≡ Menu

Sportive Cyclist helps enthusiastic road cyclists find time to train, conquer hills and ride faster for longer (and no bike snobs allowed)

Join over 3,300 cyclists that receive insanely useful Sportive and Gran Fondo advice by email and get FREE access to my Sportive Cyclist’s Toolbox.
Service Course: In Which Our Hero Starts To Upgrade From Shimano 105 To Ultegra (And May Need To Buy New Wheels) thumbnail

I am pleased to report that my gallant Trek Domane has been in for a service. I am less pleased to report that I have been guilty of a little bike neglect.

But there is a silver lining to every cloud. In this case it’s an Ultegra lining.

And this nimbostratus may even have a platinum lining as we, whisper it, consider… new wheels.

So, without further ado (and another paragraph that starts with a conjunctive), I give you my bike service REPORT! [click to read more…]

{ 23 comments }

Shimano 105 vs Ultegra: Is It Worth It To Upgrade?

Shimano 105 vs Ultegra: Is It Worth It To Upgrade? thumbnail

There comes a time in every road cyclist’s life when it becomes clear* that the quickest way to progress to professional standards of performance is to splash more cash on a random bike component.

(*Not all that clear)

That time occurs before you buy your bike, roughly a week after you’ve bought your bike, then on a weekly basis until you cycle off this mortal coil.

So now is the time to consider whether upgrading from Shimano 105, a perfectly functional bike groupset, to Shimano Ultegra, a perfectly functional bike groupset, will take you from dog-dog to Froome-dog. [click to read more…]

{ 12 comments }

Help A (Poor) Cyclo-Blogger Out (Pretty Please…) 

In today’s post I’m going to ask you for a favour. Please send me money.

I jest.

SEND ME MONEY!

Ahem, I jest once more.

In fact it’s a favour of non-monetary value. [click to read more…]

{ 3 comments }
Torque To The Hand (Or What’s The Best Torque Wrench For Bikes?) thumbnail

It feels like spring is starting to agitate in its loins (as Keats would say). It also feels like I need to show my bike a little TLC after it has spent the winter doing a ‘good job of work’.

And as every beautician will know, performing some serious TLC requires a serious torque wrench.

Whilst I’ve been washing off my bike after most rides, and a couple of weeks ago, I gave the whole drivetrain a (relatively) deep clean, I’m thinking that it might be time to start taking key components off the bike in order to clean (and grease) them properly. I want my summer cycling to hum to the tune of sweetly-tuned gears.

This is another of those ‘research before buying one’ posts. I’ve always known (in my heart of hearts?) what a torque wrench does (it tightens stuff to a precise amount of, er, tightness). But until now I’ve never had cause to use one.

Having decided to buy one, I’ve been doing some research and in this post I’ll share it with you (in case you, too, wish to tighten things to precise levels of tightness). [click to read more…]

{ 15 comments }

First Impressions Of TrainerRoad: Upgrading The Paincave

First Impressions Of TrainerRoad: Upgrading The Paincave thumbnail

I have this sense that there is a secret to training that, if I crack it, will result in my becoming a stronger/faster/more stylish cyclist. If not instantly, then at least overnight.

It is this inner inkling that prompts my fascination with power meters (“If only I had a power meter then a programme of effective training would be within my grasp…”).

My innate Yorkshireness (long arms/deep pockets) means I haven’t quite pulled the trigger and bought one. Perhaps my other inner inkling is saying, “Don’t be ridiculous. Spending £500 on a Stages power meter just because Team Sky uses it is clearly not going to turn you into Luke Rowe.”

And yet, and yet… Those crank-based power meters do look awful shiny…

Thankfully, before I splurged half a monkey (or a couple of stoats) on a cheeky power meter, I remembered an email I received from a company called TrainerRoad, way back in the mists of time 2014… [click to read more…]

{ 5 comments }

Are You Looking For An Entry For RideLondon 2016?

… then look no further, dear cyclist. I might have just what you’re looking for.

Perhaps you missed out on a spot in the ballot? Or you couldn’t commit to raising £500 for a given charity?

Maybe you’ve only just heard of the RideLondon sportive (where have you been!?) and you’re finding that places are now largely gone.

Whatever. Fear not. I have some…. [click to read more…]

{ 1 comment }

What Bike Do I Need For The RideLondon 100?

What Bike Do I Need For The RideLondon 100? thumbnail

… Or indeed any other 100-mile sportive or gran fondo?

This post has been prompted by a reader question over on the Sportive Cyclist Facebook page.

Yes, there is a Sportive Cyclist Facebook page. And yes, this blog has the occasional reader.

So, to repeat, what bike would be suitable for the RideLondon 100 sportive?

This question wasn’t sent in to me by a recently-retired pro, looking to record the course record. There’s no need to discuss the relative merits of a five grand Pinarello versus a top-of-the-range Trek. [click to read more…]

{ 5 comments }

What Is The Best Garmin For Cycling?

What Is The Best Garmin For Cycling? thumbnail

Great question. And one I’m going to attempt to answer.

The purpose of this post is to give you an overview of the Garmin range of cycling GPS devices as we stand (ride?) here in the first months of 2016.

My aim is to give you an idea of what each Garmin Edge model can do, what features each one has, so that you can go down the list and identify the model that is most appropriate to your own requirements.

(Then you can persuade yourself that you do need the latest pedal stroke analysis feature, even though you don’t have a power meter, and buy the shiny top-of-the-range model.)

Fantasy Cycling (Purchases)

Long-time readers (and maybe some short-time ones) will recall that I own a Garmin Edge 510. It is entirely functional and does everything I need from a bike computer (and quite a lot more).

And yet […wistful music starts to play…] I can’t help fantasising* over a new shiny piece of Edge-bling attached to my handlebars.

(*Too strong a word?)

So I find myself keeping up to date with bike tech (not least via the stupendous DC Rainmaker blog).

And from time to time I share some of this ‘research’ with you (you lucky people). Let’s begin! [click to read more…]

{ 28 comments }

Kask Vertigo 2.0 Road Helmet Review: Putting A Lid On It

Kask Vertigo 2.0 Road Helmet Review: Putting A Lid On It thumbnail

I am thinking about helmets.

Specifically the Kask Vertigo 2.0 which is my new piece of head protection de jour.

I’ve been using it for about a couple of months now (since Christmas) and here are my initial thoughts (for what they’re worth…).

A helmet is a very personal thing (ne’er a truer word spoke). On the basis that all established manufacturers adhere to the required safety standards, I reckon most people’s selection criteria is weighted heavily towards how they think they look whilst wearing it*. Which only you can decide.

(*Unless you’re a time trialist, looking to eke out every last aerodynamic benefit, and thus buy one of those daft tear drop shaped affairs.)

Still, in this post I’ll give a brief overview of how I am finding the Kask Vertigo helmet and summarise its features, in the hope that this might be helpful as you make any helmet-buying decisions in the future. [click to read more…]

{ 3 comments }
How To Cycle Every Day (Or 10 Things I Learned Cycle Training For 35 Days In A Row) thumbnail

So i did it. Let the mini trumpets toot.

I successfully achieved my objective of riding every single day for 35 days, from 28th December (last year!) until 31st January 2016.

(Why 35 days? Cos I wanted 16.67% more challenge over last time).

Rather than focus on the stats (which are… epic!), I thought I’d outline some advice that might be helpful if you’re looking to get into into the swing of cycling on a regular basis, as well as some of the benefits I encountered.

Whether you’re new to the sport, or coming back after a winter layoff, setting yourself a challenge can be the perfect way to build a cycling habit and kickstart an improvement in your fitness.

My aim in writing this blog is to help and inspire you to ‘do more cycling’. After all, this website is all about you, dear reader (said the narcissist who publishes photos of himself in Lycra…).

So why should you undertake your own ride-every-day challenge? Because there are benefits (with friends). Begin! [click to read more…]

{ 10 comments }