Numbers – What Numbers?

Continuing on our ‘keeping it green’ theme we were talking about rider numbers whilst out riding this weekend.

Personally I hate ‘cable tying’ them to my nicely cleaned bike. So we got to thinking what we really need them for.

Emergency number? Well no…we have one of the best timing solutions available with adhesive helmet chips on which we can print the contact number.

Event photos? Well no….we’re not interested in charging you for photos. As always we take photos and post them on our website. They might  not be professional and you might not always find one, but if you do just download it for free. There have been some pretty decent free snaps over the years.

Food stations ? Well no…..whilst we don’t want to dish out free malt-loaf to every cyclist in Buckinghamshire we trust people….and heck if they come and ride our next event they’re welcome. As is any cyclist looking for water.

So there it is. Hundreds of plastic cable ties (as ephemeral as a mayfly) plus unnecessary toner ink and laminating plastic saved.

Your number and our emergency number will be printed into the timing chip this year. Just bring your helmet with you when signing in and you and we’ll stick it straight on!

Now we’re really going green. Numbers – who needs em?

Keeping it Green and Clear

So, we’re busy planning for our 2017 events and clear signage is always at the top of the list.

Thanks to our friends at Lightfoots Solicitors our corex signs are super durable and reusable. We’ve been using them for 3 years now and this year we’re adding colour coding for each route split to give an added level of clarity. 

In the interests of keeping the non-cycling fraternity happy we’re always quick to remove our signage after each event – in most cases on the same day.

So if you ever see a sign which we’ve missed still out there please drop us an email and we’ll come and take it down asap.

Clear signage, cleared away – quickly.

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Source

Lutine Assurance – Ride4Life for Cancer Research UK

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We’re pleased to be working with Lutine Assurance, and their parent Ryan Direct Group raising funds for Cancer Research UK.

Providing Life Assurance cover to business and private customers for over 25 years, Lutine are very aware of the considerable gains made in cancer recovery rates and the vitally important role which charitable organisations like Cancer Research UK play in research, education and prevention.

This year we have planned a fundraising challenge which links their servicing center in Doncaster with Lloyd’s of London who provide the security behind their policies.

The event takes place on the 1st July 2016, when a team of three will be looking to ride the 180 miles in a day finishing at the Lamb Tavern in Leadenhall Market for a Friday afternoon drink.

For more information visit, their fundraising pages at www.lutineride4life.co.uk and donate towards beating cancer sooner.

Five mums form cycling team to take on mountain stage of Le Tour de France for autism charity

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The Puzzle5Etape is a women’s cycling team made up of five Buckinghamshire mothers, whose ambition is to complete L’Etape du Tour, road cycling’s toughest sportive, to promote autism awareness and fundraise for ground-breaking early years autism charity ThePuzzle Centre. Each of the riders either has a child on the autism spectrum or works at the charity’s early intervention centre.

Just days before the peloton passes by, these five amateur female cyclists – none of whom had ever ridden a road bike until a few months ago – will tackle a tough mountain stage of Le Tour de France covering 142km, climbing around 60km over four mountains at an average gradient of 6.5%. 

With the support of the cycling industry and autism community, the rookie team has received donations of bikes, kit, nutrition and training support and has learnt the skills of road biking in readiness for this gruelling endurance event.

‘When I first visited Puzzle Centre, all I could think was that I wish a place like this had existed when our son was young so that the whole family could have accessed their support and knowledge during those difficult early years and diagnosis process. Ordinary families deserve access to ground-breaking services like Puzzle – that’s why we decided to form Puzzle5 and take on the L’Etape challenge. By the time we complete the race on 19 July 2015, we hope to have made more people aware of the needs of very young children with autism and raised funds to help extend the vital services provided by Puzzle Centre.’

Rachael Barnard, Puzzle5 Rider

Puzzle Centre is a place of hope and joy for these very young children and their families. If you are interested in learning more about the Puzzle5Etape and the work at Puzzle Centre, please contact rider Rachael Barnard on 07792 635192

Help them realise their ambition and make autism more widely understood and the Puzzle Centre’s service more easily accessible by following them on Facebook and on twitter @Puzzle5Etape or visit their website

Getting Clarity

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The last thing anyone wants to happen on any event is to take a wrong turn and take an unplanned diversion.

We’ve always used A4 size signage, published GPX mapping and loaded to the latest smart phone application (for 2015 RidewithGPS) but there is always potential to improve.

Last year we introduced blue temporary road paint to the more remote areas which simply washed away after the event, and this year we’ll be able to give further ‘clarity’ thanks to new corex signage courtesy of local solicitors and estate agents Lightfoots.

Commercial partner, triathlete and cross channel swimmer Joe Middleton is no stranger to negotiating courses when he’s not negotiating for clients. “It’s tough maintaining concentration when you’re pushing hard and fatigue begins to sets in” said Joe. “Lightfoots have a longstanding history in the local community so we’re happy to be supporting the guys at Allezsportives and the cyclists riding their events”.

One things for sure – This year the route ahead will have greater clarity thanks to the generosity of Joe and the team at Lightfoots. If you haven’t used their services in person, you may just meet him on one of our rides antidepressant bupropion. He’ll be one of the riders on the front!

Read Joe’s inspirational blog detailing his channel swim to promote awareness for male cancer here:

Assume the (right) Position

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How does it feel on those longer rides – back ache a little? Maybe your neck, shoulders or knees…..and what about the pins and needles in your hands and fingers.

Perhaps you’ve changed your bike and the new set up just doesn’t feel right? Maybe it’s time for a full physical assessment. 

With a busy 2015 mapped out ahead of us, we got in touch with Mark Harvey from Take3 and booked ourselves and bikes in for a full Retul fit.

The first thing that dawns on you entering Mark’s studio is that they only bikes there are his, or his clients. It’s clear this is not a bike shop and there is no hidden agenda to sell you something. Just a love for the sport and desire to help customers progress.

The session takes around 2.5 hours and starts literally in the table where the physical assessment starts before moving on to your shoes and cleat position before you get anywhere near the bike. Posture, flexibility, symmetry and stability are all taken into consideration together with any previous or current injury/problem which you might be experiencing.

Your bike is then secured into a turbo trainer and Mark attaches 8 sensors to your body which feed back to his motion capture software, then it’s spinning to get an initial reading. 

His initial focus is on setting up there back of the bike, the height and angle of the saddle and how far forward or aft it moves. You soon realise from the sensor readings that the smallest of changes to one variable has a much wider impact on your overall set up, and Mark methodically works through these until you are in the best possible position for what you are looking to achieve. We’re both looking to build comfort in endurance rides, but many of his other clients are riding at a competitive level and their set up will reflect the discipline.

After numerous adjustments concentration moves to the front of the bike, and both Damien and I are simply too stretched out. Stem length is changed for both of us and our hands feel better positioned almost immediately.

At the end of the evening we both leave having made a number of changes to bikes which we have covered several 1,000’s of miles on, and ‘tinkered’ with our own set ups along the way. How will it feel when we get out on the road again proper?

Since the fitting it’s pretty much been snow or black ice out there and the turbo has been the order of the day, but we’ve managed to get 75 miles in this weekend see here. The verdict first time out……it felt different, but it felt better. Thanks Mark!

Take3 are offering a generous 20% discount for fitting to anyone who signs up to ride an Allez event in 2015 – Contact Mark directly either through the website  www.take3tri.co.uk or call at 01235 530439  …

The Sharpener – Year 3

Year three for the Sharpener and we thought it was time to refresh the route a little for 2015. The brief had to remain the same; in essence a route to wake up the legs early in the summer Sportive season. 

Early climbing, followed by a long open section to open up the legs and finishing with a final push! So we took a long look, considered with the positive feedback from 2013/14 and turned the Sharpener literally on it’s head – reversing the direction of the course and tweaking it slightly.

For 2015 the climbing will come early. Cannon’s Hill at 3 miles, then Ashenden, Dorton and Brill before heading over the border into Oxfordshire.

The middle third is a flat quiet and fast, with a feed station set up just down the road from Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – the food being a little less highbrow, but easier to digest en route. 

And the final section? Britwell Hill makes for a grinding climb to Christmas Common, followed by a swooping decent through the corners of Aston Hill and back into Aylesbury Vale.

Take a look at the profile below. GPX files and mapping will be published to entrants in advance – if you have a smartphone we’ll also be publishing with the Ride with GPS App.

 

Helmets – it’s a No Brainer

I feel drawn to write something up as I still cannot believe the number of people who still choose not to wear a helmet. It scares me..

Over a two month period this summer, three cycling friends have had unfortunate ‘offs’ at greatly varying speeds. Now I firmly believe that without helmet protection – at least one of them would now at best be learning to walk again, if still with us at all.

Hitting the tarmac head first would do that to you….notwithstanding broken collarbone, whiplash and a significant loss of skin suffered between the three.

“Don’t think you can decide which part of your body is going to hit the ground hardest, It doesn’t work like that. Looking at the damage to my helmet, I’m certain that without it, I would not be here to tell the tale” Alan Jones – Blue Helmet

“I’m missing the Prudential 100 and still having physio to get properly fixed having been diagnosed with a good case of whiplash” Graham Armit – White Helmet  

So take a close look at the photo’s below – do you think you would walk away?

It’s a no brainer……protect yours and strap a helmet on…

Weather Getting You Down?

Struggling to get the miles in? A perennial problem with our moist, dark, cold spring, but keep telling yourself – It’s not just distance, its quality that counts.

So what about jumping on a Turbo trainer. Are they really ‘masochist only’ soulless contraptions best at home in a torture chamber, or your early season saviour?

Come on, as a cyclist you already embrace a certain level of torture. Most folk only grow to despise the trainer because of the boredom factor…or perhaps the fact that there is literally no let-up or coasting behind somebody who is prepared to take the wind!Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

We like a structured, challenging, motivating download or DVD to keep us keep focussed and there are plenty to choose from. If a thrash metal soundtrack does it for you there is always the Sufferfest, or perhaps a motivational ‘boost’ from Graham Street at Cyclosport who will kick your butt in a 30 minutes HIT session.

But then there is 3LC…..

You don’t need a heart rate monitor, you don’t need a power meter, you don’t even need a cadence monitor – Just a basic turbo trainer, a PC or DVD player and a very absorbent towel. That’s literally all you need to train with Manx cycling royalty including the Missile himself.

There are training DVD’s covering road racing, sprinting, time trailing and for extra fun climbing. Also pay per view sessions and fully structured training packaging including a specific 5 week sportive plan.

Check out the demo video – “it’s not about number crunching, it’s not about watts, it’s about character…”

Got an iphone? Then you should never get lost if you download our GPX files

Love your iphone and yet to invest in GPS for you bike?

Virtually every iphone owning cyclist uses an app (or two) to track their progress and favourite routes. However, surprisingly few ‘import’ the route detail for the Sportives they enter. 

Whilst all apps do not provide this functionality, we have detailed below just how simple it is to import using free app Cyclometer.

Upload the free app from cyclemeter from and then simply download the gpx file for our rides as follows.

  1. Select the route you have entered to ride from the link on our website which will transfer you to the Ride with GPS site page.
  2. Export the GPX Track file (.gpx) onto your desktop, and then mail it to yourself.
  3. On your iPhone, tap the mail attachment you want to import in Mail – You will be prompted about which application you want to open the file. Choose Cyclemeter.
  4. Cyclemeter will be launched, and will display a page showing a map and settings. Tap Import. The file will be imported, and you will be shown the Info page for the ride.

IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE….if you get distracted by the beautiful countryside and miss a sign, pull out your iphone and get back on track!

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