Over this summer I've faced a lot of comments from people that see me day to day but don't really know me off the bike, or indeed that well on it; comments about how thin I look or whether I'm being underfed, comments on how I need a good cake or a decent meal.
As much as I would love to ride my bike as my full time job I can't, but recently I swapped jobs and joined a new company so that I could ride my bike more. This reminded me of some of the important things to remember when you're a cyclist in an office environment and the funny things that tend to become part of life as a commuter. Here are three things I've learnt as a commuting cyclist.
Anyone that follows me on Strava will have noticed that during May and June all I seem to have done is ride my bike for a living; admittedly it wasn't bringing in the money but it I was riding as though it was. I left my job and took some time to live the life I could only normally dream of living. I would have loved to carry on but being 23 and without a magic money tree i've instead settled for something of a middle ground now. However, all of this resulted in me being called the 'faux pro' as I pranced around Yorkshire ticking off mile after mile.
I've ridden over 1,000 miles in the last two weeks and 2,300 miles for the entirety of May. I quite often get asked how I manage to ride so much without getting tired. So I thought, seeing as I've just ticked off a pretty epic month I'd share a bit around what I do to make sure I'm in a good place for riding.
Fear not, I haven't suddenly turned into a potty mouthed cyclist that's going to chase you down the road and nor have I taken to a game of Mad Max in my car. I have however, taken to Twitter recently and seen the endless reams of video footage showing close passes or dangerous manoeuvres from cars and the arguments that tend to ensue in the aftermath of such postings.
The Tour De Yorkshire is back this weekend with three days of hard racing covering 490km (304 miles). This is a race that in the three years since it's inception has drawn massive crowds from across the country and most certainly helped Yorkshire and the UK in their successful bid to run the 2019 World Championships.
Billed as "A reet proper hard bastard bike race" with a bit of a back story about a bloke called Malcolm, it would take place in the heart of Yorkshire in the quaint little village of Saxton, heading around a rolling seven mile circuit that had ample opportunity for a breakaway, but wasn't so hilly that the race would split to pieces from the go.
In February I wrote a little bit about how I was struggling a little bit to find my buzz in cycling after spending so much time on the road in the last few years. Since then, I've been able to finish up the reliability rides and think a little bit more about what I plan to do with the year in order to get back that buzz back.
There is nothing worse when you're sporty than waking up one morning with a head that feels like you've sunk a thousand tequilas and a throat that seems to have visited the sandpaper factory. Illness is your worse enemy; you know it means countless days without riding, sitting staring at the bike and cursing the world as though everyone around us is the biohazard that brought the misery. But just what do we do when ill?
Reliability rides have evolved into the opportunity for cyclists from all clubs across a region to come together and test themselves in a high tempo training ride over about 100km (60 miles). Given the invention of GPS and the constantly improving technology of bikes there is no longer a need to test the gear and more of a desire to test the rider and see just how well training has gone.
In just four years I've ridden over 47,000 miles and most of those have been in and around Yorkshire. When you ride that many miles in quite small area, no matter how gorgeous the landscape is, or how smooth the roads are, you're bound to get a little bit bored from time to time as you tap out along the same roads....
2017 is the year of "post truth" so I wanted to get one thing very clear from the start. There is absolutely not of this in cycling. Therefore I thought I'd have a look at some of the important truths within cycling. Whatever you get told, always remember these truths in order to be the best cyclist you can possibly be...
I would try and write an ode to my year like Eloise but frankly it would take me another year to try and make it all rhyme so I'll stick to my usual ramblings on this occasion. It's been a pretty busy year by all accounts and I can only envisage 2017 getting busier still, but before I get to what lies ahead, I decided to have a little look at what gone on this year
As much as I love the challenge of the Festive 500 and fully embrace the opportunity to earn my roundel, I've also learnt that it's not quite the be all and end all of Christmas. Sometimes it's much better to rest the bike up against the wall, have a small lie in and smash 10,000 pigs in blankets with those closest to you. You can ride a bike 364 other days of the year after all.
The clocks have rolled back now and it's dark by 4pm. All of a sudden the number of riders on the road, commuting or otherwise, have dwindled and those that are riding start to take the more direct route to avoid the darkness and the cold. I, on the other hand, am one of those minority riders that loves riding in the dark.