Fit for charity

Could you suggest any books I might read in order to prepare to get back in the saddle?

Q: I have been a sufferer of ulcerative colitis for some time, which means I often have to spend long periods off my bike, much to my frustration. I will soon be having a colectomy to fix this which will mean that I will not be able to ride for about three months! After this, I will want to start building my fitness up again as I am planning a charity ride for next summer. Could you suggest any books I might read in order to prepare to get back in the saddle?

In addition, I ride a Lemond Étape and would like to add a new set of wheels and a triple chainset. I live in a hilly area and have a budget of £300. Could you suggest some suitable components that I might consider?

Andrew Adams

A: To help you on your way back to recovery, Joe Beer suggests The Complete Book of Long Distance Cycling by Burke & Pavelka for your reading matter.

Re: your Lemond upgrading, assuming you’re running Shimano gears, it’s hard to beat the excellent 105 Hollowtech II  triple chainset. The chainset and bottom bracket bearings will set you back about £100. Tiagra, Ultegra and Dura-Ace versions are available too, but 105 probably gives the best performance for the money.

You don’t say why you want a new set of wheels, but since you’re spending a lot of time on the hills we’ll assume you’d like something a bit lighter than the standard Lemond fare, but  strong enough to cope with a larger rider. Sensible choices are Easton’s Vista SL (£229 per pair) and Fulcrum’s Racing 5 Evolution (£165 per pair), which both tip the scales around 1,750g. Shimano’s R561s are a touch heavier, but good value at £140 per pair, and very sturdy. If your pockets are a bit deeper, Fulcrum’s Racing 3s (£369 per pair) are super stiff for their 1,650g weight, and the build quality of DT’s 1,450g RR1450s (£449 per pair) is excellent.

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