What Is Strava Fitness And Freshness?

What Is Strava Fitness & Freshness?

Your ability to ride a bike quickly (or for a long time) on any given day is governed by two factors: fitness and fatigue*.

(* Okay, there are more factors, but let’s keep things simple).

Your fitness dictates how attuned your body is to fulfilling the demands that you want to place upon it.

Your level of fatigue (or tiredness) dictates whether your body will perform at this level of fitness on the day of your event (or hard training session).

Under this simplistic model, fitness minus fatigue equals form (i.e. your ability to perform on the day).

The Strava Fitness and Freshness chart is a visual representation of these three factors, plotted over time. It could help you work out if you’re fit, knackered or pulsating with athletic vim(to).

Read moreWhat Is Strava Fitness And Freshness?

How To Climb Better (On A Road Bike…)

How To Climb Better On A Road Bike

I’m prepared to bet that improving your ability to ride up hills is one of your top 3 priorities on the bike in 2015.

Or perhaps you express it slightly differently: your main concern (dare I say it, fear?) about your next sportive is getting up the hills (or doing so quickly).

C’est normal. We all feel that way. So let’s do summit about it…. (Oh, Monty…)

In this post I’m going to offer up a few thoughts on how to tackle climbing. As always, I don’t profess to have all the answers. I certainly don’t profess to have any particular ability*.

*(Here I offer as evidence, m’lud, the contents of my Strava account which, yes, has not seen a ride recorded in some considerable time – something that I plan to rectify by the end of the week. He says….)

I invite anyone that would like to share a good tip or piece of advice (ideally on climbing), to do so in the comments.

Ride on Macduff.

Read moreHow To Climb Better (On A Road Bike…)

Book Review: Faster by Michael Hutchinson (Plus Introducing The Sportive Cyclist Book Club)

Faster Michael Hutchinson

Hello and welcome to the Newsnight Review. I’m Kirsty Wark.

I jest. But I am wearing women’s clothes.

I jest again. (Or do I…?)

This is a slightly new feature on Sportive Cyclist. I’m going to review a book. You’ll be pleased to hear that it’s a book about cycling.

What’s This About A Book Club?

Well, at the same time as scribing my first book review, I am dee-lighted to announce the Sportive Cyclist Book Club.

This is a rather grand way of describing a new page on the site, dedicated to recommending cycling books that I have either enjoyed or learnt a lot from (or, in many cases, both).

You’re a cerebral bunch here at SC. I imagine you like books (I do) so I wanted to present you with a curated list of my favourites. Perfect for adding to your Amazon wishlist, or for suggesting to your spouse/partner/children/Father Christmas ahead of the festive season (bah, humbug).

Check out the Sportive Cyclist Book Club here.

Read moreBook Review: Faster by Michael Hutchinson (Plus Introducing The Sportive Cyclist Book Club)

And That’s House! Results of My 30 Days Of Cycling Challenge

Good news! It’s over.

And it’s good news for both me and you.

For me, I’m pleased to say I completed my self-imposed penance challenge, to cycle on every day in June [whispers behind hand, “for at least 20 minutes”]. For you, I’m pleased to say you won’t have to hear me going on about it all the time.


That is, you won’t have to hear about it again, after this post. For in this post I shall share my ‘results’.

Read moreAnd That’s House! Results of My 30 Days Of Cycling Challenge

30 Days of Cycling Challenge: Progress Report (Week 3 and a bit)

The World Cup group stages are into their vinegar strokes.

Wimbledon has started (thankfully with the men’s defending champion not making an historical first round exit).

Anticipation for the impending Grand Depart is reaching fever pitch (i.e. a few Yorkshire eyebrows are being raised ‘neath flat cap and the odd tsk is being uttered).

I therefore forgive you in advance if you have forgotten entirely about my own sporting Waterloo.

My 30 Days of Cycling Challenge (my own capitalisation) continues. I’m pleased to say that I haven’t missed a day yet. I even getting the sense that my fitness is improving. There might be something to this public accountability thing.

Here is my update.

Read more30 Days of Cycling Challenge: Progress Report (Week 3 and a bit)

30 Days of Cycling Challenge: Progress Report (Week 2)

Hello all. I’m sure you’re chomping at the handlebars to hear how my 30 Days of Cycling Challenge is going.


The moment of update is upon us. Let’s begin.

A Disappointing Lack Of Drama

What I’m about to write guarantees that something will happen that derails the whole challenge.

Boff! [French shrug of the shoulders]

The challenge continues. I’ve managed to cycle every day. I haven’t had any physical breakdowns. I haven’t had any emotional breakdowns.

Read more30 Days of Cycling Challenge: Progress Report (Week 2)

30 Days of Cycling Challenge: Progress Report (Week 1)

Well last week’s post certainly prompted some debate.

In the post, I ‘confessed’ to not having ridden my bike for 81 days (i.e. the best part of three months). My self-prescribed medicine was to commit to riding for at least 20 minutes on each of the days in June*.

(*There are 30 days in June.)

I requested that readers use the comments section of the post to indicate that they would be watching my progress, the idea being that this would then make me accountable to those readers for seeing the challenge through to its conclusion.

This worked, with many of you piling in to throw abuse, encouragement and questions (the most sensible of you pointing out the potential folly of going from zero to everyday cycling overnight).

Whilst I was certainly touched (in the appropriate way) by those urging me not to beat myself up for having fallen off the saddle (so to speak), I should probably clarify that the 30 Day Challenge is not meant to serve as a penance. Nor is it a punishment for failing to spin the cogs on a regular basis. My cycling soul does not need cleansing.

Read more30 Days of Cycling Challenge: Progress Report (Week 1)

It’s Time To Confess (My Dirty Secret…)

I have a confession to make.

A pretty fundamental confession for someone that runs a cycling blog.

This post probably ranks as classic commercial suicide (or it would be if this blog could be described as being remotely ‘commercial’).

Right Grimpeur. Stop the wittering. Get it off your chest and then tell us what you’re going to do about it (for yes, dear reader, I have a cunning plan*).

(* And my ‘cunning plan’ needs your help, so please do read to the end of the post.)

So, The Confession

Forgive me readers for I have sinned. I have not ridden a bike for 81 days.

Which is 11½ weeks. Which is very nearly 3 months.

Which is pretty shocking really.

Read moreIt’s Time To Confess (My Dirty Secret…)

The Time-Starved Cyclist: How To Train When You’ve Got No Time

Finding the time to train (or simply the time to get out on your bike) is perhaps the number 1 problem experienced by readers of Sportive Cyclist.

(Well, the number 1 cycling problem at least).

I wish I could wave a magic wand and solve your problem. In fact, if I had a magic wand, I’d wave it over me first, and STUFF THE REST OF YOU!


I don’t have a magic wand, so we’re going to have to do this the hard way.

The conundrum is as follows: we’re all busy people, we have jobs, family and a 1,001 other commitments tugging at our shirt sleeves. When we do have time to train, how do we use that time effectively? What gets us maximum fitness bang for our time-strapped buck?

I have no idea. Which is why I’ve found someone that does.

Read moreThe Time-Starved Cyclist: How To Train When You’ve Got No Time

How To Train When The Weather Is … Shizzle

It’s 29th December 2012. I’m out on the bike.

Presumably this is some sort of early New Year resolution (plus I’d just received a pair of clip on mudguards for Christmas – I needed to show some gratitude).

It’s just before lunchtime but it may as well be evening. The only thing greyer than the sky is the sullen look on my face. It’s a busy road and I’m regretting not having brought my bike lights. I’m barely visible to passing drivers, their wipers running full speed.

My glasses are fogged on the inside, drip-covered on the outside. I’ve resorted to contorting my neck and eyeballs to look out of the side of them. Since I need glasses to see, this is hardly ideal.

The ride’s crowning glory comes just 10 minutes from the end, as I ride into my home town. A jarring blow to my front wheel, felt from my forks to the top of my sodden neck, signals that the puddle I was unable to avoid contained a pothole.

I’ve only had this new set of wheels for two weeks. The chances of them still being round after this ride are about the same as being in a position to win the Paris-Roubaix one day classic in 4 months time.

I could cry.

I fall to my knees, hands flung to the heavens, icy rain mingling with salty tears*.

“There has to be a better way than this..!”

Read moreHow To Train When The Weather Is … Shizzle