I joined Rapha Cycling Club (RCC) a couple of weeks ago, and went out on my first social group ride with them. In fact, this was probably my first ever proper “group ride”, having done most of my previous cycling either with a couple of friends, solo or on Zwift. It was a 9am start and we all met at Deli on the Green in Woodford. Being only 6km from my house, it was quick and easy to get to. I met up with the other RCC cyclists, who all seemed like a very nice bunch of people.
We headed out into the Essex countryside and made our way through some familiar roads, and after 40km of cycling, ended up at The Fox and the Goose GastroPub for a cafe stop. Continuing on from my recent pescatarian diet (a blog post about this later!) nothing tickled my fancy on the menu. A few months ago a bacon butte would have gone down well, but not anymore. Anyhow, I ordered a latte and after some chit-chat, we were back on the road. The route took us back down toward Chigwell, and I broke off the ride to head home (as did a few others) before the main group made their way back to Woodford.
I covered 76.8km (~48 miles), and all-in-all, felt pretty comfortable at the end. Average speeds were around 26km/hr for the ride. Hopefully many more rides to come! I will be shifting my focus toward running for the next few weeks, so more rides to follow in June. Some eagerly anticipated Rapha kit has now also been ordered, so stay tuned for a few quality reviews! Until then, Ride On!
After securing a place for the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 sportive, I knew that it was time to increase my miles in the saddle. Most of my ‘longer’ cycling rides have been on Zwift, and in all honesty, not been very long at all (the longest ride being 100km). Well, not very long compared with some of the awesome cyclists I follow on Strava who seem to effortlessly push out >300 miles week-in-week-out! I know that in order to have a great day and complete the sportive in a time I will be pleased with, I need to get more miles out on the road. Cycling alone can be somewhat lonesome, particularly on long rides. The social company, coffee stops and sense of security on outside rides is something that I know will help me get out more.
I did consider some local cycling clubs, but have always been in awe of the Rapha brand and what it stood for. I knew that they had a cycling club for a while now, but never seriously considered to join them as they were based in central London and I thought it was a little far to get to for their weekly rides. I also felt that I may need to improve my cycling fitness, as impressions of fast/elite roadies cruising along at 25mph flooded my mind. I was wrong on both accounts! Let me just take a moment to explain how Rapha Cycling Club (RCC) works.
So ZWIFT have unveiled yet another route for the Watopia course. There is now a 4.2km (distance) climb with ~125M of climbing up the recently released Volcano. This is ideal for testing your climbing skills without the added duress of putting yourself through the torturous Watopia mountain. Well, not so much torturous as it is time consuming! I did a quick test of the Volcano climb to see what it was all about.
I have been wanting to break the 100km distance for some time now. Well over a year, in fact! However, for one reason or the other, it didn’t happen. I did cycle around 110km in September last year with my good friend Mark, but as that ride was broken with a few stops, I felt that it didn’t count to some extent. The build-up to this ride was very unexpected. I have only started to cycle constant miles again, and even still, mileage is pretty low. For today’s ride, I was only planning 50 miles, but ended up doing 100km instead. Here is a brief report of this ride.
I purchased my first road bike back on July 28th 2015. So much has changed in a year, so I just wanted to share my thoughts on this. Okay, so my intention back last summer was to buy a road bike for the London Duathlon. I knew there was a slight chance that I may get slightly obsessed with cycling and bikes(!) at the time. I was talking to a good running friend Pete Chapman today, who has just recently got into road cycling, and was explain to him (briefly) my journey of getting my first road bike to where I am now. I am definitely not very experienced with cycling, but feel that after cycling almost 4,000km in 2016 so far, have accumulated a reasonable level of competence. Here is a brief timeline of my cycling journey since last year:
I have been cycling for less than a year, and in that short time, have taken a real passion to getting on the saddle. I had been struggling with a gluteal niggle from September (2015), which has now finally begun to resolve(!). This gave me the opportunity (over this time of less running) to focus my attention on riding. As many cyclists will agree, this can be an expensive addiction. I took delivery of my Canyon Endurace a couple of months ago, and was very impressed. Canyon truly do make some exceptional bikes. I have now just received the Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 Aero.
Ask any cyclist. It is a well known fact that Canyon make some amazing bikes. However, the exceptionally long waiting times for these magnificent bikes are equally as notorious. After some research and pondering, I placed an order for a Canyon Endurace CF 9.0 Di2 back in September 2015. It will come as no surprise to anyone who has ordered with Canyon in the latter half of 2015/early 2016, that my bike was subjected to a myriad of delays. Originally due to ship in November, then December, then January and finally March. After liaising directly with Canyon, expressing my frustration of waiting for so long, my bike was finally delivered on the 18th of February 2016; over 5 months (23 weeks!) after placing my order.
I have not owned a road bike for that long (just over 6 months), and merely took up the sport as a casual endeavour to compliment and support my running. However, since picking up a gluteal injury in September 2015 (piriformis syndrome), as well as facing some other health issues, my running mileage has unfortunately seen a dramatic decline. This has had a significant emotional impact on me, as I was hoping to have been at a sub 1:20 half marathon by this stage, having come from strength to strength from summer 2014 to 2015. It is also quite difficult to physically contain myself, as I cannot express in words alone how much I love being active. As I work toward recuperation, I have been extensively using Zwift. For the uninitiated, Zwift is an online cycling ‘game’, that allows you to hook up your turbo trainer to the software on your computer (via an ANT+ USB dongle), and cycle in an online world with other riders. I have already reviewed Zwift here:
The turbo trainer is a fantastic training tool. However, one of the biggest drawbacks I mentioned in my review of the CycleOps Jet Fluid Pro was that it can get slightly mundane to engage in stationary cycling on your own. I recently came across a software program called Zwift. To briefly summarise, Zwift can be installed onto your personal computer (mac/windows) and allows you to virtually cycle in some great locations, with other real riders, and track your performance. In this blog post I will be exploring what Zwift is, how to get set-up, and my thoughts based on my first ride.
Starting out on a road bike, like many other first time cyclists, I was hesitant and reluctant to immediately move over to the clipless side. I am sure that many fellow road cyclists will read the title of this blog post, yawn and move on. But for me, the transition and journey to clipless pedals has been interesting and exciting, as well as the subject of a fair amount of contemplation and research.
When I first got a road bike back in June, going clipless was not even a consideration. I had read about the benefits of better peddling efficiency, feeling more connected with your bike, etc. And all the other common arguments that roadies throw at you. Looking around on forums, the concept of rocking flat pedals was ridiculed with mockery and the sign of being a rookie. I strongly disagree with that, and genuinely feel that there is no licence or test to pass to clarify oneself as a proficient cyclist. But I digress. So how and why did I make the transition?