Archive | January 2012

First kit choices

Alasdair here – first gear choices confirmed.

I will be riding my Cube X-Race Pro, with a few changes.

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It’s a cyclocross bike so basically a slightly slower roadie, more compact but with the benefit of canti brakes. The tyres (currently Racing Ralph/Rocket Ron) are a good mix of road speed and offroad grip, so I’m weighing up a move to slicks.

I’m also thinking stronger wheels might be an idea, the Easton EA50s are 20/24 spoke and I’m unsure whether I trust them for 1000 miles fully loaded. I’ll probably replace them with a cheapie Merlin touring set.

Finally, the drivetrain will need replaced by then, I’ve done perhaps 5000 miles on this bike and all I’ve needed is a second chain, but it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable slipping starts…

My first actual purchase that indicates I’m going to go touring (and also that I’m getting old) was a Brooks Swift Chrome. It is a revelation in comfort, being the comfiest saddle I’ve ever ridden after a week of breaking it in. However, with comfort comes a reluctance to move when riding, which might lead to pain so I’ll need to watch out for that.

My other purchase came out of a need for a cycle computer to measure distance/speed. At the same time, I’ve always fancied a heart rate monitor, and the Suunto ones always appealed. However, they don’t do one that offers bike connectivity, HRM and altimeter so I looked at Polar instead. No altimeter either, but a decent computer, HRM and calorimeter in the CS300 is all I really need for biking. Cyclesurgery had them on sale, £25 cheaper than the cheapest elsewhere so I went for that too. Bye bye Christmas money…

The one thing I’d recommend is just wearing it for the commute to get used to your own pace. It’s quite shocking when you see you’re riding at 85% max rate, and so burning next to no fat at all and risking a bonk. That’s one thing I don’t want to happen on the ride itself, it would be a disastrous end to a day to crash out way before our destination. Memories of pushing my bike along the flat on Rannoch Moor, too knackered to continue pedalling, wanting to curl up into a ball and have a cry to myself made that an experience I’d rather not repeat in a hurry!!

Next discussion is around whether we’re going supported or not, or whether we camp or B&B, which will influence the panniers/saddlebag decision. Hopefully all I’ll need is a saddlebag, I’ve ridden with a rack and don’t like what it does to handling but it’s perhaps something I’ll just need to accept…

First post

Welcome to this blog! Its aim to is to follow the progress of James Cran and Alasdair McLean on their quest to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats in July 2012.

There will be posts on various aspects of the venture including; training, gear and route choice.

We hope that it provides entertainment to our friends and family as well as motivating others to challenge themselves!