Cycling Thread - pleasure peddlers to serious cyclists sign in here!

(995 Posts)
Thistledew Sat 13-Aug-11 16:41:39

Hi All

I thought I would start a cycling thread. It would be great if we could make it all inclusive, so whether you currently just enjoy bike rides but are interested in taking it further, or already train seriously, please post what you are up to and what your aims are. By sharing knowledge and experiences, hopefully we can spur each other on.

If you want to, please post a quick biog of how long you have been cycling, how much you currently cycle, and what your goals are.

And for those who wish to engage in a bit of bike porn, please feel free to post what sort of bike you ride!

Happy peddling!

Thistledew Sat 13-Aug-11 16:53:08

To start off, I had better do my own biog:

I took up cycling at the beginning of this year, not having sat on a bicycle for about 8 years. I have managed to cycle most weekends and sometimes during the week as well.

A good training ride for me is about 20-35 miles at the moment, but a couple of weeks ago I managed a 65 mile ride!

I have just worked out a good route to commute to work, which is 12 miles each way. I am aiming to keep motivated to cycle at least once, hopefully twice a week.

Things I need to work on-
Hill climbing- whether to get up on the peddles and attack, or drop into a low gear and dig in is something that I am not yet gauging properly.
I also need to practice riding slowly in a straight line without wobbling to make dealing with queues at traffic lights a bit easier!

I am also considering switching to proper road tyres - I ride a Specialised Tri-Cross and am currently using the 35 mm tyres it came with. They are great for when it is raining as they provide more grip than real road tyres, but are otherwise a bit redundant, as I don't go off road.

duende Sun 14-Aug-11 19:49:38

Thistledew, hello smile
A pleasure peddler here smile I only bought my bike a couple of months ago and don't have much time to ride it. i try and go out Saturdays and Sundays, but it's only for about 40-60min at a time, so I only do about 15k. I really enjoy it though. I keep thinking about riding it to work on the days when I'm not taking DS to nursery on my way in. Work is only 7 miles away but I'm dreading the rush hour traffic.
I have a specialized vita, a hybrid. Love it!

Thistledew Sun 14-Aug-11 22:45:23

Hi duende. Thanks for signing in.

Is your work a cycle friendly place? Mine is not particularly but I have now sussed out where the shower is and where I will be able to leave my bike. I just need to take a suit and couple of shirts in to leave at work so that I don't have to cram them in a bag each way, and sort out a basic wash kit, and I will be set. A bit of planning and it suddenly feels much more do-able.

Traffic on a bike is quite daunting, but my theory is the heavier the traffic, the more it becomes feasible to cycle. There is one route I do that takes 30 mins in the car due to traffic and only 40 on the bike.

Commuting on a bike also is great for killing two birds with one stone. That otherwise unproductive time travelling suddenly becomes your weekly exercise, without having to lose any other precious relaxation or family time.

fridayschild Mon 15-Aug-11 22:08:07

Hello, I am a bicycle commuter.

Commuting tips- I go on roads where the traffic is slower, not the route I'd pick in a car, because I think that's safer. Also signalling really helps the car drivers (blush took me a while to work that one out!)

I have two panniers so I can roll my clothes loosely in one bag and all my other Stuff gets crammed in the other. I don't wear cotton shirts any more! Tops and dresses are the way forwards.

Thistledew Mon 15-Aug-11 22:53:46

Hi fridayschild

Thanks for posting.

Do you find that panniers make the bike handle differently, or is not obvious?

upahill Tue 16-Aug-11 12:43:59


I ride a Scott Contessa mountain bike, mainly for pleasure but I have had a bit of pain with it.

I like doing trails such as Gisburn forest, Grizedale and Whinlatter and also a lot of stuff on the moors. I love Mabie forest in Dumfries and Galloway.

I need to work on more regularity eg I get out a lot and then it dies down and then it's like I'm starting again with my fitness.

My work is nearby and I often cycle there but it depends on what I am doing or more to the point who I am picking up from school whether I go in the car or cycle in.

I really want to update and upgrade my bike but keep on going on holiday instead!!!

Caged Tue 16-Aug-11 12:56:26

Hi I got my first ever bike in May, I didn't have one as a child and have been very nervous of cycling if we've hired them on holidays etc. I'm now doing one ride a week for about 2.5 hours and was doing a few shorter rides to supermarket/dr's before school broke up. I have to say I'm very proud of myself, I'm not a sporty person and generally a bit scared. I started because I need to lose about two stone, and generally introduce some exercise into my life.

I have a hybrid bike and recently bought new tyres that have less tread, so not road tyres but slightly faster. The bike is great, but is very heavy so I can lift it to get on our cycle carrier, which is a shame as I'd like to do a few rides further away. Luckily we live in an area that is twenty minutes into town in one direction, but countryside only five minutes in the other and am really enjoying finding new places and routes.

Dh cycles too, but we rarely get to go together as our dcs aren't old enough to be left yet. My aim is to get faster I probably average about 10 mph and to crack hills without having a heart attack.

EssieW Tue 16-Aug-11 14:50:31


I've a hybrid bike which used to be my commuting bike when lived in London. Now we're not in London, I'm able to cycle in evenings and weekends round country lanes which is great. Have got so much fitter since I started about 18 months ago. Also sometimes have DD on the back of it in a child seat (improves fitness no end!).

Really want a road bike though!

Thistledew - used to cycle with panniers all the time. Didn't really seem to make a difference to how the bike handled.

Thistledew Tue 16-Aug-11 16:58:14

Hello to upahill Caged and EssieW!

Caged - Hills are my bete noir too. I have received two good tips that make it a bit easier:

1) Make sure that you are in the right gear. You should aim to keep your cadence - the rate at which you pedal - as high as possible when you are going up hill. DP bought me a bike computer this weekend, and it was quite amazing to see, when I was going up a long, slow hill, how I could actually speed up by changing down a gear and increasing my cadence.

2) Switch the intensity at which you are pedaling in sets of either three or five - so do three hard pushes, followed by three light ones. It helps you build up some momentum without causing your thigh muscles to scream at you too much.

Maybe upahill has some more tips- you are very aptly named for a mountain biker!

EssieW - I am in London, but recently took my bike with me when I went to stay with my parents in a very rural area. It was bliss riding on quiet roads, and for DP and I to be able to cycle side by side.

Thistledew Tue 16-Aug-11 17:02:15

I just wanted to say as well, that I don't necessarily want to be the one to lead this thread, I am trying to respond to everyone who posts at the moment so that we can keep this on the Active list so that the maximum number of people get to see it - but please feel free to talk amongst yourselves! grin

Also, I want to get it to 1000 posts as soon as possible, so that we can start a new thread without the glaring typo in the title blush !! Thanks for not pointing it out to me - the curse of dyslexia strikes again. Can we just pretend that it was a deliberate play on words? blush

EssieW Tue 16-Aug-11 17:08:42

Also neglected to mention that I do borrow DH bike - which is a better hybrid than mine. Also because he didn't batter it on London's potholes.

No tips for hills here. Deep breath and go for it tactic seems to work here although most hills are short and steep rather than the long prolonged ones.

Can anyone recommend any good cycling clothes? Or gadgets even? I'd like to get cycling stuff for Christmas but need to have a good think about what I actually want!

PS only just noticed typo!

Thistledew Tue 16-Aug-11 17:18:50

Aventura seem to be a good brand. I recently bought some more padded 3/4 leggings from them and was surprised how much better the padding is to the cheaper ones I had before. I will let you know about durability once I have had them a bit longer!

It was good fun to ride with the bike computer at the weekend. Being able to see my speed as I was going along was a good incentive to push a bit harder.

BikeRunSki Tue 16-Aug-11 17:40:54

Hi, I can't remember ever not having a bike and I am 40. I saved up and bought my first grown up bike when I was 16, and for the end of school, uni and single living in a city I rode everywhere and rode for pleasure and leisure. It was a pretty basic touring bike, but it got me London-Brighton a few times and round the the Irish Coast from Rosslare to Clare loaded with loaded panniers.

DH is a serious cyclist. When we met (I was a PhD student, he was one of "my" MSc students) I overheard him on the phone to his mate saying "I've met this girl, she's got a bike....". He does a time trial or cyclocross race every week. Lots of MTBing at weekends, sometimes with a 2 year old on board. He is a site based civil engineer, so doesn't get much opportunity to commute by bike, but is in the office this week, so he is taking advantage of that. I used to commute by bike occassionally, but 17 extremely hilly miles, ending in 4 miles of dual carriage way never really did it for me. And it takes 1.4 hours each way, which is a big commitment with childcare, even taking flexi time into account. I've done a season of cyclocross (2003/04) and got quite into track racing at the Manchester Velodrome at one point, but I am just not that competitive. Give me a nice run out - on or off road - through the Peak District any day.

I can't remember the last time we went on holiday without bikes, unless it was skis. Actually, I am not sure this situation has ever happened.

8 years ago we moved house to get a garage to house all the bikes. Excluding children's bikes, his number around 5, mine 3.

At the moment I am 30 wks pg, so havn't been on a bike for a while. But my bikes are:

1 Bob Jackson hand built to measure audax/touring bike in beautiful royal blue. Not as expensive as you think it might be and gorgeous. Fits like a dream.

2 The predecessor to theSpecialised Myka FSR (Is called the Epic Comp Designs for Women). I t is certainly worth trying women specific bikes if you get serious. It's not just about pink handlebars, the centre of gravity is tweaked, the stretches are better for women's arm:back:leg ratios and many other subtle differences. I believe only 5 were imported from the US.

3 A manky old ex-hire Dawes hardtail for dragging DS around forests and playgroups and leaving at the station.

As for clothes - you get what you pay for! I have found this out the wet, sore, hard way, Good brands are Assos, Gore and Pearl Izumi but you'll have to take a deep breath, swallow hard and consider your purchase an investment. You'll still be wearing it 5 years later and it'll still be performing well though. And again, worth trying women specific gear - narrow shoulders on jackets do they don't fill up with wind, wider cut at hips, shorter arms, better placed liners in shorts, straps in discrete boob-avoiding positions. You can't really go wrong with anything from Minx Girl. Despite big thighs, I prefer lycra bottoms to baggies, everything just glides more soothly and am a big advocate of merino wool tops. As a baselayer in winter, on their own in summer. Comfy, work well, and don't stink.

BikeRunSki Tue 16-Aug-11 17:43:07

Hills - spin smoothly rather than push. If you need to push hard, change down a gear.

upahill Tue 16-Aug-11 17:52:21

For those that are new to cycling or want to ride in a group locally to where you live have a look at the sky rides.

British cycling also do women only rides.

There are loads of good mountain bike and cycling websites such as This is the website of Mountain bike uk and they have a beginners and family section.

For those that are new to doing mountain biking using either a mountain bike or hybrid I'm sure you know that you are allowed to cycle on Bridle paths.
Just get an O.S. 1:25000 of your local area (get an Aqua map if you want it to last!!) and you will probably be suprised about how many routes you can make.

Often your local tourist information will have suggested routes for Bridle paths/ mountain bikes.

Make sure your bike is set up for you correctly eg not too low or to high Here's some tips

Several reasons for good set up - safety, comfort and efficency.

Have the tyres at the correct pressure for the type of riding you are doing. There is a difference between road and trail riding.

Probably my best tip would be make sure you take a spare inner tube and pump out with you and you know how to replace a tube. You never know when you can get a punture, You can do a repair when you get home!

upahill Tue 16-Aug-11 18:03:34

Nice bikes BRS!

I'm saving up for an Orange but it may be some time yet!!

I agree with you on good clothes.
I'm a lycra and baggies at the same time!!

Another thought for those that want to do trails wear glasses and gloves.
Tree branches can get in your eyes!

Maybe carry a small 1st aid kit in your pocket or bag. Keep it simple, a few wipes, plasters and the like you don't need a full Life System Mountain Leaders Pack!!!

Always Always kknow where a good cafe that sells great cake is!! Important part of the trip that!!!

saggarmakersbottomknocker Tue 16-Aug-11 18:15:20

Ooo hello smile

I'm mostly a pleasure peddler; sometimes have to do my commute by bike but generally dh does his by bike and I have the car. Luckily it's flat and totally off road so I don't have traffic worries or hills to contend with.

I have a men's retro/vintage Marin Bear Valley - it was rescued from my neighbour's skip. dh spotted the Mavic rims and nearly had a coronary. I love it (apart from the seat which needs replacing) it's just so easy to ride.

We did the newly opened Monsal Trailin the Peak District last week. Great family friendly route.

Thistledew Tue 16-Aug-11 18:16:17

Very nice BRS.

My bike is last year's model of this ,but with a 9 speed rear cassette and these shifters

I have to confess that I haven't really done any off roading on it, and although it is designed for path/gravel riding, I have my doubts as to how comfortable it would be. However, it is comforting to have something that is designed to go off road just to cope with London potholes!

DP has a Pinarello road bike, which I have had a few goes on, and it is quite hair raising how nippy it is.

Thistledew Tue 16-Aug-11 18:21:21

For people interested in doing organised bike rides, the British Heart Foundation organises loads each year. I am doing the 37 mile route for the Richmond to Windsor ride on 4 September 2011.

azazello Tue 16-Aug-11 18:29:09

I try to cycle to work once or twice several times a week and DH and I cycle quite a bit with the DCs at the weekend. I have a Dawes mummy bike with a Weehoo tagalong for DD and DS has a Kangaroo seat on DH's bike.

DH cycles a lot and does a few races. He has a Specialized for those and got me a road bike for my birthday last year so we can train and do some racing. I found it absolutely terrifying. I'm really trying to pluck up the courage to go out on it again.

Is anyone going to the Bike Blenheim weekend this weekend?

Thistledew Wed 17-Aug-11 07:49:24

Right. I am cycling to work for the first time today. I have my suit and shirt and wash kit there waiting for me.

Wish me luck for navigating Trafalgar Square!

upahill Wed 17-Aug-11 07:53:29

Blimey Good luck with Trafalgar
I'm going out on my bike later today.
Probably get up on the moors for a couple of hours.

MorganMindy Wed 17-Aug-11 08:11:59

Hi all,

I'm a sometimes bike commuter (but it's 20 miles each way so have to be in the right mood!), road cyclist and mountain biker. Always riden a bike but only got into it seriously about 5 years ago when I met my DP - he's a serious cyclist! Mainly road stuff such as Time Trialling, Triathlons and Sportives. Longest ride I've done is the Dragon Ride in Wales, amazing scenery but the hills were soooo hard! Last year I got a mountain bike and I'm really getting into that now, it's great fun and fantastic training.

I ride a Specialized Dolce Elite road bike, my mountain bike is also Specialized - Myka hardtail, it's lovely.

If anyone is interested in Sportives (non-competitive road events) then check out the Diva100 in May. Female only event and something I've already pencilled in for next year.

As for gear, I wear Gore, Pearl Izumi, Specialized do some good stuff and now getting into Scott too. You do get what you pay for and paying an extra few £ is worth it to stop chafing in delicate places grin

Chocamochalatte Wed 17-Aug-11 08:27:21

I'm a fair weather cyclist, always had a mountain bike, when DTs were younger we had a trailer and then tag a longs, however this year I've not been out really, maybe a dozen times in March / April, I suddenly need motivation to go out sad DTs 10 love cycling and did their first race at the BBB last year. They would think nothing of cycling 20 miles on off road cycle tracks...

DH used to race mountain bike and was semi professional at one point however over the last 4 years I'd say, he's suddenly lost interest and will rarely go out which demotivates me...
Never thought I'd want tips to encourage DH to go cycling, I was always a cycling widow!

I could cycle to work, lots do and it would only take 10 mins but I really can't be doing with helmet hair it gets frizzy enough as it is!

I guess I just need to get out at the weekends... Anyone have any motivation they could lend me??

prettybird Wed 17-Aug-11 08:53:43

I've cycled since I was 4 or 5 - my parents used to take 4 bikes on top of a Renault 4 on holiday to Tiree (which is an extremely windy Hebridian island and involved the car being hoisted, complete with bikes, on to the ferry and off again). I'm now 50 blush

Advice from my dad which I now take as gospel and which, if a new bike doesn't come with, he gets and puts on for me: a pannier rack and front and back mudguards. Both are not required if you are just moutain biking but if you are commuting or even just pleasure cycling, they really do make a difference.

Spend the money on decent pannier bags - they make like so much easier when packing stuff for work. Don't, as I did, panic when you see the price for one Altura pannier bag - they come in pairs and the other one is stored inside the one on display. Good ones will last you years smile

saggarmakersbottomknocker Wed 17-Aug-11 09:31:20

Good luck Thistledew.

Agree abut the panniers. Such an improvement on my backpack.

prettybird Wed 17-Aug-11 09:52:55

Also, using panniers means that you are more stable than using a back pack - so are therefore safer.

Thistledew Wed 17-Aug-11 10:33:01

Made it in one piece!

Putney Bridge and Trafalgar Square were much less daunting than I had feared they may be. There was quite a bit of traffic around, but that actually meant that it was slow moving. There were also quite a few other cyclists around, so bikes very much had a presence.

I did notice that I only saw two other women cyclists, but loads of men. Maybe it was just because I was being overtaken by the men!

Chocamochalatte - re motivation - why not sign up for a charity cycle race? There are quite a few around. I linked to the British Heart Foundation higher up the thread, which runs several events of differing difficulties throughout the year. If you start collecting sponsorship straight away, then you will be committed to the ride, and have an incentive to get some training in beforehand. Otherwise, keep posting and reading on here, and hopefully you will get the bug again.

Hello, I am a part time cyclist, I don't drive, so it is very handy for nipping into my nearest town and for other short journeys, I do love my slightly rusting bike.

SydneyB Wed 17-Aug-11 11:16:59

I love this thread! Have commuted in London for nearly 20 yrs, recently moved so commute is 12 miles each way and have upgraded to a Dawes Horizon which I love. I'd cut the number of times I did it to 2 x week but due to expanded waistline am set in doing it 3 x week. The thing that stopped me until now is the sore bot issues but have just discovered baggy shorts with padded Lycra liner! How could I have not known about them sooner...? Thanks for Minx link bikerunski, I want everything on there.
Well done on commute thistledew! The more you do it the easier it gets, key is to ride v confidently, make eye contact with drivers and over signal! And never ever get on inside of vehicles at lights especially lorries/buses - thats where most of those White bikes are sad

upahill Wed 17-Aug-11 11:20:07

Chocamochalatte How about going to one of the sky rides or Breeze rides that I posted about. The Breeze rides do easy routes and are a good way of gettting into or back into cycling.
Thistledews idea is good about committing to a sponsorship ride.

Well done thistledew I wouldn't fancy that route!

SummerLightning Wed 17-Aug-11 15:23:54

Ooh a cycling thread, I will join, not got a lot of time so haven't read everyone's message, will do later.

I am mostly a mountain biker but do some road biking as well. Unfortunately don't get to do very much at the mo as I have a 2.5 yr old and just turned 1 yr old but am going to get back into it now as the little one is sleeping well at last (tempts fate). How do you all manage to fit riding around kids? I unfortunately live in flatsville Cambridge and so there is no good mountain biking round here. I have to ride the flat bridleways around here most of the time and there is nothing very technical (which I love)

Though most recent holiday was to Whistler in Canada with a few days of downhilling (swapping childcare with DH). Amazing!! But not much like "normal biking", no riding uphill, just endless scary downhills grin. I got fat which I would never normally do on a biking holiday!

Oh and I will tell you all what bikes I have later, but I have <counts> erm...5. They are all getting a bit old now though, think I am due a new one!

Sorry for just posting about me, will be back later!

fridayschild Wed 17-Aug-11 16:33:07

Thistledew - I also go over Putney Bridge and through Trafalgar Square!

After four years I have formed the view that there is no correct lane in Trafalgar Square. You cannot do it without annoying some cab driver or other. Best just to take up as much lane as possible in an assertive sort of way.

Panniers - love them!

EssieW Wed 17-Aug-11 20:30:47

Well done on the commute Thistledew. It definitely helps to make eye contact with drivers and sometimes better to hang back behind the bus/lorry than push alongside (as SidneyB said).

I also notice that the cyclists round here tend to be male. There are a lot of cycling clubs - mid-life crisis lycra and expensive bikes. It was such a surprise to cycle past another woman the other Sunday morning! I'm not sure why this is the case though?

Chocamochalatte - sometimes good motivation is to have somewhere to go (coffee shop?) or another aim in mind. I also do a bit of geocaching when I'm on the bike which can give purpose to the ride.

keynesian Wed 17-Aug-11 21:17:29

What a joy to find this thread!

I've been riding regularly for about the past 16 months when a change of home/lifestyle/work pattern made it possible and practical.

As well as cycling to the shops, gym and railway station etc., I try for a minimum of a 30 minute ride for pleasure each day and a thirty mile or so ride at the weekend. The worst thing about where I live now is that the town is in a hollow so every ride out of town starts with a hill!

Bike at the moment is a slightly rusty but good fun hybrid as youngest son has taken his - which I had been using - shiny road bike away with him for six weeks whilst he's on a training course.

twooter Wed 17-Aug-11 21:42:43

Hi everyone!
I've been cycling for 1 year (obviously I could cycle before, but it's only recently become a proper hobby ). I signed up for the etape caledonia, to give myself a challenge - before I had done any proper cycling- so spent the first part of the year trAining. I also did a 79mile sportive in April, and 100k in june. Unfortunately, I have done nothing for the last 7 weeks, so I'm going to have to pull out of the 100mile sportive that I've entered in a weeks time.

Really need to get my arse into gear and get back out there - I feel all my fitness slipping away very quickly.

I ride a Dolan road bike and I've a hybrid if I'm carrying children

Thistledew Wed 17-Aug-11 22:09:18

It's great there are so many keen cyclists around.

I have to say that I was less impressed with my route home. At one point I have to go along an A road that crosses another even busier A road at a roundabout. Fortunately, there is a neat little cycle underpass so you don't have to go around the roundabout.

Except - you can only get onto the underpass if you are travelling northbound. If you are travelling southbound you either have to go around the roundabout or get off your bike and push across a duelled section to get to the underpass. hmm

Chocamochalatte Wed 17-Aug-11 22:14:41

Those organised bike rides look great, unfortunately I'm on a hilly Island which costs a fortune to get off of sad And with money really tight at the moment I've got no chance of getting off to visit family let alone anything else...

Actually starting to wonder whether I'd be better off getting rid of my mountain bike and getting a road bike instead... (Be good to afford both!)

I got a mountain bike when I met DH but only used it occasionally. Got myself a road bike for a birthday present and trained to do an event, never having done anything like it before.
I like both types of cycling but definitely a fairweather cyclist. I try to get out a couple of times a week but am a bit of a slacker at the moment. Time is precious so tend to go for a fast hour on a hilly route to get fitter.
Best sort of cycling for me is just trundling along on any sort of bike, admiring the view, enjoying the peace and stopping off for coffee and cake en route.
Cycling really seems to be kicking off in popularity which is great but remember that it's still OK to tuck your jeans into your socks and take all day to get somewhere smile

azazello Thu 18-Aug-11 15:24:13

Summerlightening I was going to ask the same thing about cycling and kids. At the moment DH and I both do a bit of cycling into work (30 mins each way), and we go out a bit at the weekends but only in a very pootly way.

We'd both love to go on holiday somewhere with the bikes and the DCs and go cycling. Does anyone know when that becomes feasible?

azazello Thu 18-Aug-11 15:24:43

Sorry, summerlightning!

BikeRunSki Thu 18-Aug-11 20:31:02

Just having my tea, I'll be back to tell you about cycling with kids, hang on...

BikeRunSki Thu 18-Aug-11 21:30:12

Cycling with kids -

Get in touch with you local branch of the CTC (Cyclists Touring Club, but now about an awful lot more than just touring). I can;t find a list of local branches or activities on the main CTC website, but the Head Office contact details are here. Give them a ring/e and they'll tell you who your nearest branch are. Many branches do family rides, kids cycle training, women only rides as well as more gnarly stuff.

Article on Cycling with Children here.

CTC are lovely, they are non-competitve.

If you want to go it alone as it were, we ride with our 2 year old on Sustrans routes and in Forestry Enterprise forests. Both provide easy, flatish, family friendly routes. Some Sustrans routes are old railways, others are waymarked bridleways and quiet roads.

In Scotland, the 7 Stanes forest parks have bike routes for all ages and abilities. In Wales, Google on Coed-y-Brenin (Dolgellau), Marin Trail (Betws y Coed), Afan Forest (Cardiff/Swansea way), Cwm Carn (SE Wales, closest to England) and Brechfa (Mid Wales) do something similar. Look here.

If you are in the M62ish corridor, then the TransPennine Trail is a good place to start. We use the old train line around Holmfirth - Penistone - Sheffield a lot.

If you can get to Nottinghamshire, we have a lot of days out to Sherwood Pines Forest Park and the National Trust estate at Clumber Park. they both have waymarked family rides, cafes and playgrounds. Might be worth checking your local Forestry Commission and National Trust estates.
Forestry Enterprise cycling Centres in England

Closer to London there is Swinley Forest (Windsor) and Burnham Beeches. Maybe also Epping Forest? It's been a long time since I lived in London (grew up there), but also Richmond Park - we did a lot of family bike riding there. Wandsworth, Wimbledon and Tooting Commons too, and Putney Heath.

As for how to transport kids - our experience

DS (very nearly 3) went in a trailer at about 6 months - this was a bit young really, and he could manage about 20-30 min spins at a time.

When he was about a year old, we got a baby bike seat - A Hamax Kiss - and he loves that, he can see so much more. He and DH go out for hour long rides or so, maybe a bit longer, but DS loves to run around so he gets a bit bored. He got a balance bike for his 2nd birthday. We splashed out and got an Isla Bike Rothan. It is superbly well made and worth every penny compared to my friends' much cheaper one, which they've had for the same amount of time and is knackered already. DS is a demon on his balance bike and likes to ride to nursery most days. He's really got the hang of balancing and he'll move up to a proper bike before long - maybe 4th birthday.

For competitive kids, British Cycling (the gov skills and development body for cycling) run an initiative called Go Ride, which organises race training, skills development, kids activities and so on.

Triathlon clubs also often have a family section which organise bike rides. Look at British Triathlon but be prepared to be talent spotted!

Sorry this is all a bit mixed up, but I was trying to get all my thoughts down before I forgot them.

mountaingirl Fri 19-Aug-11 22:53:56

My biking history: I cycled until I was a teenager (very long time ago!). Big Non cycling gap before Dh bought a bike 20 years ago and thought it would be good for me to ride. We lived up a mountain at an altitude of 1850m, I had just got over pneumonia and the bike was too big for me. I absolutely hated it and after a few attempts gave up. Fast forward 10 years and decided it would be a fun idea to cycle with the dc. Bought a Decathlon BTWIN all round bike. Cycled a bit but decided I hated cycling up mountain roads and longed for flat like in Amsterdam. Bike gathered dust in the garage for a few years much to the amusement of my dfamily......

....Until last year when I decided to learn to cycle up these mountains (mountain biking isn't my thing). I dusted off my BTWIN, put the bike in the car and drove to some flatter roads and gradually increased my cycling and my tolerance for going uphill. I didn't go very far or very fast but I started to learn how to use the gears and found that I quite enjoyed it. This time last year dh thought it would be a good idea if we bought some road bikes. Mine's a ladies Qbike and is a hybrid I think. I noticed a big difference in performance though it's not a top bike. I'll upgrade in a years or so.

I had a break during the winter months and started up again in April. I now have a friend who cycles with me and we have been gradually increasing our distances. Had a big blip for a couple of months when dh felt it would be a really good idea if I wore clip less shoes and pedals. Hated them. Lost my confidence. Suffered from painful knees/thighs/shins. It has taken me two months to get used to them and to not panic when going up a hill and being frightened that I cannot unclip. I go out 2-3 times a week. I mix up flattish road biking with cycling up the mountain with an uphill average climb of 650m. Hill climbs I usually do with dh. The furthest I have cycled was yesterday, I did 60km, mix of hills and flat. My average speed is gradually increasing although my friend and I are often overtaken by the 'serious' cyclist. We still manage to have a good gossip whilst cycling! I will never join the elite cycling group (there are a lot of them here in the Alps), but believe me if I can do this and I'm now 50, then absolutely anyone can.

nevergoogle Fri 19-Aug-11 22:59:32

hi, just checking in.
i'm doing the ride leader award to lead womens rides for the breeze network.
i ride a bianchi via nirone 7 and i love it.

Thistledew Fri 19-Aug-11 23:21:31

mountaingirl I know what you mean about being worried about not being able to unclip when going up hill. I have been using clipless pedals for about two months and whilst I really love using them on the flat it is a different matter going up a steep hill when you feel the instant you stop pedalling you are going to grind to a halt.

I am using Shimano pedals which are quite adjustable so you can make them easy to unclip, although they do seem to work gradually tighter, which is a bit odd.

upahill Sat 20-Aug-11 15:09:37

Hi Nevergoogle
I did the Breeze training in July.
I really enjoyed doing it.

I haven't led any rides yet as I would prefer to have a road bike ( I currently have a Scott mountain bike).Dh is currently sorting out my old one. Also I am waiting for all my holidays to be out of the way and my new job to start before I start making commitments.

Let me know how you get on.

upahill Sat 20-Aug-11 21:48:28

Well I never got out today despite my best intentions!!
Very busy morning and early afternoon and then the rain and wind came!

Ok call me a fair weather cyclist but I didn't feel like being soaked before I lef the drive!

Other news is that I have a road bike that at the best you could say it is retro. I got it in 1984 and it is a road bike. It has been at DH's works unit unloved and uncared for many years as my love for treks and trails has taken over.
However today DH took it to the bike shop and got it restored. I am going to go out on it tomorrow (maybe) and get familar with it again.
Also DH has spotted a 2010 Kona road bike that has been reduced from £1,200 to about £900 that he said he would get me if I'm interested.

I was looking at getting a bike through the cyclescheme but think I would prefer DH to pay cash on this bike than have a salary sacrifice. (especially if he is offering)

nevergoogle Sat 20-Aug-11 21:49:25

i'm really looking forward to it.
i set up a womens road cycling group where i live now, but breeze isn't offered here in scotland.
i'm moving south again in a couple of weeks and am managing to do my breeze training before i start my job.
it will be a good way to focus me to get a bit fitter and also help me to meet people in a new place. i'll need to figure out some routes for myself anyway, but it's nice to ride with others.

IndridCold Sun 21-Aug-11 18:09:47

Another keen cyclist here too - doing and watching (am enjoying La Vuelta on ITV4 at the moment!)

I cycled regularly until my mid 20s when I started working in London; in those days it was not nearly so cycle friendly so I got out of the habit.

I started again about 3 years ago so with the intention of getting fitter and healthier, as well as being able to take DS out cycling too. It didn't take long for DH to join in too, so as not to feel left out!

I ride a Specialized Tricross Sport which is a cyclocross bike, suitable for the fairly mixed terrain here in Cornwall. I also rescued an old Peugeot steel framed road bike which I am doing up as a project and to learn more about the technical side of bikes.

My biggest problem here in Cornwall is the hills. We live at the bottom of the Tamar Valley so the first thing I face going out on the bike is massive climb, which makes popping out to the shops impossible (at the moment, anyway). I am working on it though, and am determined to do it eventually.

As for gear, I also love Pearl Izumi stuff. I would recommend keeping an eye on Chain Reaction Cycles website as I have got some spectacular bargains there in the past - they have a very good women-specific section.

Will be keeping an eye on this thread, I've often thought I can't be the only Bike fiend on MN!

nevergoogle Sun 21-Aug-11 21:18:36

hi indrid, i am doing the breeze training on 10th september in plymouth. it's free if you fancy signing up too.

Thistledew Sun 21-Aug-11 22:14:33

I managed to improve my cycle route from work today. I had to go in today and was determined not to lose my Sunday cycle. When I commuted on the bike on Wednesday I couldn't find the entrance to an underpass under a particularly awkward junction, buy managed to pick it up today about a 1/4 of a mile before the junction!

I also enjoyed watching the London Prepares BMX event yesterday. It looked great fun and I wouldn't mind giving it a go.

Is anyone else doing the Richmond to Windsor ride in two weeks time?

upahill Sun 21-Aug-11 22:16:27

When I did my Breeze training it poured down all day!!!

nevergoogle Sun 21-Aug-11 22:18:48

oh no, please no rain.

Thistledew Mon 22-Aug-11 14:43:17

Does anyone know how Gore and Pearl Izumi come up size-wise? I need to get another pair of 3/4 leggings, and have seen some on Amazon at a good price, but I haven't ever tried them on, so am not sure what size would be best.

I am a large size 10 (am aiming to be a bit more comfortably size 10 grin) but size 12 is usually too big. I am also quite tall - 5"9.

Any opinions on whether Gore in a size 38 or Pearl Izumi in a small would be about right?

I have a pair of Altura 3/4 leggings in medium, which fit perfectly, if that helps.

SummerLightning Mon 22-Aug-11 22:02:23

thistledew I'm a 10-12 and I take a medium Pearl Izumi, not sure about Gore but I think medium too. I don't like things too tight though.

BikeRunSki Mon 22-Aug-11 22:04:19

Gore Sizes come up v small.

sevenoften Mon 22-Aug-11 22:20:46

Another cyclist here - not very good at long distances, but I do like it. Took ds11 out for our first ever proper ride - ie one that went a route I would normally do, not adapted for kids. 20Km and 4 very large hills, and he did really well. He's not very sporty but this seems to work for him.

We have done some family cycle touring, and I find blogs like this are useful for getting good ideas about where to go and how to do it.

sevenoften Mon 22-Aug-11 22:24:06

Or this is another one.

Thistledew Tue 23-Aug-11 10:44:36

Thanks. I have ordered the Gore leggings in a 12, as for some reason they were half the price of the size 10 on Amazon.

cumbria81 Tue 23-Aug-11 11:38:16

Oh can I join?

I am somewhere between a pleasure peddler and serious cyclist. I ride every single day and am very cross if I don't . I have four bikes at the moment (racing bike, touring bike, mountain bike and fixie) but realise this is ridiculous.

I'm doing the Breeze training later in the month, any advice?

cumbria81 Tue 23-Aug-11 11:40:43

Oh and to the poster who lives in a hilly place - me too! I find the only way to get better at hills is to just do them, even if you feel like you want to die, you will improve.

I'm a commuter (although not in rain like today's!) but by no means the serious kind in Lycra...

I have an ancient Raleigh bike which makes all sorts of worrying noises when I ride it, and at the moment I only have a twenty minute ride to get to work, so I tend to just cycle in my work clothes. I do love cycling but given that I live in central London, I don't find it particularly soothing... would be nice to be able to ride out in the countryside sometimes!

nocake Tue 23-Aug-11 11:55:28

Another cyclist checking in. I'm a commuter and triathlete. My commuting bike is a Ridgeback Nemesis with an 8 speed hub gear. I'm lazy when it comes to cleaning the commuting bike so having almost maintenance free gears is brilliant. I'm also looking forward to taking DD on it when she's old enough.

I have two road bikes. One is a steel frame Planet-X Kaffenback that's used for winter riding as it has full mudguards. The other is an Argon-18 Radon which is a fabulous bike. I'm a bit of a grimpeur and love the challenge of a good climb but I'm not built to generate power over long distances so can normally be found sitting on someone's wheel on the flat roads.

The bike collections was a bit bigger but had to be trimmed down a bit when DD arrived. I used to own a tandem, but DW is too much of a control freak to go on the back, and also an On-one Pompino which is a fixed gear bike. That was great fun to ride but wasn't useful enough to had to go.

steamedtreaclesponge I've ridden the road bikes in London a couple of times and it's horrible. The worst road users are other cyclists. Most of the drivers gave me enough space as long as I was clear with my signals but I was nearly taken out a couple of times by cyclists jumping red lights.

upahill Tue 23-Aug-11 13:42:57

Right that's it!!

I've MN to much for one day and I'm out on my bike.
I said up thread that I normally do trails, well I have a Peugot road bike that is ancient and had been left to rot at DH workplace.

Over the weekend he took it to a bike shop and got new tyres, tubes and so on. THe bike was in remarkably good nick seeing that I haven't riden it for 17 years!!!!

I'm going out on that and see if I can enjoy some roads. I only have to cycle a few miles to get away from the suburb into the country.

Thistledew Tue 23-Aug-11 15:36:55

Hi upahill.

Are you back yet? How was your ride?

upahill Tue 23-Aug-11 15:43:47

I've been out and it was ok!
It felt very strange because the gears are totally different ( On the frame of the bike rather than being part of the brake system)

I'm going to go out again soon, just MN for 10min while I have a brew and then go somewhere else.

I'm going out on my mountain bike tomorrow morning very early for a couple of hours on the moors before I head up to the Lakes for some walking.

Thistledew Wed 24-Aug-11 17:10:29

Anyone been out on their bike today?

I had planned to do my commute by bike today and nearly called it off because it wad raining this morning but went anyway, and in the end it was not raining by the time I set out.

I feel like I am still being quite cautious about the traffic and not slipping between the vehicles when the stop at lights as other cyclists seem to do. I'm not sure whether this means I am a wuss, or whether I just don't have a death wish!

upahill Wed 24-Aug-11 17:19:43

I've been on the mountain bike this morning and out on the road bike yesterday. I am planning on going on the road bike again tonight only for about 45mins as DH isn't used to riding a bike - saying that he enjoyed it last night.

This morning I was just up on the moors.

upahill Wed 24-Aug-11 17:22:02

Meant to add, after not going on a road bike for donkey's and being used to riding a mountain bike the skill is totally different.
Last night going down a hill I wanted to put my arse over the back tyre and keep my peddles even like I'm used to doing on the MB!
Even going round corners is different!

Thistledew Wed 24-Aug-11 17:33:01

What's different about corners? Going down hill I can guess, as there is much less chance of hitting a bump and going flying over the handlebars on a road bike.

upahill Wed 24-Aug-11 17:45:14

I'm just used to altering my seating position and having the peddles in a certain way and ready to anticipate rocks and roots twist and turns.
It isn't as dramatic going down the main road! grin

Thistledew Wed 24-Aug-11 17:57:25

I know on a road bike you bend your inside leg and put your weight onto your outside pedal if free wheeling around a corner, and was wondering if it is any different on a mountain bike.

I was thinking about this on my ride this morning, funnily enough. At the moment I have 35mm tri-cross tyres on my bike but have been thinking of switching to proper road tyres.

However, there are two sections of my route where I have to go along a dirt path. I have noticed that when I am on the dirt, the whole of the surface of the tyre gets mud on it and when I go back onto the straight Tarmac, only a thin strip in the middle is cleaned off. It is not until I go around a corner that the sides of the tyres get cleaned up.

It makes me think that it is probably no bad thing to gave some grip on the sides of the tyres for commuting in wet weather.

PrideOfChanur Wed 24-Aug-11 18:47:11

A cycling thread,great!
I've just started riding more after a long time not riding at all - I used to ride a lot ,though never lots of miles, when I was younger,and went bike touring.Now I think I'm addicted again - and I'm bit cranky today because a combination of awful weather and other things mean I haven't been out for too long.My aim is to get fitter and improve on the distance I can ride.

I have a Trek 1.5T WSD road bike,and a Trek hybrid which I bought when I started riding again.Then I decided it wasn't fast enough,hence the other one! I've also still got my old touring bike from xxx years ago which I'm fixing up.And now I've got a hankering to have a mountain bike and get off road - cue lots of teasing from the DCs who think I already have too many bikes...

What I'd really like now is a group,or even just one other person,to ride with.

One problem I've had since getting the road bike is that the back of my knees hurt - I do the same route on the hybrid and I'm fine. I'm thinking it must be saddle height,but I've already lowered it a bit and don't want to go too low,as apart from the knees my current position feels fine.
Does anyone have any suggestions? I did wonder if it was just adjusting to the new bike and would go in time.

I admire all you London commuters -the thought of cycling(or driving ) across Trafalgar Square etc sounds totally intimidating.

Cycling in London's actually not that bad - it's only the big gyratories, like the ones by Elephant & Castle and Vauxhall, that are really scary - you can feel very vulnerable as the only cyclist in the middle of six lanes of traffic! But traffic moves so slowly around Trafalgar Square and the like that it's really fine, as long as you watch out for buses. Hmm, I'm not really selling it here, am I? wink

nocake Thu 25-Aug-11 12:37:52

Pirdeofchanur The correct number of bikes any person should own is n+1 where n is the number of bikes you currently own grin

upahill Thu 25-Aug-11 12:59:26

Is this any good for you Pride

Thistledew Thu 25-Aug-11 13:02:41

steamedtreaclesponge I agree that actually roundabouts such as Trafalgar are not too bad. What I am finding worst as a novice commuter is queues of traffic stop-starting at traffic lights. It is fine when there is a big enough gap to cycle up the inside, but when the gap is narrow I get quite nervous trying to squeeze past busses or vans, as I don't trust them not to narrow the gap even further when they pull off. The trouble is that when you make the decision to stop and wait for the traffic to move, you find there is a moped or another cyclist on your tail who is expecting you to keep going through the gap.

Being behind a bus is also not fun as you never know if they are braking to slow down or actually stop. I think I need I need to loosen the bindings on my pedals so I can unclip a bit more easily to make sudden stops a bit less scary.

Thistledew Thu 25-Aug-11 13:03:09

nocake grin

buggerlugs82 Thu 25-Aug-11 13:08:01

Squeee a cycle thread at last!

I have been cycling properly about 6 months and just bought a Cube Cross Pro SL. Its called Jude (law) smile

Am part of an informal ladies cycling club and we meet weekly to do about 15-20 miles. We did the Manchester Sky Ride too and are taking our bikes to Dolby (sp) Forest this weekend.

I love going fast downhill but am not very good at keeping in a nice straight line.

Bettymum Thu 25-Aug-11 15:51:08

My bikes have names too smile
I have Gary (a Gary Fisher mountain bike)
Lance (a Trek carbon fibre racer) and
Blue Steel (a gorgeous metallic blue Bianchi racer)

They live in the garage and once in a while I get them out. Used to do loads of cycling - met my DH on a mountain biking weekend away - but since having DCs I don't get out much. Whenever I do it makes me sooooo happy. I'm 30 miles from work so too far to commute although DH does it sometimes - he is braver and bigger than me grin.

nocake Thu 25-Aug-11 16:31:35

My road bikes have names blush

The Argon-18 Radon is called The Baby.
The Planet-X Kaffenback is Katie.

My On-one Pompino used to be called Billy Jean. That will only make sense to anyone who speaks slang Italian.

GeetTallBird Thu 25-Aug-11 23:48:58

Can I join? I've been cycling for about 3 weeks now, my bum is just stopping being tender!

Thistledew Fri 26-Aug-11 08:41:40

Welcome GeetTallBird. This thread is for anyone who is keen on cycling.

I remember the first few weeks of having a sore bottom- when you sit down, only to spring up again immediately with a surprised look on your face grin.

PrideOfChanur Fri 26-Aug-11 08:59:40

grin nocake
Thanks for the link,upahill It is annoying,I have the lovely new bike,it feels fantastic to ride - when I first rode it,I was amazed how much more comfortable it was than my old bike. But I worry about my knees,I don't want to soldier on and mess them up.

And,um,Hi Treacle! Pogle in new incarnation here..... how are things? Glad you haven't been squashed on the Elephant and Castle gyratory! smile

Thistledew Fri 26-Aug-11 10:30:42

Pride - I was reading something on this website - sorry I can't remember which article it was, but there is loads of good advice if you search - which put knee pain down to having your seat too low. Do you use clipless pedals? Having your cleats in the wrong place can also put unnecessary stress on your legs and joints.

nocake Fri 26-Aug-11 11:03:21

I had surgery on a knee a couple of years ago and when I got back to cycling I had to do it without putting too much stress on the knee. I did this by using a lower gear and pedalling faster. That means you push less hard with each pedal stroke, which is easier on your knee.

GeetTallBird Fri 26-Aug-11 11:41:24

Haha! Are padded leggings the way forward?
Also....can cycling tone up anything else like mummy tummies or just give us all fabulous legs and buns?

nocake Fri 26-Aug-11 12:09:09

Padded leggings or shorts are great but you also need to find a saddle that suits you. Excessively padded saddles are a big no as they make you less comfortable, not more comfortable. After that you just need to HTFU grin

GeetTallBird Fri 26-Aug-11 13:48:23

HTFU am stumped at that one hmm

PrideOfChanur Fri 26-Aug-11 16:40:43

H TFU? I can think of words that fit all but the H! (Could be wrong,of course!)
Thistledew,I don't use clipless pedals - I thought I'd get into riding more before I tried,as I've never used them.I do have toeclips,and I've noticed I walk with my toes turned a bit in- I did wonder if the toeclips were holding my feet too straight!
I'll have a browse through the website later - thanks.
nocake,that's interesting.Maybe I am pushing too hard - that is quite possible,I may have got carried away in my desire to go as fast as possible!

Thanks so much for all the advice,I've only been talking to DH about it,not having any cycling friends,and while he does care about my knees he can only offer sympathy!

GeetTallBird-padded leggings/shorts really help!

Thistledew Fri 26-Aug-11 16:44:32

I'm guessing that H is for harden?

ie stop being a wimpy soft-bum! grin

GeetTallBird Fri 26-Aug-11 17:46:15

I have quite a lot of bum to harden up grin

Thistledew Fri 26-Aug-11 19:40:43

My new Gore leggings arrived. I am very happy with them. The padding seems very substantial but not at all bulky. If anyone else is a size 38 have a quick look on Amazon because they are less than half price.

Thistledew Fri 26-Aug-11 19:42:13

Having said that they do seem quite a bit thinner than my Altura leggings, so I don't think they will be so good for cold weather.

miniwedge Sun 28-Aug-11 23:06:26

Hi all, can I join in? I cycle to work every day, it's about 13 miles ish a day. I have a battered hybrid, just a cheap one from toys r us but will definitely need to upgrade in the new year.

I started cycling to work a year ago after I lost one job, got another but didn't get my pay from last job so couldn't afford the bus fare to work. The habit stuck..... grin

I stopped cycling around the end of October last year and started again in feb this year just due to weather and not being able to afford winter gear. My aim this year is to cycle through unless it is too icy to be safe.

My route is a mix of road, gravel and field, I commute in a smallish town.
It is a good combination of long steep hills and a little flat stuff.

I've definitely noticed a difference in my figure since starting, have had lots of comments about how trim I am looking which is quite nice really.
Still have a wobbly tummy though hmm

miniwedge Sun 28-Aug-11 23:09:23

Oh oh oh! When i started last year I started a thread asking advice and there was a poster who told me all about her "cycling song" are you on this thread? Also, another poster wrote this great post about how she had cycled home that day through the pouring rain and still arrived home with a big grin on her face. She was in Bristol I think. If that was any of you, I still think of that post every time I cyclemin the rain and it makes me smile. smile

mountaingirl Mon 29-Aug-11 17:04:12

Yesterday I achieved one of my goals set by me for this summer. I did an ascent of 800m (though my cyclometer iPhone app says 989m). I only stopped 4 times on the climb up and had to choose the odd flattish area otherwise I'd never be able to clip my left foot in! It was steep in places +9%. What I'd love to know is although I don't mind cycling uphill how will I ever get to love the downhill? Although I am getting faster my naturally pessimistic side sees me flying over the handle bars. Anyone have any advice on technique please.

GeetTallBird Mon 29-Aug-11 18:52:29

Id like to know what you wear for cycling on dry days?
I'd go out in the evening and in rain but as it gets dark here quite quickly not sure what to wear in evening rain!
Do you all wear yellow glasses?

Bettymum Tue 30-Aug-11 10:31:40

mountaingirl I am with you - I could happily cycle up hill all day (well in my head anyway) but I hate fast downhills. I'm a real wimp. Do you have a local CTC club near you? They might give you some pointers. Otherwise just watch videos of the pros hurtling down the Alps wink.
Geet I wear yellow glasses if it's a bit gloomy, I always wear eye protection of some kind ever since a bee flew right into my eye - no sting or anything but it was like a boulder hitting my eyeball. Ouch.

PatTheHammer Tue 30-Aug-11 12:45:31

Hi, was thinking of posting a thread but then saw this one so just thought I would ask here for some quick advice as you guys seem in the know!

Need to buy a fairly cheap but in good working order bike to cycle to the gym and back (its only about 2.5 miles each way but walking takes too long and if I run it I'm too knackered to do my classes properlysmile) to try and cut down on pertrol useage.

So I'm looking on ebay at the moment and there seem some really good ones in the local area but I am confused about what sort of size I need as some say 'girls/ladies bike' or 'suit a smaller lady'.

What is the general frame size/wheel size I would need (I am 5 foot 6)?
Anything else I should look out for? I am looking at ones that say VGC or hardly used as I don't want to replace the tyres and such after a few weeks.

Thanks to anyone that can help!

CardiCorgi Tue 30-Aug-11 13:17:49

Hello, can I join in?
Occasional triathlete, not doing as much cycling as I would like nowadays because of baby DD (she is worth it, though). I have three bikes:
80s Peugeot bought with pocket money when I was a teenager. I haven't ridden it for ages, but am emotionally attached to it,
Bianchi dama bianca road bike,
Corratec mountain bike, currently has the trailer hitch attached to it for DD's trailer even though she has only been in it once so far. I am a real wimp at mountain biking anyway although I would like to improve bike handling skills in general.

upahill Tue 30-Aug-11 15:27:21

geet If I'm mountain biking on dry days I wear a pair of baggies with a loose top, usually a Paramo reversible. If it is cold I'll have a soft shell with it.

If I'm road biking I'll just wear a pair of tight fitting capri's.

I only tend to wear glasses when I'm mountain biking because I'm nervous of thorns on twigs getting in my eyes or grit when I ride through puddles.

Cardi Hello!!
Tell me about Triathlons you've done. I would like to do a beginners one next year but it seems very complex especially what things you have to wear.

upahill Tue 30-Aug-11 15:29:50

patthehammer Hopefully this will help with your question to bike sizes.

PatTheHammer Tue 30-Aug-11 21:49:09

Thanks so much upahill, that has helped enourmously and just stopped me buying a bike that was masses too big for meshock.

Got my eye on another now, who knows maybe I'll turn into a budding Mark Cavendish and come and join you lot in a few monthsgrin

Thistledew Tue 30-Aug-11 22:16:04

I cycled home for the first time in the dark today. I didn't manage to get out of work until gone 7.30pm, so was very thankful that I had my lights with me or I would have had to put the bike on the train. Not that lack of lights stopped several other people cycling home. They must have a death wish.

GeetTallBird Tue 30-Aug-11 22:17:11

Thank you, will look for some yellow glasses here somewhere!

CardiCorgi Wed 31-Aug-11 08:35:18

Regarding lights, I always have a set of knogs frogs on my bike, even when I am doing a triathlon, just in case it should suddenly get dark. I've tested them in several thunderstorms and they do seem to be properly waterproof. Clearly if I'm going to cycle at night I have proper lights too, but the knogs are a great back-up.

upahill I've done sprint and olympic distance triathlons and would like to do a half-ironman some time. For the first one I followed a "six weeks to your first tri" training plan and it worked out surprisingly well. It involved two swims, two bike rides, one run and one bike-run combination each week so fitted round work and life too.
Regarding kit, you don't actually need to spend loads of money for the first one. I used my old peugeot bike and DH was on a city bike (complete with luggage rack), I swam in bikini bottoms and sports bra and just put a pair of shorts and a top on over the top when I got out of the water. The problem is that triathlon is very popular with the 30-40 age group, especially men who then like to spend all of their disposable income on kit and think that you should too.
I started a triathlon thread a couple of months ago but I think it's dropped off the first page.

PrideOfChanur Wed 31-Aug-11 09:39:20

I went out on a new route this weekend which involved going up the steep side of the Downs...which I used to be able to do! Not any more though,so that is my new goal,to get better at hills. My downhill route took me straight down on a byway,and I got partway down and thought "I can't ride this!" so I sympathise with regard to the downhills mountaingirl
Normally I just aim to keep my speed at the level where I'm unlikely to need to slam on the brakes,and am careful about not overusing the front brake.

Thistledew,I think some people have never thought how invisible they are to cars and how vulnerable that makes them - I passed a runner the other evening,they were all in grey/black and the light was just beginning to go - they were pretty much invisible till you were right on top of them.It made me think,as black/grey is my colour set of choice!

IndridCold Wed 31-Aug-11 13:54:54

Re glasses I got a set from Altura with interchangeable lenses - sunnies, yellow and clear. As I'm a contact lens wearer I dread getting bits in my eyes.

prettybird Wed 31-Aug-11 15:14:17

Keep an eye out in Lidl - every so often they do glasses with interchangeable lenses (and a neat wee case) which are very good. I bought them for skiing and the yellow lenses were good for "flat light" but would also be good for cycling or they would be if I could find them

IndridCold Thu 01-Sep-11 12:44:36

In fact Lidl have got a new lot of bike stuff in from Monday 5th September, here.

nocake Thu 01-Sep-11 13:40:59

CardiCorgi My DW has a Bianchi Dama which is a lovely bike. I upgraded part of the groupset on it a couple of years ago and bought some Mavic wheels, which made a huge difference.

upahill I do triathlons up to Ironman distance (well, have done. I'm not racing at the moment for various reasons). They're great fun and you don't need much specialised kit for your first one. Find a race with a pool swim and you just need something to swim in then some clothes you can pull on over the top for the bike and run. You can spend a few quid and buy some tri shorts to wear for the whole race then swim in a sports bra (I'm assuming you're a girl?) and pull a vest or shirt on for the bike and run. Once you're hooked you can get loads of extra kit. They do say that the fourth triathlon discipline is shopping grin

Who was asking about glasses? I have a pair of Endura glasses with photochromic lenses so I can use them in all conditions.

upahill Thu 01-Sep-11 13:46:51

That's interesting nocake
I think doing a triathlon is something that has been on my to do list, like going to the base camp of Everest, stuff of my dreams!

i have been out on the mountain bike this morning and got 7 1/2 miles in over the west Pennine Moors with my mate.
Me and Dh might get an hour on the road bikes tonight but the cinema is beckoning as well (not enough hours in the day)

I'm trying to get big son whose 15 out with me for a few hours but he is too busy chopping fire wood ready for winter !

paddingtonbear1 Thu 01-Sep-11 14:12:48

Hi, can I join?
I've been cycling on and off since I was a child. My dad is still a keen cyclist at the age of 74, and he still beats me up the hills!
I currently have 4 bikes -
My old road bike, which I've had since I was 16. My dad made the frame for it.
A Brian Rourke road bike, which used to be Mum's - Dad did it up for me
A Scott hybrid, which I normally use for riding to work
A Kona Cinder cone mtb - got this recently off ebay.

I always cycle to work, whatever the weather - it's a 14 mile round trip. Dh works further away and takes the car.
I do belong to a cycling club and go out with them when I can. Dh isn't really into cycling - he has one really old bike, a Jack Taylor which could do with a bit of work!
I'd like to do a bit more mountain biking but I'm rubbish at downhills!

I'd also recommend the Minx Girl website - I got a great top from there. Also Wiggle has been OK.

I'd like to do the C2C or end-to-end - some of my club have - but I just can't really until dd is older. Do all of your kids ride? If so what bikes?

Bettymum Thu 01-Sep-11 15:52:11

upahill triathlons are brilliant fun! I have done a few - mostly pool swims but one lake swim (brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr never again), there is always a really good atmosphere and the great thing is that you are only racing against your age group, so if a snakelike 18-year old lad comes sprinting past it doesn't matter, you're not racing him (unless you're another 18-year old boy). I'd love to get back into it but I think I'll have to wait till the DCs are a bit bigger.
paddington where is your club? I used to belong to quite a big road club, I loved it and learned loads. It forces you to get fit trying to keep up! There weren't many girls in the club. I have done the Etape du Tour three times, only finished one wink but I did get a silver medal for that one and it was long - 120 miles through the Massif Central - so I'm quite proud of it smile.

EssieW Thu 01-Sep-11 20:26:51

I'm just back from holidays in Skye. No cycling for me there unfortunately (DH needs to get on and sort a bike rack for the car) so really looking forward to getting back in the saddle at the weekend.

paddingtonbear1 Thu 01-Sep-11 20:33:29

Bettymum my club is based in Stockport. It caters for all ages and abilities, and there's quite a few women! Several members are doing the Manchester 100 ride this weekend - I can't this year as I'm going on the club weekend the week after. My dad rides with his local CTC group, but he says numbers are dwindling and there's hardly any women (I think my club is the exception rather than the norm).

nocake Thu 01-Sep-11 21:48:20

upahill Doing a tri isn't nearly as hard as getting to Everest base camp grin Just find one, enter it and have a good time. If you want any triathlon advice I can recommend the tri forum on the Runner's World website here. They're a friendly bunch although they do have a habit of encouraging people to do Ironman!

ragged Sat 03-Sep-11 20:14:26

Is anyone else watching the Vuelta? Bradley Wiggins is winning (yes, that Bradley Wiggins, broken collarbone and all); and I wouldn't even know about it if I didn't tune in each night to coverage (no Brit has ever won the overall in a Grand Tour stage race, BBC broadcast media can't be bothered to mention what's happening angry).
Tomorrow's stage should be especially exciting; Wiggo will consolidate or lose his hold on red jersey on especially steep mountain climbs. Froome (another Brit, Sky teammate of Wiggins) is currently lying in 2nd place, too.

I have been cycling myself, today, too, just enough to be smelly & tired now smile.

ragged Sat 03-Sep-11 20:18:04
Thistledew Sat 03-Sep-11 22:44:04

Hi ragged

I have been watching it sporadically, and am so pleased that not only is Wiggins doing so well but that Froome is as well. I hope that Froome gets the recognition he deserves not only for supporting Wiggins but for his own potential as a lead rider.

It is such a shame that cycling is not given more prominence in the UK. It is all very well promoting cycling as a form of transport, but it should not be at the expense of treating it as a serious sport.

Thistledew Sat 03-Sep-11 22:48:11

This is also a great weekend for cycling. In and around London there is the Sky ride around London, the Richmond to Windsor ride and a women only ride on the Sussex Downs starting at Ditchling.

DP and I are doing the Richmond to Windsor ride. What have the rest of you got planned?

Bettymum Sun 04-Sep-11 09:02:43

ragged the Vuelta always seems to attract scant coverage for some reason. I was thrilled that Cavendish in the TdF got so much coverage in mainstream media this year, and then ended up in the green jersey. I think there's a lot more prominence given to cycling than there used to be, Victoria Pendleton seems to get quite a lot of airtime although not sure why Nicole Cooke doesn't get more. I'm really hoping we do well in the Olympics cycling events next year.

paddingtonbear1 Sun 04-Sep-11 09:49:36

No real cycling for me this weekend - a group from my club are doing the Manchester 100 ride, which I did a few years ago. I can't do it this year though as I'm away on a cycling weekend next Sat.

Thistledew Sun 04-Sep-11 15:35:54

I have just got home from finishing the Richmond to Windsor ride and am feeling pretty chuffed with myself.

The ride was 37 miles but due to the fact that engineering works meant that we couldn't get a train to Richmond, DP and I decided to cycle to the start, so the total mileage was 45 miles.

We did the whole 45 miles in 3hrs 20 mins, about 25 mins of which was getting to the start, and were lucky to finish just before the heavens opened.

I was really pleased that I managed to keep up a good pace on the flat, and even at the end was keeping up to about 17-18 mph. I am also especially proud that I managed to cycle up a long steep hill that forced many people to get off and push. Hills really are my bête noir, as my asthma kicks in big time and I usually end up hyperventilating, but this time I just stuck the bike in the lowest gear, kept my cadence up, and focussed on breathing slowly and deeply. I did have a moment about 3/4 of the way up when my breathing got a bit ragged and I felt a bit panicy, but I managed to get it back under control to finish the climb.

I know it is nothing compared to a Vuelta stage, and I am pretty knackered now (and enjoying a hot bathsmile) but I feel a great sense of achievement to have managed this having only starting cycling less than 9 months ago. I hope I am forgiven the boast if it encourages other people to up their training.

mountaingirl Sun 04-Sep-11 16:59:23

Thistledew Well done to you! You have every right to feel proud of yourself.

I am lying on the sofa feeling very sorry for myself as I went down with flu yesterday and today I was due to participate in a cycle challenge of between 74-90km. I have been aiming towards this all summer, even sent ds back to the UK a day early yesterday so I could do this! My friend I have been training with managed to do the 74km (decided not to do the steep mountain climb back up) and kept me up to date with her progress whenever she stopped. DH says we will do it together but that's not quite the same as doing it with 40 other people and celebrating your achievements.

Give yourself a huge pat on the back, you deserve it. wine

prettybird Tue 06-Sep-11 10:12:18

I'm looking forward to doing the Pedal for Scotland on Sunday - 51 miles. Going to be doing it ds (who turns 11 the day before) and my dad, who is 74.

I've done it before about 6 years ago on training that consisted of my commute to work (ie 3.1 miles each way 4 or 5 days a week). Let's just say my bum was sore the following day - but my aerobic strength held up.

I've been doing a bit more training this time: have done 2 c.20 mile runs so far and am just about to go out and do another one (to visit my mum), plus a number of 10+ mile cycles.

Ds has only done the 10+ mile cycles - but he comes in as fresh as a daisy, so I don't have any concerns about him.

My dad has done the Pedal for Scotland many times, so I don't have any concerns about him. It'll be the first time he has done it without my mum though, so it'll be bittersweet for him - so I am pleased he is going to be doing it with his grandson.

prettybird Wed 07-Sep-11 14:30:56

Bugger: the hanger of ds' gears has sheared again (we think it got damaged in a bad fall in early August and sheared about a week later, so Islabikes sent a replacement which my dad fitted).

Dad tried to get a replacement locally but 'cos the Islabikes are proper kids' bikes, couldn't get one the right size - so he has got Islabikes sending up two so that he can have a spare in his kit while we are doing the Pedal for Scotland on Sunday.

Ds was most dischuffed at having to walk to school today - he'll be really pissed off that he'll have to do the same again tomorrow and possible Friday. He's also upset 'cos he was in the middle of his (made-up) "Tour of Glasgow" - and yesterday (when it happened) he was apparently about to take the yellow jersey back from Ben [sic] Wiggins.

But at least it happened now and not during the ride. grin

I was also pleased with him for not panicing when it happened - I'd told him to let him cycle around locally by himself cos I was knackered and still wet from my own 21 mile ride and had got him to take his mobile with him (which he uses rarely). The only wee challenge was him trying to describe where he was - but to give him his due, he did so exactly - and I had to go out on my bike after all to find him. I thought it was just a matter of putting the chain back on - but the whole gear mechanism was hanging off. shock

upahill Wed 07-Sep-11 14:33:05

I've not been out on my bike much over the last couple of days.
I had a mountain trail ride planned for this morning but the weather was shockingly bad. The wind would have been awful.
I went to spinning class for the first time and not sure how I feel about that ( apart from the fact I know I am going to be sore!!)

mountaingirl Wed 07-Sep-11 20:12:49

prettybird Hope the bike gets fixed and you all have a wonderful ride on Sunday.

upahill hope you are not too sore. My friend's friend lost 2 stone doing spinning classes.

Back on the bike tomorrow. Going to take it easy as I still had a fever this time last night.

DebiTheScot Wed 07-Sep-11 21:16:29

Not sure I've got time for another mn thread (I'm on the running thread too) esp as work is busy at the moment but I thought I'd say hi and ask if any of you are doing Cycletta at Whipsnade zoo on Sunday?

I'm a relatively new competitive (not that I'm ever going to win anything) cyclist in that I've done 2 sprint triathlons this year and am doing Cycletta (40km) and hope to do a duathlon in the autumn. Have always cycled on and off but getting into it again now and have just bought a new road bike with the hope of improving my bike times and enjoying road cycling more- sometimes get frustrated on the mountain bike on the road with the amount of effort needed.
So anyway, the point of my post was- any tips for starting a cycling race? I'm happy enough about the race (well they're saying it's not a race but it's timed and we're starting in 3 waves depending on expected finish time) but a bit nervous about the start as in a triathlon you obviously don't start the cycle with many other people.

upahill Wed 07-Sep-11 21:25:31

mountaingirl my arse is getting sore as I type!!

Looks like there won't be much mountain biking tomorrow. Lots of gusting wind expected.
we go out for fun, not to be blown off the moors.

May go to another spin class instead.

Bettymum Thu 08-Sep-11 09:37:29

Debi I looked at the Cycletta, it looked really good but so expensive! So I didn't enter.
I would think that you'll probably move off in a big slow wave and then people will find their own pace and you'll be able to spread out and find your own space. Good luck, hope it all goes well for you!

Thistledew Thu 08-Sep-11 15:08:47

Hi Debi

I am doing the Cycletta too. I gather we will be given our start times on Friday. How long did you estimate that it will take you? I put myself in the second fastest bracket 1hr 15 to 1hr 30. I am guessing that they will set people off in these groupings.

DebiTheScot Thu 08-Sep-11 22:45:26

I think I put down 1hr 30. Have you not had your race pack and 'final email' thistle? I have and my race pack says I'm starting at 9.10 which according to the email is in the first wave which is 9-9.10. What number are you? I'm 214. I wonder how many are doing it.

I didn't think it was that expensive as it includes entry to the zoo. I used tesco vouchers to get tickets for dh and the kids so it should be a good day out. Some of the triathlons I've looked at are way more expensive.

Thistledew Thu 08-Sep-11 23:18:24

Debi. I only entered today grin

I am trying to persuade DP to let me use his slick road tyres rather than the 35 mm cyclocross ones I have on at the moment. We use the same type of cassette so it should be easier to swap the whole wheel rather than just the tyres.

Thistledew Fri 09-Sep-11 12:56:51

Hi Debi I have just got the email with my start time - 9.20. I would like to say that I will catch up with you en route, but if you are a triathlon regular, I very much doubt that I will!

Has anyone done that route or cycled around there before? I have looked at the route profile and google streetview and am trying to work out how tough the hills will be. The last one seems to be quite steep at the end, but otherwise not too bad.

Hi, can i join in?

I am not sure what you would call me, maybe a wannabe serious cyclist wink.

I purchased by bike 2 summers ago, a lovely muddy fox hybrid! I only started riding it this summer blush. I started in May this year after a rib injury put a stop to my running. I have done one 36mile event so far, 4 weeks ago. I have another 32 miles event planned for Sunday. I haven't managed any training betweeen to the 2 so could be a little tender on monday!!

I have also enquired about doing a cycle trek through morocco next july shock.

I love cycling and often go out on a sunday for a little ride and end up doing 20-25 miles.

So that is me, hello.

paddingtonbear1 Fri 09-Sep-11 18:42:07

Hi all, I am on a cycling weekend this Sat/Sun, in Lancaster. Weather forecast for tomorrow is not too bad, but Sunday... oh dear!

I thought about doing the Cycletta near here (Tatton Park), but the entry cost put me off.

Hello morethanyoubargainfor smile

Hello Paddington, nice to meet you smile.

upahill Fri 09-Sep-11 20:35:35

Oh Hi Paddington!
Where about in Lancaster are you going?

Thistledew Fri 09-Sep-11 23:06:58

C'mon DebiTheScott. How abouts a race then?

<Thistledew may have had a few glasses of wine and later regret this bravado emoticon>

Thistledew Fri 09-Sep-11 23:08:34

Waves to MTYBF and Paddington.

DebiTheScot Fri 09-Sep-11 23:44:39

thistle I'm not very fast. Only 16mph ish fast. My road bile is new so I'm not totally used to it yet and am not going much faster than I was on my mountain bike yet (but don't tell dh that or he won't he happy as I had to fight to get this bike!)
I don't know if I should take anything with me. Are you carrying repair kit, inner tubes etc? Layers of clothes? I need to move my wee saddle bag thing with those bits in it from my other bike.
I've had too much wine too. And I'm doing parkrun at 9am.

paddingtonbear1 Sat 10-Sep-11 08:04:42

upahill, we're staying at Lancaster University tonight. Not sure how wise that is, as it's on the top of a hill - we might get blown away! I did my degree there many years ago, and haven't been back since, so it will be interesting. Today's ride should be fairly flat - some canal and cycle paths around Hest Bank/Morecambe - but tomorrow's is hilly, around the Lune Valley.

Thistledew Sat 10-Sep-11 12:59:03

Debi I am really not very fast either, but I am looking forward to cycling with a group of women of similar abilities to see how I measure up.

I will have a seat bag with spare inner tube and CO2 canister, and will put my phone in there as well. It is not a long distance so I am planning to just take one bottle of energy drink.

The weather forecast looks good so I am just going to wear a short sleeve jersey, and then I can put my inhaler and contact details etc in the back pocket.

DebiTheScot Sat 10-Sep-11 18:56:45

I was thinking the same clotheswise. I haven't put an inner tube in tho. Maybe I should altho not sure if I'll fit my phone in too.
Contact details go on the back of the number.

upahill Sat 10-Sep-11 22:18:06

Paddington, I know that area fairly well.
how did you get on today.

I got out on my MB round the West Pennine Moors today for a few hours today. Lots of uphill but plenty of down hill too! grin

nocake Mon 12-Sep-11 12:08:35

I hope everyone is watching the Tour of Britain on ITV4 every evening for the next week? It was miserable weather for the first stage, yesterday, and some very dodgy roads resulted in Jens Voight crashing out. However, Mark Renshaw and Mark Cavendish still managed to show why they're the best sprint team in the business.

Thistledew Mon 12-Sep-11 13:20:59

Update on the 40 km Cycletta on Sunday.

Won't give the exact placings as the competitors names are listed on line on the results page.

I came inside the top 85, out of 634 finishers. I am pretty chuffed, seeing as it was my first timed ride and still less than a year since I took up cycling and was exhausted after 6 miles. However, I was defeated by a section of the really steep hill just before the finish and although I managed to ride up most of it there did come a point that I realised I could make quicker progress on foot!

I pushed quite hard but perhaps could have pushed a bit harder, as I felt that I was still riding quite 'within myself'. However, I am still trying to focus on keeping my cadence up, keeping a smooth rhythm, and pushing through the balls of my feet rather than worrying about power too much at the moment, so hopefully speed will pick up when these become more second-nature.

However, I think we have had a bit of false modesty from DebiTheScot! wink All this "I'm not very fast" "I've only just switched from mountain biking" etc, etc- she finished considerably higher than me and 10 mins faster! I will leave it to her if she wants to disclose her result, but I will just say a big well done!

It was a great event and very friendly. I chatted to several women en route (when I had the breath to do so) and afterwards as well. The one in October is too far north for me but I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone living closer.

Bettymum Mon 12-Sep-11 14:04:29

Well done Thistledew and Debi! Wow, sounds brilliant! Maybe I'll try and do it next year after all.

DottyDot Mon 12-Sep-11 14:14:04

<lurking in the hope that's the first step to start cycling to work - did it twice last year and have lost some weight so am running out of excuses not to get on with it grin>

Thistledew Mon 12-Sep-11 15:52:05

DottyDot, I have found that cycling is really great for weight loss and just generally toning up. I unfortunately didn't dare weigh myself at the time when I took up cycling but have really noticed that all my clothes have become much looser, even since the beginning of summer. Cycling to work is great, because it is 'dead' time that you are turning into something far more useful, and it means that you do not have to find time elsewhere in the week to exercise.

Give it a go again, and post back here to let us know how you get on!

upahill Mon 12-Sep-11 19:23:17

By 'eck it's hard cycling in this wind.

I've only got a mile but it's up hill getting there for most of the way and with a head wind this morning it was a tough mile!

DebiTheScot Mon 12-Sep-11 23:34:32

Just a quickie to say I will post again about Cycletta. And thanks thistle grin I'm feeling very chuffed with my position.
Mn on my laptop is playing up and it's too faffy to write long post from phone. I'll try again tomorrow.
I got your message too Thistle. I'll reply but basically I'm not worried.

paddingtonbear1 Mon 12-Sep-11 23:54:06

Well we survived our cycling weekend, despite some rain and strong winds. On Saturday we rode from Lancaster Uni to Morecambe via Hest Bank, then on to near Glasson before heading back. Sunday was more hilly - around to Caton, Gressingham, Arkhome - not too far but there was hardly a flat piece of road on it! The wind made some parts more difficult, but it could have been worse. Today the Tour of Britain was called off in that area!
Back to cycling to work tomorrow - hope the wind has calmed down by then!

DebiTheScot Tue 13-Sep-11 14:37:58

I agree with Thistle, the Cycletta event was really good. Well organised and friendly with a real mix of bikes and cyclists. Only bad thing I thought of about it was that if you had spectators with you they had to pay to get into the zoo to see you start and/or finish and get involved with things in the 'village'. Wasn't an issue for us as we were all going to the zoo afterwards anyway but it hadn't said anywhere on their website that the spectator bits were inside the zoo.

Anyway, back to the race. The start was fine as they set us off 10 at a time. I think this was as the exit corners were tight and then there was a very steep bendy downhill. The route was good, very picturesque. There was a 2 mile long hill between miles 4 and 6 (so not surprised you were tired at 6 miles Thistle) and a couple of good downhills. The hardest bit was at about 21 miles where there was another hill that I found a slog mainly because I knew the hill we'd gone down at the start was still to come. Then a mile down then the last mile up the hill from hell. Looking at the data from my Garmin it was about a 10% gradient and had about 3 tight bends on it. It was really hard but my stubbornness kept me on the bike! I probably could have run it faster though.
I was 7 mins slower than I hoped for (average 15mph and I'd hoped for over 16) but with the wind and that hill I was happy and then even happier when I saw my placing- 35th!

Loads of people must have been over optimistic about their time as I overtook a lot of people and I started at the right time for my time.

Going to enter a duathlon at the end of next month.

paddingtonbear1 Wed 14-Sep-11 20:25:51

DebiTheScot and Thistle you have encouraged me, I might go for Cycletta North after all! I am fairly slow though - if I start near the back, I may not get everyone flying past me smile

Thistledew Wed 14-Sep-11 22:53:15

That's fantastic paddington. I am sure you will enjoy it. Post back to let us know how you get on.

prettybird Thu 15-Sep-11 16:21:40

Ds (age 11 and one day), my dad and I enjoyed the Pedal for Scotland. Ds and I probably did about 52 miles by the time you've added on the cycle to and from Glasgow Green. Took us about 6.5 hours but that included stopping at every rest stop (every c.10 miles) and dad stopping to help someone who needed a spanner to deal with a puncture.

There were loads of punctures - must have seen hundreds of people stopped before we'd even left Glasgow. I know with c8.5,000 people doing it, there will be a fair few punctures, but there seemed lots. We were fortunate and dind't get one on the ride itself, although ds got his first ever puncture on the way to Glasgow Green, so my dad had to do a rapid repair job once we'd met him (fortunately we were within bike pushing distance).

Also saw at least 3 blue light incidents/attending - and know of one death as a friend's dad who is a doctor was doing it and he apparently had a 2 hour detour to A&E after resuscitating someone but they didn't make it. Salutory lesson on why you should fill in the details on the back of the number though: the guy had no ID on him, so it took time to get contact details. sad

The finish through Muarrayfield stadium was a nice touch.

Ds coped admirably - still needs to learn to cycle at a more consistent speed as he's a nightmare to cycle behind but he says he suffered no ill effects, even the following day when he got back on his bike to go to school but then he did spend most of his time up out of his saddle

My training must have been adequate too as my bum wasn't too sore the following day either!

All three of us zonked out on the bus on the way back to Glasgow - but getting back on the bike for the last 2 miles wasn't too bad. The weather was crap back in Glasgow and had apparently been bad for the Sky Ride - but it had been OK for us throughout our ride. I suspect we were just ahead of the bad weather all the way - and got the benefit of a tail wind.

Ds is desperate for the Islabikes Luath drop handlebar bike. I've told him he is between sizes at the moment so there's no point getting one. We will probably end up getting one for him for Christmas.

In truth both dh and I "need" new bikes before ds does (he's got a good Islabike Beinn at the moment) but....... he does get such pleasure from his cycling!

tumteetum Thu 15-Sep-11 21:02:09

afraid i haven't read through the whole thing as no time at moment, will do so at my leisure tomorrow, but wanted to add something. I have been cycling home from work some days over the summer. I take bike in back of friend's car then cycle 11 miles home.It's that bit too far for me to do twice a day, but seems to work well. I want to keep it up as the weather changes, but know i will be tempted to give up. So.......what do I need to kit myself out for wet/cooler weather? Can't spend too much on gear, but looking for ideas about what to wear for flexibility ie it may be cold when start but soon work up a sweat (vv hilly) and raingear that packs down small.
Any words of encouragement from those who keep it up all winter would be welcomed

tumteetum Thu 15-Sep-11 21:43:12

I could also use some advice from a pro about gears. I never seem to be in the right one and lose momentum going up hills. I don't really understyand the sequence of my gears, so that doesn't help

mountaingirl Fri 16-Sep-11 20:16:00

Prettybird Well done to you all. You all did brilliantly. Not sure my ds aged 11 could do the same. You all must be very fit.

I was feeling quite pleased with my 62kms I did yesterday until I read your post......!! I'm definitely going to work on my goal of 100km in the next few weeks before it gets too cold.

Tumteetum If I know a hill is coming up I change to the smallest cog in the front, whilst on a larger one at the back and gradually change down (up? not sure of the terminology) to the smallest cog at the back as I cycle uphill. I stay on that ratio as needed. I find if I leave it too late the chain won't move and then it comes off. I'm sure someone more experienced will come up with the correct terminology and explain it better!

prettybird Fri 16-Sep-11 20:34:07

Ds hadn't really done the training he should have done - but he had doen a couple of 12 mile rides and lots of c.7 mile rides after school and at weekends and cycles to school every day (less than 2 mile round trip though).

However, he is 11 and has all the energy of youth grinenvy

I did make a concerted effort to get the miles in and had done 3 20+ mile rides in the 2 weeks before hand, as well as the 12 mile rides with ds and most of his 7 mile rides. The time I did it on my work commute (at the time) of a 6 mile round trip 3-4 days a week meant that I had a very sore bum the following day blush

My dad used to be the real cyclist amongst us (has cycled all over the world with my mum) but had pneumonia recently, so only committed to doing it at the last minute, once he had checked that he would be OK by cycling to visit Mum a few times (18 mile round trip for him).

Ds is really chuffed with himself and is already looking forward to next year! smile

mountaingirl Fri 16-Sep-11 20:48:24

Prettybird I've just been looking at the Pedal for Scotland site. All credit to you all as there is a big difference between between cycling 20+ miles and 50 in one gond still being able to walk afterwards.

I was cycling into a really strong headwind yesterday which was exhausting so you were very lucky having a tailwind. I'd hoped for that on the return part of the journey but the wind had changed direction!

Your Dad must be really strong physically to cycle that after having had pneumonia. I've noticed the difference in my fitness after having had the flu 2 weeks ago.

prettybird Fri 16-Sep-11 20:49:56

He's doing not bad for a 74 year old smile

HenriettaPepperpot Mon 19-Sep-11 09:27:48

I love cycling but I've only ridden my bike (Genesis Ridgeback) twice since November sad so I get quite sore now when I do cycle! I also have a folding bike.
I would like to start cycling with my son who's 10 months but I'm a bit nervous of the traffic around here. We have some mountain bikes now so are going to go off-road.
I've been cycling since I was a child and used to cycle to work for several years. Also enjoy leisure rides round country lanes, did the London to Brighton once and had a few days touring in Holland a few years ago.

nocake Tue 20-Sep-11 12:18:02

Hi tumteetum smile
Lots of people struggle with gears but a few pointers may help. Apologies if I'm starting too simply but it may be useful to go right back to basics.

Most bikes have a number of cogs attached to the rear wheel. This is called a "cassette". They also have two or three cogs attached to the pedals. These are the "chain rings". By having the chain running over different combinations of chain ring and cassette cogs you get different gears, meaning your bike moves forwards a different amount for each rotation of the pedals. If the bike moves a small amount for each pedal rotation it's called a small or easy gear. If the bikes moves a large amount it's called a big or hard gear.

The biggest gear you have is when the chain is on the smallest cassette cog and the biggest chain ring. The smallest gear is when the chain is on the biggest cassette cog and the smallest chain ring.

When you're approaching a hill check that you're on a small cassette cog and the right chain ring (the middle or smallest, depending on how tough the hill is). Don't try and change chain ring once you're on the hill as you'll struggle to get it to change and if it does the chain is more likely to jump off. As you start going up the hill and it gets harder, shift the chain to a bigger cassette cog (a smaller gear). Keep shifting as it gets harder so you can keep pedalling at the same rate. You will slow down but you should keep your pedalling speed high. You do still need to work on the hill so keep pushing hard.

I hope this helps.

prettybird Tue 20-Sep-11 12:41:45

I'd just re-iterate the point that nocake made about changing gears before you need to, to keep the the rate you turn the pedals at constant.

Once it becomes too "stiff" it becomes more difficult to change gears. I can't quite get this through to ds (11): the need to anticipate the need to change gears - but I'm sure he'll get it eventually.

tumteetum Tue 20-Sep-11 13:18:53

Thankyou so much Nocake and Prettybird, that's a really helpfyul explanation. I have been trying to change the chain ring on hills and have struggled. Want to go out and practice now I know what to do but is pouring with rain...
Does anyone have any advice for my other question about clothing and how to kit myself out for autumn/winter?

nocake Wed 21-Sep-11 13:06:05

For my commute I have a pair of heavy duty waterproof trousers, a ski jacket, ski gloves and a woolly hat under my helmet. I also wear a hi-vis vest. If I'm on a training ride I wear a pair of thick bib-tights, several thin technical tops with a thin, hi-vis waterproof jacket on top, ski gloves and the woolly hat. The jacket doesn't keep me completely dry but it stops the wind so I stay warm.

mountaingirl Fri 30-Sep-11 19:49:29

Hello, Isn't anyone cycling at the moment? The weather is fabulous here at the moment, just like summer. I went out yesterday, cycled 75km and got to swim in the lake as well. Wonderful! I have achieved another one of my goals I set for myself. Ached a little yesterday evening but fine today. Next goal 100km. Also am thinking about doing a col. The only thing putting me off is cycling back down the mountain afterwards.

paddingtonbear1 Thu 06-Oct-11 00:18:38

hi there! Just thought I'd post briefly about Cycletta North. I did it with another mum from dd's school, who managed to enter at the last minute. We really enjoyed it and were quite pleased with our time - 1 hr 29. The course sounds like it was maybe a bit easier than the South one! Fastest result of the day was 1 hr 5 min shock The whole thing was well organised, would consider doing it again next year.
How is everyone? Weather seems to be turning a bit up north.. got a bit wet on the way home today!

mountaingirl Mon 10-Oct-11 20:22:37

Well done Paddington. It all seems very well organised. I wonder where all the cyclists have gone? Snow on the cols here so I don't think I'll be doing that might need to shelve that goal for this year. I might try and cycle 100kms this week if the weather holds out.....

Elainak Tue 18-Oct-11 20:06:12

Great discussion going on here smile

If any of you are from the East Midlands a cycling group is thinking of putting on some beginner races at Mallory Park in Leicestershire. They will begin with some coaching and end with short races, building up as the weeks go on to longer races with the option for those who really take to it to entering further races at Mallory Park.

Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in.

josephinebonaparte Tue 18-Oct-11 20:14:02

I cycle a 3 mile round trip to work twice and I'm now feeling a bit inadequate

Thistledew Tue 15-Nov-11 10:54:06

I haven't posted on here for ages, so thought it was time for an update.

I have had a good few months training- I am slowly starting to believe that a change in my asthma medication has actually worked. I did my normal circuit a few weeks ago and found to my surprise that there was no change to my peak flow even at the top of the hills. I still sound like I am doing my best impression of Darth Vader but am starting to believe that I am just normally out of breath, not wheezing. blush. In fact, I am having to learn to regulate my breathing again to trust that I am getting oxygen in and not to hyperventilate as soon as I feel the exertion.

So, I have been working on my hill climbing, which was the thing that always really hard for me breathing wise.

I have been doing drills to get out of the saddle more so that I can keep my cadence and momentum up without changing down gears.

Someone suggested to me to try getting out of the saddle without changing up any gears to keep my cadence high, rather than changing up and trying to power up. This has really worked for me: I have been doing a drill of ten revolutions out of the saddle, then ten seated, then ten standing etc until I reach the top of the hill or my thighs start screaming too much.

It has really improved my ability and confidence that I can get out of the saddle to increase power for a bit without working at maximum capacity and collapsing in a heap when I sit back down again. I am now starting to increase the number of revolutions out of the saddle, and it has been great to see some progress.

Anyway, enough of my wittering on. How is everyone else doing?

What about the people who commute? How are you doing now that it is getting darker and colder. I am pleased to report that I am doing my 24 mile round trip a couple of times a week now, and haven't yet been put off by the weather.

Thistledew Tue 15-Nov-11 10:56:17

Elainak - sounds good. It is a bit far for me unfortunately. Do you not need a race licence if the race is not being held on a public road?

Thistledew Tue 15-Nov-11 10:59:05

Josephine - no need to feel inadequate. A little cycling is better than none! A year ago I was cycling exactly 0 miles a week, and if I can make the improvements to my fitness and stamina that I have done over this year, anyone can!

footballmum Sun 20-Nov-11 19:58:39

<pokes nose round door and waves>

Hi all-can I join you please?

I'm currently running with friends 2-3 times a week but want to start cycling as a way of cross training. It's my 40th birthday in January and DH is going to buy me a bike as my prezzie.

At the moment all I know is that I'll need a hybrid bike (as I'll be riding on roads and canal toe paths) and that give my height I'll need a 15"-16" bike. Other than that I haven't got a clue how to start looking for a bike. Can you ladies help please?

I don't want DH spending a fortune as its my first bike and I may not take to it. I'm guessing at a budget of £200-£250 but I'm not sure whether that's too low? What are the reputable brands I should be looking at? Is there any particular clothing or equipment I should need (obviously other than a helmet!)

All advice gratefully received!!

keynesian Mon 21-Nov-11 09:07:35

Hi footballmum,

I'd go and have a chat in a local independent bike shop for the best advice re. frame size, model, brand etc. I've bought my last two bikes second hand from local bike shops and got really great bikes, virtually unused for my budget.

Re. clothes, it depends what you'll be doing - or more specifically where, when and for how long - and if what you look like matters to you. Lightweight but warm layers tend to be the way to dress. You may want to get some padded shorts but that depends to some extent on what saddle you have, and gloves are a must now it's chilly!

Footwear is important too as you don't want to be wearing trainers/shoes that don't sit well on the pedals.

footballmum Mon 21-Nov-11 21:29:38

Thanks Keynesian. I am planning on buying from a proper bike shop so I'll ask. Had thought about padded shorts but hadn't even considered footwear-I thought my trainers would suffice blush

Thistledew Sun 27-Nov-11 20:29:25

Hi footballmum I would second the suggestion to go to your local specialist bike store for advice, but this thread on bikeradar may give you some ideas.

Trainers are fine to cycle in as a beginner, but you would be better with ones that have a firm sole and a good grip. When cycling, you don't want your foot to flex, as it wastes energy and would become uncomfortable on a long ride.

Apart from that, a helmet and padded shorts are all that you really need to start off with. It all depends how hard you are planning on working. I find that I work harder and get more hot and sweaty than I would when I tried to run, so having decent wicking layers makes everything more comfortable.

I would also recommend buying a pair of cycle gloves that are designed for the style of handlebar you will be using. I tried riding my drop handlebar bike in gloves designed for mountain biking for a while and ended up with pain in my wrists, which quickly cleared up when I swapped gloves.

Thistledew Mon 05-Dec-11 13:37:12

I went out with my local cycling club yesterday- it seems I still have a lot more work to do on my strength and fitness. I was fine keeping up with them on the flat but got dropped pretty spectacularly as soon as we hit any sort of incline blush.

Still, they are a friendly bunch and very encouraging, so I hope I can keep at it.

How is everyone else getting on with winter riding?

twowheels Mon 05-Dec-11 13:47:12

Hi Can I join this?

I love cycling.

I cycle 15 miles round trip to work 2/3 times a week

Weekends - go out on bikes as much as possible.

Have got 9 year DS and am encouraging him in cycling.

mascarpone Tue 06-Dec-11 15:31:57

Hello, can I join too please?

I've been cycling (not seriously though) for a while now. Most of my cycling has been holiday touring with DH who is a very keen cyclist. I did a lot of my touring on my Dawes hybrid until we bought a Dawes tandem which is fabulous but is now sadly languishing in the garage. Up until this summer, I hadn't really cycled for nearly 6 years since before the birth of DD1 who is now 5.

Then, this summer DH won a competition to cycle the Manchester Velodrome and meet some of the GB cycling team and he took me with him (this will seriously out me in RL as I have bored everyone senseless with the story). I was really nervous not having done any proper exercise for a good few years and never having ridden a bike with drop handlebars, let alone one with no freewheel, gears or brakes! But, it was the most exciting thing I have ever done, and I got to cycle the track with Victoria Pendleton (who is utterly lovely - big fan here blush).

So in a fit of complete inspiration, I bought my first proper road bike at the end of the summer - a Giant Avail. I've only managed to get out a few times but I've just agreed with a friend that we're going to do the DIVA100 in Warwickshire next June (which someone else mentioned further up the thread).

So, anyone got any suggestions on where I can find good training tips on how to get fit enough to manage it?!

Elainak Tue 13-Dec-11 15:28:38


Sorry not been on here for a while - Thistledew asked about a licence and racing.
Yes you do need a licence if you are racing on the road as well as on a closed road circuit. The race licence ensure that you have some insurance, just in case of an accident. If you are new to racing then closed road circuit events are the best way to give it a go. If you need a licence then you can buy one when you sign up to the event at the venue. Why not take a look at the British Cycling website for more details or just ask and I'll try to help.

Nineflowers Tue 20-Dec-11 23:43:27

Nother cyclist here. Was a serious tourer in the 1980s but 5 kids came alone from 1989 onwards, and combined with living in the most bike unfriendly place imaginable, (Birmingham) I stopped cycling. It seemed top dangerous and not something I could do with the kids (apart from them pootling around parks). Now I am back home on the Vale of York - sea level and flat as a pancake - and my kids are older, so last year we returned to cylcing. I have a Cannondale Quick CX4 and a Pashley Poppy, but also am doing up a 1990s Raleigh and a 1970 Raleigh Twenty. I've never ridden road bikes, and my back wouldn;t cope with drops. My two youngest kids (9 and 11) have Ridgebacks - the 9 year old's will be a surprise, on Sunday!). We live close to the Transpennine Sustrans track. I stopped cycling for a couple of months and tried to get back on this week - seriously unfit again, already! So hoping to build back up the miles, over the winter, so am ready to fly in spring.

Nice to chat to other cyclists - esp those with kids in tow. This is a whole new game for me! We have an autistic 18 yr old, who we are about to teach to ride - just got him a reconditioned 1980s Raleigh Richmond to learn on. Any tips on teaching a young adult to ride a bike would be most welcome!

mountaingirl Fri 30-Dec-11 12:19:50

I received a bike trainer for xmas. Does anyone else have one? Any tips for working out? Too much snow here to go outside cycling so I'm going to try indoors. Did 6km yesterday so need to build up those km's!

Woodifer Sat 14-Jan-12 14:34:06

Hi guys! I just went on first post baby bike ride! Lovely and sunny but blooming freezing, and blooming hard work. Was commuting to work and cycling at weekend. Pre pregnancy was riding about 30-40 miles in peak district on Saturday, and commuting by bike and train to work, bout 6 miles round trip normally, then once or twice a week get off train early to make it bout 13 miles for that day. Managed to cycle all through pregnancy, scaling down on distance and hills.

On maternity leave now, weirdly missing the commute. Baby DD 8 weeks now. Need to dig my turbo trainer out, given small windows of training opportunity!

Mountain girl for easy sessions on turbo trainer watch an episode of a tv programme (half hour to hour or long as you want). If you have heart rate monitor and want to get technical you can target your arrobic heart rate range and try keep within it.

For harder interval session I recommend sufferfest video downloads, they cost about 7 quid and you get to download to keep a hour video structured work out, which will include warm up, intervals (different efforts of pedalling hard interspersed with rests or easier intervals), the efforts are defined as effort out of 10 so you don't need a heart rate monitor. During the work out there is cool footage of bike rides and generally ok music.

Wow that was epic typing on phone!

skirt Thu 12-Apr-12 19:48:21

Am bumping this as I want to get back on my bike and start to plan a holiday next Spring cycling around Holland with dh. He's a keen cyclist and I'm keen, but unfit.

Live in the country's hilliest place though so training will be a killer.

Frustrated cyclist here! Used to do 85 miles a week (work commute) and did quite well with DS1 on the back for 18 months. Along came DS2 and we did 1000 miles with a trailer last summer.

Bike now in to have back block replaced and gearing lowered in hope of more trailering this summer before DS1 outgrows it. However, 2 kids+trailer+kit=my body weight (or very nearly), so my one hill is going to be a real challenge!

Other challenge it to teach DS1 to ride his bike this summer.

onanightlikethis Sun 15-Apr-12 20:29:52

Hello. We are a cycling family- currently 12 bikes in garage for a family f 4.....
I have just ordered newroad bike, a ribble. Am managing about 80- 100k per week at the moment. Training for my first triathlon. Nice to see a cycling thread.

SummerLightning Sun 15-Apr-12 22:08:36

mountaingirl I second the sufferfest videos they are knackering but good fun.

Done it! Dug out the trailer and the kids had a picnic breakfast in it en route. Couldn't manage all of 200' climb - got DS1 out to walk with me.

Have moved house so commute is slightly shorter - 15 mile round trip!

rubyrubyruby Tue 24-Apr-12 11:19:53

Can I ask you all about waterproof cycle jackets?

Any recommendations?


I've got a rather aged breathable one. Rather depends on your budget.

rubyrubyruby Tue 24-Apr-12 12:08:05

I'm not sure about budget really. It needs to be good though, stylish and comfortable.

ChoccyJules Wed 25-Apr-12 22:39:33

Very light dabbler in cycling. Have had a freebie ancient raleigh bike for five years and ridden it to and from work and also to the park with toddler on the back. Bike now gone to am currently looking at upright styles whoch don't break the bank.
Very cheap ones like Ammaco are heavy. Dawes Duchess 2011 currently in the sale locally. Bobbin Birdie has scary colours but looks interesting. Ebay is exciting but I know I should try before I buy.
Any advice/experience of brands welcome.

DottyDot Thu 26-Apr-12 13:52:29

Hello! Right, I'm an actual cyclist now instead of a lurker so feel I can post here!

Have lost just over 2 stone in the past few months so I've started cycling into work - every other day at the moment because it's a bit of a shock to the system to say the least... It's 5 miles each way so not very far but slightly uphill all the way back which is a killer at the moment but I'm hoping will get easier?!

I'm looking to buy a new bike - currently using my MIL's old bike - and I tried a Giant Comfort Sedona bike a bit ago and loved it, so am hoping to get one with the Cycle to Work scheme.

does anyone have any other recommendations though - something like the Giant Comfort? So I can compare?

Meanwhile I've got to go and get a helmet and rucksack this weekend - so far I'm winging it but any excuse to spend some money grin

prettybird Sat 28-Apr-12 08:33:54

Have a look at Decathlon for some really good value (but high quality) bikes and cycling kit and clothes.

FredFredGeorge Sat 28-Apr-12 09:36:29

DottyDot Don't get a rucksack! Get panniers for the bike - it's much better to carry your stuff on the bike than your back. The giant and similar bikes will all have a rack, there's lots of choices to clip on to those to save you carrying weight.

And cycling can easier - or you can just go faster, depends what you want smile

DottyDot Thu 03-May-12 19:19:54

Thanks - good idea as I dont really want to be wearing a rucksack and cycling - too hot and sweaty as it is!

Right, so I'm now cycling in every day I can and I have some questions...!

1. Stopping at lights - so I'm often in a high (or is it low) gear as I've been whizzing along - say in 6th gear. How do I change down without having to slow down gradually - the bike doesn't seem to like going from 6th - 2nd, say... Do I have to do it gradually? I can start off in 3rd but no higher - legs won't do it!

2. Setting off when at the lights - I've noticed that once I've got going I'm pretty speedy - keep up with most other cyclists and stuff, but I'm rubbish at getting going - how the jiggery pokery do cyclists set off so quickly? Is it a case of starting in 1st/2nd gear and pedalling like mad, or are my muscles just not up to it yet?

Thanks for any advice - I'm still disastrously unfit but have really noticed the difference a fortnight of cycling has made - lost 4lbs last week... grin Plus I'm really enjoying it - although the cycling home for 5 miles on a mild but never ending incline does my head in each time - when does it start getting easier?!

Am hopefully going to order a Giant comfort expression this weekend - hurrah!! grin

FredFredGeorge Thu 03-May-12 22:55:16

Anticipate if you're about to stop and start changing gear to a low gear ready to set off again - as long as you're turning the pedals you can change gear so just slow down very gently to the stop. If you're in completely the wrong gear, you can just lift the back wheel and pedal whilst standing to get it to shift - only normally worth it if it's also uphill or something and you really can't get going.

Most people in town and city riding, sprint hard from the stop and then cruise along - this isn't actually necessarily that good for fitness (you're tiring yourself out with the sprints rather than getting a good aerobic workout). It may be that you don't have the right type of body to sprint from lights (sprinters are born not made, you can only change it a bit) or it could be that you're in the wrong gear, or it could be a contribution. It sounds like you'll be better spinning like mad, but it's individual you'll have to try and it see.

It will likely change.

And it never really gets easier - you just go faster - but it doesn't take that long to get it to a speed where you feel you're going fast enough and aren't killing yourself.

DottyDot Fri 04-May-12 11:11:56

Thanks - I've always been a speed freak - love driving fast and am horribly competitive, so this is playing in to how I like to cycle - so my mind is at war with my very unfit body at the moment grin. Will try starting in a lower gear and pedalling like mad to get going quickly - although I kind of tried this on the way to work this morning and was much more knackered more quickly - was then a struggle to do the last part of my journey!

Ho hum. Will hope that I get fitter and lose some more weight fairly quickly and then might have a chance at keeping some speed up and not being overtaken by 6 million other bikes at the lights!

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sun 20-May-12 06:33:59

Ooooh a cycling thread!!! Can I join? Didn't even know there was a sports section!

This has inspired me to get back on my bike. I was a commuter cyclist in London for 3yrs and LOVED it, to the point of still cycling to work and back up til 7.5 months pregnant (albeit taking the longer flatter routes rather than challenging brixton hill.

We moved to California a few months ago and our shipment has just arrived - complete with bikes!! I only ride an old specialized hybrid and the only "gear" I've ever had is a decent Altura jacket. DD is 5months so a while til we can take her out, but DH takes DS to preschool in the trailer (he has a beautiful bianchi thanks to someone nicking his old specialized in soho last year and our insurance coming good) but there are tons of coastal and mountain bike trails we're keen to do.

I also really want to get DS riding - in your experiences did you go for like-a-bike types or "proper" bikes with stabilizers? He's 3.5....

Slowly working my way through the rest of the thread

DottyDot Sun 20-May-12 18:24:28

Hello! Ds's are both great cyclists and cycle to school each day. They both learned pretty young on 'proper' bikes - ds1 had stabilisers but ds2 didn't cos he inherited ds1's by then stabiliser free bike blush. I think they adapt to what they're given so you might as well go for the real deal?

Sadly am looking forward to cycling to work tomorrow!

Anyone know if there's a calorie counter for freight/loaded cycling? Am thinking of trailer plus 2 kids! Or would proportions of body weight work? ie factor up by 1.5 if freight is half weight of cyclist?

astridforty Wed 23-May-12 21:07:48

Just pondering making a purchase.. Halfords Pendleton Brooke. Any advice would be fab. I've got a budget of about £300 and prefer the look of a more upright bike but will mainly be on gravel canal paths so not sure if a heavier 'lady' bike is the right way to go?

prettybird Thu 24-May-12 08:18:51

If you have a Decathlon within a reasonable distance, go and have a look there. You get a hell of a lot of bike for your money there smile

prettybird Thu 24-May-12 08:20:55

...and they can advise on which of the many bikes they have would be most suitable.

Remember to budget in a pannier and mudguards (wherever you go) if the bike doesn't automatically come with one.

Not to mention lights!

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 25-May-12 14:35:19

And helmet if you don't already have one

Got on my hike for the first time yesterday since October! A bit wobbly and pulling along the trailer with DS for the first time but it was sooooooo good!

It's a mess though - I want to get it professionally cleaned and bloody DH is saying its expensive "clean it yourself"
A) when??!!! I have two small children permanently attached to me
B) there's no way I'll do as good a job as it needs
C) he got his bloody well professionally cleaned, why isn't mine deemed as important just cos it's not a swish £1000+ bianchi?!

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sat 26-May-12 06:42:03

OK, I am upping the ante - a friend of mine is cycling this, this year

I'm going to sing myself up for next year. Issues close to my life and heart, getting back on my bike, something to work towards physically and emotionally, I don't work so I can have no money to donate to charity, this way I can send funds that way.

AM I mental????

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sat 26-May-12 07:00:11

or sign myself up....

ChopstheScarletduck Sat 26-May-12 07:20:57

Ooh a bike thread! I really need to get back into it more seriously. I'm lucky enough to live within 5 mins ride of swinley forest, and Windsor great park. Use one for road work, the other for mountain biking grin

I have a Dawes kalhari hybrid, which is for day to day stuff and riding round the great park, and a decathalon rockrider for mountain biking. I'd love to get a good road bike if I could get my fitness levels back up.

Agreed with the glasses for mountain biking. Ive ripped an earring stud clean out catching it on twigs, so dread to think what damage I could do to my eyes. That's left me with a lovely split eat lobe!

Someone mentioned an iPhone cycle computer app thing, is it good? And do you attach it to your bike? I do have a cycle computer on my hybrid but not on the mountain bike. What I really need is a compAas for the mountain bike too. I keep getting lost in swinley. I carry a compass and map but it is annoying keep stopping.

Thistledew Sat 26-May-12 08:03:37

I am pleased this thread is still going. It had dropped off my active list and I feared it was dead.

I had far too long off the bike over the winter as I got a series of chest infections but have been picking it up from about Feb onwards.

I joined my local cycle club- am still getting dropped up the hills but am getting stronger and it is not by so much now. grin

I am also in the middle of a couple of long distance rides- last weekend DP and I did the Bournemouth to Brighton ride, which was organised by asthma uk. It was 140 miles over two days with a camping stop overnight. I thought I was going to be in absolute bits but actually didn't find it too bad at all. We did it in 11 hours of cycling and I was really pleased that even after 130 miles when we hit Devil's Dyke heading into Brighton I was able to keep pedalling and didn't have to walk any hills. I was very glad of my triple chainring on the front though!

Tomorrow DP and I are doing the Norwich 100. Should be fine, I think, especially with the lack of hills!

I would thoroughly recommend charity rides to anyone thinking of taking their cycling a bit further. They are organised all over the country now and are a great way to see new routes. They attract people of all abilities and you can do them totally at your own pace.

Thistledew Sat 26-May-12 08:09:29

I would also recommend panniers for commuting. I got myself a set recently and they are great. I was worried that they would really affect the handling of the bike, but even though there was a headwind last time I used them, I hardly noticed any difference at all. It is really satisfying to be able to pass other cyclists who don't have panniers. The only time I noticed them was going up a steep section of hill and standing up on the pedals. The bike did feel a but heavier when I had it leaning from side to side but it was easy to adjust to.

ChopstheScarletduck Sat 26-May-12 08:10:46

Norwich? Norwich does actually have quite a lot of hills from what I remember! Maybe it avoids them? I grew up in Norfolk and really miss it, and can remember rolling down the hills overlooking the city. And sledging in winter!

ChopstheScarletduck Sat 26-May-12 08:11:53

I use panniers too. Have had panniers and a Dutch style front frame on my bike loaded up with shopping. Panniers def better though.

Thistledew Sat 26-May-12 08:13:19

Chops - there are several iPhone apps for cycling now, depending on what you want to do. Some, like Strava are good for recording your speed and effort but not for navigating. There are others that you can navigate with but the battery doesn't last long and they are not as good at picking up a data signal as a specialised GPS device. Depending on your budget, a Garmin 500 or 800 is really the best way forward.

ChopstheScarletduck Sat 26-May-12 08:17:17

I'd love a garmin, but like you say, they are pricey. Maybe later in the year if I have some money and I actually start spending more hours on my bike I will get one.

This thread has inspired me to get out again. I will have to set my alarm tomorrow and get out. I love going at the crack of dawn, when I get almost get the park to myself.

ChopstheScarletduck Sat 26-May-12 08:18:06

I def get data issues in the park too, it is a phone black spot. Hadn't considered that.

Thistledew Sat 26-May-12 08:19:54

You are right there are some hills in Norwich itself and you could probably put together a pretty punishing circuit around Telegraph Hill and Mousehold <used to live in Norfolk too> but the route of the ride heads out of the city pretty quick and goes around the north coast.

I was cycling in Norfolk over Easter and I think I found only about two hills that necessitated changing down from the big chain ring!

Thistledew Sat 26-May-12 08:21:53

Have fun on your ride tomorrow. Early morning is def a good idea in the heat.

ChopstheScarletduck Sat 26-May-12 08:36:16

Sounds lovely! Mousehold is where I was thinking of, had forgotten the name.

FredFredGeorge Tue 29-May-12 12:40:42

Thistledew Glad you persevered with the club, and I'm sure there are slower folk up the hill than you sometimes!

The Bryton units might be another option for GPS, or even the Garmin 200 if you're never going to care about Heart Rate and just want to know where you've been, it's cheaper than the Garmin 500.

Thistledew Tue 29-May-12 12:54:15

Grrr. Just tried and failed to get tickets for the Olympic road cycling events. I even got to the stage of having a couple of tickets reserved, but when I tried to pay for them a message came up saying they were no longer available. angry

On a more happy note, I thoroughly enjoyed the Norwich 100 on Sunday. There was a lovely breeze from the sea, and as most of the route was on the coast road it kept the temperature just cool enough.

I was pretty tired by the end, but not so much that it stopped me amusing myself in the last 7 or so miles by seeing just how many people I could overtake! It kept my mind off just how sore my bottom was feeling by that stage.

I would say that I am still quite a way from being truly fit, but feel pretty chuffed when I look back to just under a year ago, when I was contemplating with some trepidation doing my first 26 mile ride!

prettybird Tue 29-May-12 16:04:01

A kind MNer has offered to put ds and I up so that we can watch the Olympics road race, as it goes past near her house smile

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Tue 29-May-12 21:29:10

I am crapping myself at the thought of a 26mile ride! Need to get my bike serviced and cleaned after its journey across the ocean, sign up for some spin classes then register for LifeCycle - have a year to train, think its a 5/6 day journey, around 100miles a day


Pasta4tea Thu 07-Jun-12 07:36:57

Hi! I'm a mix of commuting, leisure and road cyclist. We have a Specialized Rockhopper with road tyres with a Trek Mountain Train Tagalog behind and a Leco Top Tube seat up front for getting DSs to school / preschool at the moment.

We've also done rear seats and trailers over the past 5 years. When I get a moment I have an old racing Bianchi - doesn't get enough use. No idea how many bikes DH has - found two more frames in the loft last week!

One thing DH and I were getting annoyed about was lack of info about cycling with kids. In a moment of madness I decided to try and do something about it and is the result. It's still early days but the basics are there. We've shown our friends and family the result and are ready to brave letting other people know about it (gulp!). Would really welcome your thoughts.

tourdefrance Mon 11-Jun-12 12:13:50

Hello, can I join too?
I cycle most days to the station and then at the other end on to work. I also try and cycle back (10 miles) at least once a week. I have 2 year old DS on the back and take him to nursery on the way to the station. 5 year old DS rides his own bike to and from school (less than a mile). So I'm on the pavement until its just me and DS2. I ride a hybrid.

We also like going for long rides in the summer with the kids, but are struggling a bit at the moment. Last year we bought a tag-a-long and I had DS2 on the back of mine while DS1 was pulled by dad. Due to the weather we have only managed one bike ride so far this year, and DP complained about how heavy DS2 had got (had not really used it since last autumn) and that he does not pedal at all so DP is doing all the work. DS1 will happily ride 5 miles or so when he's on his own bike, but this isn't far enough for us to cycle as well and he's so much slower. If we are walking while DS1 is on his bike then DS2 wants to walk quite a bit as well (fair enough) and so we can cover even less distance and DS1 has to keep stopping and waiting for use ot catch up when he just wants to ride off. We were hoping to have another summer of riding before DS1 was too big for the tag-a-long and DS2 too little next summer.
Any ideas for motivating DS1 to pedal??

I'm watching for tips to enthuse DS1 (nearly 5) to practice cycling. Weather hasn't helped!

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Mon 11-Jun-12 23:39:21

No advice I'm afraid as we only just got DS his first bike - loves it but gets knackered very quickly (we've only done up and down our driveway so far til he's mastered braking)

I've just signed up for a charity cycle ride next year - cycling along the coast from San Francisco to LA in a week, have to raise $3000, eeek! The cycling bit is terrifying as I've only been a commuter cyclist up til now and haven't been on my bike since last October

With DD in tow i've joined a gym that has child care so I can at least occasionally use indoor bikes while DS is in preschool. Will try out their spinning classes but any recommendations in the meantime for doing it on my own? Hope to start some outdoor rides again soon.

Another question - we want to get out for some family bike rides, DS loves the trailer but DD is only 6months do too small for that or the seat - is there a way of taking younger babies out? Other types of seats?

Terrified of the ride, have never done anything like it in my life!!!

Pasta4tea Tue 12-Jun-12 07:34:06

tourdefrance and BlueChampagne - we've got a very similar situation.  We use a tagalong to get DS1 to school and sometimes I feel like an aerobics instructor shouting at him to pedal!  One thing that has worked for us is getting some sporting heroes. They don't have to be cycling related, but with the Olympics coming up there are plenty of opportunities to get them to see their hero in action.  When I need some extra oomph I then call out that x would be pedalling really hard now.  It also works well at the dinner table, as heroes need to eat up to be big and strong!    
tourdefrance - we've also recently got a tow bar (trailgator) which means DS1 can pedal as a far as he can on his own when we go out at weekends but then we can hitch him up for the final bit if he gets too tired. 

Pasta4tea Tue 12-Jun-12 07:51:07

GirlWithTheMouseyHair - front and rear seats are only suitable for when your DD can hold her head upright without support - usually 9 - 12 months.  I met a family yesterday with an 8 month old in a rear facing car seat which was strapped into a single seater trailer. There are a couple of makes of trailer that allow this but it's not a cheap option! 
Good luck with the training and the ride. Have you seen the Breeze Rides? They a good way to get cycling in a friendly, all girlie environment.

Mousey I put DS1 in a Co-Pilot Taxi from 8 months. I have seen a rack for the back of a bike which takes a car seat, and I think there are some trailers you can strap a car seat in, but then you have that weight too!

Massive good luck for you US marathon!

tourdefrance Thu 14-Jun-12 11:35:38

Pasta4Tea - how old is your DS1? There was a trailgator for sale at work recently but I thought we had another year of trailer-biking so didn't get it.

If we are all going on our bikes we will often do 20 miles or so, I think we could prob do 10 at most if DS1 is riding some of it as he is a lot slower (although can be pretty fast when he wants to be). I would not want him on any roads yet though, so we would end up pulling him until we were off-road and re-attaching at every road which all sounds like a bit of a faff. He can be whizzing off in the distance or demanding to be pushed at the slightest incline depending on his mood.

The sporting heroes is an interesting idea too. We don't really watch sport or much TV at all in our house, except for 1/2 hour of Cbeebies here and there. He is really into trains now and loves Chuggington so maybe I should use one of those - just need to watch it myself now to find out their names!

Pasta4tea Thu 14-Jun-12 20:28:11

tourdefrance - my DS1 has just turned 6 but I know people who have used them from younger than that. They aren't as stable as the towbar, but the idea is that they do most of the riding themselves.
Their mood makes such a difference doesn't it- along with the weather it can make or break a ride!
Re sporting heroes, am wondering how I break the news to DS1 about Lance Armstrong...... confused

Thistledew Thu 14-Jun-12 22:04:36

Anyone doing the London to Brighton this weekend?

DP and I have the wonderful start time of 6am! It will be great to get out with the early riders before things get too congested, but 6am?!? There aren't any trains at that time of day, so we will either have to find somewhere to park in Clapham, or add an extra 8 miles to the journey.

Thistledew Sun 17-Jun-12 13:31:15

On my way back to London after completing the London to Brighton ride for the first time. Had a fabulous ride, although it was a bit frustrating continually having to slow and overtake people (not to say I wasn't overtaken quite a bit myself wink)

I even managed to cycle all the way up Ditchling Beacon, which I am really chuffed with myself about. I have to say that it was at that point that I realised how much I luffs my triple chain ring!

Wow - I AM impressed!

FredFredGeorge Mon 18-Jun-12 13:41:21

And good effort for posting to mumsnet whilst cycling back!

Thistledew Mon 18-Jun-12 15:07:06

Fred - I got the coach back! Maybe next year I will consider cycling back, if my fitness continues to improve. DP and I did cycle to and from the start in Clapham though, which made a total trip distance of 74 miles for the day. I did the Norwich 100 a few weeks ago, but that was considerably flatter than the route through West and East Sussex. I need a bit more strength in my legs before I can contemplate tacking Ditchling Beacon from both directions.

FredFredGeorge Mon 18-Jun-12 16:21:53

Thistledew You generally (as in people in SW London who ride to Brighton and back) do Devils Dyke on the way back, and that's a pretty easy climb compared to Ditchling Beacon. And it would've been really easy on sunday as there was a raging tailwind. Actually makes your ride better as you did all the hard work on the way down into it.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Mon 18-Jun-12 16:41:51

I am going to my first spin class today - not the same as proper cycling but the local YMCA does free child care so at least I can get on a bike while I have DD to lug around. Then planning my first ride on Sunday when DH has promised to have both DC for a few hours so I can get out - so looking forward to it! Will do a gorgeous beach ride

London to Brighton sounds awesome, do they do regular rides? Planning to spend all of jan in the UK but a bit scared of a month with no training while gearing up to this mammoth ride next summer

Speaking of this ride, I've never done ANYTHING like it before. I have a ridgeback hybrid, would a road bike be better? California is nicely catered to cyclists with bike paths through all the beaches and down main coastal roads, even the part of LA I'm in has bike paths in the streets - but the lightweight nature of road bikes scares me, and their propensity to get punctures more!

Thistledew Mon 18-Jun-12 18:36:50

GirlWithTheMouseyHair - your ride sounds awesome. A quick bit of googling says that is roughly 60 miles a day for 7 days, is that right?

Whether your bike will be suitable really depends on its spec - whether it is a 'fast hybrid' - i.e. more or less a road bike but with flat bars, or whether it is very much a town pop to the shops bike. I would recommend that you have a bike with at least an 8 cog rear cassette and either a double or triple chain ring on the front, depending how hilly it is. If it is flat, then a double will be fine, but if there are any sharp climbs, you may be grateful for a triple ring.

Whether you want a bike with drop handlebars or whether you stick to flat bars is mostly a matter of preference. Having drop bars will mean that you can get in a more aero position, so have to work slightly less hard to overcome air resistance, it is safer if there are any fast downhill sections to go 'on the drops' and it will give you more options regarding your cycling position, so you can shift around a bit if you are feeling tired or uncomfortable.

As a minimum, I would recommend having your bike set up so that your handlebars are level with your seat, rather than being 'sit up and beg'.

If you do go for a new bike, it is worth bearing in mind that a lighter bike will be less hard work, and you soon get used to the twitchiness, but I would not go for a pure road bike if you are not used to riding one. I would go for a tourer or a cyclo-cross bike, as these have a less aggressive and therefore more comfortable position than a pure road bike, although they look very similar.

Slicker, thinner tyres are a definite advantage, whatever bike you go for. I have 32mm Borough tyres, which came with my cyclo-cross bike, which are a bit nobbly on the sides but slick in the middle, but I normally ride with 25mm slick tyres. I find that I am nearly two miles an hour faster with the slick tyres, just through the reduction in rolling resistance. Getting toughened tyres such as Armadillos really reduce the risk of puncture.

The main London to Brighton is on once a year, but they now do other London to Brighton rides, such as a night ride, and an off-road ride.

Mousey there are other similar rides like the London to Cambridge. But not in January! Where will you be based? I'm sure there will be a local cycling club who would help you out.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Tue 19-Jun-12 17:34:57

Thanks all - great info on the bike. My hybrid is pretty decent but I think between the two you describe, but handlebars already at seat level. I didn't know about cyclo cross, they sound good...

In jan I'll be based at my folks in west Sussex, will be a shock to the system riding in English winter but I braced the snow and rain the last few years in London and will only be borrowing my dads old banger of a bike - bike clubs is a good idea, just want to keep my hand in

Spinning killed me yesterday!!! Argh, my fitness level is zero and I've never been one for hardcore exercise - this will def be a monstrous challenge!!

ALC takes 5days so I think roughly 80miles a day

HellonHeels Thu 21-Jun-12 22:31:00

Hello all I like this thread!

I'm just getting into cycle commuting, got a speedy new road bike after several years of riding a clunky heavy hybrid. I'm building up slowly, it's 14 miles each way, or 8 if I take a train part of the way. This week I've just 'upgraded' to do the full distance each way on two days. Will do it again tomorrow.

Got very sore legs at the moment, mostly quads and the muscle just above the knee on inside of the leg (no idea what it is!). Will this wear off soon do you think? I've been commuting since April so should be toughening up, not hurting.

Also, I am scared of going in the drops, I feel wobbly and insecure. Anyone got any tips?

Happy cycling!

FredFredGeorge Fri 22-Jun-12 00:29:54

HellonHeels The pain could just be your muscles adapting, or it could be partly that and partly a poor knee/foot/something position so you're putting extra stress on an area you don't like. The quad pain is almost certainly just your muscles adapting.

Are you using clipless pedals (confusingly pedals where you clip your shoe into them) if so it could be the position of the cleat is off and you need to rotate the knee in your pedalling action which is extra stressing it. Or it could be your position is wrong and you're not extending the knee too much or not enough, it would be impossible to diagnose via mumsnet.

However when you say the drops make you feel wobbly and insecure, that does make me wonder if the saddle is a bit low, since that can cause both symptoms. Normally the drops should make you less wobbly and more secure because your center of gravity is lower. Have you got anyone who can give a good eye to your position?

Thistledew Fri 22-Jun-12 11:00:18

One other suggestion I would make Mousey, is to get out on the bike and do a long ride - at least 50 or 60 miles, and then a couple of weeks after that, do one of at least 80 miles. Do this as soon as you feel you have a basic amount of fitness, and as soon as possible.

There is something psychological about riding a long distance, and you always imagine that it will be far harder than it actually is. Once you have done it though you will realise that it is well within your capabilities, and this will actually allow you to train harder and longer, as your appreciation of what your body can cope with will shift dramatically.

HellonHeels - I second what Fred says about getting someone to check your position on the bike. If you don't have an experienced friend, then you can go to a specialist bike shop and ask about a 'bike fit'. They can be costly, but if your position is wrong and it is causing you an injury, then prevention is better than cure.

I think the type of pain you are getting would indicate whether it is a position issue or whether it is a fitness issue. Does it hurt whilst you are cycling, or is it just muscle soreness once you are off the bike? Feeling a burn in your quads when you are riding is quite normal and just a sign that you are working hard. Feeling a sharp pain or cramp is definitely an indicator of a poor position.

Also, remember that when it comes to cycling and training, it never gets easier- you just go faster! grin

notsurewhyohwhy Sat 23-Jun-12 10:42:24

Hi Everyone,

I have just bought a second hand mountain bike and want to start cycling. I am a real beginner, I havnt cycled since I was a child apart from I once cycled in the park for an hour when I rented a bike.

My work place is about 10 mins drive in the car and my dd's school is about 20mins walk from home, so I was thinking I could start taking dd to school (I would walk and let her scoot) then cycle to work.

I feel quite nervous as I live in london and the roads are very busy. So any tips would be great.

Also I am thinking about getting one of those trail gaitor things for taking dd to the park on the bike as her little legs get tired quickly. Are they easy to use? Or am I likely to fall over with dd on the bike? smile

rubyrubyruby Sat 23-Jun-12 10:53:00

Notsurewhy - if you are cycling in London and haven't cycled for years then I would recommend you book a lesson with an experienced instructor. You can cover a lot in an hour or two and it would be a good investment (not too expensive) They will also teach you the best and safest way to plan your route to and from work.

If that's not possible then 'Cyclecraft' by John Franklin is a useful book.


tourdefrance Mon 25-Jun-12 12:01:13

notsurewhy - how far is the park you want to take your daughter to? I would start with walking with her cycling and then you can push her on the way back if you need to. My DS1 is a very good cyclist and will happily go for several miles (he's 5 but has been cycling on a proper bike for over a year) but still needs the odd push on a steep bit.

I took DS1 out on the tag-a-long for the first time on Saturday. Normally I have DS2 in the baby seat on the back of mine and DS1 has been tagged-a-long by his dad, but it was just me and DS1 this time and we had to be somewhere by a certain time so the tag-a-long seemed like a good idea. Has anyone any experience of these? I found it frankly scary, wobbly and was not confident at all. DP helpfully told me afterwards that you can't coast, you just have to keep pedalling or the wobble is worse. Any tips, even its as basic as stick to lower / higher gears?

Pasta4tea Mon 02-Jul-12 20:02:28

notsurewhy and tourdefrance trailgators and tagalongs (or towbars) are different.
I use a tagalong and it did take a couple of times out for us both to get used to it (and DS still conveniently forgets to pedal at times!) Now commute with DS1 on tagalong and DS2 on front seat with no trouble.
We've just bought a trailgator but not had chance to use it yet - weather sad Everyone I know who has one loves them, as you only need to hook them up at end of ride when they're tired. Don't know anyone who regularly uses them on road though - is anyone else doing this?

notsurewhyohwhy Mon 02-Jul-12 23:01:28

I think I meatna trailgator, well i have just bought myself a fold up bike and i am really happy. The mountain bike was massive and i would never have been able to ride it.

Is there anything I can buy to measure my speed and time when cycling? So that I can see how many calories I have burned? But only looking to spend a couple of pounds on it.

notsure if you have a smart phone you can use something like mapmyfitness, which covers running and cycling. Otherwise cateye do a range of odometers; I'm sure some have calorie counters, but they might be more than a couple of pounds.

Thistledew Tue 03-Jul-12 14:55:29

notsure - most bike shops will sell you a basic bike computer which records distance and time. Other than using a heart meter and a more complex computer which measures your power in watts, this gives you a (very) rough guide to how much you will be burning.

notsurewhyohwhy Fri 06-Jul-12 08:00:13

I have downloaded mapmyfitnese smile

Itwillendinsmiles Fri 06-Jul-12 18:17:58

I'm (weather permitting) doing a 50km sponsored ride on Sunday. I've done similar distances before but never anything quite so organised... and generally I dislike cycling with anyone else much to DH's annoyance!

Is there anything I need to know?

Bike has been checked over and I will have spare tube, pump, tools, food & water etc

It's on minor roads with marshalls at junctions etc - though I have a map too!

Thistledew Sat 07-Jul-12 01:40:44

Anything you need to know? The most important thing you should not forget is


To enjoy yourself!

All of the charity rides I have done have been really well organised and signposted, so you need not worry about getting lost. There will be other riders to follow as well.

I always like to wave and say thank you to the marshalls, as it reminds me to be cheerful, even if I am tired and my arse legs are sore.

Ride at a pace you are comfortable with and you will make the distance no problem.

In terms of other people, don't get too close behind people you don't normally ride with, and allow yourself space to stop if they stop or slow suddenly. If you need to stop, try to pull into the left and check there is no-one behind you before you do so. If you need to walk up a hill, keep over to the left of the road so that people who are able to cycle up can keep going. This may sound obvious but there are always a number of people who don't seem to think about this who then nearly cause pile-ups by suddenly stopping to walk up steep sections.

As to the positives of riding with other people: these events usually have a great atmosphere, and although it is not a race, it is surprising how much of a boost you will get to tired legs by seeing someone ahead of you and thinking "I can catch you up and overtake you"!

ThePan Sat 07-Jul-12 17:02:02

Afternoon Thistle

Plea for help! Where o where on the internet can I see the Tour de France? I have recently made the disasterous decision to get BT Vision and the Freeview section does not carry ITV4 where le Tour is covered in highlights - I can see their highlights but only the following day on ITVplayer.

Surely in this day and age their should be a site which carries current coverage and/or highlights??


ThePan Sat 07-Jul-12 17:05:54

there obv.hmm

Thistledew Sat 07-Jul-12 22:47:10

Hi Pan

Can't help with footage, I'm afraid. The official page has some short clips but nothing like the ITV coverage.

On that note, did you see Andre Greipel yesterday? I thought he looked really crooked on the bike after the first crash- they were saying today that he had dislocated his shoulder! shock. It shows what amazing mental as well as physical strength they have.

I am going to try to emulate a bit of that attitude on the club run tomorrow - if my lungs aren't bursting and my legs aren't screaming, I will obviously not be going fast enough!

ThePan Sat 07-Jul-12 23:02:35

Evening! ( I have been told it's on ITV4 site live so we'll see tomorrow)

yes I saw the Cav-Greipel finish but not the crash. I know that a lot of crashes happen in the early stages, esp when the wind gets up on narrow roads but we seem to be getting a lot this year.

and yes if you haven't puked and cramped up there's room for improvement. Good luck.grin

Itwillendinsmiles Sun 08-Jul-12 07:50:53

Thank you thistle, that's all really helpful.

It's stopped raining so no excuses!

poachedeggs Sun 08-Jul-12 22:12:25

Signing in!

I'm an ex-couch to 5k runner with a dodgy medial collateral ligament so I'm on the bike for now. I used to cycle loads when I was younger, but as a means of getting around rather than for pleasure or exercise. DH is a keen mountain biker and we live in the midst of perfect biking routes so I've been going out for an hour or so once our twice a week. It's much more fun than I remember!

Can't tell you much about the bike I'm riding -it belonged to DH's ex and he sort of had it included in his divorce settlement(!) so I know it's about fifteen years old and was, at the time, a good bike. It's got front suspension and a rack for a water bottle grin

I'm looking forward to hearing about everyone's two-wheeled escapades smile

FredFredGeorge Sun 08-Jul-12 22:27:05

If you go [url=]Cycling Fans[/url] there are links to all the places on the internet you can watch video coverage of the tour.

FredFredGeorge Sun 08-Jul-12 22:27:40

Doh, wrong forum... Cycling Fans

Yo poachedeggs in a similar boat here - have been running but just picked up an achilles problem. Must dig out bike rack and bring my bike to work for lunchtime bike rides so I get some exercise. Used to cycle more but DS1 is getting too big for trailer but still learning to ride his bike, and won't be up to the sort of cycling I want to do for a bit.

ILoveLemonCurd Sun 15-Jul-12 17:32:38

Ooh I've found a cycling thread! I'm a runner at heart really but love cycling too. I've been borrowing DH's Boardman hybrid and love it, but am ready to invest in a road bike for me grin

There is a good on line deal at Halford's for a Boardman women's specific carbon road bike. I am drooling over it, does anyone have any experience/advice? My DH who is Mr Bike Fanatic thinks it's a fab deal and as he has far more bikes than me I think I might take the plunge!

ILoveLemonCurd Mon 16-Jul-12 22:09:34

Well I took the plunge and I picked it up today grin and saved the best part of £500 off the list price grin grin.

If you're after a bike upgrade Halfords have some fab deals online until Weds. Also if you join British Cycling you get another 10% off.

I had a quick whizz tonight and although the different riding position and gears will take some getting used to, I love it.

Neverme Tue 17-Jul-12 11:47:21


Have been watching this thread off and on since it started.

I've recently updgraded from my hybrid to a Felt Ladies road bike (ZW95 I think). Which is fabulous.

Took the jump at the weekend and invested in clipless pedals (road shoes and cleats rather than SPD). Can anyone tell me any magic tips to not fall over??? Is it just a case of training yourself to de clip before you brake etc? I've had to stop myself going out today on a lovely sunny day just because my legs can't cope with any more bruises!!

ILoveLemonCurd Tue 17-Jul-12 13:31:56

Hi Neverme, I'm thinking of doing the same, but am a bit nervous! DH uses them and fell off three times, twice at junctions and once going uphill blush. He hasn't fallen off for well over a year now.

I'll watch to see if someone experienced comes up with some pearls of wisdom grin.

Neverme Tue 17-Jul-12 14:54:02

Lemoncurd have been looking around online and there are various articles/youtube vids on it. I suspect it's practice practice practice and making it habit i.e. when you approach a junction in a car you automatically start braking/de-clutching - the same thing needs to happen with de clipping the pedals before you need to stop on the bike. Thing is, I've got myself a bit worried about it now, so probably being tense isn't the best thing in the world!

Thistledew Tue 17-Jul-12 23:41:49

Hi Lemoncurd and Neverme - There is no magic secret to riding clipped in; as you guessed it is just a matter of unclipping whenever you think that you might have to stop. I just got into the habit of unclipping whenever I think I might have to stop, so well in advance of actually having to do so. I also started off with SPDs, which you can adjust to be quite loose, so even on a few occasions when I have had a near-miss because I have had to do an emergency stop, my natural reaction of trying to get your foot on the floor has been enough to release the mechanism.

I am lucky that I have only been hit by the Topple Goblin (close relation of the P*ncture Fairy) twice. The first time was when I took my cyclo-cross bike off road for the first time, and learnt the hard way that my bad roadie habit of only unclipping my left foot is not such a good idea when riding across a hill, where gravity is already pulling you to the right! The other time was when I had a sudden mechanical issue and my chain jumped and jammed when I was standing up to get up a steep hill. Falling off lots is not inevitable if you think ahead and are mindful of being clipped in.

It is a good idea when you first use a new clipless system to practice clipping in and out with the bike stationary - holding onto a wall or fence for balance. Then find a quiet bit of road, and just spend 10 mins riding up and down practicing unclipping with the pedal in various positions (although it is easiest to unclip when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke). If you feel nervous about unclipping in time, it is better to unclip early even if you are not sure you will need to stop. You should be able to move your food a little to the side or forward or backwards, so that it is still resting on the pedal but not clipped in. You can used the leg still clipped in to keep pedalling with so you don't have to put pressure on the one that is out of the clip and risk it skidding off. This makes it easier to keep moving, and change your mind and re-clip if you need to. The only thing to watch out for is inadvertently clipping back in without realising it.

I hope this helps a bit!

poachedeggs Fri 20-Jul-12 06:25:55

Hi again folks smile

I had a great ride yesterday, just went out for an hour but I'm really starting to get the hang of it I think. I set off on a local long distance route (an old railway line)but got totally bored so I cut back through into the woods. I amazed myself that I went for hills and hard work by choice, so I think this mountain biking bug has properly bitten me grin

I'm feeling much braver and tackled a couple of really fast downhill bits, had so much fun I did a big loop and tried it again. It was a case of forgetting about all the rocks and roots and just hanging on and hoping to avoid big obstacles, which got DH all excited when I told him because apparently that's proper mountain biking hmmgrin

I felt a bit silly, an overweight Lycra-clad thirty-something woman wobbling along happily, and I kept thinking 'I'm someone's mother!' but what fun I had!

ILoveLemonCurd Fri 20-Jul-12 10:11:17

Sounds fabulous Poached! You're braver than me, I tried mountain biking a few years back and it scared me witless shock! My rule now is wheels for the road and feet for the tracks! Sounds like you have been bitten by the bug grin

I've managed two rides on my new road bike, 20 miles on weds eve and 15 last night grin. It's amazing and I'm really getting used to the gears and riding position already and managed to average 17mph. DH was a bit taken aback by this as he's quite competitive. He is going to do the same route and see if he can beat me hmm (I did run a marathon 4weeks ago so am fairly fit).

Er, slightly embarrassing question here .... How does one protect one's lady garden? The saddle is comfy while riding but there is a certain amount of soreness afterwards blush. I would like to do some longer rides but would also like to be able to have sex again! Any tips? Or will it just toughen up!!

Thanks for the advise on cleats, I think I will see how I go, and maybe put shoes and pedals on my Christmas list.

Thistledew Fri 20-Jul-12 10:52:41

Are you wearing padded shorts Lemon? A pair with a decent pad is a must.

Other than that it may just be that the saddle is not suitable for you. A saddle with cutout sections in the middle is usually better for women. I had a ride on a bike with a Selle Italia saddle the other day, and although it was a decent saddle it was really uncomfortable after about half an hour.

Pressure on your sit bones is normally just something you have to get used to, but pressure on your lady bits requires changes. Some local bike shops have seats you can borrow and try, or you can buy a seat on eBay and if you don't get on with it, stick it back on to sell and get another one.

ILoveLemonCurd Fri 20-Jul-12 11:05:45

Thanks Thistle. I didn't wear padded shorts for the first ride but did for the second, but they are only cheap Aldi ones. I might invest in a higher spec short! The saddle is a women's design as the whole bike is. I'll pop back to the shop where I got it and see if they can make some adjustments/recommendations first. The pain isn't while riding it just feels sore afterwards. Thanks for the advice, much appreciated.

Thistledew Fri 20-Jul-12 11:10:13

Is it a pressure pain or chafing pain? Cycle shorts are designed to be worn without any underwear. You could also try chamois cream, if the issue is chafing.

Thistledew Fri 20-Jul-12 11:12:24

17 mph is a good speed btw- please tell me that your route is pretty flat?

marge2 Fri 20-Jul-12 11:16:57

Cool thread. I hate most forms of exercise, but I do quite like cycling. My BIG problem with it though is that it HURTS MY ARSE SO MUCH. I used to go off with DH and the kids for a few miles, but my bum was so sore after just a really short distance, I have given it up.

Can anyone recommend a good W-I-D-E wide saddle?

I only want to do fun rides - noting too far and certainly not competitive.

Thistledew Fri 20-Jul-12 11:23:27

Marge- it's a bit counter initiative but you are better off with a firm saddle than a really big squashy on. I forget the reasoning behind it, but have heard this advice again and again. The most important thing is that it is the right width for your sit bones to be properly supported, and to wear a decent pair of padded shorts. A specialist bike shop will be the best place to get a seat that is the right width for you.

Other than that, you just need to toughen the F up! grin The more you get out on the bike, the less uncomfortable it will be. 18 months ago I was getting a sore arse after 7 miles. Now I can get to 70 before it starts feeling uncomfortable.

Thistledew Fri 20-Jul-12 11:26:44

*counter intuitive
*squashy one

marge2 Fri 20-Jul-12 11:39:37

No shorts - too fat - can you imagine the view from the back?? Doesn't bear thinking about.

Jeans and a loongg top for me. I know jeans probably makes it worse, but I ride horses in jeans and chaps and that's fine - and the saddle is definitely very firm.

It's the sit bones that kill me on a bike. I have to perch on one or the other as the saddle just goes up the (uh-hum) middle nowhere near any bones if I don't.

Thistledew Fri 20-Jul-12 12:10:23

Jeans are really not good for cycling in. You can buy what are essentially padded pants for cycling that you can wear under ordinary leggings, track suit bottoms, or loose fitting cotton trousers (although you would then need bicycle clips to stop the trouser leg catching in the chain) or even a skirt if you want. You can wear a long top as well if you are worried about scaring the horses.

It does sound like there is a problem with your seat though, as you should definitely feel you are bearing the weight on your sit bones. Have a try in jogging bottoms or leggings first to rule out it just being the jeans causing you discomfort, and if that does not help, get yourself down to the bike shop and get a new saddle. If you cycle to the shop they will almost certainly fit the new one for you.

Thistledew Fri 20-Jul-12 12:12:57

these are an example of the padded undershorts I mentioned.

gel saddle covers are also nice.

marge2 Fri 20-Jul-12 18:41:01

Oh My Thistledew - I just couldn't wear those. I'd be too embarrased. - Don't you look like you are wearing a huge sanitary towell?? when you get to the pub

A really wide gel saddle sounds good. We need to get DS1 a new tyre and inner tube, before we go away at the weekend, as his are knackered . I'll see what they have in the shop.

ILoveLemonCurd Sun 22-Jul-12 09:19:04

Thanks for the link Thistle, I'm not sure about going commando though! I think it is a chafing problem so I'll nab some of DS's sudocrem.

My route is quite undulating so for every up there is a down. I do like digging in to a good hill though and I am finding it so much easier on a proper bike grin. hoping to get a 30 miler in later.

Thistledew Sun 22-Jul-12 12:00:03

I am a recent convert to going commando under cycling shorts after a long time not wanting to try it, but it really does make a big difference and is definitely to be recommended.

evilgiraffe Mon 23-Jul-12 21:07:48

Hello! I've had a road bike for a few months now and I love it almost beyond all reason. It's so much more fun than any bike I've had previously - shockingly fast acceleration and I can get up to a decent speed too. I'm trying to ride as much as possible as I really need to lose weight, so doing exercise that is also fun is probably a good idea.

DH is very much a "get all the proper equipment" sort of guy, so we're both kitted out in lycra - going commando in padded shorts on a hard saddle definitely works! Marge - yes it is like a giant sanitary towel at first, but the more you wear it the better it fits, and in any case when you're on the bike it doesn't feel like that at all - just while walking! Think of it as motivation to stay on the bike? I'm a good deal overweight so not speaking from the point of view of a pro cyclist by any stretch, if that's at all useful.

My bike is getting shiny new cleat pedals this week - they're mountain biking easy-escape type ones as I've never tried cleats before. Does anyone have any advice for getting used to riding clipped-in? I'm a bit scared!

Neverme Tue 24-Jul-12 06:38:59

Hi evil giraffe. You might have seen my posts earlier re clipped in pedals. Think the key is practice whilst leaning against the wall, don't be afraid to fall and clip out before you brake.

To that end I've got a question for le peleton .... I've now got clip less pedals, but do you think I can ride on them just wearing my trainers rather than cleats? Because I don't think falling off whilst pregnant is a good idea ....

FredFredGeorge Tue 24-Jul-12 13:09:37

Orange glasses for dusk, clear for dark - I have prescription inserts so if intending to be out through dusk I'll often just go for clear all the way.

mountaingirl You're very lucky to be somewhere with 800m ascent! (and only a max of 9% would be nice too) Descending - get low so your center of gravity is lower, this makes cornering much more secure, so use the drops on your handlebars - if you can't reach the brakes in that position get some shims for them so you can. The drops also mean a bump or similar cannot knock your hands from the bars.

Then it's just very relaxed and practice, following someone who knows the lines to take and just follow them nice and relaxed.

Elejo Tue 24-Jul-12 15:52:22

Evilgiraffe - re: cleats. If you are going for straightforward SPD cleats (rather than road bike ones) then you can adjust the amount of tension in them with an allen key on either side of the pedal - just loosen them off. For some reason all the ones I've ever bought seem to be set to max tension as default.

Don't release so much tension that you have to twist your ankle too much though - you might want to keep adjusting while practising leaning up against a wall to find the right level for you.

They're sooooo much better when you get used to them (and it won't take long at all). I have my children in a bike trailer and I am sure I would not get up the hill to our house if I didn't wear clipless pedals.

Thistledew Tue 24-Jul-12 17:14:25

Neverme - what pedal system do you use? Tbh, I would not ride in trainers with any clipless pedals other than just to pop to the shop at the end of the road. It won't give you any decent sort of grip, and you are far more likely to fall off through your foot skidding off the pedal than you are through failing to unclip. If I were you I would either switch the pedals back to flats, or as Elejo has said, switch to SPDs, which you can adjust to being so loose that you practically step out of them.

Whilst we are on clipless systems, does anyone use Speedplay? I want to upgrade from SPDs, and like the double-sided nature of Speedplay, as opposed to having to flip the pedal around with Look, etc.

P.S Fred - are you alright there, my dear? I was wondering what you were on about, but I realise you were responding to questions posed in posts from last August! Were you caught in some sort of MN time warp for a while? wink

evilgiraffe Tue 24-Jul-12 20:11:12

Thanks everyone! I have now tested out my shoes and shiny new pedals while wobbling from one wall to another in my hallway - I think it's going to be okay. I'll have a ride on them tomorrow and report back!

Neverme Thu 26-Jul-12 10:23:45

Evilgiraffe and was it ok? Slightly worried it is 2 days later and you haven't reported back!

Think I'm sadly going to have to swap my clipless pedals for normal ones. I had thought it was a difficult job for some reason but DH informs me it is easy as we have a pedal wrench.

Anyone having trouble with cyclying on sticky tarmac in heat. DH went out yesterday on his fancy pants Planet X time trial bike, and had to literally pull chunks of melted tarmac off it when he got back. Thought he was going to cry (it's debateable whether he would save the bike or me and DS in a fire first!)

Looking forward to the olympic road races at the weekend - has anyone got tickets or going to watch?

evilgiraffe Thu 26-Jul-12 10:44:18


I went out with my new pedals last night. And I didn't fall off and I didn't have to get off and walk up the hills (though it might have been quicker) and I went zooming down the downhill bits and I LOVE MY BIKE grin It's been ages since I went that far, but 18 miles at an average of 13mph is not too bad for a porky woman who's never used clipless pedals before I think.

evilgiraffe Thu 26-Jul-12 10:47:10

I'm desperate to watch the road race on Saturday, but I'm at a wedding! DH and I are making plans for running out of the service as soon as we can to find out what's going on. Wedding is at 2pm so hopefully we can try to stream the end over the phone... or find a shop selling TVs!

prettybird Thu 26-Jul-12 15:50:55

I'm driving down from Glasgow with dh and cycle mad ds tomorrow to stay with a MNer who lives on the route so that we can watch the road race!

A long way to go for a couple of minutes as they zoom by hmm

Thistledew Thu 26-Jul-12 17:14:58

I will be watching it in Richmond Park, and on the telly. I tried really hard to get tickets for Box Hill but failed. sad

evilgiraffe Thu 26-Jul-12 18:00:31

I will be watching the start on the telly, and then hoping the wedding I'm going to (2pm) is all over for the end so DH and I can dash back to the car/find a quiet corner to see if we can stream the finish on his phone! Thankfully we're going to the service and the party but not the reception in between so there's time to squeal and run around all overexicted if (when?!?!) Cav wins and then calm down somewhat before having to behave in polite company again grin

Itwillendinsmiles Fri 27-Jul-12 07:44:56

We'll be watching tomorrow on the TV but do have tickets for Box Hill on Sunday... no car parking ticket though so that may be fun!

mungojenny Fri 27-Jul-12 18:00:02

I bought myself a road bike yesterday having dabbled with a mountain bike for a couple of years. I went out on it today and it was brilliant !! It is light and lovely and I feel really lucky. However I have cycle undershorts already but feel a bit sore - do you think I need to invest in some new shorts ? I feel like I need some with extra level of gel lining but I have no idea if anyone can recommend a pair? My bike saddle didn't feel as if it was quite the right 'angle' but my husband is keen on cycling and good at adjusting bikes so we are going to adjust it tomorrow which may help.
Wanted to join this thread as a beginner to road cycling.

Pedallleur Fri 27-Jul-12 21:41:34

OK, some info for those who may need it.

Speedplay pedals - v.good and adjustable but can be expensive and fiddly. The cleat is actually the pedal. Require a higher level maintenance imo but if looked after are v.good.

Shorts? Bib or waist, (dis)advantages to each. Assos and Rapha and Castelli both do women- specific shorts (pad and cut are different to mens) but are expensive. Giordana are slightly cheaper. Have a look at Chain Reaction or Wiggle.

Chamois cream a must for longer rides - we use Udderly Smooth. Good but not expensive and doesn't use menthol in the ingredients.

Saddles. Basically 2 sorts. Leather eg Brooks or a shell eg Selle Italia,Terry or Specialized BG. A cut-out is good to relieve pressure on the labia. Saddles are v.specific so try to borrow different models. Some firms have demo models. Too much paddingmay mean you sink into the saddle and this can lead to discomfort. A harder thinner padding may be better.

When trying clipless pedals,find a quiet area eg a large car park and practise clipping/unclipping. Do not get fixated with unclipping one foot as you may find yourself hitting something. If one foot doesn't unclip, try the other foot immediately and start applying the brakes gently.

Neverme Fri 27-Jul-12 23:11:20

V happy to see Bradley kicking things off tonight but I do hope he went straight home to bed

ILoveLemonCurd Sat 28-Jul-12 16:10:36

Hi all, just back from a quick trip to Devon. It was lovely but I missed my bike wink. Went for a run this morning, a nice 7 miles and rode to and from the start <feeling virtuous>.

Gutted for Cav sad

Thistledew Sun 29-Jul-12 17:15:54

I just want to share something that made me really pleased today (apart from Lizzie Armistead's medal). I went out with my cycling club this morning and joined a faster group than I normally would - it was still the slowest group that went out but was with more experienced riders and a slightly faster pace than I am used to. The ride was a tough one with 6 decent sized hills to tackle. I still got dropped on the hills, but not by very much.

It was on the way home after the end of the club ride that I noticed something that made me realise how much I have improved this year: I had not come home the way I did today since about April of this year, and I had always cursed the one short but very steep hill I have to go up. In April, I was having to drop down to my third chain ring and would have to work really hard to not stop half way up. What made me probably inordinately happy today is that I went up it with relative ease in my middle chain ring, wondering why I had previously found it so daunting! That I could do this after six hills is really pleasing. smile

FredFredGeorge Mon 30-Jul-12 08:06:30

That's great Thistledew You can join the training ride soon then ;-)

(Reading the right page this time...)

ILoveLemonCurd Mon 30-Jul-12 09:06:05

Fabulous Thistle grin!

Velo Mon 30-Jul-12 13:25:53

It's great to have an active cycling thread on here. For those who are looking at cleats/pedals on my touring bike I had something like the Shimano dual platform pedal which means that I can decide if I want to use cleats or not i.e. cleats during the day and then could wear normal shoes to cycle on in the evening if we went out to dinner without having to change of adjust pedals. Using past tense cause bike was stolen and given that i'm now almost 7-months pregnant I'm not sure when the next touring holiday is going to be (sob)

Well done Thistle! On a smaller level, I managed the 200' climb on my route twice last week with 2 kids in trailer, panniers et al without getting off for the first time this year!

VivaLeBeaver Mon 30-Jul-12 19:13:58

Hello, just found this thread. I'm hoping some of you knowledgable people might be able to answer a question for me. Thinking of gettign another bike (only have a mtb at the minute). Have been dithering over a hybrid or a road bike and think I've finally decided to go for a hybrid.

I love the look of the Specialized Vita Elite. Now I've found a 2011 model and a 2012 model. Same price but I do like the look of the 2012 colours better. However I'm sure on a forum somewhere yesterday I read the spec has changed for cheaper stuff on the 2012 model - can't find the thread/forum now.

If I list the specs can you tell me if its a big difference - should I get an older model if I can? From what I can see the main frame and forks are the same, but then other stuff like brakes, casettels, deraillieurs, etc are different. I guess stuff like this can be replaced if needed but if the spec on the older model are a lot better I ought to get that one. Thanks for reading.

2011 model;

Frame:Specialized A1 Premium aluminium, fully manipulated tubing, women's compact design, hourglass Speedstays, integrated headset, fender and rack eyelets
Fork:Specialized FACT carbon legs, aluminium crown & steerer, fender eyelets
Front Derailleur:Shimano Altus
Rear Derailleur:Shimano Deore
Shifters:Shimano EF-51, EZ Fire
Chainset:Shimano FCM171
Chainrings:48 x 38 x 28T with chainguard
Bottom Bracket:Sealed cartridge, square taper, 68mm
Cassette:Shimano HG-40, 8-speed, 11-32tChain:KMC Z-51
Pedals:Composite flat pedal
Front Brake:Forged 6061 aluminium, 85mm linear pull with cartridge pads
Rear Brake:Forged 6061 aluminium, 85mm linear pull with cartridge pads
Brake Levers:Shimano EF-51 integrated with shifter
Handlebars:Specialized Expert flat bar, 2014 aluminium, 31.8mm
Stem:Specialized Elite-Set, 3D forged alloy, 4-position adjustable, 4-bolt 31.8mm clamp
Headset:1 1/8" sealed Cr-Mo bearings integrated with headset, 20mm alloy cone spacer with 20mm of spacers
Grips:Body Geometry Women's locking Comfort Grip, open end with plug, alloy bar end
Rims:Alex AS-14, double wall
Front Hub:Forged aluminium, sealed bearing, QR, 32h
Rear Hub:Forged alloy, double-sealed, cassette, Quick Release, 32 hole
Spokes:Stainless 14g
Front Tyre:Specialized All Condition Sport, 700x32c, wire bead, 60TPI with Flak Jacket protection
Rear Tyre:Specialized All Condition Sport, 700x32c, wire bead, 60TPI with Flak Jacket protection
Tubes:Standard presta valve
Saddle:Body Geometry Women's Riva Road, 155mm width
Seatpost:Specialized Sport, alloy, two-bolt clamp, 27.2mm
Seat Binder:Alloy, 31.8mm
Extra Features:Chain stay protector, chain catcher, clips and straps, derailleur hanger, clear coatWeight:Approx. 23.06lbs (10.46kg) for the Medium Size

2012 model;

Frame:Specialized E5 aluminium, fully manipulated women's tubesets, women's fitness geometry, smooth weld, internal cable routing, integrated headset, fender/rack eyelets
Fork:Specialized FACT carbon legs, aluminium crown/steerer, Zertz inserts, fender eyelets
Front Derailleur:Shimano Acera, 31.8mm, top swing
Rear Derailleur:Shimano Alivio, 9-speed
Number of Gears:27
Shifters:Shimano Acera Rapidfire, 9-speed
Chainset:Shimano Acera triple, w/chainguard
Chainrings:48/36/26, w/ chainguard
Bottom Bracket:Sealed cartridge, square taper, 68mm
Cassette:Shimano Alivio, 9-speed, 11-32t
Chain:KMC X9 nickel plate, reusable Missing Link
Pedals:Sirrus pedal, 1.5mm Various Angle, nylon body, symmetric alloy cage, low profile bearing system, toe clip capable
Front Brake:Alloy linear pull
Rear Brake:Alloy linear pullBrake
Levers:Die cast "V"-brake lever, linear pull
Handlebars:Specialized PG flat bar, alloy, 6-degree bend, 31.8mm
Stem:Specialized EliteSet, 3D forged alloy, 12-degree, 4-position adjustable, 4-bolt, 31.8mm clamp
Headset:1-1/8" sealed Cr-Mo Campy style integrated bearings, 15mm alloy cone spacer with 30mm of spacers
Grips:Body Geometry Contour Women's
Rims:Sirrus DRX270, alloy double-wall, pinned, CNC machined, 32h
Front Hub:Forged alloy, sealed, alloy quick release, 32h
Rear Hub:Forged alloy, sealed, cassette, alloy quick release, 32h
Spokes:Stainless 2.0mm
Front Tyre:Specialized Nimbus w/ Flak Jacket, 26 TPI, 700x28c
Rear Tyre:Specialized Nimbus w/ Flak Jacket, 26 TPI, 700x28c
Saddle:Body Geometry Women's Riva, 155mm
Seatpost:Alloy, double bolt, 27.2mm
Seat Binder:Alloy, 31.8mm
Accessories:Derailleur hanger, clear coat, owners manual
Weight:Not Specified

FredFredGeorge Mon 30-Jul-12 20:52:17

There's not much in it - the newer is perhaps better in that 8 speed is getting obsolete now so 9-speed parts will now be more available (I actually thought Acera didn't come in 9-speed but it seems to from that?) Nothing reallly in it - get the chaeaper and buy better tyres.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 30-Jul-12 20:58:16

OK, will get the newer one then as its only £6 more and I like the colours better!

What tyres would be good for it?


FredFredGeorge Mon 30-Jul-12 22:09:02

For a hybrid that you're 95% on the road 28mm Vittoria Rubino Pro's are reasonably fast and comfortable and hard wearing. Tyres (and to a less extent innertubes) are the most important things that make a difference to how a bike rides and how easy it goes along. The main problem is at 28 wide (good for comfort and needed on a hybrid with wide rims) is that they're not that cheap (20 quid each - the same as I end up paying for a race tyre) So it may not be worth it, they are more comfortable and faster though.

Something to keep an eye out for a discount as it's a good upgrade.

prettybird Tue 31-Jul-12 12:47:35

Just back from visiting a lovely MNer in London so that ds could watch the Road Cycling race (and yes, he was gutted sad) We also got soaked on Sunday watching the Women's Race.

We drove from Glasgow, so that we could take ds' bike and dh's bike (couldn't fit 3 bikes in the car, so couldn't take mine: dh was uncomfortable with using the bike rack - it's just a wee one that hooks over the boot).

They were able to cycle parts of both both the road route and the time trial route (Bushey Park/Hampton Court Palace/Kingston) and then yesterday we detoured to go home via Box Hill so they were able to ride part of the Box Hill circuit. Unfortunately they had shut Zigzag Road so that they could put the speed bumps back in hmm - but there were loads of cyclists there trying to soak up the Olympic atmosphere - and all of them being turned back from the hill. Still, ds enjoyed himself.

We also saw one of Voss'/Rabobank's support van(s) and had a chance to look inside it.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 31-Jul-12 16:50:10

Well I rang the bike shop up today to ask if they'll get a Vita Elite in small for me to try. Bloke said no, he said I need to buy it and then they'll order it in for me. I said I don't know if I want it till I've at least sat on it and ideally ridden it for 5 mins up and down. He said that's not the way they work!!! The yactually stock this bike, just don't have it in a small. I need to make sure it feels comfy before I commit so guess I need a different bike shop, problem is tehre aren't any more near me.

Thistledew Tue 31-Jul-12 17:48:02

That's a bit rubbish, Viva. I would also expect to try a bike, at least up and down the road, before buying it. What area do you live in?

Can I also ask why you decided to go for a hybrid rather than a road bike if you already have a MTB? Unless you are planning to replace the MTB altogether, I would say that a road bike is a better addition to your stable. For short trips and just pootling about, a MTB is going to be much the same as a hybrid. A little heavier, maybe, but much the same in terms of ride position and handling. If you are wanting to do more road cycling to the extent that a MTB becomes impractical, then you would be better off with a road bike.

Or to further muddy the waters, what about a cyclo-cross bike? They tend to be aluminium bodied with carbon forks, so are pretty comfortable and stable as opposed to a road bike. The ride position is also more upright than a pure road bike so they are good for commuting and longer distances. Most of them, certainly the Specialized ones, have fittings for mudguards and panniers. However, they have the look of a road bike and a similar ride position, so are just that bit more sporty and versatile than a hybrid.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 31-Jul-12 17:55:39

This is the big dilema really. I'm just worried that I won't find the position of a road bike comfortable and seeing as the lbs won't let me try one I can't currently find out. I'm also concerned about lack of stability/twitchiness/falling off potential of a road bike???????

The route into town is partly on a cycle path rather than tarmac. Though dh who had a road bike when he was younger said it would be fine on a road bike - its a very well maintained cycle path, but not tarmac - kind of compressed grit.

I think the main thing is my slipped discs and not knowing how I'd find it on a road bike.

I've had a bit of a look at cyclo-cross/tourer type bikes and they look really good. But more money. I reckon £650 is top budget.

prettybird Tue 31-Jul-12 18:12:53

Have you had a look at the bikes in Decathlon? (if there is one near enough you). Dh looked into and bought one from them at Christmas - initially he was suspicious and thought that there must be a catch as the spec was "too good" for the price - but there doesn't seem to be. The only criticism he could find on the Internet was that there wasn't one close enough to the complainer!

VivaLeBeaver Tue 31-Jul-12 18:28:35

I think the decathlon bikes are too big. Their tourer is 161 cm in its smallest size. Now according to specialized I need a 149cm bike. Big difference, unless the sizes are very different for different makes?

I do also like the idea of a women specific bike as I'm so short. Shorter stems, etc will benefit me as well as overall frame size.

Nearest decathlon is 50 miles away so it's not like I could nip in to try one easily, though I could if I thought it was worth it. At the minute I'm not convinced.

Neverme Tue 31-Jul-12 19:36:03

Viva I've got a ladies felt road bike and I really like it. If you don't want to ride on the drops, you can just sit up on the err horizontal bars ( sorry don't know right name!). Mine has a second set of brakes there.
V jealous of anyone who saw the road races over the weekend. Time trials tomorrow - considering " working" from home so I can tune in!

VivaLeBeaver Tue 31-Jul-12 20:00:45

I'm looking at the Specialized Tricross now, can get last year's model for £550 and it comes in a 49cm frame. grin

Thistledew Tue 31-Jul-12 20:07:24

That's the bike I've got, Viva. I would thoroughly recommend it for anything other than pure road riding. I must admit that I am falling in and out of love with mine at the moment- I fall in love with it every time I commute, or go on a long distance ride. I am just slightly less in love with it for club runs when everyone else is on full carbon bikes and I am feeling the extra weight of the aluminium frame. But unless you are planning on doing 50 miles every Sunday at speeds of around 20 mph on the flat, I would say it is a great bike.

Thistledew Tue 31-Jul-12 20:10:15

The Borough tyres it comes with will be great for the dirt cycle path. In fact, the bike really comes into its own on that sort of surface and gives a much better ride than on the tarmac.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 31-Jul-12 20:11:13

Thistledew - would you say it was OK to take on good surface bridleways, I'm talking canal towpath, converted railway line type cycle tracks, etc. I like the fact it has the brakes both on the drops and on the flatbars.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 31-Jul-12 20:13:09

Great, thanks. Now need to find a shop with them in so I can try it. Its all very well the bloke in the lbs saying I just need to decide which bike I want and order it, but I can't decide without trying them first!

Thistledew Tue 31-Jul-12 20:18:07

Specialized do have their own stores, so if you made a trip to one you could try several of their bikes.

FrillyMilly Tue 31-Jul-12 20:50:56

Hello can I join in? I got a Carrera virtuoso road bike 4 weeks ago after not cycling for years. Never had a road bike before but DH convinced me. I got it through the cycle to work scheme and due to being 5ft3 I didn't have a lot of choice of bikes. I've been doing rides between 3.5 to 7 miles although we did a cycle route together at the weekend that was 23.5 miles, I could barely walk that night. We are doing it again this weekend and planning a trip to blackpool and possibly back, it's 25 miles from our house but safe in the knowledge we can get the train home if it's too much. Also planning to do the Manchester to blackpool ride next year.

Sorry not read all the thread. Does anyone cycle with young children? We can only do the bigger rides planned in advance with a babysitter as our children are 3 and 6 months. We are wondering whether to invest in a double trailer and take them with us on the cycle ways.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 31-Jul-12 20:51:00

Thanks, they've got one a couple of hours from me so might see about going over the week after next. Fingers crossed I find one I like!

Just been able to do 15 miles sans trailer - it was great to get re-aquainted with my top cog!

FrillyMilly welcome! You'll have to wait a bit till you can put the little one in a trailer, but DS1 went in a bike seat (Co-Pilot Taxi) at about 8 months. How about one parent has one in a bike seat and the other has the other in a single trailer? My two are nearly 5 and 2.7 so trailer won't last bigger one much longer sad

FrillyMilly Wed 01-Aug-12 15:00:18

I don't think we will be taking them out until after the winter so he will be 12-18 months by then. How does the trailer attach to the bike? I've been keeping at eye out on eBay for one. What will you do once your 5 year old has outgrown trailer? Do you think he'll be ready to go it alone then? I only ask because someone has asked if we are interested in buying a trail gator.

Hi FrillyMilly Trailer attaches to back axle. Just got the bog standard Halfords folding one but it has done over 1000 miles.

DS1 can cycle but still needs help starting and isn't up to the trip to school (about 7 miles each way)! Don't think a trailgator would work for us as still have to transport DS2.

Magneto Fri 03-Aug-12 12:49:52

Hi do you mind if I pop in and say hello?

I got back on a bike for the first time in about ten years today! I did 6.6 miles in about an hour with ds in the weeride kangaroo seat, legs feel like jelly now but it was good fun and ds loved it.

I'm aiming to do about 14 miles with him once a week (I have lots of Wirral Way to rediscover) as part of a general toning up mission I'm on. I'm not really looking to lose weight, just to be a bit less wobbly!

Riding on the road with ds is terrifying though. Where I am there are a lot of country lanes with 60mph speed limits and with him being in front of me on the bike I worry he won't be seen. I feel like putting a baby on board sign on my back! grin

Hi Magneto perhaps you should. I've seen a trailer with a laminated picture of the occupant attached to the back, just to remind drivers there's a real person in there. Find all the cycle paths you can - Sustrans website should be helpful (and apologies in advance if I'm teaching you to suck eggs).

Magneto Fri 03-Aug-12 18:13:35

I'll take a look at that after, thanks (and no you're not teaching me to suck eggs don't worry grin).

I'm very glad I got the wee ride though, it makes absolutely no difference to the bike's balance whereas the normal child bike seats we tried made me very unsteady and the bike did tip backwards once or twice if i didn't concentrate on leaning forward - not good when I'm pretty nervous about having ds on there with me anyway!

I'm hoping cycling will help me start to get fit, I do a lot of walking as I don't drive but I'm bored of that now and I need to find things that ds can be involved in (or that I can do at home).

VivaLeBeaver Sun 12-Aug-12 20:35:17

Well I'm still going round in circles trying to decide on a bike. A bike shop has ordered a tricross for me to look at but won't be there for over a week.

However I've decided I might like to do a bit of touring as well, so am looking at stuff I can put panniers on. Getting conflicting opinions on whether or not a tricross can do this. Folks on the ctc forum say no, the wheels are crap, etc. but then I've been reading blogs from people who have toured across continents with a fully loaded tricross.

Unfortunately been a short arse most tourers are too big for me.

Thistledew Sun 12-Aug-12 21:39:50

I put panniers on my Tricross for commuting. It is perfectly possible to fit a raceblade mudguard on underneath as well. Do you know what they mean by the wheels not being up to it? I would say a Tricross would make an excellent tourer.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 12-Aug-12 21:55:25

Wheels not strong enough and not enough spokes, spokes affecting the strength I gather. Gears too high, though I guess I could change that? Or rather get the lbs to do it!

Toe overlap on front mudguard and risk of heel strike on rear panniers.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 12-Aug-12 21:56:29

Thistledew, how tall are you and what size tricross so you have?

Thistledew Sun 12-Aug-12 21:58:14

I am 5'9" and I have a 54 cm frame.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 12-Aug-12 22:04:12

I'm 5ft2" and am hoping the 49cm frame will fit.

Thistledew Sun 12-Aug-12 22:04:56

I suppose wheel strength depends on how much you are going to carry on the bike. I would not have thought it would be a problem unless you are going fully laden, in which case there would be no reason why you could not change the wheels. Gearing I would say is fine. You have a triple chain ring as standard and a fairly friendly cassette. I doubt there would be much you could not pedal up in the lowest gear.

Catching your heel on your rear pannier depends on what panniers you use. I have Ortlieb panniers, which are quite adjustable in themselves so I was easily able to adjust them to provide clearance for my foot.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 12-Aug-12 22:19:26

Id like the option of been able to a fully loaded tour next year. Just a short one but taking a lightweight tent, etc. but bike states it can take 185kg. So even if I had 20kg of stuff I'd be well under the weight limit. Not sure how much new wheels are but it's an option if I had problems. Any loaded tours would be short, not like I'd be doing it lots.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 13-Aug-12 19:27:47

I've been to see a Dawes tourer in a 43cm frame today and its too big for me!!!!! I'm hoping that Specialized ones fit smaller.

Pedallleur Thu 16-Aug-12 21:33:13

If you want to tour then get a tourer eg a Dawes galaxy/Super Galaxy. A TriCross is a nice bike but not a tourer. It may be that you'll have something built for you although i don't regard 5'2 as a midget. You might want to look at as they have a lot of good advice on there from forummers who do long distance and touring and people like Charlotte and Kirst do quite a bit of riding and commuting

VivaLeBeaver Thu 16-Aug-12 23:07:37

Thanks, will check the forum out. I've been to test a Dawes Galaxy in a 43cm frame which is their smallest and its too big. Standover height is too big and the reach is too much of a stretch. Went to Spa Cycles and they said it was too big, felt too big as well.

Thistledew Fri 17-Aug-12 14:03:11

So, I too am teetering on the brink of succumbing to the temptation of n+1 and taking up the really good deal I have been offered on a Specialized Tarmac.

My LBS said to me that it was available a couple of weeks ago but that it was a couple of hundred more than the budget I was thinking of. I finally took the plunge and took it for a ride yesterday, and apart from needing to swap the chain ring out for a compact, it is absolutely everything and more I could want in a bike.

The plus sides of going for it are that I am slightly falling out of love with my Tricross for weekend club runs, and if I continue improving at my current rate it is not inconceivable that I would be good enough to have a go at racing either this winter or by spring. I would not realistically be able to road race on my Tricross.

It is a stupidly good deal for a bike. The owner wants it sold to get some cash flow and is basically offering it to me at cost.

On the down side, it is still a huge amount of money to spend on a bike, and on something that is just a hobby. I would feel that I am slightly over-kitted for my current strength and ability. I would enjoy taking it out on club runs but really my Tricross is adequate. I don't know if I will ever get good enough to race.

DP and I would also have to buy a new shed, as his shiny bike is currently in our dining room, but there is not really room for two.

Also, DP and I are getting married in Spring. We really should be directing our finances at this, rather than spending loads on our hobby.

And one final thing is that we will be thinking of trying to start a family, maybe not next year but the year after. I am a bit worried about buying a bike that I will have a year or son's regular use out of, but then not be able to get so much out of when I am pregnant or with a new baby. On the other hand, this may be the last and best chance to make a big expenditure, when DP and I are both working full time and have decent disposable incomes.

Aargh! Decisions, decisions. I am quite bad at spending money on myself, so am wondering of this is what is holding me back rather than any real reason not to go for it.

What would you do in my shoes?

Piffpaffpoff Fri 17-Aug-12 14:28:48

How have I not found this thread before now?? Hello everyone! I am mostly a mountain biker, I have a Kona Lisa hardtail for my big days out and a very old much loved Edinburgh Bike Co-op Cuillin for kicking about town, school run etc.

I am happiest when hurtling around Glentress or my local woods, I'm not very fast or very 'jumpy' but I have a lot of fun. I'm very slow on the uphill though and need to do some work on that. Which leads me onto my (n)+1 moment...

I am thinking about getting a road bike, I have recently discovered a lovely 40 mile circuit that is 95% tarmaced off road cycle path but it's absolute murder to do on the mountain bike because it's not set up for that. I have a fairly limited budget though so have been scouring gumtree but there's nothing o far. If pushed, I could dip into my savings which is what I think I'll end up doing. Has anyone seen any good bargains in the sales? I wish I was still at work and could do the cycle to work scheme, that's how I got my Kona and I paid buttons for it!

gourd Fri 17-Aug-12 15:15:37

Get the Tarmac. It's a premium bike and for the money you won't get any better. If the bike is too good for you (whatever that means) it doesn't matter, you'll have a high quality bike for a long time

Piffpaffpoff Fri 17-Aug-12 15:55:57

Thistledew if you can afford it now, and it's a great deal then get it. I am a SAHM now and have to eke out my savings for things like this now, hence me looking at gumtree for a secondhand bike. I look back in fondness at the days when we had two salaries coming in and had money to buy things as and when we wanted/needed them or saw a brilliant deal!

FredFredGeorge Fri 17-Aug-12 16:12:41

Thistledew My DP cycled with our club until 8.5mo or so, and solo until completion, and she will I'm sure gladly talk you through all her bike adjustments and similar that she did - she never actually stopped using her 2nd best race bike despite thinking she might need to go to the cross or MTB to be more relaxed. Now she's cycling as much as ever as we simply trade time spent with the baby and time spent riding we're both doing 10 hours a week at least - some of it towing a trailer around the park but not most.

So get the Tarmac if you want, I'm sure you can keep using it, certainly pregnancy, babies and more doesn't need to stop you if you don't want it to.

Mind you we got married for a total under 300 quid, and have 6 bikes each, so perhaps are not the best role models.

On racing, you could try cyclocross when it starts, but also find out how realistic it would be by doing a club race training day - I believe you're a member of a club who runs one, or Prime Coaching have days at Hillingdon for women.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 17-Aug-12 18:59:31

I'm going tomorrow to try the tricross and also the ridgeback tourer. Someone I spoke to in another bike shop said I'd be much better with the ridgeback for long days in the saddle as its far more comfy. They said if it was just shorter rides then get the tricross. Maybe I should get both!

Really annoying thing is the woman in charge of the bike scheme at work didn't come back to me with details of how to get the voucher. She's off for two weeks now. So I need to be strong tomorrow and to just buy a bike when if I wait a few weeks I can probably get one for half price. I'm just so impatient!

Pedallleur Fri 17-Aug-12 20:46:40
Itwillendinsmiles Sat 18-Aug-12 14:45:25

thistledew In your shoes, I'd definitely buy it. I haven't regretted any of my bike purchases... whilst my DH bitterly regrets (and stills recalls at frequent intervals!) the ones he didn't buy!

VivaLeBeaver Sat 18-Aug-12 14:57:54

I'm back from the bike hunt trip - without a bike!

The Ridgeback touring bike felt too big for me, I felt like I was at full stretch and with it been a heavy bike just wouldn't have been comfy. The Tricross even though its apparatnly a 2cm bigger frame seemed a much better fit.

Took it out for a ride and like it, though I seemed to get the gears a bit mangled at one gear change and I don't think it ever went back into gear properly as it was making funny noises. But it was comfy, well balanced, didn't feel like the centre of gravity was too high. Gear changes would take some getting used to I think, I kept braking instead of changing gear!

I didn't get it though as I've got first refusal on a 2nd hand Thorn Sherpa which I haven't seen yet. If I don't like it I'll get the Tricross.

One thing I noticed on the Tricross was y=that it seemed comfier on the flat bars rather than the drops. Maybe because I'm not used to drops? Not sure? But then out on the mtb in a strong headwind this afternoon and thinking how good drops would be! The Sherpa doesn't have drops.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 18-Aug-12 15:00:50

Thanks for the link Pedalleur, interesting reading. Its a shame the Ridgeback was too much of a reach.

Thistledew Sat 18-Aug-12 15:31:03


Deposit paid on the Tarmac!

Thanks for the encouragement to buy it. We can afford it even though it is a big expenditure (DP is paying half. Love him.), and as people have said, it is a bike that will be an investment for the future and I shouldn't need to feel I want to update it for a long time.

However, even when I was still dithering about whether to go for it and posting on here, apparently DP had already spoken to the owner of the shop about putting a deposit down (did I mention how much I love him?!)grin.

Thistledew Sat 18-Aug-12 15:46:05

Viva - I'm glad you are making progress on your hunt too. I'm not quite sure what you mean by it being more comfortable on the flat bars than the drops- most people ride their road bike on what is called the 'hoods' so on the top of the C of the handle bars, just behind where the brake/gear levers are attached. Going down on the bottom of the C, on the 'drops' is reserved for when you are really pushing hard or, as you surmised, when you are battling a headwind.

If you are meaning that it was only really comfortable for you to have your hands in the same position as if you were riding a MTB then it may be that the reach is too long for you, or it may just be not what you are used to and you will get the hang of it pretty quick. If you can reach the hoods and the drops with your shoulders relaxed (as opposed to up around your ears) and a slight bend in your elbow, it is probably just a matter of you getting used to the new feel.

Bear in mind as well that you can play around with the front end of the bike. Putting more risers in the headset, and/or replacing the stem with a shorter/ different angled one can all help make the reach feel more comfortable.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 18-Aug-12 16:02:15

That's exciting thistledew, how long before you get it?

I think with me it's definetly just not been used to drops. The guy in the shop said the reach was fine. He told me ow if I look down at the front axle if it's infront of the handlebars the reach should be ok (it was), if it's behind the handlebars when you view it then the reach is too long.

This afternoon on my mtb the front axle is behind the handle bars, I've always suspected the reach is too long. Will look into a shorter stem for that.

Pedallleur Sat 18-Aug-12 21:21:38

That behind the axle/in front is not really a good measure as there are other factors at play - but if it feels right then try it. You can get butterfly bars or other sorts if you don't like drop bars. remember that drop bars can be anatomic or a curve and there are women specific bars that have a narrower width and a slightdifference in the curve - Bontrager VRfit for example

FredFredGeorge Sat 18-Aug-12 21:45:18

I don't think it's too bad a place to start though Pedallleur and yes one of the commonest things with women and handlebars is that they're too wide - I'm a 6ft male although not super wide shouldered admittedly but I still use 38cm wide bars, but even the smallest tricross comes with 40 and my sized one comes with 44! Women tend to have narrow shoulders than men (one of the few actual differences).

handllebars are pretty cheap to swap out though

tinyk Sun 19-Aug-12 13:49:25

I'm a newbie to this thread but I'm looking for advice on 2 things:

1) new bike - had my lovely, amazing, comfortable, fast avail advanced stolen on Friday sad. I'd be even sader if I'd ridden in I'm the last two years more than a handful of times (pregnant, then baby!). I used to do lots of road biking and supporting DH on sportives etc. now I'd like something of equal quality in a hybrid so I can put panniers and a child seat on the back. Advice?

2) child seat: too many, all look the same, price from £35-£80. WTF- guidance needed!!!

Thank you grin

VivaLeBeaver Sun 19-Aug-12 14:08:57

The Specialized Vita looks good for a hybrid. My friend has one and is pleased with hers, she's been touring on it so you must be able to put a rack and panniers on it. Its a womans' specific bike and gets good reviews.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 19-Aug-12 14:09:19

Sorry you had your bike stolen btw, that stinks.

Piffpaffpoff Sun 19-Aug-12 17:20:53

Child bike seat - I had the Co Pilot Limo as it felt the most secure. I particularly liked that it had sturdy sides - to my shame I once dropped the bike sideways when getting off and DD was perfectly fine and unharmed. I was totally traumatised though! The safety bar flips over the back of the seat when it's off the bike and turns it into a freestanding seat which is really handy on lunch/cake stops. The only downside is it's one of the most expensive, but I sold mine for £50 when I was finished with it, so that offset the cost a bit.

Piffpaffpoff Sun 19-Aug-12 17:27:09

Anyone want to give me an opinion on this? I am on a strict budget and this has popped up in the sale and I quite fancy it. I'm totally a leisure cyclist, just looking for something a bit more suited to 20mile+ road/cycle path rides than my mountain bike.

Piffpaffpoff Mon 20-Aug-12 21:07:48

Or this one? Bit more expensive but I could just about stretch to it.....

thixotropic Mon 20-Aug-12 21:22:44

Oooh ooh can I join in please.

I've been cycling on OFF off for years. I have a trek fcr1 as my everyday bike, but I've just built a fixed wheel bike out of a spare frame I had in the shed.

Managing to get 8 - 10 miles on it most nights.

Would love to cycle my 17 mile commute, but not feasible atm due to nursery drop offs.

FredFredGeorge Wed 22-Aug-12 15:17:13

PiffPaffPoff I don't think the more expensive one is enough of an upgrade to make it worth the extra 200 quid, the first is probably a pretty good buy from a pretty reputable shop.

Piffpaffpoff Wed 22-Aug-12 15:49:55

Thanks Fred. I think you make a good point, the Revolution bikes are great, my current runabout is an old Edinburgh bike that I've had for years and it's still in good shape.

However, the decision was kind of taken out of my hands because I went for a look today and they didn't have any of the revolution ones left, so I had a run on the Specialized Tricross and it was lovely. Really comfy and so fast compared to my hardtail! Someone further down the thread was singing its praises too so after a tense hour of humming and haw-ing in a nearby coffee shop I went back and bought it! grin. Don't get it for a couple of weeks though sad.

FredFredGeorge Wed 22-Aug-12 18:43:26

Piffpaffpoff The Tricross is certainly not a bad bike, and it is an upgrade so don't worry about that - enjoy it!

SeashellsAllezModInYellowAllez Wed 22-Aug-12 18:51:48


I've started to ride again, and borrowed my dh's bike. I'm getting alot of pain in my knees when I start the slightest pressure up hill.

Does anyone know why this could be? I assume I'm unfit but expected pain in my thighs not knees?

Itwillendinsmiles Wed 22-Aug-12 19:38:13

Hi seashells,

is the frame size correct for you and is the saddle at the right height?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 22-Aug-12 19:45:27

Have just ordered a Tricross. Have been umming about them for a couple of weeks and Evans are having a sale.

SeashellsAllezModInYellowAllez Wed 22-Aug-12 19:48:28

The frame size should be correct as dh and I are the same hight but it is probably the seat...serve me right for doing a spontaneous ride! Didn't go far though. Will adjust the seat height and try again. I wanted to borrow his before considering getting one for myself as they can be so expensive ATM and he has 2 already!! Thanks for getting back to me smile

SeashellsAllezModInYellowAllez Wed 22-Aug-12 19:48:50


Thistledew Wed 22-Aug-12 20:22:39

Yay to all these new Tricross owners! We can have our own quiche.

Seashells - to adjust your seat to the correct hight you need to be able to rest your heel on the pedal when it is in the lowest position and have your leg completely straight. Check that you are sitting square on the saddle when you do this.

If your seat is fine it is probably fitness. Try dropping down a couple of gears so you can keep your cadence up and you don't have to work so hard.

Piffpaffpoff Wed 22-Aug-12 20:45:21

(Waves at Thistles and Viva)

Thistles, it was your review of it that gave me the confidence to get it! I loved my test run on it, the handlebars felt v narrow to start with and I had to go back to the shop to get them to show me how to work the gears (blush), but once I got going it was great, surprisingly comfy. And lovely looking too. I'm a bit cheesed off that I'm having to wait to get it, but ho hum that's life. I'll spend the two weeks planning routes!

VivaLeBeaver Wed 22-Aug-12 21:03:50

Think I've got to wait about ten days as well. I liked my test ride, got them to show me the gears before I went out! One thing I thought afterwards though and I'm not sure if I'm right on this or not.....I don't think there's a way to know which gear you're in? Like on my mtb I can see that I'm in 2 and 6 by looking at my shifters. I don't recall any numbers showing on the tricross.

I've also ordered a brooks saddle, mudguards and better tyres for it. Getting the shop to fit all that for me. Oh and a cycle computer so I can see how far I've gone!

VivaLeBeaver Wed 22-Aug-12 21:08:38

And once I've got a bit more confident with the bike I need to think about pedals. Upgrading to spd's would probably be beneficial at some point.

Thistledew Wed 22-Aug-12 23:43:37

I am glad you are enjoying the tricrosses.

Viva - whether you can tell which gear you are in depends on which shifters you have on the bike. Looking at the Evans website it seems that it comes with Shimano 2300 STI levers like these. They don't have numbers on them but they do have an optical display which will tell you roughly which one you are in. Not all road bike shifters have these displays though. The Tarmac I am getting has, if I remember rightly, Shimano Ultegra shifters, which do not have an optical display.

On that news, I got a good bunch of cheques in this week (am self-employed), so hopefully will be able to pay for the rest of the bike this weekend! I am ridiculously excited grin blush!

VivaLeBeaver Thu 23-Aug-12 07:16:35

Thanks for that Thistle, yes they look the ones. There was a window display with some red in it, just couldn't work out what it all corresponded to but sure I'll get the hang of it.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 24-Aug-12 19:25:33

My bikes ready to pick up. Can't go till Monday though!

Piffpaffpoff Sat 25-Aug-12 14:29:10

envy envy Viva. No sign of mine yet. Can't wait to hear how you get on with it!

VivaLeBeaver Sat 25-Aug-12 16:24:38

They're fitting the mudguards onto mine and I've also ordered a Brooks saddle for it so hopefully a sore arse won't be a problem. Asda have got some good sports clothing in at the minute which would be great for biking. Got a top for £10.

Dh just informed me the reason why I'm finding my mountain bike slow is cos my back breaks are half on all the time. Ooops.

Hope yours comes soon PiffPaff. I think I got the last 49cm one in the country, even specialized haven't got any. The 2013 bikes will be out in the next few weeks, just hope the spec isn't loads better and I regret not waiting. Still at least I got mine in the sale!

VivaLeBeaver Mon 27-Aug-12 13:42:34

Picked my bike up this morning. Waiting for the rain to stop so I can go out on it.

They couldn't fit the CatsEye computer I ordered and reckoned that no bike computer will fit on teh handlebars due to the brake levers/cables. hmm

Its also come with basic plastic pedals, bloe said I'd need new ones asap. Can anyone recommend any pedals. Not sure about spds just yet, but would be happy for the the ones that are spds one side and normal the other.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 27-Aug-12 15:01:17

OK, have been out for a ride. My Brooks saddle is very slippy, kept feeling like I was going to slide off the front. DH is adjusting it now. Faster than my mtb but not as comfy. Hoping I need to get used to it and that I haven't made a mistake. I think I need some padded cycling gloves, my hands are sore.

Piffpaffpoff Mon 27-Aug-12 18:11:09

Viva, it's such a different riding style that it will feel v different to your mountain bike to start with. Gloves are a good idea though, they can make a world of a difference. I like Specialized body geometry ones the best, they have really good padding. On the pedals, I'm going to take the toe straps off my runaround bike and put them on my tricross, would that be an option. I am jyst too chicken to try SPDs.

Can't help on the computer front though, recently I've just been using Mapmyride on my phone for recording runs.

Still no word on when mine will be ready. sad

VivaLeBeaver Mon 27-Aug-12 18:33:59

Piffpaff, really hope your bike comes soon.

I've decided to order some Shimano pedals from amazon. They're spd one side and normal the other. So I'll use the normal side for now. Will order some Specialized gloves as well.

I've had a better look at the handlebars and I think the problem is because there is a bell and a front reflector mounted on there already there isn't the space for anything else. I'm going to lose the front reflector to make space for a computer.

I think shops legally have to sell bikes with reflectors and bells so that's probably why they didn't mention taking them off!

Where are you ordering yours from? Cam they definetly get one? Specialized themselves seem to be out of tricrosses in some sizes.

Piffpaffpoff Mon 27-Aug-12 18:46:45

It's coming from the Edinburgh bike co-op who are my local bike shop who I've gone to for about 15yrs, and the delay is not in getting the bike but getting it booked into their workshop to be assembled. There's definitely a tricross with my name on it though, I've paid for it! I did think about going off and ordering it online once they told me there would be a bit of a wait but I'm a bit of a sentimental old sod and wanted to give them the business. (Plus they were the cheapest when I googled it last Thursday!)

VivaLeBeaver Mon 27-Aug-12 19:37:00

I wanted to get my tricross from them as it was £50 cheaper than Evans but they didn't have it in my size.

Piffpaffpoff Mon 27-Aug-12 20:58:32

They only had three left in my size!

VivaLeBeaver Sat 01-Sep-12 18:47:56

Have you got your Tricross yet PiffPaff?

DH has fitted my new pedals onto mine, haven't tried it with them on yet.

Piffpaffpoff Sat 01-Sep-12 22:35:50

No Viva, thanks for asking! The shop said two weeks, so I shall be on the phone first thing on Wednesday if I've not heard by then. Its my own fault, my one was £50 cheaper than the next cheapest one which would have come from an online shop in 2-3 days. Times are tight and, as I was already over my set budget, I decided that for the sake of £50, I could tolerate a small delay. But it turns out I can't!

Hoping I will have it by the end of the week.....

VivaLeBeaver Sat 01-Sep-12 23:10:46

Fingers crossed for the end of the week then. The £50 saved will come in handy for any accessories you want.

I can't wait for dd to go back to school so I can get some good rides in. Roll on Tuesday!

Piffpaffpoff Sat 01-Sep-12 23:37:23

Thankfully the weather has been fairly rubbish up here so it's not like I've been sitting moping about all the lovely rides I could have been doing. Can't wait to hear how you get on on yours!

Piffpaffpoff Mon 03-Sep-12 17:12:13

My Tricross is ready for collection!!!! I am SO excited. Going to get it tomorrow!

VivaLeBeaver Mon 03-Sep-12 17:27:30

Thats great news! Have a good first ride!

VivaLeBeaver Tue 04-Sep-12 10:47:47

Been out and done 9 miles today. Its a pleasure riding it compared to the mountain bike. I reckon I could have done twice the distance and normally on a mountain bike that would have killed me!

I'm getting more confident about it been more twitchy than the montain bike. Its just a shame that I can't touch the ground while sat on the saddle. I have to step down and straddle the cross bar at every junction. New pedals are on and they seem very good. Once I'm a bit more confident I'll think about clipping in.

Am definetly going to do a short tour next year, probably the North Norfolk coast one as it should be flat. I'm also eyeing up the EuroVelo 6 and thinking about doing that in 5 or 6 years time once dd has left school.

GoldPicnminx Tue 04-Sep-12 10:49:16

wow, all these cycling MNers!

just marking my spot for later

Piffpaffpoff Tue 04-Sep-12 14:40:26

I have my Tricross!! I have been up and down the street on it so far and that will probably be all for today as it is blowing a gale here. However, tomorrow morning when DD is at nursery I shall go for a run along the old railway line path to see how it goes.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 04-Sep-12 16:19:34

Great news.

I really need to work out how to raise the handlebars on mine. I've read how to, dh has had a go. He's normally good at this stuff but can't do it. Will the lbs snigger if I take it in and ask them to do it. I didn't buy it from them and I'm not going 40miles to the shop I did get it from.

Maybe I'll pay £100 and have a professional bike fit session.

Piffpaffpoff Tue 04-Sep-12 18:47:49

Well Viva, they might but its possibly worth tolerating if it gets you a better fit. Funnily enough, DH and I were discussing custom fit at the weekend, someone near to us has started doing it and he's thinking about getting it done.

I'm going to brave the gales and go out for a few miles tonight. One thing I can say with some certainty already though is that I will be changing the saddle. It's not the most comfortable!

VivaLeBeaver Tue 04-Sep-12 18:54:54

I never used the saddle. Bought a Brooks B17. DH laughed when he saw the saddle, he thought it was the one that came with the bike and said I'd be wanting to change it.

I gave him a hmm and pointed out I'd paid good money. He was blathering on about how it was rock solid and would be bloody uncomfortable. Its been fine, no sore bum at all.

I think I am going to get a custom fit done. Slightly paranoid that most people this bloke sorts out will be serious road bikers. Will have to warn him beforehand that I'm not!

Hope the gales die down for you.

Piffpaffpoff Tue 04-Sep-12 20:34:22

Well I went out! It's lovely and so fast! I had the saddle about 2cm too high which I have sorted now. I think I need to fiddle about with the saddle position and the handlebars might need to be adjusted a smidge. Love it though!

VivaLeBeaver Tue 04-Sep-12 20:35:16

Well if you find out how to do the handlebars please tell me. grin

Piffpaffpoff Tue 04-Sep-12 22:34:55

Viva I'm just going to tilt the bars up a couple of degrees towards me so I was thinking I'll just loosen the two bolts where they fix to the stem (?). I felt like I was just slightly over-reaching a bit tonight I've no idea if this will work or not.

Thistledew Tue 04-Sep-12 22:52:04

Hi Viva and Piff

I am glad you are both enjoying your bikes. What fun!

WRT raising the bars, the proper way to do this is by buying and adding an extra spacer to the headset. If you look closely at the tube under where your stem (the bit bolted to the handlebars) joins the headset you will see that the headset is in fact a number of rings rather than one solid piece. Your local bike shop should be able to disassemble the headset, pull the tube up a little and add an extra spacer.

You may also be able to raise the bars slightly by turning your stem- it will have a slant in it and depending on which way up you put it, it will sit either slightly uphill from headset to bars or slightly downhill. If it is put on downhill you can just turn it the other way up.

I hope I am making a bit of sense!

Bear in mind though that on the Tricross you should not have your bars any higher than your seat. It may just take a bit of getting used to, or it may be better to swap the stem for a shorter one if it really is not comfortable.

On my new Tarmac (I must write up a proper review smile) I have the bars a good couple of inches below seat hight, and that is not even a particularly aggressive position. It takes me a few minutes to adjust to the feel of it if I have ridden my Tricross the previous day.

Viva - I think it was you who asked about fitting a bike computer. I have mine fitted to the stem for exactly the reason that with the additional brakes there is not really room on the handlebars.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 04-Sep-12 22:57:23

Thistle, my bars are about the same height as my saddle now so I probably shouldn't move them up then. It's just that my hands are still hurting even with padded gloves. I thought this meant I had too much weight on my hands and couldn't see how to rectify this without moving the handlebars up?

I don't think I'm stretching too much so don't think I need a shorter stem.

Maybe I will just need to get used to it. Dh wonders it might just be from not being relaxed on the bike.

Ive ordered a computer so hopefully that will be here tomorrow.

Thistledew Wed 05-Sep-12 06:57:09

I think in that case Viva it is just a matter of you getting used to the new position. I remember my hands hurting to start with.

Try to remember to keep your elbows soft and not locked out, so that you use your core muscles to support your weight rather than your arms. I was definitely surprised at how much cycling on a road bike improved my core strength.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 05-Sep-12 07:11:17

I think my core muscles are currently rather flabby so I expect my arms are having to work twice as hard. Hopefully that should improve. smile

Piffpaffpoff Wed 05-Sep-12 07:27:39

Core muscles? Not sure I have any of those sadgrin.

Lovely sunny day here, so heading out as soon as I've dropped the kids at school/nursery.

Thistledew Wed 05-Sep-12 07:58:44

You soon will do, I promise you! I used to get backache if I stood up for too long- eg walking around an art exhibition. After 18 months of working at improving my cycling I no longer do.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 05-Sep-12 08:10:46

I have back problems and the Physio told me to imrove my core muscles so hopefully this will help.

Piffpaffpoff Wed 05-Sep-12 12:51:40

Back from 14 miles, most of which were spent gloating at how I was somehow exercising my core muscles without really realising! Anyway, bike report - continue to love it, it feels so fast after my MTB and any initial worries about stability and falling off are gone - although I was on an old railway line so pretty much went in a straight line for 7 miles, turned round and straight line back so nothing too difficult. I definitely need a different saddle, I have Terry's ones with a cutout section on my other bikes which are really comfy but I'm strugging to find them anywhere online. Will keep searching...

VivaLeBeaver Wed 05-Sep-12 14:58:40

Glad you had a nice ride. I've not been able to go out today for various reasons, hoping the sun is still shining tomorrow.

Movingforward123 Wed 05-Sep-12 18:05:13

Hi can I join in?

I recently bought a fold up bike and I have only been on it about 4 times blush

It is a hassle to ride with dd and she isn't used to riding, so now she is back at school, I am wondering if I should start riding!

How good is cycling if you are cycling slowly?

How often would you need to cycle to notice a difference?

VivaLeBeaver Wed 05-Sep-12 18:47:17

Cycling slowly is still going to burn calories and build fitness. And as you do more you'll get quicker and be able to cycle for longer. Go for it!

I'm cycling twice a week and noticing a difference.

WillSantaComeAgain Thu 06-Sep-12 14:02:14

Hello everyone - mind if I join you too? I've decided to start cycling seriously, having been pootling (sp?) about for years - I used to commute (when I lived closer to work) fairly regularly, and have been enjoying the occasional bike ride with friends. But I bought a road bike on the C2W scheme in May, just before I got pregnant, then sadly became slightly less pregnant and as a result, have decided to sort my life out by getting fit and losing weight. So I now have a cycling based personal trainer with a bespoke program each week, and I'm hoping to do a ridiculously long sportive next summer in a respectably quick time (100 miles in, er, less than 6 hours).

So, week one of the training and my new road bike, which was fine in May and June when I last rode it is now ridiculously uncomfortable. TMI alert, but bejesus it hurts my fanny... its either pressing on the really sensitive bits or I have to sit to one side which causes chafing (despite liberal application of chamois cream). Any tips? Or does anyone know if there is a female bike fitter in the country... I'm not sure I could explain the problem to a man!

Oh yes, the vital stats - nothing too fancy, but got a Merida Race Lite (Shimano 105 groupset). Its the same geometry as the women's frame, just with a different seat which I've already switched for a womens one.


We are a cycling family but my cycling has been restricted of late to hauling small children around in a variety of extras - from bike seats to trailers. This summer both DD's finally took to pedals so we are at last able to cycle independently as a family.

Up til now I have been running (not well or far)to keep fit but my knees are really shot so I think now is the time to turn to the bike. I am trying to persuade my DH to get me a new bike under his CTW scheme as mine is a heavy brute and there is no way I can realistically cycle more than 20 miles in comfort on it.

So - assuming a new bike does materialise, I have been toying with targeting a sportive next year and trying to take it all a bit more seriously. Oddly - I too have been considering the Tricross as an option. I am even <gulp> considering SPDs.

Does any one have an active Breeze ride set-up in their area?

VivaLeBeaver Thu 06-Sep-12 14:29:53

Santa, you could try a brooks saddle, they're meant to be the best for comfort. Are you wearing padded cycling shorts? Though perhaps a bike fit would be good as I don't think you're meant to get a sore fanny at all. Have you tried experimenting with tilting the saddle slightly? Not sure whether you need to tilt it back or forwards?

I'm sure any bike fitter would be sympathetic and professional.

Hi duchess, I've toyed with the idea of a triathlon but I'm crap at swimming so maybe not!

Thistledew Thu 06-Sep-12 16:44:12

Hi to Movingforward, Santa and Duchess!

Movingforward - in answer to your question as to whether cycling slowly is any good- it really depends what your goals are. If you are just wanting to be a bit more active in your life, and to enjoy something that will take you out into the fresh air, then pootling along on your bike is great and will do lots to lift your mood etc. If you would like to extend the length of time that you cycle for, then just build up the distance slowly.

If, on the other hand, you want to cycle for fitness and to lose weight then you will need to do a little more than cycle slowly. Cycling along not using much effort and not exerting yourself is equivalent to going out for a walk. It is great for being more active, but will not increase your fitness or do much for calorie burning.

To achieve these things you need to be exercising in a way that stresses your heart and lungs: so exercise that causes your heart rate to raise significantly and for you to breath hard for a sustained period. If you ain't coming back sweaty, you ain't working hard enough!

There are some on-line calculators such as this one here which will give you a rough idea of how many calories you will burn according to the speed you go at and your weight. It is only a very rough guide, and is not nearly as accurate as working it out from your heart rate. For example, the chart counts cycling at 14-15 mph as 'vigorous' and 16-19 as 'very fast-racing', which is great for someone starting out at cycling, but for someone who is more experienced and fitter, it is rather slow. 18 months ago I would have agreed with those figures, but now for me 19-21 mph is 'vigorous' and 22mph+ is fast. Racing is more like 25-27mph!

You don't have to get technical to make improvements. As a rule of thumb, you will be raising your heart rate to a level where you are working hard enough if you are having to breath hard, but without feeling you are gasping for air. Some simple tips to design your own workout can be to use google maps or similar to measure out a loop, or there-and-back ride, and time yourself over the distance. Keep cycling it a couple of times a week, each time challenging yourself to push quite hard, and then after two week or a month, time yourself again and see if your are doing it any quicker. Or you might want to select a couple of points along your route, and say to yourself, ok, from this signpost to that house I am going to ride as hard as I can. Gradually, as you find it easier, you can make the distance longer. If your route has any hills in it, push yourself to get up that hill as quickly as possible.

One thing that I love about cycling is that I find that I work hard without really thinking about it. I have to confess that on my commute into work, I like to play Silly Commuter Racing, and because I am so focussed on chasing down and claiming a good scalp, I tend not to notice that I have been exerting myself to the max for the past 500m.

Thistledew Thu 06-Sep-12 16:44:55

And remember, if you are training properly, cycling never gets easier - you just go faster!

Thistledew Thu 06-Sep-12 16:52:29

Hi Santa - What sort of saddle do you have? I googled the make of bike you say you have and the Merida website says that it comes with a Selle Italia saddle. If this is what you have then I don't blame you for finding it really uncomfortable. I rode a bike with a Selle Italia saddle for about 45 mins a couple of months ago and found it to be hugely uncomfortable - as you say on the lady bits, not on your arse. Both my bikes (eek! still excited to say that!) have Specialized seats on, which have cut-out sections in the middle, and I find them really comfortable. You don't necessarily need a whole bike fit, but it would be a good idea to try out some different saddles. Some bike shops have ones that they will loan out so you can take it for a trial run before you buy, or the alternative is to buy one from e-bay, give it a go, and if it is not comfortable, stick it back on for sale and buy another.

Thistledew Thu 06-Sep-12 16:53:53

Hi Duchess - come and join our Tricross quiche!

evilgiraffe Thu 06-Sep-12 17:08:45

Silly commuter racing is wicked fun. The only problem is I rank as a 2, on account of being dressed in lycra and riding a road bike with shaved legs. This means I am technically higher in the food chain than my DH, which makes NO SENSE.

Anyway, I've been out on my bike three times this week so far, about 7-8 miles each time. My bike is wicked smile

Also, DH and I have signed up for the RideLondon 100 mile ballot. He doubts we'll get in on account of having no charity affiliation, but you never know...

Thistledew Thu 06-Sep-12 17:34:01

OK - getting overdue now, but a review of my lovely, shiny new Specialized Tarmac.

It is a gorgeous bike. Ridiculously light - I haven't weighed it but I can hold it out at arms length using just one hand! It is a 54cm frame, which is just right for me and seems to put me in a good position where I can't lock my arms out without thinking about it. It feels quite a bit more aggressive in the riding position than my Tricross, although I only have the handlebars about 3 inches below the seat at the moment, and I could drop it lower if I wanted.

It has Shimano Ultegra components, and I have to say that they are significantly better than the Tiagra components I have on my Tricross. The gears shift really quickly and smoothly to the extent that it is not always noticeable that they have moved sometimes. I am also having to remember not to grab at the brakes, as they are a lot sharper than on the Tricross!

It has a 10 speed 11-25 cassette and a 53-39 Chainset, which I was a bit worried would be too aggressive, but last weekend DP and I went out for a ride which included Box Hill, and I got up that with gears to spare, spinning quite comfortably. How I will fare on steeper hills such as Leith Hill and Crocknorth remains to be seen!

I did decide to go for the Speedplay pedals, and am pleased I did. They were a complete pain in the arse to set up though, and it took me and DP about an hour to get them working. They were hugely stiff, and I could not get them to clip in at all to start with. Finally, with a bit of brute strength I got them clipped in, and then just spent 10 mins clipping in out and wiggling my foot around to loosen them. They are still a bit stiff to clip in, and require a bit of foot wiggling at the same time as applying pressure, but they are loosening up quite quickly, and fortunately are much easier to unclip, than to clip in.

Overall, the bike is fabulous to ride. It is so much more responsive than the Tricross, in that when I push down on the pedals, the first thing I feel is the bike shooting forwards, rather than my quads protesting. This is down to both the lightness of the bike and to its rigidity, although this is something I also feel in a negative way. It is a lot less comfortable than the Tricross. I have jarred my wrists quite painfully from hitting bumps in the road that the Tricross would just soak up. Coming down a steep hill on a very poor road surface last weekend the bike was vibrating so much that my arms almost felt numb by the time I got to the bottom.

I feel I still have a long way to go to get used to the bike, and have noticed that I ride my Tricross a lot more aggressively, because I am so used to how it handles. It is going to be fun finding out how hard I can push myself and the bike. I am also really pleased that I am still finding the Tricross to be really enjoyable to ride. My Tricross is now my commuting bike (although it may come back out as the training bike in the winter) and I am not at all wishing that I was on the Tarmac for commuting. The Tricross is so much more comfortable and stable, but yet still feels agile even with my panniers fully loaded. I know I am lucky to be able to have two bikes and to get the best out of all my cycling. smile

VivaLeBeaver Thu 06-Sep-12 17:36:33

Had a good if rather short blast on the Tricross this afternoon. I was expecting to find another road to turn down which according to the map was there but in reality was a footpath, so only did 6 miles rather than 9.

I guess I could have extended it but it was really windy and I was knackered.

Was struggling to maintain 11mph into the headwind. Though on the home stretch with the wind behind I went over 20mph.

Thistledew Thu 06-Sep-12 17:37:47

evilgiraffe - I think that the FCN weighting is unfair too, on account of the shaved-leg weighting. I usually start myself of as a 4, along with the hairy-legged men, or allow myself a 3 (2 for shaved legs, but +1 for being female). With my panniers on I am then a 4 or a 5, which allows for quite a few good scalpings wink.

Thistledew Thu 06-Sep-12 17:40:16

Head winds are the thing that I like least after hills. So dispiriting when you find yourself going slowly for no apparent reason. It is worse in the winter time when there are no leaves on the trees to show that you are riding into a wind and you suddenly feel like you are cycling through glue. Did you go down onto the drops when you were going into the wind Viva? How is the comfort factor when you are on them?

VivaLeBeaver Thu 06-Sep-12 17:45:01

Yes went down onto the drops and that helped with the headwind. Came back on the drops as well when I decided to try and pick some speed up. Quite comfy though I am finding I need to keep changing position. Hoods, flats, drops. Just because of my hands really.
My backs ok with it all which was my main concern.

Glad you like your new bike Thistle, it sounds really nice!

VivaLeBeaver Sat 08-Sep-12 00:04:56

I did ten miles today in 50minutes so that's 12mph average which I'm happy with. Especially as nearly two miles were on a bridle way.

I have to say though, the brakes are awful compared to my mtb. Can't stop suddenly or even close to suddenly. Just come to a gradual stop. Is this normal. It'll be worse when I'm doing loaded touring. Not sure if they're not set up well or I need to upgrade.

If I upgrade what do I have instead?

VivaLeBeaver Sat 08-Sep-12 00:05:23

Upgrade brakes, ot the whole bike btw!

Piffpaffpoff Sat 08-Sep-12 13:18:47

Viva I've done a fairly slow 36 miles this morning and yes the brakes are a bit shocking if you are used to disc brakes. And my front one is very juddery - my bike shop does a free 'check-up' service at 6 weeks so I'll be mentioning that to them.

FredFredGeorge Sat 08-Sep-12 17:46:27

You shouldn't need to upgrade your brakes, they don't sound like they're set up right. There should be more than enough stopping power with those brakes for anyone.

FredFredGeorge Sat 08-Sep-12 18:03:25

Thistledew I'm an 8 in the FCN number, 'cos I rarely bother shaving my face, never my legs, commute on a tourer with panniers etc. Pass an awful lot of people though...

I'm pretty strong up Crocknorth (under 2 1/2 minutes all out), but I often use my 36x28 to get up there, with 39x25 I'd struggle a lot in the Surrey Hills. 53x39 is TT bike only, every where else I go compact - So I think you might want to change

VivaLeBeaver Sat 08-Sep-12 19:24:05

My front brake isn't juddery but when I did a test ride on a tricross it was, badly so. Apparently it's a known problem with tricrosses.

36 miles, I'm very impressed!

poachedeggs Sat 08-Sep-12 19:34:23

Just clocking in to say hi (I'm here early in this thread I think!) to say I've signed up for a 26k women only cross country race. What's the worst that could happen?! And they have cake stations on the day. grin

SummerLightning Sun 09-Sep-12 08:15:12

Hello. I was also here early in this thread but don't think I ever introduced myself properly! Have spent most of the year road biking due to crap weather but have bought a new, well second hand, mountain bike, and am now totally trying to squeeze in as much mountain biking as I can get away with! Totally addicted again.
Am also doing a sprint triathlon in oct. must get on the road bike!!
Ah damn gotta go back later I hope.

SummerLightning Sun 09-Sep-12 09:19:14

Poached when and where is your race?

VivaLeBeaver Sun 09-Sep-12 19:03:10

Gosh, so many people doing triathlons, races, etc. I'm very impressed.

Went out biking with dh and dd today so a bit slower but did 8 miles. Went in a bike shop we passed and not sure what happened but I've come out with a pair of SPD shoes. Bloke in the shop was lovely, he put the cleats in my shoes and he changed the tension in the pedal down for me.

But I don't seem to be able to clip in. blush

I was worried about getting out quick enough, never thought this would be a problem. After 30 attempts I managed to get one foot clipped in and gave up with the other. Bloke said to have toes down, clip the front of the cleat in first and then stamp down. I can't tell if the front part of my cleat is anywhere near where it should be. Is it just practice?

poachedeggs Sun 09-Sep-12 20:35:37

SummerLightning this is the event I've signed up to

I must be mad. I'm overweight, not very fit (cycle or lumber run for 30-60 minutes a couple of times a week at best!) and my bike's elderly. But they have CAKE! grin

Piffpaffpoff Sun 09-Sep-12 21:29:59

Poached oooh, I nearly signed up for that, it's in my favourite place for biking AND cake! But I'm doing the Aviemore 10k three weeks later and can't afford two lots of entry fees and travel costs. I'll be very interested to hear how you get on, I might give it a go next year if it is a success.

Inshriach is ace for mountain biking. I really enjoy an early morning run along the bothy track from Rothiemurchus into Inshriach, hitting the Potting Shed for some cake before a leisurely spin back along the road to Aviemore. We're up that way for a fortnight in Oct, can't wait!

poachedeggs Sun 09-Sep-12 21:43:07

It's not just any cake either. I'm reliably informed that it will be Mountain Cafe cake.

If nothing else gets me through, it'll be the prospect of that!

Why not come and just stay for the three weeks ...? wink

rubyrubyruby Sun 09-Sep-12 21:55:42

Marks place smile

Piffpaffpoff Sun 09-Sep-12 22:00:06

Noooooooo! Purveyors of the biggest slices of cake in the world?? Next year, definitely next year!

SummerLightning Sun 09-Sep-12 22:31:03

Oh I am jealous of you living near enough to do that poached! I live in boring flat east anglia. You will have fun! Maybe you could hire a bike to try one out? (sorry voice of evil temptation there)

Viva not sure on your pedals imy first thought would be to loosen them more. If the metal bit at the front of cleat feels up against the pedal it should be right? Does your dh have spds and if so can he manage to clip in? I did have trouble unclipping for a bit when I first got them but not really getting clipped in or not to that degree

Did i mention I am going mountain biking for A WHOLE WEEK next week. Without kids. Much as I love them I cannot wait. Hurrah pyrenees here I come.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 09-Sep-12 22:50:51

Have fun in the Pyrenees. Am well jealous.

Dh doesn't have SPDs so he has no clue. I think maybe it's just practice. Will try tomorrow.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 10-Sep-12 17:27:09

Been out today and got on with the SPDs OK. Its much easier to clip in when you're actually moving rather than stationary. I do struggle getting my left foot out which caused a bit of a panic at a junction. Will have to find out how to adjust the pedals and make sure its set right.

SummerLightning Mon 10-Sep-12 22:06:57

Excellent! You can loosen them off with an Allen key is very easy.

mckenzie Tue 11-Sep-12 21:55:50

hi everyone, can i join in please?

I did a triathlon at the weekend, my first in about 12 years (and I only did 3 or 4 pre children so no expert). I've decided I really want to get some bike shoes now. I'm still petrified i'll fall off when i have to stop at lights because i won't be able to release them but bugger it, I'm going to give it a go. smile

Any tips please for what sort to buy,what to look for, where best to go for them, how much i can expect to pay? and any other things you can think of to tell me grin.


VivaLeBeaver Tue 11-Sep-12 22:01:51

Mine are Shimano ones, they're very comfy. I got mountain bike spd shoes rather than road racing ones. It means the cleat is more recessed inside the shoe so I can walk in them without skating about.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 11-Sep-12 22:02:43

I got mine from Rutland cycles and they were very helpful. Cost me £65.

mckenzie Tue 11-Sep-12 22:05:46

thanks very much Viva. Are the mountain bike ones heavier? What makes them different from road bike ones?

VivaLeBeaver Tue 11-Sep-12 22:09:36

They're not heavier, if anything I'd say they're lighter.

I think the difference is the road ones are geared towards the people who take it all very seriously. the shoe is very inflexible, I think this means you can pull up harder and therefore go faster when racing.

The mtb ones are more flexible, therefore comfier and you can walk in them a lot easier.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 11-Sep-12 22:10:51

Have you got spd pedals yet?

mckenzie Tue 11-Sep-12 22:28:52

what are spd pedals please/ Are they what the shoes clip into? In which case the answer is no. My bike is good but old (I bought it from a friend who was competing for GB (in the vets) and he'd just built the bike when he decided the frame was that tiny bit too small for him. So I bought it from him for a bargain price. It just has toe clip bindings.

SummerLightning Wed 12-Sep-12 11:06:22

SPd = shimano clip in pedals.
I also have mountain bike Spd pedals on all my bikes. Am mostly a mountain biker and don't want to be faffing with different shoes on my road bike. There are lots of different types of clip in pedals but I have only ever used Spds so can't comment on them!

Thistledew Wed 12-Sep-12 13:00:39

Hello all!

I had a great ride on Sunday with my club. I went out with a faster ride than I have done before and just about managed to keep up, albeit I was working pretty much flat out for probably 50% of the 56 miles! I got a bit dropped on the hills but not too badly. There was one monster of a hill that I did suffer on - 20% gradient for near enough 500m, and I have to admit that I had to stop and put a foot down to catch my breath - only to annoyingly find that I was only about 40m from the summit anyway!

I was pretty knackered by the end of it, and my legs were still full of lactic when I commuted by bike yesterday. They weren't too bad on the way into work, but hurt pretty much constantly on the way home!

Re: queries about clipless pedals and shoes.

There are several different types of cleat and pedal systems available. SPDs are just the name of ones made by Shimano, and are aimed more at mountain biking than road. Road brands include Look, Speedplay, Time, and Shimano road. Prices range from about £30 for Shimano makes to a bargainacious £540 for Speedplay Zero Titanium Nanogram Pedals! shock

The advantage of SPDs is that you can adjust the tension so that you can make them really easy to get out of. The pedals also tend to be double sided, so you don't have to worry about getting the pedal the right way up to clip in. The cleats are also quite small so you can buy mountain bike shoes with the cleats recessed into the soles. This just makes walking about in them easier.

The down sides to using SPDs is that because the surface area of them is small, you can get numbness or pressure points on the sole of your foot if you cycle for a long time. Also, as they are made of metal, they can draw the cold into your foot in the wintertime. If you use them on a road shoe rather than a mountain bike shoe they are almost impossible to walk in.

In terms of the shoe you choose, a MTB or cyclo-cross shoe will have a tread on the bottom so they are easier to walk in. The soles will be pretty rigid compared to normal shoes - my cyclo-cross shoes are just as solid in the sole as my road shoes. This is a good thing, as it helps with the transfer of power into the pedal, as flexing your foot just dissipates and wastes power. You can also end up with sore feet on a long ride. Road shoes will be slightly lighter, as they don't have a tread on the bottom. This can make walking about in them pretty precarious. They are slightly more aerodynamic.

I have SPDs on my Tricross and Speedplay on my Tarmac. The SPDs are great for commuting, as they are so easy to clip into and out of, but are quite bulky. The Speedplays were a bit on the pricy side, and were a complete bugger to set up and get working, but once I had done so I have found them to be really easy to use, and being double sided I don't have to think about having the pedal the right way up when clipping in.

For someone who has not used a clipless system before, I would recommend SPDs.

mckenzie Wed 12-Sep-12 18:18:49

thanks very much both of you. I shall be brave and venture to the local decent bike shop on friday, with my bike and my new found knowledge, and see what they have. smile

rubyrubyruby Wed 12-Sep-12 19:08:13

still lurking smile

I have to post occasionally so it stays in my 'threads I'm on'.

evilgiraffe Wed 12-Sep-12 19:37:47

mckenzie, I am a recent SPD convert - never had them until a couple of months ago, and I found them pretty easy to get used to and they make riding much easier. You'll not look back if you get some smile

Thistledew Wed 12-Sep-12 20:10:41

I agree completely with giraffe about the benefits of going clipless.

I actually find it quite hard to ride a bike in normal shoes now as I find myself stepping off the pedals!

There are lots of little benefits such as being able to pull the pedal into the right position for a quick getaway at junctions and being able to pedal with one leg if you are filtering through a queue of traffic, as well as the main benefit of pedalling more effectively.

With clipless pedals you can work on pedalling in a circular motion - aim for the feeling that you are not only pushing down on each stroke but scraping your foot along the bottom of the circle. This evens out the power around the whole of the rotation meaning you can bring your cadence up and pedal far more efficiently. I sometime use focussing on pedalling in a smooth circular motion to help keep my speed and cadence up when going up a long hill. It takes my mind off how steep and long the hill is as well!

Piffpaffpoff Wed 12-Sep-12 20:26:39

I can feel myself being talked into clip less pedals! My shoes already have the 'bits' in them, I just need the pedals. Hmmmmmm...

Thistledew Wed 12-Sep-12 20:34:35

Do it! Do it! Do it! grin

VivaLeBeaver Wed 12-Sep-12 20:41:18