I was thinking of the bike I had when I was courting my now husband. I was very proud – it had 3 gears!! And I had no problem pedalling up the very long hill he lived at the top of – love eh? I also remember coming down self same hill with feet on handlebars and across the A1 at what is now a major roundabout, after having martinis with his Gran! How times have changed.
Now I am not really a mechanical person, I leave all that to Hubbie and I do get a little confused with all the number of choices out there as regards to gearing, ratio’s, speeds… even the jargon gets me sometimes. However, I do know that without knowing how to shift gear and when, the number of gears you have is completely irrelevant. I know this how? By the number of times I have come off at the start of a hill by trying to go into the wrong gear at the wrong time. It’s like hitting a brick wall, is very inelegant and is accompanied by some rather fruity language on my part. Not to mention the laughter from companions, passing tractors, sheep….
So, I have learned to anticipate the hills where possible. It has eventually sunk into my very untechnical brain that the lower the gear, the easier it is to pedal. So if you are in number 1 on both gear changes (left and right handlebars), you are in the lowest gear possible. 3 and 8 and you are in the highest or hardest. Especially in my case. There is no ‘right’ gear to be in though, it’s all a matter of personal preference and fitness. I may start out at the bottom of the hill half way between the two extremes and end up in the lowest at the top, whereas some of my (lot) fitter friends are still nearly in the highest ratio at the top of the hill. Show offs.
Sometimes no amount of gears will get me to the top. When I am travelling so slow that someone walking overtakes, so slow that I am nearly at a standstill, can’t balance and am in grave danger of keeling over, I know it’s time to put pride aside and dismount.
This April has seen some damp conditions to say the least – although we have had some good sunshine in between. This means very changeable conditions especially for road cyclist. To stay safe you have to change your cycling technique. Not only does it lead to some personally soggy conditions! but it also has a significant effect on the bikes tyres and brakes. The cyclist will have to change cornering techniques and be aware that visibility may be well reduced.
Follow these tips from ‘The Real Buzz’ and your chances of ending in a ditch will be much reduced!
Rain affects the grip of tyres on the road meaning that it is necessary to reduce speeds.
Wet bicycle brake pads are less effective in slowing the cycle. To keep the brakes in a condition where they will produce some braking even when wet, it is best to keep some light pressure on the brake pads. The pads rubbing against the wheel rims wipes away the water so they can respond when pressed.
Cornering on your bicycle in the wet
When cornering, it is best to keep the cycle more upright than in dry conditions.Lean the body more into the turn than the bicycle itself.
In heavy rain, visibility can be poor, with water running into the eyes and spray coming up from other vehicles or cyclists. Glasses with clear or yellow lenses produce the best visibility in heavy rain. Also it is best to make yourself visible to others with a brightly coloured rain jacket.
Cycling in a group in wet conditions
When riding with others, it is best not to ride directly behind the rider in front as this throws up spray and grit. Also, stopping distances will be affected in the wet so it is best to keep a safe distance apart to avoid collisions.
There are some benefits – in warm weather, it reduces the air temperature and it it can keep a lot of other road users at home!!
Okay folks, this is what you have been waiting for. To register for your place in the 2012 Wooler Wheel Cycle challenge, click on this link to British Cycling
Make sure you have your place booked on this exciting event!!