In July 200Profile8, I was very overweight and had a very poor diet, I was irritable and bad tempered, some friends suggested doing a charity cycle ride from John ‘O Groats to Land’s End (JOGLE)

I spent a weekend thinking about it….

In April 2008 I cut an old mountain bike out of the undergrowth in the garden shed…

Then my life changed…

I am now a strange Lycra wearing health freak that does more miles on a bicycle than most do in a car, This blog is a daily diary of my Cycling, and things that effect my cycling…

It has been a very steep learning curve to this point and I still have so much more to learn!

36 Responses to About

  1. DaveTheA says:

    Hope your up for Wednesday! I got a car load of wheels for you to abuse or dump. Speak tomorrow evening dude.

  2. John says:

    Cool…Wed is good…

  3. Jayzeefrog says:


    Ive been searching the net for advise on training and cycling tips/routes etc, and I came across your website and I see your also from Chippenham.

    I was looking into joining the Chippenham Wheelers… can I ask what sort of club it is? friendly, type of rides etc?

    I have just got back into cycling after a 20 year break and already im feeling happier and healthier.

    Your blogs certainly give me some encouragement of what can be achieved, well done to you.

    Im in training at the moment to do LeJOG summer 2011, not got a decent bike yet, but thats another thing im searching advice on the net for.



  4. John says:

    @Jayzeefrog…hello…I am replying by email πŸ™‚

  5. phil banks says:

    Hi john

    I read your blog on a regular basis. Both myself and my brother in law have decided to buy turbo trainers . Not confident about using a roller just yet. Any ideas on a decent model. I may buy brand new however my brother in law has seen some on eBay at a better spec but cheaper as second hand. Any ideas welcome.

    Cheers Phil

  6. John says:

    Hello Phil…Unfortunately you get what you pay for! I would go for a mag trainer as a minimum but a fluid trainer as a preference….Unless you wanted a VR trainer πŸ™‚

    When you do settle on a resistance trainer I would strongly suggest that you buy a trainer tyre, if you don’t your lovely expensive road tyre will melt and shred!

    When you eventually use the trainer make sure it is in a cool room where you dont mind the floor getting soaked, you will sweat more than you can imagine!

  7. Sounds familiar. cycling about 2 and half years. Great hobby.

  8. phil banks says:

    Hi john, just wondering if you have any advice just joined audax UK and signed up for a 169km ride. Any tips or advice would be very welcome

  9. Darlene da Silva says:

    I am curious how many hours a day you spend riding. I would love to be able to do this but i just want to know how you find time to do all this and work. With my work schedule I would never be able to ride as much as you…

  10. John says:

    @Darlene…My typical week is

    Monday up at 5am drive 72 miles to work – normally arriving at 7:30 am, work in an office all day and drive home…No cycling its a day off.

    Tuesday up at 5am drive 72 miles to work, leave work at 4:30 pm and back home at 6:30 pm, change into cycle gear and do 20 miles – In the summer it take 1 hour in winter its closer to 1 hour 10

    Wednesday I work from home so no commute, I do a 40 mile ride either first thing, lunch or evening in the summer it takes 2 hours in winter closer to 2 hours 20.

    Thursday back to commuting and a 20 mile evening ride.

    Friday work at home and a 40 mile ride. (2 hours)

    Saturday early morning 40 mile ride (out on the road at 7am back home around 9am)(2 hours)

    Sunday normally 100 mile ride and 6 to 8 hours.

    So my normal week is around 16 hours cycling time…I don’t tend to spend any time watching TV, I do enjoy cooking πŸ™‚

  11. Neil Lythaby says:

    Hi John

    Loving the blog mate! I have lost over 4.5 stone in the last 6 months through diet and am now working on keeping it off via exercise and possibly loose a little more! A novel concept for me as you know! Anyway, inspired somewhat by yourself I went out on Monday and bought a Carrera Hybrid(I am a noob afterall and haven’t been on a bike for 20 years!) and did my first 30 min session today. Loved it albeit I ache a lot! will be checking back often for tips :)Hope to be in touch soon!

  12. John says:

    @Neil….hello mate…..be warned it can get addictive, and expensive!

  13. Neil Lythaby says:

    Thanks John and heyas again. Yup addicted already! Been out for a steady 1hr session today but even as a very noob noob I can feel things getting easier and faster. Itching to get a SPD upgrade but trying to be more realistic and just enjoy the learning curve. Maybe just go clipless when and if I upgrade to a road bike which might be this year if I keep enjoying it this much!! πŸ™‚ Have fun at the weekend and good luck! I could only aspire to such challenges…..one day!! πŸ˜€

  14. mick slatter says:

    Hi John,
    Like yiou I have a croix de fer and am training for an end-to-end.
    i was intrigued that you swapped out the rear cassette for an 11-32 and added a deore 9 speed rear deraillieur, on what I am assuming was a 10 speed set-up.

    was this a fairly straight forward bit of work ?



  15. John says:

    @Mick, yes no problems with fitting 9 speed mech to 10 speed bike, I have responded in full by email.

  16. Amanda says:

    Hi John,

    I have just found your website πŸ™‚

    Can I ask where you are from? I am training for LEJOG next year and always on the look out for volunteers to help me train. I am physically disabled (I have a neurological disorder) and will be doing the challenge next may on an adapted tandem to raise awareness and funds for research into my condition. I have a good team of volunteers already but it’s not always possible to get out everyday due to busy lives.
    If this is something you would like to be involved in please can you email me.



  17. Paul says:

    Hi, fantastic website !!!!
    I was hoping you could help me out by indicating what replacement bearings you purchased for your Tacx Antares.
    I too am suffering from the deafening creaking, I have reseated the bearings a couple of times but eventually the creaking comes back. I did think about gluing the bearings in place, but would only do that as a last resort.
    I read through your blog and think the bearings are available at simplybearings.co.uk.
    If you could let me know which bearings you bought you would helping me out sooooo much.
    Kind regards

  18. John says:

    @Paul…Thank you, according to my receipt from Simply Bearings I ordered…6 x 62002ZC3 Metal Shielded Deep Groove Ball Bearing 10x30x9mm
    And the link is…here…

  19. Paul says:

    You star … thanks so much !!!

    Such a simple thing like that can make such a difference .. can’t wait to receive my new set of bearings πŸ™‚

    Kind regards

    Paul ….

  20. Hello John,

    One of my customers, Phill Connell, suggested that I get in touch with you.

    My business, http://www.bikeleasingcompany.com is looking for a number of brand ambassadors around the country.

    On first impressions you may think that leasing may not be a good option for someone like yourself, however, if you look at the overall costs involved with running a good quality bike, you’ll see that it makes a lot of sense. You can even make changes to the spec of the bike if you wish at trade prices.

    Would it be possible for us to have a chat on 07710 615091?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best regards

    Paul Mander-O’Beirne

  21. Mathew Greer says:

    Love reading the blog and your love of the hills. Started on the hill training. Avoided it like the plague previously but loving it now. Still hate the treacherous twisty downhills, but up hills are sublime now. You wouldn’t believe you could dodge hills in Scotland πŸ™‚

  22. John says:

    @Mathew…Ohh I hate hills! I just practise a lot to try and get better, my aim is to get to the top with my friends instead of 10 minutes behind them!

  23. Hello John,

    It’s always so inspiring to read stories like yours, of someone reaching a point in their life where they make a positive decision to get fit. I did the same about three years ago and I’ve never looked back.
    I wonder if you’d be so kind as to add a link to my site, http://www.scarletfire.co.uk in your “Bloglist” section? It’s probably best known for the articles and tutorials I’ve written regarding the use of GPS units for cycling.
    Kind Regards

  24. John says:

    @Alan…Thxs, I have added a link, I agree with your opinions on the 800 v 810, I still sort of think that neither have been a great improvement over the 705! at least the light purple breadcrumb was clear to see over the route map!

  25. Thank you John, I’ve added a reciprocal link back to your site on my resources page – http://www.scarletfire.co.uk/resources/
    Thanks again πŸ™‚

  26. Antony says:

    Hi John

    Hope you don’t mind me contacting you. Have been scouring the internet for info. on the Genesis Croix de Fer, in particular, as a touring bike. How do you find it? And what gearing do you use? I notice the 2014 Croix is a 34/50 up front with a 11/30 cassette at the back, was wondering if that’s low enough to get me up anything, with front and back panniers?

    Look forward to your response.



  27. John says:

    @Antony….Hello Antony, My Croix De Fer originally came 34/50 with 11/28, I fitted a mountain bike 9 speed Diore rear mech and a 11/34 cassette, I have had no issues doing fully loaded touring (and I do mean fully loaded!), Ideally I would have liked to fit a 38/24 mountain bike double (I am pretty sure there is enough clearance on the down tube and chainstay to accommodate the 24) but wifey would not let me spend any more, and after doing several 1000 miles I am no longer inclined to experiment to see if it will fit.

    I have cycled the North Devon Coast (including Porlock and Porlock Toll Road) without to much issue about 25% is the maximum gradient I can take, and it is bloody hard work! (hence the thoughts about 38/24). I did complete an unsupported JOGLE on it last year and I had no issues until Devon/Cornwall where the 100 mile days were a bit tough.

    The Only mechanical issue I have had was with the stock cup and cone rear wheel bearings, they did not like me + bike + two fully loaded panniers + tent, after a few hundred miles the bearings ground there way into the cones, so I had a rear wheel built using a hope hub (roller bearings).

    I now keep the Croix De Fer setup only for touring so the front and rear racks are a permanent feature and the bike is very underutilised, My CDF is White, and I cant stand getting it dirty!

    I am quite happy with the setup and would have no problem recommending it for occasional touring (I tend to do 1 to 2 weeks a year), normal hills aren’t to much of an issue, biguns (25%) can be a problem, and the loaded bike is damn heavy to push!

  28. John says:

    @Antony…damn you got me looking at MTB chainsets again….I have just bought a 38/26 on sale at chainreaction…

  29. Hi John,

    I think I’m in awe of how much you cycle! Out of interest, do you plan to complete some more of the 100 climbs in your table? It’s a great idea to show it like that. I’m pleasantly surprised to see that I’ve done five of them (though whether Box really counts…?).

    I have a cycling blog called http://sportivecyclist.com and I was hoping you could add a link to my site in your bloglist.

    Originally I started the site (under a different, unpronounceable name) to record my ‘journey’ to completing RideLondon in 2013. Since then I’ve transmogrified it into a site that helps novice cyclists prepare for, complete and enjoy their first sportive(s).

    I would be delighted at some point if you could stop by some time and share your wisdom/experience.

    Many thanks

  30. genea barnes says:


    My name is Genea Barnes. I am a an artist and a cyclist from San Francisco, living in Brooklyn. If you actively ride a bike, you have probably had some close calls. Ones that make you grateful for your life and your existence. You might also have know someone that has not been quite so lucky. I am grateful every day that I get to ride my bike, and grateful for those moments where someone driving is aware of my presence, respectful of my space, and aware of their surroundings. I want to be part of a world where we as cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers are conscious and respectful of each other.

    Over the last couple of years I have been working on a project that speaks to this issue, and means a lot to me. I have traveled to more than 50 cities seeking out and photographing Ghost Bikes. If you are not familiar, Ghost Bikes are bicycles that have been painted white and locked near an intersection where a cyclist was killed. This is one of the most grievous outcomes of people not being aware of what and who is around them. I am finally at a point where I am ready to put a book together, and am looking for support. I have launched a kickstarter to fund the printing of the book, “Ghost Bike: A Photographic Journey by Genea Barnes.” Check out my project; if you believe in it, share it with your community, and donate if you are able. I know this project can help raise awareness, and hopefully make a difference. Honestly, I really want to be an active participant in making things better. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Check out my kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1004330446/ghost-bike-a-photographic-journey-by-genea-barnes

    For a downloadable press kit go here: http://geneabarnes.com/blog/kickstarter/presskit/

    A fine art photography book that immortalizes Ghost Bikes: memorials for fallen bicyclists.
    The book will include the story of my travels and at least 80 full color Ghost Bike fine art images. It will be a hard cover 10 inches by10 inches photography, printed on high quality paper, and will be between 120 and 150 pages.

  31. Ian Palmer says:

    Hi I see you replaced your bearings in your rollers back in 2012, don’t suppose you know the serial number of the bearings i need to order?


  32. John says:

    Sorry Ian, I moved of from the Tacx rollers ages ago…

    Still using rollers, but considerably better ones!

  33. Michael says:

    Hello John,
    Sorry to post this here, but I couldn’t find another way to contact you.
    I’m asking about something you posted in another website two years ago, concerning an SP8 dynamo with a B&M E-WERK. How this combo worked out for you? Did you need to buy some adapter for the E-WERK or the connector that came with the kit fit nicely (I know the E-WERK works with SON and Shimano, but no word on SP).


  34. John says:

    Hello Michael

    I have a friend with the E-Werk, I have a USB WERK, it works well…
    The USB WERK is ideal for keeping, phone/Garmin charged up on ride as it has built in cache battery, it needs no additional batteries/wiring…

    The E-Werk really needs an inline cache battery to use Garmin etc on the go, otherwise every time you stop, it stops!

  35. Michael says:

    Will any USB-chargeable battery work or it has to be the B&M one (which is a tad pricey)?

  36. John says:

    Michael, I assume any would work as the outbut from teh E-Wert is adjustable, but as I have a USB-Wert and not an E-Wert I cannot be certain.

    Regards John

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