Where to start?

I’ve ridden bikes since I was a small child. I can actually remember the day my dad took the stabilisers off and the feeling of control I first felt what it was like to balance on two wheels narrowly missing the flowerbed in the back garden. To the dismay of my older cousin and his friends, I could wheelie all the way around the local rec non stop. Aged 8 I could probably wheelie over 1km! As well as riding I experimented with bicycle maintenance at a young age. For example, I got quite good at replacing the forks on my BSA 5 speed racer. With hindsight it would’ve been more sensible, and cheaper, to dial in the brakes! Brakes don’t make you go fast though! Due to crashes I think I replaced them at least 3 times. For a short while at least, my parents were probably quite relieved when I saved up and bought a mountain bike, until I got into jumping…

I have stopped riding bikes twice in my life, first time was when I broke my collar bone (whilst jumping a mountain bike) which coincided with passing my driving test. And for a few years I didn’t touch a bike. I think this is an all to common scenario. Then in my early 20s I discovered BMX! It was at the point when BMX was at its least cool, and bikes were built for strength, thus they were very heavy. Although I was never all that good I rode, and lived, BMX for 10 years. Eventually my old-skool steed ruined my back, and again I was forced to take some time off the bike. Then in my early 30s I discovered ale and pies, which led to me putting on weight. A couple of wakeup calls later I opted to give up smoking and take up riding to work. I bought a second hand hybrid for £150 and put it to task. But, after discovering the thrill of hitting 40mph+ going down a steep hill, quickly acquired a decent road bike. Since owning a road bike cycling has again taken a hold of me. I have finally worked out that cycling is a massive part of who I am, life is good when I’m a cyclist.

When I was getting into road cycling I’d not ridden a “racer ” since my BSA 5 speed 20 years previously. I was clueless and hungry for info. There is so much of it out there, which is both a blessing and a curse because it can take a while to get to the useful stuff. So I thought I’d write a few blogs covering the sort of things that took me a while to find and get to grips with. Hopefully this will help out anyone who is at the beginning of the journey I was at a few years ago.


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