Exploring the Tasman Peninsula on two wheels

Last weekend I had the opportunity to take my bike down onto the Tasman Peninsula for a ride along the coast and into the hills. It was one of those rare and perfect early winter evenings. Still mild enough to have the legs out, not a drop of wind and hardly a car to contend with.

It’s not often enough I get out on the road these days and this ride certainly reminded me of what I am missing out on!

During the summer  the roads down on the Peninsula are jammed full of tourist rental cars and badly driven camper vans, but outside of peak season you can almost have the place to yourself. It really is a little slice of island paradise. If it weren’t for the fading light I could have ridden for hours, but in the end I rolled back to the house with a shade over 51km on the Garmin, three Cat 4 Climbs, 28kph average, two Strava KOMS and one absolutely stunning sunset to finish off the ride. Some days life is just ohhh so sweet and it makes you thankful to be alive. #keepthosepedalsturning

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!

248151_117057191834792_1364477868_n

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.

The London Bike Show 2016

Yesterday thanks to work I took a trip to the London Bike Show to check out this year’s latest and greatest cycling releases. I’d never been to the London show before so was really looking forward to it. A short car journey and three trains later I arrived at the ExCeL Centre around 1pm.

First call was the Specialized stand to see the S-Works Venge ViAS. I’d been hankering over a peek at this bike and it did not disappoint. I will admit to not being a fan in the past, but this version has totally changed my opinion! I’ll have a more in-depth feature for the Venge ViAS in a future post.

IMG_0914

From there I did a quick (okay, very slow) few laps on the Street Velodrome, where I almost crashed when I clipped the exit during my timed two laps and got my ass handed to me by a 12 year old kid! That going around in small circles at speed is harder than it looks…

IMG_1027Another highlight was sampling the different flavours and brands of energy bars on the market. We stock many brands such as Torq, Honey Stinger, Mule Bar and SiS but to be honest I’d never tried many of them! I still much prefer to make my own ride fuel. At least then you know exactly what is in them. The ever expanding Mule Bar range was by far the tastiest.

IMG_1026

IMG_1015

There were plenty of high end road and mountain bikes on display for punters to ogle over. I was particularly taken by the growing number of titanium offerings, plus the Argon 18 range of aero road and time trial bikes. Lets just say there was no shortage of serious cycle porn on display! Clothing, accessory and component brands were also well represented with the likes of EDCO, Continental, Mavic alongside smaller independent brands all mixing it up for a slice of the consumer pie.

IMG_0986One day I will have my own Van Nicholas titanium beauty!

IMG_0939

I was a bit disappointed  not to see any SRAM eTAP on display (apparently there was one bike on the Pinarello stand) or Rotor’s hydraulic groupset. Also I didn’t see the new 9-series Trek Madone, the closest competitor to the Venge ViAS. Apart from that, all the usual suspects and high end brands were present. If you’re at a loss for something to do this weekend, the London Bike Show may just be the ticket!

IMG_0998

IMG_1018

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!

focus-mares-ax-ltd-di2

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

September Wrap Up

Well that’s September done and dusted. Where does the time go? Now begins the slide into the chilly and dark depths of the British winter.

Photogram-20150930060101This month has been a big one for me on the bike. A shade over 900 miles in total, riding every day except four.

My legs were pretty shot over the first half of the month but they’ve almost gotten used to the regular mileage now. Just got to keep going forwards! I’m looking forward to some Autumn commuting – one of my favourite seasons – and plan to continue riding as much as possible through the winter months and cycle commuting to work as long as the weather permits. Here’s what my cycling month looked like:

Sept-2015

#keepcycling