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In the fat burning zone

| Blog, What Mountain Bike | 18/11/2010 12:07pm

I’m writing this half way through November, which means my winter commuting is already well under way. Last week was 5 days of torrential rain and flooded towpaths to pedal through and this week it’s been severe frosts and ice. Which means streaming eyes and a river of snot to contend with. Where does all that liquid come from?As part of my weight loss goal I took the big step during the autumn to sell my car. This just forces me to use my bike more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no eco Nazi, we have the family car to use for the kids etc, but it just stops me from jumping in my car if I don’t fancy a pedal. Which in all fairness wasn’t too often anyway.

A summer of constant road bike usage is now over then. I’m delighted to be back down the canal and NCR5 on my Ridgeback MTB. Which is all commuted up with rigid Kona P2 forks, Schwalbe puncture resistant tyres, full mudguards and lights that are good enough for a pitch black towpath.

Interestingly, I’ve been single speeding it lately; I haven’t changed gear on my Ridgeback in about 3 weeks I think. This came about by monitoring my heart rate using my Garmin Edge 500 after reading a fascinating article about HRZs and weight loss on another blog:

We all know that when pedalling we always (well I do) go as hard and as fast as possible, all the time. While this is getting you cycling fit, it isn’t, much to my surprise, the best way for weight loss. You need to keep your HR in zone 2 or 3 rather than 4 or 5, which looking at my stats was what I was doing.

Long and slow is the answer for weight loss. So the relatively flat route of NCR5 and the towpath is the ideal territory for single speeding and a correct HRZ. I just have to work hard on the last 3 miles home as it’s all uphill!

On to weight loss, I’m now seeing the number 16 on my scales that of 16st 8lb, just 4lb off a weight loss of 6st. As I thought, the weight loss is starting to slow now. I get the odd static few weeks then another couple of pounds drop. This can get a bit disheartening. I don’t think winter helps either, it’s almost like you go into hibernation mode! But, I have no targets, just continue being hyper disciplined with the grub, carry on commuting every day, which is about 130 miles a week, and see where it goes.

Crap weather, loads of layers, filthy bike, even a raging head wind to pedal against is all preferable to being stuck in a car getting all frustrated at the lack of progress.

Off topic slightly, I was fantasising recently following yet another marathon cleaning session to get a week’s worth of canal grime off my Ridgeback, about my money-no-object, bombproof, low-maintenance commuter.

Obviously there’s no right or wrong just personal preference for the conditions I ride in. I’m sure you all have different ideas for different conditions so don’t shoot me down too hard!

But here it is anyway:

TI 29in MTB frame

Carbon rigid forks

Hydraulic disc brakes

Hub gears

Belt drive

Mavic rims

Schwalbe puncture resistant tyres

Full mudguards

Brooks saddle (all 3 of my bikes have a Brooks)

Top end, maintenance free, sealed head set, BB and hubs

Ancillaries to suit

Apart from proofing the saddle every now again, what will need looking after?

Anyone got a couple or three grand they’d care to donate to a good cause?

You can follow my daily travails at


This entry was posted on Thursday, November 18th, 2010 at 12:07 pm and is filed under Blog, What Mountain Bike. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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