About

Here you will get to find out about my cycling history over the years!

cycling wizard

Mike de Coster-Milman

Here, you get to find out a little bit more about what makes us tick. I am an avid cyclist. I have been, since I was knee height to a grasshopper and I still am; many years later. My first bike was (of course, being an 80’s child!) an orange chopper with a banana seat if I am not too mistaken, it was second hand and may have even belonged to one of my cousins before me, but hey, that was a long time ago!

My childhood was all about bikes. I recall my father teaching me how to clean and maintain my bike. As an 8 year old I remember trying to repair my first puncture. However, rather than using a set of levers, I used a fork…. the wrong end of a fork. Consequently, of course, as a result, rather than having one puncture, I had several… hundred punctures! Yes, OK, I learnt my lesson and never did that again.

During my childhood, would ride my single speed to school every day, 5 km each way more or less. Any spare time I would ride my bike. I got myself into trouble numerous times for riding my bike too fast. We lived in a lovely place called La Cumbre, bang on in the centre of Argentina in Cordoba province. Going up hills was a slow and laborious job, but the way down was absolutely awesome! No fear and no helmet! I was reported several times to my parents for riding recklessly, as a result, and because of this, I suffered the most severe of punishments….having my steed taken away from me, oh how it hurt!

My First Road Bike

I forget which birthday it was, it may have been about my 12th birthday, I was given a road bike, single speed, in blue. I loved this bike, yes, the seat and riding position did take a bit of getting used to it but I loved it! For my next birthday, I was given gears. Wow, I was the proudest owner of a road bike with 3 gears. It certainly made the hills around La Cumbre a lot easier…. and of course faster! But as I was older, I was more responsible (sort of!). My mileage increased considerably as did my stamina, I would happily do long distances in all weather.

Riding as an Adult

As I grew up, my cycling changed and even though I continued riding, it became a mixture of sports motorbikes, cars and of course bicycles. Most of my riding became weekend rides along the towpaths in England and Wales as well as short distance rides on my mountain bike. I still found it a great way to get about. In the past 10 years I have once again got back into cycling in a big way. With new technology available, I am able to keep a closer eye on distances, speed, calories etc etc. Technology has changed in bicycles too, making long distance riding far more energy efficient and comfortable.

Road bikes and mountain bikes have also changed drastically. I have been fortunate to do several long distance trips on my bikes. There’s something quite unique about hitting the open road on a bike, the smells, the sights, the friendliness and camaraderie amongst cyclists and the general sense of freedom are incomparable with anything else. Knowing that however far you have gone, whether it is 10 km or 100 km, every bit of that distance has been down to you and your own effort, and nothing can rival that feeling!

MY BIKES

GIANT DEFY 3

This is my road steed. It is light, very agile and goes very nicely. After suffering from a string of punctures, a friend recommended I stick a set of  700 x 25 Schwalbe Marathon Tyres. Best decision EVER! I am not the lightest of cyclists so I am running these at 100 psi rear and 90 psi front. Yes, it is a hard ride but little resistance and therefore gives me a good rolling speed.They have been amazing, 1000 km more or less so far and no punctures! Riding on Malagasy roads, that’s quite an achievement.

Originally, I had planned to use this for a touring bike but it feels far more at home on a smooth(ish) road without being loaded with panniers and all the stuff needed for a tour. I spent many hours on this bike riding in Qatar. I did some really good rides around Doha as well as surrounding areas.

about giant defy 3

Ready for an early morning ride

 GIANT TALON 29ER

This is a great bike by Giant.  A bit of a workhorse really. This 27 speed mtb feels pretty good on the road as well as off road too. I did some long rides in mid Wales and tackled some pretty steep climbs and in fairness, I used every one of those 27 gears!

The 29 x 2.1 Maxxis it came with aren’t anything to write home about, I have picked up several punctures in the most inconvenient of places! I am running these at 50 psi. It softens the ride a bit with low resistance.

We changed the seatpost clamp so I could stick a rack on the back and have some panniers. It’s a modification which worked fairly well but of course, added extra weight.

For longer rides, having one water cage and struggling to add a second one is a bit of an inconvenience. The disc brakes are pretty good too! Its a hard tail with part time front suspension. Basically, you can turn the front suspension on or off. Using it as a mountain bike you leave it on and when riding on the road you switch it off.

about giant talon 29er

Sunbathing on the beach in Madagascar

GIANT TOUGHROAD SLR1

And finally, in addition to my other three Giant bikes, I also ride a Giant Toughroad SLR1 which is absolutely LOVE! This is an extremely comfortable bike to ride long and short distances.

It comes with factory fitted pannier racks,  smooth 20 speed SRAM gears, carbon forks, carbon seat post and a relatively light aluminium frame. Brake system is excellent and something you can rely on to stop you even when riding loaded.

I recently went on a 105 km ride, by the end of it I felt as if I had only been down the road (apart from the intense heat and humidity!). First thing I did was stick a set of 700 x 38 Schwalbe Marathon Plus which I am running at 80 psi. Yes, it does make it a bit of a harder ride, but it seems to roll better!

giant toughroad slr1

By the River Ivoloina in Madagascar

So, in conclusion, it is safe to say that I LOVE BIKES and all things to do with bikes.