Top 10’s

Johnnys top 10 must haves

There are a few items to do with cycling that I value above others. These are things that no one ever told me I would want when I bought a bike, but I wish they had.

So, from 1 to 10, Johnny’s list of cycling must haves!

    number one must have, a decent tack pump! 

  1. Track pump – this is, I think, the single most valuable thing after the bike itself. You need you tyres up to pressure, and nothing does it quite so well, and with quite so much ease as a track pump. Not saying that any old track pump will do though, I have owned Lidl/Aldi £5.99 efforts and they simply cant deliver 120 psi without falling apart!Currently I am getting good service from a Topeak JoeBlow that has so far lasted 2 years of daily use and shows no signs of failing. Top product and a top must have!
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    carry it with you always

     

  3. Multi-Tool - since owning a Swiss army knife as a young child (innocent times!), I have loved a good gadget, and not many are as useful to a cyclist as a darn good cycling multi-tool. Typically loaded with allen keys and screw drivers, the posher (translate that to ‘more expensive’) models will come with everything from a chain splitter to a bottle opener! I had owned a Topeak Alien for a couple of years, but after that was stolen, I have ended up with a Bontrager – nice tool with all the extras. And today I added to my collection with a simple little tool from Decathlon, just the essential Allen keys and a couple of screw drivers, but for £5 it would have been rude not to!
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    essential for cycle maintenance, the work stand

  5. Work stand
    I think this is an essential bit of kit, it just makes every part of bike maintenance do-able, and makes cleaning your steed a darn site easier too. No more propping your bike on the edge of the sofa, no more trying to hold the back end up whilst you turn the pedals, simply clamp in and set to any angle you like. Not only am I pleased I bought one, Mrs Johnny hugely appreciates the lack of greasey marks on the furniture!
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    DHB Aeron Cycling Bib Shorts from Wiggle

     

  7. Good quality cycle shorts!
  8. – Nothing can ruin a nice ride more than discomfort down under. And there is no greater false economy than cheap cycle shorts. That isn’t to say that you have to spend Assos money in order to achieve a Zen like state of undercarriage happiness, but simply you do get what you pay for to an extent.
    Personally I have owned cheap shorts, used them once and consigned them to the bin.
    I don’t spend a fortune on my shorts, the DHB Aeron Race bibs from Wiggle are great, and I also like the Endura FS260’s, both of these can be had for less than 60 notes and will give many miles of chafe free riding!
    On the cheaper side, I also have some £25 DHB shorts that have performed perfectly well on 40 mile club runs, so as I say, you need not incur a debt the size of a failing Euro-zone country in order to feel comfy on a ride!
     
    Trek 8i Cycle computer

  9. A Good cycle computer – No matter how easy you take it, no matter how uncompetitive you claim to be, everyone wants to know how fast they went, how far they have travelled and if it is a real fancy one, just how close to a heart attack you came as you attacked that last hill!
    I use a couple of different cycle computers, one is a Trek Incite 8i, basic functions (speed, average speed, distance travelled, total distance and so forth), the other is a Garmin unit that records my route, or acts as a sat nav (either on the fly or by a pre-ordained route I upload), and can give me the ins and outs of my ride including route profile, heart rate, and no doubt tell me what I am having for tea next week!
    Whatever you choose, it is a good tool to measure how you are progressing.
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  11. cycling glasses keep them bugs out of your eyes!Cycling glasses – now these could be sunglasses, safety glasses, anything really bar wine glasses! And it isn’t all about looking cool as you hammer along recreating a Cavendish sprint for the line on the local High Street. Facts are that when you cycle you get hit in the face, and pretty often too. No, not by the local ‘Youths’, or by irate drivers as you sail past them in traffic jams, nope, by something far nastier… BUGS! Flying insects of all sizes, shapes and colours.
    Nothing can be as unpleasant as when that Bluebottle on steroids (you know, the one with a flick knife and tattoos), slams into your eyeball at 20 plus miles per hour. So get protected, and if you happen to look cool as a result, bonus!
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  13. tyres, look after them, it's all that stands between you and the road!Good tyres – one of the best things I did, shortly after buying my first road bike, was to replace the tyres that came with them for some good tyres. My choice was the Continental Ultra Gatorskin 700x23c’s. There are two main reasons behind this. Number one is that they get up to 120 psi and roll so much better than the ones that came with the bike, making the bike feel more nimble and a little quicker, and secondly, they have a kevlar belt to give some protection against punctures. In my case, since having them on the bike I have never had a puncture, compared to two in two weeks when on the original stock tyres that came with the bike. When you think about it, those two little contact points between you and the road are kinda important, so get good rubber on your ride!
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  15. baby wipes, a cyclists best friend!Baby wipes! – it had to be didn’t it? I mean these things are invaluable to a cyclist, they will remove any kind of bike related muck from both the bike and the rider without the use of force.
    Add to that the sheer cheapness and convenience of the product and it has to feature in my top 10 must haves!
    I am still a little concerned that anything with such cleaning power gets dragged across a childs face, but they keep my bikes in tip top shape!
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  17. Finish Line lubeGood quality lube – oh yeah baby, get your ride nicely lubed up! Seriously, a good chain lube (and no I don’t mean sump oil) applied to your drive train after each clean will keep things ticking over nicely. I personally use the Finish Line ceramic stuff, mainly as it isn’t so thin as to drip everywhere when being applied. A clean and well lubed drive train will keep you rolling on and on and minimise the wear and tear caused by the daily grind.
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  19. Lastly… A good sense of humour! – sounds daft I know, but as you rack up the miles you will no doubt have ‘incidents’. These could be a classic clipless moment when you roll to a halt, forget you are clipped into the pedals and flop, next thing you are led on your side in the verge. It could be dealing with that irate taxi driver/bus driver/car driver who wants to shout at you to vent his frustration at being stuck in a queue of traffic as you filter past, it could be when you get a flat, late in the evening and far from home. The list is endless. And that is just where your sense of humour comes into play.
    Learn to laugh at it, whatever it is. Cycling is too much fun to get worked up about anything, so smile, and enjoy!

Johnnys top 10 bicycle quotes

I was reflecting on a couple of quotes about the bicycle today, so I present my top 10 favourite bicycle related quotes in no specific order (apart from number 1 which is my favourite). If you have a favourite feel free to add…
 

  • When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.  ~H.G. Wells
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  • For instance, the bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created:  Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon.  ~Bill Strickland
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  • Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.  ~James E. Starrs
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  • Get a bicycle.  You will not regret it if you live.  ~Mark Twain
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  • The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles.  A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom.  The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard.  ~Sloan Wilson
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  • Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.  ~Albert Einstein
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  • Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.  ~John F. Kennedy
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  • You never have the wind with you – either it is against you or you’re having a good day.  ~Daniel Behrman
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  • Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.  ~Grant Petersen
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  • Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.  ~H.G. Wells
  • Johnny’s favourite stores



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