Week 1 New bike – new training regime


So, it’s that time of year again, when your head is recovering from a year of excess and your body is a year older.

Mike from the etape knows you are vulnerable and sends you the “come and enjoy the scenery” email.

Your body screams no but you sign up!!!

This year, I’m going for three wheels as two must be faster than three and this year I’m not even bothering to give up alcohol or pies – I tried that and it didnt work.  This year is all about excess in moderation.  This is apparently how Alberto Contador was so successful and if it worked for him then it can work for me.  I have been recommended a new form of treatment for my knee, it’s called epo.  I’ll let you know if it is any better than neurofen.


Anyway, tomorrow is Saturday and my planned 100km ride has been cancelled because the Quins are playing at Twickenham. However, Sunday will see me on the Surrey Hills, hammering out the miles.

Let the training and excuses begin.


Alcohol consumption this week – Lots

Crisps / nuts – Many

Miles cycled – 1 (well 0)

Miles planned – 40

Turkey eatern – 1









The new Brompton

Well, I am all paid up and there is now only the new year celebrations to go before the training starts in earnest.

Four months to swap the ‘a’ in fat to an ‘i’!

Having spent a lot of 2014 relatively immobile following my bike crash straight after the ‘Ouka’, I am amazed at how much larger I am – not good. On the bright side the Brompton has also grown proportionally. Having had the trusted folder, veteran of two Marrakesh-Atlas Etapes, stolen from the boat in September, I decided to replace it with a Pacific IF Reach – the ‘IF’ standing for integrated fold.

Was this wise?

On paper the Reach looks the business (and the RRP of 1.6k means it should be). Reality has proven to be slightly different. The integrated fold is ingenious, however, the magnet solution to hold the two folded halves together does not work (note to self, must buy a bungee). The cables get in the way and can jam the brakes are on when folded, meaning the bike will not wheel. Often, when unfolding, a cable will get jammed between the joining parts.

In an effort to make the folded footprint small, the handle bars also collapse – as the clip for this requires an additional velcro safety strap to hold it in place, it also means they are in danger of collapse when cycling!

Despite all the cleverness, the folded version is still large, fragile and awkward to move around – the handle being as likely to break fingers when the bike unfolds itself (due to magnet) at every opportunity.

Add to the list that the supplied seat post is too short, it is hard to get tyres to fit in the UK, the plastic pedals need replacing and rack and mudguards need to be imported – still something I need to get around to which means I arrive everywhere with a sweaty back (from pack) and a wet bum (London rain).

None of the compact and robust benefits of the old ‘go anywhere’ Brompton then.

Despite all the negatives, however, once unfolded the Reach is a joy to ride. The long wheel base make it cycle like a proper bike, yet it is as nimble and responsive as a folder and, although the mountain bike gearing feels like a lack of flat-line ‘omph’, it is faster than the Brompton.

All-in-all, it is like riding a ‘thoroughbred’ – equally, there is all the trouble that goes with this as some of the more ‘mad professor’ ideas backfire in reality.

Regardless, it is all worth it – now to get fit and see how the Reach handles the High Atlas…
Pacific 'IF' Reach