The M Check

Check your bike using the ‘M’ check

Before setting off on any cycle ride whether it’s a quick blast off road, a lengthy road ride or a leisurely day out its essential to make sure your bike is safe to ride before you set off.

Our simple guide will give you some quick and easy check points before setting off.

The ‘M’ check – a quick and easy guide!

The M Check

Once you have made all your checks and all okay enjoy your ride!

If any of the above throws up any problems or queries give us a call at Cycle Tech Hertfordshire on 07767 305064 and we will be happy to advise you.

Over the next few articles we will be breaking down each initial component and how to fix/adjust.


Hercules & the Cycle Tech Hertfordshire Team

Specialists in Mobile Bicycle Servicing & Repairs

Getting to know your bike: Name that part!

cycle tech


Over the next few weeks we will take you through the importance of getting to know your bike, how it works and finding out all the technical and non-technical names of parts of your bike – some you may have never even known about!

Getting to know your bike and its parts will enable you to discuss any problems with your bike Technician or bike shop with a greater understanding on what work may need doing to bring your bike up to tip top condition!

Name that Part!

Typical Road Bike:



Typical Mountain Bike:


For further advice on ‘getting to know your bike’ why don’t you give our partners at Cycle Tech Hertfordshire a call on 07767 305064.

Hercules & the Cycle Tech Hertfordshire Team

Specialists in Mobile Bicycle Servicing & Repairs

Overcomming Cycling Aches and Pains


Its race season and  you have begun to log up the miles on your bike. One thing you can guarantee is that new and old aches and pains are going to show themselves. What is often misunderstood is what is happening and why is it? Usual suspects include poor riding positions, a weak core, muscles imbalances- a whole wealth of things. For the new rider aches and pains may result from poor bike fit and set up or from simple training errors like excessive mileage too early into their training.

For the seasoned rider it could simply be wear and tear. Your body has grown accustomed to your set up and training regime and yet things will still suddenly go. Our goal at The Flying Physios is to offer advice on how to remedy such things with traditional treatments options. See below.

I’ve got Hip Pain!

What has happened and why?

You may well have been pushing hard in high gears and this can ravage your hips. The addition of tight muscles and weak glute muscles will only add to the problem.

What’s the fix?

Drop the gears back and in doing so increase your cadence (crank revs per minute)- this will take pressure off those hips. Focus on some glute strengthening exercises as detailed below in the knee section. In to yoga? A number of yoga poses can help as well. Muscle weaknesses/overuse can be identified by a Physio or Sports massage therapist.

I’ve got Knee Pain!

What has happened and why?

Achy knee pain may well be the result of incorrect saddle and/or seat position. Weak outer Glutes- the Glute medius-  may also be to blame. New to riding? Then you may simply be trying to do too much too soon in the bigger gears.

What’s the fix?

Pain on the front of your knee? Your saddle is too low. Pain in the back means it may well  be too high. Strengthen the Glute Medius with lateral leg exercises. Focus on stretching the quads, IT bands and hamstrings. Finally try spinning in a lower gear.

I’ve got Foot Pain!

What has happened and why?

You experience tender spots under ball of your foot. You may also experience numb toes when pressure is applied to certain areas on your sole as the nerves between the foot bones are squeezed. This could be due to tightness in the posterior compartment of the lower leg- situated deep under the calf muscles. It could also be the fat pads on the sole of the foot shrinking which can happen over time. This results in the exposure of some nerves.

What’s the fix?

For the numbness try loosening your shoes or if does not alleviate symptoms then try a wider shoe. If you experience a burning sensation try switching shoes to  a stiffer sole or possibly tweak your pedals with a wider platform. Also look a sliding your cleats back.


I’ve got Back Pain!

What has happened and why?

It may be wear and tear due to your age, fatigue related back pain, a weak core (more common than you think) or a poor bike fit (again very common for new riders). All of these have the opportunity to cause strains and pains.

What’s the fix?

For the core- look at plank exercises as a great way of strengthening the area. Also focus on stretching your hamstrings. Take your bike to a professional if you feel the bike fit is the issue- you may be overreaching due to poor fit. As the years roll by your set up may change quite a lot due to your lack of flexibility.

I’ve got Hand Pain!

What has happened and why?

Pressure on the wrist and hand during training can put pressure on the nerves in that area. It will tend to cause tingling and numbness in the fingers and possibly a sharp pain in the wrist. Placing your wrists in too an extreme angle will also cause problems as will putting too much pressure through your hands due to seated position or technique.

What’s the fix?

Firstly consider well padded gloves. Also consider how you hold the handle bar. Try to hold on with a neutral grip position -picture shaking someones hand and note how straight the wrist is- this is what you should be aiming for. Check the saddle position and see if the nose of the saddle is level or has it slipped down? If it has it needs to adjusted and levelled as this will reduce your weight from shifting forwards and putting unnecessary stress on your wrists and hands. .

I’ve got Neck Pain!

What has happened and why?

Your position on the bike may well cause too much over reaching resulting in tension through the neck, shoulders and the upper back.

What’s the fix?

With your hands on the grips look at down at your front wheel the handlebar should obscure the view of the hub. If not adjust. Also try to relax those shoulders as much as possible when you ride.

FIX: When you look at the front wheel with your hands on the hoods, your bar should obstruct your view of the hub. Relax your shoulders when you ride.

I’ve got Ankle Pain!

What has happened and why?

Pain in the back of the heel is a key symptom of Achilles tendinitis. This condition is often brought on by doing too much too soon. Another cause may be having your cleats in far too forward a position making you pedal on your toes too much. This too can strain the Achilles.

What’s the fix?

Ice, ice, ice! Also use an anti inflammatory if you take meds. We recommend resting the area fro a while too. Stretching often helps too. Try letting your heel hang off the edge of a step holding for a minimum 20 seconds. Also look at moving your cleats back.

We at The Flying Physios hope this info has been helpful. Our London Colney St Albans clinic is open 7 days a week and we welcome you to drop in after a run or a ride. Our ongoing offer to all Hercules subscribers is 30 minutes of sports massage for just £20.00. Perfect after a session out beating the streets. To book call 01727 758 846. Take care and safe training.

Article: Luton’s Festival of Sport – In the news


Luton South MP, Gavin Shuker, said: “I am right behind the Festival of Sport, it will be an exciting sporting event for Luton. I am looking forward to joining athletes and families across Luton and taking on sporting challenges together.”

Click here for the full article in today’s LUTON NEWS, HERALD AND POST


How to dress for cold weather cycling


Let’s admit it not everyone likes to get on their bike in the very cold weather – even the hardiest of cyclists! The important thing to remember is to be prepared and dress appropriately for the weather conditions whether you are training for a forthcoming event or riding for fun. It’s always good to stay warm in cooler weather, and the best way is to wear layers.

What on earth does that mean?

If you take a cross section of an onion, you can see all the skin layers surrounding the core. Layering of your clothing works in the same principle.
When you dress in layers, you generally have three different types of clothing on your body, each with its own purpose.

Base Layer

The base layer is the one closest to your body. Its sole purpose is to help you stay warm but not get too hot, and most importantly, should serve as a way to carry perspiration away from your core. Wool is an excellent material for this, and some synthetic materials are suitable as well.

Typical Example of a Base Layer:Base Layer

Long sleeve base layer providing insulating compression for muscle support.

Middle Layer

The purpose of the middle layer is to insulate and at the same time to still continue to move moisture away from your body. This layer is “fluffier” than the base layer, keeping warmer air in close to your body yet allowing it to still circulate around you so that you don’t get too warm in periods of high activity. Of the three layers, this one will vary the most depending on the temperature and the individual person. In addition to the actual air temp, your level of activity plus the amount of sunlight and wind combined with your level of fitness and metabolism will all factor into how much insulation you will require in this middle layer. Polyester fleece is a good choice for an insulating layer. Wool polo’s or vests also work well.

Typical Example of a Middle Layer:

Casual long sleeve t-shirt in light fast-wicking Tri-Lite® fabric

Outer Shell

The outer shell primarily serves as a windbreaker and also works to thwart any good old UK showers! This layer’s first job is to keep you dry – the warmth you will feel comes from what’s underneath. The outer shell should be breathable to help get rid of the moisture you’re generating through perspiration. Lots of jackets now have rear vents and underarm zipped vents help remove the moisture.

Example of a typical outer shell:

Lightweight translucent waterproof & breathable jacket in an athletic fit

Most of All – Enjoy Riding in Any Weather

You can enjoy a great days riding using the above principle. However don’t forget your hands, head and feet. They all need insulating!

With the right gear you can safely and comfortably ride in the UK winter climate.

For further advice on clothing and ‘layering’ up for your ride why don’t you give our partners the team at Cycle Tech Hertfordshire a call on 07764 185515.

Above all ENJOY!

Hercules & Mike & the Cycle Tech Hertfordshire Team

Specialists in Mobile Bicycle Repairs


How to stay race fit ALL season…


By now your race season should be planned and you will be gearing up to the first event whilst easing off on the hard work you have put in your off season. The fact is, there is still some hard work to do – such as staying fit and healthy for the duration of your events timetable.

It is not unknown for an athlete to work so hard off season only to develop an injury just weeks before competition and ruin their season. We at The Flying Physios are keen to stop this from happening and so below we offer some top tips on keeping you race fit all season.


Keep strong all season long!

Runs, swims and biking, focus on key areas such as the glutes, quads, core and back. To avoid injury as the miles build up you need to STRENGTH train all of the muscles groups. Why? It promotes balance throughout the body and it keeps the muscles strong alleviating pressure on the joints.

Roll away the pain.

Foam rollers are something we at The Flying Physios have warmed to slowly. They are useful for rolling out some niggles and promoting replenishing blood flow into areas – similar to a deep tissue massage. Focus on the ITB, your calves and your lower back and roll AFTER stretching. A word of advice – use them gently. We see too many people bruise themselves – though not always visible- by hitting these things too hard. Also when using it on your calves roll from bottom to top- not top to bottom. Why? Because you can damage the valves in the blood vessels by forcing fluid the wrong way!

Keep a keen eye on your kit!

Tri-athletes have 2 key pieces of kit that must be maintained and attended to regularly – the bike and the running shoe. The bike needs fresh tyres every season and regularly check tyre pressure and brake pads and always wear your helmet. Your running shoes need to be changed every 400 miles or 3 to 4 months. Flat shoes like flat tyres on a car will hamper performance and are guaranteed to aggravate knees, hips and your back.

A rub makes everything better.

Recovery is a very important part of your season and your training. A sports massage by a trained sports massage therapist will help identify muscle imbalances, tension and aggravated muscle fibres and treat them. A good therapist will also identify problem areas you never knew existed and address them too. A sports massage can be performed as much as once a week but twice monthly or even once a month will suffice. At the very least, schedule a massage following every race. The Flying Physios run pre-race clinics prior to all Hercules Events.

What’s your body telling you?

Neck stiffness following a bike ride or foot issues following a run are symptoms you cannot not ignore. If you are working with a trainer speak to them about it. Advice will stop something small turning onto something much bigger. Again a massage can help.

Learn from someone else.

Coaching at any level is extremely beneficial. So seek someone with the experience you need and work with them for a while. Work outs can be enhanced and training kept within reasonable limits during race season, greatly reducing the chance of over doing it. Working with a coach is also a great way of staying motivated.

Eat like a champion athlete.

You are what you eat so pay attention to your diet. Failing to refuel or  becoming overheated and dehydrated can cause some serious issues. Take on iron and protein which both allow your body to fully recover. Food is fuel, good fuel equals good results, bad fuel… well you get the idea.

Have (n) Ice bath

Believe it or not an ice bath should be an essential part of your recovery following every workout. Ice reduces swelling and aids muscle recovery.


Rest, rest, rest.

A rest day is so important as a part of your training schedule off season and during race season. Rest is rest – no running, cycling, swimming or strength training. A rest will not hinder your performance, it will help it.


The Flying Physios are offering all subscribers and individuals participating in Hercules Events a preferential rate on our Sports massages throughout the race season. You can book a 30 minute appointment for just £20.00. To book call 01727 758846 or email

Our first Hercules Events ‘pre-race clinic’ will take place at our London Colney St Albans clinic in the week leading up to The Hercules Festival of Sport – Luton on Sunday 24th May.


Get the most out of your off season


Hi everyone and  welcome to the first of what we hope are many informative approaches to keeping you fit on and off the track, road, bike, in or out of the water and most importantly enjoying your Hercules events. This is brought to you courtesy of our partners, The Flying Physios.

Our first subject is getting the most out of your off season training that will reflect well during race season. What we are providing here are suggestions that have the potential to pay big dividends come race time. It’s time to get …. THE RESULTS YOU WANT!


  1. Focus, Focus, Focus.

When you are trying to be the best at one or a number of sporting disciplines it pays to be focussed on your goal, short term and long term. You obviously have your race season goals based around results and times. However you can’t achieve such goals without focussed training between races but more importantly during off season. Off season training is the foundation upon which your upcoming season’s success is built. This is the time to gradually and safely push that body to gain healthy physical responses that eventually turn into better results and more achievable times.

So what’s your training goal?

An example might be improving your watts output over a given distance by 5% or achieving a run that gradually becomes 10 seconds faster over a specific distance whilst running at a capacity that is equal to your zone 2 heart rate*. In whichever way you choose to train it’s all about the gain; gaining a better time or gaining more output to propel you around that course whilst achieving your goals safely. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your stamina.

* This heart rate is generated when you work at over half capacity. The rate that will allow you to run continually whilst holding a conversation that is made up of full sentences, not 3 word sentences.


  1. Identify your weakest point and work on it!

This is a given folks but when you are achieving great results in one area it’s easy to ignore weaker elements in another and as a result create a greater divide between the two. To rectify this make time for an extra session to address these weaknesses. Off season is technique time. Need help? Seek out a professional to help you achieve your goal. This is incredibly important if you need to improve your swimming stroke, running form or pedalling technique. Ideally your trainer will prescribe drills for you to follow, all of which will translate into better technique and better times during race season.


  1. Strengthen and protect

For all the cardiovascular that you will be doing don’t forget your strength training too. It’s a must for staying active- and by active we mean injury free. Aim for 2-3 strength sessions a week. During off season your training volume may well be lower as cycling may have taken a back burner. Utilise this available time! Seek out a Personal Trainer or look for organised classes specific to your needs. And mix it up too. Your body thrives on change and challenges. Guard against injury and re injury by considering sports massage as an essential part of your training too. They can help identify and irradiate niggles you wouldn’t know existed until race season but most importantly they speed up recovery and that means you can train more but most importantly, safely.

Remember 2015’s season is made in the off season and there is still time to make it your best so far so go out and try something new.

The Flying Physios (TFP) are here to help with your off season training. They are offering all competitors and subscribers to Hercules Events a 30 minute TFP sports massage for £22 at their London Colney clinic. The clinic is open 7 days a week- yes even Sundays! Click here or call them on 01727 758846. If you prefer they can come to you, they are The Flying Physios after all.

Happy and healthy training and racing from Hercules and TFP.

Announcing the Hercules Festival of Sport Series…

Hercules are delighted to announce that we have, new for 2015, a complete Festival of Sport Series lined up for you. You will be spoilt for choice this season as we have 4 fantastic venues spread over 3 counties with events running from May all the way through September. We are also offering huge discounts when you book the complete series so please take a look at our event pages for more information and we hope to see you at one of our events soon!