Tag Archive: Lycra

I woke this morning to note that it was blowing a gale and lashing it down… No cycling outside today I thought.  I did the school run and as we travelled down the A1 the skies looked like they had the potential to break out nice.  Half an hour later and whilst still blowing a gale the skies were blue and thankfully the rain had ceased.  My new Trek 1.5 is in the workshop at the moment getting the once over.  Last week 90 miles into its new life it started to make a dull thumping noise and not the type that comes from something simple like a chain rattling off the front derailleur.

So I reached for my mountain bike, an old faithful friend that I’ve always enjoyed.  It’s been a while and as I looked at it I remembered that with the last puncture I had put the front tyre on wrong with the directional arrow rotating in the wrong direction.  I’d suggest that that’s why the last time I was out on it there was more water hitting me from the tyres than the skies… Giving the high level of water on the road I decided that now was the time to amend the error.  What a struggle I had getting the tyre off.  It was 4 degrees and the cold tyre was just refusing to stretch off the rim.  Frustrated and in an unusual moment of genius I put the wheel on the radiator in the kitchen and in two minutes the tyre just popped off with the slightest encouragement from the tyre lever.


Eventually I got out complete with my new winter Lycra bib tights on, would they be too warm?  Well, we were about to find out.  Once out of the village and onto the open road the wind hit me relentlessly hard.  I started to question if this venture was wise but the mountain bike whilst slow was making comfortable work of it; I took the pressure off to be fast and told myself to relax. It was going well but after a while you really begin to notice just how slow a mountain bike is.  I was sitting at 10mph, now to be fair the wind had a lot to do with the lack of velocity but I couldn’t help but get frustrated.  If I was on my road bike I would be sitting at 15mph, a full 50% faster.


As I reached the brow of a hill having clocked up 12 miles and just about to head for home I could feel the joy within me well up.  I was out in very inhospitable conditions and winning.  I wasn’t tired or cold, this was fun and I was enjoying it.  The thought came to me that I had worked my way from hatred to love.  The initial hatred of the wind and the cold and the hatred in the early miles for cold muscles and reluctant lungs but as everything warmed up and the blood began to flow easily, love for the task arrived.  I could hear the question being asked was there other things in life that I needed to push from hatred to love with.  Dieting is the obvious one but are there others? Are there areas of life where I just need to push on through … food for thought.


Home was in sight and the wind had taken its toll on my legs, I was tired but feeling on a high. As I climbed the last hill before home I was glad of the triple on the mountain bike, the gearing really is nicely spaced out on the bike.  It’s a bike I think I’ll keep for some time to come.

8 Old Lads in Lycra…

So this morning before dawn I headed down of the mountain and into the big smoke called Belfast.  The rain was heavy and the roads were flooding. It was 7am and having been on the road for 40 minutes the time for me to meet up with my cycling buddies was fast approaching. According to the plan three of us were going to meet up for a gentle ride as two of our number including myself had fitness concerns due to recent chest colds etc. The rain continued to pelt down as the spray from the car in front frosted my windscreen and my destination drew closer.  In the darkness of my car the phone broke the silence and number 1 of the group suggested that the weather was against us and the best option was to stay indoors.  Sleep was heavy in his voice and it wasn’t too hard to guess where he was going as soon as he hung the phone up.  Having spent 45 minutes in the car I was keen to do something and so I put the pressure on the other member to at least provide a cup of tea and a place to watch the rugby (England vs. Scotland) He only to quickly agreed to the suggestion meaning he too could avoid the weather and a cracker time was had by all.  It was great having a few laughs with him and his family whilst munching on a few bacon sarnies, the catch up was long overdue.

However on the way home I seen a sight that taught me a lesson.  It was 8 old lads in Lycra on their bikes in the rain and cover from head to foot with smiles & laughter.  Old boys in Lycra have such a lot to teach the world.  They know how to live the dream and they don’t let anything get in the way!!  They don’t care what you think they look like and they don’t let the weather or time of the year get in the way of their enjoyment.  I hope I can grow up to be one, here’s to the rebels in Lycra!