Category Archives: Cycling

New Bike Under Cycle to Work Scheme

Two years ago I purchased a new bike under the “Cycle to Work” scheme, which is run by the government to encourage people to, er, well cycle to work!  I say “purchased” as this is effectively (and finally) what happens, but, due to the complex way governments and tax departments run, what I actually did was rent the bicycle for a year from my employer, who took the “rent” (which is the full retail cost of the bike plus accessories) in my 13 pay slips over a year, but took these payments “before deductions”, so in effect the rent is tax free.  At the end of the “hire” period you make a final payment to “buy” the bike from the company for the “depreciated value”, which I think is about 5% of the original value.

The last time round I purchased a mountain bike for £799+£100 of accessories, which has done me very well, and, with the scheme offering the tax free savings, I think the net cost was around £550 paid over a year.

This time I have purchased the new Specialized Allez Elite 2013, which is a road bike.  The reason I chose a road bike is that, pretty much from day one, I have had “slick” tyres on my mountain bike.  These are good for getting an extra few (5-7) mph out of the bike on the road, but they make the mountain bike pretty bad as soon as any mud is encountered.  Not very useful on a mountain!  The cost of “wheels” has always put me off having two sets of wheels, so the only option is to change the tyres depending on the circumstance of the ride, which is very time consuming and has not once been done.  So I had a mountain bike for two years that I hardly ever took off road.

I have now ridden the Allez Elite twice, and, having never had a road bike before, I’m getting used to the brakes, handle bar position etc.  I purchased shoes with clips and also the appropriate pedals.  I haven’t tried these out yet, so maybe tomorrow morning or Sunday….. I’m a bit scared of falling off with the clips on, as I’ve never used these before.

I also purchased (not through Cycle to Work) a Garmin Edge 800, which is excellent so far.  I didn’t buy a package with sensors, but I will be adding  a cadence sensor in the near future.

Once I’ve done a decent ride, I’ll review the bike, shoes, pedals and GPS.  I’ll also be putting the knobbly tyres back on my MTB and taking it off road, where it belongs!

2011/01 – Bexhill to Rye

If you fancy a ride along the beach, beside the marshes, but with the challenge of a nice Cat 4 climb, then this is a nice varied ride for you.  About 18 miles,  it usually takes me about 2 hours from Bexhill to Rye station on a mountain bike, but you may want to leave a little bit longer if you want to catch a specific train – they only run once an hour during the day – so you have to be there on time.  The service on Sunday is pretty much the same as weekdays, but you can always check the times online at Southern Railway.  At the time of writing you can get a 10% discount on rail tickets online, so it’s worth a visit, unless you fancy cycling back to Bexhill of course (rather you than me!)

Rye is an ancient town, one of the Cinque Ports, so it is worth exploring, there is a bike rack outside the front of the station.

The ride itself is mainly on quiet roads, the Hastings seafront section is mainly on cycle track and the only bit involving main roads is around the Old Town of Hastings – but you can easily get around cycling on the A259 itself.  The climb up Barley Lane is short and steep, although the climb continues for a fair distance to Fairlight Road along a track.  It isn’t steep though after the initial shock.

Later in the year I will publish part two of this ride – Rye to Folkestone via Lydd.

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