Monthly Archives: March 2013

The bike and the buddy

Comfort was a priority in choosing my new bike. Low gears for the local hills tempered with fast and light.  I was quickly drawn to the  Specialized Roubaix Compact road bike – named after the grueling Paris-Roubaix race.

I knew that triathlon was not really going to interest me and neither did road racing. I love going on journeys so the criteria of comfort on long rides was the priority and the Roubaix seemed to meet my needs, at a reasonable price.  Having decided in principle my mind was made up on July 9th 2011 when an extra 20% off was offered during Le Tour and together with last years colour I got a deal I was happy with. 105 pedals and a ladies saddle completed the dream machine.

The man in the shop said it would feel like cheating when I got on a hill as it would be effortless. He was wrong.  There was no difference.  I was so disappointed. The reality was that hill climbing ability was down to me – not the bike.  A note from the diary says I had hoped it would be easy and pain free.  It was not.  I was beginning to wish I had gone for that granny cog.

I was still doing all my cycling alone.  The nearest group to ride with is the CTC in Dorchester and it seemed daft to drive for 15 miles to go for a bike ride  and as my time is my own I could ride whenever I wanted to .  I was usually doing my other sitting down sport on Sundays – kayaking on the sea.

In August 2011 – a few weeks after getting my new bike – an old running friend posted on Facebook that he was doing a 100 mile ride round Dorset.  Wow! I wanted to do that.  Can I come Les?  This was such a big deal for me.  Husband followed us round in the van and carried limitless supplies of isotonic drinks, malt loaf, sandwiches and cake.  Les did comment that he had just planned to go to the pub for lunch but I just couldn’t imagine attempting 100 miles without support. That was my first proper cycling adventure.  105 miles – Not bad.  Quite enjoyed it.

The summer continued – running, swimming, sailing, kayaking and weekly mileage on my bike building. On 15th August 2011 I was out in the Bride Valley only a few miles from home one evening . My GPS was playing up and I had stopped to see if I could sort it out. Unusually – along came another road cyclist – he stopped to check that I was OK .  He was also riding a Specialized Roubaix – what a coincidence.  We set off up the valley together and by the end of the ride  we had covered the important bits of life history and realised we rode at about the same pace.   I had a cycling buddy. Steve.



Coming to the more recent past. Cycling began in November 2010.

Claire put the idea into my head by suggesting Lands End – John O’ Groats was a plan for 2011. The bike was brought out from the shed, dusted off, greased up and off I went. I remembered how to clip in and didn’t fall off – but it was so uncomfortable – and very hard work. One big disadvantage of living at sea level is that all roads go upwards – especially in West Dorset.

I am from the North East and before moving South I was not alone in imagining that the terrain south of the Pennines was flat – no hills.  Wrong – West Dorset is very hilly. Not your long drawn out gentle inclines – but long steep stuff – plenty of 20% to choose from down here. So the racing geometry and the high gearing of the old Ribble, that was suitable for the 30 year old racing me needed to be changed.  As I mentioned – I’m from the North – so splashing out on a new bike was not for me! So I took it to the local bike shop and had a new drive train put on as low as the frame would take, and the handlebars raised as far as they would go so my riding position was less radical.
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Ancient History

Ancient history is that I have always been fit and done loads of sport. I enjoy being outdoors and like adventures. As a youngster I played games – hockey, tennis – then at PE College my allegiance went to the mountains – climbing, walking and skiing.

When the babies started arriving I turned to running – the easiest way to get out of the door.  I ran a half marathon between each of the pregnancies and got down to my fighting weight and shape each time before the next baby (I have 4 wonderful daughters). Continue reading