Archive | cycling

Using miles or km for cycling?

The other day, I struggled to wake up, and when I did wake up, I had sore legs, a saddle sore – and it felt great! The usual aches and pains of cycling, but a small price to pay for being back on the bike.


On Saturday I managed 60 miles through a damp and grey Cotswolds. For three and half hours effort, whilst struggling to remain warm, 60 miles doesn’t sound too impressive compared to the perceived effort. I think I should switch to km, 100 km sounds more satisfying than 60 miles.


Continue Reading →


Winter training bike 2016-17


This will be my winter training bike for 2016/17 (assuming I can get out to ride it). It is an old hill climb bike  with a Trek Madone frame – 10 speed Dura Ace groupset. After buying the Emonda, I thought about selling this Trek, but with the growth of 11spd and electronic gears – 10 speed mechanical has devalued in price. The likely selling figure seemed a poor return, so I have kept as a winter training bike.  I also have an attachment to the bike as I used it in 2013 Nat hill climb. Continue Reading →


Cycling very slowly

The past week or so I’ve been ill again with some kind of sickness. It left me quite ill and weak, but I had an an appointment with an osteopath I wanted to keep – to work on the bad hip. I thought I would drive the 4 miles, but at last minute couldn’t bring myself to drive through the centre of Oxford so got on bike and cycled very slowly.


There’s always one person who cycles through mid winter in bare arms (or legs) but rarely both.


I’d lost a bit of weight, still recovering from virus and it probably wasn’t the most sensible thing to do. But, after sitting on settee for a few days I felt like a challenge. The main thing is that I cycled very slowly and on any downhill freewheeled. It meant I was getting overtaken by just about everybody on the road, which is quite something. It took half an hour there and half an hour bike. I was probably averaging 8mph. It was interesting experience, but not one I’m particularly keen to repeat.


Buses traffic jam

Even when still ill, I’d rather cycle than drive through traffic jams. I have some ideological opposition to spend 25 minutes driving somewhere through congested traffic when you can do same distance on a bicycle.

Cycling very slowly is harder work.

I nearly got doored by a van driver opening his car door whilst on mobile phone. I realised that because I was cycling so slowly, I was much closer to the curb than usual. You have less confidence to cycle at a distance from car doors when cycling slowly.

When I got to St Clements roundabout I tried to accelerate. You feel rather isolated cycling around there at 8mph, when everyone else is driving at much higher speed.

That was an experience of cycling very slowly, can’t say I particularly enjoy it.


Good job cars are banned from the High Street There seems more pollution around this winter or maybe when you’re ill you become more sensitive to it.



Welcome to old age

Last Monday I turned 40, which is a milestone in the cycling world because it officially marks entry into the veteran category.

Late on Monday I started to come down with a virus which laid me low all week; a fitting end to a four week cold. Life seemed to be saying – in a non too subtle way – welcome to old age, mate. It’s all downhill from here.


On the bright side, I can now look forward to 2017 with an eye on the Veteran categories.  There used to be a time when 40 was considered quite old, and hill climbs, especially, were not considered particularly suitable for those in the latter half of their life. But these days, 40 seems to be the new 30; with many cyclists admirably demonstrating there is still a lot of potential even post-40.

As a philosophy, I like to think age is in the mind, not in the heart – so I guess the next decade will provide an opportunity to test the practical reality of advancing physical years and learn what kind of difference age actually starts to make. I think the secret is not to think about it.

Targets 2017

This year I came 2nd in the national 12 hour TT, and 41st in the national hill climb.  With this kind of result, the obvious direction for a veteran would be to focus on the longer races and leave the quick twitch fibre stuff to the young ‘uns. But, at the moment, I feel more interest in concentrating on hill climbs and hilly time trials than the long distance stuff. Perhaps a prolonged hip problem has discouraged the initial burst of enthusiasm for a 24 hour time trial.

I’m still off bike, but with the weather dipping below freezing, I feel quite calm about the prospect.



It’s been a difficult few weeks on the cycling front. Injury, unending cold, and the winter miles bank resolutely empty – you can’t really count the 0.6 miles up Bank Road in the steady miles club.


Apart from that, the highlight of my cycling at the moment has just been swapping the summer bike for winter bike, adjusting my mudguards in anticipation of being able to ride in the wet, and a short commute into town.

2016 has been a funny year (not so much in the humorous sense) In fact since Nov 11th, I haven’t dared look at a newspaper, just in case the tiny 5% chance of Americans electing a President with a silly hair cut came true.  This winter, I shall keep my head buried in back issues of Cycling Weekly, OS Maps 1:50,000 series and Winnie the Pooh books, it’s the only way to stay sane in this crazy world.

On a more positive note, I have been going to see people about my nagging hip injury. I have been to a physiotherapist twice and two different osteopaths. The second osteopath was quite good and seemed to find some imbalances – which hopefully will resolve themselves. He also did something to the neck as apparently there is a connection from as far a field as the neck to hip joint. It is interesting because I had a very bad neck after 12 hour time trial. I’m doing a few exercises and stretches, but it’s amazing how quickly time can pass by without turning a pedal in anger.


Riding on the right side of the road

Short video by Liam Rees of Ilkley CC.

This year, I didn’t pre-ride Bank Road, or even think about how to ride the hill. When I got to the corner, I think I might have subconsciously tried to avoid going on wrong side of the road.  There was probably a better line to take.

Even though the road was closed to traffic, it’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime and cycle on the wrong side of the road. Continue Reading →


National hill climb championship 2016

This year 2016 National hill climb championship was held on Bank Road, Matlock. Adam Kenway 2.18.2  (Metaltek Kuoata RT) and Lou Bates 2.57.1 (Veloschils Interbike RT) were the respective men and women champions.

Adam Kenway has been in great form this year from winning the very short Monsal Head (1.16.5) to much longer climbs like the Cat and Fiddle, and Long Hill. However, nine days before the championship he was involved in an accident (training on Bank Road ironically). However, despite lingering issues and only deciding to race at the last minute, he managed to produce a superb time. In 2nd place, Isaac Mundy kept up the very good tradition of hill climbs for Oxford University CC. 3rd place was James Lowden (Team ASL360)


In the women’s championship Lou Bates finally made the top step of the podium after finishing 2nd and 3rd in previous years. Becky Lewis 2nd (Wrexham RC) and Joanne Clay 3rd (TORQ Performance)  made up the podium. Though as someone who has finished 4th on a couple of occasions, honourable mention to Joscelin Lowden (Lewes Wanderers CC) who was just 0.1 second off the podium. Marginal gains and all that.

(Haven’t seen results for juniors / vets yet. But, it was good to see Bill Bell flying the flag for vet men. Bill was very narrowly 2nd to Matt Clinton at the last HC champs in 2008 on Bank Road. I’m now starting to pay more attention to the vet category now…

  • Harvey Weinberger, junior men champion
  • Anna Henderson, junior women champion


It wasn’t the best day for former national hill climb champions with four men  (Richard Bussell, Dan Evans, Matt Clinton and Tejvan (me) and two women (Lynn Hamel and Maryka Sennema all missing out on a podium finish (I don’t think I’ve missed any more). I spoke to Jim Henderson before the event, he had thought about entering, but after suffering on the Rake a few weeks ago, decided against it and settled for cycling 88 miles out from his home to watch the suffering by the side of the road. Perhaps I will be joining him in a few years.  Last years champions R. Bussell and M.Sennema both finished 7th. Continue Reading →


Time Trial Records

A compilation of time trial records.  Updated to include Marcin Bialoblocki’s breaking of both 10 and 25 mile record. On the 10th September 2016, float conditions on the V718 saw 63 riders under 20 minutes for the SsLL racing Team event.

Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro Cycling) a Polish national racing in the UK smashed the previous record held by Alex Dowsett and James Gullen of 17.20 – setting a new time of 16.35. Anna Turvey Tyneside Vagabonds CC) also set a new womens record of 19.08. Results CTT. The next day Bialoblocki set a new 25 mile record of 44.04. A few weeks later, Hayley Simmonds was the first women to go under 19 mins, setting a record of 18.36.

10 Mile Time Trial

  • Marcin Bialoblocki – 16-35 – Course V718 10/09/2016 – 36.2 mph (450 watts)
  • Alex Dowsett (Movistar)- 17.20 – Course E2/10 – 01/06/2014
  • Michael Hutchinson – 17-45 – Course – V718  – 26/08/2012 (33.8 mph)
  • Michael Hutchinson  – 17.57 – Course: V718 – 24/07/2010
  • Bradley Wiggins –         17.58 – Course: Levens 16/09/2006 (33.4mph)
  • James Gullen – 17.09 – Course V719 – 11/09/2016

25 Mile TT

  • Marcin Bialoblocki44.04 – R25/3H – 11/09/2016 – 34.04 mph
  • Alex Dowsett              – 44.29  – E2/25 –  29/05/16
  • Matt Bottrill –             – 45.43  R25/3L 07/09/14
  • Michael Hutchinson – 45:46  Port Talbot Wheelers 25 09/09/2012
  • Dave McCann           –  45-54Course R25/3 20/09/2009
  • Chris Boardman       –  45.57 – Oxford University
  • Sean Yates                  – 46-57  – H25/13  28/09/1997
  • Alf Engers                    – 49-24 – E72

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Writing on the road


I though this was mildly funny. Someone wrote on the Cat and Fiddle road:

Kenway, Cuming, Tejvan, Clinton, Bhima, Lovatt. You can just about see Team Dimension Data cycling over ‘Tejvan’.  These are local riders, not in the Tour of Britain, but sometimes ride events like the Cat and Fiddle hill climb. Mark Lovatt won the National Hill climb when it was on the Cat and Fiddle in 2002. Continue Reading →


The Olympic spirit

I remember in the run up to the London Olympics of 2012, there was a strong undercurrent of pessimism and cynicism – “Too expensive”, “we aren’t ready”, “why bother” e.t.c.  Yet, when the games started – for three weeks – there was an unusual and highly welcome sense of optimism in promoting an event that did help bring the world together.

If there was pessimism before the 2012 Olympics, the run up to the 2016 Olympics has been an unusually difficult on many different levels. I hope, despite all the outer problems, the Olympics can still work a little magic. Whatever happens on the outer level, the Olympics always has the potential to unite the world and bring out the better qualities of human nature.


One of the best expositions of the Olympic spirit can be seen in a documentary about Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony from 2012 “One Night in 2012“. The success of Boyle was to make ordinary volunteers at the heart of the ceremony. The Opening Ceremony was a success on many levels – and gave many people a real once in a lifetime opportunity. (It is available on iPlayer here, and I wrote some more thoughts on personal blog here) Continue Reading →