The Steed

So my bike finally arrived from Ribble.

After it being delivered to the wrong address, having to re-arrange delivery myself, dealing with the worst customer service in the history of ever and having the build and delivery date pushed back from 14 days all the way to an eventual to 46, Keira is finally with me.

Yes Kiera !

What ?

She’s skinny, she’s white and she’s beautiful. Just like Miss Knightley.

And I’ll stop there with the comparisons before I start talking about the ride etc…………


I would like to spend the whole of this post whinging about Ribble and detailing their every failing but that would make for poor reading, so I am instead going to talk about the bike itself and my first trips out.


As previously mentioned I opted for a full carbon frame and fork set with carbon wrapped finishing gear from ITM.

And she is light, Very light.

If I say that adding the pedals, packed seat bag, water bottle and lights considerably added to the overall weight of the bike then you get an idea of just how light she is.

And because she’s carbon she feels ultra smooth on the road. I had fun racing her around the base last night for a good 40 minutes picking cornering lines and getting used to the handling and she was a dream.

Next up is the wheel set up. I opted for Fulcrum racing 7 wheels and Continental Ultra GartorSkin tires.

I chose the wheels because although they are just as fast as other options in their price bracket they are renowned for being durable as well as light. Add the ultra durable GartorSkins and I believe I have the perfect setup for winter riding.

I went with a full Shimano 105 10 speed compact groupset with 170mm Hollowtech cranks.

And I am very happy, the shifting is refined, braking is good even in the wet and whilst the 105 is a good step-up from the Sora or Tiagra groupsets, I feel it is a lot more durable than the Ultegra and will stand up to the rigors of day to day riding a lot better.

Then there is the saddle…..

A CSN Superleggera K10.

I only rode her 15 miles today, out  and back to Lee on Solent but it feels like it already knows me intimately.

Hopefully I’ll get used to it with time. My precious posterior took quite a battering going over a few bumps on my journey today.

That said, I wasn’t wearing cycle shorts so hopefully that will remedy the problem somewhat. Otherwise I’m going to be walking like John Wayne from now on !

I’ll bare with it for the time being and see how it goes.

Lastly, there is the pedals. They are System EX Em15’s and I feel they’re more suited to a mountain bike. I have no problem with them, They’re duel function so I can have cleats on one side for road shoes, and they hang with the normal pedal side up making life easier for when I have running shoes on but I just think I should have gone with some clip in SPD’s.

They’ll do for the time being but I’ll definitely be upgrading soon.

The last thing to say is that I didn’t opt to have mud guards fitted. Which may have been a bad idea.

I came back looking like a swamp thing last night, and whilst I’m really not at all bothered about getting covered in dirt, I had to spend a good half hour cleaning the mud off my precious new bike once I got home….D’oh




A busy few weeks

So my last few weeks have been extremely busy, and usually that’d be enough of an excuse to sack off the training and revert to my old ways.

Fortunately I haven’t done that. Since my last post I have cracked running 10 miles (Although my daily run is 5), I’ve had my first sea swim and tested my new wetsuit, and I have also tested out my cycling kit by having a few rides out in preparation for my bike finally arriving from Ribble.

The highlight of these past few weeks has to be my first sea swim.

I took the kids down to Bovisand and went out for my swim in the bay. No sooner was I in the water, my two eldest were in there with me. No wetsuits to keep them warm, just youthful exuberance. And the water was COLD !

It was great fun splashing around and brilliant to see the kids so happy to be in the water as well.

It really shows that enthusiasm and a sense of excitement can make even the hardest task fun, and that is something I want to carry through to the rest of this adventure.


I have to say how impressed I am with the wetsuit as well. It makes you so buoyant and swimming in it was a dream. I can’t wait to get a few more swims under my belt.


Something that has changed this month has been my own attitude towards………myself.

I was lucky that my birthday coincided with my new hobby, meaning I could basically buy all the equipment I needed right from the outset.

That said, initially I still did all my training  in my old sports kit and barely wore any of my new stuff.

I think it’s because at first I felt like a fraud. I had “all the gear but no idea” as the saying goes, and I genuinely felt embarrassed to be running in compression clothing, or riding wearing a cycling specific getup.

I guess I was kind of worried that people would see this fat, unfit oaf struggling to do whatever activity I was doing at the time and laugh at the level of kit I was sporting.

Well, I’m still a fat knacker but my view of myself has shifted subtly.

I’m now happy to don whatever attire is best suited to my training.

This last 3 weeks I’ve been wearing tights whilst running.

I know that’s a horrific mental image, and a few people who might be reading may be thinking “Well, it’s not the first time he’s worn tights” but these are compression tights.

And now I don’t care what anyone thinks (or is it what I thought of myself?)

I’m no Mo Farah, but now I can now run 10 miles and I’m training every day, I’m finally starting to feel like I can take myself seriously.

And that’s a nice place to be.


The final part of this puzzle that I really need to sort is my diet, but now I’ve taken control of the rest of my life I feel like that shouldn’t be to such a challenge.

Time to sacrifice the Ginsters

Training aids.

Short of hiring a big man with a stick to motivate me to get out and train, there are two apps I have been using to help keep me focused and working to a plan.

The first of these is MyNetDiary.

The app basically records all the exercise you’ve done, everything  you’ve eaten, and helps you make a plan for weight loss using your targets. You can also record vitamins and supplements taken, water consumption, body measurements etc.

I like that at the end of the day I can see wether I need to go for an extra run to hit my target daily calorie loss, or wether I can have just one more spoon of peanut butter (my new vice) as a reward for putting in the effort that day.

The best part of the app for me is that it gives me an analysis of what I’ve eaten and breaks down the amount of saturated fats, sodium, cholesterol and fiber etc.  Add to that the vast food data you have access to (for example when eating Tesco’s own Greek style yoghurt it actually has the data specific for Tesco’s own yoghurt.) and what you get is a complete little app.

I’d recommend it for anyone trying to lose weight, or for anyone who wants to keep a comprehensive record of their training.

I’d even recommend it for people who are just curious as to how their diet stacks up against the recognized ideal.


The second app I have been finding a great help is MapMyRun.

Now, I used to hate running outdoors, and although this app isn’t solely responsible for my new attitude to outdoor running, it has certainly helped. I initially just used the web based version on my laptop, which let’s you plan out runs in advance and that’s great. I really like to know how far I’m going to run and how long it should take me.

Then I downloaded the GPS enabled app for my phone and that’s when it became fun.

I can just run, with no map, and get feedback on my speed, distance traveled and all other manner of good stuff.

I like to make it a challenge that I do every kilometer a little faster than the last.

Add to that one more important fact, and it has become a very worthwhile app for me.

That important fact is, the GPS map. No more getting lost for me.

And that is a good thing.

I went out for a little jog the other day and got so lost I was looking for moss on trees to try to find which way was north, I even tried to navigate by the sun, but this being the tail end of British summer, the sun was nowhere to be seen behind the thick cover of grey storm clouds…

The app links seamlessly with the web based version so your profiles match up, and it has Facebook integration so you can let everyone know you’ve done some exercise, and returned safely!


So these two apps are my new training buddies. No need for men with big sticks here…..