I bought these gloves back in September because I wanted a pair of fingerless gloves as the weather got warmer and came across this pair on Amazon. I had read the reviews and they seemed to be positive and were cheap (£5.24 including p&p).
Yep today I am talking about Strava one of the best cycling apps around (in my opinion).
My partner got me using Strava because he was using it and I liked the idea of being able to compare my time to other riders.
Before I was using the ibiker app but I found myself in a lull with cycling and being able to compare yourself to other riders appealed to me.
So why do I like Strava so much? Well…
Easy to use- as someone who is interested in new technology and usability. I love the orange and black interface. It is very clear and basic and cuts the rubbish out that you don’t need. I like the fact that the activity summary is displayed clearly and that you can see how many ‘trophies’ you or others have achieved. When you scroll further down you have your all time and year to date targets which are nice to look back on.
A competitive edge
I have fully enjoyed achieving personal bests and being in the top ten but also being able to collect a Queen of the Mountain (QOM) or two or three… As someone who is used to coming last and being the slowest, it is nice to be the best for once. 🙂
The need for speed
Again being increasingly interested in my progress, the speed graph has come very useful. It has made me want to improve my average speed. It wouldn’t be as good as using a proper speedo but it does the job for me. A note also that the Speed and Elevation charts are clear and easy to understand (I haven’t paid for premium so have not seen the Suffer Score, Heart Rate and Power Zone Analysis sections).
Seeing the Pro’s…
I am very nosy and I have looked up pro cyclists to see if they are on Strava. The Strava QOM on The Woman’s Tour really opened up the idea of looking to see how the pro’s performed.
The website has the same slick design that the app does and is easy to navigate. The privacy option is vitally important and to be able to map your own route is useful as well.
What I think Strava could improve on…
Again my opinion but two things I could think straight off the top of my head is that I think the challenges could be more ‘novice friendly’. With a full time job and at the level I am the challenges I feel are unrealistic. Additionally, I would love to buy Strava cycling kit but they are just too pricey (although others may think the price is reasonable for a decent set of cycling kit).
Another app which deserves a nod is mapmyride. I don’t personally use it but my partner does and he has planned many routes on the app. He brought a phone holder for his bike and it has been very useful as a Sat Nav for the route.
So this winds up why I enjoy Strava, it is certainly a fantastic little app and you get so much considering it is free. I feel it is the leader in the market in comparison to similar apps out there.
Do you like Strava? Is there any other cycling related apps you would recommend?
You can find Strava here on there website.
Before the Olympics I don’t think I had ever even seen a velodrome. Let alone cycle on one, therefore this year I decided it was time to try one out.
I went to my nearest one which is Manchester. but there are others in Glasgow, Newport, London and the recently opened Derby Velodrome.
I went along to the starter session where complete novices can go on. I paid for a one hour session, bike hire and cycle shoes. The instructor tells you the rules at the beginning such as to keep peddling and not taking drinks near the boards. Then you cycle around the blue part ‘Cote D’Azure’ and gradually go up the banking depending on your skill and bravery!
My first session was completely booked which I reckon owes more to the legacy of the Olympics. What I did not appreciate until I rode the track was you have to be constantly going at a fast pace to be able to go round the corners therefore if you are not used to it you are knackered after an hour.
Also without the brakes on the bike you have to be able to stop using your legs which I did not know being a complete beginner! Additionally I struggled with clipping my bike shoes in and out as I am not used to using clipless shoes.
I enjoyed my session. An hour for me was enough and I felt that I had a good workout. I was nervous about the bends of the track therefore I chickened out of moving up passed the red line. What I did enjoy was that you could cycle on a smooth track and not have to contend with pot holes and worn roads. I didn’t realise how used I was to be cycling through and around pot holes!
I went to the velodrome for the second time a few months later. By then I had been going to my local outdoor track every week. I was lucky this time round because we managed to get a Sunday session as another group had cancelled. Therefore it was myself, my partner and another person there.
My cycling had improved considerably from the first time on the track. I easily cycled above the black line and didn’t fear cycling around the bends any more. It was almost a disappointment that I conquered my fear so soon! It was nice not to have so many people around me so I wasn’t worried about people over or under taking me!
As a bonus whilst I was at the track I spotted female Boardman road bike for sale on the noticeboard. A few weeks later the Boardman was dismantled in my car on its way to my home. I am very pleased with the bike and the price I paid for it.
Cycling sessions at the velodrome are so popular that there is a six month waiting list for beginner sessions so I will not be going anytime soon.
Want to have a try? Book here.