Road Bikes For Beginners

Road Bikes For Beginners


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

Welcome To My Pain Cave: A Review Of The Elite Crono Fluid Elastogel Indoor Trainer

Welcome To My Pain Cave

I’ve owned my Elite Crono Fluid Elastogel turbo trainer for over a year.

I’ve used it to prepare for RideLondon, to attempt to maintain some semblance of fitness over the winter (hashtag fail) and to complete the 30 Days of Cycling Challenge in June.

To be honest, at the moment, I’m on it most evenings.

In this post I’m going to attempt to give you a flavour of what it’s like to use and whether I consider it a worthwhile purchase (although, disclaimer alert, it was given to me for my birthday).

Given that it has a rather unwieldy name, from now I’ll shorten it to ‘Crono Fluid’ (which sounds disturbingly biological). Be aware that this trainer model has a variety of similarly-named (but differently-specced) siblings. Make sure you’re clear on which one you want to buy (obviously…).

Read moreWelcome To My Pain Cave: A Review Of The Elite Crono Fluid Elastogel Indoor Trainer

The Sportive Cyclist’s Guide To Turbo Trainers 2017

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 Turbo Trainers 2017

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

Morning campers.

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)?

In this post 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….]?

How To Choose A Sportive Bike (And What Features You Don’t Need To Worry About)

January is upon us. Not quite the traditional time to get into road cycling, at least in the northern hemisphere (what with the ice, snow, surprising new lake locations etc).

Still, you want to rid yourself of that pesky extra tyre. You want to get fit. You want to get out there and DO SOMETHING.

Let’s assume you have been inspired by Chris Froome, Laura Trott, Marianne Vos or Chris Horner (he says, trying to cover every potential ‘interest group’) and this year you’re going to complete your first cyclo sportive (or Gran Fondo). You’ll need a suitable bike and the Grimpeur is here to offer a few ‘words of wisdom’.

This is an (unedited!) excerpt from my forthcoming (and as yet unnamed) eBook, aimed at beginner cyclists that want to move rapidly from novice through to confident sportive finisher. It’ll be launching in early February. Sign up to my email list if you want me to let you know when it’s ready (plus, in the meantime, you’ll get my current free eBook).

UPDATE! The following post is an (unedited) excerpt from my new book, ‘Sportiveur: A Beginner’s Guide To Training For, Completing And Enjoying Your First Sportive’. If you’d like to find out more about the book, and download your copy, click here.

Right on with the show….

Read moreHow To Choose A Sportive Bike (And What Features You Don’t Need To Worry About)

What Is A Bicycle Tracker (And Do I Need One)?

Tracking systems have been around for cars and motorbikes for years.

With cycling growing in popularity, and with what feels like a greater number of more expensive bikes on the roads, tracking systems for bikes has to be a growth area.

Never let it be said that the Grimpeur doesn’t like to investigate interesting growths.

Today’s post is going to look at how bike tracking works and at the systems that are available for cyclists now and in the near future.

This is bleeding edge, blue sky, hi tech stuff, so strap on your Google glasses and join me on silicon bike lane.

Read moreWhat Is A Bicycle Tracker (And Do I Need One)?

Garmin Edge 500 vs 510: What Do You Get With The Extra “10”…?

In this post I’m going to compare the characteristics and features of the Garmin Edge 510 versus its predecessor, the Edge 500.

The eagle-eyed (or perhaps elephant-memoried) amongst you may recall that I am the proud owner of the 510 version.

I did seriously consider purchasing the 500, despite the newer model being available, but ultimately succumbed to ‘shiny new thing’ syndrome.

But let’s put a (metaphorical) cool towel over our heads and consider the two options side by side to see if I made the right decision (and perhaps help you in your decision-making process as well).

Read moreGarmin Edge 500 vs 510: What Do You Get With The Extra “10”…?