CTC and Audax UK

Once you been cycling on your own for a while you’ll be wondering  what to do next.  Like me you might have done a charity ride or two and looking for something else.

For me the break came when I ventured through the doors of the Eureka Cafe. It’s frequented by casual riders, racing cycling clubs and various sections of the CTC (Cyclists Touring Club).

http://www.ctc.org.uk/

It is a touring club not a race club and is the next step from riding on your own or with friends.
Its organised into D.A’s (District Associations) and Sections. I’m a member of Chester and North Wales Two Mills Section.

http://www.chesterandnorthwalesctc.org.uk/

Membership is £34 a year which may seem a bit steep to a casual rider but has some important benefits. The greatest being the third party insurance. After that you get 6 Cycle magazines a year and membership of a section. You can ride with any section and it adds a bit of diversity to your riding by riding with more than one group.

Here is a link to Sue Booths womans only beginner rides that I have been told are around 12 miles long and are an ideal entry level ride.

http://ctcchesterandnwales.org.uk/ladiesrides.html 

http://ctcchesterandnwales.org.uk/pdf/LadiesRides2009.pdf

Link updated 19 Mar 2009

Below is a picture of me crossing the bridge from Farndon to Holt from last years Spring 50 which was another cracking event.

http://ctcchesterandnwales.org.uk/photos/Spring50-2008/content/2Spring50TTDRedited_large.html
Once you master the section rides and events (events like the Wild Wales tax the best) the next step is an Audax UK ride.

http://www.audax.uk.net/

These vary in size and difficulty but a 200 km (125 mile) Audax is a grand day out.

Cycle fitting.
Below is comment from Stan Thomas about  Cycle Fit. Thanks Stan.
Racing Bike Fit

First, some basic rules:
. There is no right position, only a position that is best for you.

. You’ll go faster for longer when you’re comfortable.

. Top riders are professional athletes. They are young, very fit, spend every day riding and, as such, are not normal. While Lance Armstrong may be able to adapt his body to a radical, aerodynamic position, normal people cannot and should adapt the bicycle to their body.

. The most important aspect of fit is the relationship between your hips and the pedals. This is where the power comes from. Everything else should optimise this hip – pedal relationship.

All those old ‘rules’, knee over pedal, eyes-bars-hub in line, don’t work. They may provide a useful starting point but nothing more.

What does this mean practically?

Examine that hip – pedal relationship. There are lot’s of adjustments you can make : seat height, seat fore&aft, crank length, cleat position. Try riding one legged, with the bike on a trainer. Can you turn the pedals smoothly at both top and bottom of the stroke? If moving the seat up/down or front/back doesn’t fix things, try a different length crank. If you can’t find a position that’s
smooth for both legs, try packing the cleat up on one side.
I’m a convert to setting the cleats as far back on the shoe as they’ll go. It’s easier on my ankle.

Find a comfortable saddle. Just a question of trying them. eBay’s a good source of second-hand saddles.

Don’t be troubled by fashion. Most racing bikes are styled to a bum up, head down, pro position. As noted above, this will not suit the majority of riders.

There is a trend these days to smaller frame sizes. This is questionable in engineering terms and probably driven by manufacturing economics. A larger frame will allow you to set the bars higher, a smaller frame will have lower bars. Try before you buy.

If you find you ride almost all the time on the tops of the bars – look at where the bar tape is dirty, you probably want to raise the bars. Don’t be afraid to flip the stem to bring the handlebars higher. Yes, you’ll be more aerodynamic with low bars. But if you can’t hold the position for long it’s counter-productive.

The more traditional anatomic bars are a cruel joke. We rotate them up to find a comfortable position on the hoods and then the drops are too far forward and nearly vertical. Take a look at some of the newer shallow drop designs, such as the Bontrager VR.

Handlebar width should be about the same as your shoulders when you stand square. As with all rules-of-thumb, it’s just a place to start.

Choose a stem length that follows on from a comfortable saddle position.

Make changes a little at at time and just one thing at a time. And when you get close, spend longer testing it before making another change. Once you’ve found a good position for you, write the measurements down. However, don’t set anything in stone. You may need to refine your position further as you become more adapted to cycling.

It may be great to be fashionable but nothing says as much as dropping everyone else on a climb.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Stan organises a few Audaxes one of them is Mills Hills which is probably the hardest thing I’ve done this year.
http://www.audax.norvil.net/

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2 thoughts on “CTC and Audax UK”

  1. Dear Frank,

    Thanks for all the lovely info you have shared via your blog.

    I have been considering cycling to get healthier..I weigh around 140 kgs /300 lbs and am not sure which bicycle to buy….can afford around 200-300 GBP and would ideally want to avoid buying a used bike…

    Your guidance on selecting a bike will be very useful. Kindly advise.

    1. Hi Ravi, I started out with a hardtail mouintain bike. Mountain bike or hybrid shifters are a lot cheaper than road bike levers.
      Wheels take a pounding from big guys so check them regulary.
      This means using a local bike shop. As your buying new you’ll get a service thrown in. Check for loose spokes after every ride at first to pick up any potential problems.
      Try your local bike shop, a chain store is unlikely to give you the advice on sizing or service that you require.
      Regards,
      Frank.

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A weblog offering firsthand advice to the overweight looking to improve their health and lifestyle through cycling. A link to a pdf of the diet I am following is on the Diet under the About menu.

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