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?
During a recent bike overhaul, it was pretty much mandatory that I needed to replace the bar tape. As a result, I thought it would be worth forking out for what is described by many as probably the best bar tape available on the market today; Lizard Skins DSP. Coming in a wide range of colours, I opted for red to match the colours of my bike. The bar tape itself retails for £28 in high street shops, but being an avid internet shopper, I got mine from wiggle for around £21.
Since getting my first road bike in July earlier this year, I have been enjoying some quality time in my journey and evolution as a cyclist. Still being somewhat of a rookie to the whole cycling scene, I do feel that I am slowly getting the hang of both riding and the workings of a road bike. I mentioned in my first post after buying the Orbea Avant that I will be upgrading my bike as time goes on. Fast forward a mere 2 months, and quite a bit has changed!
My bike came fitted with a 9-speed Shimano Sora groupset, which was fine as a pure entry level system. Additionally, the stock wheels on the bike were first on my list to be replaced, as many had informed me that the most ‘bang for my buck’ in terms of performance enhancement on my bike would come from replacing the wheels.
I find going on holiday to be both a rewarding and relaxing experience. However, I also enjoy keeping active, trying new physical activities and exploring places to run (and now cycle). Whilst planning my trip to Barcelona I was keen to engage in an activity that would not only satisfy my craving for keeping active, but also allow me to explore the city and surrounding areas. I came across Montefusco cycling on tripadvisor; a cycle rental and tour company, and was very impressed with the string of 5* reviews. I made contact with Claduio, and we agreed to meet at my hotel on September 13th at 10am for a bike tour of Barcelona and the nearby hills. I paid a 20% deposit via paypal (total cost was €120). Communication was good, and Claudio responded quickly to any questions or queries I had.
Since 2014, I have completed a number of running races including eight 10ks, eight half-marathons, three marathons and a few other events including the City Mile and pacing for the Richmond half-marathon. Looking for a fresh new challenge in 2015, I signed-up for the London Duathlon way back in September last year (early-bird entry!). Despite being a newbie to the Duathlon, I was still tempted to go for the ultra distance; 21km run, 88km bike ride, 10km run. However, my logical side appealed to me and I decided to go for the standard distance of a 10km run, 44km bike ride, 5km run. This seemed like a fair challenge and the sensible option for my first Duathlon.