Fat Lad At The Back

  • 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!

  • Beginners Guide To Tackling Hills

    Tempting as it is to throw everything you've got at a hill, you've got more chance of staying on your bike all the way to the top, if you take it easy!

    So, focus on getting up the hill, not how fast you can do it. Drop your pace. Drop your power. Breath easy. Spin slowly.

    Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com - 03/05/2014 - Cycling - Yorkshire, England - Fat Lad at the Back. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com - 03/05/2014 - Cycling - Yorkshire, England - Fat Lad at the Back.


    If you can't talk, you're probably pushing too hard and you’ll soon run out of puff! Remember, this isn’t about pushing yourself as hard as you can, it’s about pacing yourself!



    it doesn’t matter how slow you go, just keep the wheels turning nice and steady - you're gaining fitness, not winning the Tour de France.



    At the risk of stating the obvious, get to grips with your gears. There’s nothing worse than going into a hard gear, instead of an easy gear half way up a hill. You’ll lose momentum and end up having to get off.



    Unless you like pushing big gears, give yourself a break and start dropping down as soon as you need to. Don’t push through the harder gears and ‘save’ your easy gears for later, as you’ll burn yourself out. Get organized as you approach the bottom of the hill and start dropping a gear, so you maintain your momentum.



    Riding out of the seat uses different muscles and allows you to use your body weight to push the pedals, but it is something that you may need to practice on short inclines until you’ve got your technique sorted. Once you’ve been out of the saddle it’s tough sitting back down if you don’t have an easier gear left, but it can often be enough to just get you over the brow of a hill.



    To paraphrase the words of Greg LeMond, It never gets easier, so don't expect it to, but you WILL get faster!



    If you’ve got anything that clicks or clanks when you turn the pedals or wheels, fix it, even if it's just something on your clothing, otherwise you’ll be notified of every single revolution.


    Shift your weight back in the saddle and drop your heels to engage your glutes and give your quads and knees a break.


  • Still stuck for Christmas inspiration? Here are some last minute gift suggestions! - For the Lad in your life.

    Cycling Inspired Christmas Shopping for the Lad in your life.

    No Excuse All Weather Jacket:

    Want to keep your lad in the saddle whatever the weather?  Lads Gaffer Cycling jacket is packed full of features and provides an Insulated, wind and waterproof layer yet it’s fully breathable, lightweight and has stretch to ensure a comfortable ride.


    How about a personalised memento of a special cycling achievement? These bespoke replica miniature mile markers and mug by Summit Finish are perfect and they’re made in Yorkshire!

     Sitting Comfortably:

    Good trousers are arguably the most important bit of cycling kit for a Lad and a top quality pad is essential. Stealth anatomical reflective cycling bibs are made from super soft fabric and have a high density ENERDRY foam pad so they are outstandingly comfortable.

     Keep It Together:

    The Cycling kit bag from KITBRIX is great for a Lad that travels to events and likes to keep all his FLAB kit together

    Hi Vis:

    A new take on high vis this innovative graduated jersey will make him stand out without looking like a giant Orange! High vis Beacon Jacksey

     For The Lad Who Has Everything:

    Every pair of these fine silver Fat Lad Logo cufflinks is unique as they are individually handmade by a local Ilkley Silversmith

     Get A Head-Set:

    How about designing a custom headset cap with a motivational quote to keep those legs pedalling when the going gets tough KAPZ custom headset cap

     Cold Feet:

    Winterproof his feet with these Northwave Winter cycling boots. Not only will they keep his tootsies cosy, they remove all the faff of trying to get your overshoes on top of your cycling shoes


    Not sure what size to get? Always get it right with a FLAB Gift Voucher

     Join the RIDE:

    A years British cycling “RIDE” Membership provides many benefits including Liability insurance for commuter, sportive and leisure cyclists British Cycling Membership

    Clock Watching:

    Help him count down the hours until his next bike ride with this Bicycle wheel clock

    Say It How It Is:

    Just in case anyone needs reminding this fab Bicycle print get’s right to the point.


    Making household objects out of bits of bike is all the rage and this ? bike wheel ceiling light creates an interesting ceiling effect.

    Money Money Money:

    Is your lad dreaming of a trip to France to watch a stage of the Tour? Or cycling through vineyards in the South of France? This adventure French trip money pot is a great way to start saving for a Tour de France adventure.

     Join Us And Be Proud:

    This is not just a T-shirt…it’s a FLAB T-shirt

     Close Shave:

    A nice little travel set for the French trip! Le Bicycle shaving kit

     Keep His Cockles Warm:

    Fill this Bicycle hip flask hip flask with your Lads favourite tipple to help warm the cockles…

     The Dogs ….

    Certainly a gift for a Lad with a sense of humour, this bright red light will bob along as he cycles and might even make a motorist smile  Bike balls lights

     It’s a Doo Dah/whatd’y’m’callit/thingy’m’bob:

    Keep those chills away with this practical Camo neck doo dah

     To The Shed:

    Does your Lad like to tinker with his bike? or maybe he’s thinking of doing his own bike maintenance?  Road bike maintenance book

    Get Dapper:

    Keep your Lad looking dapper even when he’s not on his bike with this Pure Silk Cycle Print Tie

    Fancy A Challenge?

    Getting something in the diary to motivate/scare you into is cycling throughout the Winter months is always a good idea and what better reason than the FLAB Up North Yorkshire Sportive entry Not only is it a great route through Yorkshire with epic feed stops but it’s also ‘the friendliest Sportive around’.

  • Still stuck for Christmas inspiration? Here are some last minute gift suggestions! - For the Lass in your life.

    Cycling Inspired Christmas Shopping for the Lass in your life.

    Stand Out From The Crowd:

    Our best selling In The Pink long sleeve reflective jersey offers high visibility, without looking like a high vis waistcoat. The outstandingly flattering jersey design and graduated body attracts the eye upwards, away from the lower torso and towards the head, neck and shoulders. It works equally well on all shapes and sizes.

    Important Places:

    This lovely chamois cream  is formulated just for Lasses and helps prevent skin irritation in the ahem..delicate area. It also comes recommended by one of our Flambassadors who has ridden thousands of miles with it and swears by it.

    Flower Power:

    Pretty and practical the Na' then Flower neck warmer helps to keep out the chill in style.

     Stay In Touch:

    This handy portable charger fits easily into a pocket and will recharge her smartphone when She’s on the go especially if your lass uses a power draining phone app to record her ride Pebble smartstick Charger

     Sitting Comfortably:

    Good trousers are arguably the most important bit of Cycling kit and a Female specific garment pad is essential for a comfy ride. Made from super soft lightweight  fabric that’s breathable and thermal they are outstandingly comfortable because of their high waist construction  Lasses reflective  Thermal Cycling tights


    Not sure what size to get? Always get it right with a FLAB Gift Voucher

    No Excuse All Weather Jacket:

    Want to keep your lass in the saddle whatever the weather? Our classic jacket has been debranded, it’s a lightweight thermal Winter Jacket made from the latest innovative fabric that provides an insulated, wind and waterproof layer yet is fully breathable. Lasses purple blue gaffer cycling Jacket

    All That Glitters:

    For the lass who’s cycling mad, what about some cycling themed jewellery

    Sweet Dreams:

    This Bicycle duvet cover is sure to induce lovely cycling dreams.

     Light me up:

    This funky metal bicycle lamp adds a quirky touch to a side table and we are reliably informed that the photos doesn’t do it justice!

    Walk All Over it:

    Where else would she be? This gone riding door mat says it all.

    Sup Up:

    Perfect for a post ride drink and she’ll be well happy if you promise to do the washing up? Bicycle mug and tea towel set

    Wet Wet Wet:

    Perfect for watching the kids play football, the FLAB Umbrella

    Fancy A Challenge?

    Getting something in the diary to motivate/scare you into is cycling throughout the Winter months is always a good idea and what better reason than the FLAB Up North Yorkshire Sportive entry Not only is it a great route through Yorkshire with epic feed stops but it’s also ‘the friendliest Sportive around’.

    Hankie Panky:

    Even nose blowing can be cycling themed with this  bicycle hankie

    Post Ride Pamper:

    http://www.purpleharry.co.uk/shop/muscle-cooling-gel/ This lovely cooling gel contains peppermint and menthol with the moisturising and soothing properties of Aloe Vera. Massage into tired muscles post exercise and relax!

  • 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.

  • There Is Always A Hill To Be Climbed!

    After seeing Keith's before and after pictures on our Facebook page, we were intrigued to know more about his journey from a 24 stone lad to a 15 stone Fat Lad!
    "I have to say I have been a bit overwhelmed by the positive response i've had on Facebook.
    I only wanted really to say thank you to Fat Lad Richard and the Team for creating a brand that the fat lads stuck at the back on a club ride, had an identity, had a voice, and had something they could wear with pride, and like me are proud to be part of the team!
    My story started when I turned 40, (I work as an Artworker, and so was stuck in front of a mac all day.  I worked too much, and never exercised at all, i had gradually got bigger, and bigger, i never really saw it though, until Christmas 2011, when i went to get Jeans and i was a 44 waist.
    I was depressed, looking in the mirror in the changing room... i was round, my shirt was tight and it was XXXL.
    I Decided that this wasn't the life I wanted.
    A work mate (who is ultra fit) suggested that him and i go swimming (i always loved swimming as i had canoed in my youth, and loved water)we would go twice a week before work (tuesday's and thursday's).
    I can remember that first time at the pool, i was very self conscious about how i looked, but Dave was brilliant, and told me just to get on with it, I swam 20 lengths, breaststroke, I was knackered! But once in the pool, no one even noticed how i looked, by the end of January 2012, I joined the Penicuik centre, I had increased my swimming from 20 lengths to 40, and was also swimming after work on a monday and Friday.
    Our publishing Manager Fiona suggested that i did the swimathon ad it would give me a purpose and something to aim for. It was 2.5km, (100 lengths) and was in March 2012, I had to push myself, and increased my distance 10 lengths a week. I got sponsored by everyone at work, so there was no backing out! I swam the 100 in 1hr 30mins.
    As a reward I decided to learn front crawl, and got lessons (yes I was forty, and was learning to swim again!). I swam regularly for 12 months... I met other like minded people at the pool, who suggested that I go to the gym, my membership covered access and an induction to the gym.
    I was back at square one, I was out of my comfort zone. I googled gyms and saw on youtube, men and women with beautifully defined bodies... in reality, Penicuik centre wasn't like that, it was full of people like me!
    The Personal Trainers worked out a program for me, to help me build strength and loose weight! I added going to the gym 3 times a week as well as my regular swimming, and continued for another year.
    Some of my swimming friends, suggested that I cross train and try spin classes, as it would be a great way to loose lots of weight. I could burn 800 calories a session! I had no idea about spin, I thought it was to do with wool!!
    I went along anyway... wow that was hard there were hills, sprints and jumps on a stationary bike, all meshed together with pumping music, and an instructor shouting instructions, it was intense, but even though I was melting, it was great fun, so went back increasing it to 3 times a week!
    The only problem was, sore feet using my trainers, so I bought some cycling shoes, and spd cleats and the spin bikes took spd's, wow sore feet were gone. By Christmas I was still exercising 6 days a week. (I got my first cycling top: Fat Lad at The Back in Navy Blue) I also bought bib shorts as my shorts kept falling down! I was a cyclist! Lol although i never actually cycled.
    One of the spin class mates suggested, that I should try cycling, and gave me some advice on a bike and what to look for, and how much to spend, so on May 2014, I ordered my first bike (Specialized Allez Sport) I also bought SPD pedals, I had been using them in Spin, so I thought it will be no problem!
    How wrong I was: 2 things happened first on the day the bike arrived. I was over keen to get set up, and so failed to tighten the cleats on the shoes properly, so while I was in the house I clipped in, but couldn't clip out, couldn't reach my phone, so effectively was stuck... luckily I hadn't tightened the pedals to crankshaft so just bent down and un did the pedals!
    Then I went out, on my first ride, having never clipped in on a bike that wasnt bolted to the floor... and ended up in a wall!
    I stuck with it, though and after a couple of months I was cycling 25km on a quiet single track road, with my partner as team support in the car following me!
    My friends at spin suggested I join them for a group ride, so I met up with them one Thursday night and did 30km! Not on quiet roads though but on main roads.. that was me, on normal roads, I gradually increased the distance over the coming months, 40, 60, 80, 100km!
    This year I joined Peebles Cycling Club, and took part in a time trial. I'm not the fastest, but what I love about TT, is its a race against myself! So here I am pushing further, climbing higher, always pushing!
    This is my life now, I cant ever go back, I need to climb the next hill! There is always a hill to be climbed!"
  • 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 !!!

  • Two Lasses in France

    franceOver the last few winters a pattern has occurred, I can’t ride my bike as it’s too cold/wet/dark/icy… I feel miserable as spring seems so far away and I start reminiscing about warm summer days on the bike and how I miss it. So to motivate myself to keep riding I say to myself “mmm if I have a cycling adventure to look forward to it will keep me training over the next few dreary months”.

    On a bleak Sunday in January this year I decided that cycling across France would be a pretty awesome cycling trip. I like an adventure but unlike a lot of intrepid explorers who’re willing to camp and carry their own gear I like a comfortable adventure, which means a warm bed and luggage transfers. I decided to use a company called Peak tours and luckily for me one of my cycling buddies Jo decided she’d join me on my trip.

    We trained as much as we could, which for me, working Mon-Fri was usually restricted to weekends! But I go to the gym during the week and over the months we increased our distances, would ride Saturday and Sunday and find as many hills as we could on our routes. September came around all too quickly and I felt I’d over eaten and undertrained as we arrived in Portsmouth for the ferry to Caen.france 1

    14 days, 874 miles and 65,533ft climbing later…We had an awesome trip there were mountains that I was dreading, as I’m built for descending not ascending, but to my surprise I loved them!! Sometimes we’d be climbing up for miles but they were long gradual climbs with switchbacks and just the odd short steep section. The descents were breathtaking! I even managed to do Mount Ventoux, which believe me were words I never thought would pass my lips.france 2

    I embraced every minute of my trip, even the dark moments when tiredness and my sense of humor was left on the last hill. I’m not super fit, or the fastest cyclist, I’m just an ordinary middle aged women who loves cycling and I feel so lucky every time I swing my leg over “ Doris” ( my bike ) and ride off for 5 or 500 miles, every pedal stroke to me is the start of an adventure.

    In my next blog entry I’ll give you my top tips for doing a supported cycling adventure.


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