Cooky's
Website updated 16 January 2018

 

Untitled Document

 

Cycling

Although I had bikes when I was a schoolboy my first serious interest in cycling was in about 1995. I had done quite a bit of serious jogging (I really can't call it running). My pace was about 8 minutes for the mile and I would run about 30 miles a week. Eventually, however, my knees started clicking when I walked up stairs - no discomfort but I thought it was time to do something with lower impact on the bones; I got a bike.

Two bikes, to be precise: one was a Raleigh mountain bike (quite heavy) and the other was a very old second hand touring bike that I cadged off my brother-in-law. It was also quite heavy and was affectionately known as "dark and wet" - because it had lights and mudguards.

These bikes sufficed until 2001 when I treated myself to a new Giant hybrid - alloy frame, 24 gears, and relatively light. I started using this bike for serious fitness training in 2002 when I had just retired. I rode it extensively until 2006, when I started to ride an old Raleigh road bike that my son Matthew had discarded. In those five years I put about 5,000 miles on the Giant.

The Raleigh showed me that what I really enjoyed riding was a road bike - light weight, no mudguards, narrow tyres, and quite fast ... so I bought a new Specialized Allez Sport road bike in 2006 for £750. In the two and a half years I rode it I covered nearly 5,000 miles.

Dawes in the Loire Valley Dawes in the Loire Valley

During this period the Raleigh got converted to a single speed bike; it was very enjoyable to ride like this, but I overstressed the frame and bent it - so it got scrapped in 2008. I came by an old Dawes Competition Giro frame that Terry's Cycles (in Yate) were throwing out, and I built this up into a second road bike with an 18 speed Shimano Tiagra groupset. I rode it quite a bit (including a fair bit of mileage in France) before I converted it to a single speed bike, before stripping it back to components in 2009 and giving the frame to Matthew (to dispose of in the Kingston Wheelers, his cycling club). Here it is on the right, in France.

In 2007 I got very silly; Matthew and I talked each other into riding from Land's End to John o'Groats, and we did this in 2008 (use the pull-down menu above to view). I built a bike specially for this ride. It was a steel framed Planet-X Kaffenback with 18 speed Shimano groupset, decent Mavic Open Pro Wheels and rigged with mudguards, lights and panniers. The 987 mile ride took us 12.5 days.

I've never ridden competitively; I ride mainly for enjoyment and to keep fit (and keep my weight down too!). I'm on the road about 5 days a week, riding between 20 and 40 miles per day. I have ridden several charity rides in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire (in aid of the British Heart Foundation) and, of course, I rode from Land's End to John o'Groats in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

My bike stable now consists of a Specialized Roubaix (carbon fibre frame to replace the Allez Sport), the Kaffenback (still with mudguards, but minus the panniers and now with flat bars) which is used for winter riding, a steel framed Ribble, a Steel framed Concorde, a steel framed Bob Jackson and a Specialized S-Works Tarmac S3.

In the spring I'm going to send the Bob Jackson back to the factory in Leeds for re-painting. The frame is now 9 years old and white is not the best colour for a winter bike. I think a nice metallic red will look good - perhaps a new set of silver mudguards too.