Upper Thames Audax

November 2, 2014

My third successive year riding this event and my slowest so far. Started at 7:30 and finished at 17:00, so not a bad overall time but only 35 mins of this was spent stopped. Barely enough time to grab a ham and cheese sandwich in Bicester and cup of coffee in Bampton (I bounced both controls).

Lots of punctures, particularly early in the ride but my Continental Grand Prix GTs were excellent, as ever. I’ll switch to Four Seasons soon but not sure whether to switch back to GTs or 4000s IIs next spring. The GTs are super reliable but the 4000s IIs are supposed to be faster.

The weather was unusually excellent during the ride with no rain, a temp around 13ºC and only a moderate headwind on the westerly and southerly legs. It has been far worse in the past.

I’m experimenting with eating non-energy products during my rides in preparation for PBP and found Soreen Malt Loaf and Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts to be excellent. My slowness was almost certainly not due to switching to “real food” but rather two weeks of next to no riding and a summer of barely any intensity work. Carrying enough energy food isn’t an option for PBP so I’m going to have to get used to eating only what I can buy at controls and convenience stores along the route. Any tips?

My first structured block of training since March starts next week. The plan is to do tempo intervals (2 x 20min) on Tuesdays, aerobic threshold intervals (2 x 30min) on Thursdays, 90min recovery rides on Wednesdays and Fridays and end the week with a four to six hour endurance ride on Saturdays.

Next event: South Bucks Winter Warmer on Dec 6

Ride stats

  • 212km with 1,550m elation gain (7.3m/km)
  • 8:54 moving time (23.8 km/h)
  • 9:30 total time

Some excellent pictures by Andy Oxon on Flickr here.


Paris-Brest-Paris 2011

August 15, 2014

Thinking very seriously about doing this next year.

Here’s a experimental timelapse video shot on my new GoPro. It uses the default setting of a frame every half second and I then compiled the thousands of pictures using Microsoft Movie Maker. The result isn’t too bad.

Asda’s £70 bike

June 17, 2009

Asda has started selling what must be the UK’s cheapest adult bike at £70 and I’m amused that its press release says it “could save you literally thousands of pounds” by comparing it to the cost of a six-zone annual travel card (£1,904). I’d love to see someone commute all year into the West End from somewhere like Epsom, Uxbridge or Epping on this 18 kg (40 lbs) bike. In fact, that sort of daily commute on any bike would be a challenge. On this bike, with its budget components, I’d be surprised if it lasted a year doing that sort of mileage.

Cycling on ITV

May 8, 2009

RoadCyclingUK carried an announcement in mid-April that ITV will show highlights of a new Tour Series taking placing between 21 May and 25 June. Great news. I’d love to watch pro level domestic cycling on TV. Off I went to the ITV website to get more details. Wouldn’t you? After all, it has an entire section devoted to cycling. What I found there surprised me.

It has been difficult to not feel like you’re living in Lance Armstrong’s pocket lately if you follow his Twitter feed and read the cycling press. Every aspect of his comeback is being shared and we all know that if he crashes with that metal plate still screwed into his collar bone then he risks doing more damage and certainly writing off his chances of riding either the Giro or the Tour. The banner story on the ITV Cycling section is “Lance escapes injury in Leipheimer stage crash”. Not again. Didn’t that also happen during the Tour of California in February? Turns out it did. ITV’s cycling section has not been updated in months. Oops. I can see why the RoadCyclingUK piece included a link to the Tour of Britain site and not ITV.

Spring cycling

April 28, 2009

This time of year is when cycling is at its most fun in South East England. The countryside is rich with colour as the plants unclench from winter. Longer weekend rides become far more enjoyable, especially if you live in a city. Weekday urban riding can hardly be described as either relaxing or inspiring so weekend rides need to be fun. Fortunately, in my part of London, I can be out of the city and drifting past bluebells, not bus shelters, in under half an hour.

Photo by buzz.bishop used under license

From BikeRadar:

A new High Court judgment means cyclists who don’t wear helmets can be guilty of contributory negligence if they are injured in a road accident in the UK.

Considering a case where a cyclist and motorcyclist collided (Smith v Finch 2009), Mr Justice Griffith Williams ruled that the cyclist could have been found partly liable if wearing a helmet would have prevented or reduced his or her injuries.

In this particular case, it was accepted that a helmet would not have protected the cyclist, Robert Smith, because of the speed at which he hit the ground.

But Richard Brooks from law firm Withy King told BikeRadar that this ruling means that if you are injured and a cycle helmet could have reduced your injuries, you may not be able to recover full compensation.

Cyclists who “expose themselves to a greater degree of injury” by not wearing a helmet can now be found to be negligent, even though it is not a legal requirement in the UK to wear head protection when cycling. However, for this to happen it would have to be proved – using medical and other evidence – that a helmet would have prevented all of their injuries or made them a good deal less severe.

[Update 7 Feb]

The CTC is taking legal advice on challenging a court ruling which could leave cyclists liable to contributory negligence if not wearing a helmet when injured.

Roger Geffen, campaigns and policy manager for the CTC, called the High Court judgement in the case of Smith v Finch, “concerning,” and said the national cyclists’ association would be consulting its lawyers to prevent cyclists potentially losing out on compensation in the future.