FLambassador Ade


    Lady Bits

    Uncomfortable undercarriage discussions crop up frequently over on our community forum and it’s an issue which effects both men and women with people seeking recommendations for comfortable saddles and anti-chaffing creams.



    For us lasses, {however} the added inconvenience of monthly cycles (*Lads if you are still reading now, you only have yourselves to blame!) and hormonal changes means that intimate discomfort is a common issue, yet it’s a subject that’s rarely discussed in any detail. So here goes……

    As a former Breeze Coordinator, Breeze Champion and as a FLambassador I’ve had conversations about this with dozens of women and here’s the accumulation of our shared experiences!





    Everything you need to know about mooncups

    I’d never heard of them either until I read a book about ultra distance cycling and coping with periods on the road and in countries where sanitary products are not readily available.



    Tampons may seem like the obvious option but they’re not for everyone! Mooncups are a very environmentally friendly way of taking care of things and a couple of my friends wouldn’t be without theirs, but some lasses (me included) prefer sanitary towels.

    I don’t wear pants and just place the sanitary towel directly onto the pad of my shorts. I then place a small amount of chamois cream on the wings to prevent chafing and it works a treat for me. If I’m on a long ride I carry a few spares and some nappy sacs. Sometimes I’ll pop behind a bush (no pun intended!) to change and then dispose of it at the next loo stop.

    Intimate discomfort

    So, you’re saddle is sorted, you’ve got your padded shorts, you’re (probably)  riding knicker less and you’re used to riding during your period!

    Everything is great – YES?

    Well for me – NO!

    In the last couple of years, I started to experience extreme ‘internal’ discomfort - dryness, irritation and excruciating pain whilst trying to pee! It was so bad I thought I was going to have to give up cycling altogether but one day I went to my local pharmacy and explained in hushed tones what I was feeling. She recommended Canesten intimate moisture which helps the irritation and internal dryness caused by the friction of cycling and by approaching menopause. She also advised that if there was no improvement in a couple of days to see my GP but I’m pleased to say it’s been a game changer for me. I use it inside before I ride and then apply chamois cream externally and my under carriage is happy again. Canesintima_Intimate-Moisturiser-and-bottle



    A similar conversation popped up on the FLAB community forum a few weeks ago with some lasses also using a cream called Vagisil which helps with itching in the intimate area along with the intimate moisturiser and chamois cream application on the outside calling it the recipe for ‘OUCH BE GONE’ and ‘ITCH BE GONE’




    I always thought waxing was the best way to avoid saddle soreness, though I must admit I did occasionally suffer with sores and ingrowing hairs but in 2016 I read this article about the Ladies Olympic cycling team being advised to rethink their intimate grooming regimes. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3743239/Why-Olympic-cyclists-DON-T-wax-bikini-lines-Pubic-hair-protects-against-saddle-soreness.html


    I took the advice and stopped waxing and can confirm that after cycling for 14 days consecutively across France my under carriage was in tip top shape with no ingrown hairs or saddle sores.


    So hopefully that’s some of your undercarriage questions answered. If you got this far and you’re a lad, please refer to paragraph 2* if you’re a lass, remember this is not medical advise and you must consult your GP about any issues you have!

    Happy Cycling!

  • Where's Your Mojo Gone?



    • 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.


    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.


    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.

  • Doris - Ade's Inner Voice

    Meet Doris, my doubting inner voice…

    She’s has been around a lot just lately – Bitch!

    Doris sits on my shoulder and whispers “you can’t do it, you’re just not good enough…”

    I’ve learned to put Doris in a little box to keep her quiet but when I’m having a bad day she pops out and starts whispering again…

    I’ve learned to acknowledge Doris, sometimes when I’m going up a hill thighs burning, lungs bursting, she’ll put in an unwanted appearance, screaming at me to stop, yelling that there’s no way I can do it!

    I say “shut the $@&% up Doris. I know it hurts but the pain is temporary, we can make it a bit further just to the next tree or lamppost…”, keeping Doris in her box can be so distracting that before I know it we’re at the top of the hill.

    Now all my cycling buddies have named their doubting inner voices, and if someone tells us Daphne has joined us for the ride or that Deirdre popped out on the last hill, it’s our way of saying we’re struggling a little bit and then we all have a laugh about giving Daphne, Deirdre or Doris a rollicking and carry on. It has a powerful effect and just talking about it instantly puts all our fears at bay.

    I have days where Doris is so powerful, I just don’t have the energy to shut her up, and that’s ok as it’s just part of what makes me human after all.

    But accepting Doris, naming her and talking about her has had a huge effect on my mental strength and without doing so I wouldn’t have been able to cycle the length of France or climb Mont Ventoux or cycle LE JOG. Doris is ever present whether she’s inside or outside of the box and acknowledging her as being part of me has taught me a great life lesson that my most powerful muscle is my mind and where the mind goes the body follows.

  • Reza Pakravan - Kapp To Cape

    I’ve been very lucky, because over the last couple of years I’ve had my share of little adventures. In 2015 I rode from Lands End to John O’Groats, and in 2016 I cycled across France from Caen to Nice; and as much as I loved my cycling trips, I’m always happy to come home after my little adventures and know that two weeks is about as much as I like to do in one hit. So I leave the epic trips to the hardy adventurers, and love to read about their trips from the comfort of my sofa with a nice cup of tea.

    I frequently have the bike channel (Sky 464) on while I’m pottering about. Last year a documentary came on called “Kapp to Cape” and it followed Reza Pakravan as he set about cycling 11,000 miles from Nordkapp to Cape Town at the other end of the planet. Reza was accompanied by his friend Steve and their trip became a world record attempt to complete the ride, self-supported in 100 days. I enjoyed the programme immensely and was happy to find that Reza had also written a book about the trip which was published last month.

    Kapp to Cape

    Although I already knew the story as I’d seen the documentary, I found it an absolute page turner. Reza’a extraordinary way of telling his story was so beautifully honest, funny and thrilling. It took such guts to undertake such an epic adventure which was nearly over before it had begun and his revelation on London Bridge one morning brought a lump to my throat, as I had a very similar experience last year and walked away from my job in the NHS that was making me utterly miserable.

    There were so many moments in this book when I wish I could have reached through the pages and given Reza a huge hug, as the story is about so much more than a bike ride and world record attempt; it’s about a personal journey which all of us, as cyclists and human beings, will be able to identify with. I’m trying not to give too much away, as I don’t want to ruin the story for you.cape

    Although many people worry about the dangers of undertaking such a big adventure and all the what ifs, what will stay with me from this book is the kindness of strangers he met along the way, who had so little yet shared so much with Reza on his trip. Kindness is free, and I’m going to try and be a bit more generous…

    “This book is the intensely personal story of one man’s mission to create a more positive, purposeful life, and the compelling journey he took to get there.”



  • Ade’s Top Tips for creating a mini bulge!

    Create a Mini Bulge! 


    Lots of you seem to be looking for cycling buddies in your local area so here are Ade’s Top Tips for creating a mini bulge!

    • The letsride.co.uk website allows you to find buddies in your area, create cycling groups and your own social rides, which get advertised on the website. It’s free and for Lasses there are Breeze rides which are led by trained volunteer Breeze Champions.

    Just log on you to the website letsride.co.uk pop your postcode in and see if there are any suitable rides in your area, if not you can create yourself a login and create your own.

    • Be patient. It can take a while for social groups to get going especially at this time of year as many people are fair weather cyclists.
    • Shout About It. Post links to your ride listed on the website on social media, any local Facebook pages and groups, you could pop a poster up in your local leisure centre and contact your local county sports partnerships as they may also be willing to promote your ride.
    • Checkout the locals. Although you might feel a bit daunted at the prospect of joining your local cycling club, many clubs are keen to get new riders in and many offer a social no drop ride for beginners and if they don’t maybe you could suggest that you could somehow work together on getting a social beginners group up and running?
    • Meetup.com is also a good place to meet local people with many areas already having established social cycling groups for all levels and tastes.
    • Be Accurate. Always try to be accurate with your ride descriptions, be honest about hills and what sort of pace you like to ride at and whenever possible try to fit in a refreshment stop for coffee and cake……. there must always be cake.

    Richard is the newest member of Ade's Mini Bulge in Surrey! Richard is the newest member of Ade's Mini Bulge in Surrey!

  • FLAB'S getting layerie!


    SW1_6704Different layers give you multiple options and more flexibility across different weathers and
    temperatures and good layering is the key to keeping your core warm and dry.

    Our guide will help you stay comfortable and look stealth like without feeling like you’re geared up for a polar expedition. Remember this is a`guide’ and it will probably take a couple of rides to get it right not least because we all feel the cold and regulate our body temperature differently

    Upper body -  The three essentials

    1: Base layer

    A base layer goes between your skin and your jersey. You can get light weight ones that help keep you cool in the summer or if you're hot stuff and don't really feel the cold, and thicker ones for when the temperature plunges or if you really feel the cold. They also come in a multitude of designs, sleeve lengths, high or low cut necks and in many different materials and weights.

    Long Sleeve Baselayer FrontThe best base layers are made from technical fabrics which allow sweat to wick away from your skin so you don’t get wet, which in turn helps you stay comfortable and helps avoid you
    getting chilly on your ride.


    Short Sleeve Baselayer Front


    Base layers function better if they are close fitting so avoid baggy garments which will bunch up and the excess material will probably end up as an uncomfortable damp lump as moisture will not be able to wick away properly.


    Once you are wet, you are more likely to feel cold, especially if you are not exerting yourself, for example on down hills or when you stop for cake – and anything that interferes with the enjoyment of cake is unacceptable.


    2: The Mid Layer-Long Sleeve Jersey

    A long sleeve jersey is an essential piece of kit and can be layered up in multiple ways to get you through the different seasons. Once again there are a multitude of different fabrics and different weights of long sleeve jerseys, though at this time of year ‘Roubaix’ fabric which has a warm fleece lining is a popular solution to beating off the chill. The Roubaix fabric creates a microclimate against the skin, trapping warm air and keeping you snuggly. It is also very breathable and wicks moisture away from the skin, ensuring that you stay dry and comfortable.


    Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com 29/10/2016 - Cycling Fat Lad and Fat Lass At The Back Cyclewear shoot - Burnsall, Yorkshire

    If you find you are sweating in a long sleeve jersey, then you have too many layers on, un zip and think about shedding long sleeve base layers next time. Alternatively go for a different fabric – the FLAB Jacksey is a great option, as it has fleece on the back and a windproof membrane front.



    3: Top Coat - Winter Jacket

    Your first line of winter defence against the elements, a decent winter jacket offers two core functions, water and/wind resistance.

    It’s important to remember that there’s always a trade off between waterproof and breathability and if you wear too many layers (a common problem) you can easily end up wetter on the inside than on the outside.

    The best waterproof fabrics are made of membranes which allow smaller sweat molecules out, but not the larger water molecules in. These fabrics also have the advantage of not requiring ‘re-waterproofing’ treatments as the waterproof feature is created in the fabric construction, rather than by a waterproof covering on top of the fabric.

    You can get very lightweight wind/shower resistant jackets that fold up and fit nicely in the pocket of your cycling jersey which are perfect for showers or those changeable weather days when you get all four seasons in one ride.


    Lasses Floral Gaffer Cycling Jacket

    If you’re a hardy FLAB and are still happy to throw your leg over the stead no matter what the forecast, a good quality wind and water resistant jacket is a great investment. The gaffer FLAB jacket is the ideal winter jacket as it’s made from the latest innovative membrane and provides an insulated wind and waterproof layer, yet it’s fully breathable, lightweight and has stretch to ensure comfortable riding.

    Lower body

    SW1_7876Although some FLABs have a tendency to still get their knees out until it snows (see FLABinati rule#22) once the temperature drops you might want to hibernate the shorts for a few months and get some long cycling tights to keep your legs nice and toasty.


    You can get lighter weight ones for those transitional days but you can’t beat a warm pair of thermal Roubaix (fleece lined) tights or bibs when the temperature drops below 10 degrees. Bibs and high back leggings will keep your kidneys and back warm and will keep your muscles warm and supple on those cold winter rides. Reflectivity is also a great additional feature on Winter leggings as moving reflective details or hi vis are much more likely to catch the eye of a motorist than the equivalent that’s fixed to your back or you bike.



    Head and neck

    A neck doo dah can be popped over your head to keep your neck warm, pull it up over your chin, nose and mouth to keep you warm and it also helps take the biting edge off the cold air when you’re breathing hard or can be worn as a hat.

    Cycling specific head bands can keep the ears warm and light weight hats and skull caps are great for popping on under your helmet.

    Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com 29/10/2016 - Cycling Fat Lad and Fat Lass At The Back Cyclewear shoot - Burnsall, Yorkshire


    Gloves are a winter essential and don’t need to be cycling specific, as long as you can use your brakes and gears okay, a good pair of wind and water proof gloves will see you through all weathers.



    A combination of wet and cold feet can make for a very unpleasant ride, slip on a pair of overshoes on top of your usual cycling footwear to help keep your tootsies warm and dry. You can also purchase waterproof socks which are easier to get on especially if you cycle in trainers.


    Arm and leg warmers are also useful especially in the Spring and autumn and can be easily removed and popped in your pocket.

  • Shine A Light - FLambassador Ade has some useful tips on lighting

    ade bio

    Now the clocks have gone back and the evenings are drawing in you may have thought about getting some lights to keep you riding throughout the winter months. There is a huge amount on offer and if you're new to cycling it can be a bit overwhelming knowing where to start.

    Without going into huge technical detail there are basically two types of lights, those that help you to be seen and be more visible to other road users and those that will light up the road ahead ensuring you can see any obstacles like the dreaded potholes. Lights have "lumens" which means how bright it is to the human eye the higher the lumen the brighter the light. Lights are usually powered by batteries or are rechargeable via a USB port which is great if you're commuting as you can charge them via your computer while you're at work.

    So for urban well lit areas a lower end lumen light that makes sure you are visible to other road users but doesn't need to light up the road in front of you is perfect. These usually have several flashing modes and several can be put on the bike to ensure that you are seen from all angles and at junctions etc I personally like to have a couple of lights on the front and rear especially when commuting early on dark winter mornings prices range from £10 upwards this is a great little budget set from http://www.cateye.com/en/products/detail/HL-EL135/


    If you like to do some serious off roading or need a strong light for a fast road night ride in the lanes then you will need a serious set of lights with high lumens, these lights aren't cheap and the higher the lumen the higher the price tag this is a great 1100 lumen http://www.lezyne.com/product-led-perf-power1100xl.php#.WBthxldOVHg Product-led-powerxl-y10-1

    but if you need something more powerful and want to invest in a great light this 3400 lumen would be perfect for those night MTB rides http://www.exposurelights.com/cycle-lights/front-lights/exposure-six-pack-mk7




  • FLambassador Ade!


    Name: Adrienne ( Ade ) Horneade bio

    Age:   44

    From: Dublin, Ireland but I’ve lived in the UK for 26 years, currently residing in Surrey.


    I’ve been cycling since 2010, I first got into cycling after seeing a poster in my local YMCA gym for a ride to Paris. I’d always wanted to do a challenge, like a marathon, but I’ve got a bad back (from having babies) and have been advised not to do any high impact exercise like running. But I took the plunge and signed up for the ride to Paris. I had an old bike, that was a cheap Halfords special, that I’d ride around the block with the kids when they were small but that was my only experience of cycling since childhood. Four months later I completed my first cycling challenge.

    I haven’t looked back since, I was instantly hooked! A year later I saw a piece in Cycling Active about British Cycling’s volunteer “Breeze’ initative to get more Women into cycling, I applied and was one of the first volunteer Breeze Champions leading rides in the UK and worked for a few years as Breeze regional coordinator for the South East, helping newly trained Champions get started and promoting Breeze at events. I’m a British cycling qualified Level 1 ride leader, level 2 route planner and cycling instructor. Have led hundreds of rides, been a flambassador on the FLAB sportives and a Ride Angel for Women v Cancer ride the night event in London.


    If I can do it anyone can! Just keep pedaling and do what you enjoy, whether it’s a two-mile round trip to the shop or a time trial enjoy it because if you do, you’re much more likely to keep at it and keep pushing yourself rather than it feeling like a chore that you have to do. I’ll never forget what it felt like the first time I rode 10 miles and how daunted I used to feel when I saw the slightest incline so I have great respect for anyone who gets off the sofa and decides to get on their bike.


    Dozens of sportives in the UK, London to Brighton, Cycletta, Wiggle events, TILNAR challenge and of course all the FLAB sportives.

    Surrey to La Rochelle (FRANCE) 500k in four days.

    Surrey to Paris x 5 (three times unsupported)

    LEJOG 1000 miles in 10 days

    Berlin velothon

    France end to end via Mt Ventoux in 14 days

    I love movies, eating cake and I love to travel and now find that everywhere I go I find myself looking for bike shops or wondering how long it would take me to cycle there. If you’d told me in January 2010 that I would have done all this cycling I’d have laughed at you hysterically and suggested that you seek professional help. I’m also a chronic Asthmatic, which has vastly improved since I've started cycling.

  • Ade’s Top Tips - for a supported long distance adventure!


    SW1_6746Thinking of taking a cycling trip?

    Combining a holiday and cycling is the ultimate adventure, but there’s a lot to think about, so where do you start?

     We asked experienced cyclist, former Breeze rider and FLambassador, Adrienne Horne for her Top Tips


    1:Type of trip

    Choose what type of tour you want. There are usually two types, a led one where the leader will do all the navigating or a self navigated one.

    The advantages of being in a led group is that you will never be on your own so it’s perfect if you like a bit of company and don’t want to worry about navigating or getting lost. The disadvantages are that you’ll have to ride at the groups pace and you will be riding with strangers, which is great if you like meeting new people, but canbe daunting if you’re shy.

    I personally enjoy self navigation, I feel it’s more of an adventure and I can ride at my pace and stop whenever I feel like it, to take photos, loo breaks etc. without feeling like I’m holding up the rest of the group. I also enjoy my own company or very small groups and I don’t enjoy riding in big pelotons.


    2: KIT KIT KIT

    Trust me having a couple of pairs of decent padded shorts that you’ve worn on plenty of longer distance rides could make or break your trip. You should try out all your kit and get to know what’s comfortable, during the weeks leading up to your ride. Two days into a ride is not the best time to find out that those new shorts you bought have a seam that rub you in the wrong area!Loads of thin layers that you can put on and take off are also very useful because when you are riding all day the temperature will vary greatly.


    3: Food and water

    This has been a big issue for me, as I don’t feel hungry on the bike and all of the electrolyte drinks and energy gels give me tummy ache. I like to eat proper food that I can digest easily but this is such a personnel thing. You need to find out what works best for you during your training rides. I take small zip lock bags with salted nuts, dried fruit, sweeties and cereal bars. Depending on the terrain/distance I try to eat little and often (every 10-15 miles) and drink water or squash. This is just what works best for me, you will have to go out and experiment to see what works best for you.

    ade diet

    4:Be kind to yourself

    You will get tired and if you ask anyone who’s ever ridden a long distance with me I get GRUMPY!! and you know what? That’s ok!I used to get annoyed with myself for having a bad day or struggling up a hill that on any other day I wouldn’t have noticed and I’d have a whole conversation with myself about how I couldn’t do it and how stupid I was to think that I could and how much I hated cycling! I’ve learnt to accept the negative thoughts and just remind myself that I’m human, middle aged and have just ridden 300 miles so it’s okay to have a bad day, feel tired and have aches and pains.

    france 2


    5: Training

    Before you sign up for a big trip, be realistic about how much free time you have to train. It’s a huge commitment and you will have to decline social events etc., as you’ll need every weekend, especially in the weeks before your trip to train. The fitter you are beforehand, the more pleasant an experience you’ll have. Remember that hours in the saddle are more important than average speed and you need to train specifically for your trip, so if there are going to be loads of short sharp climbs, or long gradual climbs, ensure that you train accordingly.


    6: Feed stop game

    You will probably think I’m mad but this is a little mind game I always play on long distance training rides and it has been my savior on those really hard days when I’m tired, everything hurts and the thoughts of another long day cycling is filling me with dread.My favorite tea stop is Tanhouse Farm, which is a 25-mile ride, 13 miles there and 12 miles back. So I break all my long days into four either cycling to Tanhouse or home from there as it’s in small 12/13 mile chunks. So I divide my day up as follows:


    100 miles is divided into four stops,


    25 miles = Morning food

    back on bike but only for another 25 miles until

    50 miles = Lunch

    back on bike but it’s only another 25 miles until

    75 miles = Afternoon feed

    back on bike only another 25 miles until100 miles= cold beer and more food of course



    7: ENJOY !!!

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