Monty - Sportive Cyclist
Monty is an enthusiastic road cyclist with only moderate talent. He started Sportive Cyclist in 2013 to record the journey to his first 100 mile ride, the RideLondon 100. Over time the blog has expanded to include training advice, gear reviews and road cycling tales, all from the perspective of a not-very-fit MAMIL. Since you're here, Monty would also like you to check out his YouTube channel and subscribe to receive email updates. Also, Monty really needs to stop referring to himself in the third person.

Shimano Tiagra vs 105: Which One Should I Buy?

Shimano 105 vs Tiagra

When it comes to choosing which make and model of gears for your first road bike (or your first ‘proper’ one), chances are you’ll be deciding between a Shimano Tiagra and a Shimano 105 groupset.

For those that already ride with Tiagra, 105 seems the natural upgrade path.

But which is best, given the price difference? Is it worth upgrading to 105?

In this post I’ll explain the difference between the two and give some thoughts on how best to decide.

Read moreShimano Tiagra vs 105: Which One Should I Buy?

I’ve Been Riding A Mountain Bike But I Want Something Faster [A Reader Question]

Occasionally, Sportive Cyclist readers will write in requesting advice. Sometimes it is bike-related.

Kevin is one such reader. He sent me a nice email containing the query below. I thought I’d have a go at answering it publicly (with Kevin’s permission) and thereby supplement my own pearls of ‘wisdom’ with the contents of the Sportive Cyclist hive mind*.

(*The ‘hive mind’ being you, good readers, so add your own thoughts in the comments section below).

Enough guff. On with the question.

Read moreI’ve Been Riding A Mountain Bike But I Want Something Faster [A Reader Question]

Elite Race Workstand Review (Or How To Fix Your Bike Without Leaning Down)

It’s time for me to, once again, apply my razor-sharp analytical skills to the assessment of a piece of cycling equipment.

I’m going to ‘review’ the Elite Race Workstand.

In other words, I’m going to waffle a bit, show you some photos and a couple of videos and try to help you decide whether a work stand might be useful to you.

Why A Work Stand?

I purchased the stand back in (furiously checks Wiggle account), January 2014. If memory serves, I bought it because I wanted to look a bit more pro whilst tinkering with my bike. I’d had enough of turning the bike upside down, every time I wanted to have a fiddle (with the bike).

As it happens, I’ve been very happy with it. It DOES make me look more pro (in my humble opinion).

Read moreElite Race Workstand Review (Or How To Fix Your Bike Without Leaning Down)

Road Bikes For Beginners

Road Bikes For Beginners

Wazoo!!

I’m glad you’re here. No, really. I am.

You want to find out more information about road cycling?

Who can blame you? It’s a cracking sport, activity, thing to do. Whatever.

In this post I’ve answered a bunch of questions you might have about a road cycling.

If I’ve missed anything, let me know in the comments below.

Lay on Macduff!

Read moreRoad Bikes For Beginners

The Sportive Cyclist’s Guide To Indoor Trainers (Or Turbo Trainers)

Beginners guide to turbo trainers

I’m sorry to be the one that has to break this to you, but winter is approaching.

The opportunities for riding outside start to dwindle. Work day evenings become dark and cold. Day time riders will gamble with rain, wind and, before too long, dangerous icy roads.

But fear not. Help is at hand.

An implement of torture for some, a beacon of hope for others, it’s time to bring out (or otherwise lay your hands on) the trusty turbo trainer.

And thus, herewith, my ‘Beginners Guide’ to this most noble of training partners for the time-starved indoor cyclist.

Read moreThe Sportive Cyclist’s Guide To Indoor Trainers (Or Turbo Trainers)

Garmin Edge 1000 vs Edge 810: Battle of the Bike GPS Heavyweights

In this post, I compare the Garmin Edge 1000 and the Edge 810 bike GPS computers.

If you’re not lusting after your next bike (I know you’ve got your eye on something), chances are you’re lusting after a bit of bling to attach to your handlebars (no, not a diamante-encrusted bike light).

Blingiest of the blingiest in the GPS bike computer stakes is the Garmin Edge 1000. Being at the top of the Garmin range, it does almost everything for you except pedal.

But is the 1000 worth the price step-up versus the Edge 810 (the model it usurped)?

I look at the key differences (and similarities) between the two devices, in case you should ever find yourself having to choose between buying one or t’other (or neither).

Who stays? YOU decide. Or something. On with the comparison.

Read moreGarmin Edge 1000 vs Edge 810: Battle of the Bike GPS Heavyweights

How To Create And Upload A Route To A Garmin Edge 510

As you may know, I’ve owned a Garmin Edge 510 for over a year (here’s when I ‘unboxed’ it; here’s where I compared it to an Edge 500).

In that time, I have been woefully bad at learning how to use all but its simplest features. I’ve done little more than use it to record where I’ve been and to display how fast (slow) I was whilst doing it. That’s all set to change.

One of the features that I’ve been meaning to try out is the ability to upload a route and then have the 510 give me directions as I’m cycling.

Other than the usual inertia, some light research had given me the impression that ‘cookie crumb’ navigation (i.e. using GPS waypoints rather than maps within the unit itself) was next to useless, and that the Edge wasn’t very good at giving advance notice of upcoming turns.

SPOILER ALERT: I was very wrong.

Read moreHow To Create And Upload A Route To A Garmin Edge 510

Best Saddle Bag For Road Cyclists 2017 – Buyers Guide

I’ve bust my saddle bag. Which is a bit of an (under) arse (storage issue).

So, since I’m researching my buying options for its replacement, I thought I’d write a post to share my findings.

To be clear, I’ve not seen any of the following bags in the synthetic material flesh (or if I have, they’ve been in the background to other bike shop adventures). I’m not able to provide you with a hands on review.

Instead, this is something of a meta-analysis (a systematic review; a hedge fund of funds). In other words, I’m going to surf the internet, looking at saddle bags, choose and buy one and then report back.

Read moreBest Saddle Bag For Road Cyclists 2017 – Buyers Guide

Which Bike Makers Make Sportive Bikes [I’m So Confused….]?

I sometimes wonder if bike manufacturers get slightly embarrassed about making road bikes for those riders of a more ‘recreational’ persuasion (which is you and me, duck).

They wrestle with promotional language to try to make it clear that whilst a bike might look like a professional racer’s bike, it is in fact built for the slightly overweight guy with a dodgy knee and less-than-perfect flexibility.

Sports car makers seem to have it easier. Whilst there are definitely stripped-back race cars for the road available, there is no shame in providing both comfort and performance. When we see a ‘GT’ somewhere in a sports car’s description, we know what they’re getting at.

At the very least we expect a walnut gear knob to go with the V12 engine.

Read moreWhich Bike Makers Make Sportive Bikes [I’m So Confused….]?

Garmin Edge 800 vs 810: Which Is Right For You?

In this post I compare the Garmin Edge 810 cycle computer with its older relation, the Edge 800.

The older model is still being made by Garmin, and is available for less of your hard-earned Dollars/Pounds/Other (delete as applicable) than the newer 810. It certainly remains a viable choice for all your cycle GPS-ing needs.

I’m guessing you’re eager to know the difference between the two models and whether that justifies the step up in price. Let’s dive in.

Read moreGarmin Edge 800 vs 810: Which Is Right For You?