Thursday, 9 August 2012

Working those road bike leg muscles

My vintage Cliff Pratt velo
I took my 60s ten speed mixte out for a quick blast in the sunshine today.  It was a thigh burning 26 miles with 2100 ft of ascent. But not my usual thigh burn on the tops of my legs that I get on my upright hybrid. When I ride my drops, it's the side of my thighs that feels it and since I ride this bike less often, getting up steep hills is challenging!  But the breath taking views are always worth it.

Calderdale is a beautiful part of the region, but certainly has the steepest hills that I've come across in my life. I avoided the two worst ones that I know of and did a more 'sedate' loop up to Blackshaw Head and back past Widdop Reservoir, thus not dropping all the way to the bottom of the valley to eliminate some extra climbing.

Hardcastle Crags in the valley below

Widdop Reservoir

See that road snaking up to the clouds? That was a fantastic descent.  It felt to take less than a minute to get to the bottom of the hill.  Having a steel bike with some heavy gears probably contributed to that somewhat.

the view from the other side of Thursden Valley
I was in this part of my region afew weeks ago doing an off road ride (see previous ). The feel of the countryside seemed completely different somehow from the saddle of my roadie.

My mum sometimes asks me which bike I prefer. I dont think there's an answer - the two rides are not comparable and I still have a way to go to really get my head round what gears to use on the hills on my road bike; it somehow isnt as instinctive as the hybrid. I feel to loose a lot more pace as I gear down but still feel to be putting in an incredible amount of effort, perhaps that's the weight of the gears - the steeper the hill, the more I need to pull. She's fun, but we still have a way to go getting to know each other.


  1. fantastic images.

  2. Oh for a better camera for even better ones. Saw a guy up on the moors with a humongous camera, wouldnt really be practical for riding with I suppose.

  3. Your photos are fabulous.. great job of showing the steepness of climbs, something I cn't get in images. I'm right with you on the shifting thing. I continue to unnecessarily lose momentum when shifting. Oh well, guess it will come along some day.

    1. Thanks Suze - sometimes, well most of the time - photos dont do justice of the hills, but the views on this ride really lend themselves to the drama of the ride :-)

      It's not a problem I have with my triple hybrid. I'd love to try a modern road bike to see how the gearing compares to the vintage bike - maybe one day.

  4. Those are really breath-taking sceneries! And riding on a bike to see them is simply priceless!

    1. Yes they are :-) The Pennines are just as beautiful as your Lakes. Hills make for the best views, but boy do you have to work hard for them!!
      Hope to be up in your part of the universe for the Cubrian Cracker next month. It might be a sportive, but hoping to do it on the tandem.