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

Without further ado, over to Tomás.

Read moreDo You Need a Cycling Coach?

Training for RideLondon 100: mid-June update

Welcome back to the third post in my series recording my training for the inaugural RideLondon 100, taking place on 4 August.

That’s a disappointingly short 52 days away from now (as I write this, obviously).

If you want to read posts 1 and 2 in this sorry series, they can be found ici and aquí.

First let’s start with some stats

Read moreTraining for RideLondon 100: mid-June update

A Cyclist’s Guide to Bike Frame Materials: Titanium

Titanium road bike
The metal of the gods…

Welcome to the third post in my series looking at the materials used to build bike frames.

Here are the links to the previous articles:

A Cyclists Guide to Bike Frame Materials: Steel

A Cyclists Guide to Bike Frame Materials: Carbon

**UPDATE: The full list of ‘materials’ posts can be found on my new page dedicated to bike building: How To Build A Bike **

In this post we’re going to look at the metal that my superhero alter-ego would have his balls made out of: titanium.

And on that bombshell (egg-shell), we should probably move swiftly on….

Read moreA Cyclist’s Guide to Bike Frame Materials: Titanium

How Do Strava and MapMyRide Determine Cycling Climb Categories?

As an avid pro-cycling fan, and particularly of the Grand Tours, I have always been fascinated by the classifications given to the climbs along the route.

The sight of one or more Hors Catégorie climbs on the route profile for the following day’s stage means that I’ll have to clear my schedule for an afternoon spent glued to the television.

But how do the climb classifications seen in the Tour de France or the Giro correspond to those that appear on our recently completed Strava or MapMyRide route?

In this post, I aim to find out.

Read moreHow Do Strava and MapMyRide Determine Cycling Climb Categories?

Garmin Edge 510: What’s In The Box?

Garmin Edge 510 box
Big fish, little fish, cardboard box

Last week it was my birthday (34th). I was lucky enough to receive a Garmin Edge 510 as a present from my wife.

It would have been spectacular if my wife had selected the Edge 510 without any assistance, or if she had purchased it as a result of reading my Which Bike GPS post.

That wasn’t the case.

Read moreGarmin Edge 510: What’s In The Box?

Bike Gears: How Do They Work

Bike Gears
Re-cog-nise this? (arf arf)

Gears are a pretty fundamental part of the modern bicycle.

In fact, as the handlebar-moustache-sporting, Victorian gents amongst you will know, the introduction of gear rings and chains spelt the end for the Hi-wheel (the Penny Farthing to you and I) and other direct drive bicycles.

By varying the size of the chainring at the front and the sprockets (or cogs) at the back, cyclists could generate greater speeder without having to spin the pedals at ever-increasing RPMs (or balance precariously above gigantic front wheels).

In this post, I’m going to give an introduction to bike gears.

Since this is a blog about road cycling, I’ll stick to talking about derailleur gears (i.e. the ones seen on road bikes). Conveniently, this means I can avoid having to admit that I really don’t understand how hub gears work (what? ah…).

Read moreBike Gears: How Do They Work

King of the Downs Sportive: A RideLondon Training Opportunity

As you prepare for the 100 miles of RideLondon, you might be looking for other (shorter) sportives to help you on your way.

Long time reader of this blog, Giles Roadnight has just emailed me to point out that The King of the Downs Sportive takes place this Sunday (2nd June).

The sportive, organised by Evans, features two routes: the full one is 115 miles; the shorter option is 54 miles.

I can’t find an official route map, but the longer route sounds pretty tough. If you’re thinking of doing this one, I doubt you have any concerns about RideLondon’s flatter, shorter course.

It’s the shorter route that Giles points out is useful for RideLondon newbies, as a stepping stone to the longer event. Last year’s event took in both Box Hill and Leith Hill, and featured total ascent of around 3,450 feet (~900 feet less than RL).

If you want to enter, you’ll need to get your skates on. Online entry closes later today (Wednesday); if you miss that, you can print out a form to enter on the day.

Good luck to all those that decide to participate (or who have already entered), and thank you to Giles for giving me the heads up.

Bucket Lists for Cyclists: What Do You Have On Yours?

Bucket list
What’s on your bucket list?

Whether it’s scaling the 21 switchbacks of Alpe D’Huez or building your own bike frame, we all have our own cycling ambitions.

For some, these desires remain hidden – unvoiced within the depths of our brains. Others delight in listing their objectives, for their own amusement or to share with others.

That’s where a bucket list comes in.

Read moreBucket Lists for Cyclists: What Do You Have On Yours?

Bicycle Insurance: What You Need To Know

Bicycle insurance
The world of bicycle insurance (

I’m seeing more and more photos of stolen bikes being retweeted on Twitter.

Partly this is due to an increase in the use of social media to track down missing bikes, but it reflects a genuine increase in bicycles being stolen.

According to analysis from UCL, cycle theft is increasing (this is based on victim survey data; police statistics suggest the level remains static).

Bike security used to be about find somewhere safe to park your steed, then using two locks to put off would-be bike-snatchers.  Increasingly it seems that thieves are stealing bikes from owner’s garages and sheds – bikes worth thousands of pounds, which their owners would never dream of leaving chained to a rusty lamp-post.

The UK police even believe that dirty snafflers are using Strava and other route-mapping apps to identify target addresses (tip: make sure you have ‘privacy’ switched on, in order to hide your start/finish point).

In this post I look at one way a bike owner can protect himself from (financial) pain, should an acrobatic cat-burglar gain access to his Fort Know-style bike cave: bicycle insurance.

(For the more aggressive amongst you, next week I will look at how you can convert an innocent looking bicycle pump into a 50,000 volt taser.)

Read moreBicycle Insurance: What You Need To Know

Peak District Cycle Routes: Ashbourne – Ilam – Calton – Ashbourne

Cycling Peak District Dovedale
The descent into Dovedale

Do you ever feel frustration when searching for cycle routes on the internet? I do.

I struggle to find courses that have been properly curated and accurately described. When looking at a Jackson Pollock of route markers on a website, it’s difficult to decide whether the route is suitable for me.

There has to be a better way than Google Streetview-ing my way around the A roads of England in order to find my perfect cycle loop.

Oh yay! Oh yay! The rot stops here. At least for the people of south Derbyshire and the Peak District (and anyone visiting the area).

Read morePeak District Cycle Routes: Ashbourne – Ilam – Calton – Ashbourne