As you will have seen, I just completed my first real distance cycling trip along The Trafalgar Way.
A 288 mile (after wiggling off the A roads) route from Pendennis Point in Falmouth to The Admiralty in London.
Without further ado, here are 5 things I’ve learned as a newbie to distance cycling…
1. Are you on Strava?
Everyone will ask you, without fail, whether you are on Strava, so they can track and follow your rides…
If you say that it drains your battery, that won’t matter and you’ll get a million suggestions of cycle computers and every gadget under the sun.
Does a bike ride even count if it’s not on Strava?
2. Get out of your comfort zone
Our comfort zones are brilliant places, but as the saying goes – nothing grows there.
Summer 2016 I whinged for the entirety of an 8 mile bike ride on the Isle of Wight about how uncomfortable I was, to the extent my mum bought me a fancy padded seat in a bike shop to shut me up.
I, Kate Jamieson, not first of her name, hater of cycling up hills, lover of coffee, breaker of everything decided this year to ride almost 300 miles across the country for charity.
I well and truly left the comfort zone!
My new bike, with what looked like an uncomfortable saddle (it’s not), and I managed to pedal those 288 miles, whinge free! In terms of miles ridden, I know people who’ve done it in <24. It took me 36.5.
It was a challenge, my cycling fitness has improved and I now love cycling!
Leave the comfort zone, you never know what you’ll find 🙂
3. On a hybrid?
Bike snobbery is a real thing.
Something I’m still not entirely sure I understand…
“Good effort cycling that on a hybrid”
“I didn’t think you’d make it riding a hybrid”
”You rode it on a hybrid, you must be broken?”
Here’s the funny thing (and I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong) but my bike has wheels…
It also has gears and a seat.
It’s been created specifically for the geometry of the female body.
It’s the most comfortable bike I’ve ever ridden.
I got to 25mph at one point on the flat (this is quick for me, ok)
Despite not being made of the lightest material known to man, with the lowest of the low dropped handlebars, oddly, it still moves….
It still got me from Falmouth to London.
No square wheels here.
4. Don’t avoid the hills
Cornwall, Devon and Dorset have one big thing in common.
Plenty of them, in fact…
Even the ‘long flat bits of road’ you’ve driven are, invariably, not flat. They just climb slowly.
The first weekend in Cornwall, I was having to get off and walk up some of the short steep climbs.
By the 3rd weekend, I pedalled up mostly all of the hills. 17% gradient excluded.
You can’t avoid every hill forever so I figured I may as well just go for it and it can only get better (not easier)
5. Follow the rules
I’ve lost count of how many people have sent me these.
No further explanation is needed.
Just make sure you follow them…