Karl Roche

family, cycling and communications

Podiums at Mud, Sweat and Gears: Round 1

This is the first time we’ve been to MSG and it was a great one to debut at, the Olympic course from 2012 at Hadleigh.

Not such an early start as Gorrick and the sun was out, but as we all know the cold east wind was starting its march towards us. The location is rather nice, with a view over Canvey Island. With a few pop-up stands in the village area it was fairly easy to stay out of the wind and keep warm. Continue reading “Podiums at Mud, Sweat and Gears: Round 1”

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Bike test: Giant Propel, Advanced Pro 2, 2015

Duncan at Wallington Cycles tweeted me a couple of weeks ago, asking if I would I like a test ride on a Propel, as he had one coming in for a few days. Well, it would be rude not to.

Continue reading “Bike test: Giant Propel, Advanced Pro 2, 2015”

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Test ride: Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2

I’m certainly a fan of the Giant Defy – I have a couple. So when my local bike shop, Wallington Cycles, said they had one of the new Defy Advanced Pro’s for testing I had to have a go. Continue reading “Test ride: Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2”

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More Cycling Podcasts

A while back, I put together a list of my favorite cycling podcasts. Now there are a few more to add to that list. Continue reading “More Cycling Podcasts”

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Cycling podcasts

I clean my bike every week. It’s not the most expensive, lightest or fastest bike in the world but it’s mine and I like to take care of it. But cleaning can get a bit dull at times, especially in the winter and autumn when the weather isn’t so great outside. Continue reading “Cycling podcasts”

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First mountain bike race of the season

No sooner has ‘cross finished that mountain biking racing starts (does it actually ever stop?) at Gorrick. Kids like mountain biking but it’s much more a fun thing than cyclocross.

Continue reading “First mountain bike race of the season”

That was cyclocross 2017/18

This year as CX season came to a premature end for us when the London League Team Champs were cancelled at the last minute by Walstead School. Looking back on the year though it’s been a much happier story. This is a story about my kids so switch off now if you’re not interested. This has a limited audience, I know. Continue reading “That was cyclocross 2017/18”

Fifth Floor London Summer Cyclo Cross 2017

Next round will be held at Frylands Scout Camp, 27/7. Details here

CycleSport/John Mx

The Fifth Floor London Summer Cyclo Cross series is held over four rounds in London.

The first at Jubilee Park, the next at Frylands Scout Camp, the third at Bekenham Place Park and the final at Herne Hill, the 1948 Olympic venue and the second oldest velodrome in the world.


Fifth Floor London Summer Cyclo Cross Round 1 2017

Senior action from the first round held at Jubilee Park, Leyton, London on July 20

Pictures Here



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My first mountain bike races

My daughters first mountain bike races.. 2 on the same day. 1st and 2nd

Zoe's food blog

Yesterday I did my first mountain bike races.

The first one had a time trial, a hill climb and a race. Because I was fastest in the time trial I started at the back of the race, which was 6 laps, but I still won.

IMG_-lm9f0t On the hill climb

20170513_125716 Getting my medal

In the afternoon we had a much longer race, on a really tough course. It was over 3km.

20170513_140745 On the start line

We did two laps. I use a bike that my dad has hired from the club. It’s ok but a bit heavy.

20170513_142135 Me beating some boys

In the end I came 2nd girl and 4th overall.

20170513_151501 The podium with my award

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On Formula One drivers telling children to wear hi-viz

Great summary of how “safety campaigns” like this encourage drivers entitlement to the road and spread ideas to children that it is the task of those outside of cars to be seen, not drivers to look where they are going and watch out for other road users.

Road Danger Reduction Forum

I have tweeted about the current campaign by the FIA (the international motorists’ organisation) using Formula One racing drivers to tell children to wear hi-viz clothing when walking. It’s had a lot of re-tweeting and comments, not least directed at practitioners with a road safety remit . For some of us, this is just a matter of sighing that “you couldn’t make it up”. Others have argued that there is no evidence that campaigns like this will actually protect children. For many this is just a seasonal irritation – or even a partially useful intervention – to be accepted while we try to get on with the business of real road safety – reducing danger at source.

But we believe that this kind of intervention tells us a lot about what is going wrong – and what needs to change – if we are to have a civilised approach to…

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What is your councillor doing for cycling? — Get Sutton Cycling

This is a post I did on Get Sutton Cycling. Sutton has one of the highest car ownership rates in London. It is not very cycling friendly, yet it could be. The town is in a point of crisis with shoppers more likely to visit Kingston or Croydon. Why? Well, if you have to drive you may aswell drive somewhere else.

The council has done a lot of talking but there has been no action, save for a couple of shared footpaths in parks.

Only a couple of weeks ago, when we had that nice weather, I was outside with 15 kids, fixing the bikes they never ride because their parents don’t want them on the road. They spent 2 hours riding up and down a 100m track instead.

Click the article below to find out how to write to your councillor in Sutton.

We saw at the recent election for Mayor of London, nearly all the candidates got on board “Sign for Cycling” campaign. So what are our councillors doing to support this commitment to cycling? If you look around Sutton, you’ll be hard pressed to see anything change in regards to new cycling infrastructure. We have a […]

via What is your councillor doing for cycling? — Get Sutton Cycling

Bike Test: Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 (2016) review

So my local bike pusher shop owner, Duncan at Wallington Cycles, has been giving me test rides on the latest Giant Bikes. Last one was the Propel, and before that the Defy Advanced Pro. He is a very bad man.

Today, I finally got a ride on the latest TCR Advanced Pro 1.  Not a bad looking machine and it goes pretty damn well too. Just a shame it wasn’t the middle of summer.


The TCR runs full Ultegra, 52-36 semi-compact chainset with 11-28 cassette. Full carbon wheels are Giant’s own SLR. The carbon bars are also Giant’s own Contact SL. With all that carbon, this is a stiff and light bike. The frame is made from T-700 carbon, woven on Giant’s own looms, as I think most people know.

It comes with, as do all of the performance bikes at Giant, a RideSense speed and cadence sensor, which I couldn’t get working on this. I think the little plastic cover is still on the battery and with time getting on I couldn’t be asked to take the wheel off and take the sensor out – plus, it’s not my bike. Onwards..

The route for today

Headed out for a regular loop around Surrey Hills, on a sunny but chilly Saturday, which takes in Oxshott, Cobham and then goes up through Green Dene, down to Shere. Then riding round to the southern side of Leith Hill from Abinger Hammer. Down from Leith to Westcott, Dorking, up Box Hill and back to Sutton via Walton-on-the-Hill.

First impressions

Somehow, I managed to get my saddle height in one go. Immediately you can tell how tight and stiff this bike it. But going over the first couple of miles of cracked and decaying roads in Sutton, it oddly doesn’t feel jarring, even with 23mm tyres. Fair enough, I ride a 3 year old Defy Advanced so it’s not going to be the same and as it is winter I’m now on the Defy 1 which must be 5 years at least by now.


The saddle is not bad. It has a centre relief channel which I’m never sure work or not. I don’t think it is flat as my Antares but it’s not too curved. I didn’t get any numbness. As saddles tend to be very personal I always think manufacturers put on anything as they assume it will be changed, especially at this level. But it makes a decent effort and it’s certainly not crap. By the way, no carbon rails.. all metal of some sort.

Giant SLR-1 WheelSystem

The Giant SLR-1 wheels certainly look good – no big bright stickers here – stealth only. They weigh 1425g and provided good braking in the wet conditions. They’ll set you back around £899 if you buy these retail. Obviously no comparison to wheels I run at home, these are stiffer than an Atlantic breeze and even though not mega light, they are quick to get going.


I’ve had Giant tyres on my other bikes and they always worked great. However, I was slightly surprised that I didn’t get any punctures on these (23mm) today as I rode down streams and small lakes, strewn with debris off the hills. Not to mention the regular potholes to dodge. When I got back to the bike shop a guy came in with two shredded tubes. These PSL-1 tyres do have puncture protection but they don’t look like they have anything. Just goes to show that much of what you see on tyres is there to set your mind at rest, not for function.


Not being in the age category where one would consider preparing for the Tour de France, I did have suspicion that this would be an uncomfortable bike. After nearly three hours of riding in a head wind that seemed to follow me at every turn and feet that turned to ice, I didn’t feel any worse or better than normal. Perhaps the saddle was starting to ache a bit, but that is pretty much it.


Recently been thinking about a new chainset for my Defy and wondering if an 11-speed, semi-compact set-up like this would work for me. I have to say that after today, it probably would. Winter for me is a 9-speed, but I only run 13-25. Summer is 10 speed, 12-25. Too old to go to 11.



Overall it is a wonderful bike. Looks nice, feels smooth and handles well. On the few corners at speed I took today it is like riding a train. I know it’s new and by comparison to my own bikes, it is going to feel way better. That’s why Duncan keeps offering these test rides.


This sells at £2,599 which is not small price. However, you are getting a top-notch, race proven frame, carbon wheels and full Ultegra for that. I have to say I really liked it. I wonder how I would feel after a month of riding it, whether neck or back issues would flare up in my creaking bones. But then this might only come out for special occasions. But I’d be hard pushed to leave it at home to be honest – it just looks so nice.

Do excuse the bottle cages. One was on it already and I needed two.


Giant’s carbon Contact SL handlebars


Thanks for reading.

Another cycling flashmob – Chris Hoy

Becoming a bit of theme in London these days. Read the full story on Cycling Weekly.

Road terrorists

You get a few close passes if you ride a bike for more than one day in summer. Riding to work takes the biscuit. Continue reading “Road terrorists”

Join the next Stop Killing Cyclist die-in, Nov 27 #NoMoreCoffins

The third annual die-in and vigil for people killed while riding bikes in London will be held later this month outside the TfL HQ on Blackfriars Road.
Continue reading “Join the next Stop Killing Cyclist die-in, Nov 27 #NoMoreCoffins”

Saddle sores slowing you down?

Eventually, most riders get them. The internet is littered with questions about getting rid of saddle sores. I know, I’ve looked through 80% of them. Continue reading “Saddle sores slowing you down?”

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