Cycling Begins

So I finally took my bike out on a “bike ride” rather than just up and down Park St. in Bristol. I’ve had my Carrera strapped to the back of the old mans beamer and bought over the Severn and back to the motherland.

Every Sunday a couple of the locals hop on various types of bike and go for a leisurely ride around the delights of South-East Wales. I’ve never been on one of these, mainly because my choice of steed would have been either a Raleigh Chopper or a No Logo fixie but not any more, I have my road bike!

Since this photo I’ve fitted a water bottle and a pressure gauge pump to the frame which I was originally reluctant to do because aesthetics, but I ruin almost all of my possessions so it’s only a matter of time. Whilst I have utterly no idea what an expensive, super light bike feels to ride, I’m incredibly happy with the value for money with the Carrera TDF (Wish it was TCF). I imagine the gears could feel a bit more “tight” as the shifters don’t exactly feel like top of the range plastics let alone carbon fibre. You get what you pay for and all that jazz.

So as for the ride. I’m sorry to point out if any of the chaps who came come across this (if they can find it, 1/4 don’t have smart phones), but you guys ain’t quick. This could be down to the fact that when  I went out on Sunday, I expected to train in the same way I would when I run. This was the Sunday Stroll of Bike Rides and I think I’ll keep it up. They mentioned cycling up to Big Pit is something they’ve done before and I can imagine that’d have some decent climbs.

So training aside, the bike went well. It was fast, faster than the mountain bikes and hybrids as most people would expect but as for me, I had no idea just how much a difference it would make. Especially hills. Coming down into Ponthir on some back road I’ve never heard of was stupidly scary as I don’t have all that much confidence in the brakes on these road bikes, I find I tend to slip and I’m not sure why. I also took this oppurtunity to hook up Strava and give that a try for my first long cycle. The GPS didn’t drain my battery nearly as quickly as I manage to when I’m just using my phone on a day to day basis (I tend to charge iPhone 6, 4x a day from 0-100%). Strava has some absolutely hilarious names for roads, “Llantrisant little b***ard hill that I hate” is one of my personal favorites from our route.

We even stopped at a burger van and had a sausage sandwich in a retail park. This makes the ride seem was less scenic than I may have mentioned earlier on but actually, we cycled along the canal in Cwmbran which was all in all extremely pleasant.

After covering 42km over 3 hours including a stop for a sausage sarnie and a cuppa, I’m left wanting more. I’m looking forward to getting out and training a bit on my own and continuing the weekend cycles, most likely for the 3 times a month I’m planning on being home this year.

Tim Ford

Tim Ford - Member of Public. Member of Staff. Constantly reviewing passions, somehow still running this website years on.