshire in search of the finest tea and scones on the county. It was a fantastic day out on two wheels. Needless to say if I had a little more storage space (and Tassie wasn’t so lumpy) I’d buy a tandem tomorrow!

1781515_737741079590464_6114498468907289941_oWoking CC Tandem Club Ride – Outside the cafe stop in Windsor Great Park.

Some evenings are just too good to spend on the trainer!

Some moments are just too good to waste on the trainer. My plan for the evening was to get home from work and jump on Zwift for an hour’s sweetspot session, but perfect weather (combined with an internet outage, hehehe) convinced me to unshackle myself from the trainer and head outdoors for some magically mellow miles.

A quick photo stop on the jetty to capture a perfect late summer evening…

I took my trusty time trial bike out for a spin as I need to clock up some more time in that position. Well, what a fantastic evening for it! I wasn’t pushing super hard or staring at my Garmin stats, just enjoying the fresh sea air, but I still managed to pick up some Strava PRs (including a couple of Top 5 times). Some days, there’s just no better way to spend and evening than outside on two wheels. #moremilesmoresmiles

* Photo critique: Yeah I know, I didn’t remove my light, saddle bag or water bottle and also forgot to line up valve stems properly. At least it’s in the big ring! ;-)

Update your Strava privacy

Strava have recently added some new privacy settings to your profile, so now is a time to have another look at your current settings and maybe tighten up the security on your account.

You should already at a least be using the “Hide Your House” option to keep the start and finish points of your regular rides from showing up (ie: your house or even work).  In the past there have been reports of clued up bike thieves using Strava data to target homes with expensive bikes. This privacy zone can be set from 200m up to a 1000m radius, which is good if you live in a more rural area.

The new settings can enhance your privacy further. Ever had loads of random kudos from Zwift riders or for a Sportive where Strava has shown you “rode with” a whole bunch of strangers? Well now you can also hide your activity from group rides, so it only shows to athletes you follow or that follow you. You can also remove an activity from Strava segment leader boards completely for added privacy.

Alongside the “Hide Your House” option, I have my Strava profile page and training log set to private, with my activities uploaded as private by default. So spend a minute or two now reviewing your settings to ensure you’re happy with your Strava privacy.