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my new hobby



I've mentioned a few times that I've recently bought a road bike and have started riding a lot more and I though since I've not got anything astronomical to discuss I would do this instead :)


I bought a nice giant defy 0 bike on the cycle to work scheme and spent an extra £200 swapping the brakes, chainset and front mech so it now has a full ultegra groupset.it's perfectly geared for an unfit ex smoker like me with a 50/34 chainset and 11-32 casette and I can get up most hills despite my heart rate touching 190bpm on the long/steep ones.I added a garmin edge 1000 to my ride just over a month ago and have been logging my rides on strava.one particular hill I cycle I have dropped 3 minutes off it in 2 months so the fitness is coming.
It's all building up to one event-a 73 mile sportive in october-the wiggle south downs ride.I was originally planning on riding the 42 mile version (there's 3-42/73/100) but my friend graham talked me into the 73.so I talked him into riding it too!!!I've analysed the route and there's one section that could cause problems-a closed road climb up butser hill.this is pretty steep with a 0.3 mile section of 10-18.5% and it's narrow and dirty most if the time.I was pretty sure I could do all the rest of it ok but wasn't sure about this as it was as steep but longer than another climb called crooked walk lane that I had failed on.training needed doing so I've worked my way through the steep roads of portsdown hill near where I live and last week I nailed the dreaded crooked walk lane so I was happy with training.anyway I went out Sunday with a route loaded into my garmin that took me from my house, through some gentle hills and quieter roads and out to another longish hill called old winchester hill.managed this pretty ok and down the other side in preperation to try the butser climb on my sportive route.before the ride I had put both these climbs on the route just to recce them and walk if needed but finding my way at the top of butser hill punching the air with lungs slapping my rib cage the mystic had gone a bit.I'm now looking forward to the event even more now I know I can do the hardest bit and can't wait to do the 100 mile version next year.
In fact next year has big plans.I want to do at least 5 or 6 of the wiggle 100 milers and the Hampshire hilly hundred too and also cycle round the isle of wight.I was close to trying the Isle of wight recently but I'm not sure I'm ready yet so want to leave it a bit.
I'm already dreaming of a trip to France to do some hills like alp d'huez or mont ventoux or le lacets de montvernier but think I'm a way off that yet.
Still happy in my new hobby though.


Anyone on strava let me know your name and I will add you :)


Clear skies Rich

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I wondered if it was you when I saw your username on RCUK. :)


Yeah cycling is pretty good isn't it? 

I've been on a similar path as you, packing up smoking and then realising just how unfit I'd become and set about changing that by riding my bike.


It just takes time but I've found that the whole fitness progression thing happens pretty quick (or it has done so far).


How do you find the Edge 1000? I have a 510 at the moment but could do with some kinda mapping just to do some new routes.


I'm on Strava as Mike Meal

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The edge 1000 is a great bit of kit-once you have it set up properly!I had loads of problem syncing it up, sometimes it would work and sometimes not.now I've sorted it out it syncs with my phone when I finish a ride and uploads straight to garmin connect then straight to strava.loads of info as I have the heart rate and cadence sensors.power meter not necessary at my level of fitness I don't think.I make routes up on strava and then download them onto my garmin which is good.I'm looking at getting strava premium then I can download other people routes too.

Bit hilly where you are fella!!

Don't really go on th3 cycle forums much as they seem to be a massive bunch of [removed word] takers if you are new.

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Yep Strava premium is good, something else I've just started is using https://www.trainerroad.comwhich will help when the weather gets bad again and you cant get out on your bike.


Yeah hilly as hell down here but you get used to it and I actually quite enjoy the hills these days.

Sportives down this way usually have around 10000ft of elevation for the 100 miles! Think I'II do the Dartmoor Challenge and Plym Gran Fondo again. The Plymouth Gran Fondo was a killer this year, I had a really bad nights sleep the night before and struggled all the way around.

I think thats the biggest problem with trying to mix astronomy with cycling, they just don't mix. Trying to train when your tired is pretty pointless, if you don't train for these events you just make it very hard for yourself but on the other hand you don't want to miss out on clear nights for observing! Astronomy is on hold for me at the moment, I do miss it though!!


Na I haven't registered on any cycling forums either the the reasons you said.

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Yeah I'm looking at getting a turbo trainer for the winter and doing some intervals and other training.this year is more a fact finding session and then next year will hopefully be where I find what I can do with a bit if training.I still don't want to do this as an only hobby so it will still have to fit in with climbing and work and hopefully next year my scope will be done.I had a look at one of your dartmore rides and may have a go at it sometime.I love hills I'm just not that good at them yet but I'm getting better all the time.unfortunately portsmouth isn't that good for hills but there's plenty about the area so I can always throw the bike in the car and do a round trip ride where there's more hills or do laps on local hills.10,000' of hills would kill me at the moment!!!

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After 10 years of road riding in the UK I have switched to single speed cross country cycling, this is mainly due to the increasing amount of abuse / hatred I experienced from car drivers.

They didn't seem to like being overtaken by a cycle in towns or having to wait 5 seconds before they could safely overtake on country lanes.

Having a gun pulled out my cycling buddy and myself, whilst riding through the country side, was the final straw.


The police never got back in contact with us despite an immediate call to them.

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Blimey Shaun thats nuts!!!!

I think the hatred towards cyclist mainly happens in towns and cities (at least from my experience anyway), I've kinda got used to the odd close pass while cycling in the country but that only seems to happen once or twice during each ride. I just try to avoid cycling during the busy parts of the day and pick my route well.


Cant believe the police didn't even get back to you after having a gun pulled on you!! You'd think that in these times any mention of a gun and the police would be there in a shot.


Despite even a couple days ago mentioning that my astronomy is on hold, after this recent run of cloudless nights I've pulled the trigger on a new scope and cant wait to get back under the stars again! Happy days. :)

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Tbh I think half the cycle hatred is caused by other cyclists.the amount round my way who don't indicate when changing lanes or stop for red lights just makes other motorists hate us even more.where I work we have strict no cycling rules on our pontoons which all the cyclists seem to ignore and it just makes even the pedestrians hate them.Then when you stop them for cycling they become aggressive and say that it's a stupid rule.commuters are by far the worst form of cyclists.

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Nice addition if not entirely astro related Rich and sorry I've only just picked up on it.

Hope all is going well down there and you are enjoying the cycling. If and when my health improves I hope to get back into it myself one day.

Scope is progressing albeit slowly but I'm sure you'll be as eager to see it as I am.


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Can't wait to see the finished article.

I've just purchased a wahoo kickr turbo trainer and subscribing to trainerroad so hopefully be a lot fitter next summer :)

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Excellent post, I like road riding too. I commute to work a few times per week and do try to ride in a good manner (just try not to irritate car drivers!). Having said that, one of my other interests is hill walking and it really bugs me when mountain bikers don't obey the rules either, the big one being riding on a footpath instead of a bridleway.

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I love my cycling too but at the age of 65, my speed is not great. I have a Garmin 200 which covers my needs perfectly. I only cycle in good weather so winter time is a bit restricting. I tend to go on rollers then. I have two road bikes, a Specialized Allez and Giant Defy4. My greatest achievement was to go up part of the Mont Ventoux last year. Couldn't go all the way due to bad weather and high winds at the top.

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