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.

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….

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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).

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How To Make Your Bike Lighter

How To Make Your Bike LighterAs a Grimpeur Heureux reader, I’m sure you’ve already achieved your optimum cycling body fat percentage, so this post is going to look at how you can make your bike lighter.

Let’s face it, for finely-honed athletes such as ourselves, the weight of our bike (and associated equipment) is the remaining final frontier before we can say we’ve squeezed out every incremental gain going.

My aim is to discover where we can reduce weight, and whether it’s worth doing. So what are our options?

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MapMyRide vs Strava: A Detailed Comparison

The purpose of this post is to compare the popular cycling apps, Strava and MapMyRide, in some sort of app-ocalyptic battle to establish which is best.

Ahem. Sorry about that.

Both Strava and MapMyRide are based on a similar principle. You take a GPS device out on your ride to capture where you went. When you’re done, the route and performance details are uploaded to the relevant website, where you can browse, analyse and share with friends.

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Sportive Bike vs Road Bike – What Is The Difference?

In this post I’m going to look at what features go to make up a ‘sportive bike’ as opposed to a bog standard road bike.

You can participate in a sportive using any bike you want. On most sportives you’ll see the odd hybrid commuter or mountain bike. In many cases, those bikes are ahead of me (and remain ahead of me for the duration).

Halfway round RideLondon I passed someone clothed in full hipster gear riding a Brompton. Boris rode a hybrid. Talking of the blond buffo… London Mayor, I’m pretty sure I saw a photo of someone doing the ride on one of his ‘Boris Bikes’.

[Whispers into the wings, “I think I got away with it. No one noticed that it took me 50 miles to catch up with someone on a Brompton.”]

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Trek Domane 4.3 Review (Wherein The Grimpeur Attempts To Be Objective And Fails)

In this post I am going to review the Trek Domane 4.3 road bike. Or rather, I’m going to wax lyrically about it, ignoring any sort of protocol that requires me to be impartial and objective.

I purchased the bike in early July, as part of a bike fit / new bike / new knee saga, which I documented in this post and this one. I used it in my final training for RideLondon, and then for the event itself.

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New Bike, New Pedals, New Position: Grimpeur’s Bike Fit Saga Part 2

This is the second in a two-part account of my search for the perfect bike fit.

So far in this epic quest (which you can read about here), I discovered that my trusty Dawes did not fit me at all, that bike frame sizes bear very little relation to the size of the person riding them and that spending a large amount of money on a new bike is a lot easier when you have an expert telling you to.

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The Englishman Who Went For A Bike Fit But Came Back With a New Bike

Trek Domane 4.3After much talk of potential new bikes and having a bike fit, I’ve finally got round to taking some positive action. Ooo-rah!

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that my training efforts have been hampered by a recurring knee injury (and a general lack of structure, focus, etc).

I knew that part of the solution would be to get a proper bike fit, but had shown a distinct lack of motivation to go ahead and book one.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was some straight-talking tough love from the readers of my last post, which essentially boiled down to:

  1. Man the fug up;
  2. Get a bike fit before the 100 mile ride that might otherwise break your knee;
  3. Get some pedals and shoes appropriate to road cycling; and
  4. Dry those tears.

I followed that advice to the letter. And then bought a bike as well. Whoops. Hurrah!

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A Cyclist’s Guide to Bike Frame Materials: Wood

Wooden bikeEr, pardon, wood? Surely no-one makes bikes out of wood any more.

But, of course, they do. And not just the sorts of people that make dresses out of meat (fireplaces out of cheese, whatever…). Wood is an entirely viable, albeit unusual, material out of which you can fashion a bike.

This post is the fifth in a series that looks at frame materials, and how they are used to build bikes. If you missed any of the earlier ones, they can be found in the ‘Frame Materials’ section of my dedicated page: How To Build A Bike.

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