Monday, March 14, 2011

Imagine that...

You finally manage to gather the funds for a decent pair of wheels. Namely for a pair of Ksyrium Elites. You've been waiting for all this time, and now you know that next Friday you'll be having those beauties fitted on your bike. Perfect. But alas! On the Wednesday you get a sore throat and you go home from work and you're shivering on the sofa even though you're wrapped up in a blanket and the heating is on full blast. The horror of not being able to ride those wheels any time soon is slowly sinking in. Not only the weekend will be wasted on antibiotics and food that is given usually to primates during rehab, but an absence from the country has been planned for the following ten days. Anyway a holiday is always good and you arrive back on Monday two weeks after, only to have to go through a most stressful week at work. Anything that can go wrong goes wrong. And you wait for the weekend. You wait for the weekend so you can cycle the stress out of your system. You daydream that you're riding your new wheels for the first time and it brings a smile to your face. So you check your tyre pressure from the night before so you don't waste any time in the morning. And your front tyre is completely flat. You try to inflate but nothing's happening. Nothing's happening because the gash on the tube next to the valve is huge. After the initial frustration you take the spare out of it's box and inflate it just to give it shape so you can easily fit it on your new front wheel. By the time you take the pump out of the valve the new tube has no shape again. Because it is indeed gashed as well. You get a tickle in your eye and a burning feeling up your nostrils, but you refuse to cry for this. You finish off your night with a tea followed by a nap on the sofa. Sometimes things just won't happen. They just won't.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

App yourselves

Last Saturday I rode a nice route that for some reason I don't ride often. I went out of town through the Limassol road, and then through the villages of Kalo Chorio, Ayia Anna, Psevdas and back. It's really a sight for sore eyes at this time of year since everything is green and the air is fresh and crispy. With such views of the hills I don't understand why some people hate winter and live only for the summer. Don't get me wrong, summer is all good but it gets too hot for anything, and too humid, and everything looks dead.
Anyway back to the ride. The nice constant uphill route to Psevdas should be really good for developing strength in my skinny legs. And the way back is the prize! You can easily ride with higher speed since it's - mostly - all downhill. I took a two minute break to take this lousy photo:

I also had a chance to check out the Cyclometer app for the iPhone. At 2.99GBP it's one of the most expensive apps I've bought, but it's well worth it for someone who has an iPhone and is saving money for new wheels and doesn't want to fork out for a dedicated GPS cycle computer i.e: me. The Cyclemeter uses the iPhone's GPS capabilities to display useful data like ride time, speed, average speed, maximum speed distance, elevation and location. Your ride is then stored in a very nifty calendar. You can open the calendar and access all the info for your rides, as well as your route on a map, a speed vs distance chart and an elevation vs distance chart. There is also a 'splits' record which - surprise surprise - splits the ride into each kilometre with all the aforementioned info.

Comparing the data with my computer, I found some differences. Namely, the average speed was about 1km/h less than the computer's, and the maximum speed a whopping 8km/h difference at 50.22km/h as opposed to 58-59km/h recorded by the computer. I think I trust my computer more when it comes to precision, but the Cyclemeter is a very useful app. One of the nicest features is that you can export all the data into a GPX, KML or CSV file so you can transfer in other devises I guess. My favourite option is the Google Maps link. So now you I can share my rides with you because I love you that much! :)

One of the limitations of using the Cyclemeter, is that you are depended on the iPhone's battery. Since it utilises GPS it does drain the battery faster. For the specific ride, it used a little bit more than a quarter of the battery, so for longer rides it might be a problem.

Anyway I will be using it loads more and keep you updated if I see anything else I hate or love about it.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Riding a road bike at night is absolutely fantastic! I never used to do it – I was even dreading it – probably because I thought it wasn’t safe. Well there is much less traffic, and everything seems much quieter and at ease. Since it’s after work it really helps to de-stress as well. I use a pair of K.N.O.G. ‘frog’ lights which proved to be enough to get me noticed. The particular route was the usual home-airport-Dromolaxia and back. Nice 20km ride for when I haven’t got much time. As soon as you're not on the inevitable Artemidos avenue, everything is half-lit, silent which give me a calming feeling - even when sprinting. And if there is enough moonlight, the dark unlit streets become an atmospheric silvery/black and white surrounding. I certainly will be doing loads more night riding and not just wait for the weekend to ride.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Screw You Petrolheads!

It was the highlight of my day. I was good and ready for riding in the dark for the first time after a couple of months. On top of that I was eager to try out the new tarmac friendly tires I put on my mountain bike. After all I've been using it more for commuting instead of descending with eye-watering speed through tree-root infested trails. So I got geared up, checked my lights and I was out riding with a Julia Roberts smile. The wheels felt nice and quiet. Rolling resistance was down to a minimum. I was carelessly enjoying my ride, passed the airport - Larnaca's new pride and joy - and on to a junction where I would do a right, pass through a village and be on the road back home. I saw the car waiting at the red light. A dark coloured Nissan SUV. I passed it while it was at a standstill due to a red light. As I continue my ride I can hear the engine of the SUV revving in the distance. I was expecting to be taken over any second. What I wasn't expecting was that the driver - or the other retard in the car - would try to scare me with a loud 'boo!'. The Julia Roberts smile became Joe Pesci rage. I confidently left the handlebars in order to do the appropriate gestures with my hands, and free my lungs so the swears would be loud and clear. Then I thought screw them. The extent of the morons' stupidity was matchless. They apparently forgot that they had to stop 100m after where the incident took place to pick up their take away. So I was a bit surprised when I saw the car parked in front of the kebab house. Of course I took the opportunity to ride next to the car. Moron number one was in the car, waiting for moron number two to come with the kebabs. He refused to look at me or acknowledge my presence. Did he not see me? Can't be, my lights where blinking, both front and rear. I decided to make my presence even more apparent, and walked in front of the car, bend a bit and read the car's registration number. Moron number one was looking away still refusing to look at me. Do I make you feel uncomfortable? Are you ashamed? Good! I decided to leave as moron number two came out with the kebabs. Gave him an evil eye and a disapproving nod, and I was on my way. The sad thing is that both morons were in their forties. What retarded upbringing, or screwed-up marriage do you have to be in, in order to do such a thing? What were you thinking during that moment of genius, the moment of the inception of the masterplan? Oooooh look what I'm going to do to him! Well screw you and up yours. I hope you choke on your kebabs!

Goodies from CRC

Today I've received some stuff I ordered from Chain Reaction Cycles about ten days ago.
Item number one:
Cateye Strada Wireless computer:

This looks like a piece of cake to operate and set-up. I like the way it attaches to the stem/bars. Basic functions here: current, average, and maximum speeds, two trip-distances, odometer, clock, elapsed time. I'll let you know more of what I think of it as soon as I set it up and use it (probably tomorrow).

Item number two:
High visibility ankle bands by Respro.
Two reasons I got these. First is safety obviously. Since I get home after work at about six, any cycling on a weekday will be after the sun's long gone. On top of that, riding with jeans - or anything other that shorts and tights - means chain dirt on the trousers. The ankle bands will be sorting it out.

Item number three:
Socks! Endura Coolmax socks are so comfy, and even in the winter I never felt cold wearing them! So I got another three-pack. For less than a tenner!

First entry

This is a blog about cycling and everything that comes with it. I will be writing everything that comes to my head and is related to cycling, whether that concernes my own rides, pro cycling/riders, routes, bikes, gear etc. Feel free to comment. I am not a cycling know-it-all and I will most certainly try not to behave like one.