Review – Purple Harry Bike Polish & Frame Protector

image1-3With the constant rain that has become the norm here in the UK lately, it has become more important than ever to regularly clean your bike. This will not only reduce corrosion, but also limit the wear from those little bits of grit and muck that stick to the frame and components when cycling on wet roads.

The UK produced Purple Harry Bike Polish will not only leave your bike sparkling, it also leaves a protective layer of waxes and silicones, adding an extra barrier to your paintwork which will make it easier to clean in the future too!

image2-2Simply pour a small amount onto a clean soft cloth of your choice, apply to the bike in a circular motion and then wait for at least 5 minutes for the polish to dry, then buff off to reveal a gleaming silky smooth surface. Of course, as with any polish, avoid getting any on the braking surfaces and it’s not recommended for use on the saddle or brake levers!

In the past I have only used the same polish as I use on my car (Turtle Wax), and have been pleased with the results, but I was very impressed with the Purple Harry Polish.

The crown on my carbon forks had minute scratches that always caught my eye in the past, but now they are gone, to be replaced by a nice deep black mirror like shine!

I also got a good finish when applying the polish to the painted Aluminium frame, carbon forks, Aluminium chainset and even plastic mudguards, so it can be used on most bike surfaces (take extra care if polishing wheel rims not to make the braking surface super slippery!).

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My bike has never looked so good, after using the Bike Floss sticks to clean the cassette and chain and now protecting every suitable surface with the Bike Polish, it is almost in ‘as new’ condition. This is impressive; when you consider that it is a 2008 bike that I bought secondhand, which gets used nearly every day, for either a weekend ride or my commute to work.

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It is difficult to say how often you should apply the polish, I guess it depends on the weather conditions and how often the bike gets washed, and obviously you wouldn’t use it every time you clean the bike. Perhaps 3 to 4 times a year seems to me to be a sensible figure. The bottle should therefore last for years (Unless, because of the fantastic results, you go on to use it on your car, caravan, or boat too!).

jerseyPurpleHarryPolishReviewRatingI really can’t find any negatives; it just works better than anything else I have tried before.

So, a first from me, a score of 100% for Purple Harry Bike Polish!

 

 

Rhino’s on a charge!

CyclingShortsRhinoGooReviewRhino Goo and Rhino Shine are relatively new products to the UK market for bike cleaning and protection, and I was lucky enough to be sent some to test by my Editor.

Let me start by saying I am always highly skeptical of new products and it has taken me years of trial and error to find the best cleaning combination for road bikes and MTB’s. After trailing Muc-Off,  Sh1t Shifter and Pedro’s I thought I had finally hit on the perfect combination Fenwicks FS1 concentrate and WD40.

BUT Rhino Goo and Rhino Shine have just blown away all that went before and to top it off  its Biodegradable what a result! I did not give these new boys an easy time of it.

My Normal clean down routine happens immediately I get back from a ride. I give the bikes a quick low pressure hose down to dampen off any dried mud and dirt. I then give the bike a good spray of cleaner and leave to soak for a few minutes. Once soaked another low pressure hose down and the muck flies off. Turn the bike round and repeat. Dry off then wipe down with a soft cloth or piece of kitchen roll soaked in WD40. Job done one nice clean shinny bike protected from the elements. Go on then Rhino Goo and Shine beat that!

Was I going to give Rhino Goo a fair chance? Was I stuff. The first time I got home with a very very muddy bike, a lot of which would be dried on, was when I was going to test Rhino Goo!

No head start with a low pressure hosing for Rhino Goo, I was going to make life as tough as possible for Mr Rhino! A liberal spraying of Rhino Goo using the bottle and nozzle provided, leave to soak. Oh this is going to be such a fail! After the normal, actually a lot shorter then usual soak (oh I am so mean!!!) out comes the low pressure hose and oh my words the dirt is flying off faster then a Mach 1 Mig fighter, boy does this stuff work and work really well. Quick flick the bike round and spray and wash the other side. Wow this stuff is really impressive. My CX bike is looking cleaner than I have seen it for ages. Now for the shine.

Rhino Shine recommends a spray down then leave for an hour and then give the bike a wipe down with a soft cloth. Now that sounds similar to my WD40 treatment. Instructions followed and bike cleaned ready for the next outing. But how clean will it really look.

I have to say the proof is in the admiring! Well just say the next ride out with friends, they were all asking if I had got a new frame or bike! I have to agree with them my cx bike did look rather special. But was this just beginners luck?

I have used Rhino Goo and Shine for a few post ride cleans of mine and a couple of friends bikes and I can safely say that it is the best bike cleaner I have ever used. In fact, it so good that if I had enough money, I would buy the company. No longer with I be using my old regime for cleaning, for me it has to be Rhino Goo and Shine.

All I can say is believe the marketing information and unlike all the other products mentioned Rhino Goo and Shine does just what it says on the web:-

Rhino Goo will not damage aluminium, anodised parts, any rubber components i.e. fork seals, wheel bearing seals, gaskets etc, or remove the shine off your plastics.

This is a truly safe product with no nasty chemicals. Rhino Goo’s products are biodegradable, non abrasive and safe on all surfaces. There are products out there which claim to do all the things mentioned above and there are products out there which will damage all the things mentioned above.

jerseyRhinoGooandShineReviewRatingIt’s also widely used for motorbikes, caravans and marine use. Great value at around £6.99 for 1 Litre and £17.99 for 5 Litres

I am a 100% convert and when my samples run out I will be dashing out to the nearest stockiest to by 5 litres of Rhino Goo and Shine. If I could give it 110% I would but my Ed (boo!) says no… so a lowly 100% is all I’m allowed!

It’s a Cycling Shorts Star Buy!… Go get some!

Probably the best bike cleaning product in the world! 

For your nearest official stockist: www.rhinogoonorth.co.uk

B2B Online retailer: www.edgesportsuk.com/store/

 

 

 

Review – Cycling Turbo Training for Beginners by Rebecca Ramsay

 

Cycling Turbo Training for Beginners

a quick start guide to cycling indoors to explode your fitness fast. (20 interval workouts included).
by Rebecca Ramsay

Reviewed by Nick Dey

 
Cycling Turbo Training for Beginners

Cycling Turbo Training for Beginners is written in no-nonsense, ‘does what it says on the tin,’ prose and offers the novice indoor cyclist – of whom there has been an exponential population explosion this delightful winter – plenty of valuable and pragmatic advice on how to, as the Amazon Kindle page Amazon Kindle page
states,

“get you up and running quickly and efficiently with turbo training so you can maximise your fitness when you can’t get outdoors for cycling training.”

The guide begins with a useful introduction by Rebecca and succinctly contains her raison d’être; the essence of which is to help those cyclists who feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the prospect of indoor cycling, offer a purpose to their turbo training and, not least, to inspire them to give the turbo a prolonged go (not just a session or two!)

The book begins by addressing the obvious in Section 1: what equipment do I need for Turbo Training? It covers pretty much everything from the Trainer + your bike (and tyre) through cadence, heart rate and power and onwards to hydration and the use of towels. If you can think it then be reassured, Rebecca has probably covered it. I’ve been using a Turbo for a year or two and still picked up many instantly useful tips.

Section 2 asks the question: What is Turbo Training and why bother? A short section that dispels a few myths and sets the agenda for what follows which is Section 3: Where is best to Turbo Train? Section 4: How do I go about an effective Turbo workout? Is where Rebecca’s experience as a professional cyclist really comes into play. She covers, with justifications, the warm up, the work out, including intervals training, and the cool down. If you think the latter unimportant then look at how many teams are now mimicking Team Sky’s approach (which they themselves introduced from the world of swimming.)

Section 5 hopes to help you overcome the perennial gripe about Turbo Training: 10 Ways to overcome Turbo Training boredom. It is condensed and thus easy to access and contains much that may help all cyclists, irrespective of experience. As does the oft neglected section 7: recovery from Turbo workouts!

So, now you’re familiar with the fundamentals it’s time to choose your Turbo Trainer and section 7: Which Turbo is right for me? Will help you make a reasoned choice, without any insidious marketing hype. Rebecca has ridden many trainers and reviews them without obvious bias, although she does have her favourite(s). What about rollers, I hear you ask? Well, section 8: Rollers versus Turbo Training – which is best? Sheds some light onto the debate and clearly explains the pros and cons of each system.

Ok, you’ve made your purchase and are now rearing to ride. Section 9: understanding pedalling technique and cadence, presents a vital, and sometimes omitted aspect of the sport. It is here you get a taste of Rebecca’s depth of experience and her workout paradigm, that of the structured interval, through a suggested cadence workout. It’s very good, I’ve tried it.

The book closes with a sack full of really well planned and explained Turbo sessions: Section 10: 20 Turbo charged workouts to explode your fitness! It starts with beginners intervals and progresses steadily through various structured-interval programmes: pyramids, negative splits, isolation, crossovers, threshold, power, etc. There is a definite progression here so the novice would be well advised to start with in the lower digits of the workout chronology – many are tough! Simply reading it gives you an insight into how to correctly and usefully structure your training. Riding them will only help you to become a better rider on the road.

An Aside: I notice that Rebecca appears to be using www.trainerroad.com on the book cover to record her sessions. Trainer Road is a superb addition for those of us without a power meter (a review is soon to follow).

This, as Amazon states, is a highly recommended read if you’re new to indoor cycling, or have been turbo training a short while but want professional guidance on how to take your indoor cycling fitness to the next level.

Who is Rebecca and why should I take her advice?

Rebecca Ramsay, nee Bishop, is a former multi-sport athlete: cross country ski champ, international triathlete and international cyclist with elite status who signed as a professional in 1998. She is also a certified personal trainer (NESTA, NCCA accredited).

At present she is a full-time mother of two and is focused on writing on the subject of cycling fitness and training. She also has an active interest in helping mothers become fitter, happier and healthier and plans to write eBooks for this market as well.

Rebecca answers the question – why should I read this guide? I aim to keep my guides short and simple to understand. I know you don’t have time to read a long, detailed science laden cycling book, so I summarise the science and try to give you exactly what you need to know to improve, and I keep the language simple.

If you would like more free cycling training or general fitness help, please visit my cycling website www.easycycling.com. At present on the site I have a FREE 4 Week Winter Training Programme download on sign up to my Ezine.

Additionally, you can find me on my Facebook Page where I’d love to hear from you!

Rebecca has a second eBook that has just been released, it’s available for the Amazon Kindle: The Time-Starved Cyclist’s Training Formula: how to find TIME to train for 100-miles – and NOT get divorced!
A review of this will follow shorty on Cycling Shorts.

 

Riis: Stages of Light and Dark by Bjarne Riis Cycling Shorts Rating

CyclingShorts Rating: A real help for the busy novice – and not so novice – ‘indoor’ cyclist, we give it our Star Buy status giving it 100%…. you can’t fault it!

Title:
Cycling Turbo Training for Beginners – a quick start guide to cycling indoors to explode your fitness fast. (20 interval workouts included).

 

Author:
Rebecca Ramsay    

Available for Kindle

Price:
RRP £1.99 (Digital)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revolution Series from a first-timer’s viewpoint

 

Revolution

from a first-timer’s viewpoint

 

Revolution 39

There’s a cliché about velodromes that, if you’re like me and have never been to one before, you’ll have heard a time or two on telly – it’s that the camera cannot show just how steep those banks are. You hear these things and you nod to yourself, and you file them away in the back of your mind – and if like me, you finally get to go somewhere like Manchester’s magnificent National Velodrome, well… If my experience is anything to go by, your jaw will drop open and you are going to spend fifteen minutes running around laughing inside your skull and going “that’s incredible!” No, the camera really does not do it justice. It’s like staring up a 75 degree slope from the middle. And from the outside, it’s like looking down a sheer cliff face – you’ll be impressed, trust me on this one.

If the banking looks steep from the bottom, it look like a sheer cliff from the top, like riding a wall of death - Image ©Paul Harris

If the banking looks steep from the bottom, it look like a sheer cliff from the top, like riding a wall of death – Image ©Paul Harris

One thing that you DON’T really hear is how much the camera slows things down, too. When I got there in the afternoon for Revolution 39, there were riders casually spinning around before the National Madison Championships, in groups and individually, fresh-faced youngsters and crusty old seasoned pros alike. Their pace was pretty impressive, even just as they warmed up, but my attention was seriously grabbed a few minutes later – without me really noticing, the composition of the riders changed subtly. The traffic slowly thinned out, and instead of groups going round at the bottom, chatting and practicing the odd changeover, all of a sudden it turned into stocky fellers, circulating slowly and silently on their own, high up on the banking. I happened to be sat facing the track when their purpose became clear – with no warning, a dark blue streak arrowed across my line of vision almost too fast for my poor unprepared brain to track. There was no sound in advance, and you could almost feel the whump of the air being forced apart by the speeding rider – the sprint guys, out for a final tune up before the heats that afternoon. I don’t want to exaggerate – they weren’t faster than a speeding train, or so fast they were blurred, but if you’ve never had a sprinter unexpectedly go past you at speed close up before, trust me on this too: it will make you sit up sharply and utter an involuntary expletive.

A couple of other things surprised me early on – the first was how small the arena as a whole is. With a capacity of around 3500, the National Velodrome can only seat about 6% as many people as the City Of Manchester Stadium over the road. The second was that it wasn’t sold out for the National Madison Championships. It wasn’t empty by any stretch of the imagination, but I would estimate it was only between half and two thirds full, which is an absolute crying shame not only because the racing itself was superb from start to finish, but also because tickets were just six quid – for £6, those with the foresight to be present got to see the likes of Fostermann, Hindes, D’Almera and Pervis in action during the early sprint rounds, they also got both Boys and Girls rounds of the DHL Future Stars Madison, and the race for the first National jersey of the year. Six quid – they should have been queueing ten deep at the doors!

Pervis’s sprint win was warmly welcomed – it was to the credit of the knowledgeable crowd that away team wins were so readily applauded as home victories. - ©Paul Harris

Pervis’s sprint win was warmly welcomed – it was to the credit of the knowledgeable crowd that away team wins were so readily applauded as home victories. – ©Paul Harris

The Madison itself was an incredible race, going right to the wire after a smidge under an hour’s racing, and there was a wait of an hour or two between that and Revolution itself – and when that started, you couldn’t have got a seat for love nor money. The quality of the competition was absolutely top draw – even when there was a “favourite” for an event, it was by no means certain that they would win, and frequently they did not. Spurred on by the world-class racing, the crowd were vocal and enthusiastic all night long which really added to the atmosphere, and one aspect of that that I was really pleased about was that it wasn’t just people cheering for the home riders –when one of the less-fancied riders, or a rider racing for France or the Rest Of The World won, even if it was a British rider they beat, even one of the stars, the crowd stood and cheered the performance. Pete Kennaugh’s astonishing ride in the Points race drew plenty of praise, of course, and was a hugely popular win – but the crowd cheered just as loudly when Robert Bengsch and Marcel Kalz smashed the kilo Madison TT field apart like a well-aimed bowling ball scattering the pins to all corners. I really liked that lack of jingoism.

Was there a downside? Not that I can think of – only that tickets are hard to come by, but the series can’t be faulted for being a successful draw. The only thing that I did come away thinking was, I wish I could have a go – but then, having said that, a handful of brave and hardy souls took to the boards for a taster session between the afternoon and evening events when the velodrome (thankfully for them!) was free of spectators. And watching them gamely spin round, another thought occurred – the gap in talent and ability between the national pro and the keen amateur man in the street is a gulf so vast as to be virtually insurmountable. They make it look easy, the pros, they really do – that’s another thing the camera doesn’t show you. Would I go again? I can’t wait for the next one…

Revolution is a brilliant evening, it’s truly action packed you don’t get a moment to blink. The Manchester Velodrome is an amazing venue and now contains a BMX Park. The seating is comfortable, the Velodrome staff are the friendliest you’ll come across at a sports venue, even the guys stood out in the freezing cold directing you into your parking space have a smile and a joke for you. The car park is well organised but if you are attending an event you do need to check the Manchester City Football fixtures beforehand as the velodrome traffic can get caught up in the Football queues as the stadiums are opposite each other. The Velodrome is very well signposted from all sides of Manchester.

Food at the Revolution is ok, there are a couple of nice kiosks that sell good coffee and pancakes, but most of the food is burgers and hotdogs, the queue’s tend to be huge, if you’re travelling a long way I would suggest eating before or taking something with you, there is a large supermarket next to the venue if you get stuck. Ticket prices are excellent, sporting events tend to overcharge but the Revolution and most other cycling events held at the National Track Cycling Centre are peanuts in comparison, it only cost £6 to attend the National Madison Championships in the afternoon! Revolution will set you back between £10 and £20 for a single standard ticket but discounts are available for family tickets, carers and pensioners, season tickets are the best buy, you get a British Cycling early bird ticket buying option if you’re a member. If you want to get up close and personal with the riders and teams then the VIP tickets or Track Centre Lounge tickets are for you.

There are some great stands from bookstalls to cycling brands and some things for you to have a go at including Watt Bikes and Rollapaluza, it would be good to see some more though.

We give the Revolution Series our Star Buy rating!
 

The next and final round of the 2012 series will be held at The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow on Saturday 2nd February 2013
For more information on the series visit: www.cyclingrevolution.com

Standard tickets are sold out for Revolution Series Round 4 but Track Centre Lounge and VIP tickets are still available – buy Track Centre Lounge tickets here.

Watch Revolution Series Round 4 highlights on Thursday 7th February at 8pm on ITV4 and catch up in ITV Player

Ratings Revolution

 
 

The London Bike Show 2013 (Review 2)

Hopefully this will add something to the great article written by Tony here.

Last week was tough for cycling, hitting the national headlines for all the wrong reasons. Yet help was at hand with the start of the pro tour season in Australia and Argentina and perhaps even more exciting;  4 days of the London Bike Show to cheer even the most cynical of fans.

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Bradleys Wiggins’ Pinarello Dogma in Malliot Jaune Livery

Having never been to an event like this before, the first thing that struck me was the sheer number of people in attendance. OK, tickets included entry to three additional shows within the Excel but the exhibition centre was positively throbbing. As the glitz and glamour of Wiggo mania wanes it was heartening to see continued excitement surrounding cycle sport in general.

Kudos goes to the new Madison Genesis team, managed by ex Garmin-Cervelo rider Roger Hammond, who held their team presentation on the Saturday of the show. Hosted by the delightful Ant McCrossan it was a chance to see some of the team’s extremely youthful looking riders like Alex Peters and Brendan Townshend which have combined with elder more experienced riders like Dean Downing, Ian Bibby and Andy Tennant.

The Madison-Genesis Continental Team being presented on stage

Arguably the most interesting aspect of this team is their promotion of the Steel framed Genesis Volare bike. Equipped with a Shimano Dura Ace and Pro finishing kit, the team bike is a delight aesthetically. Extremely classical, yet with modern touches. The downtube is wider than traditional steel bikes pandering to the modern trend for oversized tubing.Indeed the team is making a big deal out of the specially developed Reynolds tubing made in Birmingham.

The prevelance of Carbon Fibre as the go to material for high end road bikes may yet be challenged and as Genesis themselves argue; they have looked to banish those 80’s misconceptions that Steel frames are heavy flexible steeds. Instead, suggesting that they have combined the durability and comfort that is usually associated with a steel frame, with the race weight and stiffness of modern bikes.

Bibby, Downing, Jack Pullar, Chris Snook and Sebastian Baylis proved the bike was no slouch when they took part in the Elite Men’s Criterium after the presentation. The speed of the peloton around the tight, twisting 500 metre indoor circuit was astonishing to watch. With Bibby coming out on top beating UK circuit regular teams likes IG-Sigma Sport and Hope Factory Racing Team it was the perfect start for the new team. The folding bicycle race was also great to watch as a prelude to the main criterium. The ‘Le Mans’ style start meant that riders had to unfold their bicycles before setting off. Keith Henderson’s huge, race winning attack on the penultimate lap was very impressive. The Animal Bike Tour with Martyn Ashton, Blake Samson, Luke Madigan and Billy Atkins was also a joy to watch. Whilst Ashton was undoubtedly superb, Billy Atkins at the age of 17 pulled off some outrageous tricks on a scooter.

Elsewhere at the show you could not move for visual delights. Cervelo, Pinarello, Willier and Specialized all in attendance. Yet what struck me in

Stealthy looking Wilier

Stealthy looking Wilier

particular was the range of bike brands on offer. Canyon, Team and Time amongst others. Canyon in particular were exhibiting a range of road and MTB frames all at varying price brackets. The Ultimate CF was a particular delight with perfect geometry and presence at a great price, along with Joaquim Rodigruez’s Giro d’Italia customised Aeroad CF lavishly decorated with pink decals to match the Maglia Rosa he spectacularly lost to Ryder Hesjedal in 2012. This spectrum of bikes although dizzyingly confusing can only be a good thing for the continuation of top end cycle sport. And with the news that Pinarello is looking to stock frames at selected Halfords stores, we are now more than ever, spoilt for choice.

Amongst other products on show, Nanoprotech was perhaps the most innovative, like nothing I’ve seen before. Whilst Sportful where exhibiting an extremely lightweight waterproof jacket. Hope continue to produce beautifully engineered bike products, contact points and accessories whilst Schwalbe’s extensive range of tyres was mind boggling. Last word goes to Clif Bar whose Builders Bar was very tasty in a variety of flavours along with their electrolyte shot in Citrus and double espresso was easy on the palette.

Review: The Obree Way – A Training Manual for Cyclists by Graeme Obree

 

 

The Obree Way

a Training Manual for cyclists

by Graeme Obree.

 

Edited & Produced by: Maximise Marketing & Event Ltd & obree.com

£30 for A4 hardback
£4.64 for Amazon Kindle Edition (at time of writing)

“Training is bad for you! Training followed by rest and proper nutrition is good for you and will make you better prepared for the event you are training for.” Graeme Obree

This manual sees the legendary Graeme Obree taking his own unique, and forgive the hyperbole, scientifically holistic, approach to the concept of training, performance and the science within – in all its forms. It is full of deep insights and ideas, the sort you that make sense as soon as you read them. If anyone has the passion, intelligence and focus to both follow this path and to achieve their goals it is Graeme. After all, as the great Robert Millar states ‘he’s got the t-shirt’. Rugby great, John Beattie, sums it up best in his forward when he says, ‘this training manual is different. It makes the complex simple and is for social cyclist as much as the elite. As you read it you hear a great mind at work, thinking the issues through. Issues easily applied to sports other than cycling.’

‘The knowledge here is extraordinary.’ John Beattie, British & Irish Lions.

This is a practical guide for cyclists new and experienced and is well served by thoughtful use of illustrations (by Elliot McIntosh, a student at Dundee University), photographs and quotes. Obree describes the book as his personal modus operandi. As much an attempt to add clarity to the often contradictory advice flooding the sport as an objective manual for the aspiring champion. Obree does offer many opinions, often based purely on his own experiences (sample size of one), but to his credit he states clearly when this is the case and usually offers a deeper insight into the formation of such statements. If only more health & fitness writers took this approach then the seemingly daily bombardment of the anecdotal would be replaced by the evidence based, and we would all be a little clearer in our approach to smoother and faster riding.

‘I hope the advice I’d of use and can make a difference to readers in some small way.’ Graeme Obree.

The books consists of thirteen chapters, fifteen if you count the conclusion and photo gallery and starts with the often overlooked question ‘what is training?‘ Obree focuses on specificity to outcome but with greater thought and flexibility than is usual, with specific focus on recovery recognition – an area I for one have often made big mistakes in! He covers, often with uncomfortable truths thrown in, group rides, solo rides, indoor, outdoor, and what a cyclist needs to think about, recognise in themselves, and to do, in order to adapt and to improve physiologically. The psychological is strongly implied and is a recurring theme throughout – assess your strengths and weaknesses, constantly.

‘… I am, dispensing with commercial sponsorship (not for the first time) and by bringing you the truth as I have analysed it and used to have the success I have had in my career.’ Graeme Obree

The essence of Obree’s message is that training is an activity that once completed, including recovery, makes you better at the activity than before you underwent ‘training’. The rest of the book sets out to help you achieve this lofty goal.

First steps, chapter two, is where Obree describes his fascination with the measurable variables of training alongside the feel of both body and mind. It explains, following a positivist scientific methodology, the need to know your bike/turbo set up and to measure and monitor your performance. Dotted throughout this and all chapters are many little gems of knowledge. The puncture prevention tips are ones I wish I hadn’t had to learn the hard – and costly – way while pulling out thorns on the road from Wigan to Ecclestone!

Chapter three focuses on bike set up; very useful geometry and equipment choices are laid out in terms of your realistic aspirations as a cyclist – reliability and cost… Ok, aerodynamics too!

Light, strong, cheap. Choose any two!’ Graeme Obree

Chapter four, The Turbo Session, is Obree’s homage to the equipment, the systematic, the psychological (again) and the preparation needed to perform better than you have before. As ever, there is an almost obsessive focus on on the details of performance setting, analysis and evaluation, but all presented like an affable coffee stop chat, and much better they are for this style too. Dare I say that ‘marginal gains’ may summarise the thinking here? Suddenly the thought of an hour or two on the turbo has new meaning. It has certainly helped me.

Chapter five, Training, is where I clearly felt the gulf between weekend warrior and serious, or elite, rider manifest itself. This is a chapter that is a must read if you want to improve and it certainly ticked a lot of the “I should be doing that” boxes that I have often found floating to the forefront of my thoughts while pootling about the Rhein-Sieg and Eifel (not forgetting the lanes of Essex and Wigan) but, usually, failed to implement with any consistency. I found the his critique of the seven-day training cycle very useful and have, well will (as soon as the snow melts), follow his advice as closely as I can.

“Fundamentally other riders want to talk to you on a two hour ride but the truth is if you can  chat then you are wasting you time and [the] opportunity to improve.” Graeme Obree

Obree covers nutrition and hydration: pre, during and post ride, training frequency, intensity and recovery. There is a thought provoking focus on ‘real’ food as opposed to supplementation and training specificity.

Chapter six is is where Obree focus on the ubiquitous psychology of preparation. He emphasises the power of positive thinking and realistic, yet ambitious, goal setting. It is interesting to read about how Obree prepared himself mentally before some of his biggest races. However most of the psychology coved is in full agreement with current performance paradigms, think Dr. Steve Peters and his chimp paradox, but if it helps you then it is a chapter well read. One aspect Obree adds here is routine in thought processes. It’s what worked for him.

Chapter seven, the psychology of racing. As you are now aware the mind is a major player in Obree’s world. No Corinthian he. Prime motives are what are needed and it is the mind that separates the winners from the rest. A chapter for the elite racer lurking inside us all. However, much truth is written here that could benefit each and every reader, rider and racer. Visualisation played a key role in Obree’s own preparations and his rationale is explained in detail. More food for thought.

“A thought is like a thing. Everything you have and do began with a thought.” Graeme Obree

Breathing, chapter eight, is fascinating and presents a novel, at least to me, method of inhalation and exhalation when riding. Obree can be heard explaining this on Resonance FM’s Bike Show podcast from January 31, 2012. (Available via iTunes) I must admit to having had little success here – perhaps I’m always too out of breath to give it an honest go. Here’s the cycle, to give you taster, deep breath now…

– Full breath out (the most important part), Full breath in.

– half breath out, mostly breath back in.

– quarter breath out, breath back in a little.

I rarely get past the second step. Perhaps my nostril and tongue technique – also explained in the chapter – is lacking in finesse. I showed this chapter to a couple of yoga expert friends and both seemed rather impressed by the thinking, process and description. Practice makes prefect I guess… Back to the mat for me!

Chapter nine cover the act, possibly art, of pedalling. A fine chapter – it includes lots of physics so I would say that! The mystery of crank length is covered and then the best techniques to use to turn them, both in and out of the saddle are presented. The aim? To look a classy rider, oh and to improve performance.

Chapter ten is where I really feel somewhat the hypocrite through my own staggering lack of application: Stretching. All is explained from the perspective of specificity and four very useful – even I can, almost, do them – stretches are presented cover all all the major muscles used in cycling. Full colour photographs of Graeme in full stretch accompany the text.

The time trial, the race of truth, is covered, as you would expect, in minute detail in chapter eleven. Who better to learn from? The essence seems to be position, information gathering, set up, equipment selection, and rhythm. Perhaps I’ll try one, one day? They don’t hurt too much do they?

Chapter twelve sees a return to nutrition and diet. It contains a lot of good, solid sense and takes a traditional, real food approach. Obree seems to be no fan of the supplement – as his famous jam sandwich and mouthful marzipan tip will make clear. Cooking your own food from basic, healthy, ingredients is the theme, even down to the baking of your own low-sodium bread. Timing of refuelling is treated with care. Indeed, Obree treats nutrition planning as obsessively as he does training and bike set up. His success lends weight to his argument. You are what you eat.

Illness and other matters conclude the main chapters and includes minimising the chances of illness, when and when not to with and after illness, drinking and eating on the bike safely, hygiene – body and kit (several acquaintances of the road could well do with reading the kit bit!) The message is consistent with all other chapters – learn to listen, feel and respect what your body is telling you. No one would argue with its primary health care message.

The conclusion is best left to Graeme himself. His words neatly summarise the purpose of this novel, useful and, yes, fascinating, book

“Please trust me that this body of honest work is given in the best spirit, I have been the guinea-pig in e quest to refine my training on every level and I can commend it really does work. Knowledge and understanding is a constant quest. This book is not definitive and keeping an open mind on new findings and developments is not only a good thing but essential if you are serious in your search for new and better ways to improve your cycling and athletic performance.

Information is the golden thread throughout this book.

The more information you compile in relation to your preparation for any chosen event then the better prepared for your task you can become and this can make the difference between being a club rider and a world champion. My quest as an athlete was always to go into minute detail in the areas I could influence to affect the outcome to my advantage in terms of my performance. Trust me, if you take care in all aspects of your preparation and performance you will become an improved cyclist and perform better in your chosen discipline, if that is your goal.” Graeme Obree.

I’d give The Obree Way 99% for content, honesty and the fact it’s self-published!


Reviewed by: Nichiless ‘Nicky’ Dey.

Neunkirchen-Seelscheid, Germany

 

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