How to use clip less pedals, (clip in pedals)

The first thing you learn is that pedals that you clip into are actually called clipless, strange I know.
Secondly they take a bit of getting used to,

Like ski bindings, your shoes are held by a sprung mechanism. Everyone will tell you when you are new to clipless that you will fall.  I can tell you it's true, it is almost always a zero speed fall. When you stop, and you haven’t unclipped the foot from the pedal you are left on the ground or in the hedge with the feet stuck in the pedals. Every cyclist I know has experienced this rite of passage.

It’s not pretty, having to take your shoe off to get out of the mechanics of the bike, and as you are stopped, usually the only harm is to the ego, and always embarrassing.  In my case it was at Minster traffic lights and falling into a fence.  Much to the amusement of the white van driver sat at the red light, no harm done to me, or more importantly the bike. The fence, well it was a bit of a battered old thing to start with, now its just a bit more battered.    Tip here is to save yourself too much embarrassment, make sure when you start out the bindings are quite loose so that the shoe comes away from the pedal easily. Wear old or cheap gloves or mittens as your hands will go down to break the fall.

The things to remember is that your feet do not have to be locked in for you to start pedalling  you can put one foot in, and rest the other on top of the pedal, getting a bit of speed and make sure you have a bit of road or pavements ahead, (not fence) before clipping in. Secondly anticipate your stop, take your foot out early and rest it on the top.

Even though I've been riding clipless for just over a week, I've had some wobbles and one fall, I can already feel the advantages of having the foot in a constant position, using  my power more efficiently.  Even picking up new trophies on Strava.  It won’t be long before I’m wondering how did I ride without them, and wanting the tension tightened.





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What do you call a bike


My new shiny bike, named by the manufacturer Specaized, as Amira Sport,  it has a an almost translucent colour with  Lime Green livery.  

By giving your bike a name, it is no longer just a device, it is something you love. All my bikes have had not just manufacturer's names, but personal ones too. Some with more meaning than others, this bike, unlike my others bikes, a name just didn’t come so easily.   After my first 60K or so she was still nameless, then in brilliant sunshine on the local Kentish roads the name just came to me as I looked down at the lime green handlebars at this gift I had brought myself.


Beryl

Beryl

So this bike, just feels like a Beryl, a semi precious stone with the chemical compound  Be3Al2(SiO3)6  they come in different colours including lime green.  Like a Specalized bike, the stones can be found in Europe and California as well as other parts of the world.   You may be familiar with the Dark Green Beryl is also known as an emerald, while the greenish-yellow shades synonymous with heliodor (from Greek hēlios – ἥλιος "sun" + dōron – δῶρον “gift”).  

Beryl Helidor


Beryl Burton, British cycling legend who dominated women’s cycle racing in the UK, winning more than 90 domestic championships and seven world titles

and finally and perhaps most importantly:
Beryl Adams: My maternal grandmother, not famous but much loved.




Finding a name for the new beast


Over the last couple of years, I have become a total cycle fan.  Discovering new routes, cycle lane, local country side has been a joy.  The added health benefits, with regular riding my legs have changed shape, my arms and lungs feel strong, my clothes fit more comfortably, and all round I feel energised.  Using less and less petrol I have saved money on the car expenses, but I don't have more money, because with cycling comes a passion for new bikes, jerseys and accessories.




Over the years I've had various bikes, starting out with a rusty old things that have been abandoned in the boat yard, Greek island equivalent of found in a skip. On an island where there where more donkeys than cycles, no such thing as a bike shop, now that's a real find.   I named that one in Greek γαϊδούρι  (gaïdoúri -donkey), and also meaning stubborn.  Rust brushed off with a wire brush and oiled with olive oil,  and marine engine grease,  puncture repair kit, flown out from the UK and a bit of help from friends, we got her going. 
  
After moving home to the UK, came Doris:  Drive on Road Intelligence System  she was my first new bike since childhood. Not really knowing the local terrain or where my interest would fall, I was well advised to buy a hybrid bike, that would do well on road or trail. Doris and I we explored the local paths, coastal trails and country roads.   Soon I was dressing her up, not with saddle blankets but skinny tyres and a few fancy lights.  I cared for her well, washing her down at the end of a hot day, and fed her not with buckets of feed but bottles of chain lube.

Now I have a new bike, and am lost what to call her.  She is light as a feather, and rides like a dream, makeing even Doris feel like the stubborn old donkey.

Giadouri, Doris and the new baby in the stable.








The Great Stour Way



National cycle route 18: 
Canterbury to Ashford

We found the cycle path at the back of Morrisons supermarket on the Wincheap side of Canterbury and headed out West on the cycle way along the Stour River.

A quite off road path, along the river, heading upstream. We admired the houses on the other side, some with curious seating by the river, many of the homes flying the St George's Flag, as it was the days of the world cup. Gardens looking delightful, either immaculately tended or overgrown in wildlife, glowing in the best of the weeks weather.

Soon we were both glowing too, as we cruised comfortable along the path to the Chartham village green, before whizzing downhill on an empty country lane to Chilham. Already we had lost the path, and ended up in the traffic on the busy A28, we pushed on up the forest lined narrow hills as the heavy traffic thundered by.

The sign for Wye, a refreshing sight as we knew we were turning left back onto the Kentish lanes and into Ashford.  Friends who hadn’t seen each other in years, we caught up with a cheap coffee by the fountain, in the centre of Ashford reminisced as we rested our legs, chatting about this and that as old friends do.  It was good to catch up after so long our lives having crossed path in Greece many years before, both of us Greek island travellers and retired skiers give-up seasons in the Alpes with knackered knees, this is the perfect exercise.  Having left my cash card in the car, and not wanting to borrow money getting the train back was out of the question, so we cycled, this time leaving central Ashford we found the path with ease, and pedalled along a series of country roads.






Going on, climbing up to Wye village, before a short stretch through Eggringe and Denge woods a traffic free path parallel with the road, high on the hill. The ridge through woodland, and farm land fields of sheep with lambs, looking down and across the valley, glimpses of the river below.  Rabbits and greenwood pecker, other birds too, although I couldn't say what they were. Spectacular views, pretty villages, and few sharp climbs to test our legs, before arriving back into Canterbury.

Overall all a lovely ride, great day, and good company, I would recommend National Cycle Route 18 - and wouldn’t mind trying it, the 65 miles or so, all the way to Tunbridge Wells, but then I might just have to get the train back!

I will be wearing Green and it has nothing to do with Sprint.


Yellow: The maillot jaune,  The yellow jersey is the well know shirt of the tour de France.  It is warn by the overall leader of the race so far.  The yellow jersey is awarded at the end of each of the 20 race days.  Each day the times are added to the total from the previous days and the fastest overall wears the yellow the next day.

Green: Vert, this is the sprinters jersey, the amount of sprint points depends on the days course, a flat course produces more points than the hills, some parts of the course have minis-sprints that are worth sprint points.  I and the other volunteers on the Grand Depart will also be wearing Green, although tee shirts and jackets not cycling jerseys,  something to do with the sponsorship from a large all know supermarket. ASDA

The white with red spots, is the King of the Mountains, on the women’s Tour of course it is the Queen,  but as yet no women compete in the Tour de France,  on this race there will only be Kings.  Points awarded for hills or mountains.

White:  This is the fastest of the young riders, under 25. Certainly the ones to watch for the future.

There are other shirts too, mostly team colours, really this is a team race. Each team will have both sprinters and climbers, and some of the riders support their teams elite by protecting them.  The Team prize is based on the three fastest riders of the team.


On the flat roads, like those here in the UK there will be only seconds between the pack, known as the peloton.  The route is tough, covering over 2,250 miles with some very steep mountains. The Alps - where you will see the best separate from the peloton.    It would take about 40 hours to drive the route by car, and even longer for the caravan of support wagons and floats to cover the course.





I'll be supporting the team sponsored by Sky, their team shirts are black with a sky blue stripe, although of course I hope that they will be wearing the coloured shirts after the first day.


Making Headlines

My profile has made it into Rendezvous, sounds like a dating site, but it's not - It's the micro social media site for the volunteers at the Grand de Depart, the UK part of the Tour de France.  The Team have put it up, with a headliner banner!

A few of my friends were Games-maker's on the Social Media team for the London Games 2012, but it looks like the digital media team is being headed up, in the North!   I say that with a smile, and a wink, as there has been much banter about Yorkshire v Southerners and the uniforms.  The Grande Depart, the first three days of the Tour de France, is a great show case for the whole of Britain,  all of it's fantastic in it's own way.





It doesn't look as if volunteers are working in the back room jobs, only for those facing the public!  Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.  I only say this because, the Social Media Team it is something I would have liked to have got into..  A voluntary foot in the door, of an area that fascinates me, in so many ways, and it's a job you should be able to do remotely!

So, I'm waiting to find out exactly what I will be doing, on Monday the 7th the third day of the Tour in Britian, Stage 3, sector 6.  That's twelve miles area from around Olympic Park towards The Island.  Ee-by-gum, I better explain, The Island is the what cyclist's in London, call Canary Wharf!

I will be watching glued to the big screens, on the first day, and during the second taking a sneaky look at my social feeds on my phone,  as Sunday, I'm going to an important family do..  I have to be there, I'm the Godmother!   Guess I will have to record the ITV coverage for the evening.

By the time I start my first shift, some of you, from day one and two, may be putting your feet up, with a cuppa of a certain brand of tea!  So look out for me I will be wearing green, supporting sky blue and wanting our boys to get a yellow shirt and the white one with red spots, and a green one too...

It's been some years since I spent any sort of time in Yorkshire, around Swalesdale, to be exact, my memories are all very happy ones, great people and and some fantastic friends.  So I break the myth, its true I've been North of Watford Gap ;-) and on the roads between York and Harrogate,  just not on a bike!

Hopefully I will get the time to return to that part of the country, catch up with friends and make new ones. I'd like to cycle the full UK route of the Grand Départ maybe an anniversary ride next summer, because right now my diary is simply full.

Saving money for a new bike, and cycling to work

I'm quite good at economising, taking on extra shifts and cycling to work, a necessity when trying to save money, especially when I'm planning to buy an expensive new bike!  Some things are worth the effort.

An hour and a half in the saddle to get to work in the morning, tat's fine, I've done it a few times on the flat-ish to Eastry.  I'm just not sure that I would make it up that last hill, past the Gibbsons, farm shop and on that little bit further to Aylesham.  On training rides I struggle up the hill out of Wingham, and stop at the shop for substance, turning towards Sandwich with a big grin,  mostly because I'm then full of sandwich heading to Sandwich, which always makes me laugh, (Corney I know)  and although it's the half-way point it feels easy as I go on whizzing downhill to sea level, and round the coast to get home.  My day off, training ride is a round trip of 60Km,  it's just putting my toes in the water to commute is something else.

To carry on to Aylesham and cycle for an extra shift, it would be 66Km a time, at least my ride would be broken into two 33K trips, I should be able to do that comfortably, but that last 3Km is all up a long slow hill :-(

get up that last hill

Just think what I would save in petrol and what three hours of exercise a day could do for my figure!  The question is would I actually make it that few miles further into work?

Getting home again is ok, its downhill!

Cycling has changed little!

Reading up on the very rare Thanet Silverthan Ladies vintage bike,  I'm amazed how the rare 1947  frame, compares with todays Specalized Ladies, Vita an all round modern hybrid bike, that I ride here in Thanet.



Todays down tube is a much thicker than the 1/4inch tube of the early Thanet Silverthan, The top bar a totally different shape and the angle of the rear stays smaller, of course the materials are different and there are no derailleurs. But the shape of the frame appears much the same.

I would love to get my hands on an original Thanet silverlight, a or even the Thanet Silverthan Ladies frame, so if anyone has got one collecting dust at the back of an outhouse somewhere, then please get in touch.

Great legs and much more

Contrary to general perceptions, cycling is not a fitness activity that solely involves the legs.  Cycling builds strength in a holistic manner since every single part of the body is involved in cycling. After todays great 60 kilometre ride out to Wingham with strong wind in the face this morning I  can certainly see the benefits of more toned body shape, when I jump in the shower after the ride.  Perhaps the muscles are just pumped up, but it still feels good.  My arms and tummy are tingling from pushing myself against the wind, while achieving some personal best times on some stretches of the road.

I felt elated, and even more elated after checking the data as I got in the door.  OK I'm not perfect, on one hill, the wind in my face, the elevation and the distance had got to me, and I ended up getting off and pushing the bike up the last part of the hill that I managed to get up for the first time at the end of last week.

2009-06-21 1250 a Nevada City Classic
Just look at those arms !

I doubt I will ever be as strong as these guys, but cycling is the ideal sport if you can't commit to team sports due to time restraints, you can jump on your bike anytime of day or night, even using it to get to and from work. With a small smart phone app, you can compete agains personal speeds and/or distances as well as those of others, as you go faster and further,  building stamina and strength.

The Road, will it drive cyclists around the bend?


So we have Official Song of the Yorkshire Grand Départ 2014





Branding in music has been around for years, music in branding, only really started to be written about in 1989 and way back then Huron wrote on the subject “music can serve the overall promotional goals in one or more of several capacities.”   We all know that music can evoke the mind. Music is something we can engage with, an anthem or theme can create loyalty and advocacy, just think of a football supporter in the stands, or even the music of religion, well that has been around since long before 1989!

So we have the Official Song of the Yorkshire Grand Départ, I’m not sure of the value for the given brand -  The visual on the screen gives the right message, take away the words and visuals and just listen to the music, does the tempo represent something that is actually a competative and high speed race?  

It's well known that listening to music and cycling is a serious safety issue. Music that drives every cyclist around the bend, hum... Is that going to have the desired brand effect?   Oh well, I'm not expert, I'm going out now

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like.