≡ Menu

My wife has a habit of buying me ‘experiences’ for Christmas and birthdays. I have a habit of not getting around to going on them.

I’m not sure mi amor has entirely forgiven me for not going to a driving track day that she bought me very early in our courtship. More recently I only got round to attending a sailing taster session (birthday present) a few hours before the voucher expired (i.e. my next birthday).

This ungrateful behaviour doesn’t seem to stop her.

And to be fair, she’d be forgiven for thinking that a voucher entitling me to a series of track sessions at the recently-built Derby velodrome, would be a Christmas gift I’d (i) be delighted to receive; and (ii) be motivated to book myself onto the session.

She was right about (i). Delighted.

The issue was (ii).

Time slips away. Derby City Council do not make it easy to find and book yourself onto a session. I finally got round to organising my first session in November.

And here is how I got on (spoiler alert: it was brilliant). [click to read more…]


Last Minute Christmas Gifts For Cyclists


’Twas the (fort)night before Christmas, and all through your head, no present ideas were stirring, not even a shed*.

I know. You’ve got every confidence in Amazon Prime, and its army of self-flying drones (this is a REAL thing people), to provide next day delivery right up til Christmas Eve.

But you really want to get your Christmas shopping sorted and this is the weekend you’re going to do it.

Mais what to buy? (Or to suggest that others buy you?)

Fear not. Monty has suggestions. He has a pret-a-manger Christmas list, which he (I) will share with you now.

So, on (your bike) Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!

Read on below and see what your mitzen.


(*We literally just bought (and I built) a shed for our son’s 8th birthday… the photo is at the bottom of the post…)

[click to read more…]

{ 1 comment }

The Sportiveur’s Guide To Winter Cycling Tights

The Sportiveur’s Guide To Winter Cycling Tights thumbnail

For a long time, when I saw pro riders (or those who wanted to look like pro riders) training in cold weather, I assumed they were wearing tights underneath their cycling shorts.

It took me an awfully long time (too long) to realise that this wasn’t the case (I hope it wasn’t the case) and they were most likely wearing knee or leg warmers.

The aim of this post is shed a little light on the subject of winter cycling tights. I doubt that too much light is required, for it is hardly a challenging subject.

Still, despite October’s best efforts to remain mild, colder temperatures are upon us. A vital aspect of enjoying your cycling during the winter months is to ensure you’re adequately attired. Cycling tights should be an important part of the your adequate attire. [click to read more…]

Whose Coat Is That Jacket: Best Winter Jackets For Road Cyclists 2017 thumbnail

Hmm. If I had any sense, I’d have published this post some time ago, giving you time to study it (yes, study it) and invest (yes, invest) in a winter jacket ahead of the actual, you know, winter.

But I don’t have any sense.

And to be honest, I’m struggling, based on recent weather here in the soon-to-be-set-continentally-adrift UK, to decide what season it is. So let’s just assume it’s winter jacket buying season.

Let’s further assume that you have 10 minutes (5 minutes…. [small voice] 2… minutes [/small voice]) to read my ill-informed drivel ‘pon the subject.

And let’s assume that your time…. starts…. NOW! [click to read more…]


The Ultimate Guide To Fitness Training For Road Cyclists

The Ultimate Guide To Fitness Training For Road Cyclists thumbnail

Okay, here’s the jam. In this post we’re going to talk about training. A lot.


Well, I’d posit that most you are here to improve your cycling performance in some fashion (here, as in on this website, rather than here on this earth).

If you’re just starting out, that might be achieved through upping your confidence and motivation levels simply to ‘do more cycling’.

For everyone else, whether you want to ride longer distances, to up your average speed, to improve your climbing ability, it is structured training that will help you get there.

For sure, ‘doing more cycling’ will achieve some results. But there is a limit to how much more cycling you can do – there aren’t enough hours in the day; there is a limit to what your body can sustain before it breaks down.

At some point, if you’re following a random-walk training ‘programme’, your performance level will plateau and may start to decline (particularly if you’re an ‘elder statesman of le peloton’).

In this super-detailed post, we’re going to learn together about the theory and practice of fitness, to help you create an individualised training programme that suits you.

How do you like them apples? [click to read more…]

{ 1 comment }

Garmin Edge 820 vs Edge 520: Battle Royale (No Holds Barred)

Garmin Edge 820 vs Edge 520: Battle Royale (No Holds Barred) thumbnail

When I first wrote this post, my brother-in-law’s Garmin Edge 500 had finally given up the ghost and he was in the market for a new bike computer.

I took the opportunity to research the Edge 520 and Edge 820 in detail and consider which would be the best replacement bike computer. I then used this research to write this post, which you can use to help make your buying decision if you’re in the same boat (or on the same bike).

I could keep you in suspenders as to which one he went for (in fact, which one the family clubbed together to buy him for his birthday) until the end of this post…. but it’s really not that exciting (whisper: we went for the Edge 520).

If you want to want to find out which is best for you (and if I’ll buy you one for *your* birthday), read on (MacDuff).

Bike Computers Mentioned In This Post…

… in case you didn’t read the introduction, today I’m comparing the:

(BTW, these are affiliate links – if you click one and buy something, I get a small commission and you get the warm glow of supporting the Sportive Cyclist website – whilst paying no more than normal.)

Incidentally, both devices are great. I’m sure you’d be happy with either. But if you want to know how they differ (and which would win in a fight), it’s probably time to read on…

[click to read more…]


How Do Pro Cyclists Train?

How Do Pro Cyclists Train? thumbnail

Ooh, it’s very technical. I’m not sure you’d understand. I’m certain that I don’t.

But lack of knowledge, competence and intelligence has not tended to stop me writing about a subject here on Sportive Cyclist. So I’m going to give it a crack.

As an esteemed (not to mention gloriously-handsome) Sportive Cyclist reader, I’m sure you’ll have the wherewithall to draw out the relevant lessons for your own training and performance (hint: plan it out in advance; follow the plan; adapt the plan as your circumstances change).

Let’s go! [click to read more…]


The eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed mention on this ‘ere blog of an upcoming family holiday (training camp) in Mallorca. That holiday has come and gone. Thankfully I am pleased to report that quite a bit of road cycling took place.

Since I’ve road bike holidayed in Mallorca twice now, I feel (semi-)qualified to present my “ultimate” guide on the subject. My aim is help you get the most road cycling goodness out of your holiday to the island, particularly if you have to work around other non-cycling family members who apparently just went there for a bit of sun…

My report will be structured largely as a report on my own holiday because i) it worked quite well; and ii) I haven’t done an exhaustive study of all the road cycling opportunities on the island. So put that in your inner tube and pump it. [click to read more…]


Join me as I investigate the best power meters available for road cyclists in the glorious year of 2017.

Now I don’t own a power meter. I keep hoping that if I write about the topic enough, one of the power meter companies might notice and send me a free one.

Fat chance. At some point I’m going to have to buy one.

And me being me, I’ve done all the research to work out which one I’d get, for when the urge to splurge finally becomes unbearable (or when my training becomes so consistent that ‘training with power’ would give me a material uplift in fitness).

I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt with you good readers of the Sportive Cyclist (and a few of the naughty ones too).

So I give you, the Sportive Cyclist Guide to Cycling Power Meters.

[Fanfare. Mont exits with a flourish] [click to read more…]


How To Improve Your Pedalling Technique

How To Improve Your Pedalling Technique thumbnail

In this post we will explore pedalling (‘pedaling’ if you are American) technique for road cyclists. This is an important area.

The meeting of foot and pedal is the primary interface between human and bicycle (well, primary moving interface – you wouldn’t get padded cycling shorts if there wasn’t a pretty significant ‘interface’ in that area as well).

Good technique increases the efficiency with which the power that we generate is turned into forward movement. It also helps avoid injury, both by avoiding unnecessary strain on joints and ligaments and by promoting an even strengthening across the leg and core muscles.

This post is, in fact, in response to a reader request. The Lanterne Rouge wrote,

“… I’ve been struggling with my pedalling technique for some time. Books and the internet give all sorts of advice. Perhaps you might blog on the subject of perfecting ones pedalling technique and when and what variation might be appropriate?…”

Let’s start at the beginning. [click to read more…]