That Sunday morning torture of training rides

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Riders gather for the start of a training ride

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Sunday start and enough in number to make a peloton, of sorts. At least, some place to find shelter.

A meeting of wheels. Another ride with Refuge des Cyclistes and 70 kilometres done. The closest I have to a cycling club. I even wear spandex, though buried under camouflage baggy clothing. I eventually got home home, recovering with a pot of tea. Tea cures everything. But glad my performance was far better than my pathetic ride a few weeks ago. This time, I could actually set a pace. Three weeks ago, I was a corpse on two wheels.

©Barry Sandland/TIMB- Volga rider repairing his flat tire on a training ride

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Flats and group rides. It is inevitable, I suppose.

The plague of the Sunday rides. Flat tires. We had two punctures within 20 metres of each other. One was irreparable and they abandoned the ride. I mean, he had two spare tubes and was not willing to risk a third. We just could not find the problem.

And this brought a detailed conversation about what tires are best – Continentals versus Schwalbes – and everyone swearing their allegiance. I ride Schwalbe DD and adore them. For an outsider, nothing could be more interesting other than listening to middle aged men debate the best route to take from Leeds to Coventry (OK, if you are English, that is funny).

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - rider w broken seat clamp on a Sunday ride

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Seat post cracked at the sweater – the ride home will be standing room only

And frustrations on rides should never be limited to punctures. So we broke a seat post. Fortunately, that is the train station, in the background. In Belgium, you are always near a railway station. .. But it might not be open on Sundays.

Still, riding 20 kilometres standing on your pedals – easy…. (not).

We ride most Sundays from Barbeton on rue Dansaert, Brussels, starting at 10.00 sharp. It is a roadbike-style event, spandex and helmets. Steady pace and aware of the slower riders of the day. Nobody gets abandoned. Average about 24kmph. Good group if you are looking for a way to stay in shape without being ridiculous about it.


©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Refuge des Cyclistes peloton for the group ride

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – The peloton, and the essential rest-stop for coffee, hot chocolate or whatever turns your fancy.

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