Team Cycling Plus – Malcolm Ratcliffe

Catch up with our reader team as they get their new bikes!

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. Malcolm’s bike takes a little longer to arrive, but he’s sure it’s worth the wait!


Back to work this week and the kids are back from their trip away, so dad taxi to the fore and a limited bum on saddle week with only a single ride out on Sunday.  I’m sure I’m not the only rider out there frustrated by the apparent lack of riding opportunities but as I said last time, it is a case of planning available time slots and then getting into a routine. As you can see I’m still in the planning phase!

Having examined the map beforehand, I added an extra loop to my normal ride and managed, for me, a respectable 21 miles in a little under one and a half hours.  For you number crunchers out there that’s an average of 14.6 mph. I have to admit I like collating data from my rides as it let’s you monitor progress, or lack of. In my case if I look at a similar ride in April last year I averaged 15.2 mph. Unfortunately it looks like I’ve gone backwards, but last year I was getting more rides in each week and building up to a little jaunt from Birmingham to London, so at the same point last year I was a lot further ahead with my riding season. Let’s hope that once I get a plan in place with the coach Ben, I can, not only return to those levels of underperformance, but exceed them.

With the weathermen predicting snow it felt like Christmas at home thanks to those kind folk at Wiggle and the delivery of another box of bits. Thanks to their recommendations I am now the proud owner of an Altura Urban Dryline Pannier and a TorTec Expedition Alloy Rear Rack. I am looking to attach these two items to my old Giant mountain bike and thence tick off my first real challenge for Team C+, the commute to work. If I’ve worked it out correctly it’s between a 10-12 mile ride, mainly along the canals of Birmingham. This means it’ll be relatively flat and I shouldn’t arrive at work too distressed. I’m sure my work colleagues would not wish to work alongside damp cycling shorts hanging out to dry let alone myself gently perspiring in the corner.  Note to self: remember change of clothes and large can of deodorant.

And then, at last, it arrived. Again courtesy of Wiggle, on Friday a very large but strangely lightweight box was delivered to the door. I carefully carried it in, unpacked it and what a sight, a spanking new Verenti Millook in all is glory. I tried to impress the kids but they were more interested in the box and taking it into the back garden to recreate WarwickCastle. I thought my wife Tracy might appreciate the sleek looks and gleaming paintwork but all she asked was why it didn’t have any pedals fitted. Philistines the lot of them! As it happens I am waiting for some Speedplay Zero pedals to arrive so I have to anticipate a little longer my first spin out on my new bike.

Who are Team Cycling Plus?


Team Cycling Plus powered by Verenti are readers Andy Ward, Kay Bowen, Malcolm Ratcliffe and Sam Shaw. We’ll be following them in the magazine for the next few months as they train towards their personal cycling goals under the guidance of Team Wiggle’s Ben Simmons and we will be publishing their weekly trials and tribulations here too. For regular updates check our twitter page and the Team Cycling Plus facebook page.