Archive for January, 2009

One to watch. This video is funny, I counted over 200 cyclists in this video, weaving in and out of traffic.  I’m lucky if I see three in the rush hour on my commute. With so many cyclists around, I would definitely feel more confident!

Rush Hour in Cambridge from Cycling Edinburgh,

Snow Freezes London


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In Love Again!claud-butler-kensington-2009-hybrid-bike

This bike is gorgeous.  I love it!  Still searching around and came across this bike from Evans.  But from the advice I’ve been given, it seems it might be a target for thieves!  That I just don’t want but my instructors say they will show me how to strip it down when I before locking it when out and about; taking off the saddle, wheels etc etc.  That’s a lot of hassle!


Anyway, after training today, we went to the local shop and saw this really really cheap bike on sale at £135, a Saracen Venturer which I’m thinking about but I’m not in love with it!!


It’s quite nice and I’m going for a test drive next week.  But I’m in two minds.  Its best to buy from a local shop rather than Evans as its quite a distance away. The local bike is in the sale and is so cheap that I could buy another one when I get more experienced.

But what’s the point in that?  Still thinking….

Rush Hour In Cambridge

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steep1Luckily, so far I haven’t had to cycle up this road during training, but I do drive up it to go to work. It’s an alternative short cut from the awful traffic jams of the rush hour on the main road.  Its a great view, though.


Look how steep it is as well as narrow. I don’t know what the gradient is but I believe its a major barrier for me when I start to commute by cycle.  There is no getting away from the hills around here.  All the parallel roads are similar.


very-steep1Apart from the 10% hill at the top of my road, in the opposite direction there’s this steep hill! 


I’ve decided to locate all the local hills in preparation for my future commute. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, I suppose, and perhaps some sort of mental preparation.


My instructor today, said he would help me find a route with minimum hills to work and cycle along side me.  Isn’t that great.  Thanks.  They are so awesome!  A real confidence booster.  Of course when they said that, I have little excuse not to take up their offer.  But then I told them that I have to take work home and carry heavy loads.  The answer was, of course, you don’t have to cycle every day.

Claud Butler Bikers

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anatomyI watched an excellent video called Anatomy of a Bicycle by Quickrelease.tv for beginners several times over so I could become familiar with all the terminology and get a bike  to match my needs and budget.  It’s only five minutes long I’m  really pleased that such things are ‘out there’ for folks like me!

I learnt about the top/down and seat tubes. I know where the triangle bit is, quick release, fork, spokes, handlebar, pannier rack, bottle cage, wheel nut and the saddle post.

But… is the chainset the same as the cassette?  I presume something drops out of the rear dropout and front dropout?  Then there are all the brakes. Like the disc brake rotor (do they all look like that), cantilever, calliper and ‘v’ brakes, rear shock something amongst other things that I didn’t quite get because I didn’t see it in the context of the whole bike.

They have more videos for beginners like How to Wear Helmet and Pedal Properly all interesting stuff and they plan loads more. These videos are to promote a Bike to Work book.  A very motivating and great website for a newbie like me.

Cycling Uphill

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I made a mistake.  On my way to cycle training, I took this photo. Its seems that that hill at the junction of the top of my road, is 10% not 20% as stated in my other post.  But it might as well be 20% to me. Its regulated to the nether regions of my mind.


No wonder I’ve never seen that sign before.  It was blocked by the trees!   I saw this bloke cutting the trees down and took a quick snapshot.


 This hill will be the challenge for me, one day…

What’s in a bike

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trainingToday was an excellent day. I took more account of the weather so I didn’t have to strip off  but I couldn’t wear my lovely hat that matched my jacket because of the helmet! Anyway neither were there any hills but more left and right turns from minor to major roads.  Thank God.  I bemoaned the hills last week but as ever they were very encouraging and said I was too hard on myself.  It was my first time, after all.


I felt so confident doing the ‘t’ loop;  that is moving out and positioning a metre from the middle lane, turning right, signalling right, making choices about the traffic, positioning correctly at the junction, accelerating, slowing down again to do a U turn and turning left. Then repeating the whole thing for hours. 


Sometimes I didn’t even stop at the junction, just went straight across because no traffic was coming. Even if traffic was coming, I’d judge how far/speed and do a U-turn and signal right before they caught up with me!  I even got an ‘excellent’ from the instructors. Wow and wow again!!


I told them about my knees and got a lesson in revolutions!  You have to demonstrate. You have to show me because I have no idea what you’re talking aboutSo one instructor held the bike steady, I got on and put one  foot on one pedal and he indicated that the knee and something on the bike(can’t remember what) should be horizontal or was that 90 degrees.  No, I think it was the knee and the ‘thing’ on the bike should be at 90 degree… that revolutions is how many full turns the pedal does (?).


They elaborated on pedalling by pushing downstroke or was it by pointing the toes forward and pushing back?  Also something about pedalling fast/slow in conjunction with gears. I should have (???) per minute revolutions!  Mmmm… Right… Okay.  That’s more research to do to fully understand the implications of what they were saying.


thames-pathThen we went for a ride through the back streets and back to the base via the Thames where I got up some speed for a few seconds (!) with the instructors and also managed to stand up over a sleeping policeman.  Well pleased with myself today!

Uphill Slog Part 2

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uphillThe day after that uphill slog, I ached all over. I woke up practically bent over at every joint but it eased off fairly quickly during that day, until I went up and down the stairs. I ‘felt’ my knees. They didn’t hurt or ache but I could feel something. 


Hills have now depressed me. There are so many round here, they can’t be avoided. Goddamn it, I actually live on a hill. There’s another hill, adjacent to my road, that is so steep its practically vertical, although the sign says 20% gradient. That can’t be right. I’m sure its more!  How strange that I’ve never seen that sign before.  I’ve only just noticed it.  I’m feeling defeated but… looking back at my first posts definitely cheers me up.


So, instead of talking myself out of my next lesson, I could look on it as a challenge.  Yes, that’s it. Hills are great!  It’s a bonus that I live on a hill, and there’s a 20% hill round the corner just challenging me to cycle up it! It needs me as I need it, to get fitter!


Hill climbing could actually be my thing! I could tackle this systematically. Well, I would need some sort of measurement/scale.  Say..0-10Zero being totally unable to cycle hills to 10 being climbing the 20% hill with ease, a grin on my face and breath intact. 


So presently I must be minus one.  Then I would need a time scale to get to 10. Months (?) years (?)  Perhaps I could get the gradients of all the hills around here and attempt them one by one starting with a gentle sloping one. Mmmmm…. That’s an idea!  But where would I get all the gradients from?

Pedal Revolutions

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