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Life of a training bike

Sundays are the hardest; that's when we do the longest rides. Saturdays are tough too, but that's when we do shorter, punchier rides with the emphasis on speed and threshold work. The shortest rides are evening sessions on the turbo in the garage; they can be hot sweaty affairs but he seems to love them.

It's not easy being the training bike, you know, but at least I'm one of the lucky ones in our peloton because my rider looks after me. Some of his riding buddies treat their training bikes terribly; no servicing, no cleaning, second-hand parts. It's no wonder they don't improve; if you don't respect your machine, then it won't help you.

You may not know this, but we bikes have our own esprit de corps. We may not speak to each other like you lot do, but we do understand each other. We all know when a fellow velo is under the weather; we can sense maltreatment - and it happens more often than you might think. We modern road bikes are sensitive creatures and we need lots of love and attention - cables stretch, mechs need regular adjustment, breaks wear, bearings need lube. So even if we're 'only' your training bike, you still need to look after us properly.

What I like most about my rider - and considering he's not getting any younger - are the improvements he has made over the past couple of seasons. He used to wheeze up the long climbs but he's now beating all the other young ones to the top - and his acceleration on the flat finishes is so much better due to all the strength sessions.

His keeping my bearings clean doesn't make him any quicker, but at least I'm never going to be slowing him down. So, it's not me that makes the difference to his race performance as I'm not that much less efficient than his race bike; the reason he continues to improve is because he sticks to the training plan and he looks after me. Training plans work.

Remember, it's never the bike!

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