Fundraising : : Harold the giraffe

Each year we look for new ideas for fundraising and increasing awareness for the children’s charity, Coram.  This year I experimented with the idea of ornaments that could be attached to a bikes handlebars for a bit of fun.  It started with a 3D printed prototype of Peppa Pig and in collaboration with Club Peloton quickly moved to ‘Harold the giraffe’, the charity mascot, for Coram. He has been computer modeled and styled from a photograph of the Coram hand puppet, then 3D printed and finally hand painted.  A Garmin mount has been incorporated to provide an easy fix to the handlebars.

The Harolds will join the Cycle to MIPIM riders travelling from London to Cannes along the 1500km journey* to raise money and increase awareness for Coram.  You can follow their progress and say hi on twitter; #haroldontour #cycletoMIPM.

*one name for a group of giraffes.  Others are a tower, a troop, a herd, a kindergarten, a kaleidoscope of giraffes.

Training : : Winter training II

winter-training

 

Winter is upon us once again so here’s an update to my article on my top tips for riding and training during the cold months.

Environment.  Know everything you can about the conditions and the environment you’ll be riding in.  Cross check weather sources using your apps and the internet.  I use WeatherPro but don’t rely it being right all the time.

Wind.  Heavy wind won’t just slow you down but can lower the temperature significantly-‘wind chill’.  Wind also has a nasty habit of putting debris in the road just where you don’t want it.  Watch out in heavily wooded areas and take lots of spare tubes.

Ice.  Always check for frost on car windscreens and if in doubt don’t take the risk. Look at the temperature range from your point of departure to your destination.  Your destination maybe 2-3 degrees lower than your starting point pushing the temperature below 0.  Also watch out for stretches of road next to forests or water which may be colder. Avoid shady parts of the roads which may be prone to ice, frozen leaves and other slippy debris.  Watch out for blister studs at cycle crossing which are extremely slippy when wet or frozen.

Winter bike.  Think about using a winter bike during the worst months.  This is a bike that you can ride in any weather including the wet stuff.  Components can get worn down pretty quickly due to the high exposure to water and road grime.  Your winter bike will be heavier as well as cheaper so better training.

Tires. Change to winter tires with some good grip levels. And remember to stay off wet manhole covers and painted surfaces. Adjust your lean angle too so you’re more upright. Slow down a bit more and increase braking distance.

Lights. Use 2 sets of lights, one as a back up. If you head to work early and back late you may be riding 100% of the time in dark.  Get some reflective elements in your clothing or bike and make yourself as visible as you can on the road.

Cleaning and checking.  Increase the frequency of your cleaning and check your bike more regularly.  Clear brake blocks of crud and clean wheel rims to maintain a good braking surface.  Wipe down and dry off the bike if you’ve ridden through the rain.  Learn how to do the bits of maintenance that crop up repeatedly to save on costly servicing when riding in the wet and grime.

Clothing.  Buy the best you can afford and that doesn’t buy the most expensive. Check reviews online and ask friends and colleagues for recommendations.

Use Layers.  Keep warm by layering up. Each layer traps a warm layer of air beneath it so keep testing how many layers work for you.  Make sure your hands are warm.  Numb hands lead to poor brake and gear control. . If one pair of gloves isn’t suffice isn’t buy a thermal glove inner.  External layers should breathe well to avoid build up of condensation on the inside of the material making you wet.

Hydration. It’s easy to forget to drink regularly when it’s cold. Keep sipping at the water bottle.  Write a note and sitck it to your stem to remind yourself.

Incentives. Whether it’s cake or a new accessory think of a way to treat yourself for braving the elements.

Enjoy it!. Some of the best sunrises and sunsets can be seen during the cold months so don’t forget to enjoy the riding.

Stay safe and remember if the conditions aren’t right don’t take the risk and consider supplementing with other training like running, gym or indoor cycle trainer.

Cycle to Cannes 2016 : : Completed!

Cycle to Cannes MIPIM 2016 completed! We did it!

An awesomely massive thank you to everyone who supported me and sponsored me for the ride you.  It was your help with donations, training, cycle and bike gear, nutrition, motivation and even getting me out of bed to train that  really made the difference!

My ride has raised an amazing £3,000! In total all the Cycle to Cannes riders and team sponsors this year raised over £365,000 which is an incredible amount of money!  It will really make the difference to the lives of so many children and young people supported by Coram.

The harsh winters training once again paid off with a terrific 6 days of blue sky riding amazing roads through France.

The ride and welcome into Cannes was amazing with super massive support at the finish.  Thanks to everyone who turned out there and the help getting me back on walking feet.  A special thanks to Geraint who took the time out after Paris-Nice to come down to Cannes to present our medals.

As well as the awesome photographs lots of great video footage has been captured this year see below.  It also give you an idea of all the amazing support and logistics that go into keeping a ride of this size churning through the 1500km!

Rest.

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Training : : Snow, Sheep and the Grazalema

The opportunity came up to spend a few days road cycling in the mountains of the Parque Natural de Sierra Grazalema in southern Spain.  Ronda and Grazalema both represent a good base to cycle out from and the former only 1hr 30mins drive from Malaga airport.

Being the end of February sat well with training for the Cycle to MIPIM but as always at this time expectations on weather have to be managed.  As you may have seen from my trip to Mallorca at the end of February last year snow is always a possibility.  The weather in Grazalema was particular varied last weekend with sleet snow and brilliant sunshine.  Temperature ranging from 0-16 degrees Celsius.  Later that week skies cleared and the weather ramped back to 18-20 degrees.

You can see below the route of day one riding taking us up the The Peurto de Las Palomas at approx 1200m elevation.  There are fantastic views along much of the climb and the quality of the road surfaces is amazing (compared to UK).  The roads are usually very quiet and drivers

Also watch out for the sheep!

 



Review : : @huntbikewheels 4 Season Dura Road wheelset

I don’t know technical wheel speak or the science behind wheel construction so these are my straight forward thoughts on Hunt Wheels 4 Season Dura Road wheelset;

I’ve been using these wheels since November on my Condor Super Acciaio as an all round winter wheelset for Cycle to Cannes (MIPIM) training. They are about 1500 miles in and have been out in all conditions with minimal cleaning and maintenance. I’ll say up front I think they have been a great choice so far and if they keep performing they represent excellent value for money.

They weigh more than 300 grams heavier than my Dura-Ace C24 carbon laminate wheelset.  Not a great deal really just a 1/3 of a bag of sugar.  The Hunt wheels feel strong and robust with 24 spokes at the front and 28 at the back.  They give a good sense of security should the inevitable pothole take you by surprise.

I’m very happy with braking performance on the aluminium alloy rim. There are deep grooves in the rim which makes braking in the wet super dependable including in the worst of  London’s road grim. We’ll keep an eye on rim wear over the next few months.

The hubs have been smooth even in the worst of the weather. The noise made by the ratchet when not pedaling is a comfort on the commute for increased pedestrian awareness.  The spokes all seem firm and I haven’t detected any issues with tension.

I  like the graphics used on the rims of the wheels which are monochromatic and minimal.

The wheels are tubeless ready but I run them with inner tubes currently. Interestingly they came with tubeless rim tape specified as default (I didn’t notice).  The rim tape did give way to the inner tube causing a blowout on the rear where it pushed through  into the spoke hole. I have now fitted Vitorria rim tape which is much higher quality and resolves the issue.  The guys at Hunt also offered to sort it all out; good customer service ; )

The wheels continue to be highly durable and the double sealed bearings are great for the bad weather months.  They are most definitely a fit and forget heavy duty training and commuting wheelset which I’m confident will survive until the warm months arrive.

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