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A frustratingly poor 2017 saw me hitting up Trainer Road over the winter and starting 2018 in better form. A great week in Mallorca with my local club, the Settle Wheelers boosted my confidence further and inspired some planning.

An opportunity arose for a three day tour in Cornwall and Devon. Day one was Penzance to Lands End and then onto Looe, a deceptively lumpy 97 miles. Day two took me to Plymouth where I picked up the Devon Coast to Coast to Ilfracombe in the north, a very picturesque ride, 115 miles, mostly off road, mainly on tarmac cyclepaths (old railways) but with some gravel thrown in. Day three was a very hilly route over Exmoor to Tiverton where I jumped on the train home. Beware GWR trains, their  cycle policy is very strict!

I’d long had a thought to try the NCN route 7,  Lochs and Glens (south), a 214 mile route from Carlisle, through Dumfries to Glasgow. I waited for a decent forecast and hit out on a scorcher on Bank Holiday Monday. I drove to Carlisle, parked up and jumped on the first train out to Glasgow. 0830hrs saw me riding along the Clyde. The route headed out of the city on well maintained cyclepaths, a surprisingly pleasant route that led me to the coast, the towns of Ayre and Troon were rammed with tourists on the beaches as the sun was shining, not the best riding but they were soon passed. The route headed inland, lumpy but great riding led to the highpoint of The Pulpit where I headed  down through Glentrool to Newton Stewart. A shop stop then saw the route head east through more beautiful terrain, following the coast at times to Dumfries.

By now it was dark and I was starting to suffer with some stomach issues. I continued on (my options were limited!), but unable to eat or drink, I cut straight to Annan and Gretna then on to Carlisle, arriving back at my car just after 3am. 15hrs riding but with sickness stops it had been a long day, I snoozed in my car for an hour before driving home, 207 miles done.

 

Whether you’re an experienced rider or a novice, there’s no doubt that you’re more vulnerable on a bike.  Often, motorist are simply not expecting to see a cyclist, and as bikes are narrow, they can be difficult to spot.  Riding safely requires a balance of confidence and caution, as well as common sense and consideration for other road users.

 

Always make sure that you can be seen – wear high vis clothing, particularly in the winter or at dusk, put good quality front and back reflectors on your bike and, of course, have powerful lights on your bike.  Also ensure that your bike well maintained – having brakes in the best working order could be vital should you find yourself in a difficult situation.  Although not a legal requirement, we also believe that EVERY rider should wear a high quality, correctly fitting helmet.

The key to city and town riding, like driving, is to be aware and read situations quickly and accurately before they happen so you can take action if necessary.  You should be constantly on the lookout for obstacles, cars and pedestrians – be extra cautious if the weather conditions are poor, particularly if it’s wet or icy.  Always keep a steady pace and maintain a safe distance between you and vehicles.  Make sure you clearly signal your movements so that other road users know exactly what you’re planning.   Always take advantage of cycle routes, advanced stop lines and cycle boxes.

 

While some cyclists feel safer by sticking close to the gutter, this actually isn’t a good idea – you need to be assertive and make sure motorists know you’re there.  If you ride too close to the kerb, you risk having to suddenly swerve out into the road to avoid a pothole or a car door opening.

Be extra vigilant at junctions – keep an eye out for vehicles in front of you turning without indicating; if you’re coming up to a left turn and  you see the vehicle in front slowing, you should slow down too rather than risk cycling past on the inside in case it turns. When turning right, you should check the traffic for a space, then signal and move into the middle of the road. Remain there until there is a safe gap and take a final look before completing the turn. In some situations if there’s heavy traffic, it may be better to wait on the left for a safe gap, or to get off your bike and push it across the road if necessary.

One of the most thorny areas of debate between cyclists and motorists is the issue of how to ride safely as a group without causing disruption to other road users.  Riding as a pack is much more energy efficient for cyclists, but many motorist strongly object.  In fact, Rule 66 of the Highway Code simply advises that cyclists ‘should not ride more than two abreast’ – this is not a legal requirement and neither does it mean the same as ‘must ride single file’ as many motorists’ seem to believe.  In fact, it could be argued that it is safer to ride side by side in order to be easily seen; and by riding next to each other, the length of the obstruction is reduced for vehicles passing large groups.

However, the Highway Code also states that you should ride single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends.  Again, this comes down to common sense and courtesy – as a cyclist, you should factor in the road conditions and drop back into single file if necessary.

Preparing for a sportive

Friday, 13 April 2018

Every year there seem to be more and more organised cycling events or sportives, usually in aid of a charity, which bring together enthusiasts in a non-competitive environment, giving them the opportunity to push themselves a little more than if they were cycling solo.

Sportives are a great way of exploring some different cycle routes in other parts of the country, but without having to worry too much about where you’re going! Once you’ve entered the event, you’ll be given a number to attach to you and your bike and then it’s just a matter of following a clearly signed route.  As well as not having to worry about getting lost, most rides also offer mechanical assistance in case you run into trouble along the way and, often, there are marshalls too, helping at busy road junctions.

With all this support, it’s easier to challenge yourself a bit more. You can be confident that you’re following a structured route which has been carefully planned in terms of distance and terrain.  Most rides offer a choice of routes according to your abilities. From 20 mile fun rides suitable for novice riders, through to 100 mile plus routes (some taking in parts of the Grand Depart!), there really is something for everyone.

 

While not a competition, as many sportives use timing chips, it’s a good opportunity to push your pace and try and beat your personal best. For optimum performance, training, as ever, is key.  It’s a good idea to devise a structured training plan, working up to cycling close to the distance of the sportive – this will give you the comfort of knowing that the distance is within your capability.  As well as spending plenty of time in the saddle, also make sure that you do lots of other types of exercise to increase your overall fitness and lessen the chance of aches and pains on the day.  Don’t’ forget to watch what you eat in the days leading up to the race – make sure you load up on plenty energy-giving carbs!

 

When the big day arrives, make sure you have all the gear you might need with you. Wear cycling specific, sweat wicking tops and padded shorts or tights – make sure you have cycled in them before and know they fit well and are comfortable.  Most rides will not allow cyclists to participate without a helmet, and if you’re planning to cover a reasonable distance, clip-in pedals are a huge advantage, giving a better, more energy efficient ride.

 

Even if it’s sunny when you set off, don’t forget you’re in Britain and you could be in torrential rain in half an hour, let alone five hours into a ride! Always take a waterproof jacket – there are some  great, compact cycling jackets available which fit into a small, pocket-sized bag.  Layering is key and ‘warms’ or arm warmers are great for this as they’re easy to be pulled up or pushed down while you’re cycling.  Leg warmers are handy too.   Take cycling glasses or sunglasses with you and don’t forget the sun cream – you never know!

While most sportives include well-stocked food and drink fuelling stations along the way, it’s vital to also have your own food and water with you so that you can grab an energy boost whenever you need it.  Generally, it’s recommended that cyclists have some food every 30 minutes, plus water every 15 minutes.

 

Finally, do not leave home without an on-bike repair kit! Make sure it includes a small multi-tool and some spare inner tubes (a small CO2 inflator also makes the job of changing a tyre much swifter) – you may be very glad that you came prepared!  While space is obviously limited on a bike, most equipment these days has been carefully-designed with high tech materials making it compact and lightweight.

 

While it might seem like there’s a lot to think of before you take on a sportive, once you’ve taken the plunge and done one, being well prepared for these events will become second nature. Just visit the British Cycling website www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/  to find dates for events in Yorkshire and further afield, and get pedalling!

 

….yes at All Terrain Cycles Bikestores, we now take Trade In’s.

So if you are looking a new bike look no further.

Be it a MTB, Road Bike, Ebike, Ladies or Kids bike, we will trade in any bike

with two wheels irrespective of age or condition against a new bike of your choice.

 

Trade in any old bike for a brand new bike of your choice

This is how our scheme works.

Bring your Trade in Bike to either of our Bikestores.

Select the bike you wish to purchase and we will give you -10% of its value as against  your old bike. We don’t mind what its age is or what condition it is in as long as it has two wheels you save -10% off your purchase.

Frequently asked Questions

  • What happens to Trade In’s? – We will ever sell them or donate them to local recycling charities.
  • Can I Trade a bike in and purchase a new one on Finance or Cyclescheme ? – Unfortunately we can’t offer this facility if  you pay the balance for your new bike by cash or credit / debit card.

What do I do next ?

Come to one of our

In Mountain Biking, Bruce Rollinson, Stewart Coates, Ryan Middlemiss and Hamish Thomas were in action at the National Series Cross Country races at Sherwood Pines. A nice sunny day on a drying but fast course, saw Bingley based Bruce and Stewart neck and neck in the Grand Masters V50 event, won by former pro rider Tim Davies of CC Abergavenny. The All Terrain Cycles pair spent most of the race in 6th and 7th place until the last lap when a resurgent former National Champion Tim Gould got past them both. After a bizzare foot in rear wheel incident Stew got ahead of Bruce going into the finishing loops, and they finally finished in 7th and 8th place respectively.

Stew Coates and Bruce Rollinson

Stew hot on the heels of Bruce in the V50 event

On the road, Keighley based rider Chris Sherriffs has had a great start to the season, picking up a number of top ten results. First up was the Rosendale RC 11 mile Time Trial held in freezing conditions near Bolton by Bowland at the end of February. Despite not feeling great Chris turned in a great performance to pick up 3rd place, and putting time into some notable riders shows that his early season training is coming to fruition. Over the following weekends Chris raced at the Salt Ayre circuit series in Lancashire, picking up two fourth places, a fifth and a sixth, all of these events coming in sprint finishes behind small breakaway groups with Chris winning the bunch sprint.

Chris Sherriffs rides in the Rosendale RC 11 mile TT

Also on the road, another Keighley based rider Steve Colloby opened his 2018 road account this weekend at the Town Green Masters RR near Bickerstaffe in Lancashire. After missing the 7 man breakaway group which went early on, Steve put in a strong performance to try and chase down the break, before leaving the remaining pack behind to take 8th place over the line. This comes on the back of a return to Track racing for Steve after a 20 year hiatus, as he has been competing regularly at Manchester Regional Track League over the past couple of months, also turning out some good results and getting a number of wins under his belt.

Colloby in action in the Town Green Masters RR (Photo courtesy of Ellen Isherwood)

With some great results this early on its looking like a great season ahead for the All Terrain Cycles Race Team.