RideLondon 100 Route Analysis Redux: The Five Things You Need To Know

This post is a little different from my usual offerings.

It’s a slide presentation (woo-ooh!) that looks once again at the RideLondon 100 route and offers up some interesting titbits for participants (and anyone else with a passing interest).

I shoved the presentation (or ‘deck’, if you hail from corporate America) onto Slideshare in an inglorious attempt to increase the number of people that get to see it.

If you find the slides useful and think that others would too, then please share it via Twitter and Facebook.

So, without further ado…

Ladies and Gentlemen, I Give You… The Presentation!

Want to know more about the RideLondon 100 route?

Of course you do.

In that case, why not take a look at my extended RideLondon 100 route analysis and the post where I try out the Leith Hill and Box Hill climbs.

A Cyclists Guide To Bike Frame Materials: Carbon Fibre

Carbon fibre-framed Team Sky time trial bike
Carbon fibre-framed Team Sky time trial bike

Welcome to the second in my series of posts on the materials used to make bicycle frames.

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

Readers of my previous article (which you can read here) will no doubt have been shocked, intrigued and ultimately delighted by my razor-sharp insights into the world of steel manufacture.

Now it is the turn of the young pretender to the throne: carbon fibre.

Read moreA Cyclists Guide To Bike Frame Materials: Carbon Fibre

A Cyclist’s Guide To Bike Frame Materials: Steel

Steel framed bike
Simple steel beauty

Most people with any interest in bikes will have at least a passing familiarity with the materials that are used to make them.

The sculpted, wind tunnel-honed lines of pro peleton bikes are unmistakably formed from carbon fibre.

The skinny  road bikes of old evoke images of bespectacled engineers in oil-stained overalls, squinting at steel tubes in complex jigs.

But do you know how these materials are used to make bikes that meet the needs of cyclists in the 21st century?

Read moreA Cyclist’s Guide To Bike Frame Materials: Steel

Where To Find Cycling Training Plan Information

cycling training plan
Credit: www.elite-it.com

There is only so much progress you can make in your quest for cycle fitness simply by riding further and for longer.

At a certain point, your training will need to become more structured and specific, if you want to maximise your performance at whatever cycling challenge you have set yourself (and by ‘your’, I of course mean ‘my’).

In this post I will identify the resources that you can use either to find a suitable training plan (be that prêt-à-porter or bespoke) or, alternatively, to learn the fundamentals of training, such that you can attempt to build your own.

Read moreWhere To Find Cycling Training Plan Information

Sportive review: Igloo Peak District Sportive

Cycling Peak District
Strade bianche… in the Peak District

This is the first of what will hopefully become a series of posts reviewing the sportives in which I have taken part (I say, ‘hopefully’, because it will rely on me pulling my finger out and doing more events!).

My aim is to give you a flavour of the event, so you can decide whether you’d like to do this event, or a similar one, in the future. The account is clearly based on my personal experience of the sportive, and is probably heavily coloured by my low level of experience and fitness. If you’re in the same boat, I do hope it will give you the confidence to enter a sportive. If you’re a super-fit, experienced rider, maybe it will provide some entertainment…

Read moreSportive review: Igloo Peak District Sportive

What road bike should I buy: the Grimpeur considers the options

Which road bike
My bike (in a compromising position)

I have a very warm regard for my bike. As a Yorkshireman, that’s about as close a declaration of undying love you’re going to get. But it’s time to consider an upgrade (it’s always time to consider an upgrade!).

My bike has been with me for more than 8 years, since I snap-purchased it whilst my then-girlfriend (now wife) sought a heavy hybrid on which to commute (she still has it, but does not seem to have developed an emotional attachment).

Despite not knowing a thing about bikes (beyond what i had learnt as the proud owner of a Raleigh Mini Burner in the 1980s – red and black, since you ask), I made a wise lucky choice.

Read moreWhat road bike should I buy: the Grimpeur considers the options

RideLondon Reconnaissance Ride (And How I Accidentally Rode my First Metric Century)

How steep is Leith Hill
Leith Hill – the RideLondon route comes down this side (I think…)

Grimpeur is in pain. My knee is killing me. I’ll explain why in a bit.

The purpose of this post is to provide a bit more intelligence on the RideLondon route, specifically the two main climbs up Leith Hill and Box Hill.

You may have seen that I already wrote a post on the RideLondon route (if you didn’t, then you can read it here).

Read moreRideLondon Reconnaissance Ride (And How I Accidentally Rode my First Metric Century)

Cycling to Lose Weight: How One Man Lost 6 Stone by Cycling (More Than a Third of His Bodyweight!)

In today’s post I am delighted to feature an interview with Mark Hammond.

Mark, writing as Velopixie, maintains a blog about his road cycling escapades, which you can find here.

Er, wait a minute, who is Mark exactly?

Well, like many of us, Mark is a keen cyclist and sportive rider.

Like probably fewer of us, this year he is signed up for the Etape du Tour, RideLondon and the 206km Dragon Ride Gran Fondo. Last year he turned 50.

So far, so within the normal spectrum of activities for a keen road cyclist.

But what makes Mark’s story worth reading is that over the course of 2012 he lost a whopping 6 stone, as a result of exercise (primarily road cycling) and changes to his diet.

Read moreCycling to Lose Weight: How One Man Lost 6 Stone by Cycling (More Than a Third of His Bodyweight!)

Best cycle app: Strava or MapMyRide?

I like to look at maps. I like to plan routes. I am quite obsessed with knowing where I have been.

Not all who wander are lost

JRR Tolkien

When I first moved to London, I used to walk excessive distances on a weekend, taking delight in piecing together seemingly disjointed sections of the tube map, beginning to understand how it all fitted together.

I also like data (to a degree – nothing against stats nerds, but I’m not one).

One of my first purchases after getting my road bike (to commute on, primarily), after the obligatory lights, locks and helmet, was a cycle computer. I wanted to know how far I’d been and how fast I’d travelled (or not, as the case may be).

When I upgraded to my next cycle computer (a Polar CS200), I fastidiously logged in to the Polar website at the conclusion of each commute, in order to record each data point it had captured during the pothole- and profanity-strewn ride.

I never logged cadence though, since this is a mythical piece of data that no human-built machine is capable of sensing or recording. I digress.

Cycling apps on a smartphone (in my case a labouring iPhone 3GS) were made for me.

Read moreBest cycle app: Strava or MapMyRide?

Grimpeur’s RideLondon Training Update: February – mid-March

Hill training (although this is Ecuador rather than Kent)
Hill training (although this is Ecuador rather than Kent)

Readers of my blog will know that I talk a good game. I’ve talked about the cycling event that I’m doing. I’ve analysed the route. I’ve talked a bit about how I’ve broken the challenge down into its constituent parts.

But where, you might ask, is the evidence that I’ve actually DONE anything?

Motivation this, crippling fears that. That’s all fine, but we all need to train for whatever cycling challenge we are undertaking (well I do at least).

What training have I done? Well, I’m going to tell you. In this post. Perhaps the title gave it away.

Read moreGrimpeur’s RideLondon Training Update: February – mid-March