Claud’s Group Riding Tips #3 – Pace lines

Another Mega tip for bunch riding

A pace line ride has two lead riders

  1. The one on the left is the Moderator
  2. The one on the right is the Paceman

The left Moderator should always be slightly behind the right lead PacemanPaceline

This means that when taking off from the traffic lights the left Moderator will move off slightly slower than the lead Paceman on the right.

The Moderator forces the left line to DROP BACK from the right Pace line

The Paceman regulates the agreed speed.

There should be no acceleration necessary for the Paceman to overtake the Moderator and move to the left line to become the next Moderator

So on a Cycle 4 Sam Saturday Ride the Moderator is dropping back to 30kph and the Paceman is holding 35kph

The Rule

  • The Left pace line DROPS BACK
  • The Right pace line HOLDS PACE SPEED

And so the right pace line rotates to the left moderated line in a continuous cycle.




Claud’s Bunch Riding Tips #2 – Cycling Fitness Disease

Cycling Fitness Disease: A byproduct of quality training and time on the bike

The symptoms are:

  • Not understanding why others can’t keep up when taking turns
  • Not understanding why they are so slow off the lights
  • Not understanding why can’t they get through a round about quicker
  • Not understanding why they missed the lights when you got through

OK you’re in a 35kph ride but your only doing 39kph what’s the problem?
It’s a 35kph ride but no one is coming through – it’s just a head wind

I was listening to Triple J recently and heard about a study that was done about bum wiping. It was discovered that there were two groups with two different techniques. Neither group could understand the other group’s technique…


Ride as one.

Look after the other rider.

It’s not a race or a game of domination.

Cater for all abilities.

The disease passes when you lose your fitness so Keep the Beast inside.


Saturday Ride

Claud’s Bunch Riding Tips #1 – Its About the Group, Not the Individual

Tips for Group Riding

When in a Group Ride, ride as a group NOT as an individual.
Always ride as if connected by a half metre thread – don’t break it for anything

When riding in a group of 8 or more use up the Left Lane to discourage “Squeezing Through” by motor vehicles
When stopping at traffic lights use up the Left Lane again stopping the “Squeezing Through”

A notorious set of lights are at the intersection of Marion Road and Anzac Highway

  • If bikes get there first, use up the Left Lane
  • If bikes get there second, stop BEHIND the cars and use up the Left Lane

It’s all about acting as a group and being predictable to traffic. There’s safety in numbers but if we don’t ride as one then the advantage and the safety disappears.

Look forward to your comments

Bunch ride 2

Ready to join the commuter revolution?

Continually growing in popularity; cycling has returned as a preferred mode of transport, particularly in cities with fabulous cycling infrastructure like Adelaide. For those new to bicycle commuting, the dilemma is often what bike to get that will suit their needs, not fall apart after a couple of weeks, not get stolen & not break the bank account.

These are the options:

Fixies (or single speed bikes) have long been popular with the cool kids and hipsters and in recent years have been as much a fashion statement as a mode of transport. If you’re a hipster this is an obvious choice but if you’re not why choose a single speed? This is the simplest bike there is, no gears mean less maintenance and less to go wrong but also limit you to riding on the flat. Live in the city, no hills then this is definitely a good option for you. No gears also mean that single speeds are generally a cheaper option so if your budget is particularly tight then this is going to be another selling point.


Bianchi Pista – one for the hipsters

Flat bar road bikes (often mistakenly referred to as hybrids) combine road bike geometry with a flat handlebar giving a more upright riding position than a drop bar road bike (racing bike). The flat handlebar also means most flat bar roadies use a mountain bike (MTB) gearing system which often makes them a cheaper option than a racing road bike. Flat bar roadies can give you any number of gears from 3 to 30, many provide disc brakes and frames come in steel, aluminium and carbon. A flat bar roadie is probably the most popular commuter bike around because they’re so versatile. This is the bike for you if your commute is 10km or more, involves undulating terrain and if you need the flexibility of multiple gears (see, that’s why they’re popular).


Torpado Citi 5 – commuting excellence

Hybrids were created to combine the features of MTB and road bikes so you get the road bike wheel size and geometry with MTB gears and suspension. Why use this to commute? A decent hybrid will give you a lock out on the suspension so when you’re riding on smooth tarmac you can turn the suspension off and all your energy is devoted to straight line speed. The reverse is also true, if you’re riding off-road, on a bumpy road, up and down gutters or on rough paths the suspension can be turned on so that you can cut through the mess and ride comfortably and with less muscle fatigue. Hybrids also come to the fore if you want to use one bike for multiple purposes.


Scott Sub-Cross – the best of both worlds?

Finally we move on to E-bikes which are the most recent addition to the commuter options. E-bikes come in all types – flat bar roadies, MTB, even folding options are becoming available. In Australia the laws that govern e-bikes require that they be pedal assist rather than purely engine driven which means that they require some input from the rider. A good quality e-bike will give you multiple speed/gearing options which gives you the flexibility to pedal a little or a lot. With speeds of up to 30km/h this is the option for people who have a long commute, aren’t very fit, use a bike as their only form of transport, are a bit older or have injury issues.  They’re also the most expensive option on the commuter scale so not an option for everyone.


Scott E-Sub – the new generation in commuter bikes

There’s a commuter option to suit pretty much everyone so isn’t it time to get on your bike?

Charity Rides – giving something back to the community

Having recently completed Cycle 4 Sam 6 and helped a number of Mega Bikers get ready for other charity rides got me thinking about the number of fundraising rides out there and what we’re achieving by doing them.  Many people have also asked me why we’re involved in Cycle 4 Sam, hence this blog.

If you have anything to do with cycling, you’ll at least be aware of the number of charity rides around – 1000kms for Kids, Pedal Against Poverty, Cycle 4 Sam, Ride for a Reason, Beat Cancer Tour, JDRF One Ride just to name a few that Mega Bikers have been involved with.  No matter what cause you’re into, there’s a ride for you.  As fundraising gets tougher and tougher we just seem to have more events.

But why do people, and more specifically we, do it?

At Mega Bike in 2007 we were looking for an opportunity for our cycling community to give something back to the wider community.  Claud wanted to fundraise for kids because they don’t have a political voice and thought that supporting the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation would be a good way to go.  We approached the Foundation who suggested we get in touch with Cycle 4 Sam Founders Marty and Michelle Roberts and get involved that way.  Great idea!

Cycle 4 Sam is a bi-annual fundraising ride which works to support the Paediatric Palliative Care Service at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide, read more about Cycle 4 Sam here.  Marty & Michelle work closely with hospital staff to ensure that the money donated (over $600 000 since 2006) provides the greatest benefit to sick kids and their families.  The first major project was the construction of the Sam Roberts Family Care Room which allows families to be together as a family in the hospital while a sick child receives essential treatment.  The Sam Roberts Family Fund has also funded an Art Therapist to work with sick kids and their siblings, various activities to support the parents of sick kids and very soon the construction of a house which will allow families with sick kids to take a holiday while still receiving that essential medical support.

I was volunteered to ride in Cycle 4 Sam 2 in October 2008 and we’ve been involved in every ride since.  In addition to the fundraising that surrounds the bi-annual rides Claud decided to make our group rides gold coin donation rides so we now pass a Cycle 4 Sam fundraising tin around at the start of every ride and the support is astounding.  The generosity of the Mega Bike cycling community has contributed over $5800 to the Sam Roberts Family Fund over the 3 years that we’ve been collecting.

Back to the all important reason of why we do it… In a nutshell, fundraising rides allow us to support others while doing something that we love.  Keep up the good work!


Bianchi Specialissima CV

Sunny Specialissima FramedMy last Bianchi was an Infinito CV and my analogy for the ride was that it was like riding a pat of butter across a hot plate – smooth and velvety with all of the lumps and bumps in the road ironed out. So how to improve on perfection?

The Build

Start with the Specialissima CV frame then add elegant, light components. Simple really.

At 780g for a medium frame, the Specialissima CV is definitely on the light side.  The fluro Celeste paint adds some weight (and time) to the build and is prone to collecting road grime but the colour is so stunning that a few extra minutes spent cleaning it are worth all the turned heads every time it takes to the road.

Obviously for the ultimate frame from the oldest (Italian) bike manufacturer in the world the group set had to be Campagnolo. I chose Record for my group set for a number of reasons, first I wanted something different from the production specification and second I’d had Super Record two bikes ago and was keen to see if there are any differences between the two group sets other than weight and price (there aren’t).

The HED Ardennes Black wheel set was chosen for three reasons – lightness, aesthetics and depth.  I’m not a fan of deep dish wheels and carbon braking surfaces and I are not compatible.  The HED Ardennes look and feel fantastic so nothing more to say, other than they’re fitted with Schwalbe Ones.

Handlebars, stem and seat post are Deda Super Leggera – keeping with the lightweight, minimalist, Italian theme.  I chose Arundle Mandible cages for the same reasons, no they’re not Bianchi branded but they’re matte finish so they work in perfectly with everything else.

Finally, the saddle is a Selle Italia SLR Superflow S (lightweight and my perfect ID Match), the pedals are standard Keywins with Titanium axle (279g) and the bar tape is black Fizik.

So with everything fitted and this baby ready to roll, how much does she weigh?

Specialissima scales

A massive 6.745kg

The Ride

The Specialissima CV is a climber’s race bike whereas the Infinito CV is an endurance frame and the difference is obvious.  While the Specialissima has the same smooth velvet ride of butter across a hot plate, it also has the power of the Oltre XR2 and climbs as you would expect such a lightweight frame to climb, like a bat out of hell.  Specialissima also holds her own in a bunch sprint, not that I’m much of a sprinter.

The CV technology provides handling that you just don’t get from a conventional carbon frame, no matter who it’s made by.  This bike couldn’t be more responsive and the feeling of connection with the road will quell the nerves of even the most apprehensive descender.

After almost 6 months together there is still a big smile on my face every time I take my Specialissima out and that’s really what it’s all about. Passione Celeste!

Want another perspective, read the Bike Radar Review

Specialissima 1st ride

Clipless pedals – the basics

Clipless pedals are a cause of much apprehension for new cyclists but the reality is that they are safe, easy to use and far more efficient than flat pedals or cages.  Once you’ve been taught the basics and become competent and confident, you’ll never look back.

Why clipless?

The clipless pedal was invented by Charles Hanson in 1895.  Interestingly though, it wasn’t until French company Look began producing clipless pedals using a system similar to ski bindings in 1984 and Bernard Hinault won the Tour de France in 1985 using these pedals that their use took off.1984-look-bike-pedal  Given Look’s early entry to this market it is not surprising that Look pedals are amongst the most well known and easiest to use.

The term “clipless” means that the pedal doesn’t have a toe clip (cage).  Many people find this confusing given the fact that the cyclist’s shoe is attached to the pedal via the cleat, but when you understand that ‘clip’ refers to the toe clip it makes a bit more sense.

Why use clipless pedals?

Being attached to your pedal brings multiple benefits.

  1. Safety – as long as you have been taught how to use clipless pedals they are much safer than the alternatives – your foot won’t slide off them as commonly happens with platform (or flat pedals) and you won’t get tangled up in them as happens with toe clips & straps.
  2. Efficiency – in using correct pedalling technique you’ll engage a much bigger muscle group.  Clipless pedals allow you to lift the pedal as well as push down on it so you’re using calves, hamstrings and glutes in conjunction with quadriceps rather than just quadriceps as you would with flat pedals
  3. Power – engaging this much bigger muscle group gives power throughout the pedal circle.
  4. Endurance – using a bigger muscle group allows you to ride longer before fatigue sets in and lactic acid starts building up in your muscles.
Mega Spin Pedalling Technique

Clipless pedals enable power transfer throughout the pedal circle

Which pedals?

There are basically two types of clipless pedals which can be loosley categorised as road or MTB.  Road pedals and cleats provide a bigger connection with the pedal and therefore greater power transfer.  Road cleats are relatively large and the soles of road shoes are deliberately stiff to minimise flex so they’re not good for walking.


Look Keo Easy Pedals & Cleats

MTB cleats on the other hand are small and recessed into the sole of the shoe so they’re far better if you need to walk.  MTB pedals may be single or double sided and as the smaller cleats provide less contact with the pedal they’re easier to unclip from the pedal.  This allows mountain bikers to quickly unclip to clear obstacles or put a foot down to manoeuvre their bike but leads to less power transfer.

MTB pedal systems are often chosen by commuters because you can walk in the shoes.  So, choice of shoes and pedals comes down to your bike and the type of riding you’re planning on doing.  Check out our shoe blog for more info on choosing the right shoe.

But I’m scared…

Commonly, new cyclists are scared to try clipless pedals because they’ve heard horror stories from friends who have had a bad experience.  However, a good bike shop will coach you in the use of clipless pedals and ensure that you are competent before letting you loose on the world, so if you’re new to clipless pedals make sure you ask about pedal coaching.

Good luck and safe cycling.