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    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 21st Oct 19, 4:45 PM
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    Advice needed - Getting fit for cycling
    • #1
    • 21st Oct 19, 4:45 PM
    Advice needed - Getting fit for cycling 21st Oct 19 at 4:45 PM
    After a fairly sedentary career I am working on getting fitter - currently do a gym session, swim session and a spin class each week - and although I am pleased with the results i have got a long way to go.

    I used to enjoy cycling but that was, shock horror, nearly 50 years ago. Bikes back then were way different! Ive bought a hybrid bike, done a bit of pottering round the park and very quiet roads and today finally braved a stretch of main road.

    Ive booked myself on a basic bikeability course and even that is daunting as it will involve cycling along a series of main roads and tackling some minor hills to get there. Hills are a problem. I think I need to design myself a programme to improve my cycling stamina. Id like to think that by autumn next year Id be good enough to do a cycling holiday.

    Any suggestions? Im In London so almost any ride will involve a main road. There is a newish local cycling club but I think theyd laugh at my incompetence.
Page 1
    • spadoosh
    • By spadoosh 21st Oct 19, 4:51 PM
    • 7,698 Posts
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    • #2
    • 21st Oct 19, 4:51 PM
    • #2
    • 21st Oct 19, 4:51 PM
    Get on your bike.

    Unless your that unconfident youre going to be dangerous very little is going to make you fitter for cycling than cycling itself. Same with getting to grips with the roads, the more experience the better. You just need to bite the bullet.

    Theres a few youtube channels that help with things like anticipating other road users, positioning etc.

    Cyclingmikey and cyclegaz are a couple of the good channels.

    In London you should be pretty well covered with a load of dedicated cycling lanes, although ill be honest, they look interesting to navigate. Ill be surprised if they dont have a few cycle only routes going through/around some of the parks?
    Don't be angry!
    • Nebulous2
    • By Nebulous2 21st Oct 19, 7:35 PM
    • 2,497 Posts
    • 1,651 Thanks
    • #3
    • 21st Oct 19, 7:35 PM
    • #3
    • 21st Oct 19, 7:35 PM
    Good luck. I bought a bike almost 10 years ago to help me lose weight and it has changed my life. The bikeability course should help. I'd also try to build up distance and bike handling where you feel safe, canal paths, old railway lines, cycle paths etc before trying too much on busy roads.

    Cycle clubs are not all the same. The CTC does group rides in many localities and cater for different people from the sports clubs. They also offer third party insurance, as does British Cycling, which is worth considering.
    • trailingspouse
    • By trailingspouse 23rd Oct 19, 7:08 AM
    • 3,821 Posts
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    • #4
    • 23rd Oct 19, 7:08 AM
    • #4
    • 23rd Oct 19, 7:08 AM
    Get yourself to the local cycling club. But don't go with the mindset of 'I think they'll laugh at my incompetence'.

    Instead, go along with the idea that you are checking them out to see if they are what you want. If they don't fit the bill, then don't join.

    And well done for getting up and getting on with it (I joined a gym 18 months ago, aged 57 - life changing).
    • bouicca21
    • By bouicca21 23rd Oct 19, 1:34 PM
    • 4,698 Posts
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    • #5
    • 23rd Oct 19, 1:34 PM
    • #5
    • 23rd Oct 19, 1:34 PM
    Following the responses, I got up enough courage to cycle on main roads this morning, so thats a psychological win.

    Trailingspouse, joining a gym has been great. I am way fitter than I used to be, but the starting point was abysmally low and tbh the 3 miles I did this morning were knackering. I sat down at the other end, had a cup of tea and cycled back. There was a really gentle hill on the route I took, and I found even that was hard-going.

    Good idea just to check out the cycling clubs, will do. The very local one is new and I suspect the members are all dead keen, but there is another a few miles away that is larger and longer established that I think might be better suited to a novice. Will try them both. Signed up for a Breeze ride too.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 23rd Oct 19, 2:04 PM
    • 3,096 Posts
    • 2,909 Thanks
    Manxman in exile
    • #6
    • 23rd Oct 19, 2:04 PM
    • #6
    • 23rd Oct 19, 2:04 PM
    You could also try asking around your local bike shops for beginner's groups etc.

    I was having my bike serviced a couple of months ago and I overheard one of the assistants telling another customer about just such a local group. Seemed ideal for a new cyclist or someone returning to cycling after a long break.

    You could also try asking them about "safe" or dedicated cycling routes locally in London. The city I live in is reasonably bike friendly and the open countryside is just a couple of miles away (although that can pose it's own dangers).

    As suggested above, I'd also recommend looking at CTC (now called CyclingUK) membership. It gives you third party insurance and can also get you legal representation if you get sued or you need to sue somebody else (hopefully never required but useful to have).

    I'm sure they used to have members' forums which might be quite useful to you, but can't find them at the moment...
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