Sky Ride Blackpool

August 31, 2011

This was my third Sky Ride of the year and after having gone to Manchester Sky Ride a couple of weeks earlier I didn’t have high expectations.

Sky Ride Blackpool is the first Sky Ride I’ve gone to and come away thinking this is brilliant. It was one of the smallest Sky Rides I’d been on but had one of the biggest selling points. It didn’t seem to be focused on a main event village, where at previous events people would try and consume their own weight in Gatorade, and more importantly not get out on the route.

The route left Stanley Park and took you straight through to the closed-roads of Blackpool. It was a relatively short route, but one that took in some of Blackpool’s most iconic features, the promenade and of course the Blackpool Tower.

Sky Ride Blackpool was the most pleasurable Sky Ride I’ve ever been on! It had encompassed a feeling I felt at my first Sky Ride 2 years ago; the overwhelming feeling of safety. The organisers for Blackpool Sky Ride took a massive risk planning the route, but it payed off. Blackpool didn’t shut down, yes roads were closed, but the park was still open to people going about their day-to-day business, from skating at the BMX track, to families playing cricket. The health and safety wommbles must have had a heart attack when even attempting to fill out their risk assessment forms, but this was the first Sky Ride I’ve been to that had a natural and authentic feel. You could tell you were still in Blackpool, not in one of Rupert Murdoch’s advertisements.

I think next time their planning a Sky Ride, the health and safety wommbles should leave their clipboards, risk-assessment forms, and PR objectives at home and let the city come through. They’ve all seemed a bit to ‘perfect’ recently, and lacking some inspiration. 

Note to Sky Ride:  Let the city come through, let cafe’s do their business. A world food market and Sky Ride, now that’s a beautiful combination. 

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Sky Ride London

September 7, 2011

This weekend I went down to London to sample Sky Ride London (not for the first time) and I was more then pleasantly surprised. The route was yet again superb bringing in all of London’s historic monuments. The Mall, Buckingham Palace, The London Eye; you name it, it was there.

The route started in St. James Park, and left heading towards the Embankment, which in itself is an amazing experience riding down.
The ride was taking in London, but for me the most memorable experience was riding down the Mall, taking in Buckingham Palace.

London is probably one of the best places to take in on bike. There are so many sites, and it is perfect going at bike speed.

However, for me the highlight of my trip down to London was the ride through London’s city centre WITH traffic. Nothing gets the heart going more than trying to squeeze down a gap, that you and the bus driver know, is too small. It certainly makes you find the extra gear up your cassette.

Start of Sky Ride

Start of Sky Ride

London Eye

London Eye

Riding up the Embankment

Riding up the Embankment

View of parliament

View of parliament

Big Ben

Big Ben

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Victoria Monument

Victoria Monument

St James' Park

St James’ Park

I think finding the perfect accessories is important for any bike, but when building a vintage bike I can’t think of anything better. It’s what really sets off the bike, and what (most) people get the kick out of.

I’ve found these for my bike build, it’s took me a couple of days but I think I’ve finally whittled it down. This is like the X-Factor for bikes, but far more important.

Two hours on the Turbo

September 1, 2011

Today I woke up and climbed on the turbo feeling good. I turned chicken run on and started to hammer it. I felt good, and tried to keep a cadence of about 80 rpm. It was all going well until the last 10 minutes when I decided to bury myself (Chicken Run had ended at this point). I pushed it to a 100 revs a minute pushing a 110″ gear. A 2 minute sprint finished off the session and has left my shaking for the past 3 hours.

note to self:

1. Always watch a film when doing long turbo session otherwise you’ll die of boredom.

2. Always finish with a sprint but next time, make it a sprint, not an individual pursuit.

Turbo Trainer

Turbo Trainer

Things of beauty

Things of beauty

Planet X Deep Section Wheels

Like many cyclists I’ve become a magpie. I always seem to be looking at methods to gain speed through doing nothing and my latest obsession is deep section wheels, I mean look at them, they’re attractive, aero and look speedy. I mean I could train harder, but their is always an appeal to free speed and wheels seem to be the cheapest alternative.

Sky Ride Birmingham

July 4, 2011

My thoughts of Sky Ride Birmingham

Having been to several Sky Rides up and down the country I was disappointed with Sky Ride Birmingham. The weather was brilliant, but the event village felt like it was lacking something. Everyone seemed to be wandering around, lying down wanting something to do. Also, the actual course itself was equally as disappointing. It was a nice ride through some suburbs of Birmingham and then nothing seemed to happen. Yes, we were taken through the Market, which seems good on paper, but there was nothing going on in there, except a Vert ramp set up in the corner and out the way.

The highlights for me had to be rolla paluza. It involved a little bit of competition for kids and a small insight into competitive cycling, and for me the 500m TT against everyone else. I’m pretty proud of my attempt, a 24.94 – with an average speed of 45+ Mph, fingers crossed I win 🙂 If I do, shame on everyone else who gets beaten by a skinny endurance rider 😉

Mine and Fathers Duel

Mine and Fathers Duel

Me warming up

Me warming up

Putting the power down

Putting thr power down

The brother lapping up the sun

The brother lapping up the sun

The mass start at Sky Ride Birmingham

The mass start at Sky Ride Birmingham

Pyramid Intervals

June 28, 2011

So what are pyramid intervals?

Pyramid intervals are the perfect way to kick-start your race season, and to make those shorter, easier rides a bit more interesting.

The way it works

1. Your first interval is the easiest, all to wake your legs up.

One minute sustained effort, 5 minute rest

2. Make the interval slightly harder upping the effort to two minutes, again with a 5 minute rest.

3. This is your hardest interval and after 30 seconds your legs will be screaming. This is a three minute effort, again with a 5 minute rest.

Remember the rest periods are at a comfortable cruising speed