Showing posts from October, 2011

BUCS Hill Climb 2011

Hill Climbs are an odd form of bike racing to say the least - 5 or so minutes of excruciating effort, followed by the feeling that your head is going to explode at the end and the very real prospect of being sick. It seems like even more of an odd past-time when you travel a good 2 hours or so to get to the start line. But that is what we did for the British Universities and Colleges Hill Climb Championships today. A long drive to the Peak District to climb the 'legendary' Curbar Gap. It is a short sharp climb, averaging 7.2% for its 2.25km length. At the event there were 150 Male Participants and 37 Females - a good turn out by any standards, and with some pretty strong riders in the field in both the male and female categories. Arriving at the local pub (the race base) at about 1130 the seven of us from Warwick had start times spread between 1230 and 1500, so there was plenty of time to prepare (remove bottle cages, saddle bags and any other excess weight!) - espec

Review: Chiba Drystar Gloves

On my touring trip to France and Spain we encountered some pretty hairy Alpine and Pyrenean descents, most notably the Col d'Aubisque. The freezing fog meant with just long fingered mountain bike gloves on, my hands practically froze to the brake levers! I've had the same experience at home though, on long winter rides; cold wet hands are both uncomfortable and pretty dangerous. As a result of this experience, and in foresight of my daily commute to Uni throughout the winter I decided a worthwhile investment would be a pair of fully wind-proof, waterproof cycling gloves. As always the criteria were good quality at a reasonable price. After scouring bike forums for reviews and advice, I came to the conclusion that the Chiba Drystar Gloves looked like a good bet at around £25. On the road/trail: Over the last week or so the dramatic temperature drop has allowed me to put the Chibas into action. I'm pleased to say they are doing well. They appeared a bit bulky when

Hints and Tips: Clever Commuting

In my second year at University, campus accommodation was not an option, so I moved into a great student house in Leamington Spa. Every day now I commute the 8 miles to and fro from Uni and have to say it is actually a very enjoyable experience. It's not the first time I've been a member of the 'commuting club', back when I was working in London I used to commute from London Bridge out to the office at Heathrow (18 miles) and back three days a week. Then this summer I commuted from home to my work place at a sailing club about 6 miles away. However, it's the first time that I really feel I've got the commuting malarkey sussed; this blog post explains why: my tips and tricks for a good/safe and enjoyable commute. The Bike I've commuted by road bike and mountain bike and here is what I reckon is the perfect recipe for a good commuting bike: Type: For me the mountain bike wins every time when you are commuting - it's more comfortable, more

Possible Route For Viking Tour

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Hints and Tips: A Beginner's Guide To Wild-Camping

My recent touring trip to France and Spain   would not have been possible both financially and logistically if it was not for Wild-Camping. Firstly, we could not have afforded to stay in camp-sites or B&Bs for the whole three weeks we were away. Secondly, by restricting yourself to certain end points each day, you eliminate the fantastic ability to simply cycle until your legs feel like they are about to fall off and then set up camp (hence a few of our planned "60mile" days turned into century days!). So what is Wild-Camping? Quite simply it is pitching up your tent in a secluded-as-possible spot; often in woodland or farmland at the end of a long hard day in the saddle. Why do it? Here are my 'Top Five Reasons to Wild-Camp': Cost - most campsites in Europe work out about 6 Euros a night each; this adds up for a student over a 3 week tour. Logistics - You can stop when and were you want (within reason) and don't have to worry about needing to get

An Autumn Heatwave and New Training Plans

Saturday brought a change of surroundings and a change in routine as I headed back to University and to the new house in Leamington Spa. The change seemed odd for a number of reasons; firstly, and rather expectedly was the shock of routine. I've been away since mid-June, and although I had a good few weeks working on the Isle of Wight and continuously slaughtering myself on the bike in France and Spain, it certainly hasn't seemed like "work" or any routine of sorts. Secondly is the weather. On Saturday it hit 30'C in Leamington; the hottest ever recorded on an October day on record! It seemed odd coming back in the middle of the "Indian Summer" when last year my arrival at Warwick was accompanied with torrential rain. The change of location brings with it a change in training on the bike as well. Every day I'll be cycling the 8 mile to and from University, and hopefully trying to build a bit of training into that time as well. This morning I manag