There’s an old adage that in life, you get what you pay for. Us cycling enthusiasts know that better than most. It only takes a couple of major breakdowns due to poor quality parts for you to realise that it’s always worth paying for quality.
But while planning and purchasing equipment for a major upcoming bike trip, this lesson has been hammered home in even more emphatic fashion.
Around this time last year, I set off from Brno in the Czech Republic on a cycling trip heading down to Vienna to join the mighty Danube. Following its course, I made it as far as the Romanian border before time constraints forced me to turn back.
And along the way I learned a thing or two about panniers:
If you’ve recently taken to cycling and want more than the British summer can offer, in Ravenna there’s a ride waiting for you…
In January I started the Evolving Cyclist Project to see what an average commuter could do with some support in a season spent training for one event.
The event was to be a Gran Fondo (classic long distance Italian race) and the location Emilia Romagna.
Well, after earthquakes shook the northern Italian region to its core and ‘Le Tour’ took centre stage, it looked like the dream had ended.
And then I got the email…
Cyclists of all standards love riding the London 2 Brighton bike ride. As well as being perhaps the UK’s best-known charity ride, it’s a challenging fun sportive in its own right – a celebration of cycling, all the way from the capital to the coast.
And more fool you if you think it’s going to be easy: If your training rides have yet to pass 35 miles, trust me, you’ll be pushed on this one.
Now with the preparation over, the team T-shirts in a box in your hallway and some nerves creeping in, here’s 5 tips to help you on your way on the day.
(Don’t forget a camera and some cash, the pictures will be priceless and you’ll want a pint and a pile of chips at the end)
Italy is a nation that loves its cycling, and cyclists everywhere love their food – especially pasta. So it’s no surprise that Italian bike tours are proving a top attraction for serious riders and food lovers.
The country that produced several of the all-time greatest cyclists (Bartali, Coppi, Pantani) also serves up the finest balsamic vinegars, tastiest hard cheeses and wines.
From the floor of the Po Valley to the classic peaks of the Dolomites, you don’t have to be a pro rider to enjoy. But you do need to embrace Italian food – not just for the carbs to help you on those climbs, but also for the pure pleasure of it!
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.
With a little over a month of the Evolving Cyclist Project gone there’s been much learned, lots eaten, no weight lost but a great start made. Last month I made a plan: Ignore training plans – and so far it’s worked well! For March, I decided all I needed to do was get out more, get the miles going and enjoy every minute.
It’s an approach I’d strongly recommend to anyone buying a road bike or starting to take their cycling more seriously.
But at some point if you’re aiming to get fit, you’ve got to get on it and get riding further and faster – and that’s what’s happening this month.
So here’s 10 things I’ve learned that should help cyclists who are thinking about buying their first road bike.
Cyclists who don’t fit lights to their bikes are idiots. Buying bike lights is easy: they are cheap, easy to fit and – if you didn’t know – a legal requirement. Of my 5 cycle safety tips for commuters, being seen is arguably the most important.
Personally, I think we should use daylights. But while many cyclists I’ve spoken to agree, others pass me and say, in a patronizing voice, “you’ve got your lights on”.
Ask yourself: why do motorcyclists have lights on during the day? Well, it’s because they are vulnerable in traffic and it gets them seen.
So why don’t cyclists do it? I’d say we are more vunerable as we end up in and out of the traffic flow. So what lights are out there, and which are best for your type of cycling?
- Adventure Sports & Travel Thoughts
- New Adventure Travel Ideas
- Our Experts
- Top 10s
- Travel Gear
- Adventure Sports Insurance: What Does The EHIC Actually Cover?
- Kayaking Challenges: Paddling 1300km in handmade kayaks
- Child-Free Sports: Time to reclaim the wave?
- New Zealand: Spiritual Home of Adventure Sports
- 5 Things Cyclists Never Do
- Kevlar Swiss Socks that Rock!
- Adventure Race Events: Trying the Toughest Challenges on Earth