Wednesday, 17 November 2010

When I were a lad...

It's now been more than a year and a half since getting back on the bike after a three year hiatus. I don't mind telling you that sometimes I feel more than a little frustrated with progress so far!

I have memories of being in my early 30s (which isn't that long ago!), and getting back on the bike after some break or another and finding the first 3 weeks of cycling quite difficult. After which time 20 - 25mph cruising speeds seemed to be common place, and didn't really require that much effort.

Now in my late 30s, I seem to struggle to maintain a speed of 20mph, and more often than not cruise at somewhere between 15 and 18mph. After more than a year and a half of what seems like a hard slog, I still feel disappointed with the apparent lack of progress.
Maybe I just have to face the fact that I'm an almost 40 year old asthmatic who is never going to get that speed back again!

There are some positives though,  in terms of stamina I am probably fitter than I have ever been, or at least in the last 10 years anyhow. I now cycle more miles than I have ever cycled (>3000 per year), and not so long ago the thought of cycling 50 miles in one outing seemed like an almost impossible task. I remember reading those tweets from other people and wondering how they did it. Now a 50 mile cycle is a once a month activity which I look forward to.
There are still improvements that can be made with lifestyle however, I am still about 3 stone heavier than I should be, and that is going to be the focus of my attention in the new year. I did loose about a stone when I started cycling again, but since that initial loss my weight has remained static. Unfortunately though I'm running out of things to fix!
For now I still refuse to believe that my speed is gone for good, only time will tell...

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Helmet or not?

Had an interesting Twitter conversation today on the contentious subject of helmet use, and whether they save lives or not. It seemed to turn very quickly into a ....hmm, imagine the types of arguments a climate sceptic might use, "placebo for subjective...", "facts say it all" (with obligatory graphs that actually don't say much about helmet use whatsoever), the language was pretty similar - most sceptic language is, and most fall into this style of argument when sceptical of something.

My personal opinion is that I'm not fussed whether you wear one or not, It's your head after all! Me, I like to wear a helmet and I think they are of some use. They may not save your life if you are hit by a lorry doing 40mph, but fall of on cycle path, or on  a road at less than 20mph, then any barrier between you and the hard stuff is surely going to be of at least minimal benefit!

The debate will no doubt go on....

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Look Keo Carbon Pedals

Yesterday, on my way into work, one of my long serving Shimano Ultegra Pedals finally gave way to the overwhelming power I put down on the pedals and broke, Ok maybe nothing to do with power and more to do with years of neglect and many 1000s of miles of pedalling!
After much deliberation, I decided it was time for a change! Some shiny Look Carbon Pedals were in order as they were only a tenner more expensive than an Ultegra replacement.

One thing I didn't expect was the fight I was going to have with the old pedals to remove them, after much swearing and blood, I gave in and took the bike to the LBS who added insult to my injury and removed said pedals in 30s flat.

I must admit now that the pedals are on, I'm not sure that I like the look of the black carbon pedals against the silver of my Ultegra cranks, but they are on to stay. Next year the intention is to upgrade the groupset to SRAM red, so hopefully the silly looks are just temporary!

Having now ridden around 15 miles on the new pedals which is of course to soon to form a worthwhile opinion, they do seem to spin slightly easier than the old pedals, although this of course is probably just down to the newness, I imagine an Ultegra replacement would spin just as well as the Look pedals. The locking mechanism on the pedal has a slightly more definite feel than Ultegra though, but not much in it.

One thing that is still true of the new pedals, is that I am no more elegant trying to get my feet into these as I was with the old set! Don't know how many years I have been using SPDs of one sort or another, and I still can't get into the pedals by feel alone!

The first blog

I am sure that I have set up a Blogger account in the past, but anyhow, my Twitter persona is Baldcyclist so it kind of feels right to have some continuity, as this is after all going to be a cycling related blog.

First it is safe to say that I am not one of those 'Cyclist activist' types. I have no green save the world agenda, I just like cycling for cycling's sake. I don't believe every one should ride a bike because it's quicker than a car in traffic, I just like to ride my bike! If you drive to work, that's fine by me.

Right, enough ramblings for now, I no doubt will update this page over time, or forget about it...