cycling

  • Cyc-ology - The science behind why cycling enhances mood

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    Anybody who regularly spends time in the saddle will know that a few miles on your bike always lifts your mood and makes you feel better (errant drivers aside) – but why?  Well research has shown that not only is cycling freaking awesome but can also improve memory, reasoning and planning as well as providing a huge boost to your mental health.

    A cerebral work out

    Did you know that cycling can grow your brain just like weight lifting can grow your muscles? Cycling increases blood flow to your brain which in turn builds more capillaries and ultimately supplies more nutrients, blood and oxygen to your noggin that can improve its performance.  Sudoku anyone?

    Cycling also makes your body produce more proteins, which you use to create new brain cells.  Regular pedalling can double or even triple new cell production in the brain.  If that wasn’t enough, regular jaunts on your wheels of steel increases neurotransmitter activity which improves cognitive abilities.  The Times crossword will be easy peasy lemon squeezy after a cheeky cycle!

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    Fighting aging

    The plethora of benefits you get from cycling are even more profound for those of us who are no longer spring chickens.  The science stuff we’ve talked about can counteract the natural decline of brain function as we age.  We can’t promise you’ll no longer walk into a room and have no idea why you’re there but scientists did compare the brains of adults in their 60’s and 70’s and found that the brains of those who exercise regularly appeared younger than those who don’t. 

    Mindfulness

    You must have been living under a rock if you’ve not heard of this ‘mindfullness’ malarkey – but what does it actually mean?  Well it’s about taking time out and focussing on the here and now – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you.  Well cycling is the ultimate ‘mindfulness’ activity, concentrating on the here and now (and that lorry that just passed by too closely) and appreciating the scenery. 

    The pressures of modern life

    Here at Fat Lad at the Back, we’re more than aware that the pressures of modern life can build up to a point where you hit a wall, our very own ‘Fat Lad’ Richard Bye has struggled with exhaustion and anxiety and has found that cycling has helped him more than anything else. He said:“I hit the wall back in 2009  after years of working 16 hour days and international travel.  Cycling has definitely helped me recover and continues to be a vital contribution to my physical and mental well being.”
    We also have hundreds of people in our community of who testified to the effectiveness of cycling in helping them fight depression and other mental health difficulties.

    Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com - 20/042016 - Cycling. Richard Bye Ilkley West Yorkshire - founder of closing brand Fat Lad at the Back copyright picture - Simon Wilkinson - simon@swpix.com Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com - 20/042016 - Cycling. Richard Bye Ilkley West Yorkshire - co founder of clothing brand Fat Lad at the Back
    copyright picture - Simon Wilkinson - simon@swpix.com

     

     

     

  • FLABinati The Rules

    Flabinati Logo

    Rule #1// Re–write the rules

    Rule #2// Lead from behind

    Rule #3// It’s all about the pie

    Rule #4// No excuses, unless you’ve got an excuse

    Rule #5// FLAB the man up! (FLAB the woman up too!)

    Rule #6// Cake isn't optional, it's essential!

    Rule #7// The correct number of cakes to have is C+1 where C is the number of cakes already eaten

    Rule #8// Coffee and tea must match the cake choice....

    Rule #9// Refer to weight as “potential energy” it’s what makes you go faster down hill, than those with less of it

    Rule #10// Represent the FLAB always – any passing cyclist must be greeted with a cheerless “now then”

    Rule #11// Riders are to be measured by quantity not quality

    Rule #12// Waists and chests are to be measured in inches

    Rule #13// Free your waistband and your legs will follow

    Rule #14// Enjoy rather than endure

    Rule #15// You’ve got a 32? Use it! If you haven’t, get one. *Addendum A 34 is also acceptable as is a triple

    Rule #16// All cyclists faster up hill than you shall be referred to as ‘hill whippets’

    Rule #17// Fat shall be referred to as potential muscle

    Rule #18// When you put on a FLAB jersey you instantly get 30,000 friends*at time of printing. Subject to change

    Rule #19// All fellow FLAB wearers will be greeted with an enthusiastic Ey Up/pat on the back/hug

    Rule #20// Guide the Bulge

    Rule #21// All rides must end with or include a refreshment stop

    Rule #22// A FLAB out cycling in any weather is badass

    Rule #23// Be self-stufficient - always carry pies

    Rule #24// Beer is as a hydration fluid

    Rule #25// FLAB kit is for members of the Bulge

    Rule #26// Like your tums, saddles should be smooth and comfortable

    Rule #27// Cycling efficiency is to be measured in miles per donut

    Rule #28// There are only three remedies for hunger:

    Pies
    Cake
    Butties

    Rule #29// Join us and be proud

    Rule #30// The rules are dead, long live the rules

    Rule #31// The correct number of gadgets to own is G + 1 where G is the number of gadgets already owned

    With thanks to Velominati and their inspiring collection of The Rules  - To submit your suggestions to our tongue in cheek (should that be pie in cheek?) version, please email fatlads@fatladattheback.com

    http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/

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  • Where's Your Mojo Gone?

    mojo

    ˈməʊdʒəʊ/

    • noun

    a magic charm, talisman, or spell.

    Where’s your Mojo gone? Here’s the magic you need to get it and you back in the saddle!

    Have you ever found yourself in a position where you just can’t get motivated to get on your bike?  You avoid looking at posts for the rides that are going out, you blame it on changes in the atmosphere, tiredness, anything that comes to mind to try and explain just where your mojo has gone!

    Well, that exact this started happening to me last year and my biggest fear was that I felt like I was really starting to fall out of love with cycling!  How could that possibly be true given that  I’d had so much fun training for LEJOG in 2015 and maintaining that fitness through 2016 but for some reason I found myself begrudgingly throwing my leg over the bike one Saturday morning for a training ride, only because I’d signed up for another challenge in an attempt to retain the fitness I’d achieved the year before.

    Having an event to train for had motivated me in the past and was a great excuse to always be cycling.  I had so much fun, so I never felt like I was training but now I felt like I was really starting to dislike it.

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    Riding with friends had always been a way to get me out but one ride buddy moved away and another had a nasty cycling accident so she couldn’t ride for a few months…my mojo had, by now, well and truly left the building, I was cycling because I ‘had’ to not because I wanted to.

    Even decent weather didn’t motivate me but I decided one day to give myself a kick up the backside and get out for a ride. 10 miles in I had a tantrum, got off my bike and stamped my feet, literally, feeling frustrated with myself for not enjoying it. How had I come to loath cycling so much? Was our love affair finished?

    Fast forward a few weeks and I’ve been busy with work and projects at home and I’m still mojo less. Finding a happy balance between cycling and life isn’t easy for me as I have an all or nothing personality that mythical area of balance that apparently sits between the two extremes eludes me.

    The FLAB community forum, for which I am “The Guardian”, has rekindled my interest. I enjoy reading the posts and seeing how excited and proud people are of their achievements and it’s reminded me of why I fell in love with cycling years ago and how inspired I used to feel to ride and to encourage others into this great sport.

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    I finally went back out for a ride and for the first time in a few months and I really enjoyed it, what had changed? I got back on my bike that day because I wanted to and not because I had to.

    As they say everything is clearer in retrospect, I’ve realised that I’m far too hard on myself. Thinking that missing a training ride because my body hurt, was a sign of weakness isn’t helpful and if I’d stopped berating myself I’d have realised that I was overtraining. I have now learnt a very valuable lesson about the importance of recovery and being kinder to myself.

    I’ve got a FLAB social ride coming up this weekend and I feel excited, my love affair has been rekindled a trial separation was just what we needed for me to fall back in love.

  • Cadence

    Cadence

    What is cadence?

    Cadence is the rate at which you turn your pedals or number of revolutions of your crank per minute while there is no magic number aiming for 90rpm is a good goal.

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    Why does cadence matter?

    Cadence is important to stop your muscles fatiguing to early, using the correct cadence will improve your cycling efficiency allowing you to cycle faster and for longer before your muscles tire.

    What’s the best way to measure cadence?

    The easiest but not necessarily the most accurate way is to count how many times your right knee comes up in 30 seconds and double it but the best way is to fix a cadence sensor to your bike that links to your cycle computer which is much more accurate.

    Will a good cadence improve my speed?

    In a nutshell yes, if you’re currently pushing too high a gear and find that you can only ride so far before your legs give up, focusing on your cadence will help you ride further and make sure you’re using your gears efficiently and will help with both speed and endurance as you’ll be able to ride faster and further for longer and make you into a more efficient cyclist.

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    Keep it simple…

    There is so much information out there regarding what we should or shouldn’t be doing when it comes to cadence and it’s very difficult as a beginner to make all this advice work without feeling confused and overwhelmed by the technicality of it all so keep it simple

    Measure your cadence and work to keep it within 80-100rpm to make you more efficient as pushing a low cadence in a high gear will fatigue your legs very quickly.

    After a while when you’ve found your cadence and have gotten used to using your gears efficiently you can look online for drills to further improve your cadence and speed.

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