Reflections on 2013

It’s a wet windy New Year’s Eve as I write this. Unusually when I said to my 6 yr old daughter that I was thinking of going out and getting my last mileage for the year done, she asked that I stay home and not go out riding. So here I am, a blog post to write, Lego to build, family films to watch and perhaps some board games too.

But before I get to all of that, I wanted to write some reflections on 2013.

It’s been a good year for the blog and my thanks to you all for visiting. 80,000 page views is pretty good for a hobbyist blogger, well I think so at least. The most popular day being 700 views, which was for this post on my first ride review for the 2014 Genesis Equilibrium 20: http://girodilento.com/2014-genesis-equilibrium-20-first-look-review/

When I look back at my year in cycling, these are my highlights:

1)      Riding more than I ever have in a year before: 5920km over 109 rides or very roughly a 54km ride every 3 days.

Strava snapshot

Strava snapshot

2)      Riding the Tour of Flanders sportive and then spectating the day after was definitely the highlight of my riding year. In fact it was one of my best adventures ever. The blog post is one I really enjoyed writing too: http://girodilento.com/the-tour-of-flanders-from-the-gutter/

In action on the cobbles of Flanders

In action on the cobbles of Flanders

3)      Riding the Coast to Coast was also a highlight too and has confirmed to me, something that had been floating around the back of my mind for a while. It’s that there is no better way to see a landscape and nature than on a bike. You can cover so much more ground more easily than walking but are still fully engaged with all of your senses.  This trip also led to a blog post I thoroughly enjoyed writing: http://girodilento.com/riding-coast-coast-charity-schneider-electric/

Crossing another county line

Crossing another county line

4)      My first ever off-road ride a few days ago at the White Chalks Hills UCX was a brutal but brilliant adventure and I will be posting about it soon. In short it was 65km and over 1700m of climbing and I’d say 90% off road. Great company, very hard but one of the best days of cycling you could imagine. I still hurt though. The Pro 6, that the good people at Kinesis loaned me for the ride was fantastic too and a fine testament to their more than a decade of designing cross bikes. For a couple of write ups/photo essays, try these http://velomorpha.com/2013/12/30/flicking-the-vs-at-the-mediocracy/ & http://themanfromicon.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/rapha-festive-500-part-3/

My own thoughts on it are now posted here: http://girodilento.com/white-chalk-hills-ucx-first-ever-road-ride/

On top of another bloody hill!

On top of another bloody hill!

5)      Another fine riding adventure was the weekend I spend with Pete Bragg of Shutt Velo Rapide and his son, Ed, riding a loop of the Oxfordshire Cycleway. This was a terrific ride over two days and was again a fine example of how cycling is the perfect way to see the countryside: http://www.shuttvr.com/blog/2013/09/shutt-tour-of-oxfordshire-27th-september-13/

Rose Xeon DX at rest next to a "No Cars" sign :-)

Rose Xeon DX at rest next to a “No Cars” sign 🙂

6)      My ANZAC day ride with Mike Stead (@tweetymike) was also a fantastic day out. Some terrific Hampshire lanes, a pub lunch, great company and some New Zealand trivia to boot. For a ex-pat Kiwi like myself, it was a splendid days riding: http://girodilento.com/mikes-anzac-day-100-ride/

On the inaugural ANZAC 100

On the inaugural ANZAC 100

7)      I was also absolutely delighted to be able to blog about the #girodilento250 on Road.cc recently. It’s a site I’m a big fan of and it was a thrill to get the opportunity to post something there. http://road.cc/content/blog/100349-girodilento-250-festive-riding-challenge-people-commitments. I hope to be able to blog on Road.cc again in 2014.

From a cycling products point of view, 2013 has been the best year for girodilento.com ever. I’ve been asked to try more bikes, components, clothing, accessories etc than ever before, which has been both a privilege and great fun. Some of the gear highlights of the year for me have been:

1)      Discovering Capo Cycling Clothing. I’ve only posted a single review so far, but I’ve been riding more Capo kit and I think it’s all been outstanding. I hope to get to try some more to try and to review in 2014. It’s absolutely top notch stuff. If you’re looking for great clothing that not every other person is wearing, I heartily commend Capo to you. Here’s the review I’ve posted: http://girodilento.com/capo-pursuit-bib-shorts-review/

2)      The biggest and best bike surprise this year was the 2014 Argon 18 Gallium Pro –  a really impressive bike. Stiff, very light and uber comfortable – the holy grail for me: http://girodilento.com/first-ride-review-2014-argon-18-gallium-pro/

3)      Reynolds 2014 carbon wheel range is something I’ve been very excited about too. I’ve written about it http://girodilento.com/reynolds-launch-2014-road-wheel-range-affordable-aero/ and the first wheels I’ve tried from the range, the Assault SLG disc more than lived up to my expectations – they are terrific: http://girodilento.com/2014-reynolds-assault-slg-disc-wheels-review/. I am a wheelaholic, so I’m hoping to have more wheels to review in 2014.

4)      Getting to spend time on the Genesis Equlibrium in 2013 has been a highlight too. I’ve been a big fan of this bike for years and my posts on it have always remained in the top 10 most popular. Bikes like the Equilibrium, which are versatile, fun, comfortable, have mudguard mounts have a place in every riders fleet in my opinion and I’ve been very much enjoying munching the miles on it so far: http://girodilento.com/2014-genesis-equilibrium-20-first-look-review/

5)      Some quality time riding in Brynje Baselayers this year has changed my view permanently on the base layers I ride in. I had always chosen Merino as my first choice but the Brynje Micro T and Super Thermo baselayers are now my go to products for most of my rides. Mesh base layers really are impressive and the Brynje ones are very impressive indeed: http://girodilento.com/brynje-super-micro-t-shirt-baselayer-review/

The most read posts of the year have been:

1)      Cannondale CAAD8 105 ride report: http://girodilento.com/ride-report-cannondale-caad8-105/

2)      2011 Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL thoughts & review: http://girodilento.com/2011-mavic-cosmic-carbone-sl-first-thoughts/

3)      Reynolds 46 clincher review or how I learned to love cheating: http://girodilento.com/reynolds-forty-six-clincher-wheelset-review-or-how-i-learned-to-love-cheating/

4)      New bike challenge £800 to £1500: http://girodilento.com/new-bike-challenge-800-to-1500/

5)      2013 Reynolds Attack first ride review: http://girodilento.com/2013-reynolds-attack-first-ride-review/

Looking forward to 2014:

There are a few things I’d like to tick off next year.

From a riding point of view, I’d like to:

From a tech point of view in 2014, I’d like to:

  • Try some more aero wheels
  • Spend some quality time on a Di2 bike
  • Try and review more road bikes, components and clothing from entry level to the high end, to share with you here on the blog
  • Try some more off road riding/bikes – either cyclocross or mountainbike, perhaps even build a first ‘cross or mountainbike
  • Follow the evolution of disc brakes as I think they have a place in cycling. I hope to write some more about them too.
  • Review a European style city bike or cargo bike

Once again, thanks to everyone who’s visited in 2013. Happy New Year to you all and I hope you’ll continue to visit the site in 2014. If there is anything you’d like to see me cover next year, please do let me know – I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading.