Making Progress on Two Wheels

Now that Cycle Rhythm is up and running, I’ve been trying to get back to training for my next events. I’ve got two triathlons coming up- the Tri Together event on 31st August, and the Tri for Life race on 7th September. I was lucky enough to win a place in Tri for Life, so I want to give this race my best shot.

Cycling is by far my weakest of the three disciplines so I’ve been focusing on improving my technique, stamina and confidence on the bike.

Lululemon Big City Cycle

A few weeks ago, I took part in the Lululemon Big City Cycle. A group of us rode 7 miles through central London via The Mall, Hyde Park and Marble Arch before heading back to the Lululemon store for an hour of yoga. 

It was my first time cycling in central London, so I was super nervous about the busy roads and finding my way across the city. Thankfully Elle offered to meet me and we made our way from Liverpool Street station to the store in Covent Garden. Being an early Sunday morning, the roads were pretty much traffic-free and the journey wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. 

Picture from Elle’s Blog

The ride was really enjoyable, it was fun to meet other cyclists of mixed abilities and chat to everyone as we cycled. The vinyasa yoga class was perfect for stretching out my aching shoulders and back after being so tense on the bike. 

Cycle Surgery Women’s Evening

This week, I went along to an event being held at Cycle Surgery in Holborn. Their Women’s-only evenings are aimed at ladies who want to get more out of their cycling and are designed to inspire and encourage regardless of ability.

The in-store team guided us through bike maintenance including repairing and replacing an inner tube. I was sat towards the back of the room, and I must admit I couldn’t see the demonstration particularly well, so most of the advice went over my head and I came away feeling none the wiser.

I did however take advantage of 15% discount, and finally bought a pair of cleated cycle shoes, plus a bike pump. There was also a great goody bag and free cupcakes!

Getting Comfortable

I’ve found my bike incredibly uncomfortable to ride, especially on my shoulders, neck and bike. Taking it to a local shop to be adjusted, it turns out that the way it was set-up was very ‘aggressive’ and they’ve altered it to a better fit which has made a massive difference already.

Also, I splashed out on some new cycling kit including padded leggings, gloves and a jersey- definitely all the gear and no idea! 

Learning to ride clipped-in

Since I’ve been training with Havering Tri, it has been really impressed upon me the importance of switching to clip-less pedals and cleated shoes. I’ve avoided taking the plunge into clipping-in for the past few months, purely because of the expense of the shoes- however I had no excuse with the discounts at Cycle Surgery!

My first attempt was a bit of a disaster! I clipped one foot in, then promptly toppled over grabbing onto the drain-pipe of my flat and nearly ripping it off the wall! I ended up with a cut and bruised knee and grazed elbow. I had to laugh though!

A second attempt was a little more successful. Glen has also recently bought a bike and cleated shoes, so together we cycled to a nearby park to practice clipping in on the soft grass. I practised one foot at a time hence the odd shoes in the photo! Glen also had a few falls and bruised his bum! It’s fun learning this new skill together and being able to laugh at each others mistakes. 

From what I’ve heard, it is fairly common to fall off when learning to clip-in and clip-out, so I expected to end up with a few cuts and bruises initially. 

Triathlon Club Ride & Brick Session

This morning I joined my triathlon club for a 33 mile cycle which we made into a brick session by rounding it off with a 2 mile run.

Three of us less experienced riders headed out, lead by two of the more experienced cyclists from the club. Our route took us out into the Essex countryside passing through pretty villages, past golf clubs and up a bloody steep hill! I’d heard rumours of the dreaded ‘Old Church Hill’ from other club members and today I got to experience the beast for myself! I must admit I had to dismount my bike and walk the final climb of the hill! 

Being lead by the more experienced riders was really beneficial, as I picked up some tips on gear changing and hand positioning. My confidence really grew as the miles whizzed past and before long we had rode over 30 miles. 

Despite wearing my new padded cycling leggings, I have a very sore bum this evening! The club ride this route regularly so I plan to join them as soon as my bits have stopped aching! 

Next weekend I have some cycling lessons booked for myself and Glen to learn skills for riding on the roads. We also have a bike maintenance course lined up for the following weekend, so I hope to learn about replacing an inner tube in greater detail. Definitely making some progress on the whole cycling thing!

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