On your bike!

The interest in Road Cycling has been building up over the past 10 years and it’s very usual on a weekend, especially on country roads, to see packs of Lycra clothed men and women peddling away furiously and obviously really enjoying themselves.

With the amazing win of the 2012 Tour de France by GBs Bradley Wiggins, the sport is set to get even bigger. There was substantial media coverage of Bradley and 23 time Tour Stage winner Mark Cavendish plus their team mates in the Olympics cycling from London to Surrey and up and down Box Hill nine times and the roads were packed with an estimated one million supporters.

The Olympics Road Racing and Bradley’s victory in The Tour De France also introduced many of the public to the tactics of Road Cycling and new terms such as “drafting” and “the peloton”.  Drafting is simply getting behind other racers and keeping in their slipstream which can save on the energy of cyclists.  This is used to great effect in the peloton which is when the main bulk of the riders are all racing in one pack. By keeping in the general slipstream of the pack in the peloton racers are estimated to save up to 40% of their energy!

Road Cycling is great fun and it’s something you can do by yourself, with friends or your kids and older grand children. There is no age limit and many people when advised by their doctors to get fit take up cycling as its non-impact, easy and affordable.

You can get a basic bike to start with from your local cycle shop or bike chain, and upgrade it with better quality components and you’ll soon get a real passion for it.

If you really want focus, try entering yourself into an Audax (long distance cycling association)  http://www.aukweb.net/ or Sportive (a mass participation cycling event) http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/sportives  and training for it, or do a challenge to raise money for charity.

I took up cycling about ten years ago in my early forties as a way to keep fit and lose some weight. By changing my diet and cycling, I lost 2.5 stone over the space of a year and felt fantastic.

I took my teenage son on a tour of Lake Como Italy, spending a week doing many the famous climbs of Lombardy including the Madonna di Ghisallo church in Bellagio this is a 10.54 km climb with a total ascent 541 metres. Another ride I did at 50 years old was Mount Ventoux in France which was the greatest challenge for me so far.

Then in 2010 aged only 51, unfortunately I had a triple heart bypass, however I got back on the bike after just three months and started getting back into shape again.

I ride with a local cycling club based in Godalming, Surrey  www.vcgh.co.uk   and have made many good friendships within the club, our oldest member has just had his 70th birthday and is riding from Geneva to Nice at the end of September! He is as fit as a fiddle and puts this down to his many years of cycling

Anyone can do it … you can invest as much time and money as you wish to achieve your personal goals!

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Graham is a cycling enthusiast, mid 50's father of two teenage boys, who also share his passion for 2 wheels!

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15th Sep 2012
Thanks for voting!
I took up cycling in 2009/10. I started off with a cheap bike and used it just as a means of getting some exercise to go with the Weighwatchers diet I started in January 2010. By September 2010 I had lost 3 1/2 stones and had bought a better quality mountain bike. We live in quite a hilly area and not knowing much about cycling bought a mountain bike for the amount of gears it has and also because I tried to do most of my cycling on cycle paths and canal tow paths. I thought having more gears would make it easier to get up the hills. I then had a go of my husbands road bike. Massive eye opener, how much easier was this? So I've got it now and my husband bought another road bike off ebay to replace the one I 'borrowed' from him. I love cycling and have saved loads of money on diesel over the last couple of years by making local trips to shops by bike instead of car. We only leisure cycle but have been on some great bike rides and travelled much further than I ever would have imagined from when I first started riding.

For any ladies out there who fancy taking up cycling for exercise and would like some company why not take a look at Breeze Bike Rides for women. These are organised local bike rides organised specifically for women and are a good way to introduce you back on two wheels. Here's their website: http://www.goskyride.com/Breeze/Index
15th Sep 2012
Thanks for voting!
What an inspirational story Gillian .. thanks for sharing that, and also the link 🙂

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