A perfect Sunday cafe spin!

After almost a year in Tassie I finally managed to meet up with a local rider. Paul lives in the next town over and I’d initially found him through Strava, as we swapped KOMs back and forth a few times when I first moved to Tassie, then crossed paths out riding on our own. More recently we’ve both been riding Zwift and chatting on there, but we’d never been able to get out for a proper ride together. Today that changed.

We had agreed on a more sedate “cafe ride” this Sunday to start things off. We met up at the bakery (conveniently located half way between each of our places) for a later 10am start to let the sun burn away the morning chill. It was glorious outside, almost perfect as we rolled along the coast and country roads. The sun was shining brightly and a gentle cooling sea breeze swept across the island. It’s hard to beat Tassie on a day like today. We weren’t pushing super hard and spent much of the time side-by-side having a good chat like old friends.

After a solid 60km loop back to the bakery we stopped for a quick coffee in the sunshine, review the ride and chat some more breeze. Even though we were weren’t smashing it or pacelining, we still pushed hard enough to feel it a little in the legs and snag some good Strava trophies. A perfect Sunday cafe ride!

I don’t mind admitting that Paul is a much stronger rider than I am, in his words all he does is ride, eat and sleep! His FTP is a good 100W over mine so I know if he wants to he could drop me pretty easily. We’re hoping to make the “Z TAZ Sunday Ride” a semi regular thing, so it should amount to pretty good training when he does decide to put the hammer down!

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Aussie Christmas!

Just a quickie to wish  you all a wonderfully relaxing Christmas! :-) Extra kudos to anyone who is taking on the annual Rapha Festive 500 challenge. I am sitting that one out this year, instead I’ll be kicking back with old friends. I can tell you one thing though, the weather this Christmas is a fair whack different to last year! This is my first summer Christmas in over 10 years.

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Almost Famous

Last Sunday a film crew from ITV’s The Cycle Show accompanied us on the regular first of the month club ride to Windsor. They were filming a piece on how accessible it is to join a club and how not all clubs are intimidating. We are a club that caters for all abilities and isn’t just full of svelte Lycra-clad racing snakes. Being very social and inclusive is an ethos at the heart of our club and one we strive to maintain.

Ex-pro cyclist and pocket rocket Rebecca Charlton accompanied the “social group” on their shorter ride to a local cafe, before shooting off to Windsor to join us faster lot for the ride home. I’d volunteered to lead a fast-ish group that morning so was chosen to be wired up and interviewed by Rebecca on the return journey! Here’s me getting mic’d up by the sound guy in Windsor:

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Rebecca and I rode on the front of the group and had a conversation about the club’s different levels and friendly attitude while the cameraman filmed from the back of a motorbike. There was also a quick interview afterwards back in Woking to finish off the piece. I’m totally not checking out her impressive track cyclist’s thighs I promise:

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It was such an enjoyable ride with her in the bunch and she was a really good sport, having a laugh alongside all of us guys. It was also a surreal experience having a proper TV camera motorbike following the club ride just like on a pro tour. I even got to fly off the front of the group and draft inches behind it at one point! I could get used to that!

Hopefully the piece will air in a couple of weeks. #almostfamous

Kolonial – Prague’s Cycling Restaurant

There’s been a multitude of cycling cafes popping up around the woods in the past year or so, testament to the growing popularity of cycling in Britain. It can only be a good thing in my book as cycling and coffee go hand in hand! Recently on a trip to the Czech Republic, I stumbled across a little beauty – a cycling themed restaurant.

Tucked away in the lovely Jewish Quarter of Prague is KOLONIAL. A modern, yet character filled restaurant with a difference. It is billed as a cycling themed restaurant, the only one of it’s kind in the city. I say it’s a cycling themed restaurant, rather than a cyclist’s restaurant, as it’s aimed at non-cyclists as well (which are a large proportion of it’s customers).

Upon entering you are greeted by the enthusiastic staff, who all wear custom Kolonial cycling jerseys as their uniform. I thought this was a great idea! Also very practical as the rear pockets serve for storing notepads, pens, spare change, etc. The local beer bottle images emerging from the three rear pockets were a great touch too!

Kolonial is quite possibly the perfect place for a post-ride coffee. There’s no cycle racks outside, but secure cycle parking is provided inside the restaurant. I enjoyed a delicious cappuccino and cake for 85Czk (roughly £2.50).

The entire restaurant is covered in cycling memorabilia. Images from famous stage races and cycling themed art cover almost every inch of the restaurant. Bar stools constructed from leather Brooks saddles and classic Penny Farthings in the windows really give this place a classic cycling atmosphere. There’s even signed kit from local Pro riders and World Champ medals on display.

My morning coffee and cake was so good I decided to return to Kolonial for dinner as well. The menu is chock full of choices, including some Czech favourites. If you’re ever in Prague and fancy a great meal surrounded by cycling memorabilia then be sure to hit up Kolonial. It’s only a little off the main tourist route and easy walking distance from the Old Town. If you really love it then there’s the opportunity to purchase one of their custom jerseys to take home too. I can tell you I did…

 

Originally published on Wheelsuckers.

Sunday morning in the Surrey Hills

So after an enforced 10 days off the bike giving me plenty of time to recover from a long period of illness it was great to finally get back into the Surrey Hills. I left home early and for the first half of the ride I almost had the whole place to myself.

My route took me up three main climbs; Staple Lane, Crittern/Beech Lane and finally up Box Hill for a quick coffee stop. I like to get to Box Hill early to avoid the ever-present Sunday crowds. Saying it’s a popular place for road cyclists is a serious understatement! The National Trust Cafe does a quality double espresso plus a vast range of homemade cakes! I had a brief stop here to refuel before heading home via flatter, more rolling roads.

Surrey-19th-AprilSunday solo spin: A shade over 64 miles with 4180 feet of climbing.

I’ve lost a lot of fitness over the past two months and that was very evident towards the latter part of the ride. Up the Box Hill Zig Zag I was 45 watts down on my previous effort in February (although today’s route had more climbing beforehand).

It’s a bit disheartening knowing I should be much stronger right now after putting in a solid winter of training, but I guess it can’t be helped. There’s no doubt that it’s going to take some time and training to get back to where I was pre-illness! #keepcycling

Ride with Mark Flannagan from Beating Bowel Cancer

This morning I rode with Mark Flannagan from Beating Bowel Cancer. I’ve known Mark for a while now, but don’t often get the chance to ride with him. It’s a shame as he’s an avid roadie, enthusiastic member of Woking Cycling Club and all round top bloke. Mark, Paul, Dave and myself spun out for a mid-morning social ride to the cafe.

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Mark actually got hooked on road cycling before he even owned a road bike. As part of his charity work he signed up for the Prudential Ride London 100 in 2014, but had to borrow a bike for his first club ride to begin training! It’s been a head-first dive into the world of Lycra since then.

One of the qualities I admire about Mark is his ability to keep pushing himself on the bike. No matter what, if he’s set himself a target he will achieve it. He may not be the fastest guy (and I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that) but we WILL finish what he starts. Giving up is not an option. He’s out there clocking more miles no matter what the weather long after I’ve turned for home.

This year with the support of Beating Bowel Cancer, he will once again be hitting the road and pushing himself through some big events in order to raise not just money, but also awareness of bowel cancer. Two of his toughest days in the saddle will be the Prudential Ride London and the brutal 120-mile hill fest of Wales Velothon. Chapeau!

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