What To Carry (And Wear) On RideLondon

What to take on RideLondon
I think that just about covers all the bases

Time is ticking down to the off of the inaugural RideLondon 100. Are you getting excited?

The hard work is done (or should have been). Further fitness gains are unlikely; by now you should be well into your taper period (unless you’re one of those machines that sees a 100-mile pootle around south-east England as a ‘rest day’).

So apart from relishing the opportunity to spend extra time on the sofa, what more can you be doing to help prepare for the weekend?

Answer: you could have a think about what you need to take with you.

Read moreWhat To Carry (And Wear) On RideLondon

RideLondon Nutrition: What Should You Be Eating On The Ride

Cycling nutrition RideLondon
Sweets for my sweet

In this post I’m going to be looking at my nutrition plan for RideLondon.

By ‘nutrition plan’, I mean what (and when) I plan to eat and drink during the ride in order to provide the energy to propel me to victory on the Mall.

I wouldn’t normally produce anything resembling a formal nutrition plan for a ride. I’m a ‘Snickers and a bag of Haribos’ kind of rider. In sportives I rely on whatever is provided at the organised feed stops (with the aforementioned confectionary as emergency back up).

But RideLondon is bit different from what I’m used to.

At 100 miles, it’s longer than I’ve ridden before. There are time cut-offs to beat. I want to leave less to chance (having raised in excess of £1,000, I definitely want to finish).

Hence, ‘the plan’.

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Cycling In Majorca and a ‘Miraculous’ Recovery


You might have noticed a distinct lack of new posts from the Grimpeur over the past 10 days. The reason? Like Bradley Wiggins, I’ve been on a mid-season training camp in Majorca. Or as my wife calls it, our family summer holiday.

The holiday was an extended family affair. As well as Les Petits Grimpeurs (?!), we also had my parents, and my sister and her fiancé along for the ride.

I’ll admit, I exerted Merckx-iavellian influence to ensure that we went to a cycle-friendly location and booked my bike hire a good four weeks before arranging the rental car, but I didn’t truly expect to have the opportunity to do lots of training.

My persistent knee problems, which I talked about in my posts about buying a new bike and undertaking a professional bike fit, have tended to prevent consistent blocks of training. Despite having rented a bike for 8 of the 10 days of our holiday, I anticipated maybe 2 or 3 rides, with knee-enforced rest in between.

How wrong I was. And, thankfully, wrong in a good way.

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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!

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

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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How I Watch The Tour de France

Tour De France 2007
The 2007 Tour… in Maidstone, Kent

Despite being a keen follower of pro-cycling, I try not to mention it too much on this blog. The Grimpeur Heureux is for recreational road cyclists that want to put their rump on the saddle, not the sofa. Other blogs cover the pro-cycling scene in far more depth (and far more coherently) than I ever could.

But with less than 48 hours to this year’s grand depart, it seems remiss not to at least mention the Tour de France.

Rather than talk about the route, the riders and the hotly-anticipated Promenade des Anglais*, I thought I would summarise the ‘resources’** I use to maximise my enjoyment of the event, some of which you might find interesting.

* Note 1: This is a very sophisticated, multi-level bon mot that I have stolen unashamedly from inrng.com.

** Note 2: ‘Resources’ being websites and twitter feeds, rather than le dopage.

Read moreHow I Watch The Tour de France

Sportive Review: Peak Epic Sportive

Peak Epic Sportive
Epic roads, biblical downpours

In this post, I recount my experience at the Peak Epic Sportive, which took place last Sunday (23rd June) in the Peak District.

Today’s joint sponsors are the driving rain and the howling wind. I would also like thank my friends: mental torment and exhilarated exhaustion.

This post is part of a series of sportive reviews, which I hope to build up as I ride in more events.

As I’ve said before, these reviews are not intended be exhaustive accounts. Instead, I aim to give a flavour of the event, from my own perspective as a (very) recreational road cyclist. Hopefully, from this, you’ll be able to decide whether you’d like to take part in future runnings of the event.

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More About Bike Gears: A Short Treatise on Chain Rings

chain rings
A cornucopia of chains and cogs

If you read my post about how bike gears work (if you didn’t, you can find it here), you may recall that I discovered that there was more to the subject than could be covered in a single outing.

It turns out (because, yes, sometimes I write these introductory sections AFTER I’ve written the body of a post), that there are many interesting things* that you can say about each of the components that form the drive train of a road bike.

(*Some interesting things. The occasional interesting thing.)

So today I lift the lid on the many and varied charms of chain rings. Enjoy…

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Do You Need a Cycling Coach?

I am in no doubt that employing a cycling coach would lead to an exponential improvement in my performance on the bike. Yet, whilst I frequently consider hypothetical scenarios for spending thousands of pounds to ‘build out’ my portfolio of bikes, I have tended to dismiss coaching as being too expensive or in some way not for me.

Today’s post comes in the form of guest submission from professional cyclist and coach Tomás Metcalfe. Tomás is going to present the case for why recreational riders should consider employing a cycling coach. If you want more information, or to contact Tomás, his website is at SwiftMomentumSports.com.

Without further ado, over to Tomás.

Read moreDo You Need a Cycling Coach?