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cycling

Posted on December 4, 2013

Tacx Blue Motion Tubo Trainer Review

cycling/ review
turbo trainer
Those of you that follow my fashion blog, will know that I recently bought a Turbo Trainer. This one, to be exact. 
With winter approaching, I knew my fear of the rain would have a massive impact on my biking, so it was time to invest in a trainer.
tacx turbo trainer
The trainer comes in a flat box and you have to assemble this yourself.
I’m a girl, and was able to do this at 3am after doing a 14 hour shift on no sleep – so if I can do it, you can.
It requires no additional tools. The instructions are a little.. abstract, so to speak. I ended up putting the part the wheel sits on back to front at one point, but I don’t know if that was because I was tired, because the picture instructions don’t explain it very well, or simply because I am Corinne. 
tacx blue motion turbo trainer
Once the trainer is assembled, you can put the ‘resistance thingy’ on (oh yes, clearly I’m a professional blogger). It clips on the front of your bike and allows you to adjust the resistance of the trainer.
turbo trainer
You can feel that you get a good work out on this, I usually do about 40-50 mins at a time and I get a sweat going.
The only negative is that it does wear your back tyre quite a bit so I recommend getting a turbo trainer tyre, it is a solid piece of kit though, once assembled it is very easy to use.
tacx turbo trainer
The Tacx Blue Motion Turbo Trainer retails for around £150.
tacx blue motion

Posted on November 9, 2013

Using clipless pedals for the first time.

cycling
So today, I took the plunge. I ordered myself some cycling shoes, these ones, to be exact (view).
As well as these pedals (View).
I also bought a pedal wrench.
It is a terrifying thing, isn’t it? I’ve heard the horror stories, seen the videos. Cyclists unable to ‘clip out’ in time and simply toppling over.
I’ve always heard about how once mastered, the efficiency is amazing.
I will post again with my experience of how easy/hard I found them. And hopefully some tips.
Wish me luck.

Posted on September 21, 2013

Cycling Starter Accessories

cycling

If you have ever gone into a bike shop, or had a poke around the web for cycling accessories, you probably ended up a little overwhelmed. Here are my accessories which I could not live without and that I recommend any beginners cyclist to purchase.

giro helmet
Helmet – Giro Ladies Venus £23.99 via wiggle.
I’m sure I don’t really need to go into too much detail here, always wear a helmet!
iphone bike holder
Biologic Bike Mount for iPhone 5 £35.99 via wiggle
This weatherproof bike mount is ideal for you if you are using your phone as a GPS tracker. I use the mapmyride app to map out routes, follow routes, track my time, distance, speed and find my way home if I get a bit lost! 
mobile phone charger
Mobile Phone Charger £9.99 via Amazon
iPhone charging cable £5.00 via Amazon
Using GPS on your phone can really drain the battery life. I got this so I could top up during rests to avoid getting lost!
saddle bag
ToPeak Large Saddle Bag £13.99 via wiggle
My bike came equipped with a saddle bag, but it only had enough room to put a spare inner tube in. I wanted something bigger to carry around more things so I opted for this larger one. I can comfortably fit in a hi viz jacket, multi tool, spare inner tube and tyre leavers and couple of energy bars and gels.
bike cages
Cages.
These cages came with my bike. I usually have energy drink in one, and normal cordial juice in the other.

Pump.
This also came with the bike, attached to my bike to save my life if I encounter a flat!

multitool innertube
Spare inner and tyre leavers which came with the bike,
bike multi took £9.99 via amazon.
bike pump
Life line floor pump – via wiggle but sold out now. 
What accessories could you not live without? 

Posted on September 7, 2013

Getting cycling clothes cheap – A Beginners Guide.

cycling
Starting cycling can be expensive. The bike itself is a substantial amount of money (my entry level womans road bike – a Specialized Dolce EQ was £670) – then you have to get the correct clothing on top of that. Doom. You can expect to easily spend £50 on a top, and £50 on a pair of padded shorts if you are not careful. 
I knew when I first started out, that I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on gear until I was really into cycling and doing long distances. Obviously you pay for quality, but to begin with you do not need the best padded shorts when you are doing under 20 miles, or a branded top. I’ve seen a lot of cyclists while being out, some wear normal clothes, some wear a normal tee and tracksuit bottoms or combats, some wear expensive brand named gear. 
The following items are items I own from Sports Direct. They also do mens clothing so please check out the website for more items.
1. Jacket £9.50
2. Jersey £7.50
3. Jersey £14.99
4. Jersey £7.50
5. Padded Shorts £9.99
6. Hi Viz Jacket £27.99
7. Padded Shorts £6
8. Bike Mits £5.99
I also got these sunglasses from Amazon for £11.95 and use the same trainers I run in, as I do not use clips yet!
I have two jackets, number 1 for when it is cold and number 6 for when it is warm but raining. The Nike Hi Viz jacket was a God send today when it was raining while I was out! It is small enough to fit in my saddle bag and is wind and water proof. It’s very light material so is not uncomfortable if it is generally a warm day. 
The jerseys – well, they each have 3 pockets at the bag to put things in, such a food, or even the Hi Viz jacket. Also has a zip pocket where I keep my key and usually a bit of money.
I have two pairs of padded shorts – one is longer than the other. I don’t really have a preference, I was a bit reluctant to get cheap shorts at first for fear they will be uncomfortable, but I haven’t had much discomfort at all. Then again, I have never ridden over two hours at a time.
Finally – the bike mits are a must. I have never ever ridden without them and would feel very vulnerable if I did not have them on! The sunglasses are also a must – wind in your face and the change of flies in your eyes – no thanks!
These are not fancy brands at all, but decent enough to start out on. My plan is to slowly add better clothing into my collection. I have the basics now and they do the job just fine. 
Posted on August 21, 2013

Buying a Bike – A Beginners Guide

cycling
Buying a Road Bike for Beginners.
There are tonnes of different bikes out on the market at the moment, it can be quite daunting to know what to look for in your first bike, especially if you have little or no knowledge about biking. 
Type of Bike.
The first thing would be to decide what you actually want out of the bike. Tourers, road racing bikes, hybrids, sportives, mountain bikes – argh! I will try to make this as basic and simple as possible. 
Tourers – heavier in weight that road bikes, they are built for carrying more and have better comfort and stability than a road bike. 
Road Racing Bikes – lighter in weight and built for speed. 
Hybrid Bikes – A cross between a road bike and a mountain bike. They have flat handle bars for a more upright position and the tyres are both suitable for roads and bike trails.
Sportive Bikes – Not as aerodynamic as a road bike, they have a more upright riding position making longer rides more comfortable.
Mountain Bikes – Used for off the road biking – thinker tyres with plenty of tread for all those bumpy trails. You can use them on the road if you wish, but are a hindrance. 
Once you have decided what type of bike you need, have a think about your budget. Bikes can be expensive – although it may be tempting to get a cheaper bike, you do get what you pay for. I would not recommend paying less than £500 on a bike. My Specialized Dolce Equipped cost me £670, and is pretty much an entry level woman’s road bike. 
Brands.
Reaching into brands and reading reviews can be a great help. You cannot go far wrong with the main brands, such as Specialized, Giant, Trek, Focus and Cannondale. I scowled the websites of these brands, then read reviews of any bike that took my fancy. 
Frame Material. 
Aluminium frames are the cheapest, and what I would recommend for new riders. Although Carbon is lighter, it is far more expensive and not as strong. Carbon frames are more likely to take damage in a crash or collision, and the extra cost is not worth the few seconds it will take off your time, unless you are into hardcore racing. 
Group Set.
Okay, here is the part which will probably go over the head of most beginners. The is basically the gears, front chain rings, rear cassettes etc. There are three main companies to pick from are Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo. It’s the group set that can make the major difference in price on a bike. Most manufacturers produce a frame with different group sets, from basic up to expert. Shimano is the best for a budget.

Crank Set.
What you need depends on whether you will be tackling those big hills, or sticking to mainly flat roads. A Triple Crank has most gears, a Double Crank set has less rations than a triple and a Compact Crank Set is kind of a half way house between the two.
Pedals.
Clip in pedals are obviously the most popular for road cyclists, but for beginners – nope. Unless you are willing to find yourself toppling over at a junction – you need to avoid these until you are more experienced. Cages are another option, but also require practice. My bike came with caged pedals, and I couldn’t think of anything more scary than having my feet strapped onto the pedals while very trying to make my way, very rigidly (trying to look cool) around my neighbourhood. I initially rode with the cages upside down, then sawed them off with a hack saw after the bottoms of the cages caught the road around corners! There are easier ways to change your pedals – only I did not have a pedal wrench at the time. A flat set of pedals cost me £4 from Tesco. You defiantly need to have your feet free while getting used to the bike! This is a mistake a made – not asking about the pedals that came with my bike. I am sure if I had asked this before hand, they could have very quickly and easily changed them for me. You live, you learn, you share, I guess.

After researching this information, I had an idea in my head what type of bike I wanted, what I wanted to do with it and the price I was willing to pay. The best thing to do is walk into a bike shop and speak to somebody there – they are able to advice you what is best, let you sit on the bikes to get a feel for them, make sure you get the right fit and answer any questions you may have. 

Buying a bike can be very expensive, so you want to make sure you are getting a good quality bike that fits your needs and will last you a long time. There is not only the bike to think of, but clothing, safety equipment and the cost of maintenance. All these topics will be covered in future posts.
Corinne.  
Posted on August 18, 2013

Cycling for Beginners

cycling

This is the first entry of a site that is still very much under construction.

I have recently discovered the joys of road cycling, I am very much a beginner and aim to mould this website into something of value to every body out there that is interested in starting this sport. I will talk about topics such as finding your first bike, training, the gear you need, nutrition – and more.
specialized dolce equipped
I am armed with my new Specialized Dolce Equipped and will be updating shortly.

Please stay turned.

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