Tag Archives: cycling

Bikes Aren’t Just For Men…

If you do a Google image search for women riding bikes you’re greeted with images upon images of women riding road bikes in a closed race style setting, or idealised images of a working woman on a city bike, suited & perfectly coiffured.  Both of these things could be (& probably are) true, however to me it paints cycling in an idealised setting. Showing that women should probably only ride this type of way….

I first & foremost, identify as a “cyclist” before lifting, before nutrition; I LOVE my bike. I have done since I got it, & I’ve loved riding for as long as I’ve been able to ride.  That being said, I am a minority when it comes to bike riding.  Courtesy of Cycling UK I have some figures for you:

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That’s a huge difference in averages – I can do 9 trips on my bike in a week.  Why is this? Why does cycling seem to attract boys moreso than girls & then the continuation of that attraction into adulthood?  It’s not like manufacturers don’t make bikes for women.  I can’t wrap my head around it, however I thoroughly love being on my bike so it’s natural that I wouldn’t understand why someone would prefer to not ride.

Again, I turned to Google & two main things appeared:

  1. Safety. As cycling is seen to be male-centric, women have (in some cases) felt belittled, scared or intimidated whilst riding.  It’s fair to guess that we’ve all seen *that* viral video (which; to clarify is staged & doesn’t represent a real life situation) However, that being said….if a bloke gets a puncture, chances are he can fix it road side. Could a woman do the same? Perhaps, maybe, certainly – however, not many women would be comfortable on the side of the road pulling out an inner tube, especially if it’s getting dark, or it’s secluded or whatever.
  2. Ease. Cycling to work, uphills, in hot weather or in winter layers can be a sweaty affair. Not good if you have a customer facing job, or don’t fancy helmet hair/wanting a shower etc.  Plus, how do you transport a suit/smart clothes/uniform on a bike? Then there’s the mothers out there…how do you carry your shopping & your child on a bike?!

I also asked friend’s on Facebook if they rode bikes, if so; what for:

“I don’t but I’d like to… no bike, and living in such a built up area there’s nowhere nice to go.”

“I like the idea of cycling but I always had shit bikes and the memories of bike maintenance on the go are kind of off putting.”

“I do! Generally to work and back or town and back for shopping”

“I cycle off road cycle paths as I don’t like car times. It’s my favourite way to relax and focus on the moment outside as nothing is being asked of me and I can just breathe.”

“Not any more, but I wish I did. I used to cycle to work, but it was uphill and I was super sweaty and tired by the time I got there. I also used to go shopping a couple of times a week.”

“I alternate between cycling and walking to work (about 2 miles each way) and just enjoy going on ‘adventures’ where I just get my bike and cycle until I’m tired to discover new places and just because it’s fun. It’s a bit of a nightmare to cycle in Leicester since bike lanes are horribly designed and only cover small segments all of which are crowded with pedestrians anyway.”

“I have a cycle but would like somewhere nice to cycle not just round the roads”

That’s just a few of the responses, however the majority don’t ride, or would like to but facilities/places to ride around England are pretty garbage, unless you can shove your bike in a car, drive somewhere & then ride for a few hours.  (For the record, the number of women that regularly cycle in Scotland is higher than it is in England)

I also got a response from Squat Rack Shenanigans (if you don’t follow her blog/insta/facebook, you *totally* should!)

Hi it me! San Diego, CA. I ride for cardio on bodybuilding contest prep, and for enjoyment because I live in a beautiful bikeable city.

July is Women’s Festival of Cycling in the UK, aimed at getting more women cycling.  I personally feel that it’s a shame that not more girls & women take advantage of the freedom that comes with cycling.  Like, seriously….Short on time? Ride. In a bad mood? Ride. Need to wake up? Ride. Full of energy? Ride.  There are many, many reasons to get out on your bike.

They’re not just for men!

If you’d like to learn more about women in cycling:

http://hopetechwomen.com/

https://www.letsride.co.uk/breeze

http://www.cyclinguk.org/womens-festival

https://totalwomenscycling.com/

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Photo from @Liv Cycling


All Aboard The Frustration Train!!

Urgh.  It feels like it wasn’t that long ago I wrote a post similar to this.  Like a perpetual cycle of highs and lows; the highs are amazing & the lows are, frankly, more annoying than an itch on the sole of your foot when you’re wearing boots that have 12 feet of shoe lace & you’re wearing a corset.

A few weeks ago my training programme changed, this one has taken weeks to get used to & I’ve been sticking to weights that I *know* I can handle, not necessarily seeing if I can go higher than before (I like round numbers, doing 5 or 7 of something doesn’t sit right with me & if I can do 8 then I may as well try to do 10)

I had a few days away from the gym last week (for the past few weeks I’ve not had a proper rest day, I’ve always been doing something) so on those days away I spent a fair amount of time reading & trying to find out where I was going wrong.  I’m still a novice with lifting & my PT was away on business so I couldn’t pick his brains.  Anyway, in those days I realised that most of my heavier lifts haven’t changed for MONTHS; I know that training isn’t about consistently getting those PR’s but my thinking was how can I continue to progress & get out of the constant plateau that I’ve been floating on for the last few months (weight loss isn’t a goal, so IDGAF what the scale says)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last year is that when a plateau hits, you need to figure out why & it’s not a simple task (or it isn’t for me) The easiest way to go through it, is – ironically enough, via my weight.  I lost weight when I started cycling to & from the gym, I lost weight when I changed my eating habits, I lost weight when I switched to intermittent fasting. The scale hasn’t changed since er, July I think.

In my reading mission, I read a great post from Chris Mullen about bulking (something I’ve heard about, but never gave it much thought) towards the end of the post he said:

Remember though, TRACK YOUR MACROS, ok you’re bulking so it’s never going to be perfect but you have to have some idea, how else are you going to grow muscle?! You need to eat in a surplus to build muscle.

The severity of this surplus will determine the ratio of muscle mass to fat mass you gain.
You can only build muscle at a certain rate, so a big surplus will inevitably lead to lots of unwanted fat gain. Conversely, too small a surplus and you might stay lean, but your muscle building will be compromised.

Unfortunately, building muscle just isn’t possible naturally when you aren’t eating enough.

You need to spend time consciously building muscle if you wish to look muscular in any way (hence ‘bodybuilding’).

I’ve underlined the part that resonated through my head.

Andy told me I need to watch my eating when I first started cycling & I’ve been eating to maintenance for a long, long time. Maybe I haven’t.  Maybe I’ve thought I was & in actuality I’ve been under-eating….it’s a possibility. It’s a possibility that I’m now exploring, I’ve changed my macros to suit & am hoping that the extra calories gives me that boost to be able to lift more.

I’ll report back after a few weeks & let you know how it’s going!

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Yeah, No. Don’t Put Me Down For Cardio…..

Cardio.

There are die hard fans & avid “would-rather-die” fans.   Some people do it because they have to, some do it as a warm up & others will avoid it like the plague.

I hate cardio.  I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than partake in HIIT training & the thought of using a treadmill makes me all squiddly. I absolutely & unequivocally do not understand those who can run for hours; whether that’s on a treadmill in the gym or those who think that there is nothing better than running a marathon.

My Life’s Motto

That being said, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those who CHOOSE to do all the cardio because it’s what they enjoy doing – I’ll happily congratulate you on beating your PB or getting a medal at the end of a gruelling race.  Just don’t expect me to go with you the next time you decide to run, I have better things to do…..like sit on the sofa & do nothing.

Once upon a time I did not think this way, I thought anyone who did cardio for longer than a warm up was insane – however (& this is where it may be a little confusing as I already said I hate it) I am a better, “healthier” person because of cardio.  I don’t consider what I do to be cardio though; because I absolutely, undeniably LOVE what I do (those new to the blog, I cycle around 60 miles (95km) a week, every week) It’s not a chore – most days – I don’t class it as cardio because cardio to me insinuates getting all sweaty & jumping around like a lunatic in a warm, stale gym studio; or as previously mentioned *shudder* running.

I genuinely believe that you should find a cardio form that you enjoy, because if you do – you’ll want to do it more than forcing yourself to do something you hate; it’s why I don’t do HIIT, aerobics, P90X, spinning etc – they’re my idea of torture.

Anyway, I have a point.  (I’m sorry if this seems really unstructured & garbled; I have a lot on my mind & trying to isolate my point is proving a little difficult)

  • I cycled everywhere as a child, I thought getting back on a bike would be easy, it wasn’t.
  • For the first few weeks, if not months I had to pace myself; stopping to catch my breath because it felt like my lungs were on fire
  • My water bottle became my best friend
  • The thought of cycling after it’d snowed was the least enthusiastic I’d been about doing anything for at least a decade
  • My legs hurt, my chest hurt, my face hurt.  I seriously questioned my sanity more than once when I started cycling again

You know what?  I could have easily jacked it in & went back to a 5 minute “death sentence” on the cross trainer for every gym session, but I’m glad I didn’t.  I absolutely love being out on the bike.

The human body is a delicate piece of intricate machinery & like a beautiful car, it requires a lot of TLC – Something far too many of us, have all at one point or another not done.  I knew when I first got my bike last year that I was not fit, but was not expecting the ordeal it was to cycle on a daily basis.  My blood pressure has always been pretty steady; sometimes on the lower scale, but my resting heart rate was something else; averaging around 75BPM.  Below is a screenshot from my Fitbit app; my resting heart rate is now anywhere between 48BPM – 53BPM & I owe it to cardio.  Cardio has also been a MASSIVE help in my weight loss & reduction in body fat, I lost 6lb in the first month of cycling to & from work or the gym.

THAT’S AN ATHLETE LEVEL RHR!

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Also, y’know if the zombies ever appear; never, ever forget Rule #1:


Judge A Fish By The Ability To Ride A Bicycle….

….And he will go his whole life believing he is stupid.

Or maybe he needs a better bike?

I have no idea why I chose that title; however when thinking about what to post in relation to my love of cycling it began to take a “What Women Want” kind of vibe to it

No games. How do I get that in? She’s running. It’s early, it’s quiet. Just the sound of her feet on the asphalt. She likes to run alone. No pressure, no stress. This is the one place she can be herself. Look any way she wants, dress, think any way she wants. No game playing, no rules. Games, sports, rules. Games, sports, rules. Playing by the rules. Playing games versus playing – Playing by the rules. Playing games versus playing.

Soooooooo, maybe I tried to flip it round and somehow make that scene seem completely fake.

BUT

It isn’t.

I suppose you could relate it to any sporting event or whatever, however it never rung more true until the other night, cycling home & my headphones had died, so I was in complete silence. It was so tranquil, I mean I cycle usually along main roads & the like but it was serene.  There was a mild breeze, it was still light out & just….perfect.  No thoughts, no worries, no noise, all the trials & tribulations…no more.  It was incredible.

I normally have music playing & just cycle where I need to go, without really thinking about it and was quite irked that my headphones had lost their charge but it was actually one of the best cycles I’ve had.  It reminded me of the cycles out I used to have when I was younger.  Like, free….no cares in the world, just me & the bike.