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!

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!)

Hi
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.

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