Best Socks For Road Cycling: A Magnificent Feet Of Research

dhb merino wool socks

Wow. This one is going to test my writing chops. How I’m going to wrestle a blog post out of this subject I do not know. Better kick on.

To be honest I don’t give my feet much thought when cycling. This extends beyond sock choice.

My only real issue in the foot area actually manifested itself through knee pain and an under-developed set of right quadriceps (more under-developed…). The issue (and solution) was foot-related.

As part of my new bike and bike fit process in 2013 I bought Speedplay pedals and set the float up to pretty much maximum. This (and the well-fitting bike) sorted the knee.

Back to feet.

Read moreBest Socks For Road Cycling: A Magnificent Feet Of Research

Aftershokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction Headphones Review: Safest Headphones For Cycling?

Aftershokz Trekz Air review

I am one of those terrible people that wears headphones whilst I’m cycling along.

Before you throw me on the heap as a negligent husband and father, and a liability on the road, hear me out.

I have a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones. I ride with only one earpiece in, so I’m aware of my surroundings and can hear traffic approaching over my right shoulder.

It’s not an ideal solution though. Whilst I attempt to keep the wires in place by wendling them through the straps on my helmet, the dangling earpiece has a habit of gradually slipping down and pulling the wire tight around my neck.

And one ear of sound is not ideal, whether listening to the podcast (I tend to listen to people talking rather than singing) or listening out for other road users.

The solution, a set of headphones that don’t go in your ears, leaving your lugholes free to sense the white van rapidly approaching your rear end.

Enter the Aftershokz Trekz Air wireless bone conduction headphones (so many ‘kz’, so few ‘c’s).

I’ve been meaning to get a set of Aftershokz for ages. But like most things that involve spending some money, I conveniently forgot to take any action. Finally I thought I’d buy a pair and review them for this ‘ere blog(kz).

Read moreAftershokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction Headphones Review: Safest Headphones For Cycling?

Campagnolo Zonda C17 Wheelset Review: My Quest For A New Pair Of Road Bike Wheels

Trek Domane with Campagnolo Zonda C17 wheelset

I have a habit of using things until well after they’ve stopped working properly.

Partly this is my profound Yorkshireness (deep pockets/short arms), partly inertia. Unless something gets really annoying, I’m unlikely to do anything about it.

Early in 2018 (yes, this is a long term review!) my rear wheel got so annoying I finally decided to do something about it.

I needed to buy myself some new road bike wheels.

Cue the intro music.

Read moreCampagnolo Zonda C17 Wheelset Review: My Quest For A New Pair Of Road Bike Wheels

Cliffs and Crepes: My Review Of The RideStaffs Spring Forward Sportive 2019

RideStaffs Spring Forward Sportive

Despite the word being in the title of this blog, my guilty secret is that I haven’t actually taken part in a sportive since 2015.

Yes, I did the RideLondon 100 last year but for some reason I have a mental block around calling it a sportive. It’s a ‘mass participation cycling event’ (whatever that means).

It feels like 2019 is the year in which this situation needs to change. Sportive-a-go-go. And where better to start than a local ride at the start of April. The RideStaffs Spring Forward Sportive.

I was encouraged to participate by the organiser, Paul, who also happens to read this blog (he tells me…).

He piqued my interest when we met and spoke about how he designs his routes (a conversation that led to my recent post about designing a great cycling route).

I wanted to test his route planning credentials in the hot crucible of a live sportive (er, what…?). So I signed up.

Read moreCliffs and Crepes: My Review Of The RideStaffs Spring Forward Sportive 2019

Hybrid vs Road Bike: What Is The Difference? (And Can I Use A Hybrid For A Sportive?!)

hybrid vs road bike

Some experienced cyclists might scoff at this question (though surely not you, noble reader of Sportive Cyclist). I think it’s a perfectly valid one.

I haven’t done a survey (perhaps I should), but I can’t imagine many prospective sportive cyclists wake up one day, having not ridden a bike in 20+ years, and think, ‘I must sign up for a sportive,’ and, while they’re at it, ‘I must buy a shiny, narrow-tired road steed‘.

Many people may own a bike already, perhaps for commuting or for family cycling activities, and there’s a fair chance that this is a hybrid (or perhaps a ‘roadified’ mountain bike – fitted with less knobbly tires etc).

For those that do awaken having undergone a cycling epiphany, they’ll generally seek to buy one bike to satisfy their new-found pedal-powered needs (bit of commuting, bit of child-seat lugging, bit of fitness riding). A hybrid-for-all-seasons might prove a tempting prospect.

(Of course, then they buy it and immediately the Pandora’s box is opened and they become subject to the one bike ownership formula to rule them all.)

I knew a girl at school called Pandora. Never got to see her box though – Spike, Notting Hill

Read moreHybrid vs Road Bike: What Is The Difference? (And Can I Use A Hybrid For A Sportive?!)

How To Measure Power On An Indoor Trainer

Elite Crono Fluid trainer on patio

Everyone seems obsessed about power these days.

Chris Froome spends all his time looking down at the power figure on his bike computer (on his stem) so that he can measure out his effort over a ludicrous long distance time trial that results in him winning the Giro d’Italia.

Sticking with Team Sky, power meters are accused of being the main tool by which the Sky Train supposedly sucks the excitement out of life on every Alpine Tour climb*.

(* No I don’t believe that is the case).

Back in the (very much) amateur cycling world, I succumbed to the promise that having a power meter (I’ve got a ‘left only’ Stages crank-mounted one) would instantly transform my training approach and fire my fitness levels into the stratosphere (spoiler alert: it turns out you still have to do the work…).

The good thing about training indoors, if you’re interested in measuring power, is that there are many more options versus measuring power on an outdoors ride. And not all of them involve departing with vast amounts of moolah.

Let’s get into them.

Read moreHow To Measure Power On An Indoor Trainer

Protecting The Undercarriage: Best Cycling Shorts For Sportive Riders In 2019

Best Cycling Shorts For Endurance

The cyclist’s journey towards velo mastery involves progressively replacing each item of clothing in their wardrobe with the equivalent garment made out of Lycra (Spandex to our US brethren). Cycling shorts are generally first on the list.

In this post, I’ll explore the exciting world of padded gussets and elasticated waistbands, and then give a few recommended shorts for you to check out.

Read moreProtecting The Undercarriage: Best Cycling Shorts For Sportive Riders In 2019

How To Plan A Great Road Cycling Route

How To Plan A Cycling Route

I should start this post by saying that I don’t have a definitive answer for this. I am, however, interested in exploring the question.

Until recently, the question of cycling route design, on a personal level, hadn’t really occurred to me, beyond an ill-formed notion floating somewhere at the back of my mind.

I know that organisers of, say, the Tour de France spend ages determining the specific route each year (although that’s as much about fleecing start and finish towns for cash as it is about making the route interesting for riders and spectators).

I assumed organisers of sportives must give some thought to route (after all, how would they know where to put those little yellow arrow signs).

But when it comes to planning my personal rides, whether solo, with my brother-in-law or as part of my nascent village MAMILpeloton, route tends be decided quite quickly, often on the hoof (cleat?) based on how much time I/we have, how tired we feel, whether its raining.

So, the question again, should we be giving this decision more thought and attention?

Read moreHow To Plan A Great Road Cycling Route

The (Bike) Tools That I Use Most: 6 ‘Must Have’ Implements

6-bike-tools-for-road-cycling

Gweetings. In this post I’m going to talk about the bike tools I use the most on my magical cycling adventures. Or ‘bike maintenance’, as normal people might call it.

No particular science was applied (plus ça change). I took a mental canter through my memory banks and tried to think about the implements I’d had most cause to use in recent years.

Then I wrote them down. Hopefully this will prove useful if you’re starting your own cycling tool collection, or wondering what all the cool grease gurus are tinkering with.

Or something. On with the show!

Read moreThe (Bike) Tools That I Use Most: 6 ‘Must Have’ Implements