ICE – In Case of Emergency

When you’re out on a solo ride, who knows where you’re going, but that’s part of the fun, right? 

You don’t break it down for your better half as much as you brag about it on Strava afterwards, do you? “Yes love, I intend to be at mile 30 by 14:00 and at that point there’s a long gradient for half an hour…” They don’t need to know.

It’s too much information. Plus, why should you tell them? What if youwant to go left instead of right that day? A rare impromptu decision that could land you in all sorts of hot water when you’re home an hour or two, later than scheduled!

But are you being selfish, should You say more than, ‘I’ll be back in a few hours.’

What safety precautions do I take? Not only for myself, but for those who I leave at home while I head out for an hour, or two, three, four… (Oh that coffee shop looks nice).

Of course, there’s the helmet, I rarely, if ever, ride without one. There have been a couple of occasions when I’ve jumped on a Boris Bike and not had a helmet, but most of us have been guilty of that – haven’t we Sir Bradley? What else can you do to protect yourself though? Well there’s a few options: crash sensors, bands, emergency contacts, dog tags… I’m going to pick out my faves and you can decide whether the peace of mind is worth it. 

 

Sir Bradley Wiggins off out on a Boris Bike
 
I think there’s more you can do though. More than just wear a helmet, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. There’s a few companies out there who’re looking after you and helping put your better halves mind at rest as you ride.

ICEdot Crash Sensor

The ICEdot Crash Sensor press pack uses the cheesy tag line of you never having to ride alone. With this fits any helmet crash sensor and app which connect via low energy Bluetooth connectivity.

crashsensor_helmet01.jpg
It doesn’t just wedge in, you can attach it to any part of your helmet but make sure it’s secure and fixed.
Basically, it attaches on to your helmet and if it registers an impact – let’s say you fall off, have a crash, go head over pedals and take a bump, an alert comes up on your phone giving you ten seconds to respond. If you do not respond in those ten seconds then it will send a text message to your In Case of Emergency contact of your location and you’ve had  a tumble and you’re unable to call for help by yourself. No doubt striking terror to the fingertips of you ICE and panic through their brain.

I guess the notion is they then go on to phone the emergency services and send them to you, not jump in their car and drive 100 miles per hour to make sure you’re OK.

I do like the ICEdot, it’s a bit gadgety and seems to have a really good use, but i worry about it running out of battery. What if you’re out on a country lane with no phone signal? What if you’re actually ok but, uh-oh, you rolled on to you phone breaking it and don’t know if you cancelled the emergency text message or not. Leaving you thinking, ‘Oh, am I meant to wait here until dark to let everyone know everything is OK or just ride home?’

I found one you can buy on Amazon for £86.47 or you could buy one off their website for $99

TagNix

These are such a simple idea which work amazingly well if you’re riding in a group or on the well trodden path. The minute you go on roads which are rarely trodden by anyone else but you then there’s very slim likelihood you’ll be found. At least the ICEdot offers something towards that.

20150120-SAM_3761.jpgBut, that being said, these aren’t the expensive option and these aren’t designed to do what the ICEdot does. They’re really simple, effective and neat. They fit on to you watch, running shoe, they come in bracelet form or even if you’re feeling particularly G.I. Joe, they come as dog tags. They hold as much or as little information as you want and on a club ride, could be invaluable. Especially if you’re new to the club.

Ranging from £8.95 – £14.95 you can buy them here and I would recommend that you do, they’re great.

Your iPhone

The last one I’m going to list is your iPhone, if you have one, is has a little ‘Emergency’ feature in the bottom left of your screen after swiping right to unlock it. It also has a medical ID where you can store your ICE. Not a lot of people know that.

It’s for the reason, that not a lot of people know it, that it’s bottom of my list here in this post. Yes, yes, while it’s good that the phone offers there feature but; 1, as I’ve mentioned, not a lot of people know it. And 2, what if your phone is completely defunked after you’ve come off your bike? you can’t use it to make a call, you’re stuck in a ditch, it’s probably filling up with blood from your head and your wishing you put a helmet on and knew that someone knew where you were and what your blood type was when they got there!

To Sum Up

If you’ve made it to the bottom of this far down the blog and now wondering what to do, look after yourself and the others around you. Buy a TagNix and if you’ve got the money and you value your life and well being more than £86.45 buy an ICEdot too. It could save your life.

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Acceptance. 

Finally! 

On the third year of trying I’m part of ‘the gang’. I’ve finally been accepted in to the London Ride 100. Possibly one of the biggest cycle sportives in the U.K.  

I’ll let you in to a little secret, while I have a massive passion for cycling and love riding my bike. I’ve never cycled over 50miles in a single sitting before – so I’m very much a Ride London Virgin. 

For me, this is the biggest cycling sportive, ever. 

I’ll be honest with you, when I applied, I never thought I’d make the ballot. I just wanted to do it to show I could do it, with the hope that I would make it in and I’d sail through the 100 miles, somehow. Now I’ve got the letter of ‘acceptance’ I’m undoubtedly excited, not only that my brother is riding it too (his first time applying and he gets in, typical) but I have wanted to do this ride since its inception. 

But whys it so big? How do I fit training in? Am I actually ready for it? Will cycling now take over my life? Will I make the time cut offs? Will I ever reach the end of these questions?! 

With all the questions at an end, over the next few months I hope to answer a lot of them and I hope to bring you along with me, for the ride. Just with better puns.

The timing of this couldn’t be any better for me and this blog. I only started blogging in February this year, a resolution started late. With Pusher of Pedals being devoted to bikes, kit, gadgets and erm… Coffee, then it brings about a reason. 

Over the next few months, and onwards, I’ll hopefully be trailing out; the bikes that will help you overcome the hills of a 100 mile sportive. The kit that will help you stay comfortable and endure a long time in the saddle. The GPS and training devices to help you find your way to Box Hill. The energy bars, gels, foods, what ever will keep you fuelled up – these are somewhat new to me and something I would usually feel embarrassed about using, or not know how to use. 

I’m excited, I hope you’ll follow me too, not only to July 31st but onwards. Here’s to a little acceptance going a long way! 

Your Review

Just squeezing a quick one in while I’m on my lunch hour!

I ran a poll on my twitter page over the weekend asking all my followers what I should review next, Gadgets, Clothing / Kit or a bike.

You voted in your tens, literally, and you voted for clothing. Good choice with storm Imogen blowing in.

So as you’ve voted I am working on delivering, please keep your eyes on this space as this is where the review will pop up!

Stay safe, warm and dry out there… looks like you may need a nudge on which kit to buy for this wind…

Gadget Review – HRM Tri

Many of you will have shared the same New Years resolution. This is going to be the year you get in to shape.

You let yourself go a bit last year, maybe you’re going to show that ex what they’re missing, or, maybe you got a bit too friendly with the desert menu in 2015 and you need to work it off.

Whatever your reasoning and goals it’s always handy to have a bit of gadgetry to help you out.

So, I got my hands on such a fitness gadget, which can help you achieve those goals. The Garmin HRM Tri.

What’s that? Well it’s a heart rate monitor which is designed for the triathletes among you. ‘Yeah, yeah. How does a heart rate monitor help me train harder? Plus, I’m not a triathlete. I’m a cyclist.’ I hear you ask.

Well soon as you did ask, and I didn’t purposefully put that question there to help me carry out the rest of this blog – it helps you work in ‘zones’, if you’re running, cycling or swimming. Knowing your heart rate and the ‘zone’ you’re working in, combined with how you’re feeling is all important to your overall goal… Getting fit.

Most of the fitness gadgets I test are tested at a neutral playing field, my spin class at Cyclebeat.

What does it look like and how does it work?

 

The Garmin HRM Tri

 

Well, as heart rate monitors go, it’s fairly inconspicuous, the “bulk” of it is about an inch in length and it doesn’t stick out much, at all. Really quite descrete.

Wearing it under your top, which you should do is not an issue. See if you can spot it on me. But, please, excuse the garish green top matched with black white and red shorts.

 

I know the shorts and top dont match, deal with it.

You can get away with wearing it and no one would really know. You’re an undercover gadget lover, that’s fine by me. (So am I).

The way it works is a bit of a stumbling block, for me. You have to partner it to your Garmin Forerunner 920XT watch. If you could partner it to your phone, allowing you to keep a track of your exercise over a period of time, that would be much better. Not having to buy the watch itself which is £311 on Wiggle. Or even being able to download data to your computer, that would work just as good.

Partnering up is easy enough though, it’s in the watches settings and it’s all linked via BlueTooth as long as the watch is within three meters of the monitor. And unless you’ve got freakishly long arms, then there shouldn’t be an issue.

So – in terms of it being a gadget that only you know about, without looking too brash or like you’re taking things too seriously.

It gets a decent score for being descrete and the Garmin colours look nice too.

That strap, it’s got to be pretty snug, right?

Well, that was my concern. When I first put it on I thought: ‘hmmm, this is going to restrict my breathing.’ Actually, I barely even noticed. The pain in my legs was far worse. Once I got over the fact I was doing a gadget review the fact I was wearing a heart rate monitor didn’t even enter my brain.

It scores well here. The strap is very giving but not so that it falls around your waist. There’s even adjusters for the larger sized person.

What are the pros then?

What I did love was that I was able to see how I was working in ‘zones’. You hear people talking about this all the time but you’re able to judge what you’re doing better when the numbers are on your wrist.

Before I entered the class my heart rate was down at 59bpm, zone 0.5. At its max I was beating at 178 per minute. Zone 5.6

 It was actually really effective, for reading my heart rate during my workout. I knew how hard I was working by how my legs felt but I never before was able to see how hard my heart was working. The more I was able to understand how that muscle was working the more focused my training became.

After all if your heart isn’t working properly, you’ll probably pass out and the next thing you’ll see is flashing blue lights. At least they’ll know your heart rate though.

So in terms of reading your heart rate, again, it scores well.

And the cons?

Well the blatant one is that you need a £300+ watch strapped to your wrist. What’s that about? Let me pair it to my phone and store the data there.

There’s no where to store my data?! Without the watch it’s just a snug fitting strap. How am I meant to see if I’m improving if I can’t store my data?

For me, the overarching issue is that you can’t use the heart rate monitor without the Forerunner 920XT watch. That is a big issue.

Other than that, it was pretty bang on.

So, are you buying one?

There’s no contesting the fact that indeed it is a heart rate monitor, it looks good and it does indeed read your heart rate.

It costs £99.99 from the Garmin website. So it’s not cheap on its own and then there is the price of the all encompassing watch. Yes if you bought the HRM Tri, Forerunner XT920 watch and also a Garmin Edge bundle I can really see the advantages.

As a gadget it’s easy to use, looks good, it’s descrete and does what it says on the tin, I can’t fault it there.

However, I think it’s a little too rich for my blood. Overall I’ll give it 3 revolutions of the pedal out of 5.

If you would like to buy the Garmin HRM Tri, you can do so here.

If you would like to buy the Forerunner XT920 you can do so here

And if you’d like to follow me on Twitter, you can do that, here.

London Design Museum. 

So if you’ve not been, or you don’t know, the design museum in London has a fantastic exhibit on at the minute. It’s devoted to bikes. What could be better than that?  

 

Impressive line of bikes to greet you.

From the original diamond frame bike which broke the mould, to Chris Boardmans 1992 Barcelona bike, which, erm… Broke the mould. 

It really is fantastic to see such a wide collection of bikes there. Not just road bikes either, no. Someone has hung some ugly, chunky mountain bikes up there too… Why, I don’t know. I skipped past them quite quickly… 

‘What’s so ground breaking about these bikes then?’ I hear the already underwhelmed ask. Well, underwhelmed pushy peddler – the 1992 Boardman Lotus bike changed track pursuit riding forever. Working with complete cycling novice and self confessed know it all, Boardman developed not only a bike but a new riding style, the superman, which would give him 6-9 seconds over a pursuit distance. Those sort of figures couldn’t be ignored, changing not only his style but the way bikes were made and rode over this distance. Impressive. 

The Broadman Lotus, from 1992.

Moving ever so slightly to your right another icon defining bike is sat proudly on the wall, complete with the riders helmet. Arguably the best British rider we have ever seen. Yes, Sir Bradley Wiggins’ hour record bike. I mean the man needs no introduction, his style, his bike riding, his personality and ego all speak for him. And there’s his bike. I couldn’t write this post without mentioning it. There was just something about it that almost made you bow your head and apologise for gorping at it. Christ, don’t mention it while you’re in there and most certainly ask permission before you take a photo, just to be respectful to Sir Brad of course.  

 

You can almost see Wiggo’s grimace in his helmet and the superman position still strong even after 23 years! 

Wonder with me down the line and we come across something which every kid of the time had to have and something which is still so retro cool today. The Raleigh Chopper. I mean how cool was this little thing? Gears on the top bar, sit back seat, the handlebars, it even had a speedometer on it. Come on, who doesn’t want that today?!  

 

Still a very, very cool bike. The Raleigh Chopper.

I’m going to skip a few bikes now, not because they’re dull and boring (well, some of them were mountain bikes) but because you need to go yourself! On to The Splinter Bike, come on, keep up. 

This bike is well worth a mention. Made completely out of wood, no nuts or glue, it was built for a £1 bet and even broke a land speed record. Imagine, how can a bike made from wood do that? Well, look at the size of that gear! No doubt there’s more trickery to it too… 

Look at the size of that gear! Probably part of a three cog fixed gear system to get the speed.

So. Before you read all this and say, ‘Well there’s no point going now, you’ve shown it all.’ Don’t be so bitter! Of course you should go, it’s fantastic! 

I thought to end on my favourite bike there. While I’ve dreamt of riding Wiggo’s hour bike, Meckx’s bike and many others which hang there, they’re not my all time favourite. It’s actually this one: 

 
A trades and bike. Originally built on Coventry. Why this one? Well, look at how cool it is! Plus, you don’t need a van, car or other mode of transport. This was it, back in the day if you wanted to get your goods from one place to the next you put it in the basket at the front and you delivered. Even after that you could still ride home and enjoy it. I love that. 

Go now and enjoy the simplicity of two wheels. 

Hello

Hello reader, 

This is my pedal pushing blog, a space where I share my cycling stories, cycling gadgetry – from bikes to GPS, to fitness, kit and anything else which glistens and isn’t gold. I’ll also be picking out somethings which us cyclists love, coffee and food. 

So have a look around, see what there is to see. Not a lot at the moment, not until I’ve had a few weeks at this anyway! 

Most of all, comment, enjoy, like and share.

See you on the road soon.