Having mountain biked since I was a kid the thought of attaching my feet to the pedals has always seemed alien to me. But enough of my friends have tried it, and liked it, that I thought it was about time I gave it a go.
Comments such as ‘once you have tried it you will never go back’ enticed me into acquiring the Bikehut high performance dual sided SPD pedals and HBH MTB shoes.
This is Halfords’ own brand of SPD (Shimano Pedal Dynamics), which look and work in a similar way to their more expensive cousins.
Getting the HBH pedals and shoes set up
On arrival the HBH MTB shoes were a good fit and very comfy. I was impressed with the armour around the toes; if my trainers had provided this over the last few years it would have saved me quite a bit of pain and black toenails. Also, the pedals and cleats on the shoes were very easy to fit and adjust.
In British cycling, the Sunday ride really is an institution: Clubs meet outside coffee houses for an early start, weekend lycra lovers dust off their road bikes and families set out in mini bike trains.
Why Sunday? Well, for the cyclists who need to get the miles in, it’s often the day of choice.
Before 9 a.m. most town centres are empty. And other than the walk of shame’rs and road cleaners, you’ve pretty much got the streets to yourself.
British weather is ‘changeable’ but year round you get great cycling conditions. Spring and Autumn serve up crisp, clear mornings and even through winter there’s plenty of glorious days.
There’s no easy way to say this, but riding a Carrera Virago for the first time was far from a happy experience. On regular commuter roads it was skittish, and after just 15 minutes I was feeling every divot and granule of road gravel through my wrists. And I nearly crashed it!
Reaching to squeeze the brakes, I couldn’t get them to bite and ended up in the back wheel of a scooter. Upshifts to the big ring took too long and I couldn’t tell if I’d gone up or down a gear on the range at the rear.
Well, the issues weren’t with the bike, but with me. Going from a comfy hybrid to a £1,000 carbon fibre road bike is not straightforward, and I just needed to get the bike set up properly and revise my riding.
Commuting and weekend cycling are one thing, riding a Gran Fondo (classic Italian endurance event) is another. But could you do it? Now, commuting all week is hard work: it’s testing both mentally and physically. But road cycling? Racing? And all that Lycra…
I think it can be done.
And I think anyone can do it. If you ride day-in, day-out you’re fit. And you’ve probably started sneaking out early at the weekend to get a longer ride in. You may even already own some Lycra.
So here’s the Evolving Cyclist Project: Take one chunky commuter – more used to his heavy hybrid and heavyweight eating habits – and turn him into a lightweight (ish) rider in time for an end of season race.
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