Road biking through undulating vineyard topography, and during the more stationary moments, unwinding at the glorious Château St. Pierre de Serjac; as far as active press trips go, this was set up to be highly compelling! In the event, it was *so* compelling that I scribed a piece for Women’s Health on the affair (which should go live very shortly, so do keep your eyes open). The experience was extremely well balanced; road biking is unexpectedly demanding from an aerobic perspective, and the Château St. Pierre de Serjac is just a heavenly sanctuary in which to relax; that exquisite channel in the middle where those parameters meet is what governs a highly successful active break! As an aside, if you do read this and think ‘hmm, I could quite imagine myself giving that a shot’, I would strongly urge you to wear padded bib shorts, as road biking saddle soreness is orders-of-magnitude more intense than gym-induced muscular soreness! 😫. Find my full review of Road Biking and Château St. Pierre de Serjac below.
You might recently have spied a trail of breadcrumb-pictures on my Instagram where I’m riding London’s eponymous Santander Cycles, meandering my way around what I think are some of our wonderful capital city’s most picturesque parts; the gorgeous Little Venice area of Regent’s Canal, the Outer Circle in Regent’s Park, Primrose Hill… The Cycles are a ubiquitous and awesome fitness resource which anyone can use to see those parts of the city they’ve not visited before: I.e. go discover London for less than the cost of a green juice and get fit at the same time, it’s the perfect combo!!! For example – and it’s a bit of an unusual example – I recently attended a mind-blowing special spin class ABOVE the iconic landmark Tower Bridge, hosted by (and ON) Santander Cycles. The 80m glass walkway housed myself and 9 other lucky invitees as we Santander-cycled our way through an hour-long sweaty BOOM Cycle class whilst watching a deliciously romantic sunset over the Thames and St Pauls. (more…)
1) WHY CYCLE ?
Cycling is one of my favourite ways to travel around as it not only gets me there, but I can do some bonus cardio training in the process. It burns calories (c. 120calories per mile), elevates the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, eases the risk of cardiovascular disease and it’s pretty soft on the environment too! Compared to running, which puts a lot of strain on the body (especially the knees), cycling is very low impact exercise and is kinder to your joints. It builds stamina and strength, with fewer injuries along the way. If you’re worried about losing precious muscle mass because of the cv, cycling actually develops muscle, especially in the lower body as power is generated by the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, which will fuel additional calorie burn even after the journey has ended. It will also stimulate the production of HGH (human growth hormone), and remember, muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, so this is exercise that keeps giving!
2) THE BIKE ?
In the pic above, I’m on what I think is the Ferrari of bicycles; the sleek, curvaceous, sexy ‘Pinarello’ FPQuattro. This exceptionally serious road bike is built for speed, it’s ultra lightweight (the frame weighs a feather-light 1.1kg!), and has a carbon chassis honed in a wind tunnel to perfect the aerodynamics! I don’t own it, I was merely lent it for the day, but this is my idea of a dream bike!
3) THE ROUTE ?
These days there are so many gadgets to kit out your bicycle with. There’s the low-tech mudguards / mirrors / bags / bells / comfort-saddles… but I like the more high-tech functional stuff. The Garmin GPS is my way of keeping track of my routes. I think it has enhanced my cycling performance by making my training far more productive; it enables measurement of the heart rate, power, speed, altitude and even position in London’s cafes to remarkable accuracy. Not only will you know where you are but also exactly how far you’ve been or need to go; and you can race your ghost if it’s a regular route, which encourages progress! The GPS is route-tailored meaning it will select the right route for your specific training, e.g. endurance, long distance, hill rides etc. So in essence, I think it helps you to cycle smarter!
And once at home after a long relaxing, hot shower you can sit down with a cup of tea, download and analyse the data on your computer, and figure out exactly how to improve your performance for next time. You can even create an online profile and connect with the social media world to share and receive info, courses and routines etc. They’re not cheap, but I think they’ve revolutionised my cycling experience, and my ability to get a good workout from it!
4) THE COMMUNITY ?
Just as there are running clubs, so too are there cycling clubs! In the same way my motivation is boosted by doing a group class at the gym, it’s the same with cycling; find a cycle group in your local area and go for a trial session. Training in a group will improve your cycling giving you the tools and focus you need whether you’re looking to train in the lead up to an event/race or just for general fitness. I find it’s nice to have a deadline or goal in mind, so why not discover charity bike rides! A friend (and cycling-novice!) took part in her very first charity ride last year – London to Paris – and she absolutely loved it, describing ‘a massive sense of camaraderie’, and ‘feel good you just can’t beat!’ She did add it was a very intense 4days and added that you must, must prepare well ahead of time.
It’s dangerous on the roads, so maybe join an ‘advanced road safety’ group which teaches you how to stay safe in the mental London traffic! It also explains bike maintanence which is crucial for trips and newbees.
Cycle buddy links cyclists up with other cyclists in the same area for training rides or mountain biking. The website encourages you to log your ride to share routes and training experiences.
Happy cycling! Faya x